The Guild of Straw Craftsmen - Places to Visit


"Straw Maiden"
Worked and Photographed
by Norman Davies

See examples of Straw work

It is always advisable to contact a Museum first to make sure of opening times, and whether what you wish to see is in fact available. Museums may have part of their displays closed temporarily for various reasons. Also, many items of particular interest to you may be held in the Reserve collection. To view these it will be necessary to make an appointment. This list is by no means complete, but we have attempted to record places that are known to us as being of interest to strawcraft enthusiasts.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information in this page is correct, the Guild of Straw Craftsmen cannot be held responsible for any errors that occur.
We welcome additions, and advice on anything that needs to be corrected.

The entries are listed in county order.

Bedfordshire Berkshire
Buckinghamshire Cambridgeshire
Cheshire Cornwall
Devon Essex
Gloucestershire Hampshire
Hertfordshire Kent
Lancashire Liverpool
London Norfolk
Oxfordshire Somerset
Suffolk Surrey
Warwickshire Wiltshire
Shetland Wales


Craft museum Stockwood Discovery Centre

London Road, Luton LU1 4LX
Tel: (01582) 548600

Map of how to get to Stockwood Discovery Centre   Web site for Stockwood Craft Museum and Gardens

In the Bee Gallery you will find the last surviving seated straw figure of King Alfred which was restored by Tom Mizon of Horseheath, Cambridgeshire in 2009. The Mossman carriage collection is reported as being the largest on open display in Europe. There are many other interesting galleries and displays, play areas, gardens and a cafe. Allow a day long visit to enjoy all that Stockwood Discovery Centre has to offer.

museum Wardown Park Museum

Old Bedford Road, Luton, Bedfordshire LU2 7HA
Tel: (01582) 546722

Map of how to get to the Wardown Park Museum Web site for Wardown Park Hat collection

Hats and items from the straw hat industry are displayed in an upstairs gallery of the museum. Besides hats there are spectacular straw plaits, splitters, mills, hat blocks, sewing machines and lots of information. Allow at least an hour to appreciate this part of the gallery display. Other museum highlights include the Luton Life gallery, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regimental Gallery and a small tea room.

An exciting new lace gallery, Threads of Life, will open on 4th June 2011. The displays will include Lace and Life in the 1600s and a display of miniature lace kimonos, part of the winning entry at the OIDFA World Lace Congress.

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Winding Lane

"Winding Lane"
Worked and Photographed
by Ruth Wylie


folk museum Museum of English Rural Life

University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AG
Tel: (0118) 931 8660
Fax: (0118) 975 1264

Map of how to get to Museum of English Rural Life Web site for Museum of English Rural Life

Here you can see the large straw effigy of King Alfred made by master thatcher Jesse Maycock, and other straw items. Alec Coker's collection of scrapbooks and photograph albums, and some of Fred Mizen's work is held in the Reserve Collection. You will need to make an appointment to see items in the Reserve Collection.

castle Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1NJ

map Web site for Queen Mary's dollhouse

Queen Mary's Doll's House. Not in the doll's house itself but in the cabinet holding dolls and dolls' dresses:
Firstly, a gorgeous fine Straw hat, decorated with silk flowers of the corn, including a wheat ear made of Schnürli. Further along in the cabinet is the most beautiful white doll's dress, encrusted with Swiss straw work, all the motifs we know so well!
Dolls' embroidered dresses presented to the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in the 1930s by the French.

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museum Amersham Museum

49 High Street, Amersham Old Town, Buckinghamshire HP7 0DP
Tel: (01494) 725754

Map of how to get to Amersham Museum Web site for Amersham Museum

This small Museum, which received the Museum of the Year Award in 1993, has a modest display relating to straw plait work.

folk museum Pitstone Green Farm Museum of Rural Bygones

Vicarage Rd, Pitstone, nr Leighton Buzzard, LU7 9EY
Tel: (01296) 668083

Map of how to get to Pitstone Green Farm  	Museum Web site for Pitstone Green Farm Museum

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Flowers made from straw

"Straw Flowers"
by Peter Shelley


folk museum Cambridge and County Folk Museum

2/3 Castle Street,Cambridge CB3 0AQ
Tel (01223) 355159

Map of how to get to Cambridge and County Folk Museum Web site for Cambridge and County Folk Museum

