Famous for the Ipswich Docks which were a major employer and key part of Britain’s international trading, this Suffolk town has been captured on film many times over the past century.
The Town Before The 1960s
Trade on the Ipswich banks started back in the 8th century. 1842 saw the opening of the first wet dock there. In the 1920s, inspection of the 50 ton Lock Gate at the Ipswich Docks required the use of a giant floating crane. L.B. Leverett was there to film it, including the moment a man sinks under the water in an old fashioned diving suit.
In 1939 as the snow thawed, Ipswich suffered flooding. This British Pathé film shows vehicles determined to keep moving even though two men push a boat through the water.
This British Pathé film shows Ipswich before post-war development started.
Cattle dealer Barney Wyatt is introduced, along with the large pocket watch and medal he received for helping the local hospital.
Ipswich In The 1960s
James Tansey uploaded to YouTube a photo montage by K Pollard. It shows a variety of local streets in the 1960s, each nicely identifying the year and the location.
Several different film clips are included in this HuntleyFilmArchives short compilation:
- Country house
- Subsidence in an Ipswich street
- Ipswich Docks
- Sales in Ipswich
- Wildlife Exhibition at Norfolk Wildlife Park
TIMEREELTV sells informative and entertaining DVDs about a wide range of locations across the UK. This clip of the Ipswich DVD lasts roughly one minute. It shows the early days of the Dukes House roundabout, now itself consigned to history. Several historic properties were demolished to make way for the roundabout, but in 1961 a new movement took hold. Renovation was now the key to dealing with Ipwich’s historic buildings.
A minute long clip of the Ipswich DVD sold by Pastfilms. Lots of people, places and events to spot.
In 1966 Russell Frost filmed as his friend drove around the town. Andy Frost slowed the footage for a clearer view and uploaded it to YouTube. If that’s too slow for you, just use the small setting button to play it at double speed. The film quality isn’t what we are used to today, but remember this is a colour home video at a time when most people didn’t own a colour TV.
This 8mm cine film opens with a board stating “Ellenbrook Road, southern approach to Belstead Private Housing Estate”. A young couple accompanied by a middle aged lady look at the nearby fields and then walk through the muddy building site. A few completed houses stand nearby. Next we see the older lady clambering up an awkwardly angled ladder into a breeze block shell of a house. Inside she does a quick jig as the young couple laughs. Then there’s a view of the nearby street under construction. Finally all three jump through the window gap including the older lady in her tight knee length skirt.
It’s clearly a young couple showing a mother round their new house under construction, at the weekend when no workmen are there.
Dave Eldergill buys old cine films from ebay and car boot sales, and identified the location from the board at the start of the film.
Ipswich Transport Society
Nick Abbott found this 8mm cine film showing Ipswich Transport Society members moving vehicles around in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Nice clear footage of the people present.
Remember ‘Highway’ with Harry Secombe? This popular TV show visited a number of the town’s locations in 1987.
YouTube channel deus ex machina uploaded this 2 hour and 21 minute film showing the docks and dockers at work in 1987. You can hear banter and laughter between work colleagues and see how the systems worked. An important visual record of people at work in an overlooked industry.
In 1999 larry-w filmed his drive through Ipswich.
Ipswich In The 21st Century
In the year 2000, Alexander Edward walked through the town’s busiest streets. Using black and white film, he recorded the sights and sounds as hundreds of people went about their business.
YouTube channel gaumont kalee uploaded footage of the exterior and interior of the Odeon from a Cinema Theatre Association visit in 2003.
In the summer of 2009, Raj Kumar walked along the busy town centre streets. Hundreds of people are seen clearly as they walk past or come out of shops.
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