The Longshed

Welcome to The Longshed – an iconic building on the site of the former Whisstocks boatyard beside the beautiful River Deben.

From its inception, The Longshed was designed and planning approval given for it to be a space to be used by the community, and in 2018, Woodbridge Town Council awarded a 35 year lease for The Longshed to Woodbridge Riverside Trust whose core aims are:

  • To facilitate the enjoyment of the waterfront by the community through participation in creative projects and the assimilation of new skills.
  • To encourage visiting and learning from exhibitions, talks and events covering numerous wide-ranging topics designed to suit all ages and interests.

In 2018, the building was an empty shell. It required fitting out with electrical services, toilets, stores, a canteen and an office. Also needed was a staircase from the main area to the John Gibbins Gallery and a lift for disabled access to the first floor.

All of these works were generally completed by January 2019. Since then further changes and additions have been made to develop the Longshed into the thriving and adaptable community space it was designed to be.

In the John Gibbins Gallery, these works include the installation of a sound reducing double glazed screen wall dividing the gallery from the workshop area below. Full air conditioning and recycled fresh air units have been installed to give ideal ‘comfort’ conditions whatever the external temperatures. Other improvements are a display wall currently used to show the amazing King’s River Tapestry panels, a projector and drop down screen available for use by users of the gallery, a disabled toilet and an additional storage room.

The John Gibbins Gallery can be hired for classes, exhibitions, talks, film shows and even parties/small wedding receptions.

The ground floor has an extremely large high bay area where major community projects can be undertaken. In addition, a low-level workshop zone runs underneath the Gallery and can be used for smaller community-based projects, and for repair and maintenance work requirements. This area has been fitted out with power tools, e.g. bench saw, cross cut saws, planer/thicknesser, and work benches. A full tool wall hold most of the general tools needed for small projects.

The Workshop areas can also be hired for various community based projects from boat building and furniture making to teaching the  development of core manual skills for lifechanges etc.

Inside the river end entrance in the ground floor reception area the Longshed Gift shop is located.  Here greetings cards, books and gifts  for all ages are available to buy.

The Longshed fit out works have to date cost in the order of £130,000. The funds to pay for this major undertaking have come from
grants and donations in the form, both financial and material, from the following:

  • The Nichol-Young Foundation
  • The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights
  • The Geoffrey Burton Charitable Trust
  • The Scarfe Charitable Trust
  • The Lord Belstead Charitable Trust
  • The Alfred Williams Trust
  • The John and Ruth Howard Charitable Trust
  • The Mary Lesley Carter Trust
  • The Rank Foundation
  • The National Lottery
  • Suffolk Coastal District Council
  • Suffolk Coasts and Heaths AONB
  • The River Deben Association
  • The Garfield Weston Foundation
  • Woodbridge Town Council AkzoNobel
  • Bradley Building Contractors
  • Chapel Properties
  • RG Carter Construction
  • Julian and Sarah Royle for their appeal to Woodbridge people.

The very special people who have given money so generously and anonymously. And the many volunteers who contribute time, energy and expertise to the project.

As a result of that generous support, together with the hard work of volunteers, we have a fully kitted out and functioning boat-building facility. Our mezzanine floor has been developed into a multi-purpose community space named the John Gibbins Gallery.

Visitor access to the John Gibbins Gallery is via stairs beside the front entrance to the ground floor of the shed and a lift. The gallery will provide opportunities to explore ideas, try things out and find out about boats and boat-building, local maritime heritage and the people who lived and worked on the River Deben.

The complementary functions of the gallery and the workshop provide a unique opportunity for visitors to find out about Anglo-Saxon times and the environment in which the ship was used and also to see in practice how it was constructed.

Technical details

For technical information on the Waterfront Community Longshed, contact The Chair of trustees on (chair@woodbridgeriversidetrust.org).

More Information