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Shuttleworth Trust

Richard Shuttleworth

The Trust now comprises 4 areas:


A report from 2002


It's All Change Again – 5 years on...


Five years after the departure of Cranfield and again major organisational changes are being planned for the whole Shuttleworth Trust during 2003.

As you will recall from my previous updates [April 2002 below], in 1997 we reopened the College working in close association with Writtle College and Professor Mike Alder.

We established a Trading Company named SCE Ltd to deal with all the commercial activities such as conferencing, catering, bars, corporate entertainment and events, and let out various areas of the campus to local businesses and we merged all the Trust businesses into one. The intention of this was to try and enable the Trust to fulfil all its educational charitable objectives.

Writtle and the Trust had a 5-year plan and targets, and we've succeeded in meeting these targets both in terms of student numbers and the generation of commercial business to enable the whole site be to maintained and improve the building, grounds and facilities. In addition, the visitor attraction side of Shuttleworth, centred on the Collection, has been enhanced by a closer working relationship with the Swiss Garden, the introduction of the Bird of Prey Centre and the Jubilee Play Area as well as attracting both large and small outdoor events culminating in the Game Fair in 2001.

The Trust has become a large complicated organisation and is now able to embark on a new phase which will hopefully give it long term stability thanks to the last 5-years but in a much simpler format.

In outline the Trust will concentrate on three core activities:

1. Old Warden Estate

All the land (4880 acres) including the Park and some 90 properties all let including the Mansion, together with the building and grounds maintenance teams.

2. The Shuttleworth Collection

All the Visitor Attractions, the Collection, Garden, Bird of Prey Centre and Play Ground will be operated centred at the Collection.

3. The College

The College site (excluding the Park) will be let on a peppercorn rent to Writtle College who will employ and manage all aspects of the College campus except catering and maintenance.

The in-hand farming operation ceased in September 2001 due largely to the dismal state of Agriculture coupled with the difficulties in justifying it from an educational viewpoint. It was also not an objective of the charity.

So, from the doom and gloom of 1996 through 5-years of incredible challenge, sweat and tears and an awful lot of hard work by a small group of very hard working loyal Trust staff, the Trust will move forward a simpler streamlined organisation relying on Writtle to determine its education objective and a core group of employed and volunteer staff to carry on the Collection. 2003 is the 75th Anniversary of the Collection and the Centenary of the Flight.

The Estate just has to continue letting land and property to supplement the objective also helped by the Gravel Royalties.

What about me? Well, I've put a lot of effort into Shuttleworth over a total of 18 years and the Trustees have been a pleasure to work for, letting me develop my ideas and take the whole establishment forward. When the changes outlined started to evolve, I entered into discussions with Hugh Duberly, Chairman of the Directors of The Shuttleworth Trust in February 2002 and at my request decided that I would move on at the end of our financial year, 31st October 2002.

Although I've given up practical farming of crops and livestock which isn't that profitable or rewarding anymore, 'farming people' to coin a phrase still has a future and I'll be taking advantage of opportunities that have come my way in terms of event and facilities management, fulfilling another ambition to work for myself.

I have been lucky enough to extend my three-year OND course at Shuttleworth to 18 years. I have enjoyed every minute and will obviously have many happy memories. I am particularly pleased to be handing the Mansion over much restored both internally and externally. The restoration of furniture and carpets, as well as the redecoration of most of the ground floor rooms has all been achieved in the last 5 years. I must particularly thank Sid Smith and all the team in helping and enabling this to happen. In addition a new roof and chimney hopefully means it's watertight!

Rebecca, Tom and Sam have only known Mount Pleasant and our decision to move to Shropshire is taking some getting used to. Louise and I wish all our friends at Shuttleworth both past and present, all the best for the future.

Brian Welti September 2002

The Shuttleworth Trust & SCE Ltd

report from Brian Welti:  April 2002

2001 was a very difficult year for the Trust as well as everyone else in the farming and tourism/leisure business.

The visitor attractions suffered directly, as did the Bird of Prey Centre, which opened its doors for the first time in Easter 2001.  The visitor numbers were a lot lower than we'd hoped for.

