See Victorian pictures of the dock gate at Ipswich Wet Dock under construction
PUBLISHED: 12:50 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:50 15 August 2018
Ipswich Maritime Trust
Forgotten pictures of the building of the Victorian lock, in Ipswich in 1881, are going on display for the first time at this weekend’s Ipswich Maritime Festival.
An album of images was discovered locked away in the Old Custom House and ABP and a bid was made to discover who the unknown photographer was.
Now Ipswich Port Authority has handed them over to the Ipswich Maritime Trust for its growing archive which charts the history, people and life of the port of Ipswich.
Two of the photographs have been enlarged - and will be put on display by the maritime trust at the Ipswich Maritime Festival on Saturday and Sunday, inside the Custom House.
Stuart Grimwade, director of the Ipswich Maritime Trust, said: “They were discovered by the chief engineer for ABP, in an old antique album.
“We didn’t know they existed. They show the construction of the new lock in 1881. They are very important photographs from one of the top photographers of the time.
“Eventually we plan to have an exhibition of them all.”
He continued: “Clearly there was a lot of controversy at the time. If you look in the Ipswich Journal, some people said it wouldn’t work with the old lock.”
However, the doubters joined supports for the official public opening, a huge event at the time.
“They built grandstands for the opening of the lock. It was a big event for the town,” said Mr Grimwade.
He took the photographs down to the archivists at the V & A Museum in London to try and discover the actual photographer.
“These are extraordinary images from one of the first commercial photographers,” he said. “Roger Fenton was one of the top Victorian photographers. They are very good quality pictures and probably came from the Fenton Studio.
The Wet Dock was completed in 1843 but the new lock not added until much later.
“The dock commissioners would have been very proud of what had been achieved,” said Mr Grimwade.
Ipswich Maritime Trust will also have a stand outside the Old Custom House, featuring pirates, baggywrinkle making and caulking, over maritime festival weekend.