Part one: The First Ten Years
From small beginnings thirty years ago, our society is now a respected part of the local landscape.
Following a WEA course in 1974 there was an informal meeting at the home of Helen Blott when it was decided to form a historical society for Biggleswade and District. A short article followed in the Biggleswade Chronicle outlining the aims of a proposed society under the names of Mr R Hartley and Mr W P Weatherill. (Christian names were not in general use at that time!)
The very first meeting was on 24th March 1975 at Biggleswade Library. Paul Catcheside the librarian presided with Ron Hartley, Terry Penwright, Helen Blott, John Collyer and Peter Weatherill. Brian Lazelle from Ampthill & District Archaeological & Local History Society was our very first speaker, a slide show of local scenes followed, presented by Harold Smith. Subscriptions for ordinary members were £1.00. Students and retired members 50p. corporate members £2.00.
At the next meeting on 15th April, Ron Hartley was elected chairman with Paul Catcheside vice chairman, Terry Penwright hon. secretary, Stephanie Hardware assistant secretary and Peter Weatherill treasurer. Meetings were conveniently held at the Library. Paul Catcheside, who was possibly the driving force, left for a new position at Stockport in 1978. He later became head of Liverpool Library Services.
During 1979 Stephanie Hardware became secretary; Biggleswade, Potton, Sandy & Shefford issued a joint newsletter. A history exhibition was provided at The Gardening Club Show.
Horace Dilley was chairman in 1981, by which time Terry Penwright returned to the post of secretary and Ann Green was treasurer.
When I became hon. secretary in 1983 we did not have monthly committee meetings and I well remember our formal meetings at the library. We decided to move to the St John Ambulance Hall in Chestnut Avenue with better facilities and we were also able to serve tea & coffee prepared by members Alison Careless and Betty Sharman.
Margaret Whitehead was elected treasurer at the 1984 AGM when we had 40 members. Four newsletters came out that year to keep members informed about summer activities. At that time most of our members were actively involved with the Society.
In the early years, Liz Munns, Muriel Scott and Harold Smith were all busy taking and copying photographs and other stalwarts included Ivy Brown, Rex Skinner, Canon John Dominey, Ken & Dorothy Lee, Bob & Jill Macintosh. We had a market stall on 7th July when fourteen members were in attendance on a rota basis. We visited Jordan’s Mill, Royston Museum, Ashwell Museum, Hinwick House and Potton Station.
Sadly, Elizabeth Munns (Liz) died on 4th December 1984, this was a great shock to everyone in the Society and our tenth anniversary on 24th March 1985 was marked with a Liz Munns Exhibition at the Chapter House, which was a huge success. All credit is due to the early pioneers who started the continued progression of meetings, outings and exhibitions.
Part two: The Next Ten Years
So much happened during this period.
Harold Smith was elected President at the 1985 AGM. The first monthly newsletter was issued in May.
The highlight of the year was on Sunday 16th June when at least 2,000 people turned out on the Market Square for the Great Fire of Biggleswade 200th anniversary Commemoration and we sold 400 of our first booklet.
We had six summer outings that year, the Swiss Gardens at Old Warden & RSPB at Sandy Lodge with the Scout Fellowship, Police Museum at Kempston and ‘A Day in the Chilterns’ with Sandy & District Historical Society and Letchworth Garden City Heritage Museum. Don Hill arranged a visit to the archaeological dig at Baldock.
Our first letter about restoring the Drinking Fountain was sent to the Town Council.
The first meeting of East Bedfordshire History Societies was at the Weatherley Centre on 15th October and was a great success, with Fred Rowe (Langford) Peter Ibbett (Potton), David Berridge (Sandy), Horace Dilley (Biggleswade) and David Smith (Museum) contributing.
In April 1986 over 200 people attended the second joint meeting at Potton. Our membership was now 49. We were happy with meetings at The St John Ambulance Hall, but they decided to discontinue lettings and in October we were obliged to move to The Weatherley Centre. We purchased a Bell & Howell Cassette Recorder jointly with the Rotary Club; Horace Dilley & Rex Skinner interviewed local people starting with Tec Chambers.
Newsletter number four expanded to a two-page edition with an article provided by Harold Smith.
