5. Mammoth on High Street

(not to confused with the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus)

Mammoth on High Street

Adaptable / Brobdingnagian / Chilly

Admission's still free to the Ipswich museum, within which you'll find an immense woolly mammoth on High Street. Looking around, you tend to treat the place like a library, keeping the noise down until it's as quiet as a tomb ... linking clunkily to the Mausoleum of Maussollos, the burial place of a king. Sutton Hoo, anyone?

Normal For Suffolk

Say it's your first time in Ipswich. You've heard good things about the museum and want to check it out, so you head to Museum Street. Wrong. That's where the museum used to be, on the corner of Arcade Street and, er, Museum Street, named in its honour. It relocated up the road to High Street in 1881, and we haven't yet caught up with the streetnames. By the way, there's no shops on this stretch of High Street: they're mostly in streets Westgate, Tavern and Carr.

There was a competition held to design a new purpose built museum, and this was won by one Horace Chesterton. To step through his doors is to step back into a previous era, a feeling enhanced by the sight of so many large stuffed animals. Combined rhino and giraffe and gorilla have a great effect on little children.

Actual Size

Been to London on the train from Ipswich? You'll have been through the Stoke Tunnel, then, alternatively known as the Stoke Bone Beds. When this was excavated in the 1840s, many significant findings were made, among which were rhinoceros, lion, and, waddya know, mammoth.

So important were these and other local discoveries that particular stages of the ice age -- at least in Britain -- are named after bits of East Anglia. There's Pastonian, Cromerian, and, our favourite, the Ipswichian Interglacial, when straight-tusked elephants roamed the A140.

Migrating Herds

Walk in, turn left and you'll find it hard to miss our hirsute friend. Quite a resemblance to Manny The Mammoth in Ice Age, though my son prefers Scrat and his acorn. Where was I? Anyway, Jumbo's plaque reads:

WOOLLY MAMMOTH (accurate reconstruction)

Woolly mammoths were a species of elephant adapted to life in a cold environment. Complete carcasses have been found in the ground in Siberia, giving us a very clear idea of what the animals looked like. Adaptations to the cold included an 8cm layer of fat beneath the skin, small ears to minimise heat loss and the thick "woolly" coat.

On the one hand we have a giant mammoth at the museum -- open Tuesday to Saturday (thanks, Peter) -- on the other a gigantic monument for King Maussollos, bits of which can be seen at the British Museum. Ours is closer.

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