Central Bedfordshire’s Historic Environment Record contains details of all known archaeological sites, historic buildings and historic landscape features within the area. In addition to a computer database and GIS it consists of written and printed information, plans, illustrations, aerial and other photographs which are available for use by all, including the Council’s officers, planners, developers, consultants, schoolchildren, students and the public. It is also the prime source for identifying Heritage Assets for inclusion in Heritage Statements as required to accompany planning applications in accordance with Planning Policy Statement 5 (March 2010). We also maintain the Historic Environment Record for Luton Borough Council incorporated within the Central Bedfordshire HER.
The Historic Environment Record (HER) is a key source for every aspect of Central Bedfordshire's historic environment. It contains information on a wide range of Heritage Assets, including all known archaeological sites, historic buildings and historic landscape features within the area. Available to all are details of nearly 10,000 items for all periods from the earliest human activity (125,000 years ago) to World War II, including stray finds and industrial remains. All Scheduled Monuments and Listed Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest are recorded together with ancient woodlands, historic parks or gardens and field systems. Buried remains and many demolished buildings are also included
The HER comprises a computer database with locations mapped in GIS enabling rapid area searches to be carried out: both record data and mapping at various scales can be exported and sent by e-mail or provided as printouts. The computer database can be also searched to produce lists or indexes sorted by period, location, site or find type, theme or a combination of these criteria and which can also include summary text and bibliographic information.
The digital Record is supported by a substantial archive of fully referenced written and printed information derived from a wide range of bibliographic, documentary and other sources, and by a variety of original material, including photographs, fieldwork reports and plans. Around 30,000 photographs and 5,000 slides and digital images are held together with historic and modern maps. Also available for consultation is a large collection of aerial photographs, including nearly 900 oblique images of sites and over 2,000 prints of vertical views of Central Bedfordshire taken by the RAF, mainly during the later 1940’s. More recent authority wide vertical aerial photography taken at regular intervals between 1968 and 2002 is also held.
The Record has a wide range of uses and users and enquiries can be dealt with remotely or by visiting. On request we can advise as to whether the Record or its associated resources are likely to be of help for a particular enquiry and on visiting will show how to get the most out of it.
The Record can be consulted in person by prior appointment at Priory House, Chicksands, during normal office hours, Monday to Friday. If it is not possible to visit, written, telephone or e-mail enquiries may be dealt with depending on the nature and quantity of the information required and subject to payment for any photocopies or scanning. We charge for dealing with commercial requests.
The digital HER is also accessible on the internet via the Heritage Gateway. However, this only serves as an introduction as it provides summary information rather than the full details, images, plans etc. available in the physical Record. It is recommended to visit the HER in person in order to derive full benefit from it.
On request talks concerning archaeology or historic landscape topics in the Central Bedfordshire area can be provided to local societies, community groups or other organisations. Guided walks in the Central Bedfordshire landscape can also be arranged. A small charge is made to cover costs.
Advice is available to landowners, consultants and planners on the historic interest of hedgerows, both in respect of the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 where hedgerow removal is being considered and also for general planning purposes.
A series of archaeological displays are available free of charge for use by schools and for placing in public locations.
There is a general display providing an introduction to the work of Albion Archaeology, the Archaeology Team and the Historic Environment Record. In addition there are displays covering the Prehistoric (Mesolithic to Iron Age), Roman, Medieval, and Post Medieval/Industrial periods.
Provides a range of consultancy, assessment and sub-contract services to the public and commercial sectors. Covers the whole historic environment, including archaeological investigation, conservation management, historic buildings and environmental impact. Albion Archaeology is a registered organisation with the Institute for Archaeologists; it also undertakes outreach, educational and community events free at the point of delivery
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service collect and preserve original historic and modern written evidence, maps and plans for Bedfordshire, including Luton. Millions of documents from 1166 to the present enable people to find out about local places, buildings, trade, industry and the historic physical and social environment. Access to the archives is provided through a public searchroom.
Bedfordshire Heritage Library within Bedford Central Library holds a variety of historic published and printed sources for Bedfordshire, including trade directories, old county, town and village histories, topographical works, early journals and magazines, bound volumes of newspapers and county maps.
Bedford Museum and Luton Museum deal with Bedfordshire's archaeology and social history through their collections and public displays. They help identify archaeological finds along with the Finds Liaison Officer and also provide outreach and educational services.