Suffolk Record Office and The Hold

Designs for ‘The Hold’ are evolving and taking shape! 

At this year’s Suffolk Show we were very pleased to be able to share our architects’ initial designs for The Hold with the public for the first time, with over 1200 people coming to see us in the County Council’s marquee.  Ever since then, project architects (Pringle Richards Sharratt - PRS) have been very busy adjusting and revising the designs to respond to feedback and the constraints of the site.  

As Stuart Grimwade mentions in his article on the previous page, PRS have been enthused by the heritage of the Waterfront area of Ipswich since the beginning of the project.  They have trawled extensively through the archives held by Suffolk Record Office and the material and photographs of the Ipswich Maritime Trust for source materials.  Caley’s wonderful drawings have provided inspiration, as have photographs of the historic docks, the Social Settlement which once occupied the site (see below), and more recently, artist Valerie Irwin’s beautiful charcoal sketches of the area, which many of you will be familiar with.

Stoke Bridge Section of Edward Caley's 1837. Courtesy of IMT Image Archive

Stoke Bridge Section of Edward Caley's 1837. Courtesy of IMT Image Archive

Historic maps consulted by PRS trace the development of the site back to the mid-15th Century. Increasing trade and development grew around the wet dock through the 19th Century. Larger industrial and warehouse buildings fronted the dock, while smaller scale buildings and terraces filled the streets beyond.  Buildings on the site through the 19th Century had a variety of uses, including a former malting’s and notably, the former Social Settlement Building. At this point the site was at its most dense in terms of development.

Site clearances in mid-20th Century coincided with improvement works to Fore Street and the opening of The Civic College just north of the site in 1961. The College built a motor vehicle repair and print building on the site in the mid to late 20th Century. The motor vehicle repair building has since been demolished (with the print building to follow!).

Inspiration for The Hold is also coming from the palette of local building materials (e.g. Suffolk red brick), the skyline with its malt kilns and masts, and for internals, the roofs of Suffolk’s churches, such as Blythburgh.

The drawings shown below are very much works in progress and by no means finished.  By the time you read this article, even these will have moved on!  We plan to submit a planning application for The Hold at the end of September; prior to this, more detailed drawings and a 3D model will be on display at the Waterfront Building, during September.  Drawings will be on display at other venues around the county too.  The below is therefore a ‘taster’ of things to come!

suffolk record office and the hold, social settlement, ipswich, waterfront

Please keep an eye on for further details on where you will be able to view the drawings.