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Talks and group visits

We offer a range of talks (see list below) and may also be able to provide or adapt talks to suit a particular audience.  Staff need to fit talks in among their other duties so we may not be able to accept all invitations. We recommend that if you are looking to us for a speaker you have at least a second choice of subject and date in mind before you contact us. Some talks can be given at short notice, others need a little time for fresh preparation or adaptation.


Ready-made talks can be given to groups and societies within the county at a standard fee of £75.00. Travel is charged extra on talks outside a 25 mile radius of Bedford.

Special or tailored talks, may require an extra charge to cover the cost of preparation, this will be discussed during initial booking negotiations.

Group visits to the office are charged at £75.00.  They can be arranged during the day on Thursdays (when the office is closed to the public) or from 5-7pm on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, or from 7-9pm on Mondays.  We normally show people "behind the scenes" explaining how the service works and put on a display of documents specially selected for the group.  Parties should have between ten and twenty people.

How To Book A Talk

We suggest that you get in touch by telephone (01234 228833) initially, and then liaise with the member of staff directly or email us.

List of Speakers & Topics

Pamela Birch, County Archivist

  • Caring for books and documents - simple measures to ensure that your precious family records come to no harm. Can include a show & tell session.
  • Delectable Documents – a stroll through 800 years of Bedfordshire History
  • Parish Records beyond parish registers
  • Conservation of the Wrest Park architectural drawings
  • Domestic Interior - home life in the archives
  • I Love Maps
  • Picture This - photographs as sources
  • I Have A Plan
  • Luton Works
  • Harpur's Bedford
  • Zoologist to Antiquarian - Dr Fowler and the history of the archive service
  • Great Estates

Kathryn Faulkner, Archivist

  • Crime in 19th Century Bedfordshire - based on the Paths to Crime project to catalogue Victorian Quarter Sessions records
  • The Home Front 1914-1918 - Bedfordshire during the First World War
  • In Time of Need - evacuees and refugees in Bedfordshire
  • Knights and Ladies, Peasants and Priests - people and events in Bedfordshire between 1066 and 1300
  • Patience, Jigsaws and Other Games Archivists Play - a talk about the work of an archivist)
  • The Poor Law and the Workhouse: Was it All Grim? - based on records of the Bedfordshire Poor Law Unions
  • Speaking Out: Women of Bedfordshire in their Own Words 

 Bedfordshire Local History Association (BLHA)

The BLHA exists as an umbrella organisation for the many local history societies and groups in Bedfordshire. It exists to raise the profile and promote local history in and around the historic county and also to support and enhance the work of its individual societies and groups. If we cannot help with your speaker request then BLHA may be able to.