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INTRODUCTION Ipswich Docks - The Old + New with the Customs House in centre

Ipswich, which claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited town in England, is located on the estuary of the River Orwell, which has always been important in the story of the town. A small harbour, behind what is now the home of Ipswich Town Football Club, was used by the Romans for trade and the Vikings raided the docks area, around 1010.

The Cornhill - The Ancient House King John gave the town its Charter in 1200. The town flourished in the Tudor & Elizabethan era, with the Wool Trade, when Christchurch Mansion and other fine buildings were erected creating much of the street pattern around The Butter Market which survives to this day, along with some 650 listed buildings.

Ipswich Museum, Art School with Gallery behind The Victorian era brought more prosperity and the building of new wet docks, then the largest in Europe, and the first public museum in the country which opened in 1847 (rebuilt in 1881).
The industrial revolution saw the rise of farm machinery manufacturers, such as Ransomes and Garretts, which hastened the exodus of many former agricultural workers to the town. The population increased six- fold in the 19th century, rising to 66,000 and doubled in the 20th century.


Ipswich has much to offer those researching their 'family trees' and also gives the excuse of having a pleasurable day out. Our meetings are held in the Red Cross Hall, Chevalier St, Ipswich, IP2 8NA, just across the road from the Suffolk Record Office, and take place on the 3rd Thursday of most months, starting at 7.30pm.

Free parking is available, (entry via the Car park at the rear of Lloyds/TSB on Bramford Road)

From Thursday 23rd July 2015 there will be a new venue for meetings! Meetings will be held at The Pioneer Hall, The Co-Op Education Centre, 11, Fore Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1JW. Pedestrian access is through the front door at 11 Fore Street. There is a large car park at the rear of the building - Entry is from Waterworks Street (Enter IP4 1JG in your sat. nav.) Meetings will change to the 4th Thursday in the month. Remember none of this takes place until Thursday 23rd July 2015. Until then meetings will continue to beheld at the Red Cross Hall.

We arrange a varied programme of interesting talks and guided visits which are open to members and visitors alike, especially newcomers, who'll receive a warm welcome.

We also offer tea or coffee and biscuits after the talk and this is included in the 2 entrance. Those with problems with their research find it useful to chat to others at the meeting, about their "brickwalls". Informal help often results from this.

Group visit to Coddenham Church We can provide, for meetings, a laptop computer, with some of the Society's CD's and other resources, as outlined on the Publications page. This facility can be requested at a meeting, for viewing at the following meeting.

Alternatively, feel free to contact us beforehand if you'd like to request a resource or need advice so we're best placed to help you when you come to the meeting.

News and reports of group activities can be found here.
(Last Update March 2014)


Mrs J A Wenham (Secretary)
23 La Salle Close, Ipswich, Suffolk IP2 8NA
Tel: 01473 601437
Howard King (Chairman)
01473 274300
or by Email


2015 Title Speaker
March 19th Researching Ancestors in East Anglia Gill Blanchard - Norwich based Genealogist and Nationally known Speaker.
April 16th Coroners, Inquests and Suicides Kathy Chater - London based Speaker
May 21st Branch AGM + Talk (topic to be confirmed)  
June 18th Group Evening Visit and Special Guided Tour - Ipswich Transport Museum. Details nearer the date.
July 16th "The History of the Salvation Army", as it celebrates it's 150th year Anniversary Ken Finch


Ipswich Record Office - The 'must do' place to visit/contact for all your family & local history needs; holding an amazing range of information about the history of Suffolk and its people.

Tourist Information Office - who also arrange guided walks with Blue Badge Guides [May-Sept].

Ipswich Museum - has a timeline on events in the Town, plus many treasures.