Monday, 11 February 2019

Bother In Bedford (1)

An Anglo Saxon nobleman was possibly the first to wade across the River Ouse - Bedda was his name. The river was navigable from the North Sea so Bedda's Ford marked the beginnings of a trading settlement.
Later, a bridge was built, churches established and the community that we now call Bedford grew into a town specialising in wool and lace.

The church on the northern bank still stands and the road network that surrounds it is obviously recognisable despite the ravages of time and the onslaught of modern traffic.
The church and more recent bridge still dominate the river once waded through by Bedda!
It would be a Cathedral, were Bedford to be elevated to a town with a bishop's chair (cathedra).
Offering a fairly formal theology to its clients, the church is a busy place even today.
It even has a tenuous involvement with public transport.

On Monday 28th January last, Northampton correspondent Alan dispatched this email to fbb.
Bedford has a shiny new bus station and next door (very obviously next door) is this efficient-looking entrance.
An ideal place from which to obtain information for Tourists and for buses, surely part of "Travel".

Except that it is permanently closed. Try the library?

Surely, you would expect a dispenser of all things legible, entertaining and educational would have a collection of useful "stuff" about its alma mater.
Well, three rousing cheers for Grant Palmer and his timetable book ...
... containing timetables ...
... and superb maps.
It is easy to spot a bus company that is anxious (a) to serve the public and (b) to encourage growth of its business. Sir Brian, please note; only one bus leaflet and that is for a service that doesn't call at Bedford. And, once again Sir Brian, who runs the longer distance trains that call at Bedford Station?
fbb cannot quite remember, but the livery seems familiar!

The Library does have some transport reading matter.
These folders are all reports and documents explaining the East West Rail project, the bit between Oxford and Bedford. Bedfordians are tense and expectant for a similar collection of reading material for the eastern route on from the town.

But the for present-day transport options, the library is of little help.
But where is that visitor centre with extremely feeble opening hours?

The VIC (Visitor Information Centre) is now open within St Paul's Church, Bedford in St Paul's Square, right in the centre of town, and will be looked after by volunteers to help visitors find what they're looking for in Bedford and the surrounding area.
The new Visitor Information Centre will focus on promoting all that is good about Bedford; our parks, the river & embankment, our theatres, guided walks, museums and heritage organisations. We hope it will provide a focus point for visitors and locals alike seeking information about the attractions that the town has to offer. 

And according to one "visitor" it is doing a grand job, despite its limited hours.
A lovely tourist information centre, set inside a great architectural building. Well worth popping in.

It was here that Alan (on a subsequent visit - correct day and time) was able at last to find the new Bedford bus timetable book.
fbb will give it the "once-over" tomorrow.

In the meantime

A Follow-Up To The Follow-Up
Roy from Sheffield send another meaningful picture of Wetherspoons in Leyland - this time the "pub sign" itself.
Also from Roy was a note that, as well as the Daily Telegripe, the Daily Horror (Mirror?) also carried the "doom and disaster" news about likely bus service cuts.

Not surprisingly the Mirror was just a tad more sensational.
But there was plenty to go at!
Blog readers will have to imagine page 6!

 Next Bedford blog : Tuesday 12th February 


  1. I wonder if the bar staff in that Wetherspoons have to wear bus conductor uniforms ...?

  2. And that bus guide seems to omit the "country" services, of which said competing service with Grant Palmer, is one (albeit the two take quite different routes - the Grant Palmer version previously being run by Stagecoach before they gave it up - although it may have been tendered).

    I wonder if it includes the two town services that have now been extended into country services (2 to Flitwick - formerly 42 competing with Grant Palmer 42) and the 9A and B to Hitchin (formerly 71 and 72). That leaves the 41, 51, 53, 73 and 81 missing. I'm sure they could manage a few extra pages, given they serve parts of town not served by local services!