2. Charter Hangings
(not to confused with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon)
Arty / Beautiful / Crafty
Somewhere in the world are to be found eight -- count 'em if you can find 'em -- elegant embroideries, known as the Ipswich Charter Hangings. Babylon had Nebuchadnezzar II to thank; Ipswich has Isabel Clover.
History Is Bunk
1200 -- not high noon, but the year -- the good people of Ipswich gathered at St Mary-le-Tower to receive a charter sent, not delivered in person, from one King John (Magna Carta and all that). They elected bailiffs, coroners and portmen, some of whom are still tirelessly serving the electorate.
Fast forward 800 years and the admirable folk of the Ipswich Arts Association, tip of the hat, thought it would be a dang good idea to celebrate the octocentenary. And so it came to pass that talented local bod Isabel Clover researched, designed, and generally made happen the town tapestries.
A Word From Our Sponsor
The colourful octet depict different periods of the town's history:
- Vikings -- sponsored by Ipswich Borough Council
- Charter -- sponsored by Ipswich N.A.D.F.A.S.
- Mediaeval -- sponsored by Ipswich Society
- Tudor -- sponsored by Ensors Chartered (narf!) Accountants
- Stuart -- sponsored by The People Of Ipswich
- Georgian -- sponsored by Ipswich Rotary Clubs
- Victorian -- sponsored by Ipswich Port Authority
- Modern -- sponsored by Suffolk College
Look at each and every intricately worked tableau and there's a river running through it: that'll be the Orwell. There's Anglo-Saxon raiders, Edward I's warship, the marvellous Custom House, and, of course, the iconic Orwell Bridge. That most recent panel even incorporates Broomhill Pool!
Selling Postcards Of The Hangings
Like me, you may have been fortunate enough to catch the Hangings in the local tourist information centre (TIC) or at the museum. At the time of writing, however, they're wandering the world, lacking a permanent home. If it's July 2007, this must be Heard House Museum, Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Assuming that you're not in the same country at the same time, you can always order a jolly set of postcards from Ipswich TIC or even buy the book. At least we can be pretty sure that, since they emanated from Suffolk, they're bound to come back when they're a bit older, though the stream of time may babble on a bit before that comes to pass.