The Anonymous Widower

Three Hours in Ipswich

One of the things I hope to encourage with this blog is internal tourism in the UK.  So as I was early and wanted to see a new art gallery in the town, I decided to have a little walk around the centre of the town.

It is actually very compact and sits between the River Orwell and the railway on one side and  Christchurch Mansion and Park to the North.

I started by walking from Ipswich Rail Station over the River Orwell and past Portman Road football ground into the town centre. Ipswich Town’s ground must be one of the nearest grounds to a rail station outside of the major conurbations.

My first visit after checking if Marks had something I wanted, (Which they didn’t incidentally!) was to go to the old Ipswich Art School, which has now been turned into an art gallery. The first exhibition is a loan of work from the Saatchi Gallery.

It was very much worth visiting, but as it was the sort of modern art, that I don’t like, I almost got the impression it was a lovely building wrapped around some unlovely art! I hall go again, for the next exhibition!

It was then a short walk up the hill to Christchurch Park, which is a traditional formal park of the sort you get all over the United Kingdom.

Christchurch Park, Ipswich

I ate my packed lunch in the sun, looking out at the War Memorial.

The War Memorial, Christchurch Park, Ipswich

Why is it war memorials always have phrases like “Our Glorious Dead”?  Death is never glorious! It’s just an awful waste and a what might have been!

There is also another smaller war memorial in the park. And that is one to the men of Suffolk, who died in the Boer War.

Boer War Memorial, Christchurch Park, Ipswich

I then moved on to Christchurch Mansion, which is effectively inside the Park.

Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich

Strangely, deespite living in the area for many years, I’d only been over the mansion once and that was when I attended a black-tie dinner there in the 1990s.

But I made a mistake and I should have gone more.

For a start there is the house and gardens, but then there is the art gallery with a dozen paintings by both John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.

These though are not the famous paintings we’ve all seen in National Galleries all over the world, but often earlier ones that they painted locally as they were starting out on their careers. As an example, there is a touching portrait by Constable of his mother, Ann.

For that reason alone, they are worth the walk up from the town centre to Christchurch Mansion.

I then walked back down to the town centre, which has as more old shops, than any other towns I know. It is perhaps a pity that most of the shops as is comon throughout the UK, are national chains.  But that is a problem all over the UK.

Ipswich Town Centre

The picture shows the Great White Horse, with its Dickensian connections.

The jewl in the crown of Ipswich dhops is the Gade One Listed, Ancient House.

The Ancient House, Ipswich

It must surely be the most unusual branch of Lakeland!

After walking back along the Buttermarket, I was virtually back where i started and it was a short walk down Princes Street and through an underpass or over a crossing and I was back at Portman Road. The route took me past another Grade One Listed Building, but one that is very diferent to the ancient House.  this is Lord Foster’s first important building, the Willis Faber Building.

The Willis Faber Building, Ipswich

Note how the building opposite are reflected in the glass.  This is now probably the most famous building in Ipswich, as every time Lord Foster is mentioned, they always show some footage.

The walk with a couple of detours had been easy and had taken me two hours, so if you’d decided to have lunch somewhere, you’d have filled the three hours.  On a nice day as Saturday was, I wouldn’t eat in the town centre, but I’d get a picnic in Marks or one of the other shops and eat it in Christchurch Park or outside the Mansion.  Judging by what I saw, many people were doing just that.

The next time, I am in Ipswich and the weather is good, I’ll walk round the town centre and visit the ten Grade One listed Buildings in the town centre.  That is not bad for a town, which has featured heavily in Crap Towns.

October 2, 2010 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Ipswich can create a proper gallery for their collections in Christchurch Park, surely St. Edmundsbury can do the same.  And they charge for entry, whereas Ipswich does […]

    Pingback by Mary Beale was Disappointing « The Anonymous Widower | October 9, 2010 | Reply


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