The museum is in a 17th century timber framed building. It was the White Horse Inn for 300 years and turned into a museum in 1936.
'A vibrant collection providing an insight into the history of Cambridgeshire people'
Some objects date back to 1600's. One room contains arts and artisans and included in this are examples of straw plaiting. There is a straw plaiting mill, a straw splitter and a small straw marquetry box. But the best exhibit is a plaited straw sun bonnet for horses to protect them from the sun and flies.

museum Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery

Priestgate, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire PE1 1LF
Tel: (01733) 343329
Fax: (01733) 341928

Map of how to get to Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery Web site for Peterbough Museum

A splendid display on the top floor of Napoleonic Prisoner of War work. A "must" for those interested in straw marquetry. Many more items are held in the Reserve Collection; an appointment is required to view these.

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church All Saints Church, Siddington

Map of how to get to All Saints Church Web site for All Saints Church

At harvest time, this little church is decorated for Harvest Festival (beginning of October) with several hundred Corn Dollies made by Raymond Rush. The decorations remain until Remembrance Sunday (the Sunday nearest 11th November).
Raymond and his wife Hazel live next door to the church where they run a small organic farm. You can stay at the farm house as they do bed and breakfast.

Inside Siddington church
Photographed by Rosemary Sault

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folk museum Museum of Cornish life

Market Place, Helston, Cornwall TR13 8TH
Tel: (01326) 564027
Fax: (01209) 718170

Map of how to get to Helston Folk Museum Web site for Museum of Cornish life

Victorian straw marquetry box, wax doll around 1880 with straw hat, various Corn Dollies made by Mrs. W. Bucknall, photographic display of "Crying the Neck" ceremonies at Sithney, 1966 and Cury, 1967.

house Lawrence House, Launceston (National Trust)

9 Castle Street, Launceston, PL15 8BA
Tel: (01566) 773277 or 773047

Map of how to get to Lawrence 	House National Trust Web site for Lawrence House Web site for Lawrence House

Display boards of Corn Dollies by Joan Rendell MBE (author of "Your Book of Corn Dollies" and "Country Crafts") and Mrs. F. T. Norris of Colyton. Very fine Victorian straw bonnet in costume showcase on second floor.

museum North Cornwall Museum

The Clease, Camelford, Cornwall PL32 9PL
Tel/Fax: (01840) 212954

Map of how to get to the North Cornwall 	Museum Web site for North Cornwall Museum

Winner of The Pilgrim Trust Award for the Best Small Museum in England 1979

A small privately owned Museum; absolutely delightful. Some Corn Dollies on display, maker unknown.

church St. Issey Parish Church

Map of how to get to the St Issey Parish Church Web site for St Issey Parish Church

A beautifully restored Grade 1 listed building decorated with amazing Victorian stencil work. One of the small wooden panels on the altar in the Lady Chapel depicts beautifully carved ears of wheat.

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House in Collaton

A house in Collaton St. Mary showing an interesting use of rick finials
by Gillian Nott


museum The Box, Plymouth

The Box, Tavistock Place, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AX
Tel: (01752) 304774

Map of how to get to The Box Web site for The Box

A disappointingly small amount of Napoleonic Prisoner-of-War work: four pieces of straw marquetry in the Reserve collection (part of the Harmsworth Collection)

house Rougemont House

Castle Street, Exeter
Tel: (01392) 265360

Map of how to get to Rougemont House

Some absolutely amazing items held in the Costume and Textiles Reserve Collections. Appointment necessary; bookings available only on Thursdays

Ref. booklet "1st Floor Millinery" (50 hats from the Rougemont House Collection)

museum Topsham Museum

25 The Strand, Topsham, Exeter EX3 0AX
Tel: (01392) 873244

Map of how to get to the Topsham Museum Web site for Topsham Museum

In the Sail Loft in Miss Holman's display case a straw marquetry workbox made by Napoleonic Prisoners-of-War (given by Miss Enid Marx) and a straw marquetry pin-poppet made by French prisoners on Dartmoor, donated by the Hon. Grace Lambert, can be seen. In the Tea Room on the ground floor is a Topsham Cross made by Lettice Sandford

Ref. "English Popular Art" (1951) by M. Lambert and Enid Marx

folk museum World of Country Life

West Down Lane, Sandy Bay, Exmouth EX8 5BY
Tel: (01395) 274533

Map of how to get to the World of Country Life Web site for the World of Country Life

