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Ipswich Christchurch Mansion turns around plummeting visitor numbers

PUBLISHED: 13:00 20 June 2018

Christchurch Mansion's visitor and income numbers have gone up after a difficult couple of years  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Christchurch Mansion's visitor and income numbers have gone up after a difficult couple of years Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Bosses at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich have turned around plummeting visitor numbers from 12 months ago to record soaring entry and income.

Ipswich borough councillor Carole Jones said keeping the museum's offering fresh was key Picture: SU ANDERSONIpswich borough councillor Carole Jones said keeping the museum's offering fresh was key Picture: SU ANDERSON

Data published by the Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service joint committee this week revealed that visitors at the Grade I Listed Tudor home had increased from 40,600 in 2016/17 to 46,549 last year.

Visitor numbers were 113% of target, while school visits were 118% of target.

Significantly, total income was at 146% of the target amount.

It represents a major turnaround in fortune after data published this time last year revealed that visitor numbers had plummeted by 18,000 from 2015/16.

Ipswich Museum held events to help bring youngsters through its doors Picture: MATT STOTTIpswich Museum held events to help bring youngsters through its doors Picture: MATT STOTT

At Ipswich Museum and Art Gallery, more than 7,300 additional visitors passed through the doors in 2017/18 with total income at 121% of the target.

Carole Jones, museums portfolio holder at Ipswich Borough Council said: “We are very pleased with these visitor figures as we have been working hard not only to bring major exhibitions to Ipswich but also to put on more community activities to attract local people.

“Our museums are for everyone and keeping the visitor experience fresh is essential.

“I do want to thank our staff and the Friends of Ipswich Museums for their dedication and support which helps to make all this happen.”

The silent disco at Ipswich Museum was one way to bring youngsters in to the museum Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILThe silent disco at Ipswich Museum was one way to bring youngsters in to the museum Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Bosses at the museums said the Thomas Wolsey: Ipswich’s Greatest Son exhibition, which included the historic angels, had helped bring people through the Mansion’s doors, while a dedicated drive to help attract young people to the museum by opening on Sundays and hosting events like the Big Lego Build and silent disco have also been instrumental.

The report said: “An exceptionally good income return provided evidence of the venue’s [Christchurch Mansion] continued recovery, following the 2016 consolidation work, as one of the borough’s prime locations for potential evening and private function hire.”

On Ipswich Museum, the report added: “Despite a challenging economic climate the continued focus on developing income generation, from events and schools particularly, has yielded good results.”

Restoration work at Christchurch Mansion in 2016 was thought to be behind part of the drop off in numbers that year.

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