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The Higgins Bedford

Castle Lane
MK40 3XD

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Talks & Tours

talks and tours

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Get more from your visit by coming along to one of our regular talks or tours. If you're a member of a group that may be interested in coming along to a talk or tour, have a look at our Bringing a group page.


10 Minute Tours

2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm and 3.30pm (free event, no need to book)

Join volunteer and Tate tour guide, Andrew Rodgers, for a lightening quick tour of our current exhibition.

Saturday October 29th, November 26th, December 3rd, December 17th, January 7th 2017, January 21st, February 4th, February 18th, March 4th - Picasso and the Masters of Print



Archaeology Walks & Talks at The Higgins Bedford

2.30pm. £5.30 (Concessions £4.20)* Booking essential

Join Liz Pieksma, Keeper of Archaeology on every second Thursday of

each month to explore the results of exciting excavations in and around

Bedford. The walks and talks in this series are repeats of sessions

previously given at The Higgins Bedford.


Thursday 10th November

The Archaeology of Food Production

Our impressive collection of Stone Age objects helps us look at how people in the past survived in the Bedfordshire landscape, from scavenging to farming.


Thursday 8th December

The Archaeology of Food Preparation

We explore the significance of excavated evidence associated with feasting, both in this life and the next.


Thursday 12th January

Prehistoric Pottery

We will begin with the oldest pottery in the world, found in Japan and explore the widespread effect this significant invention had on early societies.


Thursday 9th February

Archaeology Walking Tour - Bedford, South of the River

Discover the wealth of history under our feet. We will find lost churches, streets and homes and rediscover the impressive Saxon town defences.


Thursday 9th March

Roman Pottery

The Roman Empire had a profound effect on Bedfordshire. Get closer to a society undergoing change by studying how pottery was manufactured and used.


*Special Offer Book 3 sessions and receive a 15% discount.

** All prices reviewed in January


Gallery Tour - Picasso and the Masters of Print

Wednesday 19th October, Wednesday 9th November, Wednesday 7th December, Wednesday 8th March 2017

1pm - 1.45pm (booking essential)

Cost: £2.65 (£2.15 concessions)

Join exhibition curator, Victoria Partridge, for a lunchtime tour of Picasso and the Masters of Print.


Gallery Tour - Bedford's Picassos

Tuesday 15th November, Tuesday 13th December, Tuesday 21st March 2017

11.30am - 12.15pm (booking essential)

Cost: £2.65 (£2.15 concessions)

Victoria Partridge, curator of Picasso and the Masters of Print, takes a close look at the world class collection of works by Picasso at The Higgins Bedford. 


Gallery Tour - Edward Bawden and his Studio

Wednesday 22nd February 2017 1pm - 1.30pm (booking essential)

Cost: £2.65 (£2.15 concessions)

Join exhibition curator, Victoria Partridge, for a lunchtime tour of Edward Bawden and his Studio


Tea and Tour - Somewhere in England

Wednesday 2nd November 11am - 12 noon

£7.40 (Concessions £6.30) Tea/ Coffee included. Booking essential

Join Lydia Saul, Keeper of Social History, for a cup of tea or coffee followed by an in-depth look at the Somewhere in England Gallery. We will explore Bedfordshire's past from its cottage industries to its engineering and manufacturing heritage. The tour will end with a chance to get up close to selected items from our collection stores.


Tea and Tour - Transport through Time

Wednesday 15th March 2017 11am - 12 noon

£7.40 (Concession £6.30) Tea/ Coffee included   Booking essential

Join Lydia Saul, Keeper of Social History, for a cup of tea or coffee followed by an in-depth look at changes to transport through time. We will explore Bedfordshire's story of travel over land, water and air. The tour will end with a chance to get up close to selected items from our collection stores. 


The Friends of the Higgins Bedford have regular talks - read more about joining The Friends here >


Friends lectures

Tuesdays, 7.30pm

Meetings start promptly at 7.30pm at The Higgins Bedford

Tickets - Friends £3, Guests £8


Tuesday 8 November 2016

Adrian Woodhouse - Angus McBean, Photographer

Angus McBean produced surreal and romantic photographic portraits of the film stars and musicians of the 1930s,40s and 50s. Adrian Woodhouse, who has written the definitive biography of McBean, ‘Facemaker', will tell the unexpurgated story of thephotographer’s dramatic life.


Tuesday 22 November 2016

David Buckman - Barnett Freedman

A contemporary of Edward Bawden, and having much in common with him, Barnett Freedman’s early years were marked by severe personal and professional difficulties. Success did eventually come, and Freedman produced much highly distinctive and successful typographic illustration work, and was also a fully-paid war artist, and tutor at the Royal College.


Tuesday 10 January 2017, 12 noon

Mike Luke - The Northern Bypass

Mike Luke, who is a project manager at Albion Archaeology, will bring us up to date on developments which have taken place on the Northern Bypass since he last spoke to us in 2015.


Tuesday 7 February 2017, 12 noon

Chloe Cockerill - Heraldry

Heraldry is all around us, in country houses, cathedrals and castles, as well as in our towns, from pub signs to the police station. Chloe Cockerill will help us make sense of the heraldry around us, and give us an appreciation of its modern applications.


Tuesday 21 February 2017

Sean McIlroy - Ivory Products in the Antique Market

Concern& about the effects of elephant poaching has led to increased scrutiny  of the trade in antique ivory. In Europe, there are no restrictions on the trade in antique worked’ ivory that dates before March  1947. But is there a connection between an object carved hundreds of years ago and ivory obtained illegally today?


Tuesday 14 March 2017, 12 noon

Stephen Cockings - The Roman Villa at Manton Heights, Bedford

In 2011 a dig at Manton Lane in Bedford uncovered the remains of what may turn out to be one of the most lavishly decorated Roman villas yet found in Britain. Stephen Cockings, lead archaeologist on the project, will highlight some of the exciting finds made there.


Tuesday 11 April 2017

Amanda Goody - Colonel Frederick Burnaby

Amanda Goody will tell the story of one of Bedford’s most unusual sons, the swashbuckling Victorian adventurer Colonel Frederick Burnaby. His was a life story with episodes of derring-do which would seem far-fetched if found in a 19th century novel.


Tuesday 16 May 2017

Kate Bostock and Helen Jones - Cowper and His Hares

William Cowper (1731 - 1800) was England’s most respected poet in the late l8th and early l9th centuries. While convalescing in Olney, he was given three hares to look after and this talk will tell the touching story of how the creatures became an important part of his life.


Tuesday 6 June 2017

Marion Maule - Time for Tea, Coffee and Chocolate

Since tea, coffee and chocolate reached our shores from three different continents in the 17th century, they have enriched our lives, promoted trade and transformed the fine and decorative arts. This fully-illustrated lecture will explore their fascinating influence.