We visited the Cecil Higgins Museum Bedford, Hinchingbrooke House, Huntingdon, Hitchin Historical Society, Chicksands Priory, Old Warden Village, Cockayne Hatley Church and went on a coach trip to Winchester with Sandy. Bruce Odell arranged a wine evening in the Old Maltings in December, a forerunner of later Christmas Parties. Muriel Scott left the Committee for health reasons.
We wrote to the County Council about the condition of the riverside footpath. Horace Dilley, Ken Page & John Dominey investigated the possibility of registration with the Civic Trust.
Town Mayor, Peter Vickers launched the first Old Biggleswade booklet at the Chapter House on 4th October.
Potton won the East Beds Trophy at the Joint Quiz at The Weatherley Centre.
A strong Committee was elected at the AGM. Harold Smith, president. John Dominey & Ron Hartley, vice-presidents. Horace Dilley, chairman. John Dominey vice chairman. Ken Page, secretary. Margaret Whitehead, treasurer. Plus Rex Skinner, Paul Daniels, Roy Whitehead. Ken Lee started a file of Biggleswade Chronicles.
John Dominey organised a visit to Biggleswade by The London Appreciation Society. We visited Royston Museum, Little Gidding, Southill Church, County Records Office & Hitchin Historical Society Garden Party.
We became a registered Charity in November.
Town Mayor; Duncan Strachan launched Volume 2 of Old Biggleswade.
There was a display at the Art Society Exhibition in Watkins Showroom.
More than 50 people attended the Christmas Party and to round the year off, we welcomed our 100th member.
Potton again won the East Beds Trophy.
Our tour of Unknown London with Bryant Peers was a great success, followed by The Lost Coast of Suffolk in July. We visited two mansions; Old Warden and Southill plus walk across Biggleswade Common. There was an open day at the County Record Office on 13th August when Martin Lawrence Chairman of Harlington Heritage Trust and Ken Page talked about cooperation between the Mid Beds History Societies. We had our first exhibition at St Andrews Harvest Fayre.
True Tales Told of Biggleswade of Old written by A W Watkin was reprinted.
Sadly, our vice Chairman John Dominey passed away.
Roy Whitehead replaced John as vice Chairman.
The Liz Munns Collection was deposited at The County Record Office.
Langford won the East Beds Trophy.
Martin Lawrence organised the first Mid Beds History Conference at Harlington.
Bryant Peers took us on Tour of Docklands and North Woolwich; we walked around Baldock, Potton, & the Common also visited Northill Church.
Fred Rowe designed the logo we still use today.
Ken Lee joined the Committee & Paul Daniels left owing to work commitments.
We were involved in the organisation of the 50th commemoration of the outbreak of World War II.
Volume three of Old Biggleswade was launched.
Lord Pym addressed Biggleswade, Langford, Potton & Sandy, at the Weatherley Centre on “My Life and Career in Politics”.
Muriel Scott passed away.
Our Christmas Cards and notelets were on sale.
70 people attended the Christmas Party.
[Ed- The Society changed their logo in the August 1989 newsletter. The first logo originated as a photograph of The Swan Hotel shortly before it closed and was more black than white. The late Fred Rowe readily agreed to draw a new logo for us from a photograph. He designed most of the local Winton Hayes houses. and had also been a Treasurer of Langford History Society. The Society has other drawings of his.]
We hosted the second Mid Beds Conference at The Chapter House and Old Maltings.
Potton won the Joint Quiz for the third time.
Our coach trip to York was well supported.
We visited Gamlingay and Henlow Churches. Bryant Peers took us on a Pleasure Gardens and Battlefields tour of London.
Biggleswade in Words and Pictures was launched at Biggleswade Books.
We had two stalls on the Market Square to support The Chamber of Trade Edwardian Day.
73 attended the Christmas Party.
Author Vaughan Basham was the speaker at the Joint meeting on 17th April.
A Coach trip to Canterbury was very enjoyable. We walked through Waresley Wood and visited Chilford Hundred Vineyard, plus Biggleswade Town Walk. Flitwick hosted the East Beds Conference.
Our Local History Exhibition at The Chapter House during Carnival week was well attended.
We started to collect bygones for display.
70 attended our last Christmas Party at The Old Maltings.
Nigel Lutt talked about East Bedfordshire Soldiers at the Joint Meeting.
Visits were made to The Brewery, Fairfield House, Stratton Dig, Harlington Heritage Centre and we toured the extensive cellars under Ivel Bury.