Fun for all the family, and here you can see the wonderful straw bear made by Cathy Ryall, (read all about it in Corn Dolly Newsletter No. 15) Some beautiful thatching by Nat Barkwill from Starcross. Corn Dolly making also demonstrated some days

tea shop The Corn Dolly Tea Shop

115a East Street, South Molton, Devon EX36 3DB

Map of how to get to The Corn Dolly Tea Shop Web site for The Corn Dolly Tea Shop

The perfect place to enjoy a light lunch or a real Devon cream tea and feast your eyes on a plethora of Corn Dollies (large selection for sale). Close by is Quince Honey Farm

Quince Honey Farm


Aller Cross, South Molton EX36 3RD

Map of how to get to the Quince Honey Farm Web site for Quince Honey Farm

Where you can see various types of lip-work bee-skeps (maker unknown) after you've enjoyed your Devonshire Cream Tea.

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Worked and Photographed
by Ruth Wylie


folk museum Great Bardfield, The Cage and Cotton Museum

Dunmow Road, Gt. Bardfield
Tel: (01371) 810555

On show are crafts like Straw Plaiting and Corn Dolly Making

museum Braintree Museum

Manor Street, Braintree, Essex CM7 3HT
Tel: (01376) 325266

Map of how to get to the Braintree Museum Web site for Braintree Museum

Here you can see straw work by Nevill Bonner, Hannah Freeman, Fred Mizen, Rosemary Meakins, Albert Rowe, Albert Ruffle, and gain an insight into the straw plaiting history of the area. Further information may be obtained from the Tourist Information Service, the Town Hall Centre. Market Square, Braintree, Essex CM7 6YG

church The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Bardfield Saling

Three panels of amazing straw work made by Miss Dobson and friends, about 1800

museumMountnessing Windmill

Mountnessing Windmill, Roman Road, Ingatestone, Essex CM4 9AE

Map of how to get to the Mountnessing Windmill Web site for Mountnessing Windmill

Note: the Windmill is not open every day.

There is a display case of work made by Les Sorrell (1909 - 2001). Les was born and lived in Ingastone so it is appropriate that his work is shown at the windmill.

museumSaffron Walden Museum

Saffron Walden Museum, Museum Street, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1JL
Tel. (01799) 510333/4

Map of how to get to the Saffron Walden Museum Web site for Saffron Walden Museum

The museum opened in 1835 with the ruins of Walden's 12th century castle in its grounds.
There is a small amount of straw plaiting material on display, and a good selection of Napoleonic prisoner of war work and corn dollies in the reserve collections.
Researchers and interested parties are welcome to view these by appointment.

church St. Andrew's Church, Shalford

Web site for St Andrew's Church, Shalford

Text in straw work over the Chancel arch, and an altar frontal embroidered in plaited straw which was exhibited at the London International Exhibition in 1872

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museum Edward Jenner Museum,

Church Lane, Berkeley, Gloucestershire GL13 9BH
Tel: (01453) 810631

Map of how to get to the Edward Jenner Museum Web page for the Edward Jenner Museum

Lipwork chair (See article Guild News No. 21)

Folk museum Gloucester Folk Museum,

99-103 Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2PG
Tel: (01452) 526467

Map of how to get to the Gloucester Folk Museum Web page for the Gloucester Folk Museum

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Worked and Photographed
by Ruth Wylie


castle Southsea Castle

Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, Hants. PO5 3PA
Tel: (023) 9282 7261
Fax: (023) 9287 5276

Map of how to get to Southsea Castle Web site for Southsea Castle

On Portsmouth and Southsea seafront, this is a must! On display in the keep are eight stunning straw boxes, work attributed to Napoleonic Prisoners-of-War

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Derbyshire Dyke

"Derbyshire Dyke"
Worked and Photographed
by Ruth Wylie


museum Museum of St. Albans

Hatfield Road, St. Albans AL1 3RR
Tel: (01727) 819 340
Fax: (01727) 837 472

Map of how to get to the Museum of St. Albans Web page for Museum of St Albans

A whole wall unit dedicated to the straw industry before the Second World War. (See Guild News No. 16)

church St. Alban's Cathedral

In one of the side chapels, two straw candleholders and a crucifix

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Pub The Rose and Crown,

Perry Wood, Selling, Faversham, Kent ME139RY
Tel: (01227) 752214

Map of how to get to the The Rose and Crown Web page for The Rose and Crown Web page for The Rose and Crown

Situated in the middle of Perry Wood, a mile south of Selling and similar distance north of Shottenden. (Grid ref. TR042552) Difficult to find, but well worth the effort. An amazing collection of Corn Dollies to delight you!
See article in Guild News 23, Autumn 2000.

