Bed­ford­shire was, and still is, a rel­a­tively ru­ral county, fa­mous for its hat­ters, straw plat­ters and lace-mak­ers

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shelves of cor­re­spon­dence and busi­ness records!”

The Bed­ford­shire team is cur­rently “con­sid­er­ing op­tions” about how best to digi­tise im­por­tant col­lec­tions. In the mean­time, it has been part of the Find­my­past/Ar­chives and Records As­so­ci­a­tion’s school ad­mis­sion records pro­ject ( ad­mis­sion reg­is­ters. This should prove very use­ful to re­searchers but will also pro­tect the very frag­ile ad­mis­sion reg­is­ters from re­peated han­dling.”

Lesser-known county col­lec­tions held else­where in­clude the Phys­i­cal Education ar­chive at the Univer­sity of Bed­ford­shire. This was a highly re­garded train­ing cen­tre for PE teach­ers and the ar­chive de­tails de­vel­op­ments in this field for 70 years ( And one re­ally ex­tra­or­di­nary col­lec­tion held in Bed­ford is that of the Panacea So­ci­ety and its new mu­seum (­anacea-mu­seum). This was a religious group founded in Bed­ford in 1919, in­spired by the teach­ings of the Devon­shire prophet­ess Joanna South­cott.

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