Mark Robinson

2018 QEST Apprentice - Sussex Trug Making

The Sussex Trug, invented by Thomas Smith in the 1820s, is a globally recognised symbol of English gardening. However, with few practitioners, the skill of its making appears on the Heritage Crafts Association Red List of Endangered Crafts.

The only workshop running apprenticeships is the Cuckmere Trug Company. They welcome craftspeople to continue this local tradition and, with QEST funding, offered Mark a three-year position and comprehensive training in timber selection, steam bending, and the use of hand tools and electric machinery for the assembly of traditional and contemporary trugs.

As a Sussex man born and bred, I can imagine no better job than learning the county’s traditional craft. When Robin Tuppen, owner and master trug maker, retires in five years’ time, the Cuckmere Trug Company will become a not-for-profit Sussex Trug Heritage Centre. By this time, I will be fully qualified and able to teach others.