Leagrave’s 18th century thatched cottages now at museum

This building, which can be seen at Chiltern Open Air Museum in Buckinghamshire, started life as an 18th century thatched barn in Compton Avenue, Leagrave, which was then near Luton.

Thursday, 14th November 2013, 11:14 am
Compton Avenue thatched cottages in 1948

The barn was converted into two labourers’ cottages in the 1770s – the date confirmed by the discovery of a mint condition George III copper farthing under the brick paving near the south gable.

It was a listed building, but permission was given for demolition in the 1980s because it was unfit for human habitation.

It was donated to the museum, near Chalfont St Peter, and moved there in 2002/3.

Interviews with the Marks family, who lived in one cottage from 1913 to 1928, are held in the museum’s archive, enabling the cottage to be furnished accurately as it would have looked in the 1920s.

The other side is presented as it might have been in the 18th century.

A shoemaker’s workshop occupies the out-shoot and the 19th century Preston Bisset Privy, incorporating two bucket toilets, is in the garden.

One of the popular Lilliput Lanes ornaments is called ‘Leagrave Cottage’.