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museum Judge's Lodgings

Church Street, Lancaster
Tel: (01524) 32808

The collection of work by Dorothy Horsfall.

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museum Lady Lever Art Gallery

Port Sunlight Village, Bebington, Wirral L62 5EQ
Tel: (0151) 207 0001
Fax: (0151) 478 4140

Map of how to get to the Lady Lever Art Gallery Web site for Lady Lever Art Gallery

A very comprehensive collection of straw work, including items made by Napoleonic Prisoners of War and others, held in the Reserve Collection. An appointment is necessary to view these. You will need to check what is back on public display, as much has been withdrawn for purposes of conservation.

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Vase of Tulips

"Vase of Tulips"
Worked and Photographed
by Dorothy Seedhouse


museum The Fan Museum

12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London SE10 8ER
Tel: 0208 305 1441
Fax: 0208 293 1889

Map of how to get to The Fan Museum Web site for The Fan Museum

In reserve collection, fans with straw work and other fibres from 18thC. A fan by Freda Rudman, together with straw marquetry and straw lace work can be viewed by appointment

museum Museum of London

Museum of London, London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN

Map of how to get to Museum of London Web site for Museum of London

Princess Margaret's 21st Birthday party dress decorated with straw embroidery designed by Christian Dior.

museum Science Museum

The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD
General Enquiries: 0870 870 4771
Fax: 020 7942 4302
Disabled persons helpline: 020 7942 4446
Educational group visits: 020 7942 4777

Map of how to get to The Science Museum Web site for the Science Museum

Swiss straw lace dress, jacket and bag made by Freda Rudman can be seen in the Challenge Gallery (see article Corn Dolly Newsletter No. 32).

museum Victoria and Albert Museum

South Kensington, London SW7 2RL
Tel: 0207 942 2000

Map of how to get to the V&A Web site for Victoria and Albert Museum

From Christmas 2001 to early September 2002 there was a little display with straw work from the Collection of Textiles and Dress. The display was called "Straw - The Blond Goddess".
The display included eight items ranging from a straw embroidered image robe (dating from 1670-90) to a straw decorated collar (from 1880s). The display did not include straw hats but concentrated on other ways in which straw is used.

In the museum there is a collection of many items of straw related interest, including a lipwork Orkney chair, straw decorated fans and straw marquetry. Many items held in the Reserve Collection, for which you will need to make an appointment.

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folk museum Norfolk Rural Life Museum

Beech House, Gressenhall, Dereham, Norfolk NR20 4DR
Tel: (01362) 860563

Map of how to get to the Norfolk Rural Life Museum Web page for the Norfolk Rural Life Museum

Lipwork chair (See article Guild News No. 21)

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museum Pitt Rivers Museum

School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography,South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PP,
Tel: (01865) 270927,
Fax: (01865) 270943

Map of how to get to the Pitt Rivers Museum Web page for the Pitt Rivers Museum

A treasure hunt to find straw items…look hard, they're there!
Before you go arm yourself with some fact sheets.

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Swiss straw work sampler

"Swiss straw flowers"
Worked by John Brooks


museum Castle Cary Museum (Market House),

Castle Cary & District Museum and Preservation Society (AMC), 1st Floor, The Market House, Market Square, Castle Cary, BA7 7BG
Curator Tel: (01963) 351334

Map of how to get to the Castle Cary Museum Web page for the Castle Cary Museum

Fred Trowbridge collection of Corn Dollies

Museum of Folk LifeSomerset Rural Life Museum

Somerset Rural Life Museum, Abbey Farm, Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 8DB
Tel: (01458) 831197
Fax: (01458) 834684

Map of how to get to the Somerset Rural Life Museum Web page for the Somerset Rural Life Museum

The Somerset Rural Life Museum has the Adnams’ collection of Corn Dollies. John Adnams and his late wife were taught by Alec Coker at L. Sandford's.

