Where old pubs have been re-named, we list only the most recent known name here. Other names can be found in the Pub list tab. Ancient pubs are defined as those which are believed to have closed before the middle of the 19th century.
Port, borough and county town of Suffolk, this is by far the largest settlement in the county and is built around the lowest crossing point of the tidal river Orwell (known as the river Gipping to the west of Stoke bridge). The town has expanded far beyond the early walled port settlement and today many large housing and industrial estates surround the main central urban area.
In recent years many new buildings - including the new administrative "IP village" complex - have been under construction along the riverside and also around the historic "Wet Dock", together with the new IP-City and the long awaited local university campus. This is now bringing new life to some of the most historic parts of town and replacing redundant industrial areas of the town and many old warehouses with new housing, leisure and work areas.
We wish the new Suffolk University well an hope it fares better than an earlier, very short-lived college, founded by Cardinal Wolsey in 1528, just before he fell-out of favour with Henry VIII. Today little of the short lived Tudor college remains except for one back gate (in College Street).
Archaeological evidence suggests that although some Roman ruins have been found locally, the town actually dates from very early Saxons times and was first established as a trading settlement, then known as Gipeswic. This Saxon port town was soon to become an important pottery producing and trading centre with local shipping crossing the North Sea. By the time of Domesday Book, the town is recorded as having 538 burgesses (heads of households). A charter was granted by King John in 1200 and the town continued to thrive during the medieval period with 15 parish churches being built (12 still survive today); more than any other English town of a comparable size.
Some interesting buildings also still remain, such as the Ancient House, located in the Buttermarket which has outstanding 17th century pargetting on a 15th century timber frame. Also Christchurch Mansion dating from 1540 and set in substantial parkland close to the town centre. Now used as a museum, it contains paintings by Gainsborough, Constable and other local artists. (open Tue. to Sat.) In the High Street a splendid Victorian museum offers excellent natural history and archaeological displays (open Tue to Sat). A fine 17th cent. Unitarian Meeting House, is located close to the 1970s (G1 listed) black glass covered office building, originally built for Willis Faber. In Fore street a few splendid timber framed buildings also remain including the Isaac Lord wharf complex and the 19th cent. Custom House.
In June/July 1981 edition of Last Orders*** it was reported that from 06 April new licensing hours (then agreed as 11-2.30pm & 5-11pm) had enabled the local town pubs to stay open for an extra half hour! So avoiding the common practice of many local drinkers of driving out of town for a late last drink. The LVA application received no objections from the police or public. Today even more relaxed licensing hours are permitted in many local pubs (please check published hours).
The main-line railway tunnel just south of Ipswich station is believed to have been the first railway tunnel built on a curve. Another interesting historical first is that Ipswich was where the country's first ever blood bank was established - in 1937.
Portman Road stadium (located between the town centre and railway station) is home to Ipswich Town FC, the only major league football club in Suffolk, whilst The Witches are a long established speedway team at Foxhall Stadium (in the eastern outskirts of town). Sadly Ipswich Aerodrome, including the former Pitt's bar was demolished in 2006 and the new Ravenwood estate - including the Raven public house - is now slowly rising out of the middle of the former airfield. Various modern shopping units today stand where the terminal building once stood.
The town's long history of brewing includes Tolly Cobbold (originally just Cobbold) who moved to the Cliff Quay brewery site in 1746. Brewing on this site by the Tolly Cobbold Brewery ceased in 2002. In 2006 the St Judes brewery was set-up by a local CAMRA member, Frank Walsh, together with his partner Colleen Seymore until it closed in May 2012. In 2009 Earl Soham helped to install a new microbrewery called Cliff Quay at the historic Cliff Quay site - this flourished under the management of Jeremy Moss until relocating to Debenham in the summer of 2012. In 2010 the Dove Street Brewery started production, meaning Ipswich still has at least one active brewery.
(*** Last Orders is a free local newsletter - published by Suffolk CAMRA memers since 1978)