Potton hosted The Mid Beds Conference.
Outings were to Norwich, Cambridge and Bromham Mill also a walk around Hitchin.
We held a History Exhibition at the Chapter House. Roy and Margaret Whitehead left Biggleswade to live in Tenerife.
Jo King became treasurer and Rex Skinner vice chairman, Eric Lund and Don Hill joined the Committee.
Susan Horne, Town Mayor, launched Old Biggleswade Volume four.
Bedfordshire Local History Association was formed as an umbrella group for the county.
Vivienne Evans was the speaker at our Joint Meeting. Langford hosted
The Local History Conference. Don Hill organised Field Walking parties. Outings were to Cromwell Museum Huntingdon and Willington, plus Coach trips to Lincoln and Oxford and Walk around Hitchin.
We put on another Carnival history exhibition.
A total of 50 people were recorded on tape.
The Parish Map tapestry, a notable achievement, was completed in September.
62 attended the Christmas Party at Weatherley Centre and enjoyed the surprise item Ray Ling the Chinese Fence, a conjurer extraordinary.
Mid Beds Conference was at Ickwell/Northill.
We set up Saxon Village Action Group with The Trades Council.
Bryant Peers was in good form at the age of 82 for our outing to London. Other outings were to The Moot Hall Elstow, Bunyan Museum & Charles Wells Brewery at Bedford. Don Hill conducted our first Beating the Bounds walk.
61 members attended the AGM. Ken Page organised Bedfordshire History Societies’ contribution to The Bedfordshire Festival at Old Warden.
Old Biggleswade Volume five was launched.
The Saxon Village Working Party fixed four seats in the Linear Wood at Stratton
54 attended the Christmas Party.
Harold Smith, Horace Dilley, Rex Skinner, Ken Page, Jo King, Ken Lee, Eric Lund and Don Hill were all re-elected at the AGM.
There is not sufficient space to include all our speakers and our involvement with the Museum Project. These can be included later in another article
Part three: The Past Ten Years
I apologise in advance if anyone or anything is missed out.
Don Hill lead another “beating the bounds” walk. We visited Roxton Congregational Church, Ashwell Museum and St. Swithin’s Church Sandy also walked from the Meccano bridges to Holme Mills. There were Coach trips to London & Chatham Dockyard.
We held a successful Celebration of Local History Exhibition at Trinity Methodist Guildroom with over 500 visitors over a total of 12 days during August.
We also displayed at various exhibitions including the Gardening Club, Lifestyle, Marje & Malcolm Daisley Art Exhibition, Parish Church and Ideas Fair.
We made a welcome return to the Old Maltings for our Christmas Party when 65 attended.
Two members passed away, Len Harber & Ceri Hopkins.
Membership was 103.
16 volunteers planted hawthorn trees at Stratton Linear Wood.
Biggleswade Books closed on 17th February after selling our books for 10 years.
We put on a full programme for our second Bedfordshire local History Conference.
We visited All Saints Church at Shillington, enjoyed a traditional potato and pea supper and walked around Potton.
We put on a fresh Local History exhibition at Trinity in August and staged a Dan Albone Exhibition at the Steam Rally and Country Fayre at Old Warden, also exhibitions in the Parish Church and Gardening Club.
Roy Sherwood presented Oliver Cromwell, Myth and Reality at the Joint Meeting.
Our first Historic Plaque was placed in Fairlands.
62 attended another Christmas Party at the Old Maltings.
Alan Bennett, Ivy Brown, Jack Huckle, Lyn Smith and Roy Whitehead passed away.
A record 132 members were clocked up.
We visited Dunton & Eyeworth Churches, Potton Railway Station, walked around Biggleswade and Bedford and visited Stotfold.
A time capsule was placed under the floor of Trinity Methodist Church during restoration.
We were able to visit Biggleswade Brewery before it closed on 31st October.
Our exhibitions were at the Gardening Club, Mid Beds Council Offices and St Andrew’s Country Fayre.
Bedford Archaeological & History Society enjoyed a walk around Biggleswade.
With limited enthusiasm only11 booked for the Christmas Party at the Weatherley Centre so we held an ordinary meeting instead.
The next 4 heritage plaques were fixed.
Heritage Trail volume one was launched out just in time for Christmas, but we sold almost 400 books.
