• Contact Us
  • Member Login

Ipswich Guide To Local Literature

It's literally literature!

Going hand in hand with culture and art, Ipswich has a strong commitment to literature. Geoffrey Chaucer, VS Pritchett, Jean Inglelow and Carl Giles are just some of the famous authors and illustrators who were born or worked in Ipswich. Charles Dickens based the setting for the Pickwick Papers on Ipswich following his visit to the town.

Blue Plaque Tours

blue plaque tours

Address: See leaflet – locations across Ipswich

Description: The Ipswich Society has installed a number of blue plaques in the town which is their version of the English Heritage Blue Plaques seen elsewhere in Britain. Mainly across Ipswich town centre is where you will find a number of the Blue Plaques although there are now three which are slightly outside of the town centre. Installed by the Ipswich Society they are a tribute to some of the most distinguished people who were born in Ipswich or subsequently lived here. Download the leaflet and follow a trail around Ipswich to discover some of the Ipswich’s fascinating history, the people and the houses they lived in.

Additional Information: Some famous people who are included in the Blue Plaques include Nathaniel Bacon, Thomas Gainsborough, and Thomas Wolsey.

Central City Comics

central comics

Address: 6 Eagle Street, Ipswich, IP4 1JA

Telephone: 01473 233017

Description: Central City Comics is based in the Ipswich town centre and only a minute’s walk from the high street. If action comics, Spiderman, Batman and/or X Men get your attention then you’ll love this shop. Quirky, individual and totally out of this world! Okay, maybe that’s a bit over the top, but if you’re a comic fan you’ll understand. What is known now as Central City Comics was once known as Globe Fantasy Books when it first started in 1979! In 1989 a new location in Ipswich and the new name came along with it too. You will find exactly what you are after here, the staff are extremely helpful and will bend over backwards to give the best customer service possible.

Additional Information: Central City Comics is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm.

Darwin’s Letter

darwin's letter

Address: Ipswich Museum, High Street, Ipswich, IP1 3QH

Telephone: 01473 433550

Description: Come to the Ipswich museum and see a bit of a historic literature which was found in the archives of the Ipswich Museum in 2009, a letter from Charles Darwin. Having been verified as original by the Darwin Correspondence Project, the letter, dated 29th August 1872, can now be viewed at Ipswich Museum. A unique piece of historic literature. Darwin has long been connected with Ipswich museum as his friend and mentor John Stevens Henslow was responsible for bringing most of the natural history collection to the building. The letter found folded up in good condition by documentation officer Joan Llyall.

Additional Information: Ipswich Museum is free to enter, and is open 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.

The Giles Statue

Giles statue

Address: The Giles Circus, Queen Street, Ipswich, IP1 1SW

Description: The Giles statue is located in an area of the town centre known as the Giles Circle. The statue is a tribute to Carl Giles who lived his adult life in the town, and the position of the statue is set so that Grandma is looking up at the office window where Giles used to work and from where he created many of his works. The statue was originally unveiled in 1993 by actor Warren Mitchell. The statue was removed in February 2010 as £650,000 of work started on the surrounding Giles Square. The statue was put back when the Square’s refurbishment was complete.

Additional Information: Carl Giles was famous for his illustrations in the Daily Mail but did you know he was offered work as an illustrator for Walt Disney in the USA, but decided his future laid here in Ipswich?

Ipswich Institute

ipswich institute

Address: Library & Reading Room, 15 Tavern Street, Ipswich, IP1 3AA

Telephone: 01473 253992

Description: The Ipswich Institute was founded in 1824 offering lending library facilities, along with wide programme of leisure learning courses, talks and trips. Talks are open to non-members and details of forthcoming talks and events open to the public can be found on the Ipswich Town & Waterfront events page. The Ipswich Institute owns two buildings in the heart of the town centre, the vaulted building behind the shops in Tavern Street, which holds the well-stocked library and the Admiral’s House which is a listed building close to Tower Street which is holds study rooms, an art centre and a coffee house.

Additional Information: The historic Admiral’s House was once occupied by Admiral Benjamin Page and visited by the Duke of Wellington. Visit today and you will discover an art centre, study rooms, a licensed restaurant and a comfortable coffee lounge.

