Leiston: Appeal launched to boost Long Shop Museum

AN appeal has been launched to help preserve the heritage and protect the future of a celebrated Suffolk museum.

The Leiston Long Shop Museum hopes to attract an extra 20,000 annual visitors by rejuvenating its historic industrial charm.

The museum’s factory buildings are part of the former Richard Garrett & Sons ‘Town Works’ – an internationally renowned manufacturer of agricultural machinery and steam engines.

Operating on the site from 1778 to the 1970s, Garretts employed more than 2,000 workers in its height of production during the Second World War.

Saved from destruction by volunteers and reopened as a museum in 1984, the listed Long Shop now houses a collection of engineering marvels, seen by more than 13,000 visitors a year.

The Long Shop Museum Restoration Project now hopes to create a modern visitor experience with displays for the 21st Century, and preserve its already well-established heritage.

Lord Cranbrook, chairman of the Long Shop Project Trust, said: “For almost two centuries, the Garrett Works was the leading business in Leiston. We are at the historic centre of Leiston and we pledge that this museum will continue to offer facilities for events linking business and community affairs.”

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Work will include a new entrance area, extensive building repair and conservation, a new lift and staircase extension, and a new glazed section of gallery. Insulation, new heating and lighting, new alarm systems and security measures will make areas more usable outside the summer season and provide better conditions for the care of collections.

Anna Mercer, project director, added: “This is a huge project for the Long Shop, which will also benefit Leiston by attracting more visitors to the town. .”

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has supported the development stage of the project and the trust will be submitting an application for the delivery stage, with a budget of just over �2million.

In order to secure the HLF funding, the museum needs to raise at least 10% of the total budget through other sources.

For further information on the museum and its restoration, visit www.longshopmuseum.co.uk.

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