We would like to thank David Fowler (47-56) for his informative talk about some of the interesting characters born in and around Bedford over the years.

Nobby Clarke (see photo) certainly had some inventive ideas, in particular his limpet mine in WW2, and he and Colonel Macrae must have raised a few eyebrows when they bought up firstly all the aniseed balls in the town – swiftly followed by all the condoms!

David also told us about John Whitehead who started the Whitehead Aircraft Company during WW1 when he built Sopwith Pups and the Acro DH9s.  Then, after a spell in Canada, he returned to the UK and started planning the apple orchards that he owned at Cockayne Hatley Estate, growing Coxes Orange Pippins. This was his most successful venture and within 10 years he had created the largest apple orchard in Europe.   

His next character was George Witt who was not only Mayor of Bedford and is commemorated on the Town Bridge but was also a Doctor, a Politician, a Railway Director, a Banker as well as a Turkish Bath Enthusiast and a collector, many of his unusual historical ‘finds’ being held in the British Museum, in the Secretum.

Finally, we learnt about Captain Sir William Peel, son of Sir Robert Peel. William was a naval officer who, after a short but eventful career, died in India of smallpox during the Mutiny, at the age of only 33, having been made a KCB and awarded the Victoria Cross.   

If you were unable to join us, or would like to watch it again, please click on the link below.

At the end of the talk, there were a number of great comments that were put forward via the chat facility.  These can be seen on the right-hand side of the screen.  If you would prefer to watch the video without the ‘chat messages’, you will need to click on the ‘Fullscreen’ button next to the image of scissors at the bottom of the screen.

We would like to remind you that we will be running some more virtual events in the next couple of months, in particular the Wellbeing Week from 16th-19th March and a talk on the 19th March by award winning photojournalist, Rick Findler, on Picturing War.

Details of all events coming up can be found on the OB Events pages. We do hope you will join us!

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