I took the pictures that follow in 1992, for use as slides in an introduction to the basics of Classical Architecture. After a classroom presentation surveying the fundamental ideas - the orders (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite, Tuscan) and technical terms (column, capital, pediment, fluting, volute, base, metope, triglyph, guttae - and maybe a few more besides, but not too many), students were sent on a walk around the town to locate specific examples. On their return, they were shown the slides, and invited to comment on the effectiveness, attractiveness or otherwise of Bedford's use of Classical motifs in its architecture.
If you live in Bedford, or - for some strange reason - wish to visit, the tour begins in front of the (for Bedford) splendid Doric Harpur Suite - once the public library, opposite the "Harpur Centre" - a shopping mall exhibiting the typical squalor and tackiness of an English provincial town. Once this housed Bedford Modern School, relocated in 1976 to a muddy hill to the north of the town. The school's original facade, by Blore, architect of Buckingham Palace, has been preserved - a tasteful Victorian tudor/gothic pastiche of a minor Oxbridge college.