The Higgins Bedford

The Higgins Bedford
Castle Lane
Bedford
Bedfordshire
MK40 3XD
England

Website

E-mail

Contact us

thehiggins@bedford.gov.uk

Telephone

The Higgins Bedford

01234 718618

Education Service

01234 718627

Fax

Main Gallery

01234 718619

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
The Higgins Bedford
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The Higgins Bedford reopened in June 2013 following a major redevelopment. The Higgins showcases wonderful and varied collections including the Cecil Higgins Collection of fine and decorative arts, with its world-class watercolour and print collections and unique groups of work by the designers William Burges and Edward Bawden.

The watercolour collection includes works by Turner, Constable, Cotman and Blake, whilst the print collection includes works by Picasso, Goya, Munch and Bonnard alongside many others. The Higgins explores the inspiring stories of local people and encourages a ‘sense of place’ for Bedford and the surrounding area. Using collections of archaeology, social history and ethnography, The Higgins shows how the town of Bedford has developed.

Venue Type:

Gallery, Museum

Opening hours

The Higgins Bedford is Free to visit.
Opening Hours are: Tuesday - Saturday: 11am - 5pm
Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday: 2- 5pm
Closed Mondays, Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing day and new Year's Day

Admission charges

Adults Free
Childen Free

Discounts

  • National Art Pass
Getting there

By Road: If arriving from the north or south there are excellent links to Bedford from the M1, A1 and A6. If travelling from the west or east, the A421 and A428 provide easy access to the town. There is an excellent Park & Ride facility on the A6 at Elstow, south of Bedford, which is also convenient for visitors arriving on the A421 from the M1 and A1.

There are 4 car parking spaces at the entrance of the art gallery and museum for visitors with Accessible Parking Permits or Blue Badges.

The main routes to Bedford are:

From the M1 (North and South) : exit at Junction 13 and follow the A421 towards Bedford, and follow the signs to the Town Centre
From the A1 (North) : exit at the Black Cat roundabout and follow the A428 to Bedford, and then signs to the Town Centre
From the A1 (South) : exit at the Sandy roundabout and follow the A603 to Bedford, and then signs to the Town Centre

The nearest public car park is at Lurke Street, just 5 minutes walk from The Higgins Bedford. If attending evening functions the nearest 24 hour, open air, public car parks are St Peter’s Street and Riverside Square, both about 10 minutes walk.

By Train: The Higgins Bedford is 0.9 miles from Bedford Midland Railway Station. Follow the sign posted route to the Town Centre and Art Gallery & Museum, about 20 minutes walk. Alternatively there are taxis readily available at the railway station.

There are frequent services from London (St Pancras International) with trains arriving and departing every 30 minutes. The First Capital Connect service runs from Brighton, Gatwick Airport, London stations, St Albans and Luton through to Bedford. The East Midlands Trains service runs from Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Kettering and Wellingborough to Bedford, and on to St Pancras International.

Links

The Higgins Bedford includes the Cecil Higgins Collection of fine and decorative arts, with its world-class watercolour and print collections and unique groups of work by the designers William Burges and Edward Bawden. The watercolour collection
features works by British artists including Turner, Constable, Moore and Hepworth, whilst the print collection features works by international artists including Picasso, Goya and Warhol, alongside many others.

The Higgins Bedford celebrates the inspiring stories of local people and encourages a ‘sense of place’ for Bedford and the surrounding area.
Displays in Settlement, Somewhere in England and The Collectors explore how Bedford has developed over time and the town’s relationship with the wider
world, while Great Bedfordians features the stories of famous and lesser-known Bedfordians both past and present.

Collection details

Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Archaeology, Coins and Medals, Design, Industry, Toys and Hobbies, Social History, World Cultures

Key artists and exhibits

  • Edward Bawden
  • William Burges
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Highlanders: Billeted in Bedford at The Higgins Bedford

Highlanders: Billeted in Bedford

  • 27 September 2014 — 31 May 2015 *on now

Highlanders: Billeted in Bedford is part of the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by IWM (Imperial War Museums). The exhibition that explores the little-known story of the Highland Division billeted in Bedford between August 1914 and May 1915.

Up to 22,000 soldiers from Highland regiments arrived in the local area; given that the population of Bedford at the time was approximately 39,000, this was a very significant number. Alex Rule, a member of 1/4th Gordon Highlanders wrote ‘The quiet old county town was shaken to its foundations. We doubled the population; sheer weight of numbers alone made us a disturbing factor in its civic life’. However, the Highlanders soon become a welcome and familiar sight in the town, with many local families opening their doors to welcome the soldiers.

Highlanders: Billeted in Bedford runs until 31st May 2015 and will be accompanied by talks and special events. Please visit the website for further information.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Free

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/exhibitions.aspx

Edvard Munch Woman with a Brooch (Madonna) 1903

Expressionism Cubism and Vorticism

  • 25 October 2014 — 12 April 2015 *on now

When war broke out in 1914, it brought to an end three of Europe's most experimental and influential art movements. Expressionism, Cubism and Vorticism, although short lived, challenged traditional depictions of nature and form and changed the face of modern art.

