The Very Old and the Very New

Sometimes the mixing of old and new can work well and the result can be quite beautiful, both enhancing the past and showcasing the new. One example of this is the south porch of St Peter’s Church in Ipswich. It has a 21st-century metal grille door set within a 15th-century stone and flint arch complete with Tudor roses.

The gates of gilded steel were made in 2008 by Paul Richardson (1967-). The work was commissioned by the Ipswich Hospital Band, when the church was deconsecrated and became a concert venue. If you look carefully you can see the two musical angels are partially constructed using metalwork from musical instruments. They also wear gowns patterned with the Tudor rose motif.
I particular liked the golden fish weaving through the scrollwork waves, referencing St Peter as a fisherman and also the proximity to the nearby Ipswich Waterfront.

St Peter’s Gate -Paul Richardson. Gilded steel, 2008.

Sadly though not all the local medieval treasures of Ipswich have fared so well where redevelopment of the harbour waterside has seen a mushrooming of tall residential tower blocks. The new blocks have replaced drab, utilitarian warehouses, but the trouble with these new blocks is that they are much taller buildings and they dwarf the Old Customs House and the medieval churches nearby.

Quay Place Heritage and Well-being Centre. The repurposed, redundant medieval church, St Mary at the Quay dwarfed by the newly opened Winerack (the tall, white residential block).

However, although the site of Quay Place from the north is no doubt nothing like the look and feel of its original 15th-century setting, the view from the east, as it lines up with St Peter’s is very pleasing. And, despite the fact that Key Street is now part of a busy one-way system, this is is one of my favourite views in Ipswich. (Sadly, my photograph doesn’t do it justice.)

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

18 thoughts on “The Very Old and the Very New”

    1. I think that my might be the three or four people living in a ghost block! They started releasing the apartments for sale just as Covid hit and they have quite a few for sale. But it is a block that stood half built for over a decade (victim of financial crash) and is now at last completed.

      1. Oh I didn’t realise that. I think we assumed it was a bit too scary living in the countryside with the fire risk for many townies.

      2. PS I remember opining with you ages back that working from home would have slow uptake in Australia because of slow internet, etc. Mea Culpa. Seems I was very very wrong.

      3. Yes, of course, we had a Labour Party here offering universal decent broadband and that was reported in the media as laughable. Oh how times change.

  1. That porch is lovely. And it’s many many years since I have visited Ipswich, so high rise is a real shock to see. I still associate high-rise with Big Cities. It’s all about the scale …

    1. Yes, scale is all. There are less than a handful of properly tall blocks in Ipswich, but most of the new builds round the harbour area are six or seven floor constructions with fancy penthouses on top. There used to be engineering works, a foundry and agricultural silos along the quay, but nothing that offered conversion possibilities with a higher enough return for the developers when investment and redevelopment came to the docks. A couple of Victorian warehouses have survived and been turned into flats, but now the harbour is mostly 21st-century new build. And, pretty bland to ghastly at that.

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