Statues and Monuments
Bedford’s history is commemorated in stone, marble, steel… all sorts of materials. We hope you find our guide to Bedford’s memorials useful.
Statue by Joseph Boehm was completed in 1874. It was unveiled on 10 June at St Peter’s Green, Bedford, by Lady Augusta Stanley, before a crowd of 10,000.
“The Meeting” or “The Kids’ Statue” is a bronze statue by sculptor John Mills of a group of schoolchildren outside the Harpur Centre
Image by Simon Speed
Statue in bronze, erected in 1890, St Pauls Square, Bedford by Victorian artist Alfred Gilbert (1854–1934)
Image by Simon Speed
Trevor Huddleston statue Silver Street Bedford. The statue in his honour was unveiled by Nelson Mandela on his visit to Bedford in 2000, who said at the time: No white man has done more for Africa than Trevor Huddleston.
The Italian Statue – by Professor Giuseppe Martignetti, Greyfriars roundabout. This large, striking and unusual, semi-abstract group sculpture in the Futurist style represents young families from the predominantly rural south of Italy (hence the animals) symbolically striding forward to a new life abroad. It caused a lot of controversy as many Italians reported to the Beds on Sunday local paper that they would have preferred to see a statue that was relevant to the brick works and not farmers and peasants. It is made of reinforced concrete covered with a metallic sheen and protected with an acrylic overglaze. Its title is Verso Domani, which means Towards Tomorrow. Its situation on a busy roundabout prevents us from safely taking a close look at it. The accompanying plaque reads (in the English translation): “In Memory of the Italian immigrants who came to Bedford. For those that left their home: our respect. For those who took a risk to find something better: our thanks. For those that are no longer with us: we remember them.” Its original temporary location, at the northern end of the town bridge, almost opposite the Swan Hotel and the South African War statue, from 13 September 2009, proved not to be suitable, due to vulnerability to vandalism and it was moved to its present position in August 2011. This is appropriate since the annual saints day procession from the Italian Church passes the spot, not far from where Italian immigrants first settled in Bedford, an area which became known as Little Italy.
Reflections of Bedford
Reflections Of Bedford, High Street end of Silver Street, Sculptor: Rick Kirby, 2009. This very large, five metre-high, abstract work in stainless welded-steel, featuring two enormous faces staring at each other, almost nose to nose, was erected on 12 December 2009. It was meant to represent the diversity of ethnic backgrounds in the town and its links with brick and lace. At night it is illuminated with coloured lights. The faces, etched with brick shapes and with a lace design, are designed to be viewed from the High Street, on entering the pedestrian precinct of Silver Street.