The Museum

The Museum


We believe that the world should recognise the art and skill of knots and “sailor’s ropework”. The Museum of Knots and Sailor’s Ropework opened in 1996. Over the following 25 years we built up a huge collection of interesting items. At its prime it was the largest display on the subject in the UK, perhaps in the world, and did, we believe, raise the awareness of this much overlooked subject.

The Museum of Knots and Sailor’s Ropework in Ipswich is now closed.

The future of the Collection.

We have secured the future of the Collection. Over the last 4 years the Collection has been slowly transferred to Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. We believe that this transfer will mean that our Collection will have a long-term future. After items have been through a quarantine period, which includes freezing all organic materials, they will be conserved, catalogued, photographed, digitised and packed for storage. In due course the public will have access online to the Collection and it will be available for research upon request. Some items are planned to be included in displays onsite. The Collection will be saved for the future. It is hard to say good bye, but we are happy that they will be looked after well and be available to be seen by many more people over the years.The new exhibition gallery is now open and and an initial group of objects is now online

There is still plenty of research to be done that I hope to be involved in. I therefore welcome contact from anyone to discuss all aspects of the world Knots & Sailors Ropework. I hope to continue to work on the series of Monographs.

The displays

Ann Chalkley sent these two panoramic views of the Museum in Ipswich  because of the way they are made they just give an impression of how the collection once looked and the following videos may also show what we had here before we closed.

Mainly ropemaking


The original part with Ropework, tools etc


The Museum in the press

The Museum of Knots and Sailors’ Ropework has been featured in The Daily Telegraph and on Collectors Lot on Channel 4, together with good mentions in Wooden Boat Magazine (USA.), and Australian Sailing Magazine amongst others. This coverage has bought us visitors from all parts of the world. We believe that museums should be free, so all we ask is that you sign our visitors’ book.

You can see more of our museum’s collection on the Maritime Heritage East website which covers Museums with maritime collections in East Anglia.

Des Has made two films with the Social History Curators Group,  explaining how some of the tools in the Museums collection are used:

Rope Working and Rigging

Sail, Sack and Canvas Working

Classic Sailor have just made a film based on a visit