Above left: The
Italianate clock tower
on the corner of the Custom House, seen from the other side of Key
Street, is nearly obliterated by the R & W
Paul maltings clad in its falsework and plastic sheeting. This
extended around the corner and down the side facing the Custom House.
The demolition machines then nibbled away at the open sides, including
that facing the dockside to avoid any debris falling onto the road or
damaging the listed building. Above right is the view past the right
hand edge of the '777' cladding: a yawning void with one of the
demolition cranes just prior to tackling the huge maltings. A pattern
emerged along the whole site of devastation surrounding carefully
selected parts of the buildings on the dockland site to be preserved
and developed - although not as
many of the latter as some of us had assumed before the whole operation
started. The third image, below, shows the typical ragged edge of half
demolished reinforced concrete boxes which became so familiar to
spectators. Indeed the dangling slabs and rods were rather a beautiful
on one of the huge half-eaten silos.
See also our page on Paul's maltings.
Fortunately for us, the
archaeologists were able to carry out extensive
digs in accessible areas in 2004/5 as this part of Ipswich was once the
seething heart of the town dating back to the early Anglo-Saxon period.
Indeed, revetments from those times were uncovered during the dig on
the Cranfield's site indicating the original line of the quayside. It
was also the home of one of the powerful
religious establishments of the town:
the Austin Cannons of St Peter & St Paul. The
river level in earlier centuries (very pre-Wet Dock,
1842) was much
lower and the river basin spread out; at the time of Wolsey's College the riverbank would
have run up the centre of today's College Street, hence the presence of
the surviving Wolsey Gate – the watergate of the college complex.
Moving round the site, past Burtons
Peter's Church, the above photographs were taken from the Island
between New Cut and the Wet Dock. Opening up views of the dockland
churches for the first time, the demolition also stripped away the
clutter, corrugated iron and prefab concrete which hid the original
wharves. On the lower image we look eastwards down the quays to
the flats near Neptune Quay. Henry Palmer's cast iron colonnade which carried
Cranfield's Flour Mill over the dock on Albion Wharf
to enable loading and unloading from ships in the dock. The upper
photograph shows the further row of red
coloured columns, now supporting
nothing and awaiting the new structures.
The following photographs form an album of images taken during
the major demolition and clearance period of the regeneration scheme.
For a view of the back of this building, with its central arched
tunnel, during demolition see below.
Above: a view of the northern quays from the Neptune Marina
boatyard prior to the major demolition projects.
Above: watching it come down... The care taken by the demolition
contractor is understandable with the proximity of the beautiful
red brick building on Albion Wharf – yet another Paul's
malting – and the Custom House
(both visible in the photograph at left).
The close-up shows the lumps of concrete hanging from the reinforcement
rods exposed during demolition. Presumably this feature made the
piecemeal demolition process safer and ensured that heavy debris did
not damage neigbouring structures.
Above left: a view of Albion Wharf from the island after the
over-buildings were removed from the collonade. Above
right: the Church of St Mary-At-The Quay exposed to view from the dock,
possibly for the first time in centuries.
Above left: a view across the lagoon next to Stoke Bridge with
buildings on St Peter's Wharf – the red brick Paul's maltings to the
left (post fire), now demolished, the concrete Paul's silo, the white,
soon-to-be butchered Burton's factory and the lower E.R. & F.
Turner foundry buildings standing across Foundry Lane from the future
site of The Mill/Jerwood DanceHouse. See our Trinity
House buoy page for several more views of these buildings.
Above: the last of the Burtons
lettering on the nascent, orange Cardinal Lofts block overlooking
Above: the Church of St Peter at left with the scaffolded
Cardinal Lofts block rising to the right. The central silo is on the
future site of DanceEast and The Mill.
Above: the view of the shrouded Paul's
silo next to the Custom House at left,
the 'stump' of the red brick Cranfield's mill at right with St Mary-At-The Quay in the centre, seen
from Star Lane. See that page for photographs of that part of
Cranfields taken from inside St Mary-at-Quay in 2008.
