Jubilations and Coronations

To mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Lowewood Museum is hosting an exhibition called Jubilations and Coronations. It draws upon both the museum’s collection and the contributions of the community to display royal celebrations from the past. The exhibition runs from Saturday 30 April to Saturday 2 July. There will be activities for all ages, especially during the jubilee weekend at the beginning of June. The exhibition is on the ground floor. Admission is free.

If you have images or memories of previous jubilee celebrations, please email them to the museum’s Community Engagement Officer at naomi@lowewoodmuseum.org.uk

Jubilations and Coronations - a look back at Royal Celebrations in the Borough of Broxbourne
Jubilations and Coronations – a look back at Royal Celebrations in the Borough of Broxbourne

Do you have a working typewriter that needs a home? The museum is hoping to find a  couple of typewriters which we can use for this exhibition and in future, to be left out as part of the exhibitions and for visitors to use. Please contact the museum with details. It can be of any era it just needs to be in working condition and relatively robust.

Local artwork on display as part of James Ward project

As part of the project to celebrate 250 years since the birth of James Ward RA, local artists have been creating artworks inspired by Ward’s work, in particular the collection held here at Lowewood.

The first of these, Mannamead Art Group’s work, will be displayed until Saturday 7 December. This local group meets in Hoddesdon once a week and welcomes all from beginners to experienced artists. Thirteen artists from this group are displaying their works, mainly drawing inspiration from James Ward’s animal paintings. The paintings include horses and farm animals to one or two landscape drawings. A total of eighteen artworks in a variety of mediums, from watercolours to pencil drawings are being displayed.

Come and have a look at these local artists’ works, displayed alongside our exhibition on James Ward. The museum is open Wednesday – Friday 10am – 4pm and Saturdays 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.

This project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

James Ward: The Greatest Animal Painter of his Time

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of local artist James Ward RA. To celebrate, the museum has opened an exhibition highlighting his life and work, with loans from the Tate and Fitzwilliam Museum. The exhibition opened on 21 September 2019 and is on display until 25 January 2020.

The Moment, 1831, James Ward (1769 – 1859). Tate, London 2019. Photo credit:(C) Tate, London 2019

Ward was born on 23 October 1769 in London, the son of a greengrocer and cider merchant. He left school at a young age, before he could read or write and at the age of nine was the only wage earner in his family, washing bottles for 4 shillings a week.

Drawing came naturally to Ward, and by the age of 12 he was an apprentice mezzotint engraver to one of the best, John Raphael Smith. He was later appointed the painter and mezzotint engraver to the Prince of Wales. Ward chose to pursue his painting career, aspiring to be appointed as a member of the Royal Academy, which he finally achieved in 1811 at the age of 42.

Ward made Cheshunt his home for the last 31 years of his life. He had loved the countryside ever since he was a boy, it was so different from the hustle and bustle of London streets. In July 1855 he suffered a stroke that ended his career and died at Roundcroft Cottage in Cheshunt on 16 November 1859.

Portrait of James Ward, engraved by James Ward, c.1835, after John Jackson (1778 – 1831). Presented by Richard Godgrey 1994. Tate, London 2019. Photo credit: (c) Tate, London, 2019

On display in the museum is a selection of Ward’s works loaned by the Tate and Fitzwilliam Museum, as well as a sketchbook demonstrating the breadth of his work. These compliment the museum’s own collection of Ward’s work, on display in Lowewood’s James Ward Gallery.

The museum is open Wednesday – Friday 10am – 4pm and Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission is free.

This project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Share your stories and be part of a Museum exhibition

St Catherine’s School, Hoddesdon celebrates being open for 200 years this October. Lowewood Museum is looking for past pupils to help remember what school life was like.

If you attended St Catherine’s School, or any of the schools which have joined to form St Catherine’s i.e. St Paul’s Infants School and Haslewood Junior School, please get in touch and share your memories.

Lowewood Museum will be celebrating the 200 year anniversary with an exhibition and are also looking for any objects that you would be able to loan to put on display.


This project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Please contact Lowewood Museum 01992 445596 or email museum.leisure@broxbourne.gov.uk

Call for memories flyer.jpg

A Tale of Three Vases


Lowewood Museum’s new exhibition ‘Romance in Stone’, which will run from 14 January to April 29, celebrates the impact of Broxbourne’s landscape design firm James Pulham & Son on national garden fashions from 1845-1939.

Famous for landscaping beautiful rustic waterways, rocky streams, grottoes and tunnels, the company also developed a range of over 200 garden ornaments. They were made from cast stone and terracotta, with the latter made at the firm’s manufactory here in Broxbourne.

