Book Your Taxi Now Online

stockwood house

Stockwood House Luton - Discover the History of Stockwood & More

Stockwood House in Luton has a rich and fascinating history. Built in the 18th century, it has served many purposes. Originally a grand family home, it later became a children’s hospital during World War II, and now it’s a care facility for women with eating disorders. Located near the beautiful Stockwood Park, Stockwood House is essential to the local community and history.

stockwood house
stockwood house

Stockwood House History

Established in 1740, Stockwood House was built explicitly for the Crawley family, who had owned the land since 1708. Despite its historical significance, the name “Stockwood” was initially used only for the old mansion on the property. The house was named after the nearby Stockwood Park. Interestingly, during its construction in 1738, a prominent family member, John Crawley, ordered its demolition while living at Rothamsted Manor nearby.

The construction of the manor cost £60,000. The Crawley family resided in Stockwood House until the outbreak of the Second World War in the 20th century. The local history of Bedfordshire, including that of Stockwood House, became widely known after the publication of the book “History of Bedfordshire Family,” which detailed the lineage of notable Bedfordshire families.

During the Second World War, Stockwood House was repurposed as a hospital for children, primarily those suffering from a hip disease known as Perthes Disease. These children were transported using single-deck buses from the Alexandra Hospital, formerly in Swanley, Kent.

The decision to relocate them was due to the imminent danger posed to the location during WWII. Initially, all patients were taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital, which opened in 1939, for X-rays, as Stockwood House did not initially have X-ray machines, although they were later added.

Transformation of Stockwood House: From Children’s Hospital to Vivre Care Facility

Stockwood House concluded its role as a children’s hospital in 1964 when it was demolished due to deteriorating conditions and financial instability. One contributing factor was the closure of the Alexandra Hospital in 1958 by the Ministry of Health, as it was relocated to Nyn Park in Hertfordshire.

Today, Stockwood House operates as a residential care facility exclusively for women under the name Vivre Care. The center offers medical support to adult females dealing with severe and permanent eating disorders.

Its primary aim is to admit these patients and provide comprehensive care to mitigate the long-term effects of their conditions. Vivre Care has successfully assisted numerous patients with disorders, demonstrating its commitment to improving their health and well-being.

The Stockwood Discovery Centre

The Stockwood Discovery Centre, formerly known as the Stockwood Craft Museum, is one of only two museums in Luton offering free admission, the other being the Wardown Park Museum. Both museums are part of the London Culture charitable trust.

The Discovery Centre features diverse collections, including Rural Crafts, Geology, Archaeology, and Local Social History, offering something for everyone to enjoy. One of its most notable attractions is Europe’s most extensive collection of horse-drawn carriages. It is a must-see destination for history enthusiasts, admirers of nobility, and those seeking a sense of grandeur and class.

Gardens of Discovery Centre

While much attention is given to the collections housed within the center, exploring the gardens of the Stockwood Discovery Centre offers a unique experience. The gardens feature several areas that showcase impressive pieces, making them ideal for a leisurely day out.

One such highlight is the Period Gardens, established in the mid-1980s. These gardens display gardens from different historical periods. Of particular note is the Dig For Victory Gardens, which illustrates how gardens were used to grow food during World War II.

Another standout feature is the Improvement Garden, characterized as a classic garden adorned with artwork by Ian Hamilton Findlay, including esteemed sculptures.

Bottom Line

Stockwood House is a vital part of Luton’s history and community. It started as a grand home, became a hospital during the war, and now serves as a care facility. The nearby Stockwood Discovery Centre looks into the past with its collections and gardens. Together, they show the rich history and culture of the area, making them great places to visit and learn about Luton’s heritage. Whether you’re interested in history or want to explore, Stockwood House and the Discovery Centre have something for everyone.