Ipswich County Library

ipswich county library

Address: Northgate Street, Ipswich, IP1 3DE

Telephone: 01473 263810

Description: The largest library in Ipswich, and the most impressive too. This historic building built in 1924 has retained its high ceiling and beautiful architecture, and upstairs in the reference library you can admire the stained glass windows and wood panelling. All this, and a huge selection of books, CDs and DVDs. The Ipswich County Library is in the centre of town and easily accessible by public transport. The Library hosts events nearly every day aimed at kids and adults. The library also holds special collections of African Caribbean resources, a Music and Drama library and Indic Language resources. Special events are hosted throughout the year too, showing entertainment and also hosting quiz nights, see Ipswich Town and Waterfront website for their upcoming events.

Additional Information: Open 9am to 6pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday; 9am to 7pm Tuesday and Friday; and 10am to 4pm Saturday. In addition to being a lending library, events are regularly held. Please check the website for further details.

Ipswich Arts Association Town Lectures and Concerts

ipswich arts association

Address: Museum Street Methodist Church, Black Horse Lane, IP1 2EF

Telephone: 01473 251208

Description: The Town Lectures and Concerts are organised by the Ipswich Arts Association, and take place at lunchtime, and have been affectionately known by locals as the lunchtime lectures and concerts. Lectures focus on aspects of local history and culture, in contrast to the concerts where artists and performers are from across the globe. This annual series of popular lectures presents Ipswich, its history and cultural background through the eyes of Suffolk-based speakers. The series incorporates performances from local musicians presenting different styles of music through the ages. All the events take place at lunchtime on Thursdays at Museum Street Methodist Church (entrance in Black Horse Lane), Ipswich. Each event starts at 1.00pm and ends at 1.50pm.

Additional Information: Town lectures are concerts run from 1-1.50pm, no booking is required, but numbers are limited. Tea and coffee is available prior to each event. There is also a retiring collection to support expenses.

Suffolk Record Office

suffolk record office

Address: Gatacre Road, Ipswich, IP1 2LQ

Telephone: 01473 263909

Description: Looking to uncover something from your past? Or maybe you want to find out more about the history of Ipswich? The Suffolk Record Office is a great place to start your investigation, with records that go back as far as the 12th century. There are also records from more recent times relating to individuals and a wide range of organisations, such as churches, chapels, estates, schools, hospitals, businesses, families, clubs and societies. The Suffolk Record Office can be used by anyone as long as they have registered for CARN card. Come and discover your history, with experienced historians at hand to help you to take the first step into family history.

Additional Information: Open Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm. The Suffolk Record Office also puts on a series of talks on local history, including people, places and events. Further details on the current programme can be found on the website.

Waterstone’s Bookshop

Waterstones Bookshop

Address: 19 Buttermarket, Ipswich, IP1 1BQ

Telephone: 08432 908407

Description: Situated in the Ipswich town centre opposite the Buttermarket, Waterstones has a massive range of literature for everyone. Well, who can resist a good book, and Ipswich’s Waterstone’s Bookshop boasts a wide stock of books, CDs, DVDs, as well as novelty gifts, cards and wrapping paper. The ground floor is spacious and is actually the largest Children’s bookshop in Suffolk. The Upstairs is even bigger with plenty of seats for customers to chill and put their feet up while browsing the large collection. The friendly and attentive booksellers will find any book for you and are always happy to recommend a good book.

Additional Information: Open Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm, Sunday 10.30am to 4.30pm. Why not take time out with your new book and enjoy a coffee at one of the independent coffee houses in Ipswich? Relax, turn a few words, and soak up some of the Ipswich atmosphere.

The Waterfront Book Club

Waterfront book club

Address: Jerwood DanceHouse, Foundry Lane, Ipswich, IP4 1DW

Description: If you love books and want to meet like-minded people for discussion and debate around a range of historical and modern literature The Waterfront Book Club is something you will definitely be interested in. The book club has three meeting dates each month so you can choose the day and time that suits you, the dates, times and venue is likely to change throughout the year so keep an eye on the website for full details. Current reading material is posted on the Facebook page, and we recommend you get in touch via email before attending – just so they know to expect you!

Additional Information: The Waterfront Book Club meets at The Jerwood DanceHouse, and food and drink can be purchased from DanceEats.


We Love Staying Connected

Search Events

Search Local News & Reviews

Local Business Reviews

Sailing Barge Victor

We had another fabulous cruise on Victor, sailed down river as far as ...

Maharani Indian Restaurant

I have been a customer at the Maharani Indian Restaurant for many year...

Ipswich Means Business

This was my 1st Event with Ipswich Means Business. The evening was ve...

Ipswich Means Business

This type of networking is new to me and good place to try out my "ele...

View More