Friday, May 24, 2019

May Half Term - For Children & Young People

higgins gardens



Get creative with art and craft workshops based on current exhibition 'Round and Round the Garden – A Celebration of Horticulture in Art'. Not only are there fun activities for young children, but The Higgins Bedford has also introduced workshops for young people to enjoy. 




Events for Children - National Children's Gardening Week


Each Workshop has two sessions per day that start at 11am and 2pm and are aimed at accompanied children aged 5-11, not suitable for children under 3 years old.

Cress Craft
Tuesday 28 May  £3
Decorate a wooden house and garden, then plant and grow your own mini salad.

Garden Caddy
Wednesday 29 May  £3
Assemble and decorate a little wooden caddy for carrying hand tools and small plants around the garden.

Herb Planters
Friday 31 May £3
Make and decorate a self-watering planter.

may half term  workshops
Events for Young People


All workshops start at 12:30pm, last an hour and are aimed at 12-16 year olds. No parents required.

House and Garden
Tuesday 28 May £3
Create a mini-house and garden, plant your own salad.


Handy Caddy
Wednesday 29 May £3
Create a garden caddy, handy for garden tools or art stuff.

Planter People
Friday 31 May £3
Upcycle a plastic bottle and create a cute planter.

Places are limited for all workshops and can be booked in advance by buying a ticket at The Higgins Bedford reception desk. Spare tickets can be purchased at the desk on the day. We are currently unable to take bookings online or over the phone.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Brickworks Weekend

Bedfordshire Brickworks Day and the Invisible Folk Club Festival
Saturday 25th May
'Fuelling the brick firing kilns, London Brick Company, Stewartby', 1952 © The Mutual Security Agency
'Fuelling the brick firing kilns,
London Brick Company,
Stewartby', 1952 © The Mutual Security Agency
11am - 4pm, Free

Explore all things brickworks in a day filled with music, talks, activities and sharing memories.

Enjoy a variety of folk songs and stories, with performances from local musicians and the Invisible Folk Club. Join in a ‘Brickworks Questions Time’ with two Former Directors of London Brick Company, David Szymanski and Richard Manning, to share memories of Bedfordshire’s Brickmaking industries and help build our wall of inspiration.

All shared memories and stories will become part of the museum’s archive of brickworks and will enrich our knowledge and understanding of the social history of Bedfordshire Brickworks for future generations.


Displayed in current exhibition
'The Journey From Bunyan to the Brickworks'.
From Open Fields to Fletton Bricks: a History of Landscapes in Bedfordshire from John Bunyan to Sir Malcolm Stewart by Brian Kerr
Sunday 26th May
2pm, Free

Discover the stories of two historical Bedfordians and how they navigated through a period of change in the town.

Join Brian Kerr as he discusses John Bunyan’s use of Bedfordshire’s topography to inform his writing, and Sir Malcolm Stewart’s legacy in the village built for the workers at London Brick, Stewartby.

Brian Kerr recently launched his new book, ‘A Certain Degree of Magnificence People in the Bedfordshire Landscape’, and will be on hand after the talk for book signing for visitors who would like to purchase a copy.

Click here for more Brickworks talks and tours.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Spring 'Bunyan to the Brickworks' Events & Talks

As part of the exhibition, ‘Pride Inspiration Hope’ The Journey From Bunyan to the Brickworks, enjoy a variety of accompanying events and talks which explores the journeys of pride, inspiration and hope made by John Bunyan and those who came to Bedford after the Second World War to work at the Brickworks.


Stained-glass window of John Bunyan in
Bedford Gaol, Bunyan Meeting,
Bedford. With kind permission from 

Trustees of Bunyan Meeting.

John Bunyan, Bedford and Beyond by John Pestell
Tuesday 7th May, 12pm

£5.90 (concessions £4.70)

Join John Pestell, author of Travel with John Bunyan, for an immersive lunchtime lecture as he outlines the life, times and works of John Bunyan. 
Booking is essential. To book your place, please email thehiggins@bedford.gov.uk.

Remininscence Session: Bunyan to the Brickworks
Thursday 9th May, 11am
Free Entry (£1 for refreshments)
Join the discussion, meet new people and be inspired by memories and stories of the past. Explore the story of Bedford’s long heritage as town, as well as the journeys of John Bunyan and the people who came to work at the Brickworks after the Second World War.

working for LBC
'Algerino De Eso and Alfredo Minggei,
recruited from Italy and working for
London Brick Company, Stewartby',
1952 © The Mutual Security Agency




Pride, Inspiration, Hope: Bedfordshire Brickworks Day
Saturday 25th May
11am-4pm, Free Entry
Explore all things Brickworks in a day filled with fun activities, music and talks. Enjoy a variety of folk songs and stories, including performances from local musicians, Invisible Folk. Participate in an interactive panel discussion, where members of the public are invited to share memories and help build our wall of inspiration.


