Wolsey’s statue site of phase one of transforming Ipswich’s Cardinal Route

Find out how young people are giving a much-loved part of Ipswich Wolsey-inspired artwork.

Work starts this week (19th June) on the first element of a project known as the Cardinal Route to improve the area between Lloyds Avenue and the waterfront – and it’s fitting that the inaugural project is around the statue of Cardinal Wolsey. 

A group of eight young people have been working for over two months with the Thomas Wolsey 550 project to produce fitting designs to brighten up six large bollards that surround the statue.  

The Wolsey 550 project was established last year by Ipswich Central and a group of founding partners to celebrate 550 years since Ipswich’s most famous son was born. One of the key strands of the project was to use Thomas Wolsey’s personal qualities – his confidence and his go-getting approach – to build the confidence and aspirations of the town’s young people to achieve more in their lives.  

The young people – known as Ipswich Place-changers – have taken their inspiration for the bollards from a historical tour of the town and research they have undertaken into Tudor Ipswich. As well as the research, they have also met with experts who undertook a similar project in Winchester to find out more about the practicalities of design and painting on such tricky objects in a well-loved public setting.  

Previously, some of the Place-changers have already worked with a professional artist to create the mural along the front of the former BHS store in The Buttermarket and they contributed to an event last autumn in the Ancient House where young people talked frankly about how they would like spaces in the town centre to evolve to better meet the needs of the younger generation.  

Hannah Houghton, Education and Youth Co-ordinator with the Thomas Wolsey 550 project, said: “I’m incredibly impressed with how seriously these young volunteers have taken this opportunity. We’ve had weekly sessions at the Stoke Bridge Workshop, and they’ve grown in knowledge and confidence.  

“This isn’t just an art and design project – together we’ve also learnt project management skills, how to navigate the bureaucracy of working on street furniture owned by the highways department and how to integrate design with existing branding and colour palettes. I hope local people will come and see the designs unfold as work carries on for the next few days.” 

Over the next few years, a range of other initiatives will be unveiled for the Cardinal Route which will strengthen the connection between the main town centre and the waterfront via The Saints area of town.  

Any young person who would like to know more about joining the Place Changers can contact sheila@thomaswolsey550.co.uk 

Scroll to Top