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The Black Diamond Public House Bedford

The Black Diamond about 1900
The Black Diamond about 1900 [Z50/9/280]

The Black Diamond Public House: 67 Cauldwell Street, Bedford

The first mention of the Black Diamond is in 1871 when the tenant was Samuel Benson, butcher. In 1873 Bedford Brewery was for sale by auction. The Black Diamond was not listed in any lot but was one of a number of freehold properties which the purchaser of the brewery itself would be given the option of buying [GA487]. In 1874 a report on the brewery and its licensed premises was made and the Black Diamond was described as: “near the Midland Railway, comprising bar, parlour, back parlour, cellar, 4 sleeping rooms, kitchen & c. Good stable and gig house” [WL647]

 The Black Diamond shown in Blue on this map of 1901
The Black Diamond shown on this map of 1901

In 1910/11 a valuation for rates was made of all licensed premises in Bedford [Z720/214/2]. At that time the tenant paid an annual rent of £31 and the premises was described as containing a cellar and, on the ground floor a bar with six beer pulls (“four broken”), a tap room, a sitting room and a scullery. Four bedrooms lay on the first floor and a washhouse lay outside. The public house closed and was demolished during the 1960s along with all the neighbouring properties and streets which made way for County Hall. The site today, on the corner of Prebend and Cauldwell Streets is in the modern road (which is wider) and Borough hall car park.

 The site of the Black Diamond July 2008
The site of the Black Diamond in July 2008



  • GA487: included in sale catalogue of premises of St.Paul's Brewery: 1873;
  • WL647: report on the licensed premises of Bedford Brewery: 1874;
  • BorBP661: plans of extensions to the parlour: 1878;
  • Z50/9/280 and 281: photographs: c.1900;
  • Z720/214/2:  valuation of licensed premises in Bedford: 1910-1911;
  • BorBP5415: plans of alterations: 1911;
  • BorBP5795: plans for a washhouse: 1913;
  • WL800/1 p.21: photograph: c.1925;
  • BP65/59/2 View of building work on Kempston Road near the corner with Prebend Street including the Black Diamond: c.1965;
  • Z1001/2: letter from E. A. Peacock to Bedford Library including reminiscences of public houses in Cauldwell Street including Black Diamond: 1985

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known: 

1871-1890: Samuel Benson;
1890-1909: James John Coughlan;
1909-1910: Emma Coughlan;
1910-1911: Charles William Vigors;
1911-1913: Leonard Farrell;
1913-1940: George Setchell;
1949-1950: Albert Edward Piggott;
1952: John Munn;
1955: Alan Smith;
1955: Harry L. Unwin