A Timeline of Bedford

By Tim Lambert

Late 9th Century The Danes found a burh or fortified settlement at Bedford, north of the river

915 The English recapture Bedfordshire from the Danes. They found a new settlement south of the river. Bedford becomes a busy little market town.

1010 The Danes pillage Bedford

1166 Bedford is given a charter

1238 Franciscan friars arrive in Bedford

1300 Bedford is a little town with a population of about 1,500. Its main industry is making wool.

1554 Bedford is given an extra weekly market

1575-76 Plague strikes Bedford

1643 The royalists capture Bedford but they soon withdraw

1650 Bedford has a population of about 2,000

1689 The River Great Ouse is made navigable as far as Bedford. The wool industry is declining but new industries grow up.

1799 The first bank opens in Bedford

1801 Bedford has a population of 3,948. A new Bedford jail is built.

1803 A body of men is formed to pave, clean, and light the streets of Bedford

1832 Bedford gains gas light. Cholera strikes Bedford.

1846 The railway reaches Bedford

1849 Cholera strikes again

1850 Bunyan Meeting House is built

1855 A cemetery opens in Bedford

1866 A piped water supply is created in Bedford

1882 Shire Hall is built

1888 The Park opens

1899 A hospital opens in Bedford

1901 Bedford has a population of about 35,000

1935 The first public library opens in Bedford

1949 Cecil Higgins Art Gallery opens

1962 Bedford Museum opens on its present site

1976 The Harpur Centre opens

1998 The Bunyan Museum opens in Bedford

2000 A statue of Trevor Huddleston is erected in Silver Street