Dunstable Timeline is compiled by Rita Swift and additional information is welcome. Please email Rita on rita.swift1@ntlworld.com or use our online feedback form. Work on creating this Timeline began when the history society's website was launched in 2010 and numerous documents and publications have been consulted, particularly the past editions of the Dunstable Gazette. Some sections are still very much incomplete and research is continuing. A further printed edition will be published soon.  

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1st Century
5th Century
6th Century
10th Century
11th Century
12th Century
13th Century

14th Century
15th Century
16th Century
17th Century
18th Century
19th Century
20th Century
21st Century


The beginning of Roman Dunstable (Durocobrivis). Around this period, construction of a Roman road, now known as Watling Street, would have taken place. The crossroads in the centre of town is where it crossed the old Icknield Way.


The last of the Romans leave the area.

6th Century (Top)

The Saxons raid and destroy Durocobrivis.

10th Century (Top)

The Danes raid and destroy the Saxon village built on the site of Durocobrivis.

11th Century (Top)

The enumerators sent by William the Conqueror find nothing but burnt ruins on the site of the present Dunstable, so do not mention it in the Domesday Book.

12th Century (Top)

The Church of the Holy Trinity, Aldgate, is founded by Queen Maud. Aldgate's charity document is signed at Dunstable.

Around this time, Henry I establishes a town around the crossroads.

The first performance of a miracle play in England is given at Geoffrey de Gorham's school in Dunstable at around this time.

King Henry I and his court spend Christmas at Kingsbury, Dunstable.

Work has started by this date on building the Augustinian Priory at Dunstable. The signature of Bernard, Dunstable's first Prior, appears this year on a document at Aldgate monastery, which looked upon Dunstable as its daughter foundation.

A payment of one penny a day is authorised for a steward to look after the house (royal residence) when the King is not here.

King Henry grants the first Charter to the town.

King Henry spends Christmas at his palace at Dunstable.

Coat of Arms is granted to Dunstable Priory by Henry I.

King Stephen and his court spend Christmas at Dunstable.

About this date ownership of Ruxox (Flitwick), a chapel of ease for those a long way from church, is given to Dunstable Priory by Philip de Sanvill. (His son Gilbert disputes the gift but changes his mind when he develops leprosy).

King Stephen and Henry, the Duke of Normandy, hold a meeting at Dunstable.

The burgesses are summoned by King Henry II to send representatives to Parliament, but they refuse.

Thomas, the Prior of Dunstable, borrows £50 from Aaron of Lincoln, a Jewish moneylender.

King Richard introduces a licensing system under which tournaments can legally be held in authorised parts of England. Dunstable is not included.

13th Century (Top)

Simon of Pattishall receives land from the Prior of Dunstable. In return he is “to find for the prior fitting entertainment (lodgings), three times a year, if he comes with four horses, or twice a year if he comes with six horses”.


A three-day fair in May is granted by King John who also gives the whole of the Manor of Houghton with its rights and profits to the Priory.

Richard de Morin is made Prior of Dunstable (he holds the office for 40 years).

Bones of St. Fremund are brought from Oxfordshire to Dunstable Priory. Fremund was said to have been a prince, son of the Mercian King Offa, and to have fought against the Danes.


Site of the former palace and its gardens at Kingsbury are given to the Priory by King John.


Sir Gaufridus le Cauceis grants the Church of Bradeburn (Derbyshire) with its chapels etc., for the support of the hospice at Dunstable.


The priors lose their lands at Houghton and Dunstable gives 100 marks to the king plus a gift to the sheriff.


Four altars dedicated in the Priory.


The Priory of St Peter starts a hospital of St Mary Magdalene for lepers on the east side of South Street on the town boundary, which was the town side of the present Half Moon Lane.

The canons build an almonry (for the distribution of alms).

An eclipse of the sun and moon is recorded by the canons.


King John sends a letter granting safe conduct to those collecting alms on behalf of the Hospital.


Great storm, many houses destroyed.

The Prior documents his vision of two Jews who said Anti Christ would be born 40 years later.


The priors receive King John's writ for the recovery of lands at Houghton.

Three representatives of the Pope arrive to preach a crusade.

King John demands men and arms for the country's defence. Dunstable contributes 10 shields and 12 doublets.


Dunstable Priory is consecrated by Hugh II, Bishop of Lincoln.

Dunstable is burnt by accident.

By-laws for Dunstable are produced.


Stephen, Archbishop of Canterbury, visits Dunstable.

First tournament held at Dunstable.


King John spends the night at Dunstable on his journey north.

The barons under the Earl of Perche, passing through the town, cause much damage.

The Prior of Dunstable brings a case against the clerics at Bradbourne and Ballindon, accusing them of being married, and puts his own canons in these churches.


Itinerant justices come to Dunstable and take the people's oath of allegiance to Henry III.

The English barons with Louis, Dauphin of France, in arms against the king, halt for a night in Dunstable after their defeat at Lincoln, and badly damage the church.

The Priory is given half the parish of Pattishall in Northamptonshire.


Court of Assizes held at Dunstable.

The town partially destroyed by fire.


Dunstable pays three marks to the king.

The Prior enforces his claims of tithe of hay against many parishioners.

Robert, Bishop of Lismore, and Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, at Dunstable.


The Priory publishes The Customal, a set of rules stating how the market should operate.

The roof on the Priory's presbytery falls in but is quickly repaired.

Mossy, a Jew, unsuccessfully sues the Prior for £700. His friends pay the king a mark of gold and £100 to save him from hanging for forgery.


One of the two towers at the Priory is blown down in a great storm.


Robert Ranulph, chancellor to Henry I, falls from his horse and breaks his neck on a hill near Dunstable.


King Henry III visits Dunstable.

Master Richard of Stanford is managing the school at Dunstable when a fight breaks out between the scholars and burgesses.

People from Dunstable help King Henry's troops storm Bedford Castle, stronghold of Faukes de Breaute. Faukes had been fined by the king's justices, sitting at Dunstable, and in retaliation had imprisoned one of the judges.


Two sisters, Isabella and Lucia, grant a piece of land to a hospital, St. John's, “near to the Court of the Canons”.


The Prior builds a manor house at Caldecote, (Calcutt Farm) near Houghton Regis, diverting a stream to create a moat.


Three bills found against the Prior concerning the wall round the garden – the jury gives verdicts against the Prior.

The Priory obtains a confirmation of the charters of Henry I and Richard I.

Ralph Buignon “grants to his dearest lords, the Prior and canons, a moiety (half) of his land in Dunstapl' excepting the dower of his mother Elizabeth a croft outside his homestead and an acre of his inlands ... near the King's Court” (Kingsbury).


The chapel of St Mary is founded in the cemetery of the canons of Dunstable.

Prior Richard appoints two coroners with jurisdiction in Dunstable to be overseers of measures in length and width, liquids and dry measures.

Ten burgesses are excommunicated for withholding offerings.


King Henry III, passing through Dunstable, lodges at the Priory.

Quarrel between townsmen and the canons.


King Henry III gives permission for tournaments to be held in Dunstable - one of only around four licensed sites in England. Tournaments at this period were mock battles between rival armies held over a large area of land. Scholars guess that the local site was along the foot of Blow's Downs.


Two canons at Dunstable Priory escape through a broken window, climb over a wall and join the Franciscan at Oxford. Richard de Morins excommunicates them.


The Priory purchases Flitwick Mill having been given it years earlier but then lost possession.

The tunic of St. Hugh of Lincoln, currently at Dunstable, had previously been in the possession of Leighton. To keep the peace it is returned to Leighton, with Dunstable being allowed to keep one sleeve.


John Young sells a goshawk to King Henry III.


A severe winter causes the death of many of the Prior's sheep. When this is followed by a crop failure and building repairs, the Priory begins to get into serious debt.


Numerous discontented barons and knights assemble their retinues at Dunstable and Luton under the pretence of holding a tournament. The event is banned by the king.


King Henry III prohibits a tournament as he suspects the gathering is intended to take action against the Pope's unpopular representative, Master Martin.


A tournament between Richard, Earl of Gloucester, and Guy de Lusignan is prohibited by the king who fears that “ his brother and followers would be cut to pieces”.

King Henry III, his Queen, Prince Edward and Princess Margaret stay in Dunstable.
Squatters ejected from waste land in the town.


The king prohibits a tournament at Dunstable stating: “If any disobey this prohibition the king will take hold of them so heavily that they and their heirs will feel aggrieved forever”.


A general chapter of Augustinians held.

Bishop of Lincoln at Dunstable.


Ten tons of lead mined in Derbyshire are put on the Priory's refectory roof.


The canons' dormitory at the Priory is rebuilt for fear the old one should fall.


A great stable is built at the Priory as well as new workshops for the carpenter and wheelwright.


Tournament prohibited at Dunstable.


The Prior sent his cellarer S. de Eton with a silver gilt cup for the king on his return from Gascony.

Tournament prohibited in Dunstable.


Tournament prohibited at Dunstable.


The king commands the Prior to stop a tournament.


Boniface, Archbishop of Canterbury, visits Dunstable.

The king bans a tournament, saying he needs his knights to be ready to put down a rebellion in Wales.

The great stable at the Priory collapses at Easter. It is repaired by Michaelmas.

The Priory's annual bill for bread, food and drink comes to £24 and £6 for two casks of wine.


A Convent of Dominican Black Friars is established in Dunstable opposite the Priory. Much rivalry exists between the Augustinian canons and the friars in the years to come.

A boy who stole 60 marks in St. Albans is sheltered by Philip Illig in Dunstable. The Prior refuses demands by the Chief Justice to bring Philip to him. The Chief Justice puts all the lands of the Priory into the king's hands until a ten marks fine is paid.


Thomas le Blund allows the Friary to rent land at 1d per year.


Simon de Montfort visits Dunstable and becomes a brother of the Priory.


King Henry III gives the Friary 20 oaks. Another 15 are given later.

Two men are hanged on the top of Pascombe Pit for sheep stealing.

Tournament prohibited at Dunstable.


King Henry III and Simon de Montfort at Dunstable.

The Earl of Gloucester and his knights leave Dunstable in anger after a strong force led by Hugh Despenser and Simon de Montford prevent them from holding a tournament.


King Henry III, his Queen and Simon de Montfort the Younger (as a prisoner) stay at Dunstable.

Ralph Pyreth's men enter the Priory courtyard and take the almoner's horses, worth 100 shillings, also a good horse from the mill and all the horses found in the town.

King Henry III and Richard, King of Germany, at Dunstable.


Two Welshmen beheaded for robbery.


Alexander Sweynissone is accidentally killed by a fall of earth while working in a pit on the Downs.


The Friary receives two shillings alms for food from Walter Clifford, Archbishop of York.


William Wederow is admitted as a canon at Dunstable (later he becomes Prior).


Four marks paid by the Priory for Prince Edward's crusade in the Holy Land.

Blind man is taken into the Priory “for his soul”.


King Edward I attends a tournament in Dunstable. Others take place in 1274, 1279, 1280, 1289, 1292, 1293 and 1301.

The parishioners of Dunstable pay for the renovation of the Priory church roof from the rood screen to the west door. Henry Chadd is the chief donor.


The Kings Marshal checks the weights and measures used by the stallholders and finds all the bushels are defective. The town is fined four marks.

The new lord of Houghton Manor, Eudo la Zouche, forcibly removes a felon from the Prior's prison and throws down the Prior's gallows at Edessuthe (perhaps Blow's Downs). He then sets up a gallows below Pudele, later Gibbet Arch, beyond Puddle Hill.

Nicholas Aldbury, previously a Dominican friar and then a canon for nine years, returns to the friars.

The Priory's beer fails to brew. The canons have to drink wine (five hogsheads) instead.


The brewers are found to be using short measures, poor-quality ale and over-charging. The town is fined £2.

A converted Jew named Henry obtains letter from the Pope promising that the priors will maintain him and his family. The official of Lincoln “provides for him elsewhere”.

Five thieves hanged, a sixth turns evidence and as a result 13 more are hanged.

The royal family lodges at the Priory and King Edward I gives the priors one “rich baudekin” (valuable cloth).

Richard, Bishop of Lincoln, at Dunstable.


Dispute with Edward I's falconers, who subsequently lie to the king and blame the canons for the mayhem which ensues.

King Edward I gives the Friary 17s for food while he is in Dunstable and a further 12s later.


The friars and the canons dine together at the Priory – their first cordial function since the foundation of the Friary.

Work begins in the Priory to build accommodation for Edward I and his court, next to the Prior's chamber. The king attends numerous tournaments in Dunstable during his reign.

The Archbishop of Canterbury stays for five days.

Master Michael makes two large bells for the Priory.


Tournament held at Dunstable.

Bedford Justices come to enquire about coin clipping.

Wooden sheds erected by butchers over their benches are removed because they are fixed to the ground. Later they were allowed to cover them with foliage.


Two tournaments held at Dunstable.

The Prior, William le Breton, is deposed by Bishop Oliver Sutton because the Priory has fallen into debt. William is pensioned off to the priory's cell at Ruxox, Flitwick, together with a servant.


David Flitwick accuses the Prior, William de Wederow, of allowing his people to catch rabbits in a Flitwick warren. A jury decides no offence has been committed.

The townspeople agree to a certain piece of land, including a lane, being enclosed. But as the wall blocked access to some property it was knocked down and another road built.


A woman is buried at the Friary after first being taken to the Priory where mass is celebrated.

The canons improve the bakehouse and rebuild the brewhouse wall.


Oliver, Bishop of Lincoln, at Dunstable.

The Prior dines with John Durrant, a rich wool merchant in the town. The Prior owes him “much money, so he dares not offend him”.

Heavy summer rain kills many sheep while others are anointed against the itch with stale hogg's lard, quicksilver and verdigrease.

A very expensive mechanical clock, one of the earliest to be documented, is built at the Priory. It has no hands but strikes the hours when religious Offices have to be observed.


Bishop Oliver Sutton and John, Archbishop of Canterbury, at Dunstable.

William and Richard, sons of the rich merchant John Durrant of Dunstable, are accepted as students at Oxford, where their father provides a famous feast.


All the Priory's rights, established in ancient charters, are re-examined and in the main confirmed. Only Dunstable causes to be tried at Dunstable.

John and Edmund are conveyed from the Prior's gaol in Dunstable to Norwich where John is hanged and Edmund dies as a prisoner.


Bishop Oliver Sutton visits Dunstable.

The Priory porter Thomas is instructed to buy a house next to the Friary “to prevent the schemes and evil practices of the Friar Preachers in Dunstable” from extending the boundary of their precinct without the Prior's consent.


Bishop Oliver Sutton at Dunstable.

General chapter of Augustinians held at Dunstable.


Tournament at Dunstable.

The parishioners build two pinnacles on the west front of the Priory and repair the stone roof on the south porch. John Durrant senior, whose wife Alice died that year, pays half the expenses.

Alexander le Bantere of Dunstaple is murdered in a Kensworth field. Three men then fled and the prior confiscated their effects. Later two recovered their lands but the third is put in gaol.


Two Dunstable friar preachers celebrate Christmas Day at Hertford Castle. Although in good health they are found dead in their beds the next morning “supposed to have died suddenly”.

A tournament planned for January is abandoned.

The funeral cortege of Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward I, spends a night at Dunstable on its way to Westminster Abbey.

King Edward expels all Jews from the country. There is no record of the number forced to leave this area.


The executors of Queen Eleanor give the Friary 10 shillings from her alms.

Death of Thomas, the head porter at the Priory.


The Annals of Dunstable record that the tournament on Ash Wednesday was “hard fought”.

Townspeople, resenting the Priory's many privileges, withdraw their tithes. Some are excommunicated as a result.

A new rule is introduced banning grooms or anyone on foot from carrying a weapon at a tournament except a small shield to protect themselves from the horses.


An armour-bearer is killed during a tournament in Dunstable and buried in the Priory.

A great cross is painted in the church, with the images of St. Mary and St. John.

The lepers of Dunstable set up a large bell on two timbers at their house. It was agreed that neither this nor any other bell should be used by them to call parishioners or people together.


A ship loaded with wool is lost at sea. Survivors include Robert Frude of Dunstable

The Priory's hay-barn burns down.

John Carpenter makes a new style mill using one horse. Once finished four stout horses can hardly turn it so it is closed and the old mill used again .

The Pope's nuncio visits Dunstable.

King Edward I orders a search for wealth laid up by monasteries, cathedrals etc. Although all the secret places are searched in the Priory only £40 is found which belongs to Walter Rudham.

Bishop Oliver Sutton and Archbishop Winchelsea at the Priory.


Two notorious robbers escape from the town gaol.

Dunstable sends two members to Parliament. This continues until 1338.

The Priory rebuilds its main prison in stone and cement from the foundations upwards.


On the death of Sir David Flitwick the Prior receives his palfrey (horse) and his armour in death duty owed to the church.


122 people in Dunstable are paying tax compared to just over 100 in Bedford.

Last regular entry in the Annals of Dunstable, the "diary of events" kept at the Priory.


The Bishop of Lincoln has to intercede in a dispute about the friars' rights to hear confessions. The canons are forbidding them to do so.

14th Century (Top)


King Edward I gives 10s to the Friary while he is in Dunstable.


The Prior successfully takes Roger Bradborn and five others to court for mining lead on his land to the value of 100 shillings.


Over 240 knights assemble in Dunstable for a great tournament. A copy of the roll of arms giving their names is one of the few examples from medieval tournaments to have survived. (Some early histories incorrectly attribute this to a tournament in Stepney in 1308).


King Edward II is met in procession by the friars to whom he gives 10s 8d.

Queen Eleanor's Cross is erected in the centre of the town, commemorating a resting place of her funeral cortege. This remains standing for 370 years until it is destroyed by Roundheads pursuing the soldiers of Charles I.


King Edward II prohibits a tournament at Dunstable.


Tournament prohibited at Dunstable.


Ranulp de Charoun and William Raymundi de Claver, king's sergeant at arms, are appointed to arrest all persons attempting to hold a tournament at Dunstable.


The Priory's Lady Chapel is rebuilt.


Wille de Donestaple, clerk, is paid to look after 47 caged goldfinches which the king has bought as a present for his niece, Eleanor Despenser.


Invasion army led by Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer joins forces at Dunstable with men led by Thomas of Lancaster.

Sir John de Morteyn and the men of his household riding with him are allowed by Royal order to bear arms “that he may not suffer by attack of evil doers who threaten him in many ways”.


Two leaders of a failed attempt to rescue the deposed King Edward II from imprisonment at Berkeley Castle are arrested while sheltering at Dunstable Friary.


King Edward III gives seven shillings each to the 21 Dunstable friars for food.


Inquisition held at Dunstable decides the town had not supported a rebellion by Earl Henry of Lancaster, whose forces had been halted at Bedford.

King Edward III, his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer attend an elaborate tournament in Dunstable. Documents detailing the cost of repairing houses in the town for the Royal visit still exist.


Dunstable's Prior, John of Cheddington, is committed to prison for conspiracy against Sir John de Morteyn.


The Dominican Provincial Chapter is held at Dunstable where King Edward III gives 15s for three days food.


King Edward III, fighting incognito, takes part in a tournament in Dunstable to celebrate his return from a great victory over the Scots. The list of knights present at the tournament still exists.

King Edward III grants a pardon to Thomas le Brut “who lately received from the king at Dunstaple the order of knighthood, for not having taken the same before Trinity last pursuant to the king's proclamation”. (A knighthood was not always a welcome honour as some men did not want to leave their families or take part in battles).


The king pardons Peter Eskudemore for not having taken the order of knighthood pursuant to the proclamation made in the county of Wilts, “he having taken the same in Dunstaple...”


King Edward III sends a letter of protection to the Master and brethren of the Hospital and permission to collect alms.


Sir Nigel Loring of Chalgrave is the hero of the naval battle of Sluys where the English defeat the larger French fleet.


King Edward III and Queen Philippa attend a spectacular tournament at Dunstable held in honour of the betrothal of their son Lionel to Elizabeth de Burgh. With so much pageantry and parading there was little time left for the mock battle, which was to be the last of this kind of event to be held in England. Henceforth, tournaments consisted of jousting between individual knights.


Death of Hawife, daughter of Fulk Lord Fitzwarren and wife of Sir Richard Hoo, Knight of the Garter. She is buried in the Priory.


Black Death (bubonic plague) at its peak. During the epidemic, which kills (for example) 54 of the 123 clergy in Bedfordshire, the townsmen make themselves a new bell for the Priory which they name Mary.


Sale of land near the gallows, on the Kensworth side of the town.


Two men armed with bows and arrows drive away cattle, pastured at Flitwick, owned by Dunstable Priory. The Prior's frightened servants fly to Ruxox and hide.


Isabel, Queen Dowager, widow of Edward II, gives cloth of gold worth 26s 8d for a vestment.


Death of John Bracebridge, Knight, at Dunstable.


Sir Nigel Loring retires from military service.


Confirmation of the liberties of the Priory by King Edward III.


A rebellious mob during the Peasants' Revolt extorts a charter from the Prior (later revoked). Sir William Croyser, a land owner, takes refuge in the Priory together with William Bateman.


John of Toddington inherits eight messuages, seven virgates of land and a watermill for maintaining the Prior with his men, horses and hounds twice a year as long as the Prior stays there on his way to and from Dunstable to his manor in Derby.


Death of Sir Nigel Loring. According to his will he wanted to be buried in Dunstable but there is a tomb in Chalgrave Church with his name on it. The place of his burial remains a mystery.


Birth of John of Dunstable, world-famous musician.


Hugh Whitsyde from Ireland pays for a licence to live in England and (in 1413) a further 6s 8d to live in Dunstable.


Death of William Zouche, one of King Richard II's councillors.

15th Century (Top)


Walter Baldocke, Prior of Laund, who had once been a canon at Dunstable, is executed for treason against King Henry IV.


King Henry IV stays at Dunstable during a journey from the battlefields of Wales to London.


The Prince of Wales stays at Dunstable overnight travelling north from Berkhamsted.

Radegund Becket, a very wealthy lady, requested that she should be buried “in the Church of the Friar Preachers of Dunstapul”. She leaves them a valuable red silk gown and other important gifts.


John George, tawyer (a skilled leather worker) is summoned to Westminster on a charge of stealing 16 deer worth £20 from the Prior.


William Murlie, a Dunstable brewer and Lollard, hanged at Harringay, near London.


John Dunstable among the group accompanying the Duke of Bedford, then Regent of France, on his European travels. (He did not return until 1435, when the Duke died).


A conveyance of property describes the Swan Inn in High Street North as privately owned but the other two inns on either side are the property of the Priory. The inn is conveyed to John and Alice Petever from Alice's father, Thomas Hobbes.


The bishop writes to the Prior stating the canons are not allowed to indulge in hunting and hawking. Feasting, drinking and gambling must stop on the pain of imprisonment for one year.


King Henry VI stops overnight on his way to Leicester.


A Fraternity of businessmen is formed who are members of the London Wool Staplers Company. They purchase a licence from King Henry VI to form a brotherhood dedicated to St John the Baptist, at St Peter's Church.


A dispute between the canons and the friars results in a friar being thrown into the pond, some being wounded and the gardens despoiled.


Building of the present bell tower at the Priory.

King Henry VI passes through the town.

Death of Lawrence Pygot whose brass is in the Priory Church.

Sir Thomas Chalton, a member of the Mercers' Company and a native of Dunstable, son of Thomas Chalton, becomes Lord Mayor of London.


King Henry VI journeys through Dunstable.


Death of John of Dunstable, musician. He is buried at St. Stephen's, Walbrook, London.


Two Lancastrian forces under Margaret of Anjou, en route to the first Battle of St Albans, cause mayhem in Dunstable.


King Henry VI and Queen Margaret at Dunstable.


King Henry VI at Dunstable issues a proclamation to the townsmen.


King Henry VI passes through Dunstable.


Queen Margaret of Anjou with 15,000 troops again passes through Dunstable on way to the 2nd Battle of St. Albans. After winning the battle and the release of King Henry VI both return north with the army via Dunstable.


King Edward IV, marching south down the Watling Street to London to reclaim his throne, is said to have sent “comfortable messages” from Dunstable to the Queen at Westminster.


The Priory Church roof is lowered: A great engineering feat paid for by the Dunstable Fraternity.


One of John Durrant's servant commits suicide by throwing himself into his master's well. He is to be buried in a pit outside the town but the Hospitalers take pity and bury him in their cemetery.


The great cross in the Priory with the images of Mary and John is repainted together with many figures of the saints.


Escape of two prisoners from the Priory gaol due to the negligence of Bartholomew Broc, the porter and gaol-keeper. He flees to the church where he remains for three weeks.

16th Century (Top)


About this date Henry and Agnes Fayrey donate a richly embroidered pall to cover a coffin. (The pall is now on permanent loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum).


Conveyance of an inn called the Swan from John Dyve to Roger Parkyns. The Lion and the Peacock are mentioned as being near the Swan.


In the will of Richard Mone alias Merke his wife is to bring up his grandson Henry, send him to school, provide food and drink and all other necessities.


William Parkins endows a school in Church Street.

William Dyve of Sewell Manor sets up a religious trust to provide his own private chaplains and a school for six poor children.

Robert Dermere, owner of the Cross Keys in Middle Row, dies and leaves it to his son.


Death of Richard Pynfold.


Bishop William Atwater visits Prior John Wastell and six canons. The Prior is ordered to increase the number of priests (canons).

Robert Alex dies and leaves £5 to Sir Michael, canon of the Priory, “which remained in the hand of Mr George Cavendish”.


King Henry VIII visits Dunstable with Queen Catherine.


Anne Boleyn accompanies King Henry VIII through Dunstable on their way to hunt at Ampthill.


Last visit of Diocesan Chancellor to the Priory.

George Cavendish serves as escheator (a special tax collector) for Beds and Bucks.

A Dominican friar, Thomas Pett, is recorded as being known to frequent taverns.


Court sitting in the Priory annuls the marriage of Queen Catherine and King Henry VIII. The Queen, living at Ampthill, is ordered by Archbishop Cranmer to appear at Dunstable but she refuses. The decision is read in her absence in the Lady Chapel of the Priory.


John Plant, a servant of the Earl of Essex, is buried at the Priory.

King Henry VIII imposes a new 10 per cent income tax on all church lands and benefits.

Prior and canons take Oath of Supremacy accepting the King as Supreme Head on Earth of the Church in England.


King Henry VIII has an assessment made of the church's property and income across England. The income of the Dunstable Friary is estimated at £4 18s 8d besides four shillings owed to the Prior for rent as the land is still owned by the Priory.

George Cavendish is made Commissioner for Bedfordshire with those making investigations into the Tenths of Spiritualities (a kind of parish tax).


An order is passed that a collection should be made after church on a Sunday to help support the poor of the parish.


Henry VIII, visiting Dunstable, stays at the White Horse Inn rather than the Priory..

Elizabeth Aulby, widow of wealthy businessman Thomas Aulby, dies leaving a very detailed will.


Dominican Friary is closed.


Thomas Bentley, valet of the King's guard, receives a royal lease on the site of the Friary including all buildings and land.

Dissolution of the Priory; Gervase Markham the last Prior. The Priory lands subsequently appropriated by the Crown.


King Henry VIII at Dunstable. It is reported in “Willis's Mitred Abbeys” that he wishes to make Dunstable a cathedral city.

George Cavendish is President of the Dunstable Fraternity.

Changes in authority resulting from the closure of the Priory lead to a dispute when the constable of Dunstable tries to prevent the sheriff from evicting a tenant. The sheriff puts the constable in the stocks.

Well-to-do inhabitants in the town at this date include John Fensham, a smith, who on his death a few years later leaves ten loads of stone every year for ten years to repair the road between Dunstable and Houghton Regis.


King Henry VIII revisits Dunstable on his way to York to meet King James V of Scotland, his cousin.


Geoffrey Chamber is the County Receiver. The Local Receiver or bailiff is Adam Hilton of the Saracen's Head (a building nearer the crossroads than the later inn of that name)..


King Henry VIII and Queen Catherine Parr in Dunstable.


Richard Greenway is put in charge of the Priory buildings, grounds and chief messuage.


Sir William Herbert, gentleman of the privy chamber, petitioned to have by way of a gift, all the property included in Thomas Bentley's lease. King Edward VI granted this the following year at 44/8 per year as a reward for loyalty not a gift.

Dunstable Fraternity is dissolved as its numbers are declining.


When Edward Bowstred, a prosperous maltman, makes his will he asked for his body to be buried in the parish church beside his wife Eme. Various clothes to be distributed but especially remembered are the herdsman, who each day took the herd of cows to the pastures to graze: “To Andro the herdman my bucskyne dubled”.


King Edward VI grants the rectory and advowson of Dunstable (right to recommend or appoint clergy to a vacant benefice) to the Dean and Canons of Windsor.


Richard Denton of the Lyon Inn and others buy “the capital messuage” of the Priory (possibly the Prior's House) but soon sell it again.


A carved screen with images honouring Queen Mary is installed in the Priory Church.


First parish register of Dunstable.


A particularly bad outbreak of the plague. The cost of supporting numerous beggars passing through the town proves a strain, especially if they are carrying disease.


Death of Gervase Markham, the last Prior. He is buried at Dunstable.

The site of the Priory granted by Queen Mary to Dr. Leonard, Chamberlain.

Priory House is purchased by Richard and Elizabeth Ames (Aves).


The will of Robert Foster, a musician, gives to Richard Foster “my base vyall” and gives two apprentices “an Instrument to get theyre living withal” providing they serve out their time with either his wife or brother Thomas Foster,


A primitive fire-engine made.


Queen Elizabeth I passes through Dunstable on her way to Woburn Abbey. The bell ringers at St. Peter's Church receive money to welcome her.


Young man found dead, with his legs bound, at “Puddell Brydge”.


Queen Elizabeth 1 visits Toddington Manor.


Many deaths from plague in the area.


Emery Dighton occupies a tenement in Dunstable in ‘le middle rowe' with a ‘slawter house'.


Rev. William Walker buried at the Priory Church.


Death of Thomas Fynche, a member of the Merchant Taylors Company.


Ralph Brinklow, a rich butcher who married Elizabeth Bradshaw in 1575, dies leaving a complicated estate as all his children are still minors.


Edward Carre, innkeeper, dies leaving his daughter six cushions of tapestry in the chamber over his gatehouse, some tapestry coverlets, a carpet which used to lie on the table in the parlour and quantities of bedding and linen.


Elizabeth Ames of Priory House in her will leaves two thirds of the income from the property to her daughter for the schooling of son William and one third to remain to the Queen during his minority {thus ensuring the queen's future interest in the boy).


A drover dies in the cage (the lock up). He had perhaps been isolated there in case he had the plague.


Two known horse thieves are stated to have used Bennell's house (the Peacock pub) in Dunstable.


Elizabeth Finch, widow of Richard Finch, leaves instructions for yearly rents in a West Street messuage to be for the relief of the poor for ever.


Alice Willett is punished by the church court for helping a pregnant, distressed woman. To offer accommodation to strangers was a punishable offence.

Thomas Waters and Edmund Temple are excommunicated for working on a Sunday. On Saturday night the axletree broke on their loaded cart and they had to leave it overnight. They had gone out early the next day to bring in the load.

17th Century (Top)


A will dated October 27th 1600 starts: “I Thomas Heathe of Dunstaple, being sicke of bodie but of good and perfecte memorie (God be praysed) do make and ordaine this my last will and testamente in manner and form following, First I commend my soule into the handes of God, my maker, and my bodie to the earth whereof it is made.”

A poem by John Willis about Dun the robber appears in the Priory Church Register.


The earliest reference to stagecoaches in the town appears in a London to Chester “Itinerary , published in 1603.

Serious cholera epidemic in the town.


William Duncombe, a wealthy local merchant, endows charities for the relief of poverty in the Dunstable area.


Robert Catesby, a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot, escaping from London, stops in Dunstable when his horse casts a shoe.


William Heath and Richard Andrews sell the White Hart in Undepelane, off High Street North, to William Bennet.


An Assize for the county is held at Dunstable for the last time.

Two malefactors executed on the Downs at Pascombe.


Death of Thomas Phillipes, a chapman or itinerant dealer.


During bitter disagreements between the minister and his congregation, a sheep is brought into the Priory Church and baptised with the name of Edward Alport, the minister.


Elizabeth Ordway, a widow, dies leaving a detailed account of her possessions but no mention of her business.


Bowls is a popular game and Dunstable's bowls alley is leased to William Metcalfe of the White Horse for six shillings and six pence per year.


Serious cholera epidemic in the town.

Zachary Symmes becomes rector of Dunstable.


First Saracen's Head (on the site which later became Albion Building in High Street South) is occupied by Widow Thorpe.


Thomas Sheafe leases a Manor House in South Street, formerly called the Angel but now called “the Stone House” to Zachary Symmes for £17 a year for 18 years. (The document still exists and is in the local records office).


Mr Yorke leaves 20s a year for the poor out of Kingsbury House. There is no record of how, if ever, it was done.


Zachary Symmes, William Tyng and his brother Edward emigrate to America on the ship New Surry.


Dunstable is assessed at £20 8s under the controversial Ship Tax.


Daniel Fossey's halfpenny token struck.


The Earl of Huntington pays 1s 10d for a supper of larks at the Red Lion and 3s 4d for preserved lark meat to take away.


Death of Richard Fynche, son of Thomas. His will bequeaths several tenements for poor families. His brass shows he was a Member of the Merchant Taylors Company.


Oliver Cromwell in Dunstable, possibly recruiting.


Queen Eleanor's Cross is demolished by Parliamentary forces.

John Plant, servant of the Earl of Essex, is buried at the Priory Church.


