‘Museum in the garden’ moves to proper home

Gina Cook
Gina Cook

A painstakingly acquired selection of social and industrial artefacts is going on display at Pitstone Green Museum for the first time on Easter Monday (April 6).

The unique collection, put together by the late Colin Cook of Luton, was known as the ‘Museum in the Garden.’

The Cook Collection goes on display for the first time on Easter Monday at Pitstone Green Museum

The Cook Collection goes on display for the first time on Easter Monday at Pitstone Green Museum

His widow Gina is delighted her husband’s treasured memorabilia will be under one roof in such a prestigious setting.

She said: “I’m relieved it’s gone to a good home. It’s being very well looked after and others will be able to enjoy it in the future.”

The former hospice admin assistant added: “I know Colin would be very happy about where it is.”

Colin – a fitter and turner by trade – was fascinated by social and industrial history, particularly after he was diagnosed iwth pulmonary fibrosis.

He researched and wrote articles on a variety of local topics and was in great demand as a public speaker.

He penned The Story of Limbury cum Biscot and Gina followed suit with a book about his collection entitled One Man’s Treasure.

She recalled: “Colin used to find things, clean them and refurbish them, then I’d label everything and catalogue it.

“I’m sure people thought we were a couple of old eccentrics but we both enjoyed it.”

Over the years the carefully indexed collection of kitchenalia, old cameras and other office equipment, as well as foundry and farming items gradually filled five sheds at the back of their Crowland Road, Luton, home.

Canny granny Gina served tea and cake and private tours of the Museum in the Garden to raise money for her local church.

She admits writing One Man’s Treasure was in many ways a fishing expedition to find it a new home.

She said: “I sent a copy to Pitstone Green Museum and invited them to have a look.

“They were very excited when they saw all the items I had. They thought a large loft above one of their big barns would be ideal. And for the last two years they’ve worked very hard transporting everything over to the site.

“Everyone at the museum is a volunteer and two very special ladies – Sue Lipscomb and Sue Denty – have photographed and catalogued each item and set up separate displays. They tell me it’s a developing project which will take several years to complete.”

Gina says there are many other attraction at the Museum’s Heritage Park, including an excellent refreshment area.

It’s open from 11am to 5pm on Easter monday, Bank holiday Mondays and the second Sunday of every month from June to October. More info at www.pitstonemuseum.co.uk/