Bedfordshire: Local History Resources

The county of Bedfordshire in the East of England has many interesting communities with memories to share through video.

Contents Of This Page:

What region is Bedfordshire In?

Bedfordshire is in a region called the East of England. It’s found in the southern half of England about 60 miles north of London.

Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire surround Bedfordshire. It is sometimes considered part of England’s Home Counties, because of its proximity and economic connections to London, but is not part of the South East region.

Is Bedfordshire a city?

Bedfordshire is a historic and ceremonial county. Bedford is one of the county’s major centres of population, but is a town with less than 80,000 households and is not a city.

Around the county, you can find beautiful countryside at the Forest of Marston Vale, Greensand Ridge and the Dunstable Downs, stately homes and museums, Whipsnade Zoo, and 

Many new residents are drawn to Bedfordshire because of the good employment opportunities in a family-friendly environment.  

Others arrive to study at the University of Bedfordshire, which formed in August 2006 with the merger of the (now defunct) University of Luton with De Montfort University’s Bedford campus. Today it has six campuses across Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire providing a base to almost 20,000 UK and international students.

What is the population of Bedfordshire?

According to Central Bedfordshire Council, in mid-2018 the county’s population was estimated to be 283,600. More than half of these residents lived in either Luton or Bedford.

What towns and villages are in Bedfordshire?

The county of Bedfordshire does not have a city. But the county’s towns and villages include:

  • Aley Green 
  • Ampthill 
  • Apsley End 
  • Arlesey 
  • Aspley Guise 
  • Aspley Heath 
  • Astwick
  • Barton-le-Clay
  • Battlesden 
  • Beadlow 
  • Bedford 
  • Beeston 
  • Begwary 
  • Biddenham 
  • Bidwell 
  • Biggleswade 
  • Billington 
  • Bletsoe 
  • Blunham 
  • Bolnhurst 
  • Bourne End
  • Bromham Village
  • Caddington 
  • California 
  • Campton 
  • Cardington 
  • Carlton Castle 
  • Cauldwell 
  • Chalgrave 
  • Chalton 
  • Chaul End 
  • Church End
  • Chellington 
  • Chicksands 
  • Chiltern Green 
  • Clapham 
  • Clifton 
  • Clipstone 
  • Clophill 
  • Cockayne Hatley 
  • Colesden 
  • Colmworth 
  • Cople 
  • Cotton End 
  • Cranfield
  • De Parys 
  • Duck’s Cross 
  • Dunstable 
  • Dunton
  • Denton
  • East Hyde 
  • Eastcotts 
  • Eaton Bray 
  • Edworth 
  • Eggington
  • Elstow 
  • Eversholt 
  • Everton 
  • Eyeworth
  • Fairfield Park 
  • Fancott 
  • Farndish 
  • Flitton 
  • Flitwick
  • Goldington 
  • Gravenhurst 
  • Great Barford 
  • Great Billington 
  • Great Denham 
  • Greenfield
  • Hall End 
  • Harlington 
  • Harpur 
  • Harrold 
  • Harrowden
  • Hatch Haynes 
  • Haynes Church End 
  • Haynes West End 
  • Heath and Reach 
  • Henlow 
  • Henlow Camp 
  • Herrings Green 
  • Higham Gobion 
  • Hills End 
  • Hinwick 
  • Hockliffe 
  • Hockwell Ring 
  • Holme 
  • Holywell 
  • Honeydon 
  • Houghton Conquest 
  • Houghton Regis 
  • How End 
  • Hulcote 
  • Husbourne Crawley 
  • Hyde
  • Ickwell 
  • Ion 
  • Ireland
  • Keeley Green 
  • Kempston 
  • Kempston Rural 
  • Kempston South 
  • Kempston West 
  • Kensworth 
  • Kensworth Lynch 
  • Keysoe 
  • Keysoe Row 
  • Kingsbrook
  • Knotting 
  • Knotting Green
  • Langford 
  • Leagrave 
  • Leedon 
  • Leighton Buzzard 
  • Lidlington 
  • Limbury 
  • Linslade 
  • Little Barford 
  • Little Billington 
  • Little Staughton 
  • Lower Caldecote 
  • Lower Dean 
  • Lower Gravenhurst 
  • Lower Shelton 
  • Lower Stondon 
  • Lower Sundon 
  • Lower Woodside 
  • Luton
  • Marston 
  • Moretaine
  • Maulden 
  • Melchbourne 
  • Meppershall 
  • Millbrook 
  • Milton Bryan 
  • Milton Ernest 
  • Moggerhanger
  • New Mill End 
  • Newnham 
  • Northill
  • Oakley Odell Old Warden
  • Pavenham
  • Pegsdon
  • Pepperstock
  • Pertenhall
  • Podington
  • Potsgrove
  • Potton
  • Pulloxhill
  • Putnoe
  • Queens Park
  • Radwell
  • Ravensden
  • Renhold
  • Ridgmont
  • Riseley
  • Roxton
  • Salford
  • Salph End
  • Sandy
  • Seddington
  • Sewell
  • Sharnbrook
  • Sharpenhoe
  • Sheep Lane
  • Shefford
  • Shelton
  • Shillington 
  • Shortstown 
  • Silsoe 
  • Skimpot 
  • Slip End 
  • Souldrop 
  • Southcote 
  • Southill 
  • Stagsden 
  • Stanbridge
  • Stanford
  • Steppingley
  • Stevington
  • Stewartby
  • Stotfold
  • Streatley 
  • Studham 
  • Sutton 
  • Swineshead
  • Tebworth 
  • Tempsford 
  • The Hyde 
  • Thorn 
  • Thorncote Green 
  • Thurleigh 
  • Tilsworth 
  • Tingrith 
  • Toddington 
  • Totternhoe 
  • Turvey
  • Upper Caldecote 
  • Upper Dean 
  • Upper Gravenhurst 
  • Upper Shelton 
  • Upper Staploe 
  • Upper Stondon 
  • Upper Sundon
  • West End 
  • Westoning 
  • Wharley End 
  • Whipsnade 
  • Wilden 
  • Willington 
  • Wilshamstead 
  • Wilstead 
  • Wingfield 
  • Wixams 
  • Woburn 
  • Wood End 
  • Woodside 
  • Wootton 
  • Wootton Green 
  • Wrestlingworth 
  • Wyboston 
  • Wymington
  • Yielden

