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The Higgins Bedford reopened on 21st June 2013 following a major redevelopment project.


The pictures below show some of milestones and changes along the way.

Redevelopment viewing



Visitors arrive on 21st June 2013




Settlement, 2013

Installing mirror

Preparing for reopening, spring 2013


 Design, 2013

topping out1

Celebrating 'topping out', the completion of building work in July 2012


The courtyard under reconstruction in 2010.


The Higgins unites two previously separate organisations, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bedford Museum. Both organisations were in need of updating. Joining the two buildings has had a ‘tardis-like’ effect, increasing the space for temporary and touring exhibitions as well as making more room for permanent displays. The Higgins Bedford now boasts excellent facilities for schools, space for workshops and talks and improved facilities for visitors. The Higgins Bedford has been transformed to feature new exhibition galleries, and will offer a full and varied programme of special exhibitions, events and learning activities.


The redevelopment project has been made possible by £3.2 million funding from Bedford Borough Council, as well as a grant of £959,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £100,000 from the Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, £500,000 from the Wixamtree Trust, £500,000 from the Harpur Trust, £350,000 from the Monument Trust, and £200,000 from Charles Wells Ltd, in addition to funding from a number of other sources.




Bedford Borough Council would like to extend its grateful thanks to the following organisations, groups and individuals who so generously supported the redevelopment of The Higgins Bedford. We would also like to thank our anonymous donors.


The Heritage Lottery Fund

Lottery logo

The Harpur Trust

The Wixamtree Trust

The Monument Trust

Charles Wells Ltd

Trustees of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery

The Frank Branston Charitable Trust



The Garfield Weston Foundation

The Gale Family Charity Trust

The Finnis Scott Foundation

Friends of The Higgins Bedford

Bedford Rotary Club

Bedford Castle Rotary Club

Charles Lousada DL

The Eranda Foundation

The Idlewild Trust

Kennedy Marr Ltd

Friends of the John Bunyan Museum & Library



Patrons of the Redevelopment


Mr & Mrs FC Minoprio

Elizabeth Skinner

Patricia & Robin Olney


C J R Kettler

Mr Paul Ross

Nicholas & Jane Turner

Richard Turner

Mr & Mrs C Ibbett

Mr & Mrs C Kilroy

Julian Polhill

Professor Ebdon CBE

Anthony & Sheila Ormerod

Lord & Lady Naseby

Nicholas & Josephine Marr

Gareth Woodfine

Lord & Lady Lyell

Hilary Guest & Geoffrey Herdman

Vaughan & Marilyn Southgate

Sir Samuel Whitbread KCVO & Lady Whitbread

David & Thelma Marks


Ann Hagen

Thomas Hagen

Sally Duberly

Judith Howard

Daniel & Celia Hanbury

David Fletcher

Jan Steel

Paul Liss

John Tusting

Richard Canvin

Chris Rogers

Peter Inskip

Bally Meeda

The Duke & Duchess of Bedford

Bronwen Crichton & Nic Davies

Marion Maule

Deborah & Christopher Radcliffe

Peyton Skipwith



J & P Whitton & D Partridge

Nick Kier, Lane Holmes

Patrick Hall

Richard Godber

Lady Skeet

Christopher Rogers

Lord Archer

Edward Reeves

Hon. Andrew Pym

David Oldrey

Oliver & Felicity Wells

Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire NADFAS

Fergus Higgins

Simon Reuben

Bequests and In Memoriam


Estate of Stephen Moore

Estate of Andrew Underwood

In memory of Michael March

In memory of Moira Roseveare

In memory of John Turner


June 2013