BLHA Event Reports

BLHA – Spring Event, Stotfold Mill, Wednesday 24th April 2024

Awaiting report

Bedfordshire Local History Association

BLHA Autumn Event – Chester House Estate

Higham Road, Irchester NN29 7EZ

Wednesday 27th September 2023, 11.00 am Start

We are very fortunate to have a visit to the Chester House Estate tailored specifically to the BLHA.

  • The morning begins at 11.00 am with an introductory talk about the Chester House Estate Restoration Project by Martin Lawrence, (General Manager at Chester House Estate and also the Head of Culture, Tourism and Heritage for North Northamptonshire Council)
  • A guided tour of the archaeological dig led by Jack Pishhorn (General Manager).  The dig is run by the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and the University of Leicester Archaeological Services. The general site has a rich heritage from Mesolithic flint scatters to 17th-century farm buildings with Roman evidence from the suburbs of the small Roman town of Irchester.
  • Ben Donnelly Symes (Archive Creator) will give us a guided tour of the Archaeological Resource Centre.  This is a state-of-the-art facility, which is the new archaeological archive repository for the whole of Northants.

Lunch is planned for 1.00 pm and can be taken in the Farmhouse Café, alternatively, bring a packed lunch for eating in the grounds and taking one of the walks.  The afternoon you will be free to explore the site.

Parking for our group will be available close to the main building along with disabled parking via the Lime Avenue entrance. Walking no further than a couple of hundred yards from the main building will be necessary during the day.  The dig site is not accessible to wheel chair users.

We do need to give Chester House an idea of numbers attending, and also those likely to want to eat in the Café.  Please book a place on the visit using the booking link below.

Apart from the events laid on for the BLHA, the Estate has a Florist, Saxby’s Cider Shop, Canine Cottage (goods for four-legged friends), Gift Shop and Visitor Centre and Farm Shop.

The Chester House Estate website:

We hope you will be able to join us in what is going to be a fascinating visit

BLHA - Autumn Event 2023

BLHA Autumn Event 2023 Booking Contact Form

Date and time – Wednesday 27th September.  11.00 am start.  Lunch at 1.00 pm. The site closes at 4.00 pm.

Location – The Chester House Estate is situated just off the eastbound A45 between Wellingborough and Rushden.  All attendees including Blue Badge holders should use the Lime Avenue, A45 Entrance. Please use postcode NN29 7EZ to find this entrance.

Cost and booking – There is no charge for the event. To secure a place, please book via the link and indicate whether you will likely use the Farmhouse Café for lunch.  Also, if you would be willing to offer a lift to someone and share fuel cost or don’t have transport please indicate on the booking form.

Bookings must be received no later than Wednesday 20th September.

Awaiting report

BLHA 2023 AGM and Conference – Local History Societies’ Archives: An Overlooked Resource? 24th June

Presented by Potton History Society.

‘The material I discovered in the Potton History Society archive was the glue that held my research together. It was not available elsewhere.’Awaiting Report

BLHA Spring Event 2023– Walking Tour of Woburn  

Tour guide: Natasha Kikas, Archivist, Bedfordshire Archives Service

Awaiting Report

BLHA Autumn Event 2022 – Tempsford Museum and Archives – Friday 16th September

On Friday 16th September, the first BLHA Autumn event since 2019 was held and hosted by Tempsford Museum and Archives.  The collection was begun by local historian Steve Cooney over 20 years ago and was initially housed in a shed at the bottom of his garden.  Since 2013, the collection has been housed in the Tempsford Stuart Memorial Hall.

The evening began in the main hall with a very welcome drink of tea, coffee and homemade cakes provided by his cake makers.  Steve gave us a warm welcome, introduced the museum and then gave a well-illustrated presentation on the history of Tempsford.  Following questions, we were able to view the displays of many of the past residents of the village including those who fought in both wars.  The museum has a small archive office packed with local material which Steve is happy to delve into to answer local history enquiries.

What was once the snooker room of the hall now housing the bulk of the collection. The range of the material is very impressive, which includes for example, a small fire engine, memorabilia related to Tempsford Airfield, village life and group photographs.

The evening was very well received by all of the 18 members attending with very positive comments. Tempsford Museum is a tribute to Steve’s hard work, both he and his committee should be congratulated on a well-presented local museum.  For those interested in local history in the Tempsford area, I would strongly recommend a visit to the museum, either as a personal visit on one of the Sunday open afternoons or as a society visit to see how much can be achieved in a small village.

Clive Makin

Secretary, Bedfordshire Local History Association

BLHA – Tempsford Museum and Archives Report

BLHA 2022 AGM and Conference Report

Bedfordshire Local History Association AGM & Annual Conference 2022
Saturday 26th June 2022
Hosted by Bedfordshire Historical Record Society (BHRS)
at Priory Methodist Church in Bedford

BLHA AGM Conference 2022 Report

BLHA Spring Event – Local History in a Pandemic – Saturday 27th March 2 pm (Zoom Talk) Report by Dorothy Jamieson

BLHA Spring Event – Local History in a Pandemic – Saturday 27th March 2 pm (Zoom Talk)

With ongoing restriction related to the current pandemic, the BLHA is very pleased to be able to present the Spring 2021 Event on Saturday 27th March.  Geoff Saunders (Archaeological Officer, Planning Services, Bedford Borough) and Matt Tuohy (Historic Environment Record Officer, Bedford Borough) will be the speakers and present a talk entitled ‘Local History in a Pandemic’.

