ABP and Ipswich Hansa Group celebrate Ipswich’s Hanseatic legacy

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ABP and Ipswich Hansa Group celebrating the unveiling of the informational boards at Old Custom House by the Mayor of Ipswich

The Port of Ipswich, owned and operated by Associated British Ports (ABP), is delighted to announce its collaboration with the Ipswich Hanse Group, in an initiative aimed at raising awareness of Ipswich’s rich history as a Hanseatic port.

On Friday 10 November, ABP hosted an unveiling event for two new informational boards at Old Custom House by the Mayor of Ipswich, Lynne Mortimer.

The display boards are designed to provide the public with valuable insight into Ipswich’s historical role as a crucial Hanseatic port during the 14th and 15th centuries. While currently still on display in Old Custom House, the plan is for the boards to feature at various locations throughout Ipswich for the public to view.

The Ipswich Hansa Group, established in September 2022, is dedicated to promoting Ipswich’s historical significance as a Headport, engaging in trade that rivalled even London. The port specialised in exporting wool and woollen cloth to northern Europe, utilising the same quays that exist today along Ipswich’s modern Waterfront.

In 2017, Ipswich Borough Council successfully applied to join the modern Hanse movement, with links to over 180 Hanseatic cities in northern Europe, including five other English ports: Yarmouth, King's Lynn, Boston, Hull and Beverley. This affiliation has provided Ipswich with significant benefits, including enhanced visibility as a tourist destination on the Hanse website (www.hanse.org) and access to valuable work experience schemes for young people in various Hanse cities.

The Ipswich Hanse Group’s inaugural project, the production of the informative display boards, aims to offer the general public a glimpse into Ipswich’s Hanseatic history. These boards feature a brief, illustrated history, showcasing the links between the shipping trade of the 14th century and present day.

Ben Good, Chair, Ipswich Maritime Trust said:

“The Ipswich Maritime Trust is grateful to ABP for supporting this initiative by providing both technical expertise and financial backing to ensure the success of the project.

“The Ipswich Maritime Trust has recently announced exciting plans, which aim to reinvigorate Ipswich’s connection with its maritime roots, to enrich our community economically, culturally and socially. This project plays an important part in those plans.”

Andrew Harston, Strategic Advisor, Associate British Ports said:

“ABP has been a long-standing supporter of the Ipswich Maritime Trust and Ipswich’s own Thames Sailing Barge, the Victor. ABP is also proud to regularly welcome historic vessels including, most recently, the Paddle Steamer Waverley.

“Earlier this year, ABP announced that the Port of Ipswich has retained its place as the number one export port for agricultural products for the 18th year in a row, beating London, Bristol and Great Yarmouth to gain the title. ABP is therefore proud to operate as an important port for the region and continue to trade with some of the same cities as in the 13th Century.”