Discover when politicians rioted at the Corn Exchange

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Some lesser known stories behind the buildings of Bedford can be discovered this weekend.

I Never Knew That is the theme of this week’s walk led by Bedford Association of Tour Guides.

The Corn Exchange building in the Market Square was constructed as a corn market and every Wednesday and Saturday local farmers used to take samples of their grain to show to the local merchants and hopefully sell a few tonnes. The skill was in judging when the best price may be available and in the negotiating of the quality of the grain.

Some who regularly sold actually became famous within the town as it was well known that having the money in their pocket they would then make for the nearest Public House. High up on the front elevation of the building are carved ears of corn signifying its previous purpose.

In November 1885 during a pre General Election rally, held at the Corn exchange because it was the largest public building in the town, there was a riot between the Liberal and Conservative supporters.

It resulted in the furniture all being heaped in the middle of the room and about to be set on fire until a couple of more responsible elder statesmen of the town stepped in and restored order.

To hear this and other interesting tales join the guided walk that leaves the Old Town Hall in St Paul’s Square at 11am on Sunday, June 14. The cost is £3 per person and book is essential.

Call the Bedford Travel and Tourism Centre on 01234 718112 to reserve a place. Visit for more information.