War was to change it further. Artists on both sides of the conflict were caught up in the turmoil. Those that returned home lost their appetite for the avant-garde and found more traditional ways of depicting their changed world.

This exhibition drawn entirely from the Cecil Higgins Collection features innovative works by Percy Wyndham Lewis, David Bomberg, Wassily Kandinsky, Edvard Munch, George Braque, Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Marc Chagall and Paul Klee.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

FREE Entry

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk

Bawden’s Book Illustration

  • 11 April — 11 July 2015

Bawden produced an astonishing number of illustrations for books and book jackets throughout his career. Whilst some of the titles themselves may not have stood the test of time Bawden’s illustrations remain as fresh and vibrant as the day they were published.

His quirky and humorous work made him the perfect choice for publishers, ‘highly intelligent’ and ‘bursting with original and amusing ideas’

This exhibition features early illustrations, unused designs, original art work and books written and illustrated by Bawden himself.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/exhibitions/coming_up.aspx

Abstract Britain

  • 25 April — 25 July 2015

Drawn entirely from the Cecil Higgins Collection, Abstract Britain charts Britain’s journey into abstraction.

This exhibition features work from the artists of St Ives, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Peter Lanyon, the post-war experimenters, William Scott and Victor Pasmore, the geometric abstraction of Bridget Riley and the emotionally figurative work of Howard Hodgkin.

The exhibition looks at the different paths British artists have taken to non-figurative representation.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/exhibitions/coming_up.aspx

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

HolidayActivity: Foxy-pots

  • 31 March 2015

Make a cheeky fox character.

Sessions take place at 11am, 12noon, 2pm and 3pm.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/whats_on/whats_on.aspx

Holiday Activity: Poisson D’Avril

  • 1 April 2015

Come along and make some fishy, foolish, tricky Easter garlands for April fools day.
Sessions take place at 11am, 12noon, 2pm and 3pm.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/whats_on/whats_on.aspx

HolidayActivity: Mini Highland Games

  • 7 April 2015

100 years after the Highland Games in Bedford, join in some flinging, singing and dancing.

Sessions take place at 11am, 12noon, 2pm and 3pm.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/whats_on/whats_on.aspx

HolidayActivity: Re-work Artwork

  • 8 April 2015

Recreate famous artworks!

Sessions take place at 11am, 12noon, 2pm and 3pm.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/whats_on/whats_on.aspx

HolidayActivity: Global Fan Club Challenge

  • 10 April 2015

Help make 40 fans from around the world. FAN-tastic prizes for the best fans!

Sessions take place at 11am, 12noon, 2pm and 3pm.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/whats_on/whats_on.aspx

Art Studio – Entitles

  • 18 April 2015 2-4pm

Workshops for children with a strong interest in the arts.

A chance to collect evidence for Arts Award Explore.

Booking essential, call 01234 718618 for more information. For children aged 9 – 13 years.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children

Admission

£10.35

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/whats_on/whats_on.aspx

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Art and Design

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/learning/formal_learning.aspx

A wide range of sessions are available using the collections in the Gallery as inspiration for practical work.

We offer museum-led sessions in a range of practical art and design activities, especially print-making.

We are happy to tailor session to the needs of your particular group. Contact us to discuss options for your visit.

How to obtain

Contact: Learning & Access
T: 01234 718627
E: educationservice@bedford.gov.uk

Visit the Formal Learning pages on our website:

Describing Toys

Getting there

By Road: If arriving from the north or south there are excellent links to Bedford from the M1, A1 and A6. If travelling from the west or east, the A421 and A428 provide easy access to the town. There is an excellent Park & Ride facility on the A6 at Elstow, south of Bedford, which is also convenient for visitors arriving on the A421 from the M1 and A1.

There are 4 car parking spaces at the entrance of the art gallery and museum for visitors with Accessible Parking Permits or Blue Badges.

The main routes to Bedford are:

From the M1 (North and South) : exit at Junction 13 and follow the A421 towards Bedford, and follow the signs to the Town Centre
From the A1 (North) : exit at the Black Cat roundabout and follow the A428 to Bedford, and then signs to the Town Centre
From the A1 (South) : exit at the Sandy roundabout and follow the A603 to Bedford, and then signs to the Town Centre

The nearest public car park is at Lurke Street, just 5 minutes walk from The Higgins Bedford. If attending evening functions the nearest 24 hour, open air, public car parks are St Peter’s Street and Riverside Square, both about 10 minutes walk.

By Train: The Higgins Bedford is 0.9 miles from Bedford Midland Railway Station. Follow the sign posted route to the Town Centre and Art Gallery & Museum, about 20 minutes walk. Alternatively there are taxis readily available at the railway station.

There are frequent services from London (St Pancras International) with trains arriving and departing every 30 minutes. The First Capital Connect service runs from Brighton, Gatwick Airport, London stations, St Albans and Luton through to Bedford. The East Midlands Trains service runs from Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Kettering and Wellingborough to Bedford, and on to St Pancras International.

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