Suffolk

Whisstocks boatyard, Woodbridge, completes £15m redevelopment

Whisstocks development overlooking river
Image caption The view from Woodbridge across the River Deben to the Sutton Hoo estate where the Anglo-Saxon burial ship was found

Work has finished turning a derelict boatyard into a £15m development which will feature a replica of the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon burial ship.

Whisstocks boatyard in Woodbridge opened in 1926 and closed in 1990.

The redevelopment also includes apartments, a restaurant and a new home for Woodbridge Museum.

Michael Manning, from builders RG Carter, said it had been a challenging project, made easier by the "brilliant support" from the local community.

Image copyright Plain Speaking PR Agency
Image caption The majority of apartments at Deben Wharf have been sold

Woodbridge town clerk Chris Walker said they had a long desire to be involved in "turning an eyesore into an area of beauty".

She said the town council would take on two buildings - Woodbridge Museum will relocate there from Market Hill, while the replica of the burial ship will be on show in the Longshed building.

Whisttocks is on the opposite bank of the River Deben from the Sutton Hoo estate, where the original boat was rediscovered in 1939.

Work on the replica boat, to be built in the Longshed, is due to start next year.

Image copyright NAtional turst/getty
Image caption Digging at the Sutton Hoo burial mounds began in 1939 and revealed the outline of the Anglo-Saxon burial ship

Developer FW Properties begun rebuilding in 2016 after consultations with community and heritage groups.

Director Julian Wells said: "Today is a celebration of all the hard work that's gone on for the last six years or so."

Image caption The development is next to Woodbridge's Tide Mill - a restored working mill on the River Deben
Image copyright Sue Cox
Image caption Whisstock's Boatyard was started in 1926 - the year of the General Strike
Image copyright Sue Cox
Image caption During World War Two, about 200 boats were built with a transient workforce
Image caption The derelict yard in 2012, when the redevelopment was being planned

Claude Whisstock started the boatyard business in 1926.

During World War Two, lifeboats, fireboats and Admiralty launches were built at the site, and later one of the ocean-going yachts built there was bought by round-the-world sailor Francis Chichester.

His daughter Sue Cox, who wrote The History of Whisstock's Boatyard, said: "By the time we were born, there was a thriving business going and he'd made his name building a lot of boats.

"I'm delighted that it's all finished, I've followed the progress with great interest."

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