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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > May 2011 > Bedford High Street

Bedford High Street

Bedford Central Library has come to the end of an enlightening research project based on the history of several shops on Bedford High Street from as far back as the 1800’s. The outcomes of this fascinating work will be on display in an exhibition running from 16th - 27th May, within the library.

 

Excerpts from the research have been published in booklet form, featuring photographs and images of the High Street and a bibliography. The title of the booklet is 'Half a Pound of Tuppeny Rice, Half a Pound of Treacle: Shopping in Bedford High Street c.1800 to 1970' and visitors are invited to take a copy home for their keepsake. Also, a 'High Street History Booklist' features titles on shopping past and present.

 

For individuals seeking a bit of fun upon visiting the exhibition, there will be a 'Bedford High Street Trail' - a small fold-out for members of the public to follow on foot, featuring some hidden gems on the High Street!

 

The inspiration for the assignment was generated from the BBC programme, ‘Turn Back Time’. Hilary McDonald, Team Librarian at Bedford Central Library, along with the help of Margaret Badley, who provides courses at the Bedford Retirement Education Centre, gathered together a group of researchers interested in the history of the shops on Bedford's High Street and set the project in motion.

 

Jenny Poad, Head of Libraries, at Bedford Borough Council, said: “This has been such an interesting piece of work and will hopefully make even the longest standing ‘Bedfordian’ able to find out something they didn’t know! Some facts that have been revealed are quite surprising. One such example is the owner of 'Laxtons' at 63a High Street, Thomas Laxton, who was a seedsmen, nurserymen and florist, aided the work of Charles Darwin through his observations and trials and was referred to in Darwin's published works.”

 

For research gathered by the group, including details of the project, photographs, and images, visit the libraries ‘Virtual Library’ at http://www.galaxy.bedfordshire.gov.uk/

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