The Higgins Bedford

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.
linocut print of Brighton's Palace Pier

Bawden by the Sea

  • 13 February 2016 — 29 January 2017 *on now

Edward Bawden’s nostalgic and whimsical depictions of Britain’s seaside towns are the subject of the latest exhibition in the Edward Bawden gallery. From bathing beauties in Bexhill-on-Sea to children’s sand castles on Clacton Beach, Bawden’s love of the seaside is demonstrated in his prints and advertising material.

He treats the sea’s inhabitants with equal glee, scattering murderous mermaids, man-sized lobsters and parcel-delivering fish in his commissions for Fortnum & Mason and Shell.

Probably the most famous and much loved work inspired by the seaside is Bawden’s large linocut Brighton Pier from 1958. Nearly a metre and half in width, it is undoubtedly one of Bawden’s most impressive works.

The exhibition will feature the preparatory designs for Brighton Pier, the finished print as well as the rarely seen original blocks, allowing a unique look at Bawden’s working methods.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

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

alt="Simplexes in use on forward lines, 1917"

Bedford's War Machines

  • 23 April — 2 October 2016 *on now

2016 marks the centenary year of both the Battle of the Somme and the year that Simplex petrol locomotives, which were integral to the allied effort on the Western Front began to be made in Bedford. The devastating losses at the Somme led the British Forces to find a new solution to improve supply lines to the front. This exhibition at The Higgins Bedford takes a close-up look at the Simplex engines and explores Bedford’s home-front contribution to the Great War.

823 Simplex Motor Rail petrol locomotives were exported to the Front from Bedford. The engines were part of a new infrastructure for getting troops, supplies and ammunition to the front lines. Simplex petrol engines were safer than steam engines, which could be targeted by the enemy and were too heavy for the mud-ridden trenches. Other engineering firms in Bedford, including W. H. Allen’s, were also involved in manufacturing war machinery and ammunition for the Front. In 1916, W. H. Allen’s expanded, building a new factory at Biddenham, employing a predominantly female workforce and producing Le Rhone Rotary aircraft engines. The men and women making these machines in Bedford had an essential role in the eventual allied victory in the First World War.

The exhibition, in partnership with Leighton Buzzard Railway, includes a rare surviving Simplex locomotive and wagon, which will be installed in The Higgins Bedford courtyard.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

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

alt="Lucien Freud Woman With Arm Tattoo"

Beautiful Bodies

  • 23 April — 2 October 2016 *on now

Lucien Freud, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Stanley Spencer and Dora Carrington are all included in this exhibition: a celebration of the differing approaches to drawing the human figure taken by British artists. The exhibition is drawn exclusively from Bedford’s internationally renowned collection.

The angular works of Wyndham Lewis and the gritty realism of Lucien Freud and Walter Sickert are in stark contrast to Dora Carrington’s tender drawings of her brothers. It is the first time Carrington’s drawings of Noel and Teddy have been on display at The Higgins Bedford. The works, Noel Carrington c. 1912 and Teddy Carrington c.1915 were acquired by the art gallery in 2012 from the artist’s family. Carrington would often persuade her brothers to sit for her on visits home to Bedford from the Slade School of Art and the two drawings are remarkable examples of her talent for figure drawing.

Including many of the 20th century’s most influential artists, this exhibition celebrates the inspiration these artists have drawn from the human figure.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

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

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.
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