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Oil Paintings of Mayor's of Bedford

Oil Paintings

Past Mayor's of Bedford

Sir William Long (1756-1841)

Sir WILLIAM LONG, Mayor 1803, 1813, 1822 & 1829. He was the owner of a brewery in St. Paul's Square, which passed to Jarvis, thence to Charles Wells. He lived at Kempston Bury, owned Bedford Lodge and was founder of a charity at Kempston. He received his knighthood in the birthday honours in 1814. He was Mayor when the Bedford Election, the first contest for forty years, was fought in 1830. Lord John Russell lost the election, partly by offending the Methodists. He voted for himself, which was not a prooper thing to do by the customs of the age. The result was a tie for second place, and Sir William, who had not given an oriinal vote, decided the election by his casting vote as returning officer. Lord John did not visit the town again for twenty-three years, and none of his family stood again, although they had commanded one of the seats for nearly fifty years. Sir William lent money to the Improvement Commissioners to build Bedford Bridge, but cancelled his bonds on condition that his carriage should pass free of toll, shortly after which tolls were done away with.

The oil paniting hanging in the Town Hall Council Chamber is by James Losdale, a pupil of Romney.

William Blower Mayor of Bedford 1853.
George Hurst (1800-1898)

GEORGE HURST, Mayor 1855, 1873, 1874 1886 and part of 1878, the former Mayor (John Usher Taylor) having died. George Hurst died at the age of 98, and was the last remaining member of the unreformed Council to which he was elected a Common Councilman in 1834. He was a draper and exhibited lace of his own design in the Great Exhibition of 1851, and was besides a pamphleteer, antiquary and author of some verses and plays. He revived Bedford Wool Fair (held on St. Peter's Green) andin 1862 was chosen by the Town Council to compose a reply to the Privy Council, which had attributed to the water-supply (from Wells) and to the drainage system, a supposed prevalence of typhoid in Bedord.


George Miller GEORGE H MILLER. Mayor  1856 to 1858.
John Howard 1791-1878

JOHN HOWARD. Mayor 1858 tO 1861. From about 1480 until 1835 no one was elected Mayor of Bedford two years running. After 1835, two or even three year terms were not uncommon but John Howard's four years has only once been surpassed (up to 2002 formation of a Unitery Council) by GH Barford (1922 -26). He had been apprenticed to the ironmonger at Olney by the Trustees of Bedford Charity and founded his own Iron Works in 1835. His first shop (formly Bacchus) had been an Inn called the Barley Mow, and his plough is still mounted above it. Howard's was known in Bedford simply as the "Firm" for many ears since it was the largest employer in the town. Most of the workmen considered themselves "Smiths" by trade and it was a custom to give free drinks in the public houses on St. Clement's Day (23rd November) their patron. John Moore Howard, the father of John Howard, was governor of the County Gaol and though they were not related, he and (John Howard) the rison reformer called each other kinsmen. John Howard was gradson and great-nephew of two Mayor's of bedford, Thomas and John and father and grand-father of two more, James and Geoffrey, also grand-father of the Reverend C.F. Farrer, author of "Old Bedford" and other books of local interest. He lived in Cauldwell House. He was elected Mayor again in 1871 but declined for reasons of health.

Note: This portrait was painted before the Mayor's chain was presented by Mayor John Bull in 1870.

James Howard 1822-89

JAMES HOWARD. Mayor 1863 and 1864. His Family were Conservatives but he became a Liberal and was elected MP for the Borough in 1868. John Howard did not vote since he was unwilling to vote for a Liberal or against his son. James was not on the Council when he was elected, having retired shortly before, but he was the first townsman for two hundred years to sit for the Borough. In 1880, he was elected for the County and received more votes than Lord Tavistock. He lived at Clapham Park and was the author of a number of pamphlets on agricultural subjects. He first exhibited at Oxford in 1839 at the first meeting of the Royal Agricultural Society; and at Newcastle in 1846, he won prizes for the best plough on light land and the best on heavy land, both with the same plough. He exhibited and drove the iron wheel plough, his own invention, at the Royal Show at Aintree in 1841. When he was Mayor the main drainage and water supply systems were begun and it was due to him that Bedford was the first town to have seperate sewers for foul and storm water. He welcomed Garibaldi when he visted the town. When he was Sheriff of the County he received the Prince of Wales on his visit to Luton in 1878.


