Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 3°C

Search

Ipswich: Could County Hall resume its civic use?

PUBLISHED: 10:23 19 August 2014 | UPDATED: 10:23 19 August 2014

County Hall, Ipswich

County Hall, Ipswich

Archant

As a new lease of life is proposed for County Hall, we look back at its past.

Work on the County Hall buildings started in 1837, as part of Ipswich Prison which extended back from the site to Rope Walk.

It was built as a courthouse and offices for the prison, and over time became a centre of local government in the town.

This use increased during the 19th Century and in 1906 the extension including the Council Chamber was added to what was, by then, County Hall.

The prison itself closed in 1925 and its buildings were soon demolished.

Over the next few decades homes and other county council offices were built on the site as the importance of the county council increased.

County Hall was a sprawling entity comprised of many separate office buildings over a wide area along Rope Walk and St Helen’s Street. The main administration block was named St Helen’s Court.

All these closed when Endeavour House opened in 2004. Most of the buildings have been demolished, although the 1980s-built St Edmund House is still looking for a permanent new use.

St Helen’s Court is Grade II listed which has made finding a new use for it difficult and it has fallen into disrepair.

Last year we were sent photographs taken inside the building which show how it has fallen prey to vandals and the elements.

A tree was pictured growing through the window of the council chamber – which will now become the wedding celebration room – and internal doors and glass panels had been smashed.

Under pressure from the borough council, owners MD Developments improved security at the site and also launched a new marketing campaign to try to sell the building.

Today’s development marks the start of the first phase of the building’s restoration.

An Ipswich grandfather who was infected with two deadly diseases during the worst health scandal in NHS history is hoping the truth will be revealed after a major inquiry got underway.

A motorcyclist has sustained life-threatening injuries after coming off the road and hitting a tree.

A driver has shared dashcam footage which shows the moment a white van suddenly stops dead in front of her - in apparent protest to being beeped.

A garden centre was fined more than £100,000 after a member of staff was hurt when cleaning up hazardous chemicals.

Aspiring actors auditioned in the hope of landing the role of a lifetime alongside Stevi Ritchie and Atomic Kitten’s Natasha Hamilton in this year’s pantomime at the Ipswich Regent.

A man who died after being found on a bench in Lowestoft town centre was “fit as a fiddle and strong as an ox”, according to friends.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24