Where pubs have been renamed, we usually list only the most recent known name here. Other names can be found in the Pub list tab. (For closed pubs which only traded for a short time under a newer name, we generally list them under the longer-established name) Ancient pubs are defined as those which are believed to have closed before the middle of the 19th century.
Closed brewery (post-1970)
1 other business of interest
- Borough council
- Christchurch mansion
- Ipswich Museum
- Ipswich Society
- Ipswich Transport Museum
- Visit Ipswich
Population (2011) of Ipswich: 133 384.
Local licensing authority for Ipswich is Ipswich Borough Council.
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 modern town has expanded far beyond the medieval walled port settlement and today many large domestic housing and industrial estates surround the older central shopping and administrative areas.
It's often claimed that "Ipswich once had a pub for every day of the year". Sadly, this claim (which is probably made for every other similar-sized town) doesn't stand up. Borough police records show that the town's drinking estate peaked in 1870, when there were a total of 313 taverns and beerhouses. As the police records didn't differentiate between beerhouses with on and off licenses, the actual maximum number of drinking establishments was probably ten or twenty fewer than that.
In some parts of the modern town, especially for the casual observer, the boundaries with other local administrative areas are not well defined. These currently include Kesgrave, Pinewood, Rushmere St Andrew, Sprougton, Warren Heath, Wherstead and Whitton . So a few pubs that are located within the modern urban sprawl are not actually in Ipswich! These currently include the Rushmere Golf, the Wherstead Ostrich (Beefeater), Ipswich (Sproughton) Holiday Inn and the Pinewood Chestnut Tree Farm. Current plans also include expansion of the town northwards into the parish of Westerfield.
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 Jude's brewery was set-up by a local CAMRA member, Frank Walsh, together with his partner Colleen Seymore. 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 and in 2013 Briarbank Brewery was established in a redundant bank building on Fore Street.
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In recent decades many new buildings have been built along the riverside and also around the historic Wet Dock, together with a new IP-City and the long awaited local university. 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.
An earlier, very short-lived college was previously founded by Cardinal Wolsey in 1528, just before he fell-out of favour with Henry VIII. Today very little of this college remains except for one back gate (in College Street). Although a plaque commemorating Wolsey's birth is attached to a building in St Nicholas Street, historians believe that he was actually born in the Black Horse (although the building wasn't a pub at the time). The confusion seems to have been caused by Wolsey's father then having a butchers' shop in the St Nicholas Street area.
Archaeological evidence suggests that, although some Roman ruins have been found locally, the town actually dates from very early Saxon 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, 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.
Many interesting buildings 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 (see links) 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 Tuesday to Saturday), In the High Street a splendid Victorian museum offers excellent natural history and archaeological displays (open Tuesday to Saturday). A fine 17th century 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 century Old Custom House.
In the June/July 1981 edition of Last Orders*** it was reported that from April 6th 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 mainline 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). Ipswich Aerodrome, including the former Pitt's bar was demolished in 2006 and the new Ravenswood estate (including the Raven public house) has replaced it. Various modern shopping units today stand where the terminal building once stood.