Beds, Herts & Bucks

Dry rot shuts Wardown House in Luton after £3.5m facelift

Wardown House Image copyright Luton Culture
Image caption Wardown House museum and gallery, in Wardown Park in Luton, was shut for a year from 2016 to 2017

A museum that underwent a year-long £3.5m transformation has been closed after dry rot was discovered.

Wardown House in Luton, Bedfordshire reopened in April 2017 following the multi-million pound refit.

Luton Borough Council says the museum will now be shut until 6 February for "essential maintenance work".

A spokeswoman said it carried out "thorough building surveys" before the refurbishment which showed "no evidence" of the problem.

Image copyright Luton Culture
Image caption Wardown House has many rooms to visit including the Murry Barford Drawing Room

The house was built in the late 1860s for the family of local businessman Frank Scargill, and became a dedicated museum and gallery in the 1930s run by the charity Luton Culture.

The refit saw new exhibits go on show including Queen Victoria's silk stockings and a mummified cat.

A spokeswoman for Luton Borough Council said: "Wardown House is closed for essential maintenance work, which includes treatment for dry rot.

"Thorough building surveys conducted before the refurbishment project showed no evidence of this problem, but the age of the building means this kind of contamination is always a risk.

"Having identified the issue we are ensuring the rest of the house is once again checked thoroughly."

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