The Higgins Gallery and Museum, Bedford

View of ext. front The Bedford museum and art gallery opened in mid-2013 after a major refurbishment and extension, and has been re-branded as the Higgins. The galleries, upstairs and downstairs, are extensive, and a full tour takes several hours. Galleries include art, local archaeology, local industries, ethnographic collections, natural history, Arts and Crafts movement furniture and artefacts, temporary exhibitions and, the prize of the collection, the Burges Room, containing painted furniture by the Victorian designer.
The museum buildings incorporate the original Victorian mansion built for Bedford industrialists the Higgins family, but having had various parts demolished or knocked through over the decades to adapt the buildings for museum use, the mansion has lost much of its original character. Furniture and contents typical of the period have been placed in the principal rooms.
If the purpose of your visit is to see the Burges Room, it is advisable to ask for directions. A number of important pieces of painted furniture, some from Burges’ last residence, the Tower House, are placed around the walls of an artificially lit space. The adjoining spaces and galleries contain the museum’s collections of Arts & Crafts furniture and artefacts from the Victorian and Edwardian period.
A visit is recommended, especially if you are interested in high Victoriana and the Arts & Crafts movement.
If you need a refreshment break during your visit, the Higgins Pantry with waitress service is available next to the entrance.
The Higgins is in the centre of the town, within walking distance of Bedford & Bedford St Johns railway stations. Parking in the area is restricted, and could be difficult on a Saturday, when the weekly Bedford auction is held nearby.

Decorated panels
Burges' painted bed
Burges’ Bed
Painted cabinet
Painted wash-stand

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *