Following successful funding bids, the Trust secured £7.2m towards refurbishing three hat factories and building Hat Studios.  The collection of imposing buildings will provide 25,000 sq. ft. of new workspace for the creative industries. This will enable 133 additional jobs and further inject life into a vibrant cultural district that will attract 135,000 new visitors by 2022.

The Hat District is the best connected creative workspace cluster in the UK, being a two-minute walk from a mainline train station (22 minutes to London) and bus station connecting the region. In addition, it is only 10 minutes by car from the M1 and London Luton Airport.

The Hat District portfolio consists of three buildings and one new build:

Hat Works – 47 Guildford Street (opens mid 2020*)

The journey begins at Hat Works believed to be the oldest factory in Luton and is ideal for those looking for affordable and flexible pay-as-you-go workspace.  This historic Grade II listed building, empty since 2006, will house co-working spaces ideal for micro-businesses, graduates and entrepreneurs to develop their creative ideas, services or designed products. Hat Works will provide a welcoming reception for all Hat District visitors, bookable meeting rooms and a made in Luton showcase area.

Hat Factory Arts Centre – 65-67 Bute Street (re-opened September 2019)

As successful start-ups grow, they’ll step up to the Hat Factory, a regional arts and cultural venue with opportunities to collaborate with other like-minded creative practitioners and SME’s. The Hat Factory also offers a theatre, comedy bar, café, education rooms, start-up retail space and a vibrant year round arts programme. The arts centre has been refurbished to increase and widen access to the arts by creating new spaces, better venues, a larger reception, café and social area.

Hat House – 32 Guildford Street

At Hat House, more established creative businesses can develop in these industrial workspaces which are light, bright and inspiring. This grand, imposing property of 11,200 sq. ft. will have three upper floors consisting of individual studios ranging in size and scope. There will also be a basement ‘foody’ offer providing a destination for all our hat district users and visitors to soak up the atmosphere.

Creative Industries can be serviced by the Hat District cluster and conditions are designed for growth. At Hat House, creative businesses will offer their professional experience and insight to start-ups, and in turn, draw upon the energy and ideas of fresh talent based in the other Hat District factories.

Hat Studios – 33-35 Guildford Street (opens end of 2020*)

In June 2018, the Trust secured a vacant site where buildings had been demolished (33-35 Guildford Street). Here the Trust is building Hat Studios using some of the £3.9m funding from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) through the Government’s Local Growth Fund.  The new building will provide 7,000 sq. ft. of workspace for creative industries.  Hat Studios will be architecturally interesting and form part of the Hat District family of restored hat factories with shared signage, branding and quality standards.

*Estimated dates

Looking for creative workspace in the Hat District?  Call 01582 547470 or email

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