Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Talks on Fridays

Personal tools

Learn more about the history of Luton Hoo Estate by attending our Talks on Fridays. Held on the last Friday of the month September 2017-April 2018, 10.30am-12.30pm.

We look forward to welcoming you to our NEW Talks on Fridays.

They are held in the Lecture Room upstairs in the Luton Hoo Estate Office, on the last Friday of the month starting September 2017 through to April 2017. All sessions are 10.30am-12.30pm with the talk commencing at 11.00am.

Talks are £3 per person in aid of the restoration of the Walled Garden, and no prior booking is required.


Please see Talk dates below, and the topic for each session:


29th September 2017 - Does Bedfordshire have lots of Garden History?

An easy to view pictorial miscellany of a wide variety of garden history in Bedfordshire plus a cartoon! A selection through the centuries from the Waldon Pear mentioned by Shakespeare to the 1990's garden at Stockwood Park. The talk uses pictures, postcards, diaries, maps etc to illustrate that the garden history covers gardens big and small, from Wrest Park to allotments, and looks at items  in garden landscapes from the walled gardens to sun dials.

27th October 2017 - Capability Brown at Luton Hoo 

A look at what Lancelot Brown achieved on the Luton Hoo Estate in the  16 years he collaborated with John Stuart the 3rd Earl of Bute. The massive bill was for major landscaping: moving roads, creating new entrances and 60 acres of lakes; and making an octagonal walled garden for the owners botanical collection. Lots of illustrations provide an overview of this landscape which is largely intact. The talk also highlights the gardens, flower garden wood and the wider ranging aspects of Brown's landscaping.

24th November 2017 - History of the Luton Hoo Walled Garden

The life of the large octagonal walled garden from its conception by Capability Brown in the 1760's to its rejuvenation in the 21st century. Rarely just a kitchen garden, three families of owners have used it either as a botanical garden or a space to entertain the visitors to their country estate. Unlike many walled gardens it has survived the ravages of time with the most continuous use until the 1980's, for example playing its part in the training of the Woman's Land Army or as a garden centre. A short period of decline has been slowly reversed in the 21st century.

26th January 2018 - Special Gardeners at Luton Hoo

Despite a lack of estate records, the Head Gardeners at Luton Hoo have been traced from the mid 18th century onwards. Their life stories, careers, and even pictures have often been supplied by their descendants. The details of these people provide an insight into the life of gardeners on a large estate. Information ranges from the RHS medals they won, to the design of a new rose garden inspired by a trip to France. 

23rd February 2018 - Lots of Allotments on Hoo Land for Luton!

The story of allotments in outlined along with specific examples of those provided by the Luton Hoo Estate for both it workers and for the people of Luton. Estate maps and a wealth of aerial photographs of the town have helped track the 9 different allotment sites that developed mainly in the 19th century. A few are still in operation but many are now under houses, schools, shops, the airport and Vauxhall Motors. Letters complain about the cows in neighbouring fields eating the produce or, conversely, how delighted the chimney sweep was with his new allotment!

23rd March 2018 - Luton Hoo Walled Garden in the 20th Century

New evidence from Oral Histories and other research has provided a much better understanding of what happened in both the Walled Garden and the Estate before and after two World Wars. Many estates declined irreversibly after both wars but Luton Hoo soldiered on. Details gathered from WW1 soldiers, Estate Fire Brigade, opening of the Wernher Collection in the Mansion, or the Garden Centre paint a vivid picture. The plan of the walled garden drawn by a gardener who worked on the estate in the 1950's and 60's provides minute details such as the types of trees in the orchard!

27th April 2018 - Which Farms belonged to Luton Hoo?

The Home Farm was made into an impressive Victorian Model Farm in the 1860's and the buildings are still in existence as is the working arable farm. Since the 18th century various tenant farms have been part of the Luton Hoo Estate and feature on several large estate maps. Some, such as Someries Farm and Copt Hall Farm, have been associated with the Estate for over 300 years. There are over 30 farms which are situated on all sides of the Estate and have varied and interesting histories. 


Please park in the Luton Hoo Walled Garden car park and for sat navs use postcode LU1 4LF.

Any visitors planning to arrive by coach must inform us prior to arrival. 

We hope to see you soon!