Every cloud has a silver lining though and ours was the CLA Game Fair – as a direct result of the Foot and Mouth crisis and Woburn not wishing to stage the Game Fair – we were approached and had 10 weeks notice to stage the event.  A lot of hard work and incredible weather resulted in a tremendous success for Shuttleworth and the Game Fair.  We all enjoyed it and it certainly put Shuttleworth on the map.

The usual annual events took place i.e. Steam & Country Fair etc, and conference bookings and corporate activities for the season continued once restrictions were lifted.

The Farm ceased trading on 31st October 2001 - 160 acres of Parkland was retained by the Trust for events etc. with 70 acres let to the College for a small demonstration Farm for students.  The remaining 900 acres are let on F B T's; 800 acres of which are let to Derek and Peter Allen of Gravely, Stevenage.  Peter was a sandwich year student on the Farm in the early 90's.

We are now 5 years on from the re-launch of Shuttleworth [** see article below for details of how the College was resurrected in the 1990's  and the demise of Cranfield and the ever-evolving situation has now reached another milestone.

The College has hit its targets and needs a firmer footing to move forward for the next 5 years; the commercial activities have also been very successful.  As the College continues to grow the available space for commercial activities diminishes.  The objectives of the Trust are the Collection and College and all other activities must fit around these.  Both objectives require considerable funding either from within (the Collection is now self-sufficient) or government funding and business activities at the College.  Yet more structural/strategic changes will occur during the next 12 months as the Trust moves on.

The visitor attractions of the Collection, Swiss Garden and Bird of Prey Centre have now been complimented by the National Playing Fields Play Resource & Research Centre (a 2½ -acre adventure play area for children).

So why not come back and see the changes and developments at the College and enjoy all the attractions of Old Warden Park.

Brian Welti  Operations Director  The Shuttleworth Trust

**Shuttleworth College – Marie Celeste and Phoenix

by Professor Michael D. Alder.


What you may ask is the connection between the three names in the headline? Simple; in 1996 Shuttleworth College was definitely like the Marie Celeste – abandoned, empty, and with no crew. By 2001 it was certainly the Phoenix –rising from the ashes.

The start of the 2001 academic year should see the College with more students than when Cranfield shut it in 1996. After Writtle College produced a consultancy report for the Shuttleworth Trust it always said 5 years would be needed to re-establish the College. 2001 is year 5, and re-established the College is.

There are several factors of note. First, despite rural problems, full-time Agriculture is back – in addition to well-subscribed Countryside Management courses. Some of the farm has been put to a farm business tenancy with full education access, and some has been retained in hand for student practicals.

The secret of success of the new Shuttleworth is the diversity of provision – meeting student and employer demand in what is still an essentially land-based and related provision. The range of courses includes Animal Care and Management, Equine Studies, Floristry, Interior Design and Horticulture – others are to follow. The College residences are now back in operation and should be full in a year's time. Finally, 2001 will see the start of HE provision, with an HND in Animal Management and an HNC in Equine Studies.

One reason for the positive progress made by Shuttleworth College is the relationship with Writtle College. All staff are employed by Writtle and all students registered by Writtle. Shuttleworth has adopted Writtle policies and procedures, and has the full support of all the Writtle back-up services without having to duplicate them. Students from Shuttleworth can progress to higher level courses at Writtle, and staff benefit from exchange and interaction with Writtle colleagues.

One measure of the success of the relationship between the two colleges was the confirmation of the award of Investors in People resulting from an inspection at Shuttleworth. Whilst Shuttleworth College is part of one enterprise, it has been allowed its own autonomy and identity.

Hard work, a major financial input from the Trust and Writtle College, the correct blend of courses, excellent staff, good support from Writtle – all have contributed to the rise of the Phoenix.

Since 1992 nearly a third of all agricultural colleges in England have closed – only one has re-opened. Old students have every reason to be proud of their old college, and should talk of Shuttleworth College with great pride, and ensure it is fully supported.

Professor Michael D. Alder.