Wednesday 21 November 2007

Bernard West’s Bedfordshire

Contributed by Anne Allsopp

Last Friday, 16 November, saw the launch at Willington Village Hall of this delightful collection of sketches.

The Bedfordshire Historical Record Society now owns the copyright to the excellent Bedfordshire Magazine which ceased publication in 1999. Between Summer 1947 and Spring 1998, Bernard West contributed sketchbook drawings for all but two of the quarterly issues. Gordon Vowles, a member of the BHRS and personal friend of Bernard West, has collected a selection of his sketches for publication in this delightful book.

Bernard West was a practising architect and his interests included history as well as archaeology, conservation and natural history. He ‘waged an unrelenting campaign for good design and sympathetic preservation’. The sketches are accompanied by commentaries, many of which reflect his contempt for the lack of sensitive planning over the years.

When he died, in January 2006, the local history group in his home village of Willington decided that something should be done to commemorate Bernard West’s contribution to recording the history of the county and, with the support of the BHRS, this book was published. Gordon Vowles has aimed to produce a ‘representative spread’ of locations throughout the county in this selection.

This excellent book will enable a wider audience to appreciate the artistic skill of Bernard West and also the architectural and rural treasures of Bedfordshire.

Bernard West’s Bedfordshire: a selection of his Sketch-books from the Bedfordshire Magazine 1947-98, edited by Gordon Vowles and published by The Book Castle, Dunstable, LU5 4RU in November 2007 at £12.99

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