Ipswich Airport remembered 20 years after closure

Ipswich Airport

An airport that “refused to close” is being remembered this weekend, 20 years after flying eventually stopped.

Campaigners fought to save Ipswich Airport after it was earmarked for housing by Ipswich Borough Council, with some occupying the terminal building for about four months.

The anniversary of the closure is being marked with an exhibition.

Organisers said: “There is now a generation that probably doesn’t even know Ipswich had its own airport.”

Ipswich Airport

The site was formerly a World War Two airfield and home to RAF Blenheim light bombers, Hurricanes and – for short periods – Spitfire squadrons.

During its 66-year history, the airport launched a daily flight to Clacton with a journey time of just 15 minutes in 1938 and it later handled flights carrying royal passengers and sports stars.

In the 1980s, Suckling Airways started operating flights to Amsterdam and Manchester and by 1990 the airport housed flying schools, a helicopter school, parachute centre and various support firms.

But in 1996 the borough council, which owned the airport, announced the site would close later that year, to be turned into what is now the Ravenswood housing estate.

Ipswich Airport

Saturday’s exhibition at the town’s Transport Museum has been put together by Ipswich Airport Association (IAA) whose members will be on hand to answer questions.

The reunion and exhibition will also feature press cuttings, photos and memorabilia to mark 20 years since the airport officially closed on 31 December 1996.

Martyn Steggalls, a director of the IAA, who worked part-time at the airport, said: “It’s a time when a lot of people involved in the airport can get together and reminisce.

“It’s a focal point to people who used to fly from there, work there and lived nearby.”

Ipswich Airport

Ipswich Airport

Ipswich Airport Ravenswood

Ipswich Airport Ravenswood

Ipswich Airport

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