From Open Fields to Fletton Bricks: a History of Landscapes in Bedfordshire from John Bunyan to Sir Malcolm Stewart by Brian Kerr
Sunday 26th May
2pm, Free Entry
Discover the stories of two historical Bedfordians and how they navigated through a period of change in the town. Join Brian Kerr as he discusses John Bunyan’s use of Bedfordshire’s topography to inform his writing, and Sir Malcolm Stewart’s legacy in the village built for the workers at London Brick, Stewartby.

More Brickworks talks and lectures will take place in the Summer on a variety of topics, including the rise and fall of Bedford’s brickmaking industries.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Fishing for Clues!

 BEDFM 4970. Donated by R W Howe, 9 May 1923 
Among the items in The Collectors Gallery, there are three bony structures about the length of a hand. They’re labelled “FISH TUSK R AMAZON”, but look at a picture of a tusk fish on the web, and it just doesn’t seem right. So what are they?

I contacted Project Noah, an online platform which “harnesses the power of citizen scientists everywhere”. Could anyone solve the puzzle of the “tusks”?  And amazingly, they could! 

The answer came from a fish specialist in the Tasmania Museum. Our “tusks” are actually spines from the front fins of a catfish, probably the Megalodoras, also know as the Giant Talking Catfish. Result!

So if you come and pay us a visit, have a look for the "tusk fish" in our Collectors Gallery.

Written by Collections Volunteer Sarah

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Saturday Stress Busting

Saturday 27th April
1pm- 4pm, Free

Enjoy a variety of relaxing and sociable activities including, arts & crafts, yoga, poetry writing and more to help improve feelings of wellbeing.

No need to book, just turn up.

















Creative Arts Activities, 1pm - 4pm
Enjoy arts & crafts sessions  mindful colouring and drawing.
Traditional table-top games including Chess, Jigsaws, Dominoes and Scrabble.

Mindful Yoga, 1:30pm-2:30pm
Join Alex for relaxing Yoga sessions. All are welcome to join, no experience need. Mats are provided. Suitable for ages 17+.

Tea Party Poetry, 2:30pm - 4pm
Give voice to your thoughts and emotions in poetry writing sessions with Satwinder. No experience needed. Not suitable for young children.

More Saturday Stress Busting sessions are available on 18th May & 29th June. 

Download more details here.

Visit The Higgins Bedford website for more wellbeing activities. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Spring Gardening Talks & Tours

Inspired by the current exhibition, Round and Round the Garden – A Celebration of Horticulture in Art, enjoy a variety of garden-themed talks and tours this Spring, at The Higgins Bedford.

Garden Tours - Transforming the Gardens at The Higgins Bedford
Tuesday 9th April, Wednesday 15 May
11:15am - Booking Essential
Explore the Castle Gardens in a free, half an hour tour  and discover more about the volunteer-led project to rejuvenate the gardens and grounds. Donations are welcome to aid in transforming the gardens. More tours are available here. 

Reminiscence Session: Round and Round the Garden
Thursday 11th April - 11am
Join the discussion, meet new people and be inspired by memories and stories of the past, based on newly opened exhibition Round and Round the Garden. This Reminiscence Session free to join, but refreshments are £1.

Lunchtime Lecture with Twigs Way – Art and the Suburban Garden
Wednesday 22nd May 12pm - 1pm
£5.90 (£4.70 Concessions) - Booking Essential

Join Twigs Way for a lunchtime lecture and explore the quirkier aspects of garden history, art works that reveal changing aspirations within the garden, and the rise of the suburban artist.

Booking is essential for Garden Tours and the Lunchtime Lecture with Twigs Way. To book your place, please email thehiggins@bedford.gov.uk.

Garden-themed events will be continue in the Summer, including garden tours, plant sales, lunchtime lectures, Summer Holiday Activities and Family Day.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Holiday Activities at The Higgins Bedford

Easter Holidays - Creatures in the Garden


Enjoy creative art and craft activities, inspired by the exhibition 'Round and Round the Garden - A Celebration of Horticulture in Art'.

Workshops start at 11am, 12:30pm and 2pm.

Tuesday 9th April - Creepy Crawly Clay (£5)
Make clay models with local artist Victoria Houghton.

Wednesday 10th April - Bug Hotels (£3)
Build and decorate a cosy home for garden bugs to live in.

Thursday 11th April - Garden Mosaics with Qemamu Mosaics (£5)
Create and decorate your very own mosaic to take home.

Tuesday 16th April - Clay Creatures (£5)
Make clay models with local artist Victoria Houghton.

Wednesday 17th April - Pebble Pals (£3)
Paint rocks to hide and seek in the garden.

