Dunstable Time Line compiled by Rita Swift, additional information welcome. Please email Rita on rita.swift1@ntlworld.com or use our online feedback form.


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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


1st Century (Top)


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

5th Century (Top)

C 410
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”.Richard de Morin is made Prior by King John. (Richard held the office for 40 years).


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, canon of Merton, is made Prior of Dunstable.

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 at Kingsbury is 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.


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.


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 nine 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.


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”.

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.


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.


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.
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”.


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.

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 and impeding them from doing so.

14th Century (Top)


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.


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 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.


Edward III gives seven shillings each to the 21 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 Edward III gives 15s for three days food.


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.

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.


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 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 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 Henry IV.


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 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.

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.


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 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 gaolkeeper. 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 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 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.

Henry VIII imposes a new 10% 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.


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 stays at the White Horse in Dunstable .

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


Dominican Friary closes.


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 wished 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.


King Henry 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”.


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, left 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.


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).


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.


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 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 from bequest by Blandina Marshe.

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).

Francis Dickinson, son of John and Elizabeth, dies.


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).


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.


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 enjoys 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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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 take up his appointment as the master of Chew's School.


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.


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.


The old barrel engine to be repaired and William Peters allowed 1 1/2 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.

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 1 st September to 30 th April at 10,12,2 and 4 and from 30 th April to 1 September at the hours of 11 and 2. A reward of 2s 6d paid for every rogue he brings to justice though not convicted. He was to attend Divine Worship as sexton.

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 prizefight 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.


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

Jubilee of George III celebrated with an ox roast on The Square.


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”.

Cutting dug on Watling Street at Puddlehill and a causeway built.

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.

William Gutteridge finds a Palaeolithic implement near Caddington.


Fire at the Saracen's Head.


WilliamWaterfield'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).


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


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).

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.

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.

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.


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.

Bedfordshire Archaeological and Architecture Society formed.

George Chamberlin, aged 17, given 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.

Tumulus excavated on the Downs by the Bedfordshire Archaeological Society.

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).

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.

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

Brice Simpson, 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 h 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 3 rd 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 features 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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 12 th 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.

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.


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).


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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.


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.


Miles Taylor, from Yorkshire, becomes proprietor of the Dunstable Gazette. (He continues to run the business until 1928).


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 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.


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.

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.

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.

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 presented with the Honorary Freedom of the Borough.

Closure of the Shoulder of Mutton, a pub and lodging house in Middle Row.

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.


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.

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.

Dunstable Isolation Hospital is opened in Beech Road.

Bagshawe and Co.'s Engineering Works established in Church Street.


Arthur Weight Matthews starts surveying the Dunstable churchyards.

Land north of Union Street (known then as Upper Houghton) is transferred into Dunstable borough.

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.

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.


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.

Two units in Middle Row jutting into West Street taken down to improve approach to crossroads. The roof-less public toilets at the back were known locally as Boskett's Breezy Battlements because of their castellated wall design.

Percy Lester opens a jewellery shop at 14 Middle Row (later Walkers).

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 five miles an hour speed limit 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).


The regular fairground at the foot of Dunstable Downs on Good Fridays is prohibited.

Half Moon Inn in London Road closes.

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.

Thousands of troops billeted in Dunstable.

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 25 th City of London Cycle Corps.

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).

Dunstable Literary and Scientific Society is formed.

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. Later suffers heavy casualties at Gallipoli.

“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.

Final meeting of the Dunstable Literary and Scientific Society.

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.


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.

30 th 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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

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 houses erected at Chiltern Road.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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).


Royal Air Force officers spend 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.

German air raider machine guns Dunstable High Street.

Meteorological Office moves to Dunstable.

Spitfire £5,000 Fund launched.

Donald Campbell’s craft ‘Bluebird’ passed along High Street North.


War suspends Good Friday custom of Orange Rolling on Downs.

Compulsory Fire Watching introduced.

ARP mock enemy attack on town.

Air Training Corps founded.

Mrs Ethel Munt, widow of Arthur Munt, dies leaving large donations to the National Lifeboat Institution, Discharged Prisoners Aid Society and Royal Merchants Seaman's Orphanage.

A parade is held to mark Dunstable's War Weapons Week.

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.

Graham's whiting works is almost completely destroyed by fire.

Funeral of R.S.M. Odell. A guard of honour is formed by his old regiment, the 5 th Bedfordshires, and the Last Post played by a member of Dunstable Grammar School's Army Cadet Corps.


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 of the 58th St. Peter's, Dunstable, Troop. He dies before receiving the award.

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.

Miss Olive Brown forms the No. 186 (Dunstable) Company Girls' Training Corps.

A combined exercise is held to test the defences of Dunstable under blitz and invasion conditions, code name Watling.


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.


German bomb is dropped on grounds of Northfields School.

Hospital Sunday held at Dunstable for first time.

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.


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 .

Farm stock perishes in fire at Brewers Hill Farm.

VE Day and VJ Day Thanksgiving Services in Grove House Gardens.

Waiting List for council houses opens.

First performance by Dunstable Repertory Company in the Town Hall.

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.


Italian Prisoners of War, based at the London Gliding Club, dig the footings for the Beecroft Estate.

Town Council acquires Priory House and Gardens, converting the house into council offices

War Memorial Fund launched.

Young Dunstablians Music Club formed.

Army Cadets have new headquarters at Victoria Street Drill Hall.

Chad Razorblade Company comes to High Street South, Dunstable.

Air Ministry's Meteorological Weather Station is filmed with its new computer.

Shortage of housing leads to the Downside pre-fabricated housing scheme, later to become Apollo Close and Chichester Close.

Index Printers (Cyril Tibbett managing director) prints the first ABC Air Guide.

The Girl's Nautical Training Corps No 15 (Dunstable) Unit visits Norway.


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, 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.

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.

Hailstones the size of pebbles slash leaves from trees and damage houses.

Lady Baden-Powel, 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.

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.

Beecroft housing estate established. 

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.

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.

Ludun factory for disabled workers is opened.

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.

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 Girls' Choir appears on television on Caroll Levis and His Discoveries show and at 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.

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.

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.

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 opens Ludun Works 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.

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.

Winkle Club at Star and Garter is started to raise money for Ludun.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

Priory Church Service televised on ATV.

Patrick Jenkins, environment secretary, unveils two bronze statues on Woodside industrial estate.

Electronic telephone exchange opens.

Dunstable's first Women's Institute Market opens on Queensway Hall car park.


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, Manfred Mann perform at the California Ballroom.

Mill Vale Middle School opens as a County Secondary School (it becomes a middle school in 1973).

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.

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.

Dunstable Amateur Operatic Society formed.

Fred Allsop, of Houghton Regis, just misses bronze medal in triple jump at Tokyo Olympics.


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.

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 Quandrant's first shop: Howards Menswear.

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 £1m 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 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 Ballrooom.

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 Tottenhoe 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 in 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.

Traffic wardens arrive 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 100 th 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 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.

A stained glass window showing Gervaise Markham, last Prior of Dunstable, is installed in the Priory Church.


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.

A 1668 half-penny trade token of Danielle Fossey, who traded in pipes and tobacco, is dug up in Burr Street.

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 Bowaters.

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.

Aquarius nightspot in West Street closes.

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee street parties held all over the town.

16 th 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.

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 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.

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 TV's Grange Hill stars 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.

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.


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.

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.


Princess Anne opens new offices of ABC Travel Guides Ltd in Church Street.

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.


The 78-year-old town hall clock overhauled for the first time in 20 years.

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.

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's 60 th 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.


Hoppenstopper 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. 

Dunstable market moves from High Street North to Queensway car park.


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 Dunstable 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 demolished.

Special souvenir edition of the Dunstable Gazette celebrates paper's 125th anniversary.


Dunstable and District Local History Society formed

Friars Wash becomes an “emergency supply” only pumping station

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.


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.


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.

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 90 th 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 celebration s.

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 month 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.

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.

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. 

Announcement that Vauxhall car plant in Luton is to close in 2007.

Dunstable WI ceases to function 17 years short of its centenary.


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.

Blue Boys, statues of Chew's School pupils, stolen in 1998, are replaced with replicas.

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.


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.


Totternhoe Quarry bought by the Wildlife Trust.

Woman's body found at the Black Cat, Church Street, starting murder hunt.

No military band at town's St George's Day event because of Gulf War.


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.


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.


Death of Fred Moore, owner of the department store in High Street South, aged 94.

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.

Metropolitan police inspector, 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.

Closure of Moore's department store, High Street South.

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 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.

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.

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.

Four Kings bar, High Street South (originally the Grey House) closes.

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.

Some scenes in 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 – 15 th 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 17 th 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 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 £2m 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.

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 school 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 and 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.

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 £1m 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.

Work starts on integrated health and care centre off Court Drive.

Angel pub in Toddington, once well-known for its live music nights, to be comverted into a business hub.

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.

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.



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