Culture

Court Barn Museum, Chipping Campden

Court Barn is a delightful museum of craft and design, which tells the story of Charles Robert Ashbee and his Guild of Handicraft, who moved from the East End of London to the beautiful Cotswold town of Chipping Campden at the beginning of the 20th century.

A leading figure in the Arts & Crafts movement, C.R. Ashbee set up the Guild of Handicraft in the East End of London in 1888. His co-operative workshop enabled local, young men to develop their craft skills while they were able to make a living. When it was at its peak, at the turn of the century, the Guild numbered around 40 craftsmen and was receiving important commissions from Britain, as well as from around the world. 

Ashbee’s romantic vision of the countryside led him to believe it would provide a healthier, more creative lifestyle for his craftsmen. So he upped sticks and moved the Guild from London to the Silk Mill in Chipping Campden in 1902. Once there, he set up communal activities such as a brass band, theatrical performances and swimming, to enhance the lives of his workers.

Today, Court Barn Museum tells the story of the Arts & Crafts movement and its legacy. It celebrates those talented designers and craftspeople who were drawn to work in Chipping Campden and the north Cotswolds from the beginning of the twentieth century.

Whilst making your way through the museum, you may get the chance to watch a craft demonstration or talk to expert makers. Before you leave, check out the museum shop’s high quality products including pottery, jewellery, textiles, books and cards, all created and made by local designer-makers, as well as books relevant to the Museum’s collection. 

Chipping Campden is a beautiful town to explore with its typical honey-coloured stone and pretty thatch cottages - a real photographer’s paradise. There are many lovely cafes, pubs and independent shops to enjoy, including the renowned Robert Welch cutlery shop.

Court Barn museum opens throughout the year (except Mondays, not including Bank Holidays). Check their website for opening times and admission charges.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in the Cotswolds here.

North Gate Lodge, Church Street, Chipping Campden GL55 6JE | 01386 841 951 | www.courtbarn.org.uk

Images copyright Court Barn Museum

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