Welcome to the Long Shop Museum the home of the Garrett Collection and one of the first assembly line buildings in the world. The Museum, inaugurated in 1984, stands in the original 19th century works site of Richard Garrett & Sons, once world-famous manufacturers of steam engines and other agricultural machinery. The Long Shop itself was built as a workshop for the manufacture of portable steam engines and is now restored as a museum.
Garrett’s successful stand at the Great Exhibition in 1851 was a major landmark in the history of the company. The Long Shop was built over the winter of 1852/53 as one of the first British attempts at a flow line assembly hall, meeting the demand for portable steam engines from all over the developed world. The method was to construct the vehicle in sequence with heavy parts being added to the boiler that had been brought into the Shop from the foundry. Lighter parts were then lowered by gantry from the gallery and secured in place until finally the completed engine could be taken away by the door at the opposite end of the Shop.
Eventually, the Long Shop could no longer cope with the volume of production as the factory expanded with the coming of the railways to Leiston and the development of the business.
As you tour the museum you will discover more to the Garrett story than you imagined. See, from the enormous range of Garrett products over 200 years, how the Industrial revolution forever changed the way people lived. Hear too, the other side of the social story and of the oppressive working environment that was a formative influence in the rise of the British communist party.