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The Hold’s spring exhibition, Suffolk’s Green Story, to explore the county’s environment past and present

The Hold’s spring exhibition, Suffolk’s Green Story: Reflect | Learn | Act, opens on Friday 3 February, and looks at Suffolk’s environment past and present, the changes and challenges impacting the local area today and what we can do to make a difference.
Published: 26 Jan 2023
Logo for Suffolk's Green Story - Reflect | Learn | Act

This free Suffolk Archives exhibition on Ipswich Waterfront will showcase Suffolk’s rich environmental heritage including original archive materials dating from the 17th century to the present day.

The exhibition will take visitors on a journey that explores Suffolk’s Green Story; through Suffolk’s wonderfully diverse landscapes – the sandy Breckland of the northwest, the woodland of the central belt and the coastal sands and marshes of the eastern Sandlings.

It will reflect on major events in Suffolk’s weather and climate history, such as the 1953 floods, and tell the story of Suffolk’s agricultural heritage, unique wildlife and flora.

The exhibition will feature some specially loaned items from the Met Office and Britten Pears Arts, including some original scores from Noye’s Fludde, Benjamin Britten's one-act opera which took inspiration from the 1953 floods.

In addition to some beautiful botanical illustrations from The Cullum Collection held at Suffolk Archives’ Bury St Edmunds branch, the exhibition will also be displaying three original ‘Repton Red Books.’ These leather-bound books by artist and garden designer Humphry Repton are full of original garden and parkland illustrations from local Shrubland Hall, Broke Hall Estate and Livermere Estate.

The final section of the exhibition is dedicated to exploring what we can all do to slow down climate change and our role as individuals in responding to the global climate emergency.

“Suffolk’s Green Story” offers a fascinating insight into Suffolk’s environmental heritage and will particularly appeal to anyone interested in the natural world, local history and environmental issues.
Photo of Councillor Bobby Bennettt
Councillor Bobby Bennett, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Equality and Communities

Cllr Bennett added: “Protecting and enhancing Suffolk’s environment is one of the council’s ambitions. We’re aiming to be net zero by 2030, and through our work with Suffolk’s Climate Emergency Plan we’re supporting residents and businesses to reduce their impact on climate change and to care for our environment. We look forward to welcoming people to The Hold and sharing this unique exhibition with them.”

Emily Shepperson, Exhibition and Interpretation Officer at Suffolk Archives, said: “Suffolk’s Green Story is a timely exhibition that invites visitors to explore Suffolk’s unique environment, past and present, through a range of original materials both from our archives and from local organisations. We are encouraging people to reflect and learn from the past so that they can make informed decisions. We will be inviting visitors to pledge what changes they can make in their daily lives, both big and small to make a positive impact on our wonderful local environment.”

The Hold’s exhibition programme includes:

Exhibition Curator Tours, February to June, £5/ £4

Go beyond the displays with a special tour from our exhibition team. Find out more, hear new stories, and ask your burning questions. Alternate Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the exhibition run. Ticket includes tour and exhibition admission. Visit for dates.

When the Sea Came In – Remembering The Great Flood of 1953
Saturday 4 February 2023 – Free Entry

An afternoon of talks commemorating 70 years since the deadly floods of 1953. Featuring contributions from historians and flood emergency professionals it will revisit the ‘Great Tide’ seventy years on to highlight lesser-known aspects of its consequences.

Close Look, Distant View Symposium
Thursday 2 March 2023 – £15 including lunch

Join researchers from University of Suffolk, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Southampton, California Institute of Technology, and Tate in a conference looking at new research, contemporary readings, and shifting perceptions of watery landscapes in art, science and digital technology.

Suffolk’s Green Story Communities Day
Saturday 18 March 2023 – Free Entry

Join us for a free day of workshops, talks, and activities exploring Suffolk's Green Story - Reflecting and learning about our environmental responsibility and how you can take action to make a difference. We will be joined by speakers and organisations from across Suffolk, all working to protect and celebrate our unique local environment.

Suffolk’s Green Story: Lates
Thursday 27 April – Free Entry

Explore our Suffolk's Green Story exhibition after hours with our Lates evening. Join friends for an eco-themed workshop, quiz, and discover what you can do to support our unique Suffolk environment. (18+)

Suffolk’s Green Story: Reflect | Learn | Act opens on Friday 3 February and runs until Sunday 18 June 2023 at The Hold on Ipswich Waterfront. Entry is free and open to all ages.

Exhibition opening times are 9:30am - 4:30pm Monday to Friday, with late opening until 9pm on Thursdays. 10:00am - 4:00pm Saturday and Sunday.

You can book free tickets for the Suffolk’s Green Story: Reflect | Learn | Act exhibition by visiting: Alternatively just turn up and depending on the capacity of the exhibition gallery you will be admitted as soon as possible.

The events accompanying the exhibition are ticketed and can be booked in advance by visiting:

The Café At The Hold is also open daily for visitors to drop in for refreshments.