Section Title

Report Abuse

Stockwood Discovery Centre

Stockwood Discovery Centre

Stockwood Discovery Centre, formerly known as Stockwood Craft Museum, is one of two free admission museums situated in Luton (the other is Wardown Park Museum). The museums in Luton are a part of a charitable trust, Luton Culture.

The discovery centre displays collections of local social history, archaeology, geology and rural crafts. It also houses the biggest collection of horse-drawn carriages in Europe, the Mossman Collection.

The external part of the Discovery Centre features extensive gardens. The Period Gardens, ranging from the Elizabethan Knot Garden to the Dig for Victory Garden, were created by Luton Council from the mid-1980s onwards. Redevelopment work in 2007 included the building of the Sensory Garden, World Garden and Medicinal Garden. It is one of the few places in the country where the work of acclaimed artist Ian Hamilton Finlay can be seen on permanent display. Improvement Garden is a classical garden in which Ian Hamilton Finlay sculptures are an integral part of the landscape.

Stockwood Park Museum was opened in 1986 and later reopened as Stockwood Discovery Centre in 2008 as part of a £6 million redevelopment

The Mossman Carriage Collection is a museum housing a collection of horse-drawn vehicles in Stockwood ParkLutonBedfordshire. It is the largest collection of such vehicles in the United Kingdom, and includes original vehicles dating from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.



The collection of rural crafts and trades held at Stockwood Discovery Centre was amassed by Thomas Wyatt Bagshawe who was a notable local historian and a leading authority on folk life. Bagshawe was born in Dunstable in 1901 and became a director of the family engineering firm. Bagshawe began a small private museum in Dunstable in 1927 and became the honorary curator of Luton Museum in 1928. He later became the museums director

Thomas Bagshawe and Charles Freeman, who succeeded Bagshawe as curator in 1936, visited many of the Scandinavian museums which were at the forefront of folk life museums in Europe.

Both were heavily influenced by the Scandinavian example and they sought ways to introduce the ideas and methods they had witnessed into Luton Museum. In 1938 a rural industry gallery was opened at Wardown designed on Scandinavian principles with built-in cases and freestanding exhibits.

                                                        Part of the Mossman Collection

The museum’s annual report of that year described Luton as being at the centre of a large area that was rapidly being transformed, and that the disappearance of many rural crafts was imminent.During the 1930s and in the years immediately after World War II, Bagshawe undertook a systematic search of Bedfordshire villages to seek out the surviving crafts folk. He interviewed them and acquired artefacts from them. Bagshawe also amassed a large amount of notes, photographs and illustrations and carefully classified them all using the Royal Anthropological Institutes British Ethnography Committees system. This gave the collection greater detail than was typical at the time. In addition he donated to the museum his large collection of books on agriculture, local trades, crafts and related topics.

Claim Now!

Is this your business?

Claiming you listing is the best way to manage and protect your business. Get more customers, promote your business and get a FREE Digital business card worth £150

Claim This Listing

Show plan details


61 Bridge Street
Top locations – from restaurants and clubs, to galleries, famous places Local Business Directory - Events - Jobs - Classifieds and so much more...
© 2023 All Rights Reserved By StepInto Group Ltd