Ipswich is a large town in Suffolk, in eastern England to the northeast of London. The town is a port, located on the estuary of the River Orwell close to the southeast Suffolk coast. The population of the town is approximately 128,000.
Ipswich is one of England’s oldest towns, and has a long history that dates back to the Roman occupation of England. A large Roman fort stood at nearby Walton (near Felixstowe), and a large Roman villa has been excavated in the north-western part of the town.
The town continued to be an important population and trading centre during the Anglo-Saxon and Danish periods, and was granted its first town charter by King John in 1200. The four centuries that followed saw increased wealth for the town through its trade of Suffolk cloth to the continent. In the early 1600s, Ipswich was an important centre for emigration of Puritans to the newly-founded colonies in what is now New England. Ipswich later became the setting for scenes in “The Pickwick Papers” by Charles Dickens, who stayed in the town in 1835. Lord and Lady Nelson moved to Ipswich in 1797, and Nelson was appointed steward of the town in 1800.
Ipswich was subject to some heavy bombings by German Zeppelins in World War I, but underwent much heavier bombing at the hands of the German Luftwaffe during World War II. Subsequent rebuilding changed the face of the town. In particular, the dock area was redeveloped as a residential and commercial centre. The port is still active, however, and handles several million tons of cargo each year. The post-war period also saw the emergence of Ipswich as a commuter satellite town of London.
Modern Ipswich is home to a number of galleries, theatres, and important examples of medieval churches. Although nearby Norwich is the regional centre for television broadcasting, both the BBC and local television franchise Anglia TV have offices in Ipswich. Three radio stations also serve the town. Ipswich is home to Ipswich Town Football Club who play in the Football League Championship. The team plays at the 30,300-capacity Portman Road stadium.
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