Welcome to the website of the Bedfordshire Local History Association (BLHA)
The BLHA has been the successful umbrella organisation for local history in the county for over thirty years.
Members include: almost all of Bedfordshire’s local history societies, institutions such as the Bedfordshire Archives, and an increasing number of individuals.
BLHA – Spring Event, Stotfold Mill, Wednesday 24th April 2024
BLHA 2024 AGM & Conference Hosted by the Leighton Buzzard & District Archaeological & Historical Society
Hosted by the Leighton Buzzard & District
Archaeological & Historical Society
Saturday 22nd June 2024
Planning for the 2024 Bedfordshire Local History conference on June 22 in Linslade, Leighton Buzzard is well ahead with speakers booked, sumptuous catering arrangements, a spacious hall, plenty of room for stalls and displays, ample parking and easy access by public transport.
There is a wide range of subjects and periods covered from the medieval period through to the Second World War. Perhaps the subject covering the longest period is the history of Leighton Buzzard Mill which was thriving as a double mill in 1066 so had a long history before that in a town owned by Saxon Kings. It survived right into the modern day, ending its life as a Mother’s Pride bakery, before being taken over and demolished in the 1970s.
There is a talk about Q Central, the secret Second World War communication centre in the town of which little is known but one of its outposts, Bletchley Park, is now a major tourist attraction. Leighton Buzzard was also the headquarters of Radar, again one of the best-kept secrets of the war.
Other subjects include Alice Chaucer, granddaughter of the poet Geoffrey, who owned Leighton Buzzard for 60 years during the turbulent years if the Wars of the Roses and one of the town’s great benefactors, building the Market Cross among other things. She was widowed three times and became one of the richest and most powerful women in England.
The keynote speaker is Paul Tate, head of the Leighton Society’s archaeological team, who had been leading a team looking for the Holy Well in Linslade, suppressed in 1299 because it was attracting too many pilgrims away from Lincoln. After seven years the well has been finally uncovered.
As usual, the day will start with coffee, the annual meeting of the Bedfordshire Local History Association at 9.30 am and the first speaker will be at 10.00 am.
An important part of the conference will be a coffee break and a long lunch break which will allow people to browse the exhibitions and stalls of local societies. Four stalls and three exhibitions have been booked so far, but there is plenty of space for more if any society is interested. There is no charge for stalls or exhibition space.
The organising committee have fixed entry fees as £25 per head, including lunch. For those not wanting lunch the cost is £20, but includes free tea and coffee.
Anyone wishing to book tickets or organise a stall before the formal booking forms are released then they can email below, an address set up especially for the conference.
The Society will monitor the address and contact you as soon as possible.
As stated at the beginning there is ample parking at Linslade Middle School in Mentmore Road, LU72PA, where the conference is being held. It is a 12 minute walk from Leighton Buzzard Railway Station, but is also on a bus route from the station and town centre. There is seating for 120 in the hall. Lunch will be available in the adjoining dining room.