Above: two views of the rear of the red brick wharf building
from the tiny Slade Street (the point where Star Lane and Key Street
almost touch). The photograph at the left shows the central archway; it
also shows some curving grey brick buildings which have been demolished
by the time of the photograph to the right.
Above the spectral Paul's silo
next to the Custom House part-way
through demolition in the late afternoon sunshine, viewed from Star
Key Street with the red brick gabled buildings at the right
which once stood close to St Mary-At-The
Quay, also the huge banner covering the Cranfield 'stump'. The next
few shots follow Key Street into College Street with a view of the
orange Cardinal Lofts block opposite the Wolsey
Above: the gap between the Cranfields stump and Cardinal Lofts
became the site of The Mill tower
block incorporating DanceEast. See those
pages for further images.
Below: apparently, a fire engine was required to be in
attendance on the site throughout the demolition and clearance process.
Felaw Maltings and the first modern
block of waterside apartments (on
Stoke Quay) can be seen across the dock and New Cut in the centre of
An impression can be gained of the enormous quantity of rubble
during operations by the digger perched upon a sizeable mound
Views from the Island before demolition of the gigantic silos to
make way for the even more gigantic DanceEast
tower known later as 'The Mill'.
Above: demolition clearance opened up the vistas both into and
from the Wet Dock. Behind
Cranfield's 'stump' is Church of St
Mary-At-The-Quay, for decades screened off and dwarfed by heavy
February, 2008: here we are on a late afternoon stroll round this (now)
hub of construction and
industry, rather than destruction. Below is the long shot from the
Stoke side of the Gipping at high tide, with Stoke Bridge and the only
surviving concrete silo – complete with 'R. & W. PAUL Ltd'
lettering on St
Peter's Quay plus the interlacing construction cranes on the
From the Island between Wet Dock and New Cut come the
views below of (left) the network of masts, cables and cranes and
(right) the fine maltings building on Albion Wharf – probably the most
attractive period building on the dock – now refurbished with a liquid
concrete hopper suspended from a crane jib hanging above it, and the
skeletal concrete tower which replaces the earlier concrete tower next
to the Custom House.
Below left: from New Cut West, not far from the Steamboat
Tavern, the cranes don't seem quite so dominant. The last image
down the Wet Dock from the island across a sea of rich people's
cruisers and masts to the development at the other end: the Salthouse
Harbour Hotel at the extreme left, past the apartment blocks, the
curving University building, Neptune Quay tower block and the beginning
of the flats on Duke Street to the extreme right. Water, what water?]
In 2007/8 a global financial crash resulted from the collective
madness of bankers, multinationals and politicians. This particularly
hit Ireland where the bubble of credit folly had been notably
overblown. Several of the developments on the northern quays had
apparently been financed by Irish banks and the crisis put an end to
work on the Waterfront. Huge blocks stand unfinished in 2014 and the
to 'development' hubris still stands in 2014: the skeletal building
nicknamed by an sardonic populace 'The Winerack'.
On the skyline above the vessels from the left: R.&W. Paul concrete silo, Burtons block (obscured), The Mill (tallest building in East Anglia and
home to DanceEast, but mainly unfinished and empty in 2013), Cranfield's, 'The Winerack', the redbrick
maltings on Albion Wharf, the chequered tower block above Pizza
Express, Premier Inn (in background, finished
2013), The New Custom House, Ashton KCJ (glazed maltings), Bistro on the Quay.
The irony is that we have, years after the crash, become used to the
half-finished and barely started edifices surrounded by hoardings. At
the other end of the dock the UCS university
building was due to be joined by a development on the Ransomes Orwell Works site; by 2013 this
postponed and the area left as a car park. On Monday 28
October 2013 gale force winds ripped polystyrene cladding and membrane
from the waterfront face of The Mill's
23 storey tower block.
The Question Mark
Burton Son & Sanders / Paul's
Ground-level dockside furniture
island', the northern quays
John Good and Sons
New Cut East
R&W Paul malting
A chance to
Wet Dock 1970s with 2004
Wet Dock maps
illustration of the laying of the Wet Dock lock foundation stone,
the Wet Dock
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Historic Lettering site: Borin Van Loon
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