Dear Ipswich, I hope you are well.
I feel a mixture of hope, nostalgia and respect when I think of you. Just like a person, towns go through phases and stages, and I am a hopeful optimist that your reputation and verve will reawaken in the future, through the love and investment being made into you, by passionate people who don’t give up on someone/something.
Crossing town to get to Broomhill Lido to bathe and flirt with the life guards all day elicits warm memories and a feeling of happy abandon.
I grew up in Felixstowe, and a bus trip to Ipswich felt grown-up, exciting and intriguing. Crossing town to get to Broomhill Lido to bathe and flirt with the life guards all day elicits warm memories and a feeling of happy abandon. Saturday trips to town with my Gran, wandering around C&A, Topshop and Debenhams makes me feel beautifully wistful. The anticipation for the opening of the Buttermarket was palpable. A few years later and my bestie and I would board the bus with alco-pops ready for nights of dancing and drinking in Chicago Rock Café, Branigans, Edwards or Pals.
After a few years overseas, I moved into a brand new flat on the waterfront. Seeing the harbour start to transform into a vibrant, cool urban space was exciting as a young, single girl in the town. By then nights involved moving between Keo Bar, The Falcon, Bar 4, Pals and Liquid & Envy. I worked and lived in town, and as a small-town girl, I loved the balance between big town life and a feeling of relative safety.
I met my husband on one of those nights out; just as my Mum met my Dad at the First Floor Club years earlier. Friendships were forged, hearts were broken, tears of laughter were spilt, and shapes were thrown on the dance floors.
Despite hanging up my dancing shoes, I still love a visit to Ipswich, whether it be a dinner out with old friends at The Waterfront, meetings with suppliers in the Salthouse, drinks at Parkers Street Tavern, outdoor cinema in Christchurch Park, swims with the kids at crown Pools, or a haircut, mooch and coffee along St Nicholas Street.
We will always find exactly what we expect with any person or place. If you look for deprivation, disorder and darkness that is what you find. But look for the light, the hope, the joy, and the history and you can fall in love with any place, not least our county town, standing tall throughout the years, despite the changes, disrepute and disrespect shown to it by some.
Ipswich you will survive and thrive as you always have, because hope, love and light always overcome fear and darkness eventually.
With love and hope.
Managing Director, Events Under Canvas