Ipswich, United Kingdom

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Ipswich (previously Gippeswick) is a non-metropolitan district and the county town of Suffolk, England. It is located on the estuary of the River Orwell. Nearby towns are Felixstowe  in Suffolk and Harwich and Colchester  in Essex. The town of Ipswich overspills the borough boundaries significantly, with only 85% of the town's population living within the borough at the time of the 2001 Census, when it was the third-largest settlement in the United Kingdom's East of England region, and the 38th largest urban area in England.  The modern name is derived from the medieval name, 'Gippeswick' (also spelt 'Gipewiz', 'Gepeswiz', or 'Gypeswiz') is probably taken from the River Gipping which is the name of the non-tidal section of the River Orwell.

As of 2007, the borough of Ipswich is estimated to have a population of approximately 128,000 inhabitants.


Under the Roman empire, the area around Ipswich formed an important route inland to rural towns and settlements via the rivers Orwell and Gipping. At the Reformation the statue was taken away to London to be burned, though some claim that it survived and is preserved at Nettuno, Italy.

Around 1380, Geoffrey Chaucer satirised the merchants of Ipswich in the Canterbury Tales. Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, the son of a wealthy landowner, was born in Ipswich about 1475. One of Henry VIII's closest political allies, he founded a college in the town in 1528, which was for its brief duration one of the homes of the Ipswich School. He remains one of the town's most famed figures.

In the time of Queen Mary the Ipswich Martyrs were burnt at the stake on the Cornhill for their Protestant beliefs. A monument commemorating this event now stands in Christchurch Park. From 1611 to 1634 Ipswich was a major centre for emigration to New England. This was encouraged by the Town Lecturer, Samuel Ward. His brother Nathaniel Ward was first minister of Ipswich, Massachusetts, where a promontory was named 'Castle Hill' after the place of that name in north-west Ipswich, UK. Ipswich was also one of the main ports of embarkation for puritans leaving other East Anglian towns and villages for the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the decade of the 1630's and what has become known as the Great Migration.

The painter Thomas Gainsborough lived and worked in Ipswich. In 1835, Charles Dickens stayed in Ipswich and used it as a setting for scenes in his novel The Pickwick Papers. The hotel where he resided first opened in 1518; it was then known as The Tavern and is now known as the Great White Horse Hotel. Dickens made the hotel famous in chapter XXI of The Pickwick Papers, vividly describing the hotel's meandering corridors and stairs.

In 1824, Dr George Birkbeck, with support from several local businessmen, founded one of the first Mechanics' Institutes which survives to this day as the independent Ipswich Institute Reading Room and Library

. The elegant 15 Tavern Street building has been the site of the Library since 1836.

In 1797 Lord and Lady Nelson moved to Ipswich, and in 1800 Lord Nelson was appointed High Steward of Ipswich.

In the mid-19th century Coprolite (fossilized animal dung) was discovered, the material was mined and then dissolved in acid, the resulting mixture forming the basis of Fisons fertilizer business.

Ipswich was subject to bombing by German Zeppelins during the first world war but the greatest damage by far occurred during the German bombing raids of WWII. The area in and around the docks were especially devastated. The last bombs to fall on Ipswich landed on Seymour Street in March of 1945.
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