Wagon Walk

No. of Objects: 176

An image of two wagons held at the Museum of English Rural Life.

Explore the variety of England

In this gallery we celebrate our national collection of farm wagons. Walk with us through the construction, history and context behind these fascinating and complicated vehicles.

Each of our wagons were built to suit the landscape, crops and artistic traditions of its regions. Explore the stories behind their owners, use, and origins before choosing your favourite.

This gallery includes the bulk of our wagon and cart collection, and includes a rich selection of archives and objects. We reveal the detailed and personal stories about these vehicles and their place in the wider history and culture of rural England.

The MERL Google Streetview Tour

What can I see


Making Hurdles

51 Voices


Horse Brass

51 Voices


Miller’s Wagon

51 Voices


Watch a film of blacksmiths making parts for wagons

Put on a headset and listen to one of the last specialist blacksmiths telling the story of his business and craft

Did you know

...city families used to pick hops on holiday?

Hop picking holidays allowed city families to earn money. Pickers were paid with tokens, which were used in local shops or exchanged for wages.

Did you know

...Elizabethan mattresses were used for both childbirth and corpses?

Mattresses, plaited from sedges, were made to support a mother during childbirth or a corpse after death. After use it would have been burned.

Did you know

...farmers used to sow seeds by fiddle?

Sowing by hand can be slow and inaccurate. Seed drills were developed in the 1800s to sow seeds quickly in a straight line at regular intervals.

Did you know

...Lady Eve Balfour (1898-1990) was one of the earliest organic farmers and co-founded the Soil Association?

Women continue to play a key role in this movement, with organic farms employing significantly more women than chemical farming.

Did you know

...Suttons Seeds invented the seed packet?

The local Reading firm, founded in 1806, popularised paper packets of seeds for gardeners.

Item from the Suttons Sees Ltd. archive collection

Did you know

...villages often used to run their own fire services?

The National Fire Service was only created in 1941.