Town’s wartime secrets uncovered in weekend guided walk

Winston Churchill pictured  in January 1941.
Winston Churchill pictured in January 1941.

Some of the secrets Bedford hid during the Second World War can be discovered on this weekend’s guided walk.

The National Archives in Kew are a wonderful source of historic information but they still have strict rules regarding the release of confidential documents for study, especially if they involve state secrets or national security.

Some information about the Second World War has still not been released, although in recent years a number of embargoed documents have been made available, revealing a great deal about the many secret and covert things that were actually going on in Bedford.

The British Broadcasting Corporation was based here for four years, having been bombed out of Bristol and there were a number of different studios scattered around the town, all sending programmes to a central control room for broadcast throughout the world.

One house in the town had all of its floors reinforced by concrete to hold the weight of the huge library of printed paper music that needed to be stored.

A local hero of the First World War, who was something of an inventor, was called upon by Winston Churchill to resolve the problem of making mines stick to the underwater hulls of enemy ships and then being able to fuse them. This led to the limpet mine being designed and tested in Bedford.

If you want to hear more about secret Bedford join the walk due to leave the Old Town Hall in St Paul’s Square, Bedford, at 11am on Sunday, August 16. Booking is essential by calling the Travel and Tourist Information Centre on 01234 718112.