“ Address: Long Shop Museum / Main Street / Leiston IP16 4ES Suffolk „
We visited the Long Shop Museum whilst staying in Aldeburgh. We had been passed the museum several times as it is on the bus route from Aldeburgh to Saxmundham.
The museum is in Leiston in Suffolk and for around 200 years the name of the town was synomonous with engineering thanks to the Garrett works on the site of the museum.
The museum's website describes it as a "the story of a Suffolk industry, its town and its people" and that sums the museum up nicely as different parts of the museum concentrate on different things - the Garrett family, the works at Leiston, British engineering on a wider scale, local and social history and Leiston today where the nuclear power station Sizewell has taken over from Garrett's as the area's biggest employer.
There is lots to learn and I personally was staggered by some of the things I learned such as how much money the Garrett family put into the local area and infrastructure and how their legacy lives on, as well as the story of Elizabeth Garrett-Anderson who was Britain's first female doctor and Mayor!
On the day we visited, Leiston had been flooded a few days earlier and some of the rooms were being dried out so it was not very busy. However that was nice as we could really explore the musuem's workshops which I would imagine are much busier at weekends. As well as the displays and exhibits there is also lots of big machinery to admire - something I am sure that little boys would appreciate!
The staff in the museum are all volunteers and those we came into contact with were all very knowledgeable about the history of the works, and passionate about the museum. There is a small shop where souvenirs can be purchased, and it is not as overpriced as some gift shops we have been in!
We spent about two hours in the museum and it was time well spent learning about an industry we had no previous idea of.
Admission to the museum is £5.00 for adults, £4.50 for OAPs and £2.50 for children (with under 5s free). A family ticket is also available for £12 (2 adults and 2 children). With any ticket you get free entry for a year so it's quite reasonable (especially if you plan to come back again).