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a cartoon using straw

Worked and Photographed
by Sue Selby


Bridge Farm Barns


Monks Eleigh, Ipswich, Suffolk
Tel: (01449) 740456
Fax: (01449) 741665

Corn Dollies, Dried Flowers, Maize Dolls, Christmas tree decorations

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houseHampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace, Surrey KT8 9AU
Information line: 0208 781 9500

Map of how to get to Hampton Court Palace Web page for Hampton Court Palace

Behind the door of the Queen's Bedchamber is a delightful Dutch painting “Friars in a Nunnery”, by Dutch artist Pieter Aertsen (16thC.). One of the monks is sitting in the most beautiful Orkney chair, with a skep work mat for his feet to rest on.


house Packwood House (National Trust)

Lapworth, Solihull. Warwickshire,B94 6AT
Tel (01564) 783294

Map of how to get to Packwood House Web page for Packwood House

In the walled garden are ‘ bee boles’ which contain some straw bee skeps. A good example of lipwork.

Bee skeps in beee boles

"Bee Skeps"
by Rosemary Sault

houseAnne Hathaway's Cottage

Shottery in Stratford on Avon

The Shakespeare Centre, Henley St., Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6QW
Tel: (01789) 204016
Fax: (01789) 263138

Map of how to get to The Shakespeare Centre Web page for Anne Hathaway's Cottage

In an upstairs bedroom, the doorway roped off, a TWIGGEN chair: - A late 18thC lipwork (skep) straw armchair. The high curved back with a pierced border of meander pattern, the enclosed seat raised on a timber frame with five turned castors; English, c. 1750 -1820.

museum Warwick Museum

Houses a small display of some of Minnie Lambeth's early Corn Dollies

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house Ryedale Folk Museum

Hutton Le Hole, YO62 6UA
Tel. (01751) 417367

Map of how to get to Ryedale Folk Museum Web page for Ryedale Folk Museum

An open air museum with thatched cottages. Inside are examples of lipwork in the form of baskets, a straw hat, and traditional corn dollies are displayed throughout the museum. There is also an Iron Age Roundhouse with a thatched roof but this is made of reed not straw.

Straw Hat

"Detail of the top of a straw hat in the Ryedale Folk Museum "
From a photograph
by Rosemary Sault

museum York Castle Museum

The Eye Of York, York, North Yorkshire YO1 1RY
General information: (01904) 653611
Recorded information:(0345) 660280

Map of how to get to the York Castle Museum Web site for York Castle Museum

museum Yorkshire Farming Museum

Yorkshire Farming Museum , Murton Park , Murton Lane, York YO19 5UF
Tel: (01904) 489966

Map of how to get to the Yorkshire Farming Museum Web site for the Yorkshire Farming Museum

In the implement building is an example of straw furniture using lipwork. It is a Valet - an aid to enrobing. It was produced as part of a Master of Arts Furniture Design Degree at High Wycombe, and is made with rye straw.

houseTemple Newsam House

Temple Newsam, Temple Newsam Road, Leeds LS15 0AE
Tel: (0113) 264 7321

Map of how to get to Temple Newsam House Web site for Temple Newsam House

You will need to observe very carefully this skep work chair, as only the very lower half is visible under a cloth cover.

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museum Shetland Museum & Archive

Hay's Dock, Lerwick, Shetland. ZE1 0WP

Tel: (01595) 695057

Web site for Shetland Museum

A wonderful museum to visit with cafe with an ever changing view of the sea.
In the collection are fine examples of straw baskets and a skekler’s costume.

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folk museum Museum of Welsh Life (Amgueddfa Werin Cymru), St. Fagan's

Cardiff CF5 6XB
Tel: (029) 20573500

Map of how to get to Museum of Welsh Life Web site for Museum of Welsh Life Amgueddfa Werin Cymru

In the indoor exhibition there is a collection of corn dollies. There are also two silk bonnets from the 1830s decorated with cat's foot plaits. The museum contains a large collection of farm implements. The Kennexstone Farmhouse from Llangyndd (Llangennith), Gower, Swansea has the usual thatch on the outside but inside there is an unusual inner thatch made by locking straws at 90 degrees as in the "Bride" corn dolly.

folk museum Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth

Terrace Road,
SY23 2AQ Fax: (01970) 633084

Map of how to get to Ceredigion Museum ENGLISH CYMRAEG

The collections in the museum are of objects either made or used in Ceredigion (Cardiganshire) between 1850 and 1950.

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