For the love of wandering the streets Written by Robin Hawes,

Published on September 27, 2023

For the love of wandering the streets -

Dear Ipswich, How are things with you?

I was born in Ipswich town centre in 1955. We lived on the northern edge of town, and I went to primary school at Westerfield. When I was 11 I started at Tower Ramparts Secondary Modern School. It was not the best education. I spent many hours exploring the town, all the historic areas. I also spent much time in the reference library of the Central Library in Northgate Street. I was a skilled truant from school, and am quite certain that I gained a better education by researching at the library and exploring the town.

No one ever seemed to discover that I wasn’t at school quite often. My parents knew I went to the library, as I used to tell them what I had been discovering of the history of Ipswich and Suffolk, and I also read voraciously, all kinds of books. The staff at the library were very kind and helpful to me. I virtually had my own desk in the Ref.

I get really quite upset when I hear people running our town down. There is a huge amount going on, if only we take time to discover.

Since I moved back, after living in many places, I have been rediscovering and enjoying the wonderful town that Ipswich is. Like many of my generation I am sad for the loss of many of the old businesses in town, that we all knew and loved so much. But this is common in many other places, including London.

I go into town at least once a week. I always visit the wonderful Ipswich Institute and am attending a course on the history of Ipswich at the moments and I love the food in the Chart Room. Sometimes I walk along the Waterfront, marvelling at the extraordinary changes from when I used to walk along the Docks, with my Granny. I loved all the sights, sounds and smells of the Docks, but the Waterfront is a fantastic place now too.

Sometimes I walk around Christchurch Park, in which I used to walk every day of my schooldays. It is as marvellous as ever, and perhaps even better tended than before. Sometimes I just wander around the historic streets, looking around, and especially upwards, to delight in the tremendous historic buildings which grace our town. I also attend lectures, have belonged to the Ipswich Society for many years, attend concerts and other events.

I get really quite upset when I hear people running our town down. There is a huge amount going on, if only we take time to discover.

Everyone I know who has more recently moved here loves the town and all it has to offer. There is really something for everyone in Ipswich. I always say that I am a proud and loyal citizen of Ipswich, even if now I live just outside the Borough boundary. I’m also an enthusiastic country boy at heart, since when I was at primary school my life centred on Westerfield, school, church and many friends. Long may Ipswich prosper.

Let’s wave our flag ardently!

Robin Hawes

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