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Queens Park Timeline

Places > Bedford

Queens Park was Bedford's first industrial suburb, and was made all the more distinctive by its isolation beyond the railway. Most of Queens Park was built before 1918 with later development north and west of Honey Hill Road.

1890: W.H.Allens was founded in London in 1880. By 1890 there was a need for expansion and William Allen was on a train to Derby to inspect a site when the train stopped at Bedford Station. Noticing a site for sale next to the railway he left the train inspected the site and purchased 20 acres.

1894: William Henry and family together with some of his workers moved to Bedford. Queens Park owes its development to the establishment of Queens Engineering Works opposite the main railway station. Within six years new streets extended as far west as The Bell Inn, whose name may recall the bell at the gate of the Queens Works that was installed because the residents of Bedford objected to a common hooter.

1895: On the 1st August the dedication of All Saints Church took place.  The church was built on brick foundations and was a plain building of corrugated iron. The size of the congregation however soon made the building inadequate and subscriptions were started to raise money to build a concrete church.

1899: Queens Park Board Schools were opened on 8th April by the Duke of Bedford. The building was to accommodate 230 boys, 230 girls and 340 infants. As the infants school was not completed the 159 infants and their five teachers had to be accommodated in the mixed school. Most of the children were extremely backward and of the 159 infants about 120 had never been at school.

1906: The Allen Club was opened as a social club for the factory workers of W.H.Allens.

1909: The foundation stone of the new concrete church was laid on the 17th June by Mr. Allen and the dedication was on All Saints day 1910. The consecration did not take place until 1916.

1913: Bedford Town Football Club, nicknamed 'The Eagles' was founded in 1908; in 1913 the club moved to the site in Ford End Road where the club remained until 1981.

1914: At the out break of the War, W.H. Allens put their whole capacity at the service of the Royal Navy and over this period the number of people employed rose from 1,300 to 3,400.

1918: King George V and Queen Mary visited W.H. Allens on Thursday June 27th.

1923: West End Working Men's Club opened.

1945: Wartime production at W.H. Allens exceeds 12m.

1959: New offices at W.H. Allens opened by the Duke of Edinburgh.

1968: As a result of a merger W.H. Allens became part of a new company known as The Amalgamated Power Engineering Company Ltd.

1976: Charles Wells move to their new premises in Havelock Street, off Ford End Road.

1981: The lease on Bedford Town Football Club's ground expired and with no alternative site available the club folded. Charles Wells, who owned the ground built warehouse facilities on the site.

1989: The Amalgamated Power Engineering Company became part of Rolls Royce concentrating solely on diesels.

1992: The West End Working Men's Club closes, in its heyday the membership was over 1,000.

1994: The Queens Park Partnership receives 1,849.000 from the Government to rejuvenate the area and the community.

2000: Rolls Royce closed the Bedford plant bringing to an end 106 years of manufacturing on the site.

2001:The Jaivia Masjid Gulshan Mosque completed at a cost of nearly 400,000.

2006: The Coventry Arms, in Coventry Road closes.

2007: The new 4 million Sikh Temple opens in Ford End Road. ( Bedfordshire Times, 6th April)


  • Newspaper Cuttings Collection at Bedford Central Library
  • Elementary Education in Bedford 1868-2003 by D.W. Bushby, Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, Vol.54, 1975
  • The Story of Queen's Engineering Works : a history of W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd by M.R. Lane, 1995
  • Bedford by the River by Max Lock, 1952

Page last updated: 3rd February 2014