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Court Barn Museum

About Court Barn Museum

Court Barn Museum is a project of the Guild of Handicraft Trust, and tells the story of craft and design in the north Cotswolds. The background to this story is the transformation of English life by industrialisation in the nineteenth century. The Arts and Crafts movement at the end of the century reacted in favour of older, simpler ways of making, and C. R. Ashbee set up his craft workshop, the Guild of Handicraft, in East London in 1888.

From 1900 onwards designers and craftspeople began to gather in the north Cotswolds, and in 1902 Ashbee brought the Guild of Handicraft to Chipping Campden. Sadly, the Guild did not prosper beyond its first few years and its failure in 1908 sent many craftsmen back to London, but by then the craft momentum had begun.

The Guild of Handicraft Trust was established in 1990 and, with generous financial help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, created Court Barn Museum in 2006-2007 to foster the appreciation of these people and their work, and to encourage craft and design work of good quality in the present day.

The Court Barn logo of a stylised pink, or carnation, is based on the emblem which C. R. Ashbee designed in 1890 for his Guild of Handicraft and was used on their metalwork, their printing and even on their football shirts. More than a hundred years later, the Guild of Handicraft Trust’s adoption of Ashbee’s motif as its logo acknowledges the importance of Ashbee and the Guild of Handicraft in the story of twentieth-century craft and design in the north Cotswolds.

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