After the invasion of 869 Ipswich fell to Viking rule. The
earth ramparts encircling the town centre were most likely raised by Vikings in
Ipswich around 900 to prevent its recapture by the English they were of course unsuccessful.
Ipswich has been subject to an extensive rebuilding and a
gentrification programme in recent years, principally centred around the
waterfront and this has turned a former industrial dock area into an emerging
residential and commercial area.
Ipswich town centre houses a glass-clad building which dates
from 1974 and was designed by Norman Foster. In 1991 it was classified as Grade
1 listed – just one of the two such buildings under 30 years old.
There are several medieval Ipswich churches although the
grandest place of worship is the Victorian St Mary le Tower. Holy Trinity
Church by the waterfront was built in the reign of William IV and boasts a
spectacular interior. St Lawrence's Church houses the world’s oldest circle of
Ipswich's sole professional football club is Ipswich Town,
who were established in 1878 and currently play in the second-tier Football
League Championship at the 30,300-capacity Portman Road. Ipswich Town were
elected to the Football League in 1938.
Ipswich has a strong rivalry with Norwich City, and has produced two of
the most successful England managers, Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson.
Ipswich Town won the League Championship in 1961-62 (their first season as a
top division club) during Ramsey's reign, as well as the 1978 FA Cup and the
1981 UEFA Cup under Robson. Ipswich Town are also undefeated at home in all
European competitions having drawn 6 and won the other 25.
With an excellent communication network, Ipswich sits close
to the A14 and the A12 roads; it is also on the Great Eastern Main Line from
London to Norwich, the East Suffolk Line to Lowestoft and the Felixstowe Branch
Line with two railway stations (Ipswich and Derby Road). Ipswich is 40 minutes
from Harwich International Port and to the East of Ipswich is the major
container port of Felixstowe.
The town is just an hour from Stansted Airport. Ipswich
remains a 'town' despite a few attempts at winning 'city' status. Ipswich was
awarded 'cleanest town' on 13 March 2007.
Ralph Fiennes, the Academy Award-nominated English actor was
born in an Ipswich hospital while his parents were living near Southwold but
did not live in the town. Ipswich is also home to the current world's heaviest
man, Paul Mason - weighing in at 70 stone.