Two New Exhibitions
Two Exciting New Exhibitions Are Coming to The Higgins
Bedford - 23rd April – 2nd October
Bedford’s War Machines
This new exhibition at The Higgins Bedford
takes a close-up look at the Simplex railway locomotives made in
Bedford and explores the town’s home-front contribution to
the Great War. 2016 marks the centenary year in which Simplex
petrol locomotives, which were integral to the allied effort on the
Western Front, began to be made in Bedford.
823 Simplex Motor Rail petrol locomotives were
exported to the Front from Bedford. The engines were part of a new
infrastructure for getting troops, supplies and ammunition to the
front lines. Simplex petrol engines were safer than steam engines,
which could be targeted by the enemy and were too heavy for the
Other engineering firms in Bedford, including
W. H. Allen’s, were also involved in manufacturing war machinery
and ammunition for the Front. In 1916, W.H. Allen’s expanded,
building a new factory at Biddenham, employing a predominantly
female workforce and producing Le Rhone Rotary aircraft engines.
The men and women making these machines in Bedford had an essential
role in the eventual allied victory in the First World
The exhibition, in partnership with Leighton
Buzzard Railway, includes a rare surviving Simplex locomotive and
wagon, which will be installed in The Higgins Bedford
Lucien Freud, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth,
Stanley Spencer and Dora Carrington are all included in this
exhibition: a celebration of the differing approaches to drawing
the human figure taken by British artists. The exhibition is drawn
exclusively from Bedford’s internationally renowned collection.
The angular works of Wyndham Lewis and the
gritty realism of Lucien Freud and Walter Sickert are in stark
contrast to Dora Carrington’s tender drawings of her brothers. It
is the first time Carrington’s drawings of Noel and Teddy have been
on display at The Higgins Bedford. The works, Noel
Carrington c. 1912 and Teddy Carrington c.1915 were
acquired by the art gallery in 2012 from the artist’s family.
Carrington would often persuade her brothers to sit for her on
visits home to Bedford from the Slade School of Art and the two
drawings are remarkable examples of her talent for figure
Including many of the 20th
century’s most influential artists, this exhibition celebrates the
inspiration these artists have drawn from the human figure.
The exhibitions are free to visit.
Tuesday to Saturday 11am – 5pm
Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 2 – 5pm