Heritage Open Days badges itself as England’s largest festival of history and culture. This annual event allows members of the public unparalleled access to historic sites across the country, including those not normally open to visitors. On Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September, Heritage Open Days returns to our town when some 31 historic buildings across Ipswich will be opened up to members of the public.
Ipswich is England’s oldest continuously-inhabited settlement and boasts a rich cultural and maritime heritage due to its status as an important port and trading destination for much of its history. As well as the impressive Christchurch Mansion, built in 1547, the town contains many well-preserved examples of Tudor and medieval-era architecture as well as a number of Norman churches dating back to the 12th century.
Far from being stuck in the past, Ipswich has also been on the forefront of architectural innovation – the famous Willis Building, built in 1975 and designed by Norman Foster, became the youngest building in Britain to receive Grade I listed status in 1991.
Join us at Mutual House
Among those buildings set to be opened up over the weekend is Mutual House, our Ipswich town centre branch located on Princes Street. Originally built as Parr’s Bank in 1901, this Grade II listed building was designed by local architect Thomas Cotman and still boasts many of the building’s original features including 2-storey oriel windows, quatrefoils and rooftop pinnacles. Visitors will also be able to take a tour of the basement to see the original bank vault, coal cellar and safe.
As well as the building itself, we’ll also be showcasing the history of the Society, dating back to our founding in 1849 as the Ipswich & Suffolk Freehold Land Society (FLS) where we developed land and houses across Ipswich and Suffolk until 1933.
Visitors can also enjoy a display of building materials used by the FLS in 1912 to construct houses in Kensington Road, demonstrating changes in construction methods over the last 100 years. Booklets illustrating the FLS development of the former Brooks Hall Estate on Norwich Road between 1902-1924 will also be available.
We hope you can join us and look forward to seeing you!
Saturday 14 September – 9am – 5pm
Sunday 15 September – 10am – 3pm