Royalist soldiers plunder the town and commit great outrages in the church during divine service, shooting at the minister in the pulpit and wounding several of the congregation. (During the Civil War Mr Platt, landlord of the Red Lion, is killed by Royalist troops when they raid the inn searching for horses).


King Charles I and his army on their way to Naseby, stop at Dunstable. The king sleeps at the Red Lion.


Elkanah Settle, dramatist, poet and political writer, is said to have been born at the Nag's Head in Dunstable. He died in 1724 at Charterhouse.


First Saracen's Head, owned by Richard Smith, occupied by Thomas Smith, landlord.


Death of William Marshe. Married to Elizabeth they had sons John and Francis and daughter Elizabeth.


A Quaker group is formed about this time in Dunstable.

Intention of marriage betwixt Thomas Wats and Jane Long, both of Dunstable, “published in the Market”.


A petition is sent to Oliver Cromwell stating the church living had been void for 14 years and the people wanted a resident minister.

Birth of William Chew in Dunstable.


The Quakers are persecuted and 18 local people arrested.

Thomas Chew, brother of William, is apprenticed to distillers in London at the age of 13. (He is in business on his own account by 1666).


Cholera very fatal at Dunstable.


John Risley in his will says he wishes to be buried “in the place where I taught school” (probably in the church rather than a school building).


William Strange leaves by will £10 for the poor of the parish, but none to be given to “Quakers or common beggars”.


Will of John Marvail of Dunstable bequeaths the White Hart in Dunstable to Elizabeth, his wife.


Elizabeth Pratt, accused of witchcraft, dies in Bedford Gaol before she can be tried.

Josiah Settle, barber surgeon, bequeaths “The Nagg's Head” to his son Jeremiah and The Bell in South Street (between the Saracen's Head and the George) to his daughter Sarah.


Shortage of coinage: local businessman William Chew and baker Edward Chester issue their own halfpennies.

Four Dunstable women accused of witchcraft, the most serious charge being that of bewitching small children to death.


Daniel Fossey issues a halfpenny token, showing a hare and two crossed tobacco pipes.


The Archdeacon of Bedford holds a visitation at Dunstable.

Thomas Barret, a Dunstable carrier/packman, issues a halfpenny trade token which shows a packhorse pannier.


Daniel Roberts meets a drover with a score of sheep going to the Dunstable Fayre and offers his help. They agreed to 2d per day with meat and drink until reaching Dunstable.

Houses on Tax List total 212. Thomas Chew is listed as having a house in Dunstable with two hearths.

Demolition of Three Swans pub in High Street (where Queensway is now). It is replaced by cottages which in turn made way for a gentleman's house c1750.


Robert Crawley purchases Priory Meadow from Sir John Napier of Luton Hoo.


Widow Rose rents the site known as St Mary Over for five shillings.

The clergy are asked to report the number of Nonconformists in their parish. Dunstable admits to 29.


John Taylor offers £3 2s 6d to Humphrey Blackwall to be allowed to ride his mare “a step or two”. Blackwall later realises that he had been tricked and his mare stolen. An entry in the Dunstable Fair Toll Book records John Taylor sold a mare to William Bettam of Aston Abbotts in Bucks for £2.

Robert Lake and William Gurney steal six sheep to sell at the Dunstable fair. Gurney was well known so Lake sold the sheep to Thomas Foxen for 7s 3d. Each then met in a local ale house and split the money.

John King's coach is held up between Dunstable and Hockliffe by two highwaymen. A male passenger is shot and a woman has 40 shillings taken.


A carrier's cart carrying Dunstable hats to London is robbed. The waggoner's daughter loses two gold touch pieces worn to protect her against "the King's Evil".


John Lord becomes Rector of Dunstable. (Although not well-known, his papers have survived, revealing that the church wardens and 30 inhabitants had petitioned for him to be their rector because of his pious life).


A coach is robbed between Dunstable and Market Street (Markyate) by six highwaymen, who steal a black gelding. A reward of 20 shillings is offered.

A brown mare and saddle are stolen by three highwaymen near Dunstable. A reward of 20 shillings is offered for information passed to Henry Sam at the White Horse in Dunstable.

Peter Sutton, an Ampthill tailor, has breeches stolen from his stall at the Dunstable fair.


Henry Sam of the White Horse is registered as the Royal Mail's representative responsible for receiving letters and passing them to the official ‘post boy' and holding others safely for collection.

Death of Thomas Chew, married to Elizabeth, daughter of William Marshe.


Several villages join with Dunstable and Luton to protest against an Act which sought to encourage the wearing of woollen hats. Their petition says more than a thousand families depend on the straw-hat trade.


William Fossey conveys to Joseph Fossey various parcels of land whose rent is to be used for him and other Dunstable freeholders.


George Briggs founds the Brigg's Charity.


Robert Crawley dies leaving his wife his “manor house in the South End of Dunstable called Dame Sayre's” (Priory House).


A notice asks the owners of a black/brown mare found “three weeks ago” to contact Davenports at the Tollbooth in Smithfield or Mr Riles at the Sign of the Windmill in Dunstable.

18th Century (Top)


William Chew is granted a coat of arms showing a golden Catherine wheel. This device became the badge of his Charity School and also part of the badge of Dunstable Grammar School.


James Dearmer appears before Archdeacon of Bedford's court for continuing to keep a school when forbidden. John Pomfret was the licensed Dunstable schoolmaster.


Death of James Cart, husband of Jane Cart.


When George Briggs dies he owns seven inns: the Raven, White Lion, Goat, Woolpack, Star, Peacock and Sugar Loaf.


Followers of John Bunyan establish themselves in St Mary's Street, this being a great rallying place for Baptists.

John Nichols and William Eams, itinerant fiddlers, both buried at Dunstable.


William Chew, important in the civic life of the City of London, becomes High Sheriff of Bedfordshire.


Turnpike Trust set up to look after the road from Hockliffe to the Bull Inn in Dunstable.


Death of Elizabeth Dickinson, wife of John, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Powell.

Death of Elizabeth Aynscombe, wife of Henry, haberdasher and citizen of London and grand-daughter of William Marshe, daughter of Thomas Chew.


William Chew dies unmarried.

The Society of Friends builds a Meeting House in West Street with a burial ground behind it.


Chew's Charity School founded.


Jane Cart makes alterations to the Sugar Loaf hotel (built some decades earlier).


Mr Clemenson is robbed after leaving Dunstable for London.

Baptists build a secluded meeting-house at Thorn.


The Cart Almshouses in High Street South, named after Jane Cart, are built to house six elderly women who did not have the funds to support themselves.

The sisters Cart and Ashton present a picture (now destroyed) to the Priory representing the Last Supper, similar to that in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, painted by Sir James Thornhill.

Death of Edward Salmon, owner of the Crown at Dunstable.


Rules and orders were drawn up for the Free School by the Founders.

Pondyard (turnpike) Trust set up from Dunstable to north of St. Albans.


Death of Dunstable-born playwright Elkanah Settle.


Death of Frances Ashton (Ashton School, Ashton Almshouses etc). She left nothing to her daughter Elizabeth because she had married John Raynor of whom Elizabeth did not approve.

Dunstable Justices order parish constable to impress a local carter's wagon to transport army baggage to Ware – a frequent occurrence during the military engagements at the time.


Marshe Dickinson, son of John Dickinson, admitted to the Grocer' Company.


Death of Mary Lockington, sister of Blandina Marshe and wife of Thomas Lockington.

Passengers in a Bedford Waggon are robbed between Brickhill and Dunstable by three footpads who threaten to shoot the waggoner.


Jane Cart donates clock to Priory Church plus £1 per year for repairs.


Oliver and Mary Row, brother and sister, summoned to court for scandalous, reproachful and defamatory words, blackening and diminishing the good name and reputation of Sarah Field. (They did not appear and were excommunicated).


Death of wealthy Dunstable benefactress Jane Cart (High Street South almshouses etc.). Three of her nine children had died in the same year (1717) and she was a widow for 30 years.

Walsh publishes “24 Dances for the Year” which includes a minuet step entitled “Dunstable Downs”.

Blandina Marshe applies for a faculty “for erecting a Tomb/Monument in the north aisle of the Parish Church” where her father and grandfather's tomb used to stand, until moved by Jane Cart. 55 people including the rector support the petition. Jane Cart's executors apply to use the same spot to erect a monument to her and her family. This petition has the signatures or marks of 153 inhabitants.

Bellew Wickens sells the White Hart to John Miller.


Gertude Saville, travelling from London to Nottingham in a hired coach with her own two servants, makes two purchases in Dunstable: a straw comb tray 1s 6d and two straw baskets 1s.


Death of Blandina Marshe, unmarried daughter of John Marshe. Her will (dated 1730) directs her executors to build almshouses (the Ladies Lodge in Church Street) on her estate as close as possible to the Priory Church.

John Wesley, on his way north, stops in Dunstable for a “hot cup of tea”.

The Manchester Carrier is robbed by a man on foot with a pistol who also steals the carrier's horse. The carrier then had to walk to Hockley (Hockliffe).


The Litchfield & Birmingham stagecoach starts from the Rose Inn, Holborn Bridge, London. This is supposed to have been the only stagecoach passing through Dunstable for a considerable time.


Ladies' Lodge Almshouses are built to accommodate six “poor, maiden gentlewomen” of the parish.

Marshe Dickinson purchases two properties in North Street.

Susannah Thebridge brings charges to the Dunstable Parish Officers against Baldwin May “who drives the Nottingham Stage Coach” with being the father of her unborn child.

Several persons fined for encroachment on open spaces in the streets.


The wife of the first Earl of Egremont stays at the Bull Inn.


Mr Willis informs the Society of Antiquaries that a stone coffin has been found at the east end of the Priory.


Gentleman Harry (Harry Simms) highwayman, is hanged at Tyburn. (He had robbed the Warrington coach and was at the Bull Inn, Dunstable, when it arrived. He escaped but was pursued and captured, brought back to Dunstable and then taken to Newgate Prison).

Death of Francis Dickinson, son of John and Elizabeth..


Dr. Thomas Crawley is made High Sheriff of Bedfordshire.


Highwayman Gabriel Tompkins is executed and his body hung in irons on a gibbet near Chalk Hill. (Tompkins led a gang which robbed a mail coach near Hockliffe in 1746).


William Beasley sells Saracen's Head to John Swindell.

Catherine Smith sentenced to be whipped at Dunstable.


Dr Thomas Crawley dies leaving his property to his cousin, the Rev John Lord.

Marshe Dickinson is Sheriff of London.


A horse race is advertised to take place on Dunstable Downs.

Thomas Vaux, a wealthy landowner, purchases Dame Sayers' Manor House (now Priory House).


Dunstable horse race for Plate of £50.


John Miller leaves rents and profits from certain properties to be used for the poor of the parish.


Noblemen meeting at Dunstable arrange horse races to be run at Newmarket and enter details in a Match Book which also records the bets struck.

Twenty houses in Middle Row pay between them £1 per annum for "encroachment of yards from the waste".


Marshe Dickinson of Dunstable is Lord Mayor of London.


John Wesley visits Dunstable.


Posthumous collection of poems by Samuel Butler includes verses inspired by the legend of Dun the Robber and the town's stocks and whipping post.

A weathered tombstone at the Priory Church records “Mr Vaughan died after falling out of his carriage”.

The Duke of Bedford's Arms (now Grove House) is described as “lately built by John Swindall”.


Dunstable Justice Marshe Dickinson campaigns against parish authorities' “failures to keep the Icknield Way under proper repair”.


John Cudd is appointed workhouse master.

Marshe Dickinson leaves his estate on his death to his son John Marshe Dickinson but his will gives no details.


Cost of treating a Dunstable family suffering from smallpox is reported as £17 13s 2½d.


24 parishioners sign an agreement to prosecute Thomas Warren, a surgeon, if he inoculates for smallpox.


The Dunstable Hunt seems to collapse with the death of its founder, the Marquess of Tavistock.


Samuel Whitbread gives money to a Middlesex Charity School "to purchase yearly straw hats made at Dunstable to a specific pattern”.

Mary Hinton dies aged 76 and is buried in the Priory chancel under the east window.


Joseph Dockree publicly whipped for stealing a peck of beans worth 9d.

Charity Swindell, widow of John, sells Saracen's Head to Thomas Warren, surgeon, for his private residence.

John Gibson buys the White Swan, High Street South, from Edward Mouse, valued at £120.


Urn full of Roman coins of Antoninus and Constantine, together with bridles and armour, found near the Whipsnade turn on Dunstable Downs.

Arthur Young, Secretary of the Board of Agriculture, visits the Bull Inn and is recorded as enjoying a good mutton steak, price one shilling.


The Manor of Dunstable leased to the Duke of Bedford for three lives.


Baptism in Dunstable of Thomas Wilson, possibly the same person who became famous as Dancing Master Wilson. (His instructional books about ballroom dancing and etiquette, first published in 1808, were widely read).


Eight ancient bells in the Priory are recast.

Sale of estates of the late John Marshe Dickinson consisting of seven farms in the district.


The Rev. William Dodd, spendthrift vicar of Hockliffe, is hanged for forging a letter to obtain a large sum of money.

Nottingham coach overturns at Flamstead and its driver is injured. Coach and passengers brought to Dunstable at 2am and Dunstable overseers have to spend £8 4s on medical care.

Stephen Sapwell and his family are ordered from the Workhouse as he is “able to provide for himself at his own expense”.


Daniel Defoe, visiting the town, writes: “Dunstable has no running water near and is forced to draw water from deep wells by means of ‘great wheels'.”

Thomas Cooke purchases Priory House from Thomas Vaux.


Baptists hold meetings at the home of Richard Gutteridge.


The Star public house in High Street South is rented from Mr Miller to create a better workhouse.

The Minutes of Chew's School record that the reputation of the school is declining. It is decided to dismiss the master Edward Snoxell.

First recorded organ in the Priory is built (approximate date) on the West gallery.

Sale of household items of Thomas Keeby of the White Horse Inn, who is retiring. They include as Smoke Jack (an apparatus for turning a roasting spit by means of gasses ascending in a chimney).


Dunstable Church robbed.


A new coach road is made on the west side of Chalk Hill, around the hill, at a cost of £16,00.


Only those Parishes who subscribe one guinea shall have the assistance in an emergency of the Dunstable fire engine.

The Crow Inn (later renamed The Crown) in High Street (North) to be sold in five lots including a dwelling house, barn and pasture ground..


Road made from Dunstable to Luton. A route previously ran from Dunstable to Leagrave. Another road made from Oxford to Cambridge passing through Dunstable.

Dr Raynes, surgeon, "persuaded to remain in Dunstable", had expertise covering sight, hearing, three cancers and hernias (without cutting or painful operation).


J P Vandermeulen, owner of the Saracen's Head, rents it to his nephew Mark Brown (first reference in town directory to Mark Brown gives his occupation as hat manufacturer).

The White Hart's name is transferred to another inn a little further down High Street North.

Old accustomed bake-house situated behind Middle Row, occupied by John Goddard, is offered for sale.


Priory Church bellman Daniel Hudson sacked after a “great complaint” that he was not doing his duty in a proper manner. Francis White appointed as bellman and was “immediately to have a new coat”.


Action taken to limit the number of dogs infesting the town. Dogs of rat catchers and farmers were exempt.

All the contents of the Bull Inn are sold by auction and the inn is to be let.

Kingsbury Farm, at present leased to James Oliver, to be sold.


William Christmas appointed a Standing Constable and allowed one guinea per year and having the liberty to be hired by any other constables if they think proper.

A football match is held on Dunstable Downs between a one-man team against another team of 11. As he “took the hill” he won 200 guineas.

James Oliver, licensee of the Sugar Loaf, acquires Kingsbury House.

John Gresham and family move to Dunstable for him to become master of Chew's School in place of William Ward who is leaving the country.


Notice – The churchwardens encourage the destruction of sparrows in the parish by purchasing heads at the rate of 2d per dozen.

A second Baptist chapel built.


Mr Farr appointed to have the care of the poor of the Parish as a surgeon at ten guineas per year.

Hannah Cook enlarges the (second) Saracen's Head opposite the Square by combining three cottages.

George Costin purchases 4 Middle Row from George Roe (Row) butcher. (The business is sold to the Tilley family in the 1920s).


Nefsall Smith prosecuted for throwing rubbish into the Crown  Pond , the principal reservoir of water in case of fire.


Mr Gresham Jnr appointed organist at the Priory at a yearly salary of ten guineas.

Death of Nanny Burton. She established and taught in the first Sunday School in Dunstable, said to have been the second Sunday School in England.

The local constable arrests three militia deserters.

Edward Chandler, a waiter at the Bull Inn, takes a public house in Northampton.


George Colman's one-act comedy New Way To Pay Old Debts, featuring a character named Sylvester Daggerwood (an eccentric actor from Dunstable) is first performed at the Haymarket Theatre, London.

William Elliott Senior purchases the house next to the Crown from Mrs Ashton's executors.

Pubs for sale include the Anchor in High Street North, the Swan With Two Necks and the Waggon and Horses, the latter with stabling for 50 horses and requisites for making whiting.


The old barrel engine to be repaired and William Peters allowed one and one-half guineas to keep the engines in proper order.

Should a pauper die then the workhouse man is allowed one guinea per pauper for burial and half a guinea for those under12 years.

Parish of Dunstable places the provision of nursing care in the workhouse contract.

Man found dead near the turnpike at Chalk Hill.

Picture published of “Itinerant Dealers in Dunstable Ware” by Isaac Cruikshank.

Colonel Maddison buys Dame Sayers' Manor House and lives there until his death in 1806. He is the first person to call the building Priory House (in his will).


John Darley, founder of Methodism in Dunstable, marries Dorcus Summerfield.


John Warren sentenced to death for horse-stealing but reprieved and sentenced to transportation for seven years.

Large enclosures of land.

Methodists hold a class in Dunstable led by John Darley.


The Vestry decides to purchase the workhouse for the sum of 100 guineas. The building in High Street South had previously been rented.

Psalmody Improved by William Gresham, son of John, is published.

A reward is offered for return of a black-tann'd terrier believed stolen from the Sugar Loaf. Its collar bore the name of E Chaplin, London.

19th Century (Top)


Death of John Blow (Blow's Downs), the last of the family at Zouches farm.


A squatter named Peters builds the first house on waste land in Church Street, called “The Ringer's Hall” . This house was built of wood and carried by the ringers to the waste, Peters sitting on the top of the house.

A house-to house census is introduced, to be repeated every 10 years.

Daniel Sharman, tailor, and James Luttley, toyman and dealer, with about 20 or more people, riotously assemble and attack the Red Lion (Thomas Hobbs landlord) intending to forcibly rescue Thomas Norris who had been arrested for infringing the Act to regulate hawkers and pedlars. Norris was set free and escaped.


Money left to establish a Church Sunday School in Dunstable.

William Gresham to be paid £15 per year to play the Priory Church organ and keep it in good repair.


Buildings in the middle of the High Street at the crossroads (Cooke's Row), including the Lyon and the Peacock inns and the Old Market House, are demolished to help stagecoach traffic. The Duke of Bedford (Lord of the Manor) pays £664 7s towards building a new Market House in High Street North. (This was the building later purchased by the council to convert into a town hall, now the site of the Santander bank).

Reward of £20 offered to anyone for information on who set fire to the hay rick of James Gostelow, situated near the Churchyard.

The Old Gibbet Post, at the corner of Gib Close, Chalk Hill, destroyed by Irish recruits. On this post a man from Sewell had been secured with chains for robbing the mail coach between Dunstable and Chalk Hill.


A salary of £18 5s per year to be paid to Thomas Cole, the watchman, to cry the hours of the night from the 1st September to 30th April at 10,12,2 and 4 and from 30th April to 1 September at the hours of 11 and 2. .

The fire engine house demolished and sold by auction and a new cage or prison built.

John Bull or An Englishman's Fire Side was performed at The Theatre, Dunstable, according to a playbill now kept in the British Museum.


John Saunders of Dunstable, convicted of theft, is sentenced to one month's hard labour and to be whipped on market day.

Redbourn overseer demands payment from Dunstable Parish for expenses incurred by Charles Horn regarding a coaching accident.


Telegraph constructed on Dunstable Downs but abandoned in 1814 for a simpler semaphore system.

The Bunyan meeting house or Old Baptists' Chapel in St. Mary's Street is enlarged and a Sunday School founded.

The town is fined for not providing sufficient men for the Militia.

John Dimmock, aged 21, is charged with stealing including a watch later sold in Dunstable. Sentenced to six months in the House of Correction and fined 1s.


William Hull is charged with Highway Robbery near Dunstable and stealing one and a half guineas and a watch from the Rev James Horseman. He is transported for life.

A prize-fight between John Gully and Bob Grigson on Dunstable Downs is suppressed by 120 men of the Dunstable Volunteers. A huge crowd then travels to Markyate where the rearranged match takes place.


An Order made that any hogs found in the public street should be impounded and one shilling paid for their release.

Executors of Colonel Maddison sell Priory House to William Frederick Brown for £1,800.

Celebrations to mark the Golden Jubilee of King George III include a roast beef dinner at the Crown coaching inn.and an ox roast on The Square.


J P Vandermeulen sells Saracen's Head, formerly an inn, to William Elliot.


A row of large beech trees in Priory Churchyard is cut down.


A new inventory is taken of items in the workhouse as many shown in the 1804 inventory could not be found.

A five-guineas reward is offered leading to the apprehension of whoever broke open the door leading to the belfry in the Priory Church.

Dunstable Associated Tradesmen's Friendly Society formed.

Cost to the parish for keeping a lunatic in the asylum is 12s a week, and 5s a week for keeping a pauper in the workhouse.

The Overseers of the Dunstable poor house advertise for “a proper person who understands the Straw Manufactory”.

A deep cutting is dug through the chalk of Puddlehill  and a causeway built on its northern side to ease the journey for stagecoaches on the Watling Street.

Artist Thomas Fisher paints a view of Priory House (the picture now hangs in the Mayor's Parlour in Grove House).


Dunstable Downs Signalling Station demolished.

Report that people were coming to sell their straw plait as early as two o'clock in the morning before the toll gatherer was awake and out in the plait market.

Two cottages are erected on waste land in Church Street by Charles Bowstead.

Bassett's Bank of Leighton Buzzard opens a branch in Dunstable.


Fire at the Saracen's Head.


William Waterfield's widow and son set up as hat manufacturers after his death.


The roof of the Priory to be repaired with cast-iron beam ends.

John Peter Osenbrook, aged 29, transported for seven years for stealing a sheet (sic).

Joseph Haynes refurbishes the White Hart Inn, including a commodious sitting room for the use of Commercial Travellers only.


Hannah Sapwell of Dunstable acquitted of murder but found guilty of concealing the death of her child. She is sentenced to two years' gaol.

Auction of the Yorkshire Grey, Church Street.


Straw plaiting is replacing lace making as a cottage industry.


Dunno's Originals, a series of booklets about Dunstable's history, first appear.

T G Collings purchases the old White Hart building in High Street North later known as Charlie Cole's cycle shop and then the Nationwide Building Society. He combines being a watch and clock maker with being a hat manufacturer.


Survey of Dunstable produced by John Durham.

James Whitbread, aged 20, sentenced to transportation for life on suspicion of house breaking.


Pigot's Directory lists nine straw hat manufacturers in Dunstable.

When William Gresham dies Priory House is bought by Robert Thorp as an investment.

Richard Maddox, aged 19, is transported for seven years for stealing a pig.


Rush to withdraw savings from banks and only Messrs. Bassets withstands the panic.

Mr Franklin buys seven score (bushels) of soot at 10 shillings per bushel from a sootman. (Sweeps were also known as soot sowers as soot was an important artificial manure for the fields).


Publication, in two volumes, of The Terrific Register or Record of Crimes, Judgments, Providencies and Calamities. (This includes a lurid and fictionalised version of the legend of Dun the Robber, which has become the basis for numerous later accounts).


A horse race at Dunstable is won by Mr Crowder's Phoenix.

A travelling carpenter who beat his wife in Church Street is subjected to two hours in the stocks.

John Sapwell, aged 18, sentenced to seven years' transportation for house breaking.


Elizabeth Piggott, aged 17, daughter of Dunstable's rector dies of a fever. (A poem in her memory is published in 1831).

Famous artist George Cruikshank, son of Isaac Cruikshank, marries Mary Ann Walker of Dunstable.


Due to heavy fog, many coachmen driving the night coaches between Dunstable and Daventry employ men with torches to lead them, causing considerable delay.


Thomas Burr purchases the Manor House.


Francis Sanders (or Saunders), aged 17, transported for 14 years for house breaking.


First Wesleyan Methodist Chapel built.


The wife of Frederick Brown commits suicide by plunging head-first down a well.

Messrs. Munt & Brown, hat manufacturers, lease Priory House which becomes the manager's residence. Later they buy the property.


Abel Burgess, aged 23, transported for life for highway robbery.

The Liverpool Express Stage Coach overturns near Chalk Hill and a man named Stern is killed.

Mary Fenson, aged 23, is charged with highway robbery but acquitted.

George Derbyshire publishes Dunstable: A Poem, together with other details about Dunstable's history.


The Cook family sell the Saracen's Head to Daniel Twidell.

Lord Charles Russell presented a petition from the dissenters of Woburn and Dunstable praying that dissenters be admitted to the university.


Dunstable General Provident Institution founded.

Worthington George Smith (historian) born in London.

A speeding stagecoach overturns and two passengers are crushed.

Various stone artefacts, including a coffin, found in a field near the Priory.

Thomas Worsley, aged 38, transported for life for burglary.

The site of the Friars Preachers' buildings is excavated in Spittle Close, opposite the Half Moon Inn.

Death of Henry White senior, a successful whiting maker and farmer.


Dunstable Workhouse, a comfortless and dilapidated structure of 14 rooms, on the north side of the Swan Inn, High Street South, is closed and 42 paupers rehoused in Union House in Luton.

Due to the “mild nature” of a measles epidemic only seven children die out of 200 affected.


Charles Sapwell, aged 17, transported for seven years for stealing beef.

Chalk Hill cutting deepened at a cost of £10,000 and the road of 1782 is abandoned.

A man named Warner accidently killed by a bell in the Priory belfry.

Gas introduced into the town. Previously, lanterns, candles and oil lamps lit the town. But an explosion at the newly erected gas works kills three men.

Due to three feet of snow in Dunstable and surrounding areas many Northern and Western mail coaches are two hours late arriving at the General Post Office.


Regular stagecoaches cease running through the town after the opening of the London and Birmingham railway.


Windmill in West Street built by Richard Gutteridge, who later built the Temperance Hall in West Street. (The mill is now the headquarters of Dunstable Sea Cadets).

Ownership of Dunstable Manor reverts to the Crown.

The church hall for Sunday and Day Schools erected on the south side of Church Street on the site of a former weekly plait market.


First Dunstable marriage (Joseph Gutteridge, possibly a Quaker) at the Registrar's Office under the Civil Marriage Act of 1836.

A grey mare left at the Crown Inn would be sold by public auction if not claimed.

Joseph Brown sentenced to two years' hard labour for the manslaughter of Henry Hall by reckless riding.

Joseph Archer sentenced to ten years transportation for stealing a bay horse.

Death of James Maddocks, aged 46, landlord for many years of the White Hart.

Charles Lockhart establishes his business in High Street and Church Street.

A small organ replaces the one in the Priory on the west gallery.


Ann Cook, aged 20, sentenced to 10 years' transportation for stealing frocks. (She marries James Saunders in 1844 but dies in 1845).

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visit the Sugar Loaf en route to Woburn.

Great fire destroys 19 houses in High Street and Church Street.

Temperance Hall opens on corner of West Street and Victoria Street.

Joseph Squire is town's postmaster, operating from his grocery shop at the corner of Middle Row. 

Harpenden Brewery opens at 22 Middle Row as the Britannia Inn, with George Field as landlord.


John Swarrell, aged 18, and George Hill, aged 16, both transported for stealing a fowl.


Daniel Sapwell, aged 23, transported for seven years for stealing a fowl and Amos James. aged 18, transported for life for arson.

Dunstable is made the centre of a Wesleyan circuit.

Burr's Brewery in High Street North purchased by the Cooper Brothers and becomes the town's second-largest hat factory.

Death of William Oliver, an early hat manufacturer, of High Street North.

The Burr family sells the Crown Inn to Thomas Squire, a bleacher.

Philanthropic Lodge 3292 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows is formed.


Bedford coach robbed of £1,100. The robber is sentenced to seven years' transportation.

Saracen's Head sold to Benjamin Bennett, brewer, for £880.

The Priory's Induction Bell is used for the last time for the induction of the Rev Hose.

Wesleyan Chapel and farm buildings destroyed by fire.

Beating the bounds by Free-School boys discontinued.

Conveyance from William Taylor to John Sapwell, yeoman of Dunstable, of a “cottage and yard with whiting sheds” on the south side of Hollowicke Lane.


George Stevenson proposes a Luton, Dunstable, St. Albans and Watford railway but because he received from Luton “anything but kindness, he resolved never to revisit as long as he lived”.

Both sets of regulations 1743/1845 Markets and Fairs Tolls confirmed and printed.


Nineteen portions of waste land leased to Dunstable residents.

Wesleyan Chapel, the Square, rebuilt at a cost of £2,000.


The Crown Inn Posting House is converted into a straw-hat manufactory.

Baptist Chapel, West Street, erected at a cost of £2,500.

James Elliott, employed as a "spragger" by the Dunstable Branch Railway Co, is killed when his clothes become entangled on the metal line and he is hit by waggons loaded with chalk. He had been married for only three months.

Bedfordshire Archaeological and Architecture Society formed.

George Chamberlin, aged 17, sentenced to 14 days hard labour for stealing turnip tops (sic).


Railway Station in High Street North opens for service between Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard.

Edward Lockhart starts coal sales business at railway station.

Lease for 21 years granted to Alfred Oliver for two pieces of waste land in Church Street.

Samuel Sinfield, aged 16 and described as “very bad”, sentenced to six weeks' hard labour and privately whipped for embezzlement.


The Bunyan meeting house damaged when part of roof collapsed. A new chapel erected at a cost of £500.

George White aged 24, sentenced to 15 years' transportation for felony.

Three men escape from "the Cage" at Dunstable through a large hole made by some of their friends using pick axes and chisels. There had been a series of discussions in previous years about providing an improved lock-up for the temporary confinement of prisoners.

Tumulus excavated on the Downs by the Bedfordshire Archaeological Society.

Queen Victoria visits Ireland wearing a shawl of red plaid and a Dunstable straw bonnet.

Punishment by public whipping ceases in Dunstable.


Hat-maker Benjamin Bennett buys factory next door in High Street North for £700 when William Oliver dies.

A new schoolroom is opened in West Street from subscriptions by Baptists supported by Quakers and others. (It closes in 1855 with the pupils transferring to the National School).

John Rivers, a 63-year-old well digger, dies after falling about 50 feet to the bottom of a well in Beale Street.

Many townsfolk gather to watch the opening of an ancient burial barrow on Dunstable Downs by Bedfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society. But only animal bones were found.


William Elliot sells the old Saracen's Head building to Joseph Osborn, a draper, who demolishes it and erects Albion Buildings (later William Hill's) on the site.

William Murdock Stimpson aged 28, sentenced to seven years' transportation for stealing three scaffold larch poles.

By this date the town's postmaster was based at the Sugar Loaf.

Restoration of Priory Church commences. A King Henry I silver coin discovered there is kept by Mr Gostelow.

Brice Stimpson, a 36-year-old shoemaker, sentenced to 10 days' hard labour for leaving his wife and four children, making them chargeable to the Parish of Dunstable.


The Rector, the Rev Hose, taken ill and retires to the Continent to recover his health.

William Milligan moves into the Crown, sets up a hat business and marries Sophia Waterfield.


Underground telegraph laid on the west side of the town.

Smallpox epidemic in Church Street.

Wesleyan Day School opened.

John Darley purchases 21 High Street South for £80 to save it as it was in danger of falling.

A horse race for galloways, a stout breed of horse, held in Dunstable.

James Tibbett prints the first ABC Rail Guide.

Marshall's Whiting Works and Stonemasons moves into Beale Street.

‘Native Scenes', a group of poems by George Derbyshire about Dunstable's history, is published.

Charles Lamborn in Dunstaplelogia records that itinerant dealers in small wares stayed in an old lodging house for travellers.


William Perkins sentenced to six months' hard labour for stealing a silver watch belonging to James Chapman.

Primitive Methodist Chapel built, cost £1,400.

Final horse races at Dunstable Park (the land behind Grove House).

Edward Burr presided at Grand Jubilee meeting of the National Bible Society.

National Schools Bazaar opened by Lady Alford.

Esther Clarkson opens a clothing and straw hat shop in Christchurch, New Zealand, and calls it Dunstable House after her birthplace where she had learned the art of making straw hats.

John Clews, 18, and Luke Cheshire, 19, steal a leg of pork from John Edmonds' house at Dunstable and are both sentenced to one year's hard labour.


First local newspaper, the Dunstable Chronicle and Monthly Local Reporter, published by James Tibbett, a Dunstable printer. In 1856, he went on to publish the weekly Dunstable Chronicle & Advertiser.

A savings bank established at the Town Hall.


Festival to mark the end of the Crimean War includes dinner on the Square for 1,000 persons and tea for 1,200 children.

Troops of Artillery returning from the war travel through the town. There is a shortage of beds and stabling for the Hussars and their horses. Officers are given hospitality by Mr Henry Brandreth at Houghton Park.

Bells of the Priory ring out at 4am to remind townsfolk of a 6am excursion train to London, taking several hundred of them to see a firework display celebrating the end of the war.

Lawson's Shooting Gallery for rifle and pistols opens in Saracen's Head yard.

Fire Brigade formed.

