“ Address: Wardown Park Museum, Old Bedford Road, LUTON, LU2 7HA „
As well as being a wonderful park, Wardown in Luton also has the Wardown Park Museum. It is located on Old Bedford Road in Luton.
I recently spend a nice hour or two looking around the museum on a recent visit to the park and definitely recommend the museum for a little bit of Luton history as well as viewing some other great exhibits. The museum is housed in a beautiful old farm house which used to be a private residence and dates back to the 1800's. Outside the house there is a fairly big car park which is free to park in so you can enjoy your visit without having to watch the clock. Another great thing is that the museum is free too so you can wander around at your leisure and come back again if you feel you haven't seen everything on your one visit.
The museum is fairly small but big enough to spend an hour or two in. When you first walk in there is a counter in front of you with people welcoming you and then behind that there is a cosy tearoom.
The hat collection is one of my favourite exhibits. Back in the day Luton was the centre of the hat making industry and is famous for it. Their football team is nicknamed The Hatters. An interesting fact from hat making. Mercury was used in hat production and mercury is known to have properties that make you go mad hence the phrase mad as a hatter!! The museum has about 700 hats on display with some dating back hundreds of years, a really nice piece of Luton history. For more Luton history you can head upstairs where they have the Luton life gallery. I love looking at old photos and how people looked back then and what they wore, the shops, the streets etc and there are some wonderful displays depicting Luton life over the past 150 years including computers for you to play with and some hands-on exhibits.
Another interesting exhibit is the lace collection that shows lace dating back to the 1600's, really fragile and intricate work. This is another one of their permanent exhibits but there are also various visiting exhibits so no two visits to the museum are the same.
There is a nice little gift shop too, not too much on sale but enough to buy a little souvenir of Luton. All in all a fun afternoon out to learn some history.