Meetings 2023 to 2024

Tuesday 3rd October 2023:

Postponed Eric Houfe Memorial Lecture: English Garden Eccentrics – Three Hundred Years of Extraordinary Groves, Burrowings, Mountains and Menageries: Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

Renowned landscape architect and historian Todd Longstaffe-Gowan reveals a series of obscure and eccentric English garden-makers who, between the early seventeenth and the early twentieth centuries, created intensely personal and idiosyncratic gardens.

Tuesday 7th November 2023:

Edward Bawden and Bedford: James McGregor

Edward Bawden (1903-89) was a master printmaker, illustrator, watercolourist and designer and is today recognised as one of the most influential artists of his generation. While he is perhaps best known for his commercial work for companies such as Twinings and Fortnum & Mason, and his linocuts, there is much more to Bawden than this.  On his death in 1989, Bawden left just over 3000 of his works to the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery in Bedford and there is now a permanent but ever-changing exhibition space dedicated to him there. This lecture will explore why Bawden is considered to be so influential, as well as his links to Bedford and will be delivered by James McGregor, co-author of a book on Bawden published in 2008. 

Tuesday 5th December 2023:

Patience, Jigsaws and Other Games Archivists Play: Pamela Birch

Pamela is the County Archivist and will provide an entertaining talk about what archivists (and conservators) do all day, using the analogy of various games. This will be our seasonal social evening, with a chance for members to get involved.

The meeting will be preceded at 7:15 by the formal launch of the “Ampthill Past Memories” project.

Arrive early for mulled wine and mince pies!

Tuesday 5th March 2024:

How to Research your Family’s Military Ancestry: Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts is an ex-serviceman who works conducting bespoke military research and tours for both individuals and for a number of television documentaries as well. He has a particular passion for the First World War and has co-authored a number of books on the subject, including Ghosts of the Somme: Filming the Great Battle July 1916 (published in 2009) and The Platoon: An Infantryman on the Western Front 1916-18 (published in 2013). This lecture will provide guidance as to how to carry out research into your own family’s military ancestry, including what records exist, how to access them and interpret them.

Tuesday 9th April 2024:

The History of Wrest Park, covering its 800-year History and Stories: Richard Luscombe

Richard is the Volunteer Historical Records Keeper at Wrest Park, working as part of the Volunteer History Research Team. We are hoping that we can link this talk with a future visit “behind the scenes” at Wrest Park during Summer 2024.

Tuesday 7th May 2024:

Eric Houfe Memorial Lecture: King Offa and Bedford: Professor Simon Keynes

This lecture will look at the evidence which exists to support the claim made in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that the mighty Mercian King Offa (died 796) was laid to rest in Bedford. Professor Simon Keynes is the emeritus Ellington and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Cambridge University and a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He is a world authority on the subject and has published many books and articles, including the co-author of Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources which forms part of the Penguin Classic Series.