Image of Dunstable personality George Derbyshire used in Cope's painting for the House of Lords of the Pilgrim Fathers.

Historian Worthington Smith marries Henrietta White.

Dunstable Chronicle makes a scathing reference to a new paper, the Dunstable Reformer (editor W.H. Derbyshire), thus beginning a continuing battle of words.

Fancy Bread and Biscuits shop is opened by John Waterfield at London Terrance (between Britain Street and Lovers Walk).

H. Henton, straw hat manufacturer, is declared bankrupt.

Complaint about water and refuse issuing from the Red Lion Hotel.

The Primitive Methodists add a lobby to their chapel in Mount Street.

Richard Twigg, blacksmith, opens his new business in Back Street.

Brickyard auction held at the Swan with Two Necks, Middle Row.

George and William Champkin accused of obstructing the Turnpike Road by erecting a stall there. They successfully claim that there was an allowance of 15 feet for the public.

John Medcraft, aged 22, sentenced to 14 days' hard labour and four years' penal servitude for stealing a wooden clothes horse and a pair of leather trousers, property of Henry Lockhart.

Part of the front page of the Dunstable Chronicle is missing as the metal type has been accidentally spilled and there is no time to replace the lettering.


A thief breaks into a poor widow's house for the second time while she is at church and again steals four half quarters of bread.

Advertisement published seeking a mistress to teach straw plaiting and bonnet sewing for a new school.

Ann Cumberland, found guilty of stealing six scores of plait from Elizabeth Rhodes, is sentenced to 14 days in prison.

Death of J.K. Blundell, aged 67, who was chairman of the first Missionary meeting held at the Quakers' Meeting House.

A parade is held to collect the new fire engine from the station. Mr H. Lockhart provides the horses and Mrs Marshal of the Red Lion distributes fine old brown ale.

Mr Pinnock, a business man dining at the Sugar Loaf Tap, nearly suffocates when a piece of meat lodges in his throat. Quick action by Dr Farr saves his life.

First accounts opened at town's Penny Savings Bank.

The omnibus service ceases conveying letters to Luton. Bags made up by messengers leave at 3.15 instead.

Fire at Priory House.

Mrs Janes, visiting the town, suddenly collapses and dies after asking Mr Billington, a grocer, for a glass of water.

John Samwells receives a letter from J Sturgess of the Canterbury Barracks thanking him for his hospitality when the 3rd Dragoon Guards stayed at the Sportsman's Arms on their return from the Crimea.

Gompertz's Panorama of the Russian War, including a Diorama, is given by C.G. Bell at the Temperance Hall.

Henry White, whiting manufacturer, is killed during a shunting accident at the railway station while loading goods.

Poem by W H Derbyshire, the Banner of Blue, is dedicated to Benjamin Disraeli MP.

Rope breaks when a boiler engine is being lowered at the new Corn Mill belonging to John Williams. It falls on William Kette, son of the foreman, breaking his leg.

Dunstablians are informed that a picture entitled The Enchanted Cave on Dunstable Downs may be purchased in London.

Death of William Percival, aged 77, for many years coachman to Sir Robert Inglis.

Steam Mill in Beale Street is advertised to let or otherwise, plus two residential buildings and adjoining meadow.

An inquest is held at the George Inn, Church Street, on 16-month-old Frederick Cook who crawled into the road and was run over by a miller's cart.

The Crown Inn and Posting House is advertised to be let.

Henry Arms, a labourer employed by Mr Fountain, slips while working on top of a slow-moving threshing machine and traps his foot. His leg has to be amputated below the knee.


Railway station in Church Street opens with trains running from Dunstable to Luton. So many people want to ride on the first train that they sit on the roof or hang on its sides, and the engine breaks down.

A concert is held to raise funds for the Dunstable Fire Brigade.

Mechanics' Institute started by Joseph Osborn in Edward Street.

James Blackwell builds a hat factory which is rented to Woolley Sanders & Co.

The Fire Brigade assembles at the water tank on the Square to test its new equipment. The hose reaches from the tank to Mr. Milligan's factory, about 1,000 feet away, and proves highly satisfactory.

Extension to the Methodist Church opens.

Manders' Royal Menagerie visits Dunstable, with more lions and tigers than before and a chimpanzee, said to be the only living specimen in Europe.

James Nathaniel Cartwright sells some land in Spoondell with two cottages, whitening sheds, etc. lately erected, to Mr Hattil Foll.

Mr M Gutteridge lends his meadow for children's games at the Dunstable Band of Hope Union's quarterly festival.

A cricket match is played featuring the Town versus “those connected with the Straw Hat manufacturers”. The Town wins.

The Alfred House Academy moves to Linslade.

At the grand wedding of Miss Elizabeth Elliott, daughter of William Elliott, to Mr Thomas Grover, of Quebec, Canada, between 2,000 to 3,000 people wait to wish the couple well.

Little girl staying at Hampton Court, (new cottages in St Mary's Row) with her family is playing ‘sweeping the chimney' with friends when her dress catches fire. There is little hope of her recovery.


Priory House purchased by Munt and Brown, straw hat manufacturers. Part of the house is used as the manager's residence. A third storey is added to the extension for the factory premises. 

Grand Wesleyan Bazaar in the Priory grounds opened by Lord Charles Russell.

Charles Lamborn's Dunstaplelogia begins publication in 17 booklet instalments.

All England cricket match in Dunstable Park.

Old Quaker burial ground now owned by Mr Darby, butcher. The building there had gone and the ground trampled by cattle.

Captain Charles Beecroft RN dies aged 79 years. He joined the Navy in 1794 and was the friend and companion of Sir Sidney Smith and Lord Nelson.

Hounds chase a stag through Dunstable streets. It is eventually captured and placed in Dr Farr's stable.

Manders' Royal Menagerie arrives with a collection of wild animals.

John Hickman, the Town Crier and Letter Carrier, is very ill and the ladies of the manufactories collect money for him.

The Britannia |in Middle Row sells its stabling and lock-up coach houses in Butts Lane as it is no longer hiring-out horses and gigs.

A needy tramp dies at the Shoulder of Mutton and is buried in Dunstable. Ladies of the manufactories send money to his wife.

Beer House, formerly Sawyers Arms now the Royal Oak, Church Street, available for rent.

Talk given by Mr W Craft, an escaped slave, at the Temperance Hall.

Bird In Hand pub is demolished as part of a reconstruction of the railway in north Dunstable. A new pub with the same name later opens nearby. 

Great United States Circus visits the town with hundreds of horses and performers.

Collision between a dog cart and a four-wheeler driven by Mr Adey of Markyate Cell.

Translation with introduction and notes by a resident of Dunstable of the Chronicles of Dunstable by Richard de Morin, Prior of Dunstable, published in three parts.


Dunstable Chronicle closes.

£12 in gold and silver stolen from the office of Mr Gregory, Station Master.

William Perkins sentenced to 12 month's hard labour for stealing an axe, the property of John Barke.

First meeting of Volunteer Rifle Corps. The (Rifle) Volunteer Band is formed with Henry Farrer the first bandmaster. Lady Marian Alford offers Pascombe Pit and adjoining land for rifle practice.

Dunstable Cemetery, West Street, is opened. All four churchyards in the town are closed for burials except for those with a family plot. 

Death of James Jardine, hat manufacturer.

When Richard Gutteridge dies the British Land Company purchases almost his whole estate.

The body of Lady Fanny Elizabeth Boston, wife of George Ives, 4 th Lord Boston, being taken from London to Northampton, is laid in state overnight in the Red Lion.

Labourers digging cellars for new houses in a field in the West Street property of Mr Joseph Darby find four skeletons all buried in due order. (This was a meeting place for Quakers).

At Dunstable Railway Station the engine of a train starting for Luton bursts with great force. Passengers uninjured.

Town Crier announces that Mrs G. Waller has sold a short measure of plait. Any others found guilty in future will be exposed in the same public manner.

James Hood shoots himself in a field near the Windmill because the mother of Mary Carter, the girl he is to marry, had taken her away. Ladies in various manufactories collect £2 to assist his brother Henry Goddard when he comes to the town.

Mr C G Green ascends in a magnificent balloon from Dunstable Park.


Work starts on building Ashton Schools, Church Street.

The Town Hall purchased from Queen Victoria.

The Sugar Loaf Tap built as a billet for soldiers during the American War of Secession to separate them from the wealthy travellers using the main hotel.

Richard Inwards elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and next year joins the Meteorological Society.

James Turney, aged four, becomes the first person to be buried in the new cemetery in West Street.

George Kempston, 18, is accidentally poisoned in Luton workhouse when given disinfectant instead of medicine by a nurse unable to read or write. His mother takes him back home to Dunstable where he dies. A court rules she should have been given transport home and new regulations are brought in about medication and literacy.

Rifle Volunteers march to the Butts where they work to reshape and level a firing ground.

The late Duke of Bedford's cortege passes through Dunstable. The hearse stops at the Red Lion to refresh the horses and the Priory bells toll for an hour.


Three miles of new streets with houses laid out by the British Land Company, mostly in West Street, although no piped water or proper sewers are in place. Plots for sale on a new road to be called Matthew Street.

Primitive Methodist Church built in Victoria Street. (This becomes the Polish Catholic Church in 1967).

Osborn School hall (later the United Reformed Church) is built in Edward Street.

The Gift Team - an old-fashioned English custom – revived when farmers join together to plough some land adjoining Kensworth Lane purchased by Mr Stevens of Park Farm. Several innkeepers supply free beverages for the workers.

Continuing complaints about lack of street lighting in Church Street from the Horse and Dragon to the railway station, making it impossible for pedestrians to avoid the mud.

Three skeletons, male, female and child are discovered in Albion Road which is being extended. They had been hastily buried, only 18 inches below ground, and were about 100 years old.

Fire in the Magpie Public House, Church Street.


Marriage of Prince of Wales commemorated by a dinner on the Square.

Telegraph posts erected through the town.

Death of Richard Blackwell, a businessman who had retired early and was of independent means.

Henry Medcroft, a crippled bonnet blocker aged 50, spends 14 days in debtors' prison owing £1 17s 6d.

Builders are asked to tender for the erection of a new Commercial Inn on the site of the present Red Lion.


Dunstable becomes a borough, incorporated by Royal Charter. The Corporation consist of a Mayor, four Alderman and 12 Borough Councillors.

Dunstable Temperance Band (later the Excelsior Band) formed.

Moreton Lodge School founded by Mrs Bennett in West Street for girls and boarders (It moves to Watford in1925).

George Fisher Scroggs opens a Post Office in his stationer's shop near the crossroads (the site was later bought by Barclays Bank).

Ashton St. Peters School, Church Street, opens.


The Royal Horticultural Society awards Worthington Smith the Banksian Gold Medal.

Rixson's Antique shop opens at 12 Church Street.

George Wade is found guilty of again setting fire to stacks of wheat. He is sentenced to penal servitude for 10 years.

First Borough Council elections.

Dunstable Police Force established.

The Dunstable Borough Gazette established by Daniel Tibbett, son of James Tibbett, a prominent Dunstable printer.

The present version of the Dunstable Arms is adopted by Dunstable Borough Council and registered with the College of Arms.


Commission of the Peace issued.

Old market hall converted into a town hall by Dunstable Corporation. A piece of land costing £1,500 is presented to the town by the Mayor, Mr Osborne, for the town hall and other buildings.

Death of Thomas George Collings, hat manufacturer.

A building known as Dunstable Tramp Ward is erected in High Street South near Great Northern Road as a resting place for 24 persons a night who were genuinely tramping the country looking for work. But a female tramp caught begging is sentenced to the treadmill at Bedford Gaol for seven days.

Cattle plague causing many local difficulties.

Joseph Neale, architect of Bristol, wins contract for a clock tower to be put on the site of the Eleanor's Cross on the crossroads opposite the Red Lion. (The tower is later put on the roof of the town hall).

A mad dog is chased around the streets before running into the Nag's Head stables where it is killed.

Mrs Horn, wife of the landlord of the White Hart, destroys herself by jumping down the well at the rear of the premises.

W Willis, trying to make an election speech, is drowned out by a band from a rival group.

A 200-yard race is held between Jim Boyce and a horse and cart, from the Toll Bar to Half Moon Lane. The horse wins by 10 yards.


The only sewer in town runs into an open ditch which flows down the side of Church Street.

Worthington Smith publishes first book on poisonous fungi.

Thomas Corby is charged with obstructing High Street South by leaving a cartload of whiting outside the works.

The Black Horse inn in West Street is reopened under the new name of the Plume of Feathers.

The Magpie Inn, High Street, is for sale.

A trotting nag passes through the town trying to win its owner a bet of £300 that it could cover 28 miles from St Albans and back in less than two hours. It won the wager with minutes to spare.

Mr Burr donates a site for a police station and lock up in Icknield Street.

Alfred Collis Harris, aged four, son of the Rev C B Harris, is killed when he falls from his pony.

Dr Hicks buys the Manor House building and adjacent paddock in High Street North.

Restoration of Priory Church begins. A temporary place of worship which becomes known as the Iron Church is set up at the rear of the school by covering a wooden framework with light iron.

Great excitement was created by the arrival of a troop of Horse Guards en route for the north.


William Prior is sworn in as a police constable at 18 shillings a week during the illness of Supt George. The following year Pc Prior was considered too old for the job and replaced by Henry Tofield.

Thomas Cobb is killed by a lump of stone falling on his head in the quarry at Totternhoe owned by Lord Brownlow.

Mr G Chappell sinks a well at the Police House in Icknield Street.

The Vine, on a corner position in West Street, is advertised for sale with a suggestion that it could be converted into an oyster room or luncheon bar.

During the Fenian rebellion many troops and artillery pass through Dunstable. Two deserters from the Royal Horse Artillery are arrested here.

A large hole sinks into the middle of the High Street in front of the London and County Bank. Probably remnants of a well for a demolished row of houses.

The Wonder public house in Beale Street is available to rent.

Auction of Vinegar Acre, with frontage on West Street, suitable for the erection of a pair of villas.


Mrs Hutchins, plait school mistress, is fined £2 for beating one of her charges with a stick.

Mission Hall in King Street built.

“Weather Lore” by Dunstable man Richard Inwards is published.

Licence of the Crow changed from Joseph Fern to Frederick Field and the sign altered to the Crown.

100 Dragoon Guards and band stop overnight at Dunstable en route for Leeds. Royal Horse Artillery with 120 men and officers and 120 horses also stop overnight.

Sale of slaughter house, rear of Church Street with right of way up the White Horse yard.

Trees to be planted in the vacant space in middle of High Street South between King Street and South Street.

Clock is now working on the town hall. To save expense, the burners in the front and back clock faces will be turned off and only the side ones lit.

Pigeon shooting contest at Half Moon Inn - "gun to be held below the elbow till bird is on the wing".

Borough Council names new streets and numbers houses.

Pc Addington's wages increased by five shillings per week for eight weeks. He had been put to considerable expense paying for nurses when his wife suffered from insanity and he was “greatly embarrassed” in consequence.

A man who worked at a Dunstable brewery drank three gallons of beer every day for 60 years and lived to be over 80.

Frederick Field, of the Borough Arms, Albion Street, appeared in court for failing to contribute to the support of his father.

Alfred Lancaster appeared in court accused of stealing a duck from the pond in Half Moon Lane.

Samuel Green, landlord of the Horse and Groom, Church Street, charged with assault and allowing unlawful gambling. He receives a caution.

A programme produced by D. Tibbett, Printer, Dunstable, refers to a performance of “Macbeth and Boots at the Saracen's Head” at “Prince of Wales Theatre”, Dunstable.


The Manor of Dunstable is purchased by the Corporation from the Crown.

Fire destroys much of railway station at Church Street.

Boys brought before the Bench for playing a “dangerous game” of hockey in the street.

Crichton Benning rescues a near-unconscious Henry Hose from drowning at Wellhead, for which he receives a Royal Humane Society medal.

The eight bells of the Priory Church rung by the eight sons of John Franklin, of the White Horse, Church Street.

Traders are warned to be on their guard against spurious four-penny pieces.

Travelling Theatre set up on Mr Maddock's waste ground

Alfred Ayre charged with stealing 28 lbs of hay from the Carpenters Arms, High Street South, and sentenced to 21 days with hard labour.

A court case is adjourned for a second time as the defendant is busy at harvest work.

A building at 59 High Street South, still often referred to as the Grey House and later Downtown Cafe, is rented by Eliza Osborne to manufacture straw hats.

Fifty sewers redundant at Messrs Vyse and Sons after 15 sewing machines are purchased, meaning 15 people can now make 200 hats per day.

At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, Mrs Bennett and Mrs Elliott form a branch of the National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War.

Pc Addington, with five years' service, is promoted to sergeant but his salary is not increased.

The London and North Western Railway omnibus is in a collision with a gig opposite the Temperance Hall. No-one is seriously injured.

Priory Church, still under restoration, is reopened for a service. Beams of the old roof are laid down the nave and strong boards, covered with stout white canvas, are fixed across them as seats.

Auction of Temperance Hall rendered necessary to discharge a mortgage debt.

First Court Leet of the Manor since its sale to the Borough. The boundaries are walked round to take possession and boys from the Free School are bumped at each post "to impress on their memories".

Death of John Johnson, aged 70, well-respected landlord of the Sugar Loaf.


The “statty”, a “pleasure fair” held by statute on the fourth Monday of every September, is initiated by Dunstable Borough Council.

Sangers Circus visits the town but there was nearly an accident on the trapeze.

Dunstable auctioneer W. H. Derbyshire has an international success with his poem The Alabama, about an incident in the American Civil War.

Town Council invite tenders for construction of six market stalls

Parliamentary Statutory Rights granted to the Dunstable Gas and Coke Company for the supply of water.

Death of Daniel Tibbett, aged 33, founder of the Dunstable Gazette. (His wife dies shortly afterwards).

Alfred Warren moves hat factory from Albion Street.

Twenty tons of granite purchased for road repairs.

A fire starts at Mr Horne's premises when a gas bracket in the kitchen is accidentally pushed too near the wooden door-frame.

Mrs Mellor, West Street, complains that drainage from the Crown Inn penetrates her property.

Edward Messager refuses to pay a two-pence toll although he has a plait stand in the market. He is fined six pence with ten shillings' expenses.

Rifle Volunteers receive Snider rifles in lieu of the old Enfield ones.

Edmund Wildman, travelling actor, puts up a stage and scenery in Wood Street and presents a play called "Hunger, or cast upon the world". He is fined £2 for not having a licence to do so.

Mob kicks and pushes a French seaman accused of assaulting a woman at the Star and Garter while drunk. And about 100 people assemble outside the house of a foreigner who had taken up residence here and salute him with "some splendid rough music".

Royal Artillery of 110 men and 90 horses stop overnight before travelling to Sheffield. Inniskilling Dragoons, coming from Brighton, stop overnight to rest the horses before proceeding to Stony Stratford and another squad arrives next day. A third group arrives from St. Albans. Dunstable's Rifle Volunteers Band plays in front of the Saracen's Head while the officers have dinner.

Sale of land by Edward Burr in West Street and Icknield Street.

Some members of the Rifle Volunteers Band refuse to obey a commanding officer and form a break-away group. There is "a disgraceful scene" when they assemble at the Drill Shed, Saracen's Head, and salute the volunteers with "a series of discordant notes from their instruments most horrible to hear".


Notices circulated about a demonstration on the Downs. Some 500 people turn up, not realising it was an April Fool's Day joke.

A large bullock escapes from Mr Sibthorpe, butcher, and is shot after attacking several passersby. As a result, the council orders posts and ropes to be put down for the safety of the public during any sales.

W.H. Derbyshire's History of Dunstable published.

Thomas Goulter gaoled for 18 months for stealing two horses from Joseph Osborn of Queenborough House.

Levi Robinson charged with stealing two pieces of pork. He claims he took them from a dog but receives two months' gaol with hard labour.

Wesleyan Bazaar in Priory grounds raises £672.

Postmen granted uniforms.

Corn Exchange opens.

Gas lighting available for homes.

Completion of Priory Church restoration at a cost of £10,000.

New fire engine house at the back of the Town Hall completed.

Building erected in Church Street which later becomes a drill hall and then the Book Castle shop.

Thomas Pearson Gostelow, of The Square, Dunstable, advertises that he is not responsible for any debts incurred by his wife.

New railway station replaces the old one burnt down last year. Mr T. C. Johnson, proprietor of the Sugar Loaf, to run an omnibus to meet the trains.

Messrs. Munt, Brown and Co. give their employees a tea at Priory House. It finishes with the Misses Hunt singing the National Anthem.

Complaints about offensive pigsty in White Horse yard.

Suicide in a well of John Wesley, landlord of the Wheatsheaf, High Street North.

Bowden & Cheshire with friends pay for Mrs M Carpenter and her five children to travel by train back home to London. The family had been deserted by the husband and had walked from Northampton to Dunstable.

Several fights take place at the Foresters Fete and the police are kept busy. Hiram Simpson fights violently when spring snaps are put on his wrist. While trying to break up another fight Pc Tofield is assaulted and his helmet smashed.

Three heavy thunderstorms. Mr Donne's cellar in Church Street is flooded.

Death of Henry Lockhart, aged 71, landlord of the Red Lion. The hotel is subsequently sold to former coal merchant T J Mullings and there is an auction of nearly 300 bottles of port, sherry etc which had been selected with great judgment by the late Mr Lockhart and had lain in his cellar for a great number of years.

Workmen in the High Street come across the arched roof of an extensive vault which had been part of the old town gaol.


Controversial stone font installed in the Priory Church.

Police Superintendent ordered to confiscate catapults seen in the possession of boys after windows in the Iron Church were broken.

Inquest held at the Saracen's Head on Elizabeth Field, aged 87, found outside her house in her nightdress. Verdict: death by hyperthermia.

T C Johnson of the Sugar Loaf files for bankruptcy.

The Old Engine House and Lock-Up in Upper End of South Street, nearly adjoining King Street, sold for £65 to Mr William Marshall.

Mr Alfred Philip Wire appointed as master of boys' school and Miss Sanderman mistress of the girls' school

Prizegiving at Ashton School disrupted by the Rev Hose, stating the prizes should have been sent to the trustees, not the science class committee secretary.

Sale of land in front of Kingsbury by the Corporation.

Nine boys brought before the Mayor for sliding on the frozen pond at Kingsbury Farm. Owner was trying to stop the practice because of their bad behaviour.

With so many horses coming through the town inhabitants once again press for the High Street to be watered to keep the dust down.

Opening of water works on land adjoining the London and North Western Station.

Libel case after Gazette publishes a letter by Alfred Pratt casting reflection on the character of Thomas Squire, a Houghton Regis blacksmith. Mr Pratt later withdraws his allegations.

New Plait Hall is opened and buyers and sellers express their gratitude having previously stood in the cold outside. But some buyers still stood on the corner of West Street.

Serious accident on the railway between Dunstable and Leighton, several persons injured.

The Turnpike between Dunstable and Hockliffe, known as Puddlehill Gate, abolished.

Red Lion Hotel agrees to provide two horses and a driver for each fire engine.

Quoits Club formed at the Sugar Loaf.

The Iron Church vacated.

The Rev Hose admits 38 children to first specialist infants school, Church Street.

Tramp Ward to close at 10pm daily as in winter tramps were arriving late in order to miss having a bath.


Arthur Champkin accused of stealing a Christmas pudding from Mark Rest of Saracen's Head but case dismissed as only the string, imprints of the basin and his footprints in the snow could be found

Emily Darby, aged seven, breaks her collarbone by falling off the churchyard wall where the children were playing.

A cow wanders through Mr Ayre's house in Church Street but does no damage.

Old workhouse put up for auction but remains unsold.

Sale of the White Hart, shops and land in High Street North and West Street.

Council instructs the police superintendent to enforce the law forbidding sale of straw plait in public houses, instead of the market provided for that purpose.

Funeral of William Jardine. Shops close during the funeral as a mark of respect.

Death of George Derbyshire, aged 82, of Church Street. Parish clerk and writer of poems including Native Scenes about Dunstable's history. Father of W H Derbyshire.

Much wreckage when wagon on coal train from Leighton Buzzard to Dunstable breaks down, locking its wheels.

A tribe of gypsies, coppersmiths by trade, encamp at King Street. A large number of people visit the spot.

Soldier Thomas Smith, from Houghton Regis and well known in Dunstable, shoots Captain Bird of the 12th Hussars. He claims it was accident but rifle should not have been loaded. He is found guilty and executed.


Sycamore, lime and chestnut trees planted “at proper distances” in South Street, commencing opposite Mr. Farr's residence and extending as far as King Street.

A ballad about a fictional character called “Sally the Witch” composed by A P Wire to shame the rector of Dunstable into repairing the Priory Churchyard. Many letters sent to the Gazette complaining about the disgraceful state of the churchyard.

Mr A P Wire and Mr W G Gard apply for a patent for apparatus to extract essence of meat – a form of beef tea.

The water pump on the Square, including bricks, iron palisade etc, sold by auction.

James Tibbett is granted a licence to sell gunpowder and fireworks for Guy Fawkes celebrations.

The Venerable George Frederick Hose, Archdeacon of Singapore and third son of the Rev. Hose, visits Dunstable with his family.


Carved image falls from the Priory Church roof. Congregation alarmed but uninjured.

Fire in the old billiard room of the Sugar Loaf and a large portion of the ceiling has to be pulled down

Minnie, daughter of Pc Tofield, falls on to the fireplace and badly burns her chin and arm.

David Dumpleton murders his wife Elizabeth.

A petition for liquidation is filed on William Joseph Smith, printer.

John Darley sells 21 High Street South to James Tibbett the younger for £600.

Grand Bazaar at Ashton Schools, in aid of Church restoration, opened by Countess Brownlow.

Death of James Tibbett, founder of Dunstable first newspaper, the Dunstable Chronicle.

Reward of one guinea offered by Henry Ballans, owner of the Dunstable Gazette, for information leading to a conviction after a pistol is fired at a woman looking out of an upper window at the Gazette's office at 71 High Street, Dunstable, wounding her face in two places.

Labourers at the farm of E Squire and R Eve go on strike after their wages are reduced by one shilling a week.

New bell ropes are made for the Priory Church by Mr Powell of Church Street.

The Mayor, Edwin William Brown of Park Farm, dies while still in office.


Volunteer Review, a mock battle involving hundreds of troops, is held on the plain at the foot of Dunstable Downs on Easter Monday.

Ashton Charities public inquiry.

Tenancies held under the Crown expire.

Sale of Englands Estate (around Englands Lane).

Last toll taken at the Toll Gate, south Dunstable. Vandals then demolish house and toll gate.

Sale of Star public house.

Marquis of Tavistock sends a donation of £2 2s for the Priory bell ringers on the occasion of his wedding.


North Aisle of the Priory Church reopens after eleven years of restoration work.

Thomas Goulty receives seven years' penal servitude for again stealing a horse.

The Old Fire Engine House and Lock-up sold to the Saracen's Head Friendly Society, the adjoining owners, for £40.

David Cookson becomes manager of Munt & Brown (His wife died after a year and they had already lost eight children).

Taylor Brothers win a national award for their high-class hats.

A billiard match is held at the Saracen's Head between former champion Joseph Bennett and C Stanton. Bennett wins easily despite giving his opponent 300 our of 1,000.

The British Museum purchases drawings of orchids made by Mr Worthington G. Smith.

Mrs Allen of Upper West-street is injured when some benzoline catches fire. A child sent to buy paraffin had been given the wrong fuel.

Mr Gadsden invents an item to help gentlemen cyclists which secures their trousers from ankle to knee and is easily released when the ride is over.

Exhibition includes document signed by Richard de Morins, Prior of Dunstable, and 400 Stone Age implements found by Worthington Smith in the Dunstable, Totternhoe and Luton area.


Town Hall destroyed by fire.

Churchyard wall rebuilt by public subscription of £300.

James Ballans moves the Gazette office from 71 High Street North to a new building on the corner of Albion Street and High Street North.

John Franklin of the White Horse dies aged 59. The licence of the inn had passed through the Franklin family since 1804.

Due to the volume of Valentine cards the postmen required an assistant.

Plait market is moved to High Street, opposite the Anchor Inn, due to the Town Hall fire.

Outbreak of swine fever at the Saracen's Head.

The shoe/boot manufactory in Church Street (later known as The Drill Hall/Book Castle) is broken into. Police spend all day looking for the stolen shoes without success.

A rare photograph is taken of “blue coat” boys at Chew's School. It still hangs in Chew's House.


Elizabeth Turpin sent to prison for seven days in default of paying 5s for neglecting to send her 10-year-old daughter to school

Jabez Inwards dies aged 64 years. Born at Houghton Regis he was one of the leading advocates in the Temperance movement. A memorial fountain was unveiled to him in London in 1886.

Mr and Mrs Allen of 70 High Street are about to leave the Mission Hall when they are told their house is on fire with their children inside. All are rescued

Town Hall rebuilt.

Sudden death of Dr William Forbes Laurie by poison.

Extension of Free Schools.

The first edition of the Ordnance Survey Map incorrectly shows an underground passage in Dunstable between the Priory Church and Priory House. (An archaeological survey in 1987 confirmed that the passage had never existed).

Five hundred torch bearers required for the town's Guy Fawkes Carnival, with character costumes available from Mr Burch at the Nag's Head Inn or Mr Garrett, jeweller.

Kirby Road is laid out on the site of a field originally known as Kirby Close.


Joseph Flemons establishes a pharmaceutical business, later to become Flemons and Marchant.

A circus elephant escapes and is found with its trunk taking food through a pantry window in Church Street.

Warning to Trespassers from William Hyde that powerful detonators are freely used at night at the Princes Street Poultry Yard and trespassers go there at their certain peril.

Swan With Two Necks in Middle Row available for letting It included a London-fitted bar, a splendid bagatelle table and seven other rooms.


Death of Benjamin Bennett Snr.

Scott's Garage, High Street South, founded by Mr W Scott selling bicycles before cars were introduced

The bell “Big Paul” passes through the town.

Gazette has its placards torn down and defaced - offers a guinea reward for information.

Boys who fire pistols in the streets during the Fifth of November celebrations or at other times will be prosecuted.


King Street opened.

The Chew Trustees open a second school, next door to Chew's Charity School, as education of children aged five to ten years becomes compulsory.

Death of the Rev. Frederick Hose after 38 years as Rector of Dunstable.

Dunstable Town Football Club formed.

William Little Burr appointed assistant Secretary to the British Medical Association.

Trottie Barton, a pupil at Moreton House School, keeps a beautifully written exercise book (later donated to Dunstable History Society's Archive Room).

Dunstable and Houghton Regis Boot and Shoe Co, Winfield Street, issues a 4d token.


Death of Sarah Waterfield of the hat-making family.

Death of Eliza Osborne, owner of a hat factory at 59 High Street South (the Grey House)

The Young Men's Bible Class (Wesleyan) starts for boys around 14 years. Two years later one is started for older boys by Mr T Weatherill.

Andrew Fensom, aged 20, sentenced to one month's hard labour or 35 shillings fine for playing pitch and toss (an illegal coin tossing game). He had previously been convicted for playing cards.

Death at Grove House of Mrs Painter from apoplexy.

White Hart for sales includes nine bedrooms and stabling for 20 horses.


Worthington Smith sketches his now-famous scene of Dunstable crossroads.

Salvation Army arrives in Dunstable and moves into old shoe factory in Church Street.

The Excelsior Band amalgamates with Houghton Regis Band and becomes the Dunstable Promenade Band.

The Tramp Ward is closed. 

A black retriever dog in a rabid state runs through the streets attacking other dogs and biting the son of Mr Rixson, a publican. Several men with rifles manage to kill the dog.


Dunstable's ancient Fire Engine, 317 years old, is sold to Messrs. Shand and Mason, London. (When Shand and Mason ceased business the engine passed into the possession of Merryweather's, the fire engine constructors, then to the British Museum in 1929).

New Mayoral robes purchased.

Great Northern Road opens.

Death of William Allen, the Town Crier, bill poster and sergeant in the Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Thomas Long fined 10s for being drunk. A member of the Salvation Army pays his fine.

Charles Axten, publican, fined for damaging the Salvation Army drum and attacking some members of the band.

An open verdict is returned on Frederick Osborn Tofield whose body had been found on the railway line.

Five boys charged with stealing escape from their cell because the key had been left in the lock. After wandering around they returned in time for their tea and bed.

Dunstable Town Football Clubs AGM is held at the Excelsior Coffee Tavern, High Street South.

A young man was seen running down the High Street enveloped in a cloud of smoke and jumping into the horse-trough. He had a box of ‘fuses' in his pocket (being a patron of the “fragrant weed”) and these had ignited setting his trousers on fire.


All the apples are stolen from the trees at Ladies Lodge, Church Street.

The Salvation Army is asked to hold its meetings on the Square rather than around the lamppost in the centre of the crossroads.

To Let: a convenient warehouse in Church Street occupied by the Salvation Army.

Alfred Bliss and Benjamin Room create a disturbance when asked to leave the Carpenters Arms by H Damon, landlord. Each was fined 11s or seven days in prison.

Market and Fairs Act introduced.

Considerable excitement in the town when it was reported there was something resembling “a great ape” roaming wild. After several hours of fruitless searching it proved to be a hoax.

Jubilee of Queen Victoria celebrated with free tea for 400 poor children.

West Street road improvements.

Dunstable Town Council meeting is adjourned due to the noise of a Salvation Army band rehearsal in a nearby room.

Over 600 people visit a basket maker in West Street to see a sample coffin made of willow.

Benjamin Bennett Jnr acquires the North-Western Brewery in Dunstable, previously owned by Green & Cutler, and locally becoming known as Bennett's Brewery.