Tec Chambers, Marie Esplin, Irene Foxley, Geoffrey Matthews, Arthur Mitchell, Bruce Odell, Roy Smith, Godfrey Seward, Madeline Styles all passed away.
Harold Smith who was nearing his 98th birthday showed almost 200 slides and said that his ambition was to be President of BHS on his 100th.
30 members attended the Annual General Meeting.
Jo King resigned as treasurer and we could not find a replacement so Ken Page carried out these duties.
We visited 20 Hitchin pubs, Cockayne Hatley, and Bedford Embankment.
We started a short-lived refreshment rota.
Bookworms opened in the New Inn Yard and we again had an outlet for our publications.
We exhibited at Mid Beds Gala on the refurbished Market Square and at Beds Steam & Country Fair and Gardening Club.
Trixie Barratt passed away.
The Saxon Project was completed with a Sculpture and information Board at Pocket Park opened by John Jordan.
We had a stand in the Russell Hall at Old Warden for the Millennium Festival.
Still no treasurer so Ken Page carried on.
Coach trip to Norwich, tour of St Andrews Church, walk around Baldock & Museum, St Neots Museum, Display at Bedfordshire Millennium Festival.
Exhibitions were at the Gardening Club, Steam Fayre and Window in Time at Caldecote Methodist Chapel.
47 attended the Christmas Party.
We reprinted The Great Fire booklet.
We attended BLHA presentation of Wartime Bedfordshire at Twinwoods Airfield & Clapham.
We supported the application for lottery funding enabling Biggleswade United Services Association to purchase Ivel Bury, in consequence had an offer of two rooms to rent.
John Chew, Bert Garvie, Ron Hartley, Jean Roberts, Jack White passed away.
After 180 issues by Ken Page, David. Parker took over as newsletter editor.
At the AGM Mike Strange became hon. treasurer and Brian Gilchrist joined the Committee.
Don Hill lead the last beating the bounds. We walked around Shortmead Street & Sun Street, visited Buckden & Brampton, outing to Bletchley Park.
Exhibited at Shefford Methodist Hall, BLHA World War II at Ampthill, Steam & Country Fayre Old Warden.
Work started on the refurbishment and conversion of St Andrews School into apartments.
Harold Smith, Mary Albone Dave Damen, Reg Hopkins, Marc King passed away.
37 attended the Christmas Party.
Changes at the AGM president Horace Dilley, chairman Ken Page, vice chairman Rex Skinner, hon. secretary, David Parker, hon. treasurer Brian Gilchrist, hon. archivist Ken Page, Committee Nil. Alan Dansey & Rose Forbes were co-opted.
BLHA Wartime Exhibitions were at Weatherley Centre and Marston Vale Centre.
Outing to Priory Country Park at Bedford, walk round Eltisley, Sandy.
Our Research Room opened on 1st September, only 4 members visited the Open Evening.
Rosemary Brown, Jacqui Parker, Peter Stead, Richard Wiggs passed away.
37 people at Christmas Party.
We were shocked at the sudden death of Neil Alston in January. Fred Cooper, Geoff Cavanaugh, Phyllis Hartley also passed away.
Rose Forbes became Treasurer, Alan Dansey only Committee member plus Vic Brunt.
Stall on Market Square,
First meeting at Millennium House.
Outing to Cromwell Museum, walk around Ashwell and Ampthill, Coach tour of Scenic Route.
Mike Strange completed Harold Smith’s History of Biggleswade available on disk.
Eltisley History Society came to a walk around Biggleswade.
We staged a Joint Exhibition for the Queens Golden Jubilee at Trinity with the Camera Club.
Exhibited at Gardening Club, Steam & Country Fayre at Old Warden.
We sold 426 of our new booklet, Bygone Biggleswade and 72 Calendars.
15 attended Christmas Party.
We sold 461 Bygone Biggleswade Volume 2, but struggled to sell calendars.
Summary of Committee meetings started in April.
Two market stalls were successful.
16 came to Open Evening in October.
We visited Stondon Transport Museum, walked from Ickwell Green to Northill and around Hitchin.
Ivel tractor no 131 manufactured at Biggleswade in 1903 by Dan Albone and now owned by John Moffitt came back on 21st June, in readiness to run from Biggleswade to the Royal Show at Stoneleigh a distance of 100 miles.
