The history society’s new exhibition, Dunstable’s Leading Ladies, is now open at Priory House. The photo shows the Mayor of Dunstable, Cllr Gloria Martin, in front of one of the display panels at the official opening on July 30.
Earlier, Bedfordshire’s Lord Lieutenant, Helen Nellis, had had a sneak preview of the display and had been particularly interested in the story of a Dunstable teacher, Elinor Brent-Dyer of Moreton House School, who wrote the Chalet School series of books for girls.
The exhibition has taken several years to complete. It started as the result of a suggestion by the former manager of Priory House, Helen Walker-Sygrove, whose original idea was that it should feature Dunstable’s part in the Suffragette movement.
The town’s part in this seems to have been quite small, and the exhibition expanded to cover local ladies who had been pioneers in their profession or who had made a special impact in various ways.
The scope, of course, was enormous. Included are the war heroine Eileen Morden, the singing star Faye Tozer and the first Lady Mayor, Lucy Dale.
Among others are Florence Perry, of Dunstable Girls Choir, local actresses Mona Norris and Eileen Dymond, Anne Buck (a world authority on textiles), champion sportswoman Andrea Holmes, historian Vivienne Evans and gardener Gwen Elwell.
John Buckledee, David Turner and Rita Swift have been the history society members mainly responsible for the research and design of the exhibition, and the much-missed Joan Curran was involved in its very early stages.

Welcome to the Dunstable and District Local History Society website. The society was founded in September 1991 and organises monthly meetings where its large audiences are entertained by a variety of speakers. The current programme is included in the events guide on this website. The society also arranges outings for members during the summer months and publishes a newsletter twice a year which contains authoritative articles on local history.

The society maintains research rooms at the Dunstable Council offices in Grove House, High Street North, where a collection of books, manuscripts and photos is kept. To arrange to visit the rooms please leave your contact details on the feedback form on the "contact us" section of this website.

It has also published a number of historical booklets about old trades of the town, including The Whiting Works, by Joan Curran, Dales Dubbin, Flemons' Herbs, Bagshawe's engineering and Cross's paperware, all by Colin Bourne and Shops and Markets by Fred Moore and Don Kemp. Society members also contributed to Dunstable at War, the collection of eyewitness accounts compiled by Jean Yates and Sue King. The latest publication is the history of Priory House by Joan Curran which is now on sale price £2.00.

The society meets at 7.45pm on the second Tuesday of each month (except during the summer break) at the Methodist Church Hall, The Square, Dunstable, where visitors are welcome.

Annual membership costs £8 (June - December fee £4). Entrance fee for non members is £2 per meeting.

This website includes complete reproductions of our newsletters covering a variety of local history subjects . We will be adding to these regularly.

There is also a selection of Dunstable photographs. Again, we will be adding to these regularly and also increasing the amount of detail included in the captions. We would welcome any additional information or photographs.

Click here to see the latest Newsletter (issue 59).

Click here to see our Dunstable timeline.

Click here to see the records of Dunstable Cemetery.




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