Sunday, 17 June 2012
One hundred years ago in November 1912 BHRS was founded by Dr Fowler and others to research and publish Bedfordshire's rich history. Except for the years of the two world wars, the society has published a volume every year covering all manner of subjects and periods from Domesday to WWII.
The first event to mark the Society's centenary took place last week with a garden party at the home of the Society's President, Sir Sam Whitbread. In a period of unpredictable weather - storms, gales and unseasonably low temperatures - the sun shone on the afternoon. About 100 Society members and their friends attended. We renewed friendships, chatted, took tea on the lawn and listened to a jazz group which included our secretary, Richard Smart.
The speeches - only two - emphasised the immense amount of research and publishing that the Society has undertaken and the prospects for future work. They also highlighted the close relationship between the Society and the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service (BLARS). In 1913, the year following the establishment of BHRS, Dr Fowler set up the county record office- the first in the country - and was its first archivist. Succeeding county archivists and their staff have contributed to, and been general editors of, the Society's volumes. Today the relationship is as strong as ever.
Other events to mark the centenary will include the display in venues around the county of joint posters with BLARS; the completion of cataloguing Dr Fowler's library in its new venue (the University of Northampton Library); and a stimulating lecture following the AGM at Stockwood Park in Luton in September.