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About Luton

Luton is now a large, vibrant and multicultural town located in an enviable position only 30 miles north of central London. It has always been synonymous with hat making and also played an important role in the development of the engineering industry in the 20th Century. Luton is not renowned for its historic architecture but nevertheless the town has seven attractively landscaped parks on its outskirts and a surprising number of natural open spaces.

The town's architectural gems come in the form of fine Art Deco buildings most notably a house named 'Blue Rails' which was originally bought by a Mr Dillingham who owned one of the largest hat manufacturing companies in Luton. The building is a three storey house with five bedrooms with a staircase tower displaying a chevron decoration and many other typical art deco features including the original curved metal windows, a balcony and a sun terrace. The building was designed by Evelyn Simmons to incorporate as much sunlight as possible.

The Sunway House, as the design was called, was famously featured at The Ideal Home Exhibition and, where it is thought it was first encountered by Mr Dillingham, who soon had one built in Old Bedford Road in Luton. Several of Luton’s other Art Deco buildings have been Listed.

Mention must also be made about an impressive building from the same era and built in the neo-classical style. Luton Town Hall is located at the junction between Manchester Street, Upper George Street and George Street. The building constructed of grey Portland stone with a steel frame, has a striking clock tower and many typical, internal, art deco features such as staircase rails, door panels and radiator screens. The Town Hall still maintains a vital role in the life of Luton today providing essential services and accommodation for important functions. This, together with some of the 19th century hat factories that are now being restored, graphically illustrates Luton's previous periods of growth.