Introducing Luton’s Heritage to a New Generation of Lutonians

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Luton is full of iconic buildings, many of which have played an important part in the history and development of Luton. Following the success of our Luton Peace Riots projects and continuing the theme of exploring the diverse heritage of Luton we have identified and will be exploring the history of 4 selected buildings in Luton and also the iconic Hat Industry for which Luton is world famous.

There is considerable interest in the history of a number of buildings in Luton as well as those that supported the extensive Hat Industry as well as the Hat Industry in itself.  We are also very interested in family stories about how you and your relatives remember using these buildings. For each of the buildings we have / will be capturing and recording stories about how use of the buildings has changed over the generations. We also partnered with a number of local schools with the aim of introducing Luton’s heritage to a new generation of Lutonians as part of Key Stage 2 working within the national curriculum requirements.

As the project progresses we will update the pages on this website but in the meantime we very much welcome any memories you have and would like to share. Please contact us via our Facebook page or by email: steve.goodman@culturalhistories.org or mike.mcmahon@culturalhistories.org

Project A: Iconic Luton Buildings

The four buildings we have chosen are:

  • 116 Bury Park Road, now an Islamic learning centre but previously the town’s synagogue and before that a cinema and a factory manufacturing aircraft propellers. For this building we have been working with the Foxdell Schools Federation and particularly Foxdell Infant and Junior and Dallow Primary Schools.
  • 31 Cardigan Street, now a Sikh Gurudwara but previously a Methodist church and a Welsh Congregational church
  • Norton Road School, still a school after all these years!
  • Chapel Langley Nursery School, located at the botttom of Farley Hill, previously a primary school

More details can be found on the page devoted to this project: 4 Iconic Buildings

Project B: The Hat Industry

This project, which is supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, is about introducing our local Luton heritage to school students through researching the town’s history, capturing individual family stories connected to those buildings.

In partnership with local schools and the University of Bedfordshire, national curriculum standard classroom learning material will be developed for primary and high school children.

The focus of this project is centred around the history of the hat industry in Luton, how and why it developed, grew, and eventually declined over the years.

The classroom material and discussions, will also explore the impact off migration to the town and will also examine the impact of climate change.

More details can be found on the page devoted to this project: Luton’s Hat Industry