John Richard Bull 1827-80

 JOHN RICHARD BULL. Mayor from 1870 to 1871. He owned a jewellers shop in the High street and today you can still see the bull albeit todays shop is located in St Peter's street. John Bull gave the current mayoral chain to the town and left a legacy that the names of all outgoing Mayor's should be engraved on the links of the chain (3 names adorn each link) for the celebration of the Milleneium the shop gave 8 new links to be added to the chain.


James Thomas Hobson 1817-87 JAMES THOMAS HOBSON. Mayor 1876 & 1880.
Joshua Hawkins 1850-1939

JOSHUA HAWKINS. Mayor 1883,1884,1887,1888 and 1890. He was part-owner of the Bedfordshire Times of which his son became editor. He was Mayor when Bedford Park, Duck Mill Meadow and the Suspension Bridge (built by subscription) were opened and the foundation stone of the Voluntary Fire Brigade Station was laid (all in one year) He used to give a dinner to the aged poor on New Year's Day.

The portrait is by a local man named Carrier.

Alderman James Coombs 1813-1905 ALDERMAN JAMES COOMBS. Mayor 1889.
George Wells JP 1814 - 1912 GEORGE WELLS. Mayor 1893, 1894 &1896 to 1898
Gilbert Henry Barford 1868-1929

GILBERT HENRY BARFORD. Mayor 1922 to 1926 and 1928. He was the donor of the Corporate Seal and the Mayor's Seal now in use and of a small collection of silver pennies minted at Bedford. He died at a meeting of the Council held in the Town Hall Chamber on the 27th November 1929 after speaking in favour of buying 9 High Street for the Electricity Undertakings show rooms.

His portrait is by the Hon. John Collier OBE, a friend of Millais. Collier painted the portraits of Sir Sam Whitbread and the Duke of Bedford in the Shire Hall.



Town Clerk

Theed Pearce 1792-1857

THEED PEARSE, Town Clerk 1810 to 1815, Common Councilman 1816 - 1819 and 1821 to 1835, Clerk of the Peace for the Borough 1795 to 1836 and for the County 1798 to 1847. His son was Town Clek when the Commissioners for Inquiring into Municipal Corporations visted Bedford and gave evidence before them and again before the House of Lords when the Municipal Corporations Bill was being Considered and another descendant was Lord Brampton (better known as Henry Hawkins QC) who was one of leading counsel against the Tichborne claimant.

A lithograph was made after this portrait by Day and Haghe, of whom the latter, a Belgain, was one of the earliest master fthe art.Three successive members of the family were Town Clerks of Bedford from 1810 to 1890 and the son of the last, one of the latest survivors of the burgesses of Bedford, presented the Corporartion with a silver tray which the unreformed council had given to his grand-father and his brother bequeathed two water colours of Bedford Bridge.(Held in Higgins Museum) The family lived at Rye Close. They were consistent Tories and voted for tory candidates at every Town and County Election from 1820 to 1872 (the last open election in England) except 1830 when they did ot vote.






Bunyan Oak

Bunyan Oak, Harlington Bedfordshire 1994

Artist: Wessels, Albert. b 1938

John Bunyan

 John Bunyan Imagining the Pilgrims Progress in Bedford Gaol 1837

Artist: Harvey, George 1806-1876

                HM Queen

Queen Elizabeth II


Artist: Mottram, Christian Samuel

b 1939


Montrose at Kilsyth 1881

Artist: Gow, Andrew Carrick B 1848-1920


John Howard (Reformist) visting a Gaol

(Photograph to be added)


Water Colours


Bedford Bridge

Bedford Bridge

E Brown

ST Peters Square

John Bunyan statue on St Peter's square

David Green 1979



Mrs Goldsmith 1955

St Pauls Church

St Paul's Church

Artist unknown

 Bedford Mass

The Page Homestead, circa 1890

Barabara Leary.

The Boston Minutemen, Massachusetts.




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