Thank you for visiting our website and for your interest in the history of Quay Place. Over the coming months we will be building up an archive so you can find out all about the fascinating history of this ancient building. There will be different sections to explore with lots of interesting facts and images, and many ways to get involved through a range of heritage activities, or by sending in your stories and photos. We also have some opportunities for volunteers to help with our heritage work. From research through to horticulture, we hope there is a role that might be of interest to you, click here for further information of all opportunities.
Built in the 1450's, but unused since the Second World War, the grade II* listed St Mary at Quay is one of three medieval churches in the old dockland area of Ipswich. The past wealth and prosperity of the city is reflected in the decoration and carving in the spectacular double hammer beam roof. By 2008 decay and the effects of the misuse of concrete threatened a crumbling fate for the building, now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, unless there was a significant intervention.
The charity Suffolk Mind was awarded £3.6 million of Heritage Lottery Fund money to repair the church, convert the interior into a venue for events and a meeting place and to build a modern extension housing complementary therapies and performance and business spaces. Phase 1 of “Quay Place” ran from April to September 2014 and concentrated on carrying out repairs to the roof and parapet. Phase 2 currently involves repairing the rest of the historic fabric, including the nave columns, laying a breathable floor, with the insertion of new infrastructure and also construction of the two storey extension. The main contractor is Bakers of Danbury and the stated aim for the project is to “link the idea of well-being with our historic environment to create a long term future for a building suffering the ravages of age”.
The People and Place of St Mary at the Quay
St Mary at the Quay church has a rich and interesting history spanning 500 years. Wealthy merchants like Thomas Pounder, William Sabyne and Henry Tooley discussed the business of the day at the Church each Sunday, and explorer Thomas Eldred prayed here before setting off on one of the frst circumnavigations of the globe. Traders and sailors met to share tales of voyages to the Baltic, Iceland and the Low Countries, and to give thanks for a safe return home. The building has survived plague, flooding and the bombs of the Second World War, resisting planned demolition in the 1950s and potential collapse in more recent years as salt water threatened to crumble its limestone coloumns to dust.
Throughout the decades as the fortunes of Ipswich have risen and fallen like the tides, the building has stood steadfastly, serving the community that surrounds it.
What survives is a fascinating snapshot of hundreds of years of skilled craftsmanship, saved for the people of Ipswich thanks to an innovative regeneration partnership between Suffolk Mind and The Churches Conservation Trust. supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Ipswich War Memorial and Cenotaph
A special project to preserve digital images and create profiles on the individual Ipswich men who lost their lives in both World Wars and up to the present, giving a greater understanding to the sacrifice of so many. Click here to visit the website and to see the WW1 memorial at Quay Place - St Mary at the Quay.
We are currently developing our timeline where you will also find interesting facts and information.
Share your stories!
Old or new we are always on the lookout for stories (and photos) about St Mary at the Quay, to celebrate its wonderful past and the beginning of a new chapter as Quay Place. Do you have a memory or story to share? Are you local or do you have an interest in the history of Ipswich and particularly the docks and Waterfront area? We will be holding various Heritage events and activities and would love to hear from you if you have some memories, memorabilia or stories to share or would like to be involved. Please email us.
Please visit the TUMBLR site of the CCT for more photos click here