Public rights on the Downs established and extended.

Ashton Grammar School opens for boys (later the Ashton Middle School).

Two “Red Indians” of the Delaware tribe visit Dunstable.

Totternhoe land enclosures.

Mrs Bramwell Booth, daughter of the founder of the Salvation Army, visits Dunstable.

New weighing machine installed in the market for checking livestock weight.

Lead is stolen from the roof of the empty Coopers factory.


Responsibility for Borough Police transferred to County Council.

The Assembly Rooms in Church Street become the Drill Hall and Armoury for the Rifle Volunteers.

The Battle of Brewer's Hill (the campaign to prevent the railway fencing off the right-of-way there) includes marches, band, demonstrations and meetings.

Chew's Foundation advertised - To Let, with immediate possession, a meadow known as Star Close, last leased by Colonel Hambling,


David Cookson, manager of Munt & Brown hat factory, dies and is buried along with his first wife and 10 children in Rothesay Road Cemetery, Luton.

Dunstable's oldest boot and shoe business, established over 50 years with premises near the Market Place, is offered for sale.

George Inwards, pork butcher of Church Street, commits suicide by jumping into the well at the Horse and Groom,


John Frederick Bladon, landlord of the Carpenters Arms, High Street South, fined 12s 6d for being drunk on his own premises.

Waterlow's Printing Works established in George Street.

William Dolman has a block-making business in St. Mary's Street.

The valuable Fayrey Funeral Pall, having been mysteriously lost for some time, is returned to the Rector of Priory Church.

George Costin purchases 4 Middle Row from George Roe (Row) butcher. (The business is later sold to the Tilley family).


Brewer's Hill Road formally opened to the public after great controversy.

New sewage van and pump.

Owner of the Gazette, James Ballans, dies.

Priory organ moved to current north aisle position at cost of £291 5s.

Mary Elliott, known as the Mother of Straw, dies.


Second, increased, edition of Weather Lore” by Richard Inwards is published.

Great fire in Middle Row.

Britannia Inn at 22 Middle Row auctioned to Cornelius Vater, upholsterer and furniture dealer, for £162.

Workmen at the Clifton Arms in High Street South uncover a 400-year-old skeleton.


Seats placed on the Downs and 100 trees planted.

New well, 175 feet deep, and water pumping station near Half Moon Hill.

Harrison Carter Ltd Iron Works established in Bull Pond Lane.

Alfred Warren senior dies.

The Hambling apple is registered in recognition of William Hambling, who had propagated the fruit variety.

 Young woman severely injured when her pony and trap collides with the Parcel Mail cart in Church Street.


Miles Taylor, from Yorkshire, becomes proprietor of the Dunstable Gazette. (He continues to run the business until 1928).

Death of James Hardy, landlord of the Horse and Groom, who had been acting as Parish Clerk.


Two trains collide at Dunstable station but passengers and driver receive only minor injuries.

Horse and carts purchased by the Corporation.

Four new bells cast and new fittings for Priory Church.

Triangular-shaped well, 70 feet deep, discovered close to Queenborough House on the corner of Friars Walk.

A travelling pedlar staying at the Nightingale pub in St Mary's Street injures himself when he becomes quarrelsome and smashes some glasses.


A train becomes embedded in heavy snow. Two engines sent to assist also become trapped. Eventually a breakdown appliance and 100 men from Kings Cross come to the rescue.

Bagshawe's (which moves to Dunstable in 1908) markets an expensive BB (Bagshawe Brothers) cycle for £20.

The original British Ladies Football Team visit Dunstable.

Telephone exchange opens at the Gazette office.

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee is celebrated with a procession, tea, illuminations and a beacon.

Renovation of Town Hall.

Electric Light first introduced into business premises by the Mayor, Alderman Garrett.

Work begins on a sewerage system for the town.

Permission is granted for a bay window, in the building between the Nag's Head and Mr White's butcher's shop in High Street North, to be converted into a shop window.

Heavy rain floods the road near the Grammar School. Pupils have to be carried to school through the water.

A series of Social Suppers begins at the Swan With Two Necks inn.


Another disastrous fire in Middle Row

Chiming mechanism to the church clock, repaired as part of Diamond Jubilee, quickly fails and it is then disconnected to avoid irritating nearby residents.

William Little Burr appointed Financial Secretary to the Medical Association.

Gold Mayoral Chain and Badge of Office provided by the Mayor.

A.W. Mooring, editor of the Dunstable Borough Gazette, publishes a novel: The Legend of Dunne the Robber. (The book was republished in 2002 together with details about the source of the robber legend).

Edgar Franklin, of Church Street, starts his long career as a Priory Church bell ringer.

James Fountain, former landlord of the Clifton Arms, found drowned in the River Ouse.

Cottage Garden Flower shop established in Chiltern Road.

Wesleyan Men's Bible Class Orchestra founded.


Clock face for Priory Church to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

George William Welch (of Dunstable) among 105 passengers drowned in the wreck of the SS Stella off Guernsey. His wife is rescued.

Plans for a band stand on the Square are opposed as consideration was to be given to people living around the Square.

While a mail coach is being laden the horse bolts but is stopped by Alfred Ives before any damage occurs.

Repurchase of waste land at Kingsbury for £130.

John Brown, Town Crier, is fined for being drunk and disorderly in the high street.

Worthington G Smith traces Henry I and Henry II's Charters to Dunstable in the Public Record Office.

20th Century (Top)


Salvation Army barracks for sale at 2 Market Hill, High Street North.

Start of Dolman Brothers, blockmakers and builders.

In case of emergency the keys to the fire engine house are kept at the Nag's Head public house and Messrs. Garrett's, jewellers, of Market Place.


Drainage of Dunstable completed.

Death of Police Superintendent Benjamin George – complier of historical events .

A second, deeper, well sunk at Half Moon Hill.

Death during the Boer War of Private John Anderson of the Bedfordshire Regiment. He had been writing a series of articles for the Dunstable Gazette called “With Our Volunteers in South Africa”.

Dunstable Carnival is held to clear the debt which remained when the Dunstable Thursday Football Club became defunct.


Riots last for two days after Coronation festivities are postponed due to the King's illness.

John Dales purchases the Tower House, High Street North.


Worthington George Smith becomes the first person to be made a Freeman of the Borough.

Closure of the Shoulder of Mutton, a pub and lodging house in Middle Row. The previous year landlord Walter North had been summoned and been given notice to quit after permitting drunkenness.

Closure of the Horse and Groom, which stood on a corner of the small road leading to the Priory Church.

Dunstable School's Army Cadet Corps is formed. Regimental Sergeant Major Odell joins the school staff as a drill instructor and becomes a well-known personality in the town.

C Squadron Beds Imperial Yeomanry advertises vacancies for young men who can ride.

George White appointed Town Crier following the resignation of John Brown.


Communion plate stolen from the Priory Church.

Burr Street made up under Public Health Act.

Highfield House in Kensworth Lane (later Beech Road) is purchased from the Kennedy family to provide staff accommodation for a proposed new isolation hospital. A new long brick building with attics is erected to receive the patients.

Worthington Smith's book, “Dunstable - Its History and Surroundings” , published.

The Confectionary Bazaar is opened in High Street North by Rose Harlow and Annie Omer.

Arthur White's crops set on fire by a tramp, Thomas Hope, who gives himself up, saying he wanted to be arrested because he was hungry. He is sentenced to 18 months hard labour.

Frederick Freeman of Kingsbury House drives his four-in-hand from London to Coventry.


Motor engineer fined £5 for travelling “at a terrific speed between 35 and 40 mph” . He was taking part in an experiment to study which vehicles threw up the least amount of dust.

Dunstable police station connected to telephone network.

Priory Middle School opens as Britain Street Council School.

Rifle Club established.

Bennett's Brewery, Chiltern Road, damaged by fire.

Chew's Charity School, High Street South, is closed.

Robert Woodruff Hambling of Dunstable travels along the old Klondyke trail to Alberta, Canada, and founds the settlement which adopts the name Dunstable.

Fatal car accident on the A5.

Death of retired police sergeant William Addington, one of Dunstable's first police officers.

John Stuart (born John Croall) enrols at Dunstable Grammar School. He becomes a “heartthrob” star of silent films in the 1920s and continues as an actor in major movies until Superman in 1978.


Enquiry into extension of the borough boundaries.

Thadeus MacCollom, a black man who came to Dunstable with a travelling company, marries Mary Ann Lunun, a widow. They attract a great deal of attention as they drive off after the wedding.

Joseph Andrews opens grocery shop at end of Middle Row.

Dunstable Isolation Hospital is opened in Beech Road.

Bagshawe and Co's Engineering Works established in Church Street.

Eight members of the Rex Motor Cycle Club make a non-stop run to Dunstable from Coventry.


Arthur Weight Matthews starts surveying the Dunstable churchyards.

Land north of Union Street (known then as Upper Houghton) is transferred into Dunstable borough. Ancient custom performed of bumping the mayor at various points around the boundary.

Burr Street School building work commences.

Grammar School laboratory opens ­- Dog Kennel path had been diverted to allow it to be built.

Dunstable Downs Golf Club opens.

Alfred Bandy, who built the houses in Alfred Street, presents the council with an estimate of £35 10s for laying sewers in the new road.

Worthington Smith draws a picture of the remnants of an ancient burial mound, the Mill Hill, on what is now Union Street,


Sails of the West Street windmill taken down. A steam engine had been introduced to provide the power.

Bagshawe & Co. Ltd engineering works opens in Church Street.

Munt and Brown's hat factory closes suddenly. Its workforce was down to 60-70.

67 unemployed men from Manchester stay overnight on their way to present a petition to vote for the Right to Work Bill of 1905.

Lord Northampton's car runs into a herd of cows and falls 30 feet down the embankment at Chalk Hill. The chauffeur is slightly injured.

Church Lads Brigade set up.

Dunstable Stray Animal Pound in London Road dismantled.

Closure of the California beer house (formerly the Belle Vue) at Whipsnade Road. Premises known as White Rock are built on the site, on the hill leading to the Downs.

Mr Charles Moore opens Moore's Department Store in High Street South.

Icknield Lower School opens as Burr Street Council School.

Wesleyan Church and school destroyed by fire.

Royal visit of Prince Francis of Teck to Grammar School.

Death of Henry Brandreth of Houghton Hall. He is carried to his grave on a wreath-covered fire engine.

Bowling Club formed on a green at the foot of the old Nicholas Lane, behind Ashton Lower School. (The club moved to Hawthorn Close in 1971).

Arsonist starts numerous fires.

Dunstable Volunteers merge with the Territorial Army.


Alarm when lights from an “airship” are seen falling at Sewell. Wreckage proves it to have been a motorised advertising balloon.

Dunstable Reading Room closed.

Fire brigade reorganised.

Closure of the Horse and Groom, Church Street, and the Wheelwright's Arms, Albion Street.

Foundation stone is laid of the new Wesleyan Methodist Church at the Square. 

Workmen dig foundations for Cross & Co.

Priory Church doors, bearing bullet holes from the Civil War, are moved to the church tower. New doors provided as a gift by George Elliott.

Local Government Board regulates the speed of cars to 10 miles an hour on some section of the St. Albans to Dunstable road.

Arthur Munt, owner of Priory House, arranges for the demolition of the factory next door.

A visiting portable theatre occupies Bull Close Field.


Miles Taylor publishes the Dunstable Year Book and Directory and James Tibbett publishes Dunstable Annual Illustrated Almanac and Local Directory.

Frank “Gary” Cooper, future film star, enrols as a pupil at Dunstable Grammar School.

A rockery in Priory Meadow, including a stone showing the carved head of a Norman Knight, is dismantled to provide foundations for a fence. A drawing by Worthington Smith is the only record.

A visiting portable theatre company performs in Union Street.

Rosedale Football Club changes its name to Dunstable Town Football Club.


Death of Benjamin Bennett the younger who, having no children, left a very complicated will involving his £153,000 estate.

Colonel John Seely, Under Secretary of State for War, presents the prizes at Dunstable Grammar School.

Sale of the Bourne Whiting works in Edward Street and Union Street.

Britain Street Council School opens new premises.

Houghton Regis sewerage system connected to sewage farm.

Shops at end of Middle Row, jutting into West Street, bought by council and demolished  to improve approach to crossroads. They included grocery shop of Joseph Andrews and jewellery shop of Percy Lester, who moved to 13 Middle Row (later Walker's). The roof-less public toilets at the back were known locally as Boskett's Breezy Battlements because of their castellated wall design.

Formation of Dunstable Literary and Scientific Society, holding weekly meetings in the town hall.

Rosedale Football Club decided to change its name to Dunstable Town Football Club.


New Post Office built in High Street North.

Fred Marchant opens The Palace cinema, referred to as Marchant's Picturedrome, in High Street North.

Workman injured at Whiting Works in West Street when a quantity of chalk fell on his head and legs.

Yeomanry Headquarters opens.

Enlargement of Chiltern Road Schools.


New organ dedicated by Bishop of Ely to celebrate 700th anniversary of Priory Church consecration.

An application by Mr Munt, of Priory House, to build a wall to prevent flooding is rejected.

Waterlow & Sons Ltd open works sports ground and pavilion, near French's Avenue.

Lorry driver fined for exceeding speed limit of five miles per hour in High Street North.

A plague of slugs destroys thousands of lettuces and cabbages.

Bagshawe's purchase the distinctive “Vienna Pavilion” to provide an attractive frontage for their offices in Church Street (destroyed by fire in 1978).


Throughout the First World War, the Dunstable Borough Gazette published detailed reports about the local men and women who served in the forces. The long list of local casualties is beyond the scope of this Timeline. There is an article about local aspects of the war on the history society's website, www.dunstablehistory.co.uk

The regular fairground at the foot of Dunstable Downs on Good Fridays is prohibited.

Half Moon Inn in London Road closes.

Over 1,000 people die when the Atlantic liner Empress of Ireland sinks in the St. Lawrence River, Canada. Among those reported lost were Mr and Mrs George Stone of Half Moon Hill, Dunstable.

Death of Joseph Richard Scroggs, aged 73, of Sewell Manor Farm. The farm had been leased by the Scroggs family since 1759.

Roman coins, some from the Hadrian period, found on Dunstable golf links.

A showman with the Lord John Sanger and Sons circus and menagerie, visiting Garden Road Field in Dunstable, is killed when he fell off a waggon while leaving town.

Priory Church to be closed except during services and between 2 pm and 4 pm because of worries over possible “outrages” by militant suffragettes.

Death at Wood Green of Mrs Rebecca Clark, born at Dunstable in 1804 and probably the King's oldest subject. She took her first motor car ride on her 107th birthday.

About 200 mothers with their babies assembled for s Temperance Association party in the gardens of Chiltern House, the residence of Mrs W Lockhart, at the corner of High Street North and Regent Street. 

Epidemic of scarlet fever and diphtheria.

May Evans seriously injured by catching her thumbs in a lace paper-making machine at the Cross and Co. factory,

Death in Dunstable from tuberculosis of Arthur Owen Jones, a well-known cricketer.

Dunstable Company of the 5th Beds Regiment & Dunstable Squadron of the Beds. Yeomanry leave for French battlefields.

Riots outside the Ernest Mowse grocer shop, 81 High Street North. He is accused of war-time profiteering.

Crossroads roped off in search for German “spies”.

First arrival of Belgian refugees.

A crowd assemble outside the Sugar Loaf when it is rumoured that three German spies had been arrested. But they were actually three Englishmen en route to join the 25th City of London Cycle Corps.

Fire in buildings adjoining the mill in West Street belonging to Frederick Simmons. Firemen delayed because system of call bells to their houses was under repair and they had to be called by messenger.

The Workhouse now called the Union House.

Mark All, aged 86, champion long-distance walker, passes through Dunstable.

Death of blacksmith Edward Eames, of Glanworth, Great Northern Road, aged 73. He had been in business in Dunstable for 45 years.

Dunstable Rifle Club opens its miniature range, at the rear of Mr Harry Rixson’s shop in High Street South, to non-members in order that everyone has the opportunity to learn how to use a gun.

Thousands of soldiers are billeted in Dunstable. Due to the large number of troops here special permission is given for tradesmen to keep their shops open on Thursday afternoons, normally an early closing day.

Waterlow & Sons Ltd offer to pay 10 shillings per week to wives of their employees on active service and an additional one shilling for each child under 14 years.

First company of Dunstable Girl Guides registered.

London to Birmingham underground telegraph laid through the town.

Dunstable is transferred from the Diocese of Ely to St. Albans.

New well sunk at waterworks.

Council purchase allotments at French's Gate.

Saxby's butchers buy 26 Middle Row (sold after two years to Eastman's).

Town Hall used as Soldiers' Institute.

Death of Canon Macaulay, former rector.


Taylor Brothers (hat manufacturers) leave Albion Street about this time.

Marshall's of Beale Street sell whiting works to Howard Flint but continue to manage and trade under the same name.

Public meeting on the Square expresses loyalty to war leader Lord Kitchener.

Dunstable Volunteer Training Corps formed.

1st 5th Bedfordshire Battalion marches through town before being sent to the battlefields. Later it suffers heavy casualties at Gallipoli. Among those killed was Captain Charles Baker, son of the Rector of Dunstable. The wounded included Sgt Major Edgar Odell, drill instructor at Dunstable Grammar School and a well-known local personality.

“Canvas City” for troops near Brewers Hill farm.

The Cinema Theatre holds a special war-time matinee to benefit the Mayor's local distress relief fund.

Street lighting reduced and warning hooters arranged in case of air raids.

Taylor Brothers hat factory closes.

A road tarring machine is purchased for the town.


Dunstable Appeals Tribunal under the Military Service Act appointed.

Continuing news of heavy casualties at the Western Front.


Bomb is dropped from German Zeppelin on Harrison Carter Works in Bull Pond Lane.

Death of Worthington G Smith.

Lt-Col Edward Henderson, ex-Dunstable Grammar School boy, awarded posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions during battle against the Turks in Mesopotamia.

Dunstable Food Control Committee appointed.

A new well and 10 -inch diameter main provided down Bull Pond Lane to West Street.

Dunstable Women's Institute formed.

A silent film made by British Pathe of children working on the land

Violet Golding, aged 17, becomes youngest person to receive the Medal of the Order of the British Empire following an accident at Luton munitions factory.

Death of Alfred Marshall, stonemason and builder. The firm, started by his father, was responsible for restoration work in many churches including the Priory.

Leonard Northwood, of White Hart Cottages, is killed while working at Mr Grays's chalk grinding works. His clothes became entangled in machinery.

Death of former Mayor Richard Wall at Bournemouth where he went to reside in 1889. He was the first and only chairman of Gordon Boys' Home, founded in memory of General Gordon for destitute boys of working age.

Formation of the first Pack of Wolf Cubs, part of 1 st Dunstable Boy Scouts Troop.


Food ration card scheme in force after U-Boat blockade.

Dunstable hears about end of war when train arrives from Luton crowded with cheering people.

Death of Patrick Kelly, landlord of The Globe for nearly 20 years.


Peace Day celebrations.

First Dunstable Brownie pack formed.

Lord Cavan, Commander of the British Forces in Italy, is welcomed home at a dinner at the Town Hall.

Beds Agricultural Show held at Dunstable for the first time.

30th Beds (Dunstable) Troop of Boy Scouts wins the Roffe Flag County Championship.

Dunstable School Cadet Corps drum and bugle band is formed.

Two captured German guns presented to the town.


Bennett Memorial Recreation Ground bequeathed to the town.

Twelve acres of land at Catch Acre purchased for allotments.

The Mayor refuses to attend future council meetings due to the hostile attitude of certain members towards him and “to gratuitous insults to the Mayoress”.

Houses re-numbered with odd and even numbers on opposite sides of the road.

Cinema pioneer Fred Marchant opens the Palace Cinema in High Street North.

The Trustees of Dunstable Ex-Services Club submit plans for alterations to The Anchorage, High Street South.

A travelling theatre company loses all its props in a railway station fire after a performance at the Town Hall. The Mayor starts a fund, and the players give a benefit performance for themselves.

Thomas W Bagshawe is part of John Lachlan Cope's British Expedition to Antarctica. He and Maxime Lester survive in Graham Land, sheltered by an upturned whaling boat, throughout the winter of 1921/1922 – the first people to live through winter on the Antarctic mainland.


Chalk Hill Cutting described by the coroner “as a motorist death trap” due to the number of accidents.

Excavations of tumuli on Dunstable Downs begins (also 1925-6, 1927, 1929).

Wesleyan Church war memorial unveiled.

Mr F T Garrett made Freeman of the Borough.

Mr L C R Thring retires as Headmaster of the Grammar School.

Field Marshal Lord Haig, patron of the Dunstable United Ex-Servicemen's Club, presents them with an autographed framed portrait of himself. The club holds a tea party for all the children on Dunstable men who fell in the war.


Dunstable branch of the British Legion founded (closed 2010).

Priory Church War Memorial unveiled.

Waterlow and Sons Ltd's war memorial unveiled.

United Services Club opens in High Street South.

Infants school in Church Street closed and children transferred to Burr Street and Chiltern Road.


Lloyds Bank opens in High Street North.

Gold Chain and Badge of Office provided for Mayoress.

Thomas Bagshawe buys 59 High Street South (the Grey House).

The Palace Theatre is used for a meeting during the General Election to support the Hon. Geoffrey Howard, Liberal Candidate.

A stage is added at the Palace Theatre for amateur operatic society's production of The Geisha Girl.

Three horses killed by lightning at Brookes Farm in Church Street, opposite the Priory Church.


Sir William Waterlow, of Waterlow's printing firm, is unwittingly drawn into a currency swindle to print false Portuguese banknotes.

Sir Herbert Hambling and Mr C Boskett made Freemen of the Borough.

Resignation of Canon W W C Baker, Rector for 21 years.

Death of Mr C C S Benning, Town Clerk for 32 years.

Excavations at Scott's Garage on the site of the Dominican Friary of Dunstable.

Parts of four Saxon skeletons found at the Rifle Volunteer, West Street.

Water tower erected, Half Moon Hill.

Additional classrooms built at the Grammar School. Always referred to in the future as the New Building.

George White resigns his post as Dunstable Town Crier due to ill health. He dies the following year aged 59.


New light engine fire engine with extension ladder is purchased.

First lady Mayor, Councillor Miss Lucy Dales, elected.

Dunstable Library and Museum opens adjoining the Town Hall.

Luton Electricity Extension order approved for supply to Dunstable and other places.

Electric lighting installed in the Town Hall.

Elinor Brent-Dyer, a teacher at Moreton House School in West Street, writes the first of her "Chalet School" series of books.

Council houses erected at Watling Street site.

Memorial altar in Priory Church dedicated in memory of the late Town Clerk, Mr C C S Benning.

Woolley Sanders & Co, straw hat manufacturer, closes.

J & W Baker, furniture shop in Church Street, opens.

Harrison Carter first factory to use electric power.

Stuart & Sons closes.

A retired metropolitan police officer commits suicide near the rifle butts on the Downs.


Bronze Age burials found in Knoll No. 5 on Dunstable Downs by University College & Hospital Anthropological Society.

Death of Arthur Bagshawe, founder of the Church Street company.

Electricity replaces the gas engine in the Priory Church organ.

Dunstable Portland Cement Company's works opens.

Alice Mary Beecroft buys some 55 acres of land from Thomas John Cook, owner of Brewers Hill Farm.

Church Hall in Church Street opens.

Cemetery enlarged in West Street.

Council houses erected in West Street.

Harry Tilley purchases No. 4 Middle Row (188 High Street South) and started the well-known butcher's shop continued by his son Vic and grandson Mike.

Steam roller purchased for the town.

Pavilion erected on Bennett's Memorial Recreation Ground.


Kingsbury Stables, Church Street, become town museum.

The British Archaeological Association visits Dunstable,

The annual Inter-University Motor Reliability Trail held in the district with Cambridge beating Oxford,

Two men fined 20s each for riding motorcycles on the Downs.

Tom Geary opens Central Café , High Street North.

Dunstable Shopping Festival includes various activities to encourage local shopping

Arthur Munt, youngest son of Richard Munt, one of the founders of Munt & Brown, dies.

Woolley Sanders transfers to Luton and sells Dunstable premises.

Children's amusements provided in the recreation ground.


Alfred Warren & Sons hat factory closes.

Thomas Bagshawe becomes honorary curator of the Luton & Dunstable Museum.

Dunstable Free Library opens.


64 acres of land near Whipsnade given to National Trust by anonymous donor.

Alfred James Graham sells his whiting works to Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers but retained the name of Graham's.

Sir Mortimer Wheeler leads excavation of one of the barrows in the Five Knolls, revealing nearly 100 skeletons.

Dunstable's ancient fire engine, the oldest known, presented to London Museum by Messrs Merryweather.

Contingent of foreign Boy Scouts from the Jamboree at Birkenhead entertained by the town.

Airship R101 passes overhead on her first trial flight.

Moreton House School moves from Dunstable.

County Agricultural Show held in Dunstable.


Council buys land from Alice Mary Beecroft and begins building houses in Chiltern Road, Worthington Road, Hambling Place, Franklin Avenue and Benning Avenue.

Death of Canon W W C Baker, former rector.

New police station in High Street South opened.

Last interment at Priory Churchyard when Edward Thomas Burr, aged 87, is buried next to his brother William Little Burr, Financial Secretary to the British Medical Association, who died in 1903.

Major Olive Booth, daughter of Major Booth of the Salvation Army, visits Dunstable.

A two-million-gallon water reservoir built at Beech Hill.

A silver plate trophy was presented to Miss S E Westlake by members of the Dunstable Congregational Church Choir.

William Wigan Llewellin leads 43 young offenders and eight officers on a 160-mile march to Lowdham to build the first Borstal, stopping in Dunstable overnight.

Parking places provided for motor vehicles.


London Gliding Club starts operating from Dunstable Downs.

Whipsnade Zoo opens.

Restoration of the Priory Church tower completed.

Tombstone of Alice Durrant (late 13th century) found built into a buttress in the west front of the Priory Church.

Messrs. Benjamin Bennett, the last hat factory in Dunstable, closes.

Blow's Downs leased to Dunstable Town Council for 21 years as a recreation space by Mrs Crawley Ross Skinner.

Work begins on tracing the outline of the White Lion on the Downs at Whipsnade.

The Broadway Melody introduces Dunstablians to their first talking picture.

The Choral Union is formed from members of the Nonconformist Church choirs together with friends and associates.

Caretaker's cottage erected at Isolation Hospital.


Town Council adopt a resolution against Sunday cinema opening.

Work to prevent flooding under Church Street railway bridge is completed.

Town Council apply to Ministry of Health to approve a new law that all dogs on the Downs must be on leads or muzzled.

Sir Herbert Hambling, banker, Freeman of the town, dies.

First Dunstable Eisteddfod.

Death of Septimus Franklin, licensee of the White Horse pub in Church Street. The Franklin family had run the pub since 1804. Septimus's widow, Elizabeth, took over the licence until her own death in 1941.

Doretta Lodge School, run by Mrs Christina Stott and daughter Mildred, moves to 59 Great Northern Road (it started after the First World War at 24 Priory Road).

The Thorn “Meeting”, parent church of Dunstable and Houghton Regis Baptist Churches, is repaired and its churchyard improved.

Headquarters of the Luton Division of the County Police transfer from Luton to Dunstable.

Victoria and Albert Museum becomes custodian of the Fayrey brass images (1516) from the Priory Church.


First electric street lamps erected in High Street North.

Borough boundaries enlarged and last Beating the Bounds ceremony is performed. 

Civic Week pageant held.

New public toilets completed in Ashton Street.

Road through the chalk blocked after three vehicles crash including a petrol tanker.

Three Arts Club present the Belle of New York at the Palace Theatre.

Coins found when a cottage in Ashton Street is demolished include a shilling dated 1697.


Nearly 90 acres of Downs land donated to the National Trust by two benefactors.

Stanley Louise Eugene Stensen is killed by a lion after falling into a Whipsnade Zoo enclosure while trying to retrieve a hat.

Mr Lionel Thring, first headmaster of Dunstable Grammar School, dies at his home in Ash, Somerset.

Traffic lights installed at the crossroads.

Death of John Dales, ex-Mayor and founder of the Dales' Dubbin company.

Zander & Weyl opens in Luton Road to build gliders and light aircraft.

J B (Bernard) Stevens opens ironmongery shop.

Fayrey Pall returned from Victoria & Albert Museum.

A C Sphinx Sparking Plug company transfers to Dunstable from Birmingham.

New Dossal at Priory Church dedicated in memory of Canon W W C Baker, former rector. (A dossal is a cloth hung at the back of the chancel, behind the altar, varying in colour according to the church's seasons).

Instrument & Movements opens in London Road, making precision instruments.

Mr Herington opens his second chemist shop, this time in High Street North.


Celebrations to mark King George V's Silver Jubilee.

California Swimming Pool opens at Dunstable Downs.

Improved street lighting adopted for centre of town.

Zander & Weyl make replica gliders for ‘Conquest of the Air' movie starring Laurence Olivier. Scenes filmed on Dunstable Downs.

Grice & Young factory opens at 240 Luton Road making aircraft parts.

Northfields Housing Estate officially opened by Geoffrey H Shakespeare M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health.

Garden Road and Periwinkle Lane council houses wired for electric lighting.

Land at rear of Chinol Paint Works (which faced the Watling Street opposite French's Avenue) rented for use as recreation ground.

Mr A E F Stott purchases 22 Middle Row (the old Britannia pub site) and it becomes a furniture shop.

Admiral Sir Lionel Preston retires to Dunstable.

Epidemic of diphtheria - 85 cases.

Waterlow's factory in Watford is closed and the work transfers to Dunstable. Many Watford employees move here.

Princess Eugenie of Greece visits Whipsnade Zoo.

Organ at the West Street Baptist Church back in use after repairs.

Dunstable trader prosecuted as a label indicating the country of origin is missing from a tray of tomatoes.

A local fishmonger exhibits a six-feet long shark in his window.

Gliding Club's hangars and sailplanes damaged during an 80 miles-an-hour gale

Statty fair adds dodgem to its usual boxing booth, swing boats and side shows.

Dunstable Congregational Church is redecorated and electric light installed, with funds provided by the Rev. Howard Staines in memory of his wife.

The oldest car in Bedfordshire, a 1903 De Dion owned by Mr V Hough and Mr K Barnet, is parked in the Red Lion yard. Registered B4, the first three B1, B2, B3, owned by the Duke of Bedford, had all been scrapped.

The Mayor of Dunstable, Alderman Alfred Cook, becomes the first Mayor to hold office for four successive years since the revival of the town's ancient charter in 1864.

For using a wireless set without a licence, a local resident is fined ten shillings.

The “Brothers of the Brush”, employees in the binding department of Waterlow and Sons, hold their annual dinner and concert at the Victoria Club.


Gas Showroom opens in High Street North. Houses previously on the site, opposite Grove House, had been demolished.

Zander & Weyl change name to Dart Aircraft and move to 29 High Street North.

Grove House and Gardens purchased by the Corporation and opens to the public.

Northfields Senior Council School opens. In 1946 it becomes a Secondary Modern School and an Upper School in 1972.

Ashton Schools, Church Street, reconstructed.

Extension of street lighting in High Street.

Laying of Belisha Beacon “safety” crossings on main roads.

Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal opens in West Street. 

Discovery of 13th century Tractus, recording details of the administration of Dunstable Priory.

Public toilets erected on the Downs.

Aston Street made a ‘one-way traffic' street.

Flats for elderly people erected at junction of West Street and Chiltern Road.

Mr Hooten retires and Mr David Sewell opens a fish shop at 28 Middle Row (177 High Street South).

The London Gliding Club replaces its wooden hangars with a purpose-built club house.


Coronation Day celebrations.

Luton Road sewerage system completed.

Land purchased in Half Moon Lane for housing.

Union Cinema opens.

Salvation Army citadel in St Mary's Street opens and a new banner is presented to the Salvation Army by Councillor Mrs M Baggaley.

Street lighting is extended throughout remaining parts of the High Street and in London Road.

Anglo-German Camp held at the London Gliding Club.

Alteration to the Old Sugar Loaf dining room reveals a small secret hide out.

E P Zander leaves Dart Aircraft and establishes Scott Light Aircraft Ltd in 27 Albion Street.


New fire station in High Street North.

The famous pilot Amy Johnson brings her H-17 glider to Scott and Zander to have the cockpit personally fitted.

Dunstable Library opens at Chew's School, High Street South (now Little Theatre).

Air raid shelters dug in Grove House Gardens.

Evelyn Road Junior and Infants School opens.

British National Gliding contests at the London Gliding Club. New Word Record endurance flight in a two-seater glider.

Half Moon Skating Rink, built by Aubyn Pratt, opens in London Road.

Alderman Alfred William Webb made a Freeman of the Borough.

Empire Rubber Company factory built in London Road.

Alan Weathrill takes out a seven-year lease on former bleach, blocking and boiler rooms at 17 High Street North for the production of cardboard boxes.

Palace Cinema closes.

Isolation Hospital gets electric lighting, a mains water supply and connection to the town drainage system.

Queen Mary acknowledges crowds as she passes through the town on a private visit to Woburn Abbey.

Printers' Pension Corporation fete held in Grove House Gardens organised by Waterlow's and attended by over 4,000 people.

Britain Street Senior Elementary School opens a £15,500 extension. New flag designed by headmaster Mr E A Dean is flown.

A new fire engine, with a 50-foot all-steel escape ladder, is purchased at a cost of £1,695.

Bennett's Brewery, at 65 years one of the town's oldest industries, is sold to Mann, Crossman and Paulin Ltd.

Colonel Lionel Denham Henderson M.C., educated at Dunstable Grammar School, is awarded the CBE.

