Taking pride in Bedford’s history

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Dunster House student visit 2019
Dunster House students recently visited the Mayor's parlour

A number of recent visits I’ve hosted in the Mayor’s Parlour in the Old Town Hall have served as powerful reminders of how fortunate we are to live in a town and a Borough with such a fascinating and illustrious history.

The students and graduates from Dunster House Ltd who came for a talk are from countries from across the world.

Their interest in and enthusiasm for Bedford’s history as they start out in careers with one of our major local businesses was tremendous.

I also met the Maldives’ UK Ambassador in the Parlour last week, and it was good to hear that the welcome we gave the Maldives Olympic team as a community in 2012 is remembered warmly.

The parlour is full of captivating items from Bedford’s rich history. They belongs to all of us, and should be enjoyed rather than kept locked away.

So as Mayor I’ve tried to open the parlour up to more people and groups. If you are involved with a community group, youth group, charity or other organisation which might enjoy a visit, please get in touch and we’ll arrange it.

From the burial of King Offa in 798 to the Royal Charter signed by Henry II in 1166 to Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in the 17th Century to countless other events besides, Bedford has a truly fascinating story to tell.

That history needs to be promoted, shared and enjoyed as far as possible.

That’s why it’s great to see events such as the Bedford BID’s recent medieval festival on and around the historic Castle Mound.

It’s why we’re looking at how we can do more to promote our Bunyan link, for Bedford should be synonymous with what is one of the most widely read books across the world.

It’s why we flew the Bedfordshire flag with pride at Borough Hall on the recent Historic Counties Flags Day, in recognition of Bedford’s status as the county town.

And it’s why the Higgins Bedford does so much to promote and to share Bedford’s history, including through events for children such as those currently taking place through the summer holidays.

Celebrating Bedford’s history is always an important part of the River Festival too, and the countdown is now well and truly on with less than a year until 2020’s event.

Amongst its many attractions to look forward to is another opportunity to look back, and to share and promote Bedford’s unique, illustrious history.

This is a monthly guest column provided by
Mayor Dave Hodgson and published unedited.