The new Budding Museum of Gardening is the first new lawn mower museum that we have heard about for a couple of years, and it's a most welcome addition to the list. Founded and curated by Old Lawnmower Club member Clive Gravett, the museum is housed within the new South Downs Heritage Centre in Hassocks, West Sussex. The centre is itself part of a £2.5m project linked with the South Downs National Park. The museum's collection is housed within a 1500m2 vernacular style Sussex barn constructed from restoration-grade oak, fashioned by hand in a traditional workshop by a team of master carpenters.
"We think this is the largest collection of vintage mowers on permanent public display in the South of England," says Clive. "It's the result of more than three years' planning and we already have 30 mowers from the 1860s to 1960s so far with space for more."
The display includes several rare machines including an example of the world’s first sidewheel mower patented in Philadelphia, USA in 1869. Push mowers range from a 6in Archimedean to a very original 18in Ransomes Patent Gear Automaton. A centre-piece on the motor mower stand is an exceptionally well restored British Anzani Easimow, designed and originally manufactured in Sussex by E.F. Ranger (Ferring) Ltd. This makes it a very local exhibit indeed. Outside there are some larger mowers, including a Lloyds of Letchworth Autoscythe with Mar-Vil engine, agricultural implements and a couple of tractors. The museum also incorporates a general gardening history sections which Clive says is still a work in progress but already has sections on Pruning & Trimming, Watering & Spraying and of course the story of Edwin Budding.
The South Downs Heritage Centre also houses the Sussex food hall with local specialist cheese, chocolate, patisserie, coffee, ice cream etc and plenty of Budding Pale Ale! Local artists and crafts-people have studios, exhibitions and sales areas for the items they produce. In the adjacent barn is a restaurant serving a wide variety of food and refreshments.
How to Find The Museum
South Downs Heritage Centre
See Map Here
By car, just off the A23 7.5 miles north of Brighton.
By train Hassocks station is only 0.5 miles, 10 minutes' walk away.
Opening hours are 9.00am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, 10.00am to 4.30pm Sundays.
Although Clive is not at the museum every day he says he will be pleased to meet club members there on pre-arranged dates for a personal guided tour. Members can access Clive's contact details in the Members Only section of the website.
You can see a list of museums that feature lawn mowers on our Museum Page.