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DOWN YOUR WAY


One company with a history of trade dating back to 1817 is John Bull. Originally trading from what had previously been a Butcher’s shop in Ram Yard, John Bull established a Gun Makers, Silversmiths and Jewellers. In 1870 the business transferred, upon John Bull’s death, to his sons John-Richard and Thomas. It was during the rebuilding of the shop that the brother’s took advantage of erecting a large clock surrounded by a golden bull, which became a familiar landmark. Following the death in 1880 of brother John-Richard, Thomas became sole proprietor. Thomas married and had one son John, who died at the young age of 29, and one daughter Ada. Thomas Bull’s son-in-law Mr. W. E. Ison became a member of the firm and it was Mr Ison who was responsible for enlarging the premises of the company, now known as John Bull & Co. The firm, which had been contractors to the Government for many years were turned over to the manufacture of fuses during the Great War. The firm also supplied the presentation plate presented by the Borough of Bedford to the crew of the ill-fated airship R.101. We can be thankful that the Bedford


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Despite this development Bedford maintained, as it still does to this day, an attractive even rural appearance. The town still retains traces of


antiquity throughout the town centre and you can see various aspects of past architectural importance in many buildings which have been home to a variety of local business. The former Fire Station in Mill Street is a particular example. The original Fire Station was opened for service in 1888. At the time it represented the most up to date thinking and technology. The most exciting and potentially life saving piece of equipment to be installed was the telephone. It had only been invented just thirteen years earlier and now represented the greatest advance in personal communication. It had a long way to go before it was universally available but it did mean that people who had access to a telephone instrument could communicate directly with the fire service in an emergency.


12 County Life


we see today, despite its modern infrastructure, still retains so much of its rich and eclectic history and heritage.


Images top: Mill Street Fire Station’s proud fire crew photographed in 1888 - Reproduced courtesy of Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service. (image first reproduced winter edition 1999)


Image centre: A very sedate pace of life along St Peter’s Street.


Image above: The statue of John Howard.


Image right: Cruise the Ouse then rest awhile.


www.countylifemagazines.co.uk


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