One of Suffolk’s most important sites of industrial heritage has moved a step closer to a major restoration thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The award of £123,500 will allow the Long Shop Museum to carry out important development work such as architects plans and conservation management to prepare it for stage two of this major project.
The HLF first-round pass* means that The Long Shop Project Trust can now progress to the second stage of the HLF application process, where they will be applying for over £800,000 towards the restoration costs.
The Long Shop is the Museum’s most significant building. Listed grade II* it is amongst the top 5.5% of listed buildings in the country. It is the first purpose built flow line assembly hall for portable steam engines in the world. It was built in 1852 following the success of Garrett’s stand at the 1851 Great Exhibition. The building’s scale and proportions led workers to affectionately name it ‘The Cathedral’ and is today considered to be one of the most important industrial heritage buildings in the country. Original features such as the gantry crane, wooden floor blocks intended to cushion falling cast iron parts and the remains of drive shafts in the walls surrounded b oil staining make it easy to imagine this space in use.
The development work, which will take place over the next twelve months, will see plans formalised for a major project that will see significant restoration work take place on this important building, a new lift introduced that will give everyone access to this superb space. The project will also create a really important outreach and participation programme that will generate many worthwhile opportunities for people to become actively engaged in the Museum – giving them the chance to discover their heritage and take ownership of it by helping to make decisions about its future.
Councillor Kathy Gosling of Suffolk County Council said: “This is a wonderful opportunity not only for the Long Shop Museum but for the whole of Suffolk. This Museum has been an important part of the popular Suffolk Coastal tourism offer for a long time, and the Heritage Lottery Fund have a long history of supporting projects that make significant impacts on the care of our heritage. This will be a huge boost to Suffolk’s tourism and a great economic boost for Leiston – we are really proud to show our support for this fantastic work.”
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: "This first-round pass is an important step toward the transformation of the Long Shop Museum into a 21st century heritage attraction. Through working closely with the surrounding community of Leiston, the museum will give visitors the chance to explore this important part of the industrial history of Suffolk and the impact it has had on life today. There is still work for the trust to do in developing their plans, but HLF will be offering them full support in taking their application forwards."