A grand addition to Wessex Museums!

Wessex Museums welcomes Lydiard House Museum.

This April, the three Swindon Museums join the Wessex Museums partnership. Here’s an introduction to Lydiard House Museum, a once-grand Palladian home, now restored to its former glory. 

The building is set within 260 acres of stunning historic landscape at Lydiard Park, Swindon. Home to the St John family for over 500 years, the house dates back to the medieval period.  In the 1740s, John 2nd Viscount St John and his wife Anne Furnese took over the estate and redeveloped Lydiard House into a grand Palladian home.

In 1943, the St John family put the estate up for sale after a period of financial difficulties. The house and its parkland were bought by Swindon Borough Council. Lydiard House was in a poor state of repair and since then, a significant amount of work has taken place to return the house to its former glory.

Today, ornate plasterwork and original family furnishings are displayed within the museum, alongside portraits and photographs of the St John family, who lived here from Elizabethan times. The Lydiard House Museum Collection consists of over 2,500 items from portraits, furniture, books, photographs, and archives to costume and fabric and everything in between.

Lydiard House Museum reopens on Saturday 1 April 2023 with a new special exhibition, Making Hay; Rural Life on the Lydiard Estate. The exhibition explores the experiences of generations of families that worked the land there.

Sawfish are also called carpenter sharks...but they are rays, not sharks!

There’s also a species called a sawshark, but that’s, well, a shark!

What the heck is a lek?

Males great bustards perform spectacular courtship displays, gathering at a ‘lek’ or small display ground to try to impress the females.

Road Runner!

The great bustard has a dignified slow walk but tends to run when disturbed, rather than fly.

Belly Buster!

The hen-bird on display at The Salisbury Museum was one of the last great bustards to be eaten in the town!

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