Thursday 18th April - Birds and Butterflies (£3)
Create your own set of wings and let your imagination soar.


May Half Term - National Children's Gardening Week


Celebrate National Children's Gardening Week with creative and crafty workshops.

Workshops start at 11am and 2pm.

Tuesday 28th May - Cress Craft (£3)
Decorate a wooden house and garden, then plant and grow your own mini salad.

Wednesday 29th May - Garden Caddy (£3)
Assemble and decorate a little wooden caddy for carrying hand tools and small plants around the garden.

Friday 31st May - Herb Planters (£3)
Make and decorate a self-watering planter.


Visit The Higgins Bedford website to find out more. 

Visit The Higgins Bedford Facebook & Twitter pages to receive the most up-to-date information about these activities. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

New Exhibition: Round and Round the Garden - A Celebration of Horticulture in Art

6th April 2019 – 29th September 2019
Wixamtree Gallery – Free Entry
Celebrate all things gardens and gardening with The Higgins Bedford at the new exhibition ‘Round and Round the Garden: A Celebration of Horticulture in Art’. 

Featuring works by major artists from the internationally renowned Cecil Higgins Collection, this exhibition celebrates our human fascination with gardens and looks at how gardens and gardening have provided inspiration for artists.

Pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais saw them as settings for tragic love stories. Walter Sickert brought the garden inside for his still life pieces, while Joan Eardley braved the weather to paint Scottish wild flowers. Edward Bawden depicted the large botanical gardens at Kew whilst Paul Nash painted village gardens. Camden Town artist Charles Ginner painted his own suburban garden, whilst Lucian Freud and Graham Sutherland travelled further afield to paint continental gardens and exotic plants

As part of the exhibition, there will also be a sensory installation in the gallery created by the Theatre of Widdershins with The Wynding Wixam Tree, a sculptural piece by local puppet maker and storyteller, Andy Lawrence.

There will also be garden-themed events including garden tours, a plant sale, a British Sign Language tour and workshop with Access Bedford, lunchtime lectures, Easter and May Half-Term holiday activities and more.

The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with Christiana Payne, Professor of History of Art at Oxford Brookes University.

New Exhibition: The Journey from Bunyan to the Brickworks

6 April 2019 – 29 September 2019
Connections Gallery – Free Entry

‘Fuelling the brick firing kilns, London Brick Company, Stewartby,
1952 © The Mutual Security Agency’
The Journey from Bunyan to the Brickworks exhibition explores the journeys of pride, inspiration and hope made by Bunyan who was imprisoned and persecuted for his beliefs, alongside the difficult journeys made by those who came to Bedford after the Second World War to work at the Brickworks. 

Many people have found inspiration in the life story of John Bunyan, who remained steadfast to his beliefs in spite of persecution and imprisonment. Many have been inspired by his most famous published work, The Pilgrim’s Progress which charts the story from despair to hope through faith. 

This story is mirrored in the stories of those that travelled to Bedford in the wake of the Second World War to work at the Brickworks. Many fled poverty, mass unemployment and persecution before coming to Bedford. Working conditions at the Brickworks were challenging, however many made new lives in Bedford.

A large 'stained-glass' effect window, in the style of the stunning windows in the Bunyan Meeting church forms the centre-piece of the exhibition. Films, recordings and objects collected from the community help to explore the stories of individuals that worked at the Brickworks.

There will be a variety of events including a programme of Brickworks-related talks and a Bedfordshire Brickworks Day on the 25th May 2019. Bedfordshire Brickworks Day will include Brickworks-related talks, activities and folk music with local musicians in partnership with Invisible Folk. There will also be an interactive discussion panel where The Higgins Bedford will invite members of the public to share their Brickworks memories to contribute to The Higgins’ Wall of Inspiration.

This exhibition is the result of a collaborative Heritage Lottery funded project between John Bunyan Museum and the Bedford Chronicles.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Tibbs Dementia Art Activitea: Brushstrokes Art Exhibition

Closes 30th September 2019
Outside Settlement Gallery - Free

Image Courtesy of The Stroke Association

The Tibbs Dementia Art-Activitea: Brushstrokes Art Exhibition is an opportunity to view an incredible display of artworks created by people living with dementia, people recovering from strokes and their carers.

The theme of the artwork is based on the concept of recovery. The work conveys the individual nature of living with dementia and experiencing a stroke, alongside the importance of support and togetherness.

Brushstrokes and Tibbs Art Activitea art groups met weekly at The Higgins Bedford. The Activitea group has inspired those living with dementia, those who are recovering from a stroke and their carers to create a variety of pieces, from a Bedford river scene triptych to colourful claybowls and exotic face masks.

This exhibition is supported by The Stroke Association, the NHS and Tibbs Dementia Foundation.

Click here for more information.