BEDFORD ARCHITECTURAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL & LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
BEDFORD LOCAL BOOK REVIEW
BOOK REVIEW by Bob Ricketts.
The Buildings of England.
Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire & Peterborough.
by Charles O'Brien & Nikolaus Pevsner.
Yale University Press, September 2014.
ISBN 978 0 300 208214. RRP £35.
Obtainable from Waterstones and other good bookshops.
The ‘Pevsner’ series, founded in 1951 by Nikolaus Pevsner, will be well known to many. This is the first comprehensive update and revision of Pevsner’s guide to Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough since its publication in 1968. The new edition observes the former historic boundaries and builds on Pevsner’s text, but has been thoroughly revised, updated, and substantially increased in length (798 pages compared to 416). Every building has been revisited and reassessed and many others missed by Pevsner included (for example, the section for Cardington now includes Malting Farm “the best house” in the village, the Old Vicarage, Cardington Cross, and the Howard Memorial Chapel), together with significant buildings erected since the 1960s (new entries under Bedford include the Norse Road Cemetery Chapel of Remembrance and Crematorium, Bedford Central Library, and Oasis Beach Pool). Maps of the main towns are included and there are many good illustrations.
The 54 introductory pages represent a huge improvement, especially those encompassing prehistoric and Roman Bedfordshire (given scant coverage in 1968), medieval architecture, Stuart and Tudor Bedfordshire and Victorian and Edwardian Bedfordshire, including industry.
The revision comes at a price - £35 (though still very good value for the invaluable information it contains) – and weight (the 1968 edition could easily be accommodated in a coat pocket, not so its successor, which is more a guide to be kept in the car or consulted in advance).