Three key James Pulham & Son vases are on display in the exhibition, showcasing the beauty of their designs and the clients they worked for. The firm designed many of their ornaments for a specific client or project, naming the product after the location and adding it to the range that future clients could select from.

The Preston Vase

On loan from Ewell Court House in Surrey is an original Pulham Preston Vase. The firm first created the Preston Vase in 1864 for Miller Park in Preston, to a design created by the Victorian park designer Edward Milner.

In the 1880s Ewell Court’s new owner, John Henry Bridges, built a red-brick house in the ‘Old English’ style, and in the 1890s he re-landscaped the gardens.

James Pulham & Son ‘rockified’ (formed into a rocky landscape) the banks of the stream and created a boating lake with a boathouse, island and cascades. They also created a large fountain with four Preston Vases around its base.

Ewell Court Fountain


Rocky Stream Ewell Court


The Westonbirt Vase

Originally designed Pulhams for Westonbirt House in Gloucestershire, the Westonbirt Vase has had a new lease of life in recent times in a replica range manufactured by the cast stone company, Haddonstone Ltd.

James Pulham & Son worked at Westonbirt in Gloucestershire in the 1880s, creating an artificial lake and a clearing with a rockery and grotto where Westonbirt village once stood. Wealthy landowner Robert Stayner Holford had moved the whole village half a mile down the road to improve the view from his new Elizabethan-style palace.

The firm designed the Westonbirt Vase, which they later supplied to Avenham Park in Preston, next door to the Preston Vase-adorned Miller Park.

In 1928, the house became a girls’ boarding school, and the governors asked Haddonstone Ltd to make new copies of the vase by creating a mould from the original. Replicas of the beautiful Westonbirt Vase are now on sale again.

The Nottingham Vase

Another Pulham design which has also been replicated by Haddonstone Ltd is the Nottingham Vase. The firm supplied one of these vases to Leopold de Rothschild for Ascott House in Buckinghamshire. In 1949, the Rothschilds gave the estate to the National Trust, which commissioned the first replica.

It is a testament to the appeal of James Pulham & Son’s work, many made at the Broxbourne manufactory, that their designs are still being bought for gardens today.


Lowewood Museum’s exhibition – ‘Romance in Stone – The Pulham Legacy of Garden Design’ is open from 14 January – 29 April 2017 during normal museum opening hours (Wednesday – Friday, 10am – 4pm and Saturday, 10am – 5pm).

Admission is free.


A Rocky History – The Pulham Legacy

This year sees an exciting project taking place at Lowewood Museum, showcasing the history of the Pulhams of Broxbourne, a company that really put the town on the map. James Pulham & Son set up a manufactory in Broxbourne in 1845 making terracotta and cast stone garden ornaments. From this base the firm expanded into landscape design, creating beautiful artificial landscapes containing rockeries, grottos and water features. The Pulhams are known to have produced work for at least 170 sites around the UK, from public parks and gardens to large private gardens, including Sandringham and Buckingham Palace.

Pulham advert from Country Life Illustrated 1900


The company was run by four generations of James Pulham. The first James (James 1) was originally apprenticed with his brother, Obadiah, in c.1810 to a master builder in Woodbridge, William Lockwood, where they learnt the skill of stone modelling. The brothers turned out to be highly skilled modellers, and when Lockwood established a London branch, James 1 became the London manager. Following Lockwood’s death, the firm began to trade under the Pulham name. On James 1’s death in 1838 his son James 2 inherited the firm aged just 18 and moved to Amwell Street in Hoddesdon.  He was commissioned to produce his first rock garden for Woodlands, and the landscaping side of the business was born. James 2 saw a gap in the market and moved to larger premises on Station Road near Broxbourne station, where he could make an extensive range of ornaments and artificial rocks. He developed his own form of artificial rock known as ‘Pulhamite’ – a rubble core covered over with cement that was painted to look like real rock.


2014.099.15 - Woodlands (c)

Pulham Rock Garden at Woodlands, Hoddesdon

James 2 exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and the International Exhibition of 1862. In 1865 his son James 3 joined the family business which became known as Pulham & Son. The company received two royal warrants, the first in 1895 for work at Sandringham for HRH The Prince of Wales, the second for work at Buckingham Palace in 1903. They also produced gardens for Chelsea Flower shows during the early 1900s.

King George V and Queen Mary visiting James Pulham 4 and the Pulham garden at the 1931 Chelsea Flower Show


The years after the First World War saw a gradual decline in work from large estates and a rise in commissions from local councils looking to ‘beautify’ their parks and seaside resorts. Finally, in 1939 the firm closed at the eve of the Second World War. Pulham house and most of the manufactory site were demolished in 1967 as new flats and a larger car park were built near the station. Today just one brick kiln and the puddling mill remains.