Crowds watch as bees swarm up the wall of the Red Lion hotel and are removed by an apiarist. Traffic is seriously disrupted.

A lorry carrying a lion, two polar bears, a seal and some foreign birds stops at the Square. A large crowd gathers to watch the animals being fed.

Dunstable Grammar School holds a week of jubilee celebrations, with a wide variety of events including cricket, a Pierrot show, concerts and a physical training display.

Dunstable branch of the Old Contemptibles' Association insists that members must prove they were under enemy mobile artillery fire prior to midnight on November 22 1914.


(Many hundreds of local men and women were killed, injured or captured during the Second World War and this was reported in great detail, week by week, by the Dunstable Gazette. The volume of personal information available about their individual adventures and suffering is beyond the scope of this Time Line).

Queen Mary officially opens Luton & Dunstable Hospital.

Everyone in town ordered to collect gas masks.

Auxiliary Fire Service is formed.

First season of car-parking fees on the Downs.

Robertson Memorial obelisk erected on Dunstable Downs in memory of the Robertson brothers, killed in WW1.

Lord Luke opens purpose-built fire station and the Memorial Gates and Pleasure Grounds of Grove House Gardens.

Big Air Raid Precautions exercises.

Dunstable Museum closes.

Geoffrey Stephenson takes off from the London Gliding Club and flies his glider 127 miles across the English Channel to the village of Le Wast.

Sir Frank Stevens, Chief Constable of Bedfordshire, dies in a shooting accident.

Evelyn Road School (Highfields) opens on a Saturday for the arrival of London evacuee children.

John Sproule and Sacha Ivanoff design a small 11.4m sailplane and have it constructed by Scott Light Aircraft in Dunstable. (It flew until 1951 when it was wrecked in a fatal collision).


About 800 evacuees and local children attend a free film show in January at the Union Cinema (Later that month there were nearly 1,500 evacuees in Dunstable).

Royal Air Force officers spend a weekend at London Gliding Club studying the value of gliding as an aid to Service flying training.

Samuel George Hobson dies at his Dunstable home. He was a founder member of the Independent Labour Party and at one time private secretary to Keir Hardie.

Grice & Young aircraft parts factory moves to Mathew Street. Makes gas mask cases during the war.

William John Adham Willis, retired naval commander, is appointed Chief Constable of Bedfordshire.

James Joseph Bye, manager of World Stores, 19 High Street North, dies after a road accident in the black-out.

Mayor of Dunstable, Ald F G Keep, officially opens a soup kitchen at the Maltings.

Death of Albert Gutteridge, ex-mayor and the county's oldest solicitor.

Orange rolling takes place on the Downs despite the war, with evacuee children enjoying the unusual experience.

Luminous paint makes Dunstable Fire Station's name visible in the black-out.

Eight members of an Irish Guards Band are injured when their coach crashes in High Street South.

Boys steal some antique spears from an omnibus at the back of the Half Moon Skating Rink.

Pte Arthur Clarke becomes the first Dunstable soldier to die in the war.

A London man is taken to hospital after being clawed by a tiger at Whipsnade Zoo. The man had climbed on to the safety barrier to take a photo. Later in the year there was a similar incident. An RAF officer drew his service revolver and shot a tiger in the cheek to make it release another would-be photographer.

Death of the Duke of Bedford, aged 82. The Duke had been partially blind for some time and had been in a failing health since his wife was lost in a solo aeroplane flight two years previously.

The factory of Thermo Plastics in London is destroyed by bombing and its employees are transferred to premises at Dunstable.

German twin-engine bomber, a Dornier 17 known as "the flying pencil", machine-guns Dunstable High Street soon after strafing the Watling Street at Hockliffe. Damage in Dunstable includes the rubber works at London Road.  

A stray bomb from a German plane falls on Spicer Paddock near the giraffe house at Whipsnade Zoo. A young giraffe panics and dies later. It had refused to return indoors and caught a chill.

Derek Prentice, aged 15, dies from a head injury sustained during rugby practice.

Meteorological Office moves to Dunstable.

Spitfire £5,000 Fund launched. A Messerschmitt is displayed in Grove House Gardens as part of the fund-raising.


War suspends Good Friday custom of Orange Rolling on Downs.

Compulsory Fire Watching introduced, although over 200 Dunstable people had already volunteered.

ARP exercise simulates a mock enemy attack on town.

Air Training Corps founded.

Death of Mrs Ethel Munt, widow of hat factory owner Arthur Munt. She leaves large donations to the National Lifeboat Institution, Discharged Prisoners Aid Society and Royal Merchants Seaman's Orphanage.

A combined exercise is held to test the defences of Dunstable under blitz and invasion conditions, code name Watling.

Delco-Remy and Hyatt Ltd create a "shadow factory", making electric motors for aircraft, on land at the corner of Brewers Hill Road, Dunstable. It duplicated the work of the firm's London factory, opposite Battersea Power Station, which was a high priority target for German bombing.

A parade is held to mark Dunstable's War Weapons Week. The town reaches its million-pound target but the Admiralty does not proceed with a plan to name a warship HMS Dunstable. The town later "adopts" HMS Burwell.

The Earl of Suffolk and his personal assistant Eileen Beryl Morden are both killed in an explosion in Kent. The Earl was a bomb disposal expert. Miss Morden's mother, sister and her brother's family lived in Dunstable.

Jewish refugees worship at a temporary synagogue in Poynters Road, Dunstable. Classes for their children to receive Hebrew instruction are held by Rabbi Waxman at Burr Street School.

Dr Gerald Ashton is temporarily blinded when a bottle of ammonia bursts in his face at his surgery in Kingsbury Court.

At least one pub in Dunstable closes for a couple of days due to a shortage of beer. Rationing of jam, marmalade, syrup and treacle begins and a Rabbit and Poultry Club is formed to provide extra food.

Signs are provided for village houses in Bedfordshire to indicate whether they contain a bath, to be used to help people contaminated in the event of a gas attack. Road signposts and village identification names are removed.

Graham's whiting works is almost completely destroyed by fire.

Local artist Edwin Aldous, famed for his "upside-down" painting, appears in a film - his fourth since 1937.

A surprise gas-attack test is held in Dunstable high street. More than 100 people did not have their gas masks with them.

Funeral of Regimental Sergeant Major Odell, drill instructor at Dunstable Grammar School and a veteran of the Gallipoli campaign. A guard of honour is formed by his old regiment, the 5th Bedfordshires.

A traders brass token dated 1668 is dug up in Borough Road. It bears the name Daniell French with the word Dunstable around its edge.


Secret Czechoslovak Military Intelligence Radio Station is operated by Czech freedom fighters until 1945.

Admiralty grants official recognition of Dunstable Sea Cadet Unit 115.

Vauxhall Motors opens factory in Boscombe Road.

Dunstable wins £50 prize for salvage in National Waste Paper recovery contest.

Scout VC (the Cornwall Badge) awarded to Troop Leader Alfred Gurney, aged 15, of the 58th St. Peter's Troop. Alfred, of 21 Hambling Place, died before the award could be presented. He had shown great bravery and endurance after becoming a victim of infantile paralysis six years previously.

Kingsway Health Centre opens.

Many soldiers from Dunstable become prisoners of the Japanese after fall of Singapore.

Town Council prepares post-war plan for a Greater Dunstable.

Stage star Evelyn Laye appears in a concert at the Union Cinema during Warship Week. Her husband, actor Frank Lawton, was based in Dunstable for a time during his army service. HMS Burwell an American lease-lend destroyer, is adopted by the town during the fund-raising week, opened by Admiral Sir Lionel Preston.

Radio programme Join In And Sing is recorded at the Town Hall. Another programme, the Brains Trust with Professor Cyril Joad, is broadcast there.

Dunstable WVS receives a mobile canteen, a gift from the American Red Cross.

A van carrying £2,000 worth of clothing is stolen at Dunstable while the driver appeared in court to answer a summons for leaving the van unattended after dark.  

Plans, files and photographs of Priory Church are sent for safety to the Somerset Headquarters of the Central Council for the Care of Ancient Churches. The photographs were taken by Mr Robert Bunning, son of Mr. A Exton Bunning, a Priory Church warden for many years.

People queue unnecessarily for hours for a new ration book. The Food Office said they should have been patient and waited until the following week.

Members of Dunstable Communist Party speak to a large Sunday-evening crowd at the foot of Dunstable Downs.

A legs competition is part of a concert by the Huson Sports and Social Club at the town hall. Ladies paraded in front of the audience and then stood behind a screen with only their legs on view. The audience had to fit the names of the ladies to each pair of legs.

Joseph Flemons and Sons Ltd of High Street North advertises for women and children to help the National War Effort by collecting urgently needed herbs including Elder Flowers, Cleavers, Privet Cuttings and Stinging Nettles.

Mr Fred Gostelow, one-time organist at two Dunstable churches, dies suddenly.

Dances are held on the lawn at Grove House during Dunstable’s stay-at-home holiday season. The government had advised people to stay at home instead of going to the coast this year.

Cllr George Holt is prosecuted for cutting grass on a piece of waste land at the bottom of Ridgeway Avenue, not knowing that it had been requisitioned by the County War Agricultural Committee and had been planted with oats. Magistrates decided that it was a genuine mistake.

Mrs Peggy Holmes, on her 21st birthday, was proclaimed the beauty queen of Dunstable Factories and presented with a silver cup.

The Union Cinema was visited by the famous band, Felix Mendelssohn’s Hawaiian Serenaders.

Miss Olive Brown forms the No. 186 (Dunstable) Company Girls' Training Corps.


First news of Dunstable prisoners of war after Singapore surrender.

Town council reports a loss of £1,317 on its farming scheme.

Grice & Young open ‘Dope' shop in Nicholas Way. Dope is a sealant brushed on to the linen used for aircraft wings.

First rally of the Dunstable Association of Youth Organisations is held in the Union Cinema.

First Aid post at Britain Street School is moved to the Kingsway Health Clinic, easing space at the school which had been overcrowded after the arrival of evacuee children (including Acland Central School).

Princes Street Nurseries fined for growing flowers in artificial heat in glass houses, which should be used for tomatoes etc.

James Jordan, a drover, is gored by a bull at Dunstable market.

Shopkeepers decide to revive the Dunstable Chamber of Trade.

War Office asks owners of Alsatians and other large dogs to lend them to the army or RAF until the end of the war.

Retirement of Cyril le Huray after 22 years as modern languages master at Dunstable Grammar School.

Death of Dr Charles Lathbiry, of The Limes, West Street, aged 88. Before his retirement he had been in practise in Dunstable for 47 years.

Hundreds of homing pigeons released from Trafalgar Square in Wings For Victory Week. One bore a message to Dunstable, duly received by Mr Martin Senior, local secretary for National Savings.

A ram owned by William Gibbard, farmer and corn merchant of High Street North, escapes and butts a three-year-old boy. 

The Rev William Scott Baker, fourth son of Dunstable's former Rector, become Bishop of Zanzibar.

Former Dunstable Grammar School pupil Sam Kydd, later to become a well-known actor, is joint editor of a magazine, Prisoners Pie, while a prisoner-of-war in Stalag XXA. 

Children of employees of Husuns are treated to a day-out at Whipsnade Zoo, travelling in a horse-drawn van.

The new Husun Operatic and Dramatic Society presents Weekend At Storms at the town hall. (Husun was a tradename for navigational instruments made by Henry Hughes and Son which moved into the Half Moon Skating Rink during the war).

Alfred Norman, of Worthington Road, is killed by his own gun during a Boxing Day rabbit shoot. His gun trigger caught on a twig in a hedge.


German bomb falls on grounds of Northfields School.

Magistrates informed there was only one case of drunkenness in Dunstable in 1943 and the offender was a non-resident. There are 37 licenced houses in the borough and 10 licenced clubs.

Town Council buys remainder of Beecroft Estate as a site for housing.

Chief Guide Lady Baden-Powell visits Dunstable.

Inaugural lunch of Dunstable Rotary Club.

Col. Mary Booth, granddaughter of the founder of the Salvation Army, visits the Methodist Church, The Square.

Miss Olive Brown forms the Girl's Nautical Training Corps No 15 (Dunstable) Unit.

Girls' Choir formed under the conductor Mr R Allen.

Dunstable homing pigeon owners praised for their response earlier in the war to an appeal for birds to be used for war communication work.

Audiences at the Sunday concert at the Union Cinema are entertained by the Beds and Herts Regimental Band and the Luton Girls Choir. 

Bill Farbon, a former member of the Dunstable Gazette staff, now a prisoner-of-war, is helping to produce a magazine for fellow prisoners.

Home Guard battalions hold a mock night-time battle at Brewers Hill.

A queue at a shop with a supply of strawberries near the town hall in High Street North is 50 yards long and four deep.

Acland Central School, evacuated from London in 1939, presents Britain Street School with a carved oak lectern for the school hall.

A woman in Burr Street is fined for failing to comply with a billeting notice. She is living alone in a six-room house and refused to accommodate a mother and her three children bombed out of their London home. The husband is fighting in Italy.

An 18-year-old man from Union Street is jailed for 14 days for refusing to comply with an order to work in the mines at Yorkshire. He had volunteered for the Royal Navy.

Only six pubs in the town were able to remain open on August Bank Holiday because of a shortage of beer.

Miss Ivy Mapley retired after 20 years as headmistress of Ashton Junior Mixed School.

A group of workers from Bagshawe Ltd volunteered to harvest a 20-acre cornfield near Dunstable.

Mr W Oakley unearths a two-shilling Charles II coin dated 1677 in his garden at 200 High Street South.

BBC announcer Freddie Grisewood attends the autumn flower show at the town hall.

Dunstable Saving Centre in Middle Row is broken into at lunchtime and cash and saving stamps worth £758.18 are stolen.

A dog belonging to a night watchman kills 19 chickens in First Avenue.

Excited children queue for ice cream after a war-time ban is lifted.

Dunstable’s first woman auxiliary police constable, Edna Phyllis Farley, is sworn in at the Borough Court.

The Town Hall Clock is illuminated in December for the first time since the war-time black-out.

Whipsnade Zoo’s rarest animal, Ming the giant panda, dies on Christmas Day. She had been evacuated to Whipsnade early in the war.


Farm stock dies in a fierce blaze which destroys extensive buildings at Brewers Hill Farm. The farmhouse is saved. 

The baffling disappearance of a 12-year-old Dunstable schoolgirl dominates the news in February. After a nationwide search she is spotted in a lorry driver’s cab. She had sought a lift and told him she was 18 and was travelling around for fun.

Hash, a rhinoceros, dies of pneumonia at Whipsnade Zoo.  He was one of a pair of baby rhinos given to London Zoo by King George V in 1933,

The Queen’s brother, Col. the Hon. Michael Bowes-Lyon, visits  Dunstable Pioneer Boys’ Club. 

The new Dunstable Repertory Company performs Somerset Maughan’s “The Sacred Flame”.   

Penicillin has been in regular use at Luton and Dunstable Hospital: probably the only hospital where the drug was available for other than service patients. 

Dunstable Cricket Club searching for a suitable playing pitch for its exclusive use.

Fifty temporary bungalows erected in Half Moon Lane. The excavation, road making and laying of sewers is carried out by 20 Austrian prisoners-of-war.  

Dunstable, in common with every other town in the land, celebrates Victory in Europe Day. Crowds attend a thanksgiving service in Grove House Gardens. (Dunstable on VE Day was very much aware that many local families were still anxiously awaiting news of men captured while serving with the Beds and Herts regiment at  Singapore. VJ Day was celebrated later in the year after Japan surrendered.)

Details emerging of what had been a closely guarded war-time secret: the work of the Meteorological Office at Dunstable in providing weather data for the RAF’s bombing assault on Germany.

Dunstable Girls Club, facing closure, vows to continue at proposed headquarters in Britain Street School.

With the closure of the Dunstable factory of Henry Hughes and Sons Ltd the local section of Husun’s Sports and Social club has ceased to function. 

The war-time Billeting Office at The Limes, West Street, is closed.

A medallion with local history is found in a bombed house in London.  The inscription reads Dunstable Wesleyan Chapel built 1831, Burned down 1844, Rebuilt 1845, Enlarged 1858. 

Veteran employees of Waterlow & Sons Ltd are entertained at the Waldorf Hotel by Sir Edgar Waterlow. Total service of those present was 3,417 years.

The 1888 market weighbridge replaced.

Hawkridge Aircraft founded.

Waiting List for council houses opens.

First athletic sports meeting promoted by Dunstable Youth Council held at Cross & Co's sports ground.

Dudley Hiscox and F/Lt Stanley Sproule fly gliders for the first time after the war although ban on civil flights had not yet been lifted.

Thirty extra helpers, mostly boys from Dunstable Grammar School, assist postal staff in the delivery of Dunstable's Christmas post.


Italian Prisoners of War, based at the London Gliding Club, dig the footings for the Beecroft Estate.

Bill at a Dunstable shop paid with a 1887 four-shilling piece (still legal tender).

Dunstable Home Guard parades for the last time.

War Memorial Fund launched.

Plaque bearing the arms of Dunstable is returned to the town by HMS Burwell, the ship adopted by Dunstable in war-time, now out of commission.

Young Dunstablians Music Club formed.

Army Cadets have new headquarters at Victoria Street Drill Hall.

Chad Razorblade Company comes to High Street South, Dunstable.

Long queues at shop as consignments arrive of grapefruit and bananas, virtually unobtainable during the war.

Heavy fall of snow puts traffic lights out of action and stops the town hall clock.

Town council refuses permission for a whiting works at Spoondell quarry.

Air Ministry's Meteorological Weather Station is filmed with its new computer.

Bedfordshire Girl Guide Association now has over 3,000 members.

F Monk and Son, drapers in High Street North, celebrated 50 years in business in the town.

George Richardson, patrol leader in the 56th Beds (Methodist Church) Scout Troop, saves his eight-year-old brother from drowning.

Many Dunstable people among the 15,000 at a point-to-point horse race meeting at Friars Wash.

Waterlow's prepare to resume cricket matches after the war. with a £2,500 improvement scheme at the firm's sports ground

Town startled by the noise of a war-time siren, now to be used to call part-time firemen to their station in High Street North when required. But it uses a note denoting "Raiders Past" - once a welcome sound.

Duchess of Kent, with Prince Michael and Princess Alexander, picnic on the downs at Whipsnade before visiting the zoo.

The canteen at AC-Sphinx is packed by 500 employees watching a performance of Workers Playtime, a popular lunch-time radio show.

Shortage of housing leads to the Downside pre-fabricated housing scheme, later to become Apollo Close and Chichester Close.

Dorothy White, aged 13, plays the piano accordion on BBC Radio's Children's Hour.

Princess Elizabeth is twice driven through Dunstable, mainly unnoticed, on her way to and from an event in Northampton.

Flt Lt W.J. Roberts invested with the American Distinguished Flying Cross for services rendered to the Americans during the battle for Cherbourg shortly before D-Day.

Delco-Remy and Hyatt Ltd, based on land on the corner of Brewers Hill Road since 1940, move back to London. 

Some Dunstable families, intending to move into vacant army huts on the south side of First Avenue, are forestalled when the huts are required for 150 Polish troops.

Eleven-year-old King Faisal of Iraq visits Whipsnade Zoo, where the camouflage netting over the White Lion has been removed.

Frederick Costin, local pianist and organist, accompanies baritone Alfred Swain in a TV programme, Musical Contrasts, from Alexandra Palace. 

Index Printers (Cyril Tibbett managing director) prints the first ABC Air Guide.

Fire station adjoining the municipal offices in High Street North to be used as an ambulance depot.

Howard Deacon, organist and choirmaster at the Priory Church for 45 years, retired because of failing eyesight.

A runaway horse from Kingsbury Stables in Church Street crashes into a pram in West Street. The baby is uninjured.

Mrs Wilkes becomes first president of the newly formed Dunstable Business and Professional Women's Club.

The Girl's Nautical Training Corps No 15 (Dunstable) Unit visits Norway.

Priory House, being acquired by Dunstable corporation with a compulsory purchase order, will be used temporarily to provide a home for families during the housing shortage.

Mr C Y Le Huray, language master at Dunstable Grammar School from 1921 to 1943, publishes a book titled Death For A Holiday.


Death of William Bagshawe.

Priory House Gardens open to the public.

Local Government Boundary Commission rejects Luton's bid for amalgamation with Dunstable.

Dunstable, by poll, decides to allow cinemas to open on Sundays.

Britain Street School changes its name to Priory School.

Valerie Hobson and Stewart Granger film some horse-riding scenes on the Downs for the movie Blanche Fury.


Controversy over proposed extension of chalk workings at Green Lanes.

Dunstable Old Contemptibles among those inspected by Winston Churchill at Luton Hoo.

Windmill at West Street commissioned as the Training Ship Lionel Preston for Dunstable Sea Cadets.

Dunstable Inner Wheel Club formed for wives of Rotarians.

Darby and Joan Club established at Priory House.

Fatal accident at gliding club. 

Dunstable Poultry and Rabbit Club holds its first show for 30 years, in the Town Hall.

Syntilla Manufacturing Co opens.

Old Dunstablians Rugby Club formed. 

Chad Razor Blade Company taken over by Ever-Ready Razor Co.

Only 9,800 Dunstable people have collected their ration books out of a population of 17,000.

Thirteen unattended horses galloped along the High Street. Police officer obtained a lift in a car and steered them towards Brewers Hill. Owner fined £3.

Miss Irene Walter becomes the first policewoman in Beds and the only policewoman in Dunstable.


Lucy Dales, the town's first lady Mayor and daughter of John Dales, dies aged 70.

Jubilee Domestic Tinware & Toy Works, moves to Stanbridge from the corner of Albion Street and Victoria Street.

Minister of Town & Country Planning bans further building development in the area to the west of Dunstable “with the exception of certain rounding off of the Borough”.

New headquarters of Dunstable Pioneer Boys' Club opens.

High Court action by South Beds Preservation Society to contest Minister of Transport's Order permitting the closure of some of the Green Lanes for quarrying extension.

Foundation stone laid for new Methodist Chapel in Luton Road.

Letters to have a Dunstable postmark again instead of Luton.

Isolation Hospital in Beech Road becomes known as the Priory Hospital. Patients with infectious diseases are to be sent to Spittlesea in Luton.

Dunstable Repertory Company gains first place in Beds Country Drama Festival.

Champion motorcycle champion Basil Hall, of London Road, wins the International Motocross of France for the fifth time.

Rope launching a glider falls across an electric cable, setting the grass alight on the Downs. Fire Brigade quickly extinguish it.

Long queues at confectionary shops when sweets are taken off ration. Bulk buying of sweets causes a shortage and shops sell out. Shop keepers asked to give priority to children.

Cattle drover narrowly misses being gored by a bull that slipped its rope while being led into a pen.

Death of Alfred William Webb, 86, only surviving Freeman of the town. He had been a councillor for 37 years.

Hailstones the size of pebbles slash leaves from trees and damage houses.

Journalist Kenneth Allsop (later a television presenter) is among nine families living in a community at Barwythe House, Studham.

Lady Baden-Powell, World Chief Guide, visits Dunstable.

Production of The Long Mirror at the Town Hall cancelled due to an audience of only one.

Workmen laying a courtyard at the rear of 113-115 High Street South uncover a disused well about 100 years old, 12 feet deep. Householder had lived there 70 years and never knew it existed.

Polio outbreak in Dunstable.

Film start Greer Garson and husband Budd Fogelson take tea at the Sugar Loaf.

Zoo animals commandeered and housed at Whipsnade are returned to Germany.

Dunstable Town Council improve the appearance of the High Street with flowers and send the bill (£313.10.3) to the Ministry of Transport who promptly return it, refusing to pay.

Ladislov Marmol, a Czech, attempts to break the world record for a single-seater glider flight. He is forced by adverse winds to land at Dunstable Downs after 17 hours 24 minutes.

Mr W J Barnes received a medallion to mark his 60 years as a Trade Unionist. He joined on the day in April 1889 when the Gas Workers Union was formed.

E J Horton & Son win a silver medal for cyclamen display at the Royal Horticultural Society Show in London.


Clean Food Conference at Health Centre, Kingsway – then Exhibition Week at Town Hall.

Preservation Society wins Green Lanes issue. But then Court of Appeal allows appeals by the Ministry of Transport and Rugby Portland Cement Co. Ltd for authority to close parts of Totternhoe Green Lanes to permit extension of chalk workings.

The town's war memorial to be an inscribed plaque in an alcove in Priory House Gardens.

Jack Smith appointed Dunstable town clerk.

Land purchased for Kingsbury School.

Work begins on Beecroft housing estate.. 

Dunstable Civil Defence formed – headquarters in the Maltings, High Street North.

Ronnie Waldman of BBC Radio brings his quiz show to Dunstable.

Dunstable and District Young Farmers Club formed.

Dunstable Cricket Club opens its Bull Pond Lane sports ground on two fields known as Great Woolpack and Little Woolpack at the rear of the Woolpack public house, High Street South.

Dunstable Football Club re-formed.

Ludun Ltd, a workshop for the severely disabled, is established. (Its factory in Liscombe Road is built in 1955.

Composite Forgings opens at Kelvin Works, Luton Road.

Sandy Macpherson, radio's popular organist, gives a concert in Dunstable Methodist Church.

Old Dunstablians Rugby Team plays first match on new pitch at Skimpot.

Kingsbury Court made a listed building.

Dunstable Gas & Water plus Luton Water Companies become part of Eastern Gas Board and jointly develop Friars Wash pumping station at Flamstead.


Cordova officially opens at 137 West Street as an old people's welfare centre.

Festival of Britain exhibition, featuring products from local factories, held in town hall.

The Co-op in West Street becomes town's first “self help service” grocery store.

Two elephants walk through town on their way to Whipsnade Zoo.

Opening of bandstand enclosure in Grove House Gardens. 

TV cowboy Cal McCord rides his horse Ladybird from London to Leicester on a road safety campaign and stops off at Dunstable.

Dunstable WI sends an embroidered tablecloth to Queensland WI in appreciation of food parcels sent from Australia.

Derek McCullock (Uncle Mac of BBC Radio's Children's Hour) opens fete in Grove House Gardens.

Fatal accident at the gliding club.

Dunstable Ayfive Cycle Racing Club organise a 63-mile cycle race to celebrate Festival of Britain.


Beecroft Primary School opens.

The war memorial in Priory Gardens is unveiled. The ceremony is led by the Mayor of Dunstable, Alderman Tommy Sandland.

Down Your Way radio team visits Dunstable.

Death of Arthur Joseph Staines of Hawthorn Farm (142 High Street South). He bequeaths a farm paddock to Dunstable Cricket Club.

Road islands completed in High Street.

AC Sphinx Spark Plug Co changes its name to AC-Delco.

Miss E Boyes retires as headmistress of Burr Street School after 26 years. 

Comedian Arthur Askey and film stars Ann Todd and Dinah Sheridan attend Whipsnade Zoo's 21st birthday celebrations.

Chairs replace pews in the Priory Church.

Extension to cemetery consecrated by bishop.

Fete in Grove House Gardens opened by Joan Gilbert, BBC TV announcer.

The Grey House, High Street South, becomes a hotel.

Foot and mouth disease causes closure of cattle markets in the area.

Death of George Oliver Anderson who was the first name on Dunstable Grammar School's register of pupils on opening day in 1888.

Manshead Archaeological Society founded by Les Matthews.

Sir John Hadsall opens Civil Defence Headquarters at the Maltings, High Street North.

A workman narrowly escapes death when the ground opens to reveal an 80-foot well just 50 yards from the Town Hall.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr Khwaja Nazimuddin visits his old school, Dunstable Grammar.

Last telegraph pole in High Street North is pulled down.


Average wage at Dunstable Vauxhall reaches £10 per week.

Population reaches 17,000. 

Dunstable Business and Professional Women's club formed.

Dunstable Girls' Choir appears on television on Caroll Levis and His Discoveries show at the Albert Hall. 

Work starts on new Commer Cars factory in Boscombe Road.

Artist Frank Salisbury donates signed picture, "The Shrine of Humanity", to Methodist Church.

Portrait painter Martin de Hosszu dies at his home at Tilsworth Manor. 

Dunstable Repertory Company stages first open-air production.

BBC commentator Raymond Baxter takes part in autocross at London Gliding Club.

Air raid shelter in Periwinkle Lane demolished. 

Coronation tea for 1,500 children in Grove House Gardens.

Dunstable work featured in an elaborate volume presented to the Queen, including Elizabethan Churchwardens' Accounts with collotype illustrations by Messrs. Waterlow.

Memorial service held in the Priory for the late Queen Mary.

Two men fined £20 for passing betting slips in the Plume of Feathers and Nag's Head pubs.

Dunstable Musical Society commences.

George Brown of Eaton Bray gives up his ancestral blacksmith business.

Experimental pre-cast house design project at Mountview Avenue.

Una Stubbs, actress and dancer, moves to London from Markham Crescent, Dunstable, as it is too far to travel now she is dancing at the Palladium.


Bell from cemetery chapel sold for £22.

Five bus shelters erected in town at cost of £336.

Chad Razor Blade Co in High Street South closes. Work absorbed into larger factory at Glasgow. 

Dunstable Young People's Club opens using the premises of the Pioneer Boys Club.

200 Jehovah's Witnesses baptised in California Swimming Pool.

Youth Exchange Committee formed to link with Porz, Germany.

Lt-Col Dealtry Part of Houghton Hall, retires as Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire and is awarded a knighthood.

BBC Gardeners World Question Time is broadcast from Eaton Bray.

Dunstable Food Control Committee closes as meat rationing ends.

Rootes Properties purchase Houghton Hall.

Hugh Gaitskell MP, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaks at town hall.

Dunstable Art Club's first open-air exhibition, Grove House Gardens.

TV Children's Newsreel shows matchstick model of Big Ben made by Dunstable artist Edwin Aldous.

Cody Circus and Zoo at Half Moon Field.

Houghton Regis Voluntary Primary School celebrates its 300th anniversary.

New swimming pool for Hillcrest School.

Dunstable Rugby Club takes a three-year lease on the ground in Bull Pond Lane.

Sir Edgar Waterlow, chairman of Waterlow & Sons, dies at the age of 83.

Hadrian Estate officially opened by Alderman W H Robinson, Mayor.

Graham Hill takes part in an auto cross time trial over the gliding club field.


Production begins at the Commer Truck Factory in Boscombe Road.

Work begins on 46-acre extension to Vauxhall truck factory.

Cattle Market on the Square closes.

300 chairs destroyed by fire at Grove House.

Tornado hits Dunstable but no damage sustained.

Road beneath the railway bridge at High Street North lowered by 14½ inches.

Orange Rolling revived on Dunstable Downs.

Cross Paperware factory almost gutted by fire but work carries on.

Local branch of Infantile Paralysis Fellowship formed.

Fayrey Pall used to cover coffin of Edgar Franklin.

Lady Megan Lloyd George, daughter of the former Prime Minister, addresses meeting at Priory School.

Huge electricity pylons erected.

California swimming pool given permission to provide music from a loudspeaker from 2pm to 10pm Monday to Saturday until end of October.

Railway accident when furnace blowback kills fireman and train runs out of control from Skimpot until it crashes through level crossing at Brewers Hill.

Discovery of Saxon warrior's skeleton at Puddlehill.

Ludun, a factory employing severely disabled people, is built in Liscombe Road.

Dunstable Hosiery Mills opens in High Street South.

Dunstable Grammar School ends accommodation for boarders.

Precautions taken at Whipsnade Zoo against fowl pest disease.

Meadway Hostel on Bennetts Close, now Pipers Croft, is closed. This was a wartime prefabricated development built by National Hostels Corporation which later accommodated former Italian prisoners of war. .


Well-known antiques dealer Harry Rixson dies aged 78.

Mayor Ald. W T Lack buys first Premium Bond to be issued in Dunstable.

Dunstable Rugby Club purchases 12 acres of land at Houghton Regis, part of the old Bidwell Farm, for £170,000.

Papers catch fire in a corridor in Grove House, the third fire there in two years.

Duke of Edinburgh official opens Ludun in Liscombe Road.

First service in the Tree Cathedral, Whipsnade.

Cricketers Alec and Eric Bedser at AC-Delco event.

Bronze Roman 4th century coin found at Downside.

Junior Accident Prevention Council formed.

Durrants furniture shop in High Street North bought by the Co-op.

Outdoor roller-skating rink opens at California Swimming Pool.

Vauxhall apprentices criticised for covering shop windows with white paint during Rag Week.

Luton Road widened.

Lady Zia Wernher opens Old People's Welfare Association fete. 

Dunstable girl Una Stubbs, a regular dancer on Cool for Cats TV show, is in West End musical Grab Me A Gondola.

Church Street houses demolished.

Film star James Mason visits Whipsnade Zoo.

Dunstable Grammar School boys feature in a documentary film The Way Ahead about the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.

Dunstable sends a telegram to Dunstable in Alberta, Canada, as part of Namesake Greetings Day.

Dunstable printing firm Hawthorn Baker forms new company in Germany.

Murray and Taylor, greetings cards manufacturers, reopen after pay dispute.

Sunday School opens at Downside - first step towards establishing a new church there.

Proposal to lease hostel at Meadway as a hostel for factory workers and long-distance lorry drivers.

Beechwood Drive is renamed Brive Road after Dunstable's French twin town Brive-la-Gaillarde.

Duke of Bedford presents prizes at Dunstable Grammar School speech day.

The White Hart in High Street North is demolished to make way for new shopping centre.


Sixth century Saxon burial ground excavated at Marina Drive by Manshead Archaeological Society.

London to Dunstable Roller Skating Race starts at the Houses of Parliament and finishes at the California rink, Whipsnade Road.

