200th anniversary of the RSPCA

Two hundred years ago, the RSPCA was formed by a group of people who met in a London coffee shop, determined to change animals’ lives for the better.

Here’s to a great year, celebrating all that the RSPCA have achieved nationally, and at your local RSPCA Suffolk Central branch!



In 2023 we opened our new bird Aviary, kindly donated by the Dr Millar Danks Charitable Trust, and in December we opened our latest shop, with instore coffee shop, at Bartons Retail Park in Bury St Edmunds!


The completion of Project Winston

2022 saw the dedication ceremony for Project Winston, our largest scheme ever, which replaced the old ‘x4 block’ kennels and dog isolation units, which were at the end of their lives.

A £101,486.54 legacy, suitably from an avid dog lover, was the foundation of the funding, augmented by a £258,380 grant from the Dr Millar Danks Charitable Trust, £50,000 from RSPCA HQ and £5,720 received when the Ipswich Mayor chose the Branch as one of his charities in 2015. We also encountered unexpected additional costs, including an entire new waste treatment system at a cost of over £100,000!


Branch merger creates RSPCA Suffolk Central

In 2021, the Suffolk East & Ipswich Branch merged with most of RSPCA West Suffolk to create RSPCA Suffolk Central.

The merged Branch continues to deliver animal welfare services from Ipswich to Bury St Edmunds – please see the branch map below.


Our expansion

Over the years, we have steadily expanded our string of charity shops, a vital source of income that supports both the Animal Centre and the Clinic:

  • 2018 we opened a new unit at the Meadow Centre in Stowmarket.
  • 2013 saw the opening a small but thriving charity shop on Reynolds Road, Ipswich.
  • 2012 we moved from our tiny shop in Carr Street in Ipswich, to the beautiful glass-fronted premises on the corner of Tacket Street – trebling our sales area and having, at last, ample space for sorting and storing stock.
  • 2007 saw us move outside Ipswich for the first time, with a new shop in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe.

Over the last few years we have undertaken a lot of improvement work to the Centre and the animal accommodation. March 2013 saw the opening of a super new cattery with 14 pens, which was filled to capacity within days. As well as a new cattery, we also created a new kitchen just for the cats. This was only possible due to the very generous legacy left to the Branch by the Late Mrs Heather Evans.

We also took down the existing sub-standard ferret accommodation and replaced it with ten, fit for purpose, UPVC pens.


New kennels opened

In the 1990s, it became necessary to improve the soundproofing of the kennels. We had to raise £100,000 towards the cost. An appeal was launched and thanks to many caring and generous people the target was achieved, and in 1998 the new kennels were opened.


Where our Martlesham Animal Centre began

Until the 1970s everything happened in Blackhorse Lane in Ipswich, but we were fortunate enough to receive a very generous legacy from a Miss Butcher of Ipswich. It was decided to purchase the land and property at Mill Lane, Martlesham, a site found by (the late) Miss Olive Cossons (former Hon. Secretary for the Branch) and Insp. Ron Summers.

In September of 1977, the Animal Centre opened, not in its present form, but with second hand kennels and make-do facilities, but nevertheless an important sanctuary for abandoned and needy animals.


From the beginning...

Our Martlesham Animal Centre opened in Mill Lane in September 1977.

Our Ipswich Welfare Clinic at Georges St, Ipswich opened in October 1962, having been bought for the princely sum of £1,600 (old money) with a building fund raising £151.14s6d ‘for alteration and decoration’. The Branch had always run a Clinic, right from the first decision made by the Committee back in 1932, but this was the first time the Branch had owned our own Clinic premises.

The old Suffolk East & Ipswich Branch had their first ever Committee meeting on 24 May 1932.

Image shows our very first branch vehicle – donated by Miss D.I.H Butcher.

Find out more

There are plenty of other ways to support the branch, from sponsoring a kennel or cat cabin at our Animal Centre, to visiting our shops, or rehoming a rescued animal. Find your way to get involved today.