Arlingtons is a Grade II listed building building with a fascinating past…
Educating the working classes
Originally it was the Ipswich Museum, designed by Christopher Fleury (who also designed Ipswich School in Henley Road), funded by benefactors and opened in January 1847 with the specific remit to educate the working classes in natural history.
HRH Prince Albert becomes official Patron.
In 1851 the British Association for the Advancement of Science met at Ipswich, and the Museum was inspected and greatly admired by HRH Prince Albert, who became its official Patron.
The Darwin link
The museum gained national repute under its second President (1850-61), Revd Professor John Stevens Henslow, who had been Charles Darwin’s mentor at Cambridge University. In the years leading up the publication of Darwin’s revolutionary book, The Origin of Species, in 1859, a number of natural history displays were set up to support the thesis.
Many of the honorary members who attended functions at Ipswich were at the centre of that revolution, including William Jackson Hooker, William Yarrell, William Buckland and John Gould.
A significant part of the Suffragettes Story
The first thing the two new suffrage organisations in town did when they set up in 1909 was to hire office premises. In particular, the Women’s Freedom League had an office on the corner of Arcade Street and Museum Street, which eventually became a part of Arlingtons.
During the Census Boycott of 2ndApril 1911, women would stay away from home so that their personal details could not be entered on their household Census form. This was in protest at having to pay tax while having no vote. About thirty women spent the night in the Old Museum Rooms, now Arlingtons, singing political songs, playing games and enjoying supper and breakfast together. Arlingtons also hosted ‘Release Breakfasts’ for those women who had just been released from jail.
Ipswich School of Dancing
At the Arlington Ballroom hundreds of young people learnt to ballroom dance – this was a ‘must’ for all young people as this was how thousands met their husband or wife to be. As well as lessons there were many dancing competitions and the school won many trophies in national ballroom dancing events.
Ipswich School of Dancing teacher Rosemary Watson said “Olga Wilmot took over The Arlington Ballroom in Museum Street around 1948. It was then a popular venue with American Servicemen and the locals. Olga operated from there until the business moved to Bond Street in 1991.
Now a leading Ipswich venue
Following an extensive refurbishment, Arlingtons reopened in November 2018 as a café, bar and restaurant, a great place for coffee, an intimate meal or socialising with friends.
Our new small plates menu is designed for sociable eating in a convivial setting where diners can savour a wide variety of tastes and share dishes between them.
We aspire to become the leading events space for local musicians and artists and look forward to showcasing their talents going forward – keep an eye out for our forthcoming events page.
Thank you for taking an interest in Arlingtons. We are open from 8am to 11pm every day – a warm welcome awaits.