Launch of ‘Quay Place’, a unique heritage and wellbeing centre in Ipswich

On 17th October 2016, Quay Place, Ipswich, opened to the public, revealing the result of a £5.1m scheme that has been eight years in the making.  This regeneration project has come about through a ground-breaking partnership between The Churches Conservation Trust, and Suffolk Mind.  It sees the rescue of the ‘at risk’ Grade II* medieval church, St Mary at the Quay and its transformation into a unique heritage and wellbeing centre. 

Built between 1450 and 1550, the church had been at the heart of Ipswich’s maritime life – but over the 19th and 20th centuries, it became a bystander in a changing and economically deprived part of the town.   In 2008, the CCT sought proposals from organisations to collaborate with them to conserve and develop a new use for the church.  Suffolk Mind saw the potential for a heritage wellbeing centre, through which a building rich with history could provide a quiet and beautiful space for reflection and relaxation. 

Works were carried out in two phases under the direction of Molyneux Kerr Architects.  Phase 1 (April-Sept 2014) focused on repairs to the roof and parapet; Phase 2 (Jan 2015 – Sept 2016) involved repairs to the historical fabric and the construction of a harmonious two-storey extension, and a mezzanine floor within the church which offers dramatic new views of the space.      

From 1st November, Quay Place will be open all day welcoming people to its inclusive space offering heritage and wellbeing activities, complementary therapy rooms, meeting rooms, a café, and community garden.   

Peter Ainsworth, Chair of The Churches Conservation Trust, says:  

“I am delighted to see Grade II* St Mary at Quay repaired and returned to the community. Quay Place is a flagship project for The Churches Conservation Trust; an important example of how historic urban churches can be brought back to life.  I hope it will encourage others to embark on bold, imaginative solutions to sustaining our historic environment for future generations.”

The project partners are extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, who gave £3.6 million towards the project.

Helen Wilson, Chair of HLF’s East of England Committee, says:

"It’s fantastic to celebrate the opening of Quay Place – the result of a long and hardworking partnership between two very different charities and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“The revival of this medieval landmark as a wellbeing centre demonstrates the innovative ways in which our heritage continues to play a key role in our lives – from a vital space for people to meet to contributing to the rejuvenation of Ipswich’s waterfront. We’ve been delighted to support this project, which of course would not have been possible without money raised by National Lottery players.”

For more information, visit the Quay Place website


Image credit: Andy Marshall

Video Credit: Ipswich Star