Hidden Gem: history and celebrity at the British Lawnmower Museum

The museum supplies garden machinery for film and TV and houses lawnmowers from the rich and famous.

Located in Southport, The British Lawnmower Museum celebrates one of our most ordinary household items as it keeps a small part of British engineering heritage alive.

This unique national collection dates from the original first grass cutting patent in 1799, at the time of the industrial revolution, to the first robot mower in 1995, which cost £1 million to develop.

It includes manufacturers not usually associated with the garden industry, such as Rolls Royce, Royal Enfield, Dennis, and many more.

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    The museum supplies lawnmowers and garden machinery for film and TV, most recently the Downton Abbey movie and curator Brian Radam says if you look closely, you might spot his feet in the shot too.

    Donations from the general public are accepted and restored and they could stand alongside machines from H.R.H. Prince Charles, Vanessa Feltz, Brian May, Paul O’Grady, Eric Morecambe and many more in the collection.

    Brian Radam, curator at the British Lawnmower Museum.

    Humble beginnings

    Edwin Beard Budding patented the lawnmower in 1830. He worked in a textile mill in Stroud, Gloucester, where he initially designed a machine to trim the bobbles off the cloth.

    People thought he was mad to invent such a gadget at the time, so he had to test the device at night so no one could see him.

    Curator Brian Radam says: "It's one of the reasons that we started the Museum because the British machinery in the garden machinery industry was some of the biggest in the world.

    “Sadly we've lost such a lot of it. We started collecting the machines when the companies that made them closed down."

    The Museum displays 300 restored pristine machines, part of over a thousand that span the history of garden machinery.

    The Museum is open Monday - Saturday, 9 AM - 5:30 PM.