Trade, Industry & The Condition of the Town of Bedford 1835
From an article in the SDUK 'Penny Magazine' 1835
The neighbourhood of Bedford being very productive in wheat and barley, much business is done there in the corn trade ; there is also a very considerable trade, by means of the river Ouse, between Bedford and Lynn, in malt, coals, timber, and iron.
Lace-making affords employment to a great number of poor females and children.
The principal market-day is Saturday, when the average sale of wheat is about 600 quarters ; there was also a Tuesday market, but it has been discontinued, and one on Monday for the sale of pigs instituted.
Fairs are held on the first Tuesday in Lent, April 21, July 6, August 21, October 12, November 17, and December 19. That held in October is of the most importance, and is called the Statute Fair ; that in April is also a pleasure fair ; the others are only for the sale of cattle.
The town of Bedford lies nearly in the centre of the borough, with a broad belt of pasture-land on every side. It has been greatly improved within the present century under the authority of an act of parliament for rebuilding the bridge, and paving, lighting, and watching the town : it is still increasing, and apparently improving ; many new houses have been recently built, especially towards the north-west.
The communication between the parts of the town separated by the Ouse is by a handsome stone bridge of five arches, which was commenced in 1811, on the site of an old one of seven arches, which was popularly considered to have been built with the materials of the castle demolished by Henry III, but which Grose understood to have been erected in the reign of Queen Mary out of the ruins of St. Dunstan's church, which stood on the south side of the bridge.
The town is lighted by gas.