Bedford's Motoring Heritage (New edition) by Richard Wildman, Alan Crawley, 9780750932226

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  • ISBN 9780750932226
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This book is a pioneering survey of a previously undocumented part of Bedford history, which has touched the lives of virtually everyone in the town. The rich heritage of pictures and other information about private motoring in Bedford, since motor vehicle registration was introduced a century ago, is revealed for the first time. Photographs, plans and adverts illustrate local car transport from the 'Golden Age' of pre-Second World War motoring to the modern era of near-universal car ownership. Early motor dealers, as well as the small number of locally manufactured cars, are covered in detail, as is the growth of leisure motoring. The Bedford Motor Club, founded in 1920, had an extensive programme of competitive and social events, many of which are illustrated here. The story of police cars in Bedfordshire is covered in a separate chapter. "Bedford's Motoring Heritage" brings the story up to more recent times, and the vast expansion of car ownership. Drastic changes to Bedford, as the planners tried in vain to give drivers unimpeded access to the town centre, are also documented, together with the move of garages away from the centre to the outskirts, and the decline of traditional petrol station forecourts. With its varied content, and fascinating selection of illustrations, "Bedford's Motoring Heritage" is essential reading for anyone interested in Bedford's History.

About the author

Richard Wildman is School Archivist of Bedford Modern School, Secretary of the Old Bedford Modernians' Club, and President of Bedford Archaeological and Local History Society. He is the author of five previous books of old photographs of Bedford and Bedfordshire, including Bedford in Old Photographs (The History Press, 2009). Alan Crawley is a third-generation member of a well-known family of Bedford motor dealers, and spent his whole career in the motor trade. A past president of Bedford Archaeological and Local History Society, he has also researched the Saxon origins of Bedford, and the names of its oldest streets.


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