Local History Videos

The highlighted towns and villages listed above click through to a new page, where you will find links to relevant online videos. Over time, more pages and links will be added.

However, if you’re looking for footage about the county generally rather than specific communities, you may be interested to see the following links:

Bedfordshire Memories Part 1 DVD clip

1,859 views•Published 9 Apr 2010 by TIMEREELTV.

Bedfordshire Memories Part 2 DVD clip

Published 9 Apr 2010 by TIMEREELTV.

In the years following World War II, life in Bedfordshire changed beyond recognition. Growing prosperity, rapid urbanisation and immigration affected both the appearance of the county and the way that people lived. Step back into the 1950s and ’60s and see:

Bedford in the early 60s, Luton, Dunstable and the motor trade, the changing face of Leighton Buzzard, RAF Sharnbrook and Woburn Abbey.

This footage includes the 7th Bedfordshire home guard.

KLR1031 1940s Bedfordshire Village Life, UK

Published 24 Mar 2016 by thekinolibrary. 1940s Bedfordshire village life, UK

KLR1031 1940s Bedfordshire Village Life, UK

Published 24 Mar 2016.

Bedfordshire Memories Part 2 DVD Trailer

Published 11 Jan 2010 by Pastfilms.

Bedfordshire Memories Part 1 DVD Trailer

Published 11 Jan 2010 by Pastfilms.

Journey back in time to Bedfordshire as it used to be, from the last days of the Edwardians through to the 1950s. See how ordinary people lived and worked through half a century of immense change.

In the years following World War II, life in Bedfordshire changed beyond recognition. Growing prosperity, rapid urbanisation and immigration affected both the appearance of the county and the way that people lived.

This footage is from the 1960s, and includes lots in interviews & streetscapes.

Bedfordshire Local History On Facebook

We didn’t find any relevant Facebook pages or groups about local history in Bedfordshire. If you know of one we’ve missed, please do get in touch.

Local History Groups And Resources In Bedfordshire

A1 Searchers Metal Detecting Club

Albion Archaeology Ltd (formerly Bedfordshire County Archaeology Service)

Ampthill & District Archaeological & Local History Society

Ampthill & District Preservation Society

Ampthill History Forum

Bedford Architectural, Archaeological & Local History Society

Bedfordshire Family History Society

Bedfordshire Gardens Trust

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment Museum Collection

Bedfordshire Historical Record Society

Bedfordshire Libraries Virtual Library

Bedfordshire Local History Association (BLHA)

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service

Bedfordshire War Memorials and Rolls of Honour

Bedfordshire Women’s Land Army

Biggleswade History Society

British Newspaper Archive

Caddington Local History Group

Carlton & Chellington Historical Society

Clapham Historical Society

Colmworth & Neighbours History Society

Dunstable & District Local History Society

Francis Frith Collection (Photographs)

Friends of Bedford Cemetery

Friends of Luton Museums

Gazeteer of markets and fairs in England and Wales to 1516

Harlington Heritage Trust

Heritage Gateway

The Higgins, Bedford (museum and art gallery)

Historical Directories of England & Wales

Historic Environment Record (HER) – Bedford Borough Council

Historypin

International John Bunyan Society

John Bunyan Museum Bedford

Langford & District History Society

Leighton Buzzard & District Archaeological & Historical Society

Luton & District Historical Society

Manshead Archaeological Society of Dunstable

Maulden History Society

Maypole Heritage

North East Medals 

Old Warden History and Heritage Society

Potton History Society

Riseley Historical Society

Rootsweb: Bedfordshire Genealogy – Bedfordshire Parishes

Rootsweb – Bedfordshire Genealogy – Military History

Rootsweb – Bedfordshire Geneaology – Railways

Roxton & District Local History Group

Sandy & District Historical Society

Sandy Historical Research Group

Sharnbrook Local History Group

Shortstown Heritage

Stevington Historical Trust

Toddington Historical Society

Turvey History Society

Victoria County History (Institute of Historical Research, University of London) 

Willington Local History Group

Woburn Abbey

Woburn Heritage Centre Trust

Woburn Sands & District Society

Wrestlingworth History Society

Wrest Park Volunteer History Research Team

In addition, there are many national resources (enough to justify their own page!) which could help your local history research.

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Thanks to TheOtherKev from Pixabay for the photo at the top of this page.