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UK East Suffolk County Hall, Ipswich - April 2016

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History

East Suffolk County Hall, otherwise known as Ipswich County Hall, was constructed between 1836 and 1837 by William McIntosh Brooks. Built before the reign of Queen Victoria, the imposing design of the Grade II listed building is based on a ‘mock Tudor’ style, rather than a Victorian style. The County Hall was originally the area’s gaol and law court. However, following extensions in 1906, built by J. S. Corner and Henry Miller, to add council offices to the site, the building became the Headquarters of East Suffolk County Council. While the County Hall was gradually transformed, so that it boasted stained glass windows and fine wood panelling, it still continued to hold a number of prisoners in its cells; of course these were nicely hidden away to avoid spoiling the pleasant atmosphere of the building. In 1974 the building became the Headquarters of Suffolk County Council when most of the county merged to form the non-metropolitan County of Suffolk.

The Council opted to move out of the building in 2003, to relocate to a more modern site; the County Council leader at the time, Bryony Rudkin, described the building as being too ‘unattractive’ for its intended role. The move took place in 2004, when the Council moved to Endeavour House, the former TXU Corporation building. In 2005 the old civic site was purchased by a private owner who proposed to build flats on adjacent land. Originally, when a deal was being negotiated, the owner of the premises was supposed to preserve the historic building; this was part of the condition of the sale. However, after the construction of the flats, the County Hall has been left to fall into a critical state, as described by surveyors. Over the years the old building has attracted many vandals and thieves and this has left the interior in a bad condition. All of the copper piping and lead was stolen, and most of the building’s glass has been smashed, including the clock faces on the main tower, leaving the clock mechanism to rust as rainwater can easily get inside. Although the site has since been secured (sort of, given that we managed to get inside), there are currently no plans for restoration.

Our Version of Events

After the pub, and milling around Ipswich for an hour or so, we stumbled across a large awe-inspiring building; this, as it would turn out, was the former County Hall. At the time, however, we didn’t know this, it simply looked cool and we wanted to see what surprises it had on offer inside (things to photograph, not copper). At first glance, the place look as though it was sealed up tight; we spent a long while checking out all of its nooks and crannies, searching for even the smallest gap that might look hopeful. On the verge of giving up, we had one last quick look around the building. It was at that point we realised the way in had been in front of us the whole time… 

Feeling excited, one by one we all stumbled inside the building. Almost instantly, however, we were greeted by stripped corridors and rooms. The scene was very disappointing to say the least. Those ‘vandals’ certainly went to work on this place, there was barely anything inside. While there are a few bits of evidence that some construction work was going on at some point, the rest of the building is filled with three main objects: dead pigeons, pigeon shit and broken glass. If you count mould, then you have four things to look at. 

Still, ever the optimists, we decided to continue our self-guided tour anyway, on the off chance we might find something interesting. After a bit of roaming around we did eventually find some stained glass, a couple of historic fireplaces and two nice staircases. Downstairs, where we found a few tiled and stone rooms, is pretty good too. The building feels less damaged down there for some reason. As for the rest of the site, we couldn’t help but feel as though this would certainly have been one very impressive structure back in its day; I could picture the grand carpets, dark woods and chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. It’s a real shame the Council’s ignorance has resulted in the deterioration of this fantastic building, all because they desired something more ‘trendy’ by contemporary standards. It’s almost ironic that they blame the vandals for its present condition, what did they think was going to happen when they moved out?

Explored with Ford Mayhem, Box and Husky. 

 

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Some cool bits left in there, the stained glass window room is lovely. The staircase is a cracker too.

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I was a bit disappointed with the look of the place at the start but it just kept getting nicer and nicer as i scrolled down. Some really nice features left there like that fireplace in pic 19 :) 

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There is still much left. I like the hallways, the staircases and those beautiful windows!

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Sorry m8ty can't resist every time I come on see a post from you I here fooking wildboys widboys watcha gonna do when they come for you song lol. Now the report . Bloody love it. Cracking looking building. I especially like the knight sign for the tower . History right there. And nowt wrong with a good old bit of wood . Chucky reference there lol. Good stuff m8ty thanks for post.

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On 4/29/2016 at 10:45 AM, AndyK! said:

Some cool bits left in there, the stained glass window room is lovely. The staircase is a cracker too.


That was my favourite room in the building I think. Very nice lighting for the roof in there thanks to the big window. 

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20 hours ago, Urbexbandoned said:

Wow, that's lovely! Liking all of that wood. That staircase is nice too. Nice work mate. Pics are lovely. :thumb 

 

:comp: 


Thank you, glad you enjoyed them :) 

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14 hours ago, hamtagger said:

I was a bit disappointed with the look of the place at the start but it just kept getting nicer and nicer as i scrolled down. Some really nice features left there like that fireplace in pic 19 :) 


Haha, imagine how we felt when we first got inside :P We found it got better as we explored a little though. Glad we stuck with it and didn't just head home. 

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6 hours ago, coolboyslim said:

Sorry m8ty can't resist every time I come on see a post from you I here fooking wildboys widboys watcha gonna do when they come for you song lol. Now the report . Bloody love it. Cracking looking building. I especially like the knight sign for the tower . History right there. And nowt wrong with a good old bit of wood . Chucky reference there lol. Good stuff m8ty thanks for post.


Lol, cheers mate. Yeah, the name WildBoyz was based on a daft joke. For a while, every time we got in the car to go exploring Duran Duran's Wild Boys song would come on the radio. We found it more funny than it should have been and ended up with this daft name :P 

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On 4/30/2016 at 7:32 PM, jones-y-gog said:

 

When I read your intro I wasn't expecting much but you've got some cracking images there. Nice to see somewhere different too :thumb 


Cheers :thumb

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