The target of £100,000 for the hospice movement was well exceeded.
We exhibited at Town & Country Fayre and Steam Engine Rally at Old Warden and Gardening Show, plus BLHA Bedfordshire in the 50’s at Woburn.
Mid Beds Heritage Coach Tour was well supported.
38 attended Christmas Party at Methodist Chapel.
The next five heritage plaques were fixed in January and a further 10 at the end of the year, making a total of 21.
Visits were to Sandy Lodge & RSPB, Stotfold Mill, British Schools Museum at Hitchin and Shortmead House.
Dunstable Local History Society came for a walk around Biggleswade.
We hosted the third Bedfordshire local History Conference.
The restored Drinking Fountain was back on the Market Square after 96 years.
Second Scenic Route coach outing.
Bygone Biggleswade Volume 3 launched at Library.
Alan Ball, Tom Crook, Francis McDermott passed away.
Two more market stalls were popular and we exhibited at the Town & Country Fayre and Steam Engine Rally.
38 at Christmas Party.
Vic Brunt organised tea & coffee during the year.
Horace Dilley and Rex Skinner reached a total of 90 audio tape recordings of local people.
A year of change. 30th Anniversary Celebrations began on 26th March with a stall at Biggleswade Market, a two-week display in Biggleswade Library and guided tours of the town centre. Only 24 members attended the AGM when Chairman & Archivist Ken Page retired. Elected: President Eric Lund; Life vice Presidents, Horace Dilley & Ken Page; Chairman Ian Bond, Vice Chairman John Tolson, Hon Secretary David Parker, Hon Treasurer Rex Skinner, Hon Archivist Mike Strange. Committee; Alan Dansey, Rose Forbes & Bob Gordon-MacIntosh. Ken Page received the President’s Award from Horace Dilley and a certificate marking 22 years on the committee; followed by a selection of pictorial slides, originally shown by our first President Harold Smith.
We visited Old Warden Tunnel Nature Reserve plus guided walks of Langford village and Hitchin Street, Biggleswade.
There was a display in a marquee on the Market Square to celebrate the 60th anniversaries of VE/VJ Day. Significantly, Mike Strange sorted out the Research Room.
Hon Secretary, David Parker resigned in November. Continuity was assured when Jean Strange agreed to step in as Secretary until the AGM and other members’ filled gaps. 28 members & guests attended.
The Christmas Party with a buffet meal provided by Joy Botterell, Joan Newman and Jean Rook; Gill Gordon-Macintosh & Vic Brunt made tea & coffee and Horace Dilley conducted a well-supported Auction of Promises.
Membership only slightly increased during the year from 82 to 86 and the average number of members at meetings was only 26.
Audio recordings by Horace Dilley & Rex Skinner reached 111.
Donations to the archive had been steadily flowing in all year, but December was a bumper month including a large collection of photographs taken by the late George Skevington.
The year started with the launch of Tempus publication “Images of England-Biggleswade” at Bookworms on 17th February. Our first venture into national publishing was well received.
This year marked the 100th anniversary of the early death of Dan Albone the famous inventor, marked with a major exhibition at the Stratton Business Park premises of Kramp UK and a Civic Service at St Andrews Church.
Membership prior to the Annual General Meeting had increased to 92. At the AGM a new committee was elected, Chairman John Tolson, Vice Chairman & programmes, Rex Skinner, Hon Secretary and Membership Jean Strange, Hon Treasurer Christine Chessum, Hon Archivist and web site, newsletters and exhibitions Mike Strange; Committee members; Margaret Alston, Alan Dansey, Bob Gordon- MacIntosh& Kevin Haddow. Rex Skinner received The Presidents Award. The Skevington photographs were displayed and members invited to view and identify some of the numerous faces.
Mike Strange continued his relentless sorting and identifying archives; new racking was installed in the research room.
The late Mary Webb’s booklet “Remember Your Manor “ was reprinted by the society and on sale.
Visits were to Maulden Wood, Eltisley village & Cockayne Hatley church.
A large donation of paperwork was received from Lee Irvine concerning Dan Albone and cycling in general.
Exhibitions were at ASDA, the New Town Hall, Steam & Country Fair at Old Warden.
60 people attended the October meeting and 50 members enjoyed the Christmas Party at Millennium House when main event was a Local History Quiz.
Membership during the year increased to 112.