The talk will cover the complications we have faced during the pandemic, how they have been overcome (or not!), with a focus on the recent work of the Bedford Borough Historic Environment Team over the past year. This work includes the recent large scale evaluations along the proposed route of the new A428 bypass in the east of the Borough along with numerous small and large scale investigations associated with various development proposals.

The talk will also cover the results of archaeological works reported on which we have reviewed over the past year.

Our HER Officer Matt Tuohy will provide updates on the Historic Environment Record and some of the more interesting recent enhancements he has made to it.

The event will take place via Zoom on Saturday 27th March at 2 pm.  The talk will last for approximately 1 hour and there will be a questions and answers session to follow.  If you would like to join us for what will be a fascinating talk, then please contact the BLHA Secretary to book your place and receive full details on how to join us.

Please provide your name and the name of the society to which you belong to:

Evaluation Trenches at the Black Cat Roundabout

Evaluation Trenches at the Black Cat Roundabout


LiDAR for the Deserted Medieval Settlement in Chellington

LiDAR for the Deserted Medieval Settlement in Chellington


BLHA Spring Event Report 2021

BLHA Autumn Event 2019 – The Walled Garden, Luton Hoo Estate

BLHA 2019 AGM and Conference Report

Bedfordshire Local History Association AGM & Annual Conference 2019
Saturday 22nd June 2019 at 10am
Hosted by Bedfordshire Gardens Trust
at Poplars Garden Centre, (Education Learning Zone), Toddington, Beds LU5 6HE

BLHA Annual Conference 2019 Report

BLHA Spring Event 2019

BLHA Spring Event 2019 – Bedfordshire Police Museum

BLHA Spring Workshop 2019 – GIS

Report by Des Hoar

BLHA Spring Event - Workshop on GIS


BLHA Autumn Event 2018

The Military Intelligence Museum, Chicksands, Bedfordshire

Tuesday, 25th September 2018

BLHA 2018 AGM and Conference Report

Bedfordshire Local History Association AGM & Annual Conference 2018
Saturday 2nd June 2018
Hosted by Clapham Historical Society
at Clapham Village Hall, 118 High Street, Clapham, Bedford MK41 6BS

BLHA Annual Conference 2018 Report

BLHA Spring Event 2018 

BLHA Autumn Event 2017 – Sulgrave Manor

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Our Autumn Event was a visit to Sulgrave Manor in the afternoon of Saturday, 30 September, in south Northamptonshire, It is a Tudor and Georgian house built by the direct ancestors of George Washington, first President of the United States. Civil War, financial ruin and a shipwreck led Washington’s great-grandfather to seek a fresh start in the New World.

The visit included a guided tour of the gardens and the house, plus a cream tea.

BLHA 2017 AGM and Conference 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

In association with the Bedford Architectural, Archaeological & Local History Society.

Report written by Stuart Antrobus of Bedfordshire Historical Records Society.

Read the full BLHA Conference 2017 report

BLHA Spring Event 2016 – Rippington Manor, Nr Sandy – Wednesday 11th May 2016 from 1pm

Guided tour of house and gardens with afternoon tea

BLHA 2016 AGM and Conference Event

Held on Saturday, 18 June 2016 Hosted by Sharnbrook Local History Group

‘OUR COMMUNITIES, OUR STORIES: RESEARCHING OUR LOCAL HERITAGE’ Keynote Speaker: PROFESSOR CARENZA LEWIS Professor of the Public Understanding of Research at Lincoln University and one of the original Time Team presenters

Report written by Edward Martin

Read the full BLHA AGM Conference 2016 report

BLHA Spring Event 2015 – A Visit to Eaton Socon

The village that used to be in Bedfordshire and now is in Cambridgeshire

Saturday 23rd May 2015 – A guided walking tour of the village followed by a talk and refreshments from 2.30pm.

BLHA Autumn 2015 Event – Monday 26th October 2015

A visit to The Church of St Peter de Merton with St Cuthbert, Bedford Monday 26th October 2015 from 2.30pm

BLHA 2015 AGM and Summer Event

Saturday, 13 June 2015 at Clapham Village Hall

In association with the Clapham History Society

Report written by Stuart Antrobus of Bedfordshire Historical Records Society.

Read the full BLHA Conference 2015 report

BLHA Autumn 2014 Event: visit to the English Heritage Artefacts Store at Wrest Park, Silsoe.

The BLHA Autumn Event to the English Heritage Artefacts Store at Wrest Park, Silsoe at 11.00 am on Tuesday 23rd September 2014.

BLHA 2014 AGM and Summer Event

Saturday, 14 June 2014 at Maulden Village Hall

In association with the Maulden History Society

Read the full report which first appeared on the  BHRS website blogspot dated 23rd June written by Stuart Antrobus.

BLHA 2013 AGM and Summer Event

Saturday, 15 June 2013 at Maulden Village Hall

In association with the Millbrook History Society

Read the full report which first appeared on the  BHRS website blogspot dated 17th June written by Stuart Antrobus.

BLHA Autumn Event 20th October 2012

Maps for the Local Historian – Presented by Stephen Coleman, Historic Environment Information Officer, Central Beds Council. Read the full report.

BLHA 2012 AGM and Conference

Saturday, 9 June 2012 at The Poplars Garden Centre Learning Zone in Toddington

Hosted by the Ampthill & District Archaeological & Local History Society (ADALHS)

Read the full report