The Puddling Mill next to Broxbourne station car park


The Pulham project is celebrating this important history and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is a joint project between Broxbourne Borough Council’s Lowewood Museum and B3Living. Here at the Museum our Project Exhibitions Officer is developing a touring exhibition showcasing the company’s history, which will be on display from 14 January – 29 April 2017, as well as an events program and online Pulham resources. Keep an eye out on the blog and the website www.broxbourne.gov.uk/lowewood-museum for more information. Our first event is a free stone carving taster workshop on Saturday 20 August.

Stone carving taster session

During 2016 the remaining manufactory buildings will be conserved, and with the help of volunteers B3 Living will also be rejuvenating the surrounding gardens.

Meet the team – Exhibitions Officer, Pulhams

Jennifer image

Jennifer Rowland

Job title
Exhibitions Officer, Pulhams

Give a brief outline of what you will be working on over the coming year.
I am working on a project celebrating the work of the Pulhams of Broxbourne, key landscape designers of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I will be developing a touring exhibition and marketing this to potential host venues. The exhibition will launch at Lowewood Museum in January 2017 and be available for tour from May 2017. I will also be organising an event program to accompany the exhibition, and producing interpretation signage on the former Pulham factory site, the remains of which are being conserved as part of the project. The whole project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is being delivered in partnership with Broxbourne Borough Council and B3Living.

What is your favourite thing about working in Museums?
That moment when a visitor discovers a famous, personal or local history link to a museum object that makes them go ‘oh wow’. Inspiring and enthusing people of all ages with the collections and the areas of history covered by a museum is the most rewarding part of the job. Plus the chance to get involved in lots of different activities, get dressed up in historical costumes for events, and generally have fun all in the name of the job!

Share one piece of advice for those interested in working in the Museum field.
Think outside the box. The role and work of museums is constantly changing, so be flexible and don’t be afraid to put forward your ideas, whether you are volunteering or at a job interview!

Which historical figure would you like to meet and why. What would you ask them?
John Ray, the 17th Century father of natural history, who worked out the first scientific definition of a species and catalogued thousands of plants, animals, birds, fish, reptiles and insects during his life. The sheer scale of his works amazes me. He also wrote very advanced papers for the 17th Century on adaptation and the origins of fossils. However, sadly he is not that well known despite his ground-breaking contributions.  He lived in my former home village of Black Notley in Essex so I guess I would probably ask him – ‘What was it really like to live in Black Notley in the 1690s?’

Where would you choose to go/visit if you could go anywhere in the world for a day?
New Zealand to see the Lord of the Rings sets

What was the first music track or album you bought?
Ronan Keating’s album Ronan

‘School’s Out’, New Exhibition at Lowewood Museum

School's Out poster low res

Opening on Saturday 10 October, ‘School’s Out’ gathers together memories and objects from the Borough’s schools history. Curated by Lowewood Museum’s Youth Panel, this special exhibition has something for everyone to enjoy.

Below is a gallery of images from Lowewood Museum’s photographic collection of schools through history.

On The Move Exhibition

From cart to car, the ancient invention of the wheel created the world we know today. Our latest exhibition, ‘On The Move’, open until 26 September 2015 explores the ways we rely on the wheel and marks the 175th anniversary of the opening of Waltham Cross and Broxbourne railway stations.

Below is a gallery of images from Lowewood Museum’s photographic collection of transport across the Borough.


Royal Collection at Lowewood Museum

Royal Display

Lock of hair from King Edward IV

One of the star pieces to feature in a new display at Lowewood Museum is a lock of hair taken from King Edward IV (1442-1483).

The new display celebrates the Borough’s Year of Heritage and petition for Royal Borough status, showcasing items in connection with the Borough’s royal history.

For conservation purposes the lock of hair has been in storage at the museum, but will be on display until 26 September 2015.

Born in France in April 1442, Edward was the son of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York. Following his father’s death, Edward won the struggle against the Lancastrians to establish the House of York on the English throne. Edward IV died in 1483 and was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. His sons, Edward and Richard were left in the protection of their uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester – later to become the infamous ‘King in the Car Park’. Richard later assumed the throne and housed the two princes in the Tower of London where they were never seen again.

The piece of hair shown on display at the museum was donated to Lowewood in 1964. It was taken from Edward’s tomb on Friday 13 March 1789, and discovered during restorations of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Inside the tomb was the lead coffin of the king and recorded was “some long brown hair lay near the skull; and some of the same colour, but shorter, was on the neck of the skeleton.”

Today a piece of the hair remains with the Society of Antiquaries, London, along with the piece shown at Lowewood Museum.