We now have 126 recordings. John Tolson, Jean and Mike Strange with Alan Batson attended the Centenary of New Spring water pumping station on 7th February.
Few changes at the AGM: Chairman John Tolson, Vice Chairman & programmes, Rex Skinner, Hon Secretary & membership Jean Strange, Hon Treasurer Norman Gurney, Hon Archivist & web site, newsletters and exhibitions Mike Strange; Committee members Ian Bond, Bob Gordon-MacIntosh & Kevin Haddow. Rev. Jean and Mike Strange jointly received The Presidents Award from Eric Lund.
We exhibited at Stratton School Easter Festival, St Andrew’s Garden Party in London Road and Country Fayre at the Churchyard. Carnival displays were put on at ASDA & in Winifred Whiteman’s empty shop.
We visited Roxton village & churches, Blunham village & church, Gt. Barford Village & church.
We sadly lost Margaret Dilley, Ken Lee, Tony Keech and Pearl Gale during the year.
Many additions were made to the archives and more improvements to the research room including a laserjet printer.
‘Townsfolk of Biggleswade Volume’ one was launched at The Christmas Party and Bookworms shop.
Membership soared to 118.
The entire photographic collection was sorted and improvements to archive storage and identification continued through the year.
Again, few AGM changes: Chairman John Tolson, vice Chairman Rex Skinner, Hon Secretary Jean Strange, Hon Archivist Mike Strange, Hon Treasurer Norman Gurney, Committee; Ian Bond, Bob Gordon MacIntosh, and Tim Haddow. The President’s award went to Rev Alan Bliss.
We sadly lost two members, José Holmes and David Elphick.
We enjoyed a guided tour of St Andrew’s Church. The walk around Sandy in pouring rain resulted in an unplanned tour of the council offices and Roman exhibition; better weather resulted in a good walk around Buckden.
We were able to assist the family in correcting the war memorial inscription of Victor John Milton,
There were two Displays at Biggleswade Library featuring Wells & Winch Brewery and Historical Shops & Shopping and an Exhibition in ASDA with a Sporting theme. We displayed ‘Our Biggleswade’ at St Andrews Country Fayre.
Townsfolk Volume two was launched at The Christmas Party at St Andrews Rooms when 50 members attended and at Bookworms the following day.
We ended the year with a membership of 126.
The closure of Bookworms in January was a loss to the town but another outlet was found for our books at ‘Howells’ plus Internet sales. The publications sub committee comprising Jennifer Lawrence, Eric Lund, Ken Page, Mike Strange, John Tolson, started early on Volume Three.
At the AGM on 7th April, Ken Page was made Life President, with Horace Dilley and Eric Lund Life Vice Presidents supporting the line up of Chairman John Tolson, Vice Chairman, Mike Strange, Hon Secretary Jean Strange, Hon Treasurer Roy Chadwick, Hon Archivist Tim Haddow, Committee; Ian Bond, Rex Skinner, Bob Gordon-MacIntosh & Barbara Elsworth. John Tolson received The Presidents Award for his many valuable services to the society. But only four short months later we were saddened when Dr John Milner Tolson passed away at Bedford Hospital-a tragic loss to us all.
Rex Skinner one of the very early members, resigned from the committee after many years of service.
Library Exhibitions were The Cattle Market, Summertime at Biggleswade Riverside featuring the Lido and World War II in Biggleswade. St Andrews Country Fare exhibition featured the Lindsell family.
Membership reached 138.
We had two more losses, Winifred Whiteman passed away on 27th September aged 98 there was another major loss when Horace Dilley (BHS number one) passed away at the age of 93.
The Society played a key part in the production of the DVD ‘Three Market Towns’ produced by Mike Fowler and featuring Biggleswade, Sandy & Potton. The World Premier at Trinity Methodist Church was very well received.
Townsfolk volume three was launched at our Christmas Event when 55 members enjoyed ‘A sumptuous buffet’ and film show at The Conservative Club. Further launches were at Howell’s shop and at Biggleswade Library.
The year started with a membership of 140. Attendance at meetings with a full programme of speakers has gradually increased during the five years. The Research Room storage of archives, artefacts, documentation and records continues to improve, as does our presence in the town and on the Internet. We now have 114 recordings of local people and personalities and a further 20 recordings of Biggleswade talks, radio and music events