Old streets and terraced cottages demolished behind Middle Row.

People run for safety on Dunstable Downs when a driverless car careers down the steep slope on to the London Gliding Club field.

Outbreak of earwigs at south end of Downside Estate near the rubber works.

Auction sale of Kingsbury Stables in Church Street.

Houghton Regis Memorial Hall opened by Sir Dealtry Part.

Markyate bypass opened.

Dunstable holds eight-day drama festival.

Great Indian rhinoceros born at Whipsnade. It was only the second in the world to be born in captivity.

Frequent performances at local events by singing trio The Mudlarks, from Luton (their record Lollipop becomes a best-seller in 1958).

Dunstable and District Mountaineering Club formed.

Victoria Street Congregational Church reopens after alterations.

Thermo Plastics' 25th anniversary.

Bagshawe and Co's Golden Jubilee.

BBC TV features controversy over future of Dunstable Town Hall.

15th century skeleton discovered at rear of Luton Motor Co in High Street South.

Canon H W Orton dies. He was rector of Dunstable 1954-1957.

An imprint of a sandal about 600 years old found under floor stones at Priory Church.

Kingsbury Technical School opens in Canesworde Road.


Dr J E Pinkerton moves from his Victorian house, The Lawn, in High Street North.

Foundations laid for the new Dunstable Girls Grammar School.

New £2,075 heating system installed in Priory Church.

Work starts on building the California Ballroom.

St. Christopher's Infant School opens.

Vauxhall Motors presents the Mayor of Dunstable with a Mayoral car.

New Eight Bells pub opens in Westfield Road after the old Eight Bells in Ashton Street is demolished.

Six schoolboys go to Buckingham Palace to collect gold awards from the Duke of Edinburgh.

A 2,000-year-old bread roll excavated at Puddle Hill.

Demolition of empty shops in Church Street begins, ready for road widening scheme.

Sir Reginald Rootes officially opens Kingsbury School.

J Harrison Carter factory in Bull Pond Lane to be auctioned after 65 years in the town.

Boxer Yolande Pompey stops for breakfast at Priory Cafe in Dunstable after defeating Randolph Turpin.

New sewage disposal works opens at Chalk Hill. 

Prince Charles and Princess Anne visit Whipsnade Zoo. 

New railway signal box at Brewers Hill Road.

Pavilion opened at Bennett Memorial Recreation Ground.

Millionth Bedford commercial vehicle completed at Dunstable. 

First bricks laid on London County Council's new housing estate at Houghton Regis.

Electronic computer being assembled at Meteorological Office at Drovers Way.

Two people from the Kenwood Manufacturing Co, returning from a cricket match, are killed in a road accident on the A5 near the Packhorse. (This is the source of a number of ghost stories)

Automatic telephone exchange built alongside Manchester Place.


Queen Eleanor's School for Girls opens in Langdale Road with Miss Christina Scott as headmistress.

M1 Motorway opens and Dunstable's through traffic is halved.

Rt. Hon. Harold Macmillan visits Dunstable to give an election speech.

Wilfred Pickles radio show Have a Go is broadcast from Town Hall.

Dunstable Excelsior Band appears on BBC Tonight programme.

St. Augustine's Church, Downside, opens.

Downside Lower School opens. 

Highwayman Hotel opens in London Road.

Citizens' Advice Bureau opens in Priory House.

Cottages in St Mary's Street demolished. 

Harold Parrott made a Freeman of the Borough.

Dunstable Music Club formed.

F W Woolworth in High Street South reopens after modernisation.

Bylaw orders that dogs be kept on a lead in certain roads. 

Midland Bank becomes the first bank to open in Houghton Regis. 

Novelist Barbara Cartland assisted by actor Sam Kydd opens the carnival in Grove House Gardens.

Civic Centre plan conceived.

Snow falls on Dunstable in April.

Winkle Club at Star and Garter is started to raise money for Ludun, a factory employing handicapped workers.

Death-watch beetle found at Priory Church again.

Work starts on petrol station on site of Hawthorn Cottage, High Street South, former home of Worthington G. Smith.

The large house called The Lawn, together with adjoining buildings in High Street North, demolished to make way for shops.

A small terrace of houses is demolished to make way for the Pioneer Boys Club and Dunstable Young People's Club (behind the cinema).

Dunstable Townswomen's Guild formed.


California Ballroom opens. Events include a Boxing Show with Henry Cooper topping the bill.

Birth of Patrick Bernard O'Mahoney in Dunstable. He becomes a best-selling crime author.

Ald. W T Lack, Deputy Mayor, awarded the OBE.

Luton Water Company takes over responsibility for supplying Dunstable.

Thermo Plastics in Luton Road is filmed for a Pathe newsreel making aircraft canopies as well as fridge linings and bathtubs.

WVS take over and run the Meals on Wheels service.

Cross Paperware damaged by fire again.

Telephone exchange goes automatic.

Creasey Hotels open the Old Palace Lodge in part of the old Kingsbury Farm.

Instruments and Movements Ltd transfer from St Peter's Road to the old Half Moon Skating Rink.

Scotland Yard called in to investigate the murder of a man whose body is found in a shed on Dunstable Downs.

Dunstable Town Football Club becomes a public company.

Health Minister Enoch Powell opens training centre for mentally handicapped at Ridgeway Avenue.

New shops built on corner of High Street North and Queensway including Sainsbury's first supermarket in the town.

200 workers at AC-Delco put on three-day week.


Dunstable College of Further Education opens.

Church Street road-widening starts.

Town hall clock stopped for 27 hours by swarm of flies in mechanism.

Bronze Age settlement found at Totternhoe.

Brewer's Hill Secondary Modern School opens.

Meteorological station moves from Dunstable to Bracknell. 

Dunstable man hanged for murder - the first execution for more than 20 years at Bedford prison.

Death of well-known solicitor Norman Gutteridge, aged 73.

Six people set off on an 80,000-mile expedition in two Land Rovers, returning in 1965.

Ewe and Lamb, West Street. closes and the name is transferred to new premises in Luton Road.

Palace Cinema, High Street North, demolished.

The Norman King pub opens in Church Street..


Young People's Club and Pioneer Boys Club open next door to each other in Manchester Place.

Foundation stone laid for new Roman Catholic Church, West Street.

Yul Brynner stars in adventure movie Escape From Zahrain, based on a novel by Dunstable author Michael Barrett.

New railway bridge in Church Street completed.

The last “Dunstable Dasher” train leaves leaves Dunstable North station for Leighton Buzzard.

Bull Pond Lane School (later Watling County Primary School) opens. 

Cottages and hat factory at the junction of Edward Street and Regent Street demolished.

Kenny Ball and his Jazz Band play at Garden Fete in Priory Gardens.

First Twist dance competition at the California Ballroom is a great success with contestants from all over the county and further.

Panda crossing in Luton Road, the only one in the district, is opened.

Two stained glass windows and three statues are donated to the Priory.

Bourn's, the last whiting works in Dunstable, closes.

Man dies in fire at Whipsnade Zoo offices. 

Ashton Almshouses, corner of West Street and Ashton Street, demolished.

Manor House in High Street North demolished.

The 10th Dunstable Scout Group begins at the Victoria Street Methodist Church schoolroom

Christmas lights erected along shops in Middle Row.


Whipsnade Zoo is completely cut off by heavy snow and Kenneth Dwight, steward at Dunstable Golf Club, is marooned with his family in their house at the top of the Downs.

New Post Office opens in High Street North.

The Red Lion (parts of which were over 400 years old) and the White Horse (dating back some six centuries) pulled down to facilitate the widening of Church Street. Stone used as a mounting block outside the White Horse moved to Beecroft School.

Mrs Kay Warwick, proprietor of Kay Café at 306 High Street North, bids to extend the car park at the rear of the building. The café, established in 1929, is used by long distance lorry drivers for bed and breakfast.

Mr and Mrs Sidney Smart’s house at 50 Church Street, where they have lived for 35 years, is exempted for the time being from compulsory purchase orders made to allow road widening.

Pupils of Form 3A at Brewers Hill School complete a film shot in East Anglia during a week-long visit learning about an area different from their own.

Frozen electricity cables cause Dunstable to suffer its worst-ever power failure. The town was without electricity for almost two days.

A plan by E J Buckle and Son for rebuilding at 24 High Street South is refused by the Ministry of Housing to prevent any piece-meal redevelopment of  Middle Row.

Retirement of Mr F Watson, headmaster of Priory School since 1945.

Bookmaker Reginald Young opens a betting office at 214 High Street North, in addition to his established office at 31 High Street North.

Workers at Whipsnade have the tricky task of moving the zoo’s polar bears to a new home.  Cold weather has damaged the old bear pits.

The village lock up at Houghton Regis, over 100 years old and known as The Cage, is to be pulled down.

Dunstable coach proprietor Eddie Smith and Mrs W Bullwinkle, wearing light blue uniforms, are judged the smartest and best-dressed driver and courier in the Brighton Coach Rally.

A well, probably dug by Romans, is discovered beneath the cellar of the old Wallace butcher’s shop in High Street North.

Dunstable Downs Golf Club stages the first major amateur golf tournament ever to be held in Bedfordshire.

Workmen resurfacing a dent in the middle of Ashton Street find a deep cavity, thought to be the entrance of an old well.

Currys Ltd opens in High Street North.

The Renaissance Singers perform music by John Dunstable as part of celebrations for the 750th anniversary of the consecration of Dunstable Priory.

Kingsbury School swimming pool opens after two years’ hard work by members of the School Parents Association.

The London Gliding Club at Dunstable Downs puts on the biggest air display ever given by a gliding club in this country.

Hayward Tyler closes its factory in French’s Avenue and transfers production to East Kilbride, Scotland.  The company’s main factory continues at Crawley Green Road, Luton.

A metal spraying factory, Metallisation Ltd, opens in Tavistock Street.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Dunstable. Alderman and Mrs Michael L Kilby, are introduced to the Queen Mother on her visit to Luton Hoo to present new colours to the 1st Battalion the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment.

A well uncovered in the backyard of Archille Sierra, cleaners, in Middle Row is found by archaeologists to have modern brickwork and is no more than 50 years old.

Beds County Council's planning committee agrees in principle to some 31 acres of Totternhoe Knolls becoming a nature reserve.

Julian Tong, son of Mr E H Tong, director of Whipsnade Zoo, travels to Africa as part of a team capturing animals for zoos all over the world.

Manshead Archaeological Society excavate a Saxon settlement at Puddle Hill.  

Electronic telephone exchange opens and switches to the new subscriber trunk dialling system (STD). Calls will cease to be taken through the old exchange which is closing down.

Evelings Toy Shop opens in Queensway.

Four boys from the Pioneer Boys Club play table tennis nonstop for 24 hours but had forgotten that the clocks went back that weekend so they actually played for 25 hours.

Dunstable Women's Institute publishes its own 30-page magazine.

Stalls on Dunstable's new market site will be removed after each market session as they occupy 60 car parking spaces.

Pageant of Dunstable's history performed by over 1,000 people throughout the week at Priory Meadow.

Billy J. Kramer, Gene Vincent, Freddie Starr, Gene Pitney, Brian Poole, the Hollies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Bachelors, Marty Wilde, perform at the California Ballroom.

New Dunstable courthouse opens.

Pond at Sundon Road junction, Houghton Regis, is filled in.

Priory Church Service televised on ATV.

Patrick Jenkins, environment secretary, unveils two bronze statues on Woodside industrial estate.

Dunstable's first Women's Institute Market opens on Queensway Hall car park.

Members of Houghton Regis Parish Council save public money by spending part of their Christmas holiday demolishing some old cottages in the village with their own hands.


3rd East Anglia Regiment receives the Freedom of the Borough.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home gives an election speech on The Square.

The Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, Kathy Kirby, Lulu, Brenda Lee, the Searchers, Joe Brown, Freddie and the Dreamers, Manfred Mann are among the stars who perform this year at the California Ballroom.

Mill Vale Middle School opens as a County Secondary School (it becomes a middle school in 1973).

Labour council members walk out of special purposes committee after a full-scale row.

Roman Catholic Church, West Street, completed at a cost of £75,000.

Civic Hall officially opened by Sir James Harman, Lord Mayor of London. Building is later renamed Queensway Hall.

Market in High Street moves to Queensway car park.

Fred Allsop, of Houghton Regis, just misses bronze medal in triple jump at Tokyo Olympics.

Manshead Archaeological Society finds sufficient Roman remains on the Quadrant shopping centre site to prove that the Roman town of Durocobrivis once stood in the area.

Workers Playtime radio show is broadcast live from Commer Cars.

The Barron Knights pop group, with Duke D'Mond (Richard Palmer) of Dunstable as lead singer, has first chart hit with Call Up The Groups.

Famous footballing Showbiz XI plays at Dunstable Football Club, Brewers Hill Road. Team includes Kenny Lynch, Harry Fowler, Tommy Steele and Ronnie Carroll.

A valuable collection over 300 antiques including furniture and ornaments is presented to Luton Museum by Thomas W Bagshawe.

New engineering building costing over £0.25million at AC-Delco.

Diaz Electric (Dunstable) Ltd, of West Street, opens new showroom at 57 High Street North.

A doll dressed to represent Catherine of Aragon was sent by the Inner Wheel Club of Dunstable to Australia for an exhibition of dolls.

William’s Brothers Supermarket to opens at 25-27 High Street North.

An inquest into the death of Mr Gerald Bagshawe, elder son of the founder of the firm, records that he died from choking on some food.

Cross Paperware Ltd has its biggest sales promotion campaign for a new product called Singlex Doyles.

Dunstable Astronomic and Scientific Society is formed.

Eighteen churches send representatives to the Dunstable Christian Council held at Victoria Street Methodist Hall.

An ice-cream salesman who rang a hand bell is fined for contravening a Dunstable Borough bylaw. A second ice-cream salesman was in trouble for sounding his chimes too early.

Tithe Farm House, Houghton Regis, is demolished to make way for a new shopping centre.

Dunstable Council, after some controversy, allows organised games on the town's recreation grounds on Sundays.

Totternhoe Lower End Methodist Church holds a special ceremony to celebrate Fred Costen’s 50th year as an organist there. He started when he was 12 years old.

Death of Arthur John Smith who for 12 years was the Dunstable Macebearer and Town Hall Manager.

Semi-mature trees, including a 30-foot-high oak, from Lady Wellesley's estate at Berkhamsted, are planted in the new Civic Centre area.

Prefabricated classrooms provided to solve space problems at Queen Eleanor’s and Downside County Primary schools.

The Home Secretary, Henry Brooke, addresses a mass rally of South Bedfordshire Conservatives at the newly opened Civic Hall.

Members of Dunstable WVS hold a party at the Star and Garter Hall High Street South to celebrate the opening of their new premises at 149 High Street South.

Seamus Dunne, former full-back for Luton Town, is made manager of Dunstable Town Football Club.

St. George’s School in Priory Road celebrates its 50th anniversary. Among those present was Miss J Middleton who founded the school in 1914 with Miss Axford. 

Pc Martin Stonecliffe injured in what was called a bomb blast at Dunstable police station.  The homemade device had originally been sent to a house in Great Northern Road in a wedding cake box.  A man from Clapton, who said it was just meant to frighten, was later fined.

A single-seater aircraft crashed into a hillside at Dunstable Downs during the London Gliding Clubs Air Show and Carnival. Major Godfrey Harwood was taken to hospital but allowed to leave after treatment.

Firemen fought all night to put out a fire in barns at Chalk Hill Farm, Sewell.

Death of the first Superintendent at Whipsnade Zoo, Captain William Beal, who was there from 1931 to 1948. Previously he has been principal veterinary officer in the Gold Coast.

Scenes for the film The Man Who Fell Apart starring Rita Tushingham and Herbert Lom, are shot at Dunstable Downs and Kensworth.

A plan to erect the old town hall’s clock at the new Quadrant shopping centre is eventually abandoned.

Morris Dancers from St Albans, Bedford, Coventry and many other towns dance in Dunstable streets.

A new Dunstable ambulance station opens, replacing the one in High Street North.

Duke D’mond, real name Richard Palmer of the Barron Knights, is married at Priory Church to Miss Pauline Whinnett.

A picture of the original 15 Blue Coat Boys at Chews School in 1879, which has been in the possession of Mr F Duncombe of 47 Chapel Walk for many years, has been renovated by Mr E E Aldous of 23 Downs Road, and is to hang in Chew’s House.

Builders working on a new car park at the rear of the Saracen’s Head, in High Street South, discover that a tree had been growing over a 30-foot deep well.  

Conservationists express concern about the increase in hawthorn scrub on Dunstable Downs, caused because sheep no longer graze there.

Dunstable Repertory Company's first production in the Civic Hall is The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Donald Birdsey, for three years editor of the Dunstable Gazette, is appointed editor of the Herts Pictorial at Hitchin. He is replaced by John Buckledee, assistant editor of the Bucks Advertiser at Aylesbury.

Filming took place outside the Ewe and Lamb, Luton Road for a documentary concerning the new laws of Rugby football.

Edwin Walter Green, owner of the California Ballroom, dies aged 65 years.

A Dunstable man, Mr L A Boskett, who had been a pupil at Dunstable Grammar School with Gary Cooper, appears on television talking about the film star. Mr Boskett spent 40 years at the school as maths master.

A donkey is found in a front garden and was taken to Dunstable Police Station. It had wandered from its home in Kensworth.

The Pirates of Penzance is performed at the Civic Hall by the newly formed Dunstable Amateur Operatic Society.

A compulsory purchase order is made by the council on property in St Mary's Street and Cross Street West.


The last Skimpot Flyer train leaves Dunstable North Station for Welwyn.

Swan Jewel discovered during excavations at Friary Field.

Closure of White Hart public house, High Street North.

Winston Churchill public house opens in Church Street.

New fire station at Brewers Hill Road.

Dunstable Town Hall sold to Pearl Assurance Co Ltd for £35,000.

Wolf becomes the first wild animal to escape from Whipsnade Zoo in 33 years.

Houghton Regis Youth Club opens.

Work starts on extra 400-foot chimney at Houghton cement works.

Variety show televised live from Queensway Hall.

Billy Fury, Moody Blues, Kinks, Tom Jones (and 1966) at the California Ballroom.

St Fremund's Church opens.

Local character known as “Coal Black Charlie” dies in a road accident near Chalk Hill.

An Austin Princess car is purchased by the Council for the Mayor's official use.

Dunstable Borough Gazette celebrates its centenary.

Bomb Disposal Squad called to smoke bomb in Westfield Road.

The Tower House, home of the Dales family (of Dales' Dubbin fame), is demolished.

Quadrant House office block is built in Church Street.

Birth in Dunstable of Paul Spencer Clayton, later a professional footballer.


Winning greyhound “High Joe” is kidnapped. Later found in a garage in Evelyn Road.

Prime Minister Harold Wilson at Queensway Hall meeting.

BBC radio broadcasts Friday Night is Music Night from Queensway Hall.

Jack Smith resigns after serving nearly 16 years as Dunstable Council Clerk.

Bob Monkhouse opens the Quadrant shopping centre. The mural there was designed by William Mitchell and Associates and the three-sided clock by the Scottish designer Robin Cameron Don.

Dunstable-born Michael Howard opens the Quadrant's first shop: Howards Menswear.

Dunstable Town Hall demolished.

Houghton Health Clinic and library opened.

Cesar's Palace nightclub opens at Skimpot Lane with Tommy Cooper starring. He stays at the Sugar Loaf throughout the run.

The Swan Jewel found on the Friary site in Dunstable is put up for auction at Sotheby's and sold to the Metropolitan Museum of New York for £4,800. But an export licence is refused and it is bought by the British Museum.

Anglia TV programme films Focus On: Dunstable.

Only 50 people attend the first night of the drama festival in its new venue at the Civic Hall.

Index Printers open new factory on Oldhill/High Street South corner.

Dunstable Repertory Company successfully presents The Wizard of Oz in the Civic Hall but decides the hall is too large for a small company.

A homemade balloon of sheets of polythene and 1.5 miles of adhesive broke away on being inflated at Dunstable Downs Air Show. It caught an electricity cable and cut the supply to Totternhoe. The passenger was unhurt.


Dunstable North Railway Station demolished.

New library opens at Vernon Place.

Edward Heath visits Dunstable.

Children see "little blue man" (alien visitor?) on Studham Common/

Prince Philip arrives at Whipsnade by helicopter for meeting of the Zoological Society.

Work progresses on Quadrant House multi-storey office block in Church Street.

New £1million factory development in French's Avenue. 

Jimi Hendrix, the Bee Gees, the Small Faces, Pink Floyd, at the California Ballroom.

Polish Catholic Church opens in old Victoria Street Methodist building.

Dunstable and District Horticultural Society disbands after membership drops to only 60.

Half the staff walk out of Cross Paperware because it is too cold to work.

A plaque is unveiled renaming the Dunstable Town Football Club ground at Brewers Hill to Creasey Park in memory of the late Alderman Walter Creasey.

Bus drivers on strike.

Harold Parrott is appointed “Alderman Emeritus” for life by the Borough Council.


The Polish Catholic Church in Victoria Street is blessed by Bishop Rubin.

A machine gun is handed in at Dunstable Police Station during gun amnesty.

Luton Brewery Golf Society changes its name to the Saracen's Head Golf Society when the brewery closes and the Saracen's becomes the new venue.

Little Theatre officially opened by actor Bernard Bresslaw.

Anglican Church of St. Fremund the Martyr completed.

Orange Rolling ends on Dunstable Downs after concerns about safety and lack of sponsorship.

£11,000 wages snatch at the Empire Rubber Co.

Empire Rubber Co becomes Miles Redfern Ltd.

Stone Age skeletons found at Sewell.

Lionel Tutt of Dunstable became World Beer Drinking Champion - 17 pints in 60 minutes.

Freedom of Borough granted to 201 (Herts and Beds Yeomanry) Medium Battery, Royal Artillery (Volunteers). 

Status Quo, Bill Hayley and the Comets, the Searchers, the Who, Herman's Hermits etc at the California Ballroom.

Round Table members row 50 miles down the Thames for charity.

Film musical Oliver sets its workhouse in Dunstable (The street scenes were actually shot at Shepperton Studios).

Dedication of Presbyterian Church, Katherine Drive.

St. Fremund's Church, Westfield Road, dedicated by the Bishop of St. Albans.

The Key Club opens in West Street (closed in 1971).

Totternhoe Bell Ringers win the Beds Cup for second year in succession.


Ardley Hill Lower School opens in Lowther Road.

Rifle Volunteer, West Street, demolished.

Syntilla factory closes.

Lancot Junior and Infant School, Lancot Drive, opens.

North Sea gas connected to Totternhoe and Eaton Bray.

Primrose Laundry, West Street, closes.

Railway bridge in High Street North removed.

Foundry at Bagshawe and Co, Church Street, closes.

Five skeletons found on old Friary site in Friars Walk. 

Strikes by teachers shut several schools. 

One-man buses introduced by Luton Corporation Transport.

New Ashton Almshouses open in Bull Pond Lane.

Meteorological Station site at Drovers Way sold to builders George Wimpey.

Dunstable Police Supt Horace Woods awarded MBE.

Dunstable Bowmen Archery club founded.

Bingo begins at the Union Cinema with a long queue forming two hours before the doors open.

Priory Church service on London Weekend Television.

Local boxer Cliff Field starts his two professional fights knocking out his first opponent in just 133 seconds and his second in less than five minutes.

Anthony Wedgwood Benn, the Minister of Technology, drives the 1½ millionth Bedford truck off the Dunstable Vauxhall production line.

National Gliding Championships held at Dunstable.

Union Cinema, renamed the ABC, introduces bingo three nights a week.

Singer-songwriter Damon Michael Gough (stage name Badly Drawn Boy) is born in Dunstable.


George Brown MP visits Northfield School.

Charlie Cole aged 70 wins two classic races for Veteran Cyclists – 30-mile National Championship and 25 miles Isle of Man.

Fire at the College Christmas Cracker Co High Street South.

Racing driver Graham Hill attends the launch of a Ford Sport centre at Lumo Cars Ltd in London Road, later Hartwell Ford,

The Windsock opens at the foot of the Downs on old Rifle Volunteer site.

Kevin McCloud from Toddington (later famous for the Grand Designs TV series) enrols at Dunstable Grammar School. He transfers to the new Manshead School in 1971 and is there until 1977.

Men digging trenches for gas pipes discover the position of the canon's burial ground on Priory Meadow.

Dunstable suffers two-hour power cuts when Eastern Electricity workers work to rule.

The Madonna of the Magnificat, sculpture by Laurence Broderick, given to Priory Church by the Gibbard family to celebrate the wedding of Ruth Gibbard to Roger Bowles.

Scenes for popular TV programme Dr Who filmed on Blow's Downs and at Thermo Plastics, Luton Road, with Jon Pertwee as the doctor.


Dunstable converts to natural gas from the North Sea.

Barclays Bank opens new building in High Street North.

Chemical toilets erected at the top of the Downs.

Dunstable Grammar School closes to make way for Ashton Middle School. More than 300 boys move to Southern Campus site near Caddington Turn, now known as Manshead School.

Bennett's Brewery, Chiltern Road, demolished.

De La Rue opens printing plant in French's Avenue.

Dunstable Tennis Club's new courts off Downs Road opened by Christine Truman.

Lloyds Bank opens Eastgate branch in Station Road.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at California Ballroom.

Dunstable Bowls Club moves to Hawthorn Close.

Dunstable postal workers go on strike.

Spread Eagle public house in High Street North closes.

Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers close the Houghton Road works.

Four men stab a Dunstable police officer and are charged with attempted murder.

Priory Church clock repair costs £764.

Torrential rain results in 4ft of water under the Church Street railway bridge.

First traffic wardens appointed in Dunstable.

Fire in Aquaria pet shop High Street South. Hundreds of birds, fish and animals die.

Waiting list for colour television sets.

Weatherfield Special School and St. Mary's R.C. Junior and Infant School are opened.

Death of Admiral Sir Lionel Preston.


Power cuts affect many during the miners' strike.

The Sugar Loaf is closed while new proprietors made extensive internal alterations.

Death of local man Joseph James Tither, aged 44, a founder of Microwave Associates.

Thieves blast Trustee Savings Bank safe and escape with £9,000.

Production halts at Chryslers factory in Boscombe Road when paint sprayers stop work, complaining about bad conditions.

Racing cyclist and shop owner Charlie Cole, aged 71 years, appears on BBC 2 programme Seventy Plus.

Church Street shopkeepers plead with council not to demolish their property.

The Glider public house in Lowther Road is officially opened

Dunstable Rep's 100th production, She Stoops to Conquer.

Edward Street Congregational Church demolished.

Vintage Glider Club formed.

Lumo Cars changes its name to Tricentrol Cars (Dunstable) Ltd.

The Drifters, Hot Chocolate and Johnny Nash with Bob Marley at the California.

David Bowie in Ziggy Stardust concert at the Queensway Hall. (Amateur videos of the show have since been viewed thousands of times on social media).

Glenwood Special School is opened.

Queensbury Upper School is formed from the amalgamation of Kingsbury Mixed Grammar School and Queen Eleanor's Girls School.

Bagshawe's announce closure of factory in Church Street.

Miles Redfern rubber company taken over by BTR Ltd.

Prince William of Gloucester opens the European Gliding Championship on Dunstable Downs.

Cottages on the north side of West Street demolished. The site is now the car park adjoining St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church.

Fire damages basement at the Baptist Church, West Street.

A stained glass window showing Gervaise Markham, last Prior of Dunstable, is installed in the Priory Church.


Albert Street shops to be replaced with old people's homes.

Dunstable Rector Canon Edward Charles moves to a parish in Lidlington, replaced by the Rev David Webb.

World-famous snooker players Fred Davis and Rex Williams give demonstration at Vauxhall Club.

Traveller John Saunders' 100-year-old caravan is burned after his death.

Coulter Electronics, which moved to Dunstable in 1965, transfers to a new factory outside the town.

A nightclub (Tiffany's) is created on an empty floor above shops in the Quadrant. 

Bessie Gurney closes her haberdashery shop at 20 West Parade after 40 years. 

A fire breaks out at the rear of the new Tesco supermarket in High Street North.

Dunstable's Shirley Nicholls plays for England in hockey international against Wales.

Cemetery Lane is to be made a highway as far as the new Masonic Hall. Motorists forbidden along the rest of the lane.

Enormous increase in TV licences in Dunstable after the arrival of three TV detector vans.

Dog owners are urged to carry plastic bags to clean up their pet's mess.

Bill North, former landlord of the Bull, dies three weeks after being mugged while working as a taxi driver.

The 3rd Dunstable scouts and guides to lose their hut. It was on land, once owned by Bagshawe's, which is to be redeveloped..

Champion greyhound Santa Lucia stolen from kennels of owner Bob Large.

Well-known publican Tommy Varle retires from the Victoria, West Street. He was previously at the Rifle Volunteer.

Ashton C of E Middle School opens.

California swimming pool closes.

Tony Garton creates a non-stop (except for five-minute break every hour) organ-playing record of 75 hours.

Forester's Arms in Chapel Walk closes.

Motorist queue for petrol coupons as threat of rationing looms.

Union Cinema becomes a Bingo Hall.

Railway Hotel, bottom of Westfield Road, closes. Same day the Chiltern opens at the bottom of Chiltern Road on the old brewery site.

Watling Street Tool and Gauge Company closes.

Hang Gliding starts on Dunstable Downs.

Burgomeister of Porz, Dunstable's German twin town, unveils commemorative plaque on Porz Avenue.

Computer failure at Eastern Gas results in many Dunstable households not receiving a bill for two years.

Andy Wallis, assistant editor of the Dunstable Gazette, leaves to join the Herts Advertiser at St Albans.

Stone from Totternhoe Quarry is extracted for use in restoration at Woburn Abbey.

Landmark trees near the Queensway Hall car park are judged to be dangerous and are cut down.

Golden Egg restaurant opens in Dunstable.

Dunstable ambulance driver Geoffrey Bird wins best driver award in the National Ambulance competition, Terrance Bewley wins best ambulance attendant award.

Strike action at Vauxhall and Chrysler UK.

A 1668 half-penny trade token of Danielle Fossey, who traded in pipes and tobacco, is dug up in Burr Street by Edward Hughes.

Retirement of Anita Glen, organiser of the WRVS Meals On Wheels service in Dunstable.

The Mayor and Mayoress, Bill and Gwen Farbon, represent Dunstable at celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of Dunstable, Massachusetts.

Representatives of the Mitsubishi Corporation come to Dunstable to study equipment produced by Kay Pneumatics under the leadership of managing director George Weiss.

Vincent Prater, aged eight, and his sister Marie, aged six, ride horseback non-stop for 25 miles to raise money for Hillcrest School.

French's Avenue residents win battle to stop houses being built over a footpath leading to Sewell.

Dunstable Conservative Club undertakes a £58,000 extension, its first since the club opened nearly 100 years previously.

HM Tax Office moves from Thames House, High Street North, to Quadrant House, Church Street.

Manshead archaeologists find skeleton of an ape, perhaps kept as a pet, in a Roman well behind the Methodist Church.

Dunstable Civic Society loses fight to save dilapidated row of shops in Church Street. The area is needed for a car park.

Prince Michael of Kent becomes a full member of the Dunstable based Sporting Owners Drivers' Club.


Ashton Lower School featured on Nationwide TV in the best-decorated school in Britain competition.

New roundabout at the junction of West Street and Chiltern Road.

Audi NSU, High Street South, closes with 137 redundant.

Prime Minister Edward Heath visits Dunstable for the second time.

A fire causes more than £5,000 of damage to the main stand at Creasey Park ground.

Reginald Maudling opens new extension of Dunstable Conservative Club.

Housewives queue for bread because of a strike by major bakery workers.

Three Valleys Water (later Affinity Water) in the south and Anglia Water in the north now supply Dunstable with water.

Lark Rise Junior and Infant School opens in Cartmel Drive.

Chiltern Road School closes and staff transfer to the new Lark Rise school. Dunstable Teachers Centre transfers to Chiltern Road from Beecroft School.

Famous footballer George Best plays for Dunstable Town against Manchester United and Dublin Celtic.

Dunstable loses its status as a borough in nationwide reorganisation of local government. It becomes part of South Bedfordshire District Council, joined with Leighton Buzzard, Houghton Regis and villages.

Nikki Iles, aged 11, wins a Junior Exhibitioner's Scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. She progresses into the front rank of British jazz musicians.

Gazette misses an edition due to industrial action by National Geographical Association.

Three young men thrown out of a jeep-type vehicle when it plunges down Pascombe Pit narrowly missing many holiday makers.

A 10-ton refuse lorry runs driverless down Bibshall Crescent and crashes into a house.

Manshead Archaeological Society digging in Friory Field find four human and two horse skeletons.

War-time bomb found intact on Dunstable Downs.

First rehearsal of new Dunstable Brass Band after successful recruitment drive led to 18 volunteers.

As there were no volunteers to organise the Poppy Appeal the Studham and Whipsnade British Legion came to the town's rescue.


Cross Paperware receives warrant of Royal appointment.

Hang gliders flying again at Dunstable Downs after ban by council.

George Best makes second appearance for Dunstable against Luton - the score 1-1.

Athlete Mary Peters at the opening of the Recreation Centre in Court Drive.

Queen's Head, St. Mary's Street, demolished.

Raid at Midland Bank, West Street. £196,000 stolen.

Two people injured in ‘Statty' fair accident.

Calcutt House is demolished but remains of its medieval moat can still be seen south of Thorn.


Priory Gardens purchased.

Streetfield Middle School opens.

A new visitor's block and permanent toilets planned for the Downs.

Ed “Stewpot” Stewart opens first Town Carnival for 14 years.

New Health Centre opens, near Priory Church.

Radio One DJ David Hamilton entertains audience at Dunstable College.

Janine Wilcocks is one of 12 finalists in ‘Miss Anglia TV' competition.

New hall opened at Baptist Church, West Street, cost £38,000.

A caged lion stays in the Sugar Loaf yard overnight on its way to Longleat.

Demolition of the 300-foot chimney at cement works.

The Square Drama Circle formed at the Methodist Church.

International Vintage Gliders Rally held at Dunstable.

Taxi rank moves from High Street North to West Street.

The Old Contemptibles have their colours laid up by the Dunstable Royal British Legion.

The Royal Marines visit Northfields School.

Death of Thomas W. Bagshawe.


Victoria Club opens new extension.

Cross Paperware becomes part of the Bowater company.

European Weight-Lifting Championships at Queensway Hall is event's biggest tournament in England since 1948.

BBC TV's Songs of Praise at Dunstable.

Union leader Hugh Scanlon visits Dunstable College.

Bernie Clifton of TV's Crackerjack performs at Queensway Hall.

Woolwich Building Society opens in Dunstable.

Polar bear cub born at Whipsnade.

Aquarius nightspot in West Street closes.

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee street parties held all over the town.

16th century building at 7 West Street (Ellis barbers shop) is dismantled and taken to Chiltern Open Air Museum.

Milton Hargreaves, Dunstable magistrates clerk, awarded OBE.


Central Cafe in High Street North closes (it opened in 1929).

Tiffany's nightclub, the Quadrant, wins awards.

Actors Philip and Ruth Madoc at opening of Houghton Regis Community Centre.

Footballer Malcolm MacDonald opens Dunstable FC's new clubhouse.

Dunstable carnival is opened by Keith Chegwin, of TV's Swap Shop.

Actress Angela Piper (Jennifer Archer in the radio serial The Archers) at Priory Church concert.

Comedy actor Arthur Mullard acts as auctioneer at a Roaring Twenties charity night at the Glider pub.

TV Opportunity Knocks host Hughie Greene at Queensway Hall.

Weldflow Engineering, of High Street South, use crane to move a huge prototype metal boat out of their yard.

Archaeological excavations at Friary Field are completed.

New Sainsbury's store opens in Ashton Square, four times larger than previous Sainsbury's, in High Street North.

Old Bagshawe offices in Church Street destroyed by fire.

Dolman business closes.

No. 12 Middle Row (185 High Street South) is demolished. .


Last dance (Dunstable College Rag Ball) held at California Ballroom.

Major £90,000 expansion project at gliding club.

Ron Wyles, future Mayor of Dunstable, hits the headlines for managing to write the Lord's Prayer seven times on paper the size of a postage stamp.

Edlesborough church bells ring again after 30-year silence.

King James I silver sixpence from 1604 found at Beecroft Way.

Comedian Bob Monkhouse opens Glenwood School fete.

TV announcer Peter Haigh opens Dunstable Town Cricket Club garden fete.

Andrea Holmes wins Under-11 Girls British Trampoline Championship.

Police station opens in West Street.

Manshead Archaeological Society is filmed by the BBC for the programme Chronicle.

Northfields School Concert Band links with Alesund Music School in Norway.

Campaign to save 400-year-old building 26 Church Street (Rixson's old antique shop) succeeds when Environmental Secretary Peter Shore refuses permission to knock it down.


The Book Castle opens in Church Street with stars of TV's Grange Hill signing autographs.

California Ballroom demolished.

Fire at Cross Paperware, High Street South.

Dunstable Cricket Club opens new pavilion at Bull Pond Lane ground.

"Down Your Way", popular BBC Radio show with Bryan Johnston, features Dunstable.

Short-time working at Vauxhall.

Priory School teacher Jim Eldridge writes TV sitcom Time Of My Life.

Episode of TV sci-fi serial Blakes 7 filmed at Totternhoe Quarry.

Isla St Clair of the TV Generation Game opens Dunstable Carnival.

Actor Johnny Briggs opens Kitchen Wonderland in Albion Street.

New bus link between Dunstable and Bedford.

Imperial Metal Industries closes its factory at Isle of Wight Lane, Kensworth. Clay pigeons for gun clubs were produced there.

Shoppers alarmed by swarm of bees on window of Burton menswear in the Quadrant.

Final phase of construction of Streetfield Middle School.

Friary Field housing estate, off Bull Pond Lane, is built.

Application to turn 26 Church Street into a fast-food takeaway is refused.


Don Birdsey, former editor of Dunstable Gazette, retires after 39 years with Home Counties Newspapers. 

Sally James, one of the stars of the popular TV show Tiswas, opens Dunstable Carnival.

Local traders complain that double yellow lines outside their shops in High Street North is seriously affecting their trade.

Two horses startled by a skateboarder throw their young riders and gallop through the High Street.

Dunstable College stops taking students wanting to study printing due to the recession in the trade. 

Whipsnade Zoo celebrates its Golden Jubilee with a visit from the Duke of Edinburgh.

500 demonstrators marching from Liverpool to London bearing placards “Please Give Us Jobs” arrive in Dunstable.

Lightning strikes the corner of a house in Beech Green.

Dunstable United Service Club builds a new £45,000 extension.

Eight sailors from HMS Daedalus repaint the White Lion at Whipsnade.

Only 19 tickets were sold for the Tom O’Connor show at Queensway Hall.

British Printing Corporation Business Forms (Dunstable) Ltd closes.

South Bedfordshire branch of National Trust Members formed.

A 25-foot bonfire built on the Downs to celebrate the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.

1,000 jobs shed at Vauxhall.

William Hill wins permission to open betting shop in High Street South.

Sewell Cutting Nature Reserve opened.

ABC Travel Guides opens offices in Church Street.

8th Dunstable scout headquarters in Spoondell is destroyed by fire.

Chiltern Radio begins broadcasting from studio in old Chiltern Road school.

Dunstable Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament meets at the Winston Churchill pub.

Dunstable librarian Joan Payne retires after 41 years.

Dunstable’s mini roundabouts at the crossroads are dubbed the country’s most dangerous intersection. 

Former American Airforce man William Anderson is new manager of the Norman King fulfilling his ambition to run an English pub. 

Manshead Archaeological Society asks the council for a place to store all their finds. Offered temporary accommodation at Winfield Street.

Extension to Old Palace Lodge adds 23 more bedrooms.

Workman at Grove House discover an old stocking which probably belonged to a 19th century groom or ostler.


Princess Anne officially opens new offices of ABC Travel Guides Ltd in Church Street.

Dunstable library suspends its subscription to Gay News after complaints from the public.

200 embroidered hassocks produced for the Priory Church to mark its 850th anniversary.

The Miles Redfern rubber factory in London Road becomes BTR.

Death of actor Sam Kydd, educated at Dunstable Grammar School.

Dunstable's first bottle bank is opened.

Alan Dike is knocked unconscious while landing his hang glider at Dunstable Downs. And two gliders crash while competing in the British National 15 Metre Glider Championships. Neither pilot is hurt.

Former Mayor and charity fundraiser Mary Biswell is awarded the MBE for Services to the Community.

Vandals pour ink over a printing machine at Index Printers causing a five-hour stoppage.

Priory Church bells are silenced for only the second time in 206 years after the bell frame erected in 1776 is found to be in danger of collapsing.

The Fertiliser, a play written by Dunstable Rep member Victor White, is performed at the Little Theatre.

Famous wildlife artist David Shepherd gives a talk at the Queensway Hall.

After a long campaign by parents, staff and students Queensbury School is saved from closure.


Buckle's in Middle Row, one of  Dunstable's oldest menswear shops, closes after 60 years.

Dunstable Round Table celebrates its 30th anniversary with TV personality Lance Percival as guest of honour.

75th anniversary of Dunstable Town Bowls Club.

People's March For Jobs makes its way through Dunstable.

Two bronze sculptures unveiled on the Woodside Industrial Estate.

Eric Morecambe officially opens the Geoff Souster tailors shop in Middle Row.

Three silver maple trees planted in Priory Gardens to commemorate the friendship between the Rotary Clubs of Dunstable and Menen in Belgium.

Highfields Junior School, Evelyn Road, closes (demolished in 1986).

George Chisholm, famous trombonist, plays with the Northfields School Band.

Closure of the Evening Post, daily newspaper covering Dunstable and Luton. It began publication in 1967 introducing state-of-the-art printing methods at its base in Hemel Hempstead.

A 300-year-old cannonball, probably dating back to the Civil War when Cromwell's troops were in the area, is found in the garden of the Saracen's Head.


Christina Scott, headmistress of Queensbury School, retires after more than 40 years in teaching.

Princess Anne visits the Queensway Hall.

Roche Products leaves Watling Street for Welwyn Garden City. 

Waitrose closes its supermarket in the Quadrant.

Fifth annual Dunstable Transport Extravaganza at Mentmore Crescent venue with over 114 vehicles entering the mass rally.

Front extension added to West Street Baptist Church to accommodate the Pilgrim Christian School.

Area is terrorised by a sadistic burglar nicknamed The Fox.

High winds tear away coloured cladding from one of the ‘sails' on the Windsock pub which is later demolished.

Contractors levelling a site in High Street South discover a 75ft-deep well concealed only by rotten wood and a layer of bricks, mortar and earth.

Ruth Madoc (yellow coat Gladys in TV's Hi-De-Hi) opens a holiday exhibition at the Queensway Hall.

Bedfordshire Olympic Appeal Committee reaches its target of £20,000 to help send a British team to the Los Angeles Games.

Pearce Duff, on the Woodside Estate, is sold for £4 million to Gill and Duffus group.

Priory organ has to be rebuilt due to age.


New shopping precinct in High Street North, Dunstable, is named after Queen Eleanor and a modern statue of the queen is unveiled.

Dunstable Town Council formed.

"Darkie" - Amos Cameron - retires after selling evening newspapers in High Street North for over 40 years (he died the following year).

Priory Hospital closes.

Dunstable Corps of the Salvation Army celebrates its centenary.

Nationwide Building Society purchases Charlie Cole's cycle shop in High Street North, preserving Jacobean wall paintings and moving them downstairs.

The Sugar Loaf,  High Street North, is refurbished.

Les Matthews, founder of the Manshead Archaeological Society, is made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquarians.

Tourist Information Centre opens in Dunstable Library.

Dunstable Council purchases Grove House.

Big Daddy, famous TV wrestling star, in match at Queensway Hall.

Plans submitted to expand the Old Palace Lodge.

Dunstable Recreation Centre to have £200,000 facelift.

Four Methodist scouts achieve coveted Chief Scout's award.


General Motors shuts its Vauxhall, Bedford Trucks, operation in Dunstable.

Rear of the Post Office in High Street North demolished, leaving only the facade.

Start of South Beds Dial-a-Ride service for the disabled.

Oxfam shop opens at 40 High Street North, the old Woolley Sanders hat factory.

Octave Music opens in High Street North.

Completion of housing development in England's Lane coincides with Queen Elizabeth II's 60th birthday so it is named Elizabeth Court.

Northfield School Band plays at EXPO'86 in Canada where it is congratulated by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.


Hoppanstopper buses introduced.

Tourist Information Centre opens in Dunstable Library.

Herington's, in town for 100 years, opens new pharmacy in Ashton Square.

AWD buys the Boscombe Road truck factory from General Motors.

Excavations by Manshead Archaeological Society prove there was never an underground passage between the Church and Priory House.

St. Augustine's Church is built in Oakwood Avenue but replaced in 1992.


The words Drill Hall are uncovered over the Book Castle doorway.

Beacon on Dunstable Downs is lit to mark the 400th anniversary of the sighting of the Armada.

DHSS moves into renovated "Old Post Office".

Dunstable Arts Festival.

Modernisation of Dunstable Telephone Exchange. 


Tesco superstore opens at Skimpot.

Dunstable Town Council moves into Grove House.

South Beds District Council opens new office in High Street North on site of old railway station.

Pavilion at Skimpot opens, dedicated to Peter Newton, twice Mayor of Dunstable.

Marchioness of Tavistock opens Victim Support suite at the police station.

Death of Les Matthews, founder of the Manshead Archaeological Society.

Dr Sam Twivy retires after 38 years as a Dunstable GP.


Waterlow's factory in George Street demolished after MacLean Homes gain permission to built 118 homes on the site. Effort to preserve the factory’s famous clock-tower prove fruitless.

Dunstable Gazette celebrates paper's 125th anniversary with a special souvenir edition and its editorial staff, now based at Wentworth House in High Street North, are interviewed for BBC television.

Closure of print firm Citiforms at Brewers Hill Road.

Singer Adam Faith and his daughter Katyn present a one-year-old owl which they had reared to Whipsnade Zoo.

South Beds Council is told that the annual cost of running a museum in Dunstable would be more than £68,000. Council rejects the idea of a museum in the ambulance station next to Grove House and also sells Priory House to an insurance broker for office use.

Severe gale brings down trees throughout the area, including Hillyfields, and causes a power cut.

Death of farmer Geoffrey Tawell of Manor Farm, Sewell. He made a series of broadcasts between 1940 and 1955 for BBC’s Farming Today programme and had brought a High Court action over the alleged pollution of the stream running through his land.

Index Printers’ factory at Oldhill is closed by its new owners, American firm Ben Johnson, and 400 workers made redundant.

Death of Rolls Royce owner Peter Aiken, flamboyant catering manager at the Queensway Hall, whose banquets at the hall were locally renowned.

Musicians from the United States Air Force Concert Band perform at the Peter Newton Pavilion to help launch the Dunstable Mental Health Community Centre Appeal.

Cesar’s Palace nightclub at Skimpot, after a series of new owners, finally closes.

George Mossman, of Caddington, donates his collection of horse-drawn carriages to Luton Museum.

Old Sugar Loaf hotel put up for sale by its owners, Berni Inns.

Death of Bill Liberty, owner of a well-known garage at the Luton Road/Boscombe Road junction. He bought the business in 1936 and steadfastly refused to sell the valuable site as factories were built around it


Dunstable and District Local History Society formed.

Table tennis player Lisa Lomas (Bellinger) competes in the Barcelona Olympics (and in Atlanta in1996).

Dunstable Cricket Club celebrates 100 years.

Queensbury School Band re-formed by Mr Fred Thomas.

Annual music exchange is set up between Queensbury School and Nicolaus Cusanus Big Band in Germany.

Birth of Robert Ian Keogh, later an England cricketer.

Index Printers, London Road, bought by the Ben Johnson company, whereupon the factory is closed and work transferred to York.


AWD (Bedford) Trucks at Boscombe Road goes into receivership.

A series of paintings by Thomas Fisher is purchased by the Dunstable Council following a public subscription organised by the Dunstable and District Local History Society.

Comedian Spike Breakwell works on the London alternative club circuit and  on BBC2 television. (In 2007 he appears in a movie, Dante's Criterion.


Receivers order demolition of older parts of the AWD (Vauxhall) factory in Boscombe Road.

End of truck assembly work on the Renault (Commer) site in Boscombe Road.

Friars Wash water pumping station, Flamstead, is switched off.

Sainsbury's move from Ashton Square to a new store at Boscombe Road, built  on part of the former Vauxhall (AWD) trucks factory. 


New Salvation Army Centre built in Bull Pond Lane.

Dunstable Cricket Club moves from Bull Pond Lane to Totternhoe.

Les Matthews Archaeology Centre opens at 5 Winfield Street.

Wilkinson's open in Ashton Square, occupying the building vacated by Sainsbury's 14 months' earlier. Barbara Wilkinson, daughter of the firm's founder, performs the opening ceremony.


Medieval rabbit warren on Dunstable Downs receives English Heritage protection.

Dunstable and District Disabled Sports organisation is formed.

South Beds District Council installs CCTV cameras.

Whitbread purchase Costa Coffee business and develop the largest coffee house chain in the UK, headquarters at Porz Avenue.

Waterlow and Sons printing works in George Street demolished.

Old ambulance station, High Street North, converted into The Place youth centre (refurbished and renamed Grove Corner 2010).


Cross Paperware closes.

Deep storm water storage tank built in Church Street near Dukeminster Estate to solve flooding problem.

Queensbury High School Concert Band visits Austria.


Pop group Steps, including local girl Faye Tozer, is formed.

More buildings demolished on old Vauxhall site in Boscombe Road to provide site for new retail park north of Sainsbury's.


Icknield Lower School, formerly called Burr School, celebrates 90th anniversary.

Cross Paperware factory demolished.

Fiftieth anniversary of Dunstablians Rugby Club.

Two statues of schoolboys over Chew's House door are stolen.

Gas showrooms, High Street North, converted into Dunstable Community Church.

Charity firework display at Mentmore Crescent recreation ground.

MBEs awarded to Dunstable fireman Michael Ebborn, for work for the brigade's National Benevolent Fund, and Roy Gerrard, who set up Enterprises for the Blind.

Jazz trumpeter Keith Baldwin replaces the late George Chisholm, famous trombonist, as President of Northfields School Band.

A 63p commemorative postage stamp features a drawing of fungi by Dunstable's Worthington G. Smith.

Dr Sam Twivy, Dunstable GP, appears on TV Countdown programme.

Manshead Archaeological Society uncovers Roman and Medieval remains between Staines Square and The Cedars.

Asda supermarket outbids Morrisons to take over Queensway Hall site.

The Cottage Garden Flower Shop, Chiltern Road, has been trading for 100 years.

Scrap-metal merchant F W Carter closes after 60 years.

After a £500,000 refurbishment the Ritzy Nightclub in the Quadrant reopens under a new name, Ikon.

The Mayor plants a beech tree in Grove House gardens in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales.

An elaborate memorial to Dunstable victims of the Boer War is purchased by the town and hangs in Grove House.

BBC Three Counties radio presenter Stephen Rhodes received a Silver Sony 1998 award for best daytime/news talk programme.

Merger between Home Counties Newspapers (owners of the Dunstable Gazette) and the Eastern Counties Newspaper Group.

Mary Biswell of Dunstable is presented with the insignia of the Order of Saint John for her charity work.

Dunstable and District Association of Senior Citizens formed.

Shop keepers and publicans worried about vandalism during World Football Cup. Shops not allowed to install shutters on listed buildings. (Outriggers, a clothes shop in High Street South, is later fined £1,000 for failing to remove security shutters).

The Bishop of Bedford dedicates new Chapel of Rest at S A Bates Funeral Directors, West Street.

Bad weather causes cancellation of vintage gliders display at Dunstable Downs and the kite festival a week later. But a glider pilot is killed in a crash and a couple of hours later a paraglider crashes but with minor injuries.

Temporary closure of Wilkinson's in Ashton Square for major refurbishment.

Meetings and venue have been inspected for a future Heritage Centre and items in the care of Luton Museum will be returned.

‘It's a Knockout' competition, based on TV programme, held at Woodside Estate to raise funds for Dunstable's Disability Resource Centre. About 120 companies take part.

Priory House, High Street South, for sale at £400,000.

Four designs submitted for a Market Clock to be erected on The Square are all rejected by the judges as dull and uninspiring.

Controversial bus lane in High Street North is said to be a major success. Highway Agency will retain it although the trial period does not end until next year.

Richard Harris, headmaster of Brewers Hill Middle School, and his two sons Timothy (13) and Luke (6) are killed in a boating accident on Lake Garda.


White Lion Retail Park opens on part of old Vauxhall site.

Public fund-raising effort to provide Market Cross and Clock on the Square. It's built in time for Millennium celebrations.

University of the Third Age formed in Dunstable.

Kingsbury School swimming pool, built by parents and staff, is filled in as it had started to leak. Site is converted into an environmental area.

Plume of Feathers building in West Street becomes a church community centre.

Closure of Dunstable Magistrates Court in Court Drive. Cases transfer to Luton.

Union Cinema is given Grade II listing.

Bedfordshire Magazine closes after 52 years.

Eastenders actress Pat St Clement presents a 13-part series for Anglia TV from Whipsnade Zoo.

Anglian water invests £6 million in a micro water tunnel to reduce flooding in town centre.

Work starts on a new £1 million 6th form centre and library at Queensbury School.

West Street cemetery expands into Catchacres.

Dave Prowse, Darth Vader of Star Wars, signs autographs at the Big Picture shop in High Street North to raise funds for his charity Dave Prowse Against Arthritis. (Five months later the shop closed down).

Methodist Church, Waterlow Road, sold by auction for £175,000.

Permanent outdoor band site constructed in Grove House gardens.

Glider pilot Graeme Cooper and instructor Peter Goldstraw parachute 4,000 feet to safety after their glider is hit by lightning. Mr Goldstraw breaks his leg on landing.

37 pupils from Streetfield Middle School take part in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

Dunstable soldier part of team who walked across a section of Sahara in 6 days, 140 miles, temperatures up to 58 degrees, carrying supplies of 28 lbs. 600 entrants.

Communal garden opens at Ladies Lodge, Church Street.

Former gas showrooms in High Street North converted for use by Dunstable Community Church.

Toy library opened at Southwood Road Community Centre by one of the TV Teletubbies.

Dunstable Townswomen's Guild celebrates its fortieth anniversary.

Fire crews deal with a solvent spillage at Christian Salvesen, Boscombe Road.

Death of Gwen Elwell who ran Noah's Ark Cafe, The Square. She founded the Dunstable Garden Club.

Joanne Fairfield, 11, from Priory Middle School becomes the first female to represent Dunstable Town Cricket team in 107 years.

Battle of the Bands at Queensway Hall won by Luton-based Loose Threads.

Roof at Glenwood School catches fire causing major damage.

In the small hours of the morning police catch two horses galloping down the A5 to the town centre. It is thought they had chewed their way through a fence.

Tommy Walsh, from the BBC TV show Ground Force, opens new-look Wickes store in Luton Road.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) opens in the White Lion Retail Park.

SQP (UK) Ltd a French-owned firm distributing computer components opens an office in Apex Central, Boscombe Road.

Death of Bev Stott, owner of local family furniture shop started by his grandfather Albert Stott in 1927 originally selling pianos.

Northfield School Swing Band tours Barcelona and surrounding area.

Dunstable teacher Tracey Broyd of Queensbury joins Earthwatch Fellowship Programme in Hungary to research migrating birds.

Beds County Council and the National Trust form partnership to manage Dunstable Downs and other sites.

Quadrant Shopping Centre bought by Charter House Shop Centre from Phillips & Drew Fund Membership (PDFM).

Streets Ahead, book by town clerk Richard Walden, is published.

Gemma Gray, Manshead School pupil, wins Young Letter Writer in Britain prize in a Royal Mail competition.

Print firm De La Rue, French's Avenue, sells £200 million card business to French company Francois-Charles Oberthur Fidugiaine.

The final (14th) Tattoo Expo to be held in Dunstable is attended by around 5,000 people.

600 people sign a petition for a chemist shop to be opened in Langdale shopping parade. Beds Health Authority had refused to grant a licence.

A flood water tank is sunk in Grove House Gardens.

Three weeks after an operation for two artificial hip joints, veteran cyclist Charlie Cole, 74, is back in the saddle.

Pets At Home opens in the White Lion Retail Park.

High Street North to have four raised ‘planters' as part of A5 improvements.

Dunstable Gazette moves into new offices at Media House, Luton.

Market traders petition to stay at temporary site in Ashton Square car park instead of The Square. They had moved there while the Market Cross was being built.

Dunstable Priory Society of Bell Ringers ring a peal of bells to herald the Millennium.

Major electrical power cut in town centre and south area when an underground cable is accidentally severed.

Vinnie Jones, footballer turned movie star, opens new betting shop in Katherine Drive.

Shadow Transport Secretary John Redwood MP visits Dunstable to view the town's traffic problems.

After 18 years the owner of The Guard Room, West Street, retires. The business is bought by Playing Games to continue dealing in games and models.

More than 400 illegal Kosovo immigrants are processed at the West Street police station between April and November.

A cutting from a 2,000-year-old yew tree is planted in Priory gardens to mark the millennium.

Beds County Council and the National Trust form partnership to jointly manage Dunstable Downs and other sites.

Cash point facility opened at Alldays store, Lowther Road

Comedian Frank Carson opens Holiday Hypermarket in White Lion Retail Park.

Priory House is purchased by Caroline Wilson of Luton who hopes to turn it into a restaurant.

Local estate agent Steve Cook dies. He opened his business in Church Street in 1974.

The Watkins family of Patterdale Close build a giant walkthrough snowman in aid of charity.

Car enthusiast Andy Wilson purchases a 1938 Plymouth two-door coupe while on holiday in Arizona.

Claire Mills, aged 17, of Queensbury School has a place in South East England rugby team.

21st Century (Top)


Northfield School Band filmed by ITV during tour of Italy as part of a ‘Stars in their Lives' documentary.

Queensbury School Band plays in Holland.

Queensway Hall is demolished.

Post Office in High Street North closes.

Five public telephone boxes in Dunstable are removed. 

15 members of Dunstable Rotary Club complete 170-mile charity cycle ride to twinned Rotary Club in Menen, Belgium.

Fire at newly refurbished Kitt's Inn in High Street North.

Andrew Selous, prospective Conservative candidate for SW Beds, sleeps rough to raise £1,200 for homeless charity.

Deputy head teacher Keith Scotchford of Streetfield Middle School is made head teacher at Woodside Middle School, Bedford.

Employee of Plumb Centre in Church Street collapses and dies after crossing the finishing line in the London Marathon,

Grove House Gardens to have new covered performance area.

Dunstable and District Disabled Sports, run by volunteers led by Reg and Rita Hedgecock, wins regional award from Sports England. 

De La Rue Security Print in Dunstable receives a Queen's Award for Enterprise.

A 1935 phone box in Church Street is pictured by the Royal Photographic Society as part of a record of listed buildings.

Royal Anglian Regiment's Freedom of Dunstable parade is cancelled as 200 soldiers called to serve in Sierra Leone.

Death of Brian Uridge, of Toddington, former editor-in-chief of newspaper group which included Dunstable Gazette.

Reginald and Rosamond Hayward both awarded the MBE for services to the Dunstable Handicapped Persons Typing Club, which they founded 33 years ago. Elsie Brearley awarded MBE for services to the Dunstable Citizen's Advice Bureau, and Ron Devlin an MBE as director of the London-based Financial Service Authority.

Announcement that Vauxhall car plant in Luton is to close in 2007.

Dunstable WI ceases to function 17 years short of its centenary.

Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour bus to stop at the Square to raise money for Linda McCartney's cancer care charity.

Lombardo's at 17 West Street receives TIDY award for its improved shop front.

Two new statues of schoolboys are placed over the entrance to Chew's schoolhouse in High Street South. They are replicas of the originals, stolen in 1998.

SCA Hygiene Products, Southwood Road, leaves the town.

Arif Huseyin, chef at the Old Palace Lodge hotel for 40 years, retires.

Hush, a band formed by four ex-Queensbury pupils, is booked as a support act for chart band Toploader.

Actress Lucy Trodd, ex-Queensbury School, makes her TV debut in Attachments.

Marc and Rachael Comb, local Air Training Corps cadets, win the male and female national sports cadet of the year awards.

Dragon City Chinese restaurant opens in West Street.

Ballet star Wayne Sleep holds a dance workshop at Queensbury School.

Conservative Shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe visits Dunstable Police Station.

Geoff Cole, of Beards & Barnets, High Street South, purchases the hairdryer used by Harrison Ford in the film What Lies Beneath,

The Rector, the Rev Graham Newton, rededicates the town's refurbished war memorial.

Games postponed at Creasey Park after bad weather blows down one of the floodlights.

Explosion at Attitude Cycles, Queensway, caused by solvent fumes igniting.

New flood defences at Church Street and Grove House Gardens.

Arsonist causes major fire at a pallet store in Tavistock Street.

A "1533" Dunstable Gazette is published as part of the town's Tudor Festival.

Death of solicitor Victor White, a notable member of Dunstable Rep.


Asda opens in Vernon Place on old Queensway Hall site.

Seventy ewes and rams reintroduced to roam Dunstable Downs.

Local farms and Whipsnade Zoo closed because of foot and mouth outbreak.

Death of Dr John Clark, of West Street Surgery, well-known local GP.

Ardley Hill and Lancot School organise “walking bus” to cut down on car park problems.

Two pedigree retrievers resuscitated by firemen using oxygen after being rescued from smoke-filled house.

Saracen's Head, High Street South, severely affected by flooding.

Ram raiders target the Katherine Drive shopping area for the third time in a month.

Philip Banfield, former headmaster of Dunstable Grammar School and first headmaster of Manshead Upper School, dies aged 82.

Planning permission granted for school buildings in West Parade to be the new home of Ashton St Peter's Lower School.

Robbers, one wielding a sword, raid the Albion Service Station in High Street North.

Hazelwood R&B Foods Ltd, a frozen food firm, leaves Woodside Industrial Estate.

Doris Papps, long-serving member of the Salvation Army, celebrates her 100th birthday.

An application to convert the former cinema in High Street North into a pub is turned down.

Nicola Ponsford awarded the MBE for services to women's rugby. She played for England 49 times.

Time capsule buried at the Traveller's Rest, Tring Road, after a £1 million restoration project.

Death of charity worker Alan Pavey, founder 25 years ago of Dunstable Lions Club.

Disused railway stocks to be moved from a Dunstable siding after being damaged by vandals.

Italian bishop of Fano, Monsignor Vittorio Tomassetti, is believed to be the first Roman Catholic bishop to set foot inside the Priory Church since the Reformation.

A group of around 30 young people break into Watling School in Bull Pond Lane and damage the school's small swimming pool.

Graham Snell, recently retired sub-editor of the Dunstable Gazette, falls 500 feet to his death during a walking holiday in the Scottish highlands.

Len Green, a member of the Guild of Mace Bearers, to continue as official mace bearer at Dunstable although he is retiring as chairman's officer at South Beds District Council.

Death of Peter Gossling, founder of Syntilla Manufacturing Ltd. The company began at the Old Brewer Yard, High Street North, before moving to Luton Road.

The Methodist Church at The Square raises £13,000 for children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster,

Death of Bob Morgan, founder of a number of local facilities for the disabled including South Beds Dial-a-Ride.

Jon Gaunt, controversial presenter at BBC Three Counties Radio, moves to BBC London Live.

Opening of Jumpin Jaks nightclub with appearances by Edwin Starr and Jason Donovan.

Retirement of United Services Club bar workers Connie Hayes and Lou Dolman, both 83.

Katrina Wootton, 15, wins gold medal at the European Youth Olympics in Spain.

Ideal weather conditions prompt spectacular display at the annual Dunstable Kite Festival on Dunstable Downs.


Sculpture by Adrian Meakes, of Manchester, of a Roman amphora (an ancient jug) is unveiled outside the library in Vernon Place.

Former England footballer Jeff Astle dies suddenly aged 59. He played for Dunstable Town 1974/75.

Closure of the Boxclever store in the Quadrant. It had been formed after the merger of the Granada and Radio Rentals businesses. Two other long-established town centre shops also close: the Bread Bin at the West Street crossroads and the men’s fashion shop Outriggers.

The former Union Cinema in High Street North becomes a nightspot called Cubes. 

The Old Sugar Loaf in High Street North is renovated, including a full interior refit.  The Saracens Head in High Street South is also refurbished.

Beecroft Lower School in Westfield Road celebrates its 50th anniversary by opening a Time Capsule placed there by former headmaster John Lunt in 1977.

Volunteers from the Women's Royal Voluntary Service no longer organise Meals on Wheels as people switch to frozen meals and a commercial firm, Apertito, undertakes production and delivery.

The 8th Dunstable Beer Festival sets new records in attendance and liquid consumption.  About 500 people attended at the Young Person’s Centre, Manchester Place.

Manshead Archaeological Society finds traces of an Iron Age Roundhouse in an area in Grove House gardens. 

Former Mayor and Mayoress, Nobby and Audrey Clark, celebrate 65 years of marriage.

The former Bennett’s Hat Factory behind the Town Hall Chambers, High Street North, is badly damaged in a fire.

Nature reserve created in old Kensworth quarry by Dunstable Downs.

Former England Test player Derek Underwood officially opens Queensbury School’s new all-weather cricket pitch.

Developers are given provisional permission to convert Priory House into a new Bar Soviet vodka bar.

Dunstable Town Council purchases a painting by Thomas Fisher inscribed View from the Chiltern Hills between Luton and Dunstable Bedfordshire.

BMX bike track at Peppercorn Park, off French’s Avenue, opens with 160 riders showing off their skills.

Royal Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The unsuccessful “Green Wave” traffic scheme comes into operation.

BRT factory (formerly the Empire Rubber Company) closes.

Comedian Bill Oddie, wildlife presenter, opens the final link of the Icknield Way trail.

Firefighters, police, paramedics and a helicopter called to help an injured walker on Pascombe Pit.

Singer Faye Tozer marries Danish rock drummer Jesper Irn at the Priory Church.

REG Transfers of High Street South, which sells car registration plates, pays £132,500 for MG 1, one of the most sought-after number plates in the country.

Councillors decide to twin Dunstable with the southern French town of Bourgoin-Jallieu. The relationship with the town’s previous French twin, Brive-la-Gaillarde, had fallen dormant.

The former Halifax building society offices in High Street North are transformed into a pub called the White Horse.

Andrew Selous, South West Beds MP, presents a petition signed by 25,082 people to the House of Commons urging a Dunstable by-pass.

WH Smith takes over the empty Martin’s newsagent store in the Quadrant. 

The Mulberry Bush public house. High Street North, reopens after a two-month, £150,000 refurbishment. The Old Sugar Loaf also reopens after a £750,000 refurbishment and the Highwayman hotel in London Road undergoes a £300,000 refurbishment.

Dunstable Folk and Dance Festival, now in its third year, has become one of the town's biggest events.

Sticky tape maker Sellotape, at Dunstable’s Woodside Park, is sold to the German conglomerate Henkel Group.

A special meeting held at Ardley Hill Lower School demands action against gangs of youths causing trouble in the area.

Four runaway horses caused major traffic tailbacks on the A505 to Dunstable.

A request is made for volunteers, interested in local history, to become town guides.

Tremors from an earthquake in the Midlands are felt in Dunstable.

The A5 through Dunstable is tenth on a list of worst traffic hotspots in the UK.  

Gemma Creasey, 15, wins a part in the BBC television series Jonathan Creek.

JJB Sports opens a store on the White Lion Retail Park

The Vanity Box in Church Street closes after 27 years.  Pauline Stanborough originally started the business in West Street.

Disguised mobile phone masts are erected in street lamps across Dunstable and Houghton Regis by the phone company Orange.

A carved wooden panel, believed to have been part of the chapel at the Priory monastery, is sold at auction.

Bollards are placed on the pavement outside the One Stop Convenience Store in Langdale Road after a ram raid.


Experimental double-roundabout system at the crossroads is abandoned and replaced by traffic lights.

Death of Dunstable solicitor Ted Anketell-Jones, whose most high-profile case was the defence in 1984 of a notorious burglar nicknamed The Fox.

Totternhoe Quarry bought by the Wildlife Trust.

Closure of the AC-Delco factory, then trading as Trico Products. The water tower there is demolished by workers using explosives.

Death of Cecily Walsh, aged 99, former welfare office at Bagshawe and Co. She won the County Ladies Tennis Singles championship in 1931 and 1933.

Woman's body found at the Black Cat, Church Street, starting murder hunt.

Be Vocal, Shop Local campaign in Dunstable.

No military band at town's St George's Day event because of Gulf War. Hundreds of schoolchildren skip lessons to stage an anti-war demonstration organised on the Internet.

Annuszka Nowak, former student at Manshead Upper School, wins modelling contest at Dunstable's Ikon nightclub (Jumping Jaks) and takes part in Channel 4's Big Brother.

Halfords Mini Day at the White Lion Retail Park attracts 200 Mini cars.

Amusement arcade opens in former Curry's store at 18 High Street North.

Dunstable Town Guides begin their series of tours and talks.

After 22 years at the West Street Baptist Church, the Pilgrim Christian School leaves to combine with the Kings School at Harpenden.

A rare red-rumped swallow is spotted at the private Dunstable Wetland Reserve near Dunstable Sewage Works.

Death of Robin Russell, 14th Duke of Bedford, who had become well-known through a BBC programme, Country House.

The Book Castle and W H Smith in Dunstable open at midnight to enable fans to buy the 5th Harry Potter novel by J.K. Rowling as early as possible on publication day.

Death aged 71 of the chairman of Home Counties Newspapers, William Gibbs, whose family company had owned the Dunstable Gazette from the early 1930s until 1998.


Series of exhibitions, interviews and re-enactments as part of a project to gather local memories of the Second World War. Renowned author Marguerite Patten gives a well-attended talk in the Priory Church about war-time food.


Work starts on the £2.5 million Chilterns Gateway project on Dunstable Downs.

Sally the Dunstable Witch (1875 poem) reprinted by Town Council.

Priory House Heritage Centre opened.

Work begins on building the Grove Theatre.

Demolition of water tower on former Bedford truck factory site in Boscombe Road.

English Heritage decides not to list the Saracen's Head as (created out of three cottages) it had been altered and the interior contained nothing of national significance.

Death of Mary Biswell MBE, former Mayor of Dunstable, famous for fund-raising over many years for numerous charities.

Mannuccis, an antiques and vintage goods business founded by Marie and Amos Mannucci in Wood Street, Dunstable, in the 1960s, moves to 1 Station Road, Dunstable, into premises once the site of a Lloyds Bank sub-branch.


Death of John Lunn, former headmaster of Beecroft School and a well-respected local historian.

Dunstable and District at War, a book of local memories of the Second World War, is published.

Whitbread plc and its associate companies move headquarters from Luton to Whitbread Court, Porz Avenue.


The Chilterns Gateway Centre opens on Dunstable Downs.

Ashton St Peter's Lower School moves from Church Street to Leighton Court. 

Aldi store opens in Church Street on site of old school.

Grove Theatre opens off Court Drive with actor Brian Blessed presiding over the opening gala.

June Byrne and a team of volunteers commence recording all the monumental inscriptions in the West Street Cemetery – a project which takes five years (a copy is kept in the history society's research room).

Ecomold Ltd (previously Thermo Plastics Ltd then Linpac) in Luton Road goes into administration (the site is closed the following year).

Superdrug opens distribution centre on the southern section of the site once covered by Vauxhall's Bedford truck factory alongside Boscombe Road.

Carer murdered and colleague injured by a resident at Abacus House, Princes Street.

Dunstable Croquet Club formed with matches played regularly at Priory Gardens.


Dunstable Museum Trust closes and donates its funds to the local history society.

Bernard Matthews sandwich factory, Woodside estate, is sold. It opened in 2003.

Closure of Moore's department store in High Street North following the death of its owner Fred Moore, aged 94, and the serious illness of his daughter, Pauline Keen, who had been managing the business.

Metropolitan police inspector, of Lancot Drive, on bail after death of his wife, kills his mother-in-law, then himself.

Leisure Centre's main hall is named in honour of Marie Johnson, founder of Dunstable and District Disabled Sports.

Captain John Gray, ex-Grammar School boy, dies aged 76. His career spanned the SAS, Special Branch, Intelligence Corps and Royal Family Advisor.

Laura Ashley store opens at White Lion retail park.

Bull public house, High Street North, closes.


Woolworth's store in High Street South closes.

Princess Royal opens new fire station in Brewers Hill Road, near previous station.

South Beds Council and Mid Beds Council merge to form Central Beds Council.

John Craven visits Dunstable Downs for BBC1 Countryfile programme.

Retail expert Mary Portas paints poor picture on the town in TV broadcast.

“Don't Let Dunstable Die” website is set up by two ladies.

Waterlow and Sons Ltd wound up.

Death from Swine Flu of Dr Michael Day, a larger-than-life personality at Priory Gardens surgery.

Explosives used to demolish old Commer factory’s water tower in Boscombe Road.

Cynthia Gresham, of Dunstable, is appointed High Sheriff of Bedfordshire.

Death of Jimmie Clark, one of the world-famous tap-dancing Clark Brothers who had settled in Dunstable/

Northfields Technology College, Houghton Road, becomes All Saints Academy.


Dunstable branch of the British Legion disbanded.

Disused Renault Trucks factory demolished in Boscombe Road.

Railway bridge in Church Street replaced as part of the Dunstable-Luton busway project.

Ex-Dunstable Grammar School pupil Roger Parrott portrays Neville Chamberlain in award-winning film The King's Speech.

Cookies & Cream cocktail bar and club opens in Grove complex.

First houses built on old AC-Delco site.

Death of well-known Dunstable boxer Cliff Field.

Dunstable College of Further Education changes name to Central Bedfordshire College.


OAG (ex Index Printers) moves from Church Street, Dunstable, to Luton.

Norman King pub in Church Street destroyed by arsonist.

Book Castle book shop in Church Street closes.

Regiment Fitness organise first Warrior Adrenaline Race (WAR)  on Dunstable Downs.

Two-year Medieval Project is started for the 800th anniversary of Dunstable's Priory.

Ludun's factory in Liscombe Road for the severely disabled is closed after a cut in funding by Central Beds Council.

Central Beds Council submits a proposal to merge Weatherfield School, Glenwood School and Hillcrest School. Weatherfield, in Brewers Hill Road, becomes an academy and the others merge to form The Chiltern School, Beech Road, in 2012.

Bull public house, High Street North, converted into Vale Court apartments.


Preen Community Company moves from West Street to ex ERG site in Luton Road. 

Thousands watch as Olympic flame procession passes through Dunstable.

Opening of BMX track at Creasey Park.

De La Rue, security printer, closes its Dunstable factory at French's Avenue and moves work to Gateshead.

Historian Vivienne Evans awarded the MBE.

Friends of Priory House and Gardens formed.

Training Ship Lionel Preston (the Dunstable Sea Cadets HQ in the old windmill, West Street) is awarded a Burgee - the highest accolade given to sea cadets units.

Morrison's supermarket opens in Houghton Regis.

University Technical College in Houghton Regis opens on the newly renovated Kingsland site.

First two-day kite festival on Dunstable Downs.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel opens in London Road.


Eight schools shut by teachers' strike.

Bedfordshire fire fighters go on strike.

Creasey Park Community Football Centre achieves Quest UK Quality Scheme accreditation at the first attempt.

Medieval Dunstable book published and physic garden planted in Priory Gardens as part of numerous events to mark the 800 th anniversary of the dedication of the Augustinian Priory.

Friends of Priory House awarded Lottery Fund grant to preserve Jacobean wall paintings.

Closure of the Four Kings bar, High Street South (previously the Blue Rock Cafe and best-known as the Grey House). The building had been a hat factory and, in 1952, a hotel called Spencer's.

The Mulberry Bush in High Street North reverts to its old name of the Bird in Hand.

Controversy over shared-space traffic scheme in Court Drive.

Opening of Dunstable to Luton guided busway (formerly called Translink).

Seven historic Aylesbury prune trees in Church Green, Totternhoe, felled in error.

Speed limit of 20 mph introduced on many Dunstable roads.

Dunstable awarded Anglia in Bloom gold medal.

Elliott Court apartments built on the Priory restaurant site (formerly Bennett's Brewery) High Street North.

The Incuba, a support and learning centre for new businesses, opens at the High Street North/Brewers Hill Road junction.

Dr Mary Hawking retires after 34 years as a GP at Kingsbury Court Surgery, Church Street. She is the sister of Professor Stephen Hawking.


Dunstable Town Council receives £9,900 Heritage Lottery Funding for Great War history project.

An interpretation of the original 1220 bylaws of the town, The Custumal, is displayed in Ashton Square.

Market Cross restaurant opens in Luton Road.

Weatherfield Academy, on site of old Meteorological Office, starts own weather station to commemorate World War II D Day.

Death of Keith Costin, whose family started well-known local coach firm.

Work starts on £125.3 million facelift for Central Bedfordshire College, formerly Dunstable College of Further Education.

German girl visits old camp buildings at the gliding club, where her grandfather was a prisoner-of-war.

HQ Sports Bar opens next to the Grove Theatre - largest sports bar outside of London.

Multi-million-pound sale of the Quadrant shopping centre.

Keeper at Whipsnade Zoo seriously injured by rhino.

Aryzta bakery opens at Verey Road, Woodside estate, producing 67,200 buns an hour for McDonald's.


Construction students complete work on converting derelict Grange Hotel, Great Northern Road, into flats. Scheme backed by celebrity TV builder Tommy Walsh.

Opening of £250,000 Skateboard Park behind bowling centre.

£160 million project started on link road between A5 and M1.

Clowns Fancy Dress shop, High Street North, closes after 35 years.

Billy Hill, Master of Horse at the 1963 Dunstable Pageant, dies aged 90.

Illegal immigrants discovered in van in Church Street and later more discovered at Toddington Service Station.

Central Beds Council employs two dog wardens.

Scenes for the children's story Fungus the Bogeyman filmed on Dunstable Downs and Sewell Cutting.

Sainsbury's Dunstable and customers donate 5,645kg of food to the food bank, enough to provide 13,440 meals for local people in need.

The Jacobean wall paintings preserved in Priory House inspire “1600s and All That history day.

Dunstable Air Cadets retire their 40-year-old banner.

World War Two bomb discovered in Wembley is detonated in Kensworth Quarry.

Work on an extension to Dunstable Baptist Church on St. Mary's Gate reveals the remains of a child dating back at least 500 years.

Sir Neville Bowman-Shaw dies aged 84. He owned Toddington Manor and was a leading figure in the fork-lift truck industry.

Chew's House celebrates 300 years. It was originally built as a boys' school.

Disability Resource Centre, Poynters Road, celebrates 21 years with a visit from the Duchess of Gloucester.

Dunelm opens large expansion to its store in Luton Road.

Amazon opens huge new distribution centre on old Commer site in Boscombe Road, creating 500 jobs.

Work starts on restoration of the Priory Gate, remnant of entrance to old monastery.

Dukeminster Care Home, Church Street, opens.

BBC Three Counties Radio moves its studio to Dunstable Grove area from Luton.


Rosewood Court care home in London Road opens on part of old rubber factory site.

Creasey Park Community Football Centre is second out of 635 in a national quality assessment scheme.

The Mayfield Centre closes after 13 years.

Vandals damage young trees at new Community Orchard on Blow's Downs Nature Reserve.

Salvation Army member Olive Ashley dies aged 109 – 15th oldest person in the UK.

Residents move into Priory View, Church Street, a £17.9m development for the over 55s.

BBC Celebrity Antiques Road Trip films at Mannucci's, Station Road, with presenter David Harper and historian Dr Suzanne Lipscomb.

Flash floods damage many properties in the town. Ardley Hill Academy is closed for many weeks and the children transfer to Brewers Hill School for their lessons.

More than 100 lorries pass through the town in a noisy Help for Heroes convoy.

Paul Bowen-Jones receives the British Empire Medal for setting up and running Kids in Action, a charity based at the Apex Business Centre, Boscombe Road.

Town's 17th century fire engine is renovated to become part of Great Fire of London display at Museum of London.

Work continues on clearance of Thermo Plastics site in Luton Road, ready for Lidl superstore.

White Horse pub near Anchor archway, High Street North, reopens as The Bank.

American confectionary wholesaler Innovative Bites moved into 103,000 sq. ft. warehouse on Chiltern Park industrial estate.

Fire-damaged Norman King pub is demolished.

Closure of Brewers Hill Middle School, Streetfield Middle School and Ashton Middle School (the old Grammar School) as part of local education reorganisation.


Squatters evicted from the empty Star and Garter public house, High Street South.

Screwfix opens a store at Eastern Avenue, Dunstable.

Death of musician Tony Ward, author of ‘Strike up the Band' and founder of the Wayfarers Jazz Band in the 1950s.

Closure of First and Last pub, Church Street.

Works starts on construction of Houghton Hall Park Visitors' Centre.

Dunstable Council starts work on creating a splash park at Bennett's Rec.

Death of Steve Clarke who, with his brother Jimmy (died 2009) were famous as the Clark Brothers tap-dancing act. They retired to Dunstable and Steve is buried with his brother in the local cemetery.

Solar panels installed on the south side of Priory Church.

An exhibition at Priory House on the history and culture of tea is officially opened by the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka, Ms Amari Wijewardene.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh officially open Priory View in Church Street. It was the Queen's first visit to Dunstable. (The Duke leaves the building holding an edition of this Dunstable Timeline book!). Earlier the Royal couple had opened a £2million centre for elephant care at Whipsnade Zoo.

Opening of link road extending the Leighton Buzzard bypass from the A5 north of Chalk Hill, Dunstable, to new M1 junction 11a. Also open: a new road from Poynters Road, Dunstable, linking the Woodside industrial estate with the M1.

Greyhound public house in High Street South changes its name to K's Bar and Restaurant.

Sally, the Dunstable Witch, poem reprinted.

Teamsport opens a multi-level indoor Go Karting circuit at Verey Road, Woodside estate.

Leisure Centre, Court Drive, closes for substantial rebuilding and transfer of library.

Death of Pastor Doug Richards, who initiated the transformation of the former cinema in High Street North into Dunstable Community Church and conference centre.

Priory 2020 Vision launched, aiming to raise £600,000 for improving the floor and heating system in the Priory Church.

Men In Sheds group starts at Meadway allotments.

Death of historian Barry Horne.

Paraglider severely injured in fall at Dunstable Downs. Winched from hill by helicopter.

Unity nightclub opens at the Quadrant.

Splash Play Park and Splashside Cafe opens on Bennett's Rec.

Evelyn Harrison, of Totternhoe, publishes her fourth mystery novel, Without You.

Death of Dunstable historian Vivienne Evans, author of numerous books about the town.

Dunstable Courthouse in Kingsway, built in 1964, is demolished. It served as a Magistrates' Court until 2000 when hearings were moved to Luton, and as a Coroner's Court until 2012 when inquests were moved to Ampthill.

Connells estate agents opens a group office at Houghton Place for 200 staff.


New gates at the entrance of Priory Gardens formally opened by Town Mayor Gloria Martin.

Household Waste Recycling Centre opens at Thorn Turn to replace old Tidy Tip in French's Avenue, Dunstable.

Cancer Research UK opens a large charity shop in the White Lion Retail Park.

Local girl Faye Tozer (ex member of Steps) is a finalist in the popular BBC Strictly Come Dancing TV programme.

The Little Theatre, High Street South, celebrates its golden anniversary.

War Memorial in Priory Gardens is refurbished and a new Roll of Honour completed.

Caddington Grove Care Home opens in London Road, Dunstable.

Major gas works in many Dunstable roads.

Work starts on town centre improvements, including road-narrowing gateway features on the main roads.

Death of Reg Fossey, twice Mayor of Dunstable.

The Bird in Hand public house in High Street North closes.

The HQ Sports Bar in Grove Park closes.

A translation by David Preest of the Dunstable Annals, the diary of events written in medieval Latin by the canons at Dunstable Priory, is published.

Johnston Press, owners of the Dunstable Gazette and numerous other local papers, go into administration. The papers continue under new owners JPI Media.

The boys of Dunstable Priory Choir sing for four days in St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

Dunstable Community Radio has nearly £2,000 worth of equipment stolen from its base at the Pioneer Youth and Community Centre, Manchester Place.

Dunstable Town Council wins the National Outdoor Events Association's Small Event of the Year award for its “Dunstable Through the Great War and Beyond” display in Priory Gardens.

Priory Gardens War Memorial refurbished and additions made to its list of names.

A Tudor themed garden is created on the site of the old Norman King pub.

A teenager's bomb hoax closes several schools in the area.

Dunstable Library closes in preparation for its move to new premises in Dunstable Leisure Centre.

The Forever Hounds Trust holds a canine service at the Priory Church of St. Peters. The Trust is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of unwanted greyhounds.

The Meeting Room in Priory House is refurbished and renamed the Jacobean Room after the wall paintings preserved there.

Flood-hit Saracen's Head reopens as a Spanish restaurant.

Death of Dr Wink White who began the campaign to build the Luton and South Beds Hospice (later the Pasque and Keech hospices).

Whitbread plc agrees to sell its Costa Coffee business to the Coca-Cola company for £3.9 billion.


Priory Church receives £71,800 Heritage Lottery Fund for repairs to the tower.

Luton & Dunstable Hospital celebrate its 80th anniversary.

The Women's Institute in Bedfordshire celebrates 100 years with a special ceremony at Dunstable Priory Church.

Central Bedfordshire Council launches a new “dial-a-ride” community transport service.

Railings are removed from the middle of town centre roads and pavements refurbished.

Club Cookies nightclub at Grove Park, Dunstable, closes after nine years.

Twenty-one local shops and business benefit from £125.599 worth of grants from High Street Improvement Scheme.

Former footballer Bradley Walsh, now a TV celebrity, denies local claims that he once played for Dunstable Football Club.

Prince Richard of Gloucester visits Eaton Bray Church to mark its 800th anniversary and is presented with books about the church and village by historians Peter Mayne and Canon Malcolm Grant.

Dunstable North Community Group campaigns to try to reopen the Bird In Hand pub.

Work starts on new development to the north of Houghton Regis, to be named Linmere (meaning field of lime trees which appears on a 1762 map of the site). Roman, Saxon and Iron Age remnants found on the site.

Direct Pallets Ltd allowed to expand on a seven-and-a-half acre site on the Watling Street near Thorn Turn, after moving from Tavistock Street.

Walled Garden opened alongside the Old Palace Lodge hotel, on site of the former Norman King pub.

Plan submitted for 32 flats on site of First and Last pub in Church Street Two new production lines added to Signature Flatbreads at Woodside..

Plasterboard Recycling Solutions Ltd is handling 74,000 tonnes a year at old lime kiln site at Totternhoe Quarry.

Death, aged 87, of the Venerable George Austin, Archdeacon of York, former curate at Dunstable Priory and Vicar of Eaton Bray, known for his outspoken views.

Work starts at Brewers Hill Road on 61 homes for the Catalyst Housing Association.

Priory House approved as a venue for wedding ceremonies.

Adventure play area opened on Bennett's Rec.

Whipsnade Zoo opens aquarium.

Dell Farm, Whipsnade, a children's education farm owned by Luton Council is to close.

The Crown in High Street North reopens as The New Crown.

Old Dunstable library is demolished.

Former site of Club Cookies reopens as a new nightclub Club ‘Box 3' in Grove Park.

Creasey Park Community Football Centre instals a modern irrigation system.

Weatherfield Academy presented with a specially adapted minibus by representatives of the Lord's Taverners.

Dunstable named Best Large Town in the Anglia region in the Anglia In Bloom Awards.

Death of Omer Roucoux, local historian and one of the founders of the Dunstable & District Local History Society.

New Dunstable swimming pool in leisure centre has a delayed opening after problems with the tiling.


Beverley Chidley, Dunstable Division Commissioner for Girl Guides, awarded the British Empire Medal.

Holly Tutt, 12 years, crowned Junior Sports Personality of the year after her triumph in skiing.

New BBC television serial ‘Worzel Gummidge' is filmed around the area.

Death of George Weisz, founder of the Kay Pneumatics factory on corner of London Road and Half Moon Lane.

Dunstable History Society moves from Priory House to new Research Rooms in Grove House.

Registrar's office moves from Grove House to Priory House and the Citizens Advice Bureau to the Leisure Centre.

The whole country in lockdown during Covid epidemic.

Work begins on widening pavements and other changes in the town centre including a rain garden near Friars Walk as part of an improved drainage scheme.

Land on the pathway to Totternhoe Knolls, including the brick plinths which once supported the village's fresh-water tank, is sold by auction for £27,000.

Police use remote-control drones to help disperse an illegal rave at Totternhoe Knolls.

Earthquake, magnitude 3.8, centred at Pitstone shakes, houses in Dunstable.

Dunstable Gazette, town's newspaper since 1865, is merged with the Luton News by owners JPI Media, which took over the assets of former owners Johnston Press in 2018.

Joan Allen, widow of Peter Allen, owner of the Sugar Loaf hotel (died 1965), celebrates her 100th birthday.

Parts of Dunstable brought to a standstill as over 400 people, ignoring pandemic social-isolating rules, attend a funeral at West Street Cemetery.

Death of local historian Ken Cooper.


Plans for 35 flats to be built on site of Bird In Hand pub in High Street North. It had been empty for years and damaged by squatters.

Former teacher David Jeffs, a stalwart member of Dunstable History Society, dies aged 74.

Dramatic scenes in Britain Street where two cars collided, a man was stabbed, and a car fleeing from the scene crashed nearby.

Dell Farm, Whipsnade, used for many years as an outdoor education centre for local schoolchildren, is sold for over £1million by its owners, Luton Borough Council.

Covid-19 vaccination centre opens at Watling House, adding to the centre already operating at the health clinic near the Priory Church.

A number of dogs die after eating a banned poison while being walked on the Green Lanes at Totternhoe.

Death of local historian Joan Curran, author of many books including histories of Dunstable's hat industry, its whiting works and Totternhoe stone quarry.

Helicopter airlifts a motorcyclist to hospital after an accident near junction of Totternhoe Road and Marina Drive.

Lists published of local pubs due to reopen after pandemic lockdown.

New headquarters for the 4th Dunstable Scout Group in Jeans Way. Its previous 90-year-old premises were demolished.

Death of Una Stubbs, well-known actress and dancer, formerly of Dunstable.

Work starts on integrated health and care centre off Court Drive.

Long queues at petrol stations after fuel delivery problems.

Angel pub in Toddington, once well-known for its live music nights, to be converted into a business hub.

Penthouse Playrooms opens a "swingers" club in High Street North, next to Dunstable Snooker Club.

Lidl given permission for two new supermarkets on the new Linmere housing development at Chalton Cross, Houghton Regis, and in Houghton town centre on a car dealership site.

Work continues on remodelling Dunstable town centre, including removing the railings in High Street North and a four-way system at the crossroads.

Overhead powerlines crossing the skyline at Dunstable Downs are replaced by underground cables and 23 electricity towers dismantled.

Accidental explosion at Queensway newsagent's.

Christina Scott, ex-headmistress of Queensbury School, reaches her 100th birthday.

Two brown bears at Whipsnade Zoo have to be shot after escaping from their enclosure. Strong winds brought down a tree which formed a bridge enabling the bears to climb out.

Neville Funerals moves into the town's old police station in High Street North. The station had been converted into offices in the 1980s and renamed Globe House.

Vauxhall plans to close its parts warehouse in Chalton, with over 300 local jobs at risk.

HSBC (formerly Midland) bank closes its branch in West Street.


Official opening of the new-look Dunstable high street following a muilti-million pound improvement scheme.

A charity concert in the Grove Theatre to raise funds to support Ukraine after the Russian invasion included performances by Martin Turner (founder of Wishbone Ash), singer Joe Corrigan, the Korgis and Dunstable group Toad The Wet Sprocket, re-formed for the first time in 40 years.

Aaron Bateman, 28, a popular Dunstable Town FC supporter, dies after being punched during an altercation in High Street North. A Bedford man is later jailed for manslaughter.

Halifax Building Society's branch at 36 High Street North is closed along with 60 other banks in the Lloyds banking group.

Jubilee events marking the Queen's Jubilee included street parties and a beacon on Dunstable Downs.

Dunstable wins a Gold Medal in the RHS Britain in Bloom competition. It was judged best in the Large Town category as well as winning the Sustainable Gardening Award for the rain gardens planted in High Street South.

A book by Paul Bowes, owner of the former Book Castle shop in Church Street, is published. Titled “They Were There When…” it gives imaginary first-person accounts of people featured in the Bible's New Testament.

The annual Truck Convoy through Dunstable, revived after the Covid Pandemic, raised £13,000 for charity.

Dunstable's town clerk David Ashlee leaves after 15 years.

Sixty-year-old paraglider rescued by firefighters after an accident on Dunstable Downs.

Ten-year-old Bella Duggan, of Ardley Hill Lower School, raises nearly £2,000 for charity, including the Little Princess Trust.

Cali-R (California Reunion), celebrating the Motown and soul sound concerts from the glory days of Dunstable's California Ballroom, reaches its 25th anniversary. The reunions are organised by DJ Sid Hudson, who publishes a book, From Soul Man to Soul Boy, to commemorate the anniversary.

Canadian-based restaurant group Tim Hortons opens a venue in the White Lion Retail Park.

Marjorie Snowdon, whose uncle was licensee of the Bull public house in High Street North, celebrates her 100th birthday.

Two Houghton Regis men die and a third is seriously injured in a triple stabbing in Tithe Farm Road, Houghton, early on a Sunday morning. After an eight-week trial Nicholas Papworth and Anthony Bennison are both found guilty and jailed for life.

South West Beds MP Andrew Selous plants a remembrance cross in the Parliamentary Gardens to honour Horace Rosson of West Street, Dunstable, who was killed during the D Day landings while serving as a commando with the Royal Marines.

Death of veteran Luton councillor Roy Davis, who was a leading figure in the decision to create the Dunstable-Luton busway along the old railway track.

Historian Roy Pinnock, whose books included the story of Lilley village, dies after a car accident while returning home from a carol concert.

A new outdoor gym and a children's playground are opened at Morcom Road on the Downside estate.


Horse dies after being spooked by fireworks on New Year's Eve at his field near Doolittle Mill, Totternhoe. MP Andrew Selous in Parliament raises the question of enforcing laws controlling fireworks.

Dunstable teenager Bobby Olatunde reaches the final of BBC TV's Young Masterchef competition.

Death of historian Pat Lovering who had assembled a large archive of Houghton Regis photographs.

Around 40 residents help plant a new hedgerow alongside Mentmore recreation ground.

Closure of Houghton Regis Women's Institute, founded in 1945.

The Old Palace Lodge in Church Street shuts as a hotel for a year after taking a government contract to house asylum seekers. A public meeting to discuss the decision is chaired by the Mayor of Dunstable, Cllr Liz Jones, at the Priory Church and attended by hundreds of people.

Closure of Dormans, long-established photography shop in the Quadrant.

Grove View Integrated Health and Care Hub, off Court Drive, is opened on former football pitches behind the Go Bowling centre. Priory Gardens GP Surgery transfers to part of the new Hub.

Dunstable Town Council elections result in a split between six Conservatives, six Independents and six Labour councillors. Cllr Liz Jones is appointed town mayor for a second consecutive year. Independents become the largest group on Central Beds Council, which had previously been controlled by Conservatives.

Prince Busuyi Kayode, aged 32, collapses and dies while playing in a football match at Peter Newton Pavilion.

New Vista Homes applied to build 60 apartments on the Dunstable Ambulance Station site in Kingsway and the former Magistrates Court site alongside. Plans were approved in 2021 for a new ambulance station, with 18 ambulances, on part of the former council highways depot in Brewers Hill Road. The highways depot had been moved to Thorn Turn.

Dunstable author Jacob Sannox publishes a fantasy novel Tristan's Regret: The Return of King Arthur.

Ray Kingham, well-known as a DJ at many local celebrations, dies after an accident while crossing High Street North. 

Letters between California ballroom owner Edwin Green and Beatles manager Brian Epstein, negotiating a contract for the band to appear at the Cali on February 9 1963, are put up for auction. Green and Epstein failed to agree and the band did not appear.  There were no bids for the letters, which had been expected to sell for over £10,000.

Dan Richards of Dunstable rides a rollercoaster at Flamingo Land in Yorkshire 87 times in a day to raise money for the mental health charity Mind. 

The Dunstable Men In Sheds building, helping men over 55 to combat loneliness, is refurbished.

A medieval gaming piece, carved from the jawbone of a cow, is found by archaeologists on a development site at Bidwell, Houghton Regis.

A free, debt-advice service run by Dunstable Salvation Army received £3,430 as the result of a fund-raising dinner. The service was in its 16th year.

Dunstable library opens a touch-screen computer device giving access to non-emergency policing service.

A history trail featuring talking plaques with QR codes operated by smart phones is launched in Dunstable town centre. It is a High Street Action Zone project initiated by Historic England and uses scripts provide by Dunstable and District Local History Society.

Dunstable District Scouts resumed their traditional St George’s Day parade after a four-year gap, with a new section, Squirrel Scouts (for 4-to-6 year olds). Guests were welcomed by the District Commissioner Chris Carey.

An unsuccessful attempt was made to steal a huge panda made of artificial grass, put up in the Quadrant shopping centre after the Covid lockdown. Passers-by saw men trying to shove him into a clearly too-small van and called the police.

Glider pilot dies in crash at Dunstable Downs,

Archaeologists discover a number of Mesolithic pits, round and with very steep sides, during work on new housing sites in Linmere, Houghton Regis. The pits measure up to five metres wide and nearly two metres deep. They were perhaps used for storing food.

Sudden death of shopkeeper Gus Lombardo while on holiday in Sardinia. His family opened Lombardo's Continental Foodstore in High Street North and subsequently ran the Il Millefiori restaurant in Church Street and the Adesso Restaurant before opening Lombardo's Delicatessen on West Street in 1998.

Wilkos (formerly Wilkinson) closes at Ashton Square.

Barclays Bank closes its branch in High Street North, saying that most customers now prefer to bank online.  Bassett's Bank originally opened a branch on the site in 1814.

First firms open at Insignia Park, a nine-warehouse estate built on the site of the former Thermo Plastics factory in Luton Road,

A 24-hour darts marathon raises more than £3,500 at Creasey Park, with Dunstable Mayor Liz Jones and her family leading the charity event.

Supermarket chain Lidl opens its largest warehouse in the world, to create up to 1,500 jobs, on the Woodside link road at Houghton Regis.

Approval is given to Affinity Water to create a new underground reservoir, capped by a large grass mound, at Chaul End Road, north of Caddington. It will have a capacity of 20.75 megalitres to provide water for the increasing population of the area.

Single-seater aircraft crashes in a field south of Dunstable after a pigeon flies into its propellor. Pilot unhurt.

Priory House receives a £1.2 million grant from Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to enable work to continue to restore the 13th century building where excess dampness and flooding had been damaging the stonework.

A new local history book, They Came To The Crossroads, is launched at Bedfordshire Day at the Priory Church. Edited by Jean Yates, it includes contributions from many local historians.

Work starts on renovating the former Moore's department store in High Street South, empty since May 2008.


Death of John Oliver, of Dunstable, long-time sports editor of the Herald and Post newspaper.

Sharon Warboys, co-founder of the Don't Let Dunstable Die website, awarded the British Empire Medal.

Testimonial Year for Dunstable-born cricketer Rob Keogh, professional player for Northampton CC.

Time capsule including residents' memories buried under garden at Caddington Grove care home, Dunstable.

Hobbycraft store opens at White Lion retail park.

Former Argos building in High Street North is converted into a warehouse for Dunstable Foodbank, providing help for crisis-hit local families. Dunstable COM Church supported the move.

Death of Brenda Boatwright, a Dunstable councillor for 24 years and twice Mayor of the town.

Play area in Grove House Gardens is extended to include a wheelchair-accessible roundabout and other equipment suitable for children of all abilities.

Farmfoods closes its store at Ashton Square and relocates to retail park in Luton Road, in former Carpetright shop.

Premier Inns UK, owned by the Whitbread company whose head offices are at the Woodside estate in Dunstable, announces plans to close more than 200 of its restaurants across the UK.

Malcolm Fairley, nicknamed “The Fox”, dies in prison. He had been jailed for life in 1985 after terrorizing the area with a series of violent burglaries.

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