Bedford – a place to live and work
Bedfordshire is one of England’s
smallest counties, flanked east and west by tourist hotspots like
Cambridge and Oxford, just a 35 minute train ride from central
London and a 20 minute car drive to London Luton airport.
People visiting Bedford for the
first time are often surprised to find such an attractive town,
standing as it does on one of the most beautiful and accessible
stretches of the Great River Ouse.
With its wide range of housing,
communications, superb educational facilities, shopping and leisure
amenities and general location, Bedford has for many people proved
itself a most attractive and rewarding area in which to live and
There is a fantastic range of
housing in the Bedford and surrounding area. Prices vary across the
Borough and depend upon type and condition. To the north of the
Borough lower prices can be found.
Average prices (2011)
Flat - £114,873
Terrace - £163,467
Semi - £199,087
Detached - £380,009
Unlike most of England, Bedford
Borough operates a three-tier education system which is arranged
into lower, middle and upper schools. State upper schools in the
town include St Thomas More Catholic Upper School , John Bunyan
Upper School, Mark Rutherford Upper School and Biddenham Upper
School. On 17 November 2009, borough councillors voted 19 to 17 in
favour of a two tier system, which was due to be phased in.
However, following the recent announcement from Government removing
BSF funding, this is now on hold.
Bedford is unique in having 5
public schools run by the Harpur Trust charity, endowed by
Bedfordian Sir William Harpur in the sixteenth century. These
Bedford School for boys
Bedford Modern School, a former boys' school
which became co-educational in 2003 for pupils aged 7–18
Bedford High School for girls aged 7–18
Dame Alice Harpur School for girls aged
Pilgrims Pre-Preparatory School.
Smaller private institutions
include Rushmoor School (boys aged 3–16, girls 3-11) St. Andrew's
School (girls aged 3–16, boys 3-9), and Polam Oaks School, none of
which are part of the Harpur Trust.
Bedford hosts a campus of the
University of Bedfordshire, which prior to a merger with the
University of Luton in 2006 had been a campus of De Montfort
University (itself now solely based in Leicester). For further
education, the town is served by Bedford College. Additionally,
Stella Mann College is a private college, which offers a range of
further education courses relating to the performing arts.
Bedford Museum & Art Gallery is
housed in the recreated Victorian home of the Higgins family of
Victorian brewers and in a modern extension. The museum has local
history collections, while the galleries have notable collections
of watercolours, prints and drawings, ceramics, glass and lace.
The Bedford Corn Exchange is the
largest entertainment venue in the town and plays host to a variety
of performances, meetings, conferences, concerts and private
functions. The Corn Exchange also operates the Harpur Suite
exhibition hall and the Bedford Civic Theatre which, in 2007 played
host to the 'Bedfringe festival', a pre-Edinburgh Fringe festival
(Bedfringe has now expanded into multiple venues in the town). The
University of Bedfordshire Theatre is the largest theatre in
Bedford and hosts many larger productions as well as projects from
the university. There is an active amdram (community theatre)
scene, with groups such as the Swan Theatre Company, Bedford
Dramatic Club (BDC), Bedford Marianettes and ShowCo Bedford
producing plays and musicals in venues like the Civic Theatre and
the Corn Exchange. The Bedford Pantomime Company produces a
traditional pantomime at the Bedford Corn Exchange each Christmas.
Esquires (one of the town's premier live music venues) regularly
plays host to many notable bands and acts from all over the UK as
well as showcasing local live music.
Every two years, an event called
"The River Festival" is held near the river in Bedford during early
July. The event lasts for two days and regularly attracts about
250,000 visitors. The event includes sports, funfairs and live
music. It is the second largest regular outdoor event in the UK
beaten in numbers only by the Notting Hill Carnival. The Bedford
Regatta each May is Britain's largest one-day river rowing
Other annual events include
'Bedford By The Sea' (when large quantities of sand are deposited
in the town centre) and the 'Bedford International Kite Festival'
in June. 'Proms In The Park', held in early August, is a popular