Providing opportunities to explore ideas and find things out is at the core of the WRT project in the Longshed.  The aim is to engage people in ways that help to develop a sense of place: to understand the maritime significance of Woodbridge in the wider world, and how it has evolved…


Rob Cawley (Seckford Foundation) has written an education strategy for Woodbridge Riverside Trust.

WRT is conducting a survey with local schools and colleges. We want to know how you see the activity, and how you believe your students can benefit. The Anglo-Saxon ship reconstruction is directly relevant to the Department of Education’s Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 for History, and will bring alive these curricula. This is the chance for YOU to tell US what you want.

The maritime heritage theme is inescapable: the Woodbridge Museum next door will contain a wealth of historical information; placed within a stone’s throw of the Longshed is the Woodbridge Tide Mill; the River Deben ebbs and flows past the Woodbridge waterfront joining past with present.

Very young children will enjoy the drama of seeing the ship being built in the shed, and can visit the museum to see how Anglo Saxon people lived and relied upon the ecology of the river. They may see demonstrations of old skills, perhaps rope making, or forging rivets. Older children can delve deeper into topics focused on the ship and its history.

In addition, there will be models and working exhibits that young people in particular will enjoy. (Let’s face it, water may be involved!) These will help to explain ships and their design, operation, navigation and management.

There will be the facility to run practical courses in woodworking, design and technology, for pupils of all ages, from those still at school to retirees looking to expand their horizons. The building of small replica boats, or rowing skiffs for competitions on the river, and heritage restoration projects, are all possibilities.

Partnerships with local tertiary education colleges offer the opportunity for traineeships and short courses in engineering, arboreal studies, woodworking and environmental studies, for students of all ages. WRT’s mission, and the Longshed’s purpose, is to keep in touch with our maritime heritage, so courses can relate to heritage boat building, restoration and maintenance in the widest sense. They can be quite independent of the Anglo-Saxon ship reconstruction – though it may be a bonus and an inspiration.

Once the Anglo-Saxon ship is launched, it will have a new role in ‘heritage’, as an international platform for archaeological studies. Exploring the potential of the ship as a rowing machine, sailing vessel, and voyaging tool offers opportunities for pure research, not to mention adventure, and publicity for the original Sutton Hoo site.

Whisstocks aims to become recognised as a unique educational centre, for local people of all ages, for visitors to Suffolk, and as a cog in an academic wheel. It will offer opportunities to open new horizons through practical and intellectual understanding of heritage, and develop knowledge and skills that are valued throughout life.

For more information on our Waterfront Woodbridge community education programme, contact Sam Simpson: