There are eleven statues in the town of Bedford, and not one of them is of a woman.  A vigorous local campaign has grown up to put that right.

The campaign group Women of Bedford wants to erect the first statue in the town to celebrate a woman - educational reformer, suffragist and politician Amy Walmsley. 

To find out more about Amy Walmsley, take a look at this brief but brilliant video clip, Out and About with Marion.

I met the eponymous Marion some years ago at an event run by Huguenots of Spitalfields. Within half an hour of first meeting her in the middle of London, I discovered that our families had one of the Bedford Harpur Trust schools in common.  Some would say that these long-established schools are the pride of the county, or at least of the town. 

The Harpur Trust: British (English) School © The Higgins Bedford

Squished in between doughty Cambridgeshire and metropolitan London, Bedfordshire has an impressive history and my all-girls school was keen to cram it into my head.

Nonetheless, I can only name two of the existing town statues: the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan, and prisoner reformer John Howard.  I think there might be one or two others in the square John Howard looks out from, but their identities escaped my notice as a child.

If I hadn’t moved to London the minute I was old enough to escape, I’d now be inclined to do my lockdown walks as a detective tour of Bedford statues, to find out whereabouts they all are, and who they represent.

Bedford Suspension Bridge by Michael Croker © Michael Croker; photo credit: Bedford Borough Council

It’s a pleasure to see Marion giving a tour of well-known Bedford streets. In any case, those streets are often in my dreams, as I walk to school again and again, over and over, trying fruitlessly to rectify or redeem the past.

You can read more here about controversial, loved and unloved statues.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons