Castle is an electoral ward and area of Bedford, England.
The boundaries of Castle are (roughly) Bromham Road and Goldington Road to the north, Newnham Avenue to the east, the River Great Ouse to the south, with the Midland Main Line railway line and Queens Park to the west.
The Castle area includes all of Bedford town centre, north of the river.
the name 'Castle' comes from Bedford Castle
which is located in the area. William II
granted the Barony of Bedford
to Paine de Beauchamp
who built the castle
. The Castle was destroyed in 1224 by Henry III
. In 1166 The town of Bedford was given a Charter. This was when Bedford Market was founded in the Castle area. Bedford remained a small agricultural town, with wool being an important industry in the area for much of the Middle Ages
. The River Ouse became navigable as far as Bedford in 1689. Wool declined in importance with brewing becoming a major industry in the town.
In 1660 John Bunyan was imprisoned for 12 years in Bedford Gaol, which was located in the Castle area. It was here that he wrote The Pilgrim's Progress.
The 19th Century saw Bedford transform into an important engineering hub. In 1832 Gas lighting was introduced into the Castle area, and the railway reached Bedford in 1846. Bedford's Corn Exchange was built in the area in 1849, and the first drains and sewers were dug in 1864. Bedford's growth in the 19th century saw the Castle area expand along the river to the east. The final part of the neighbourhood was developed in the 1930s.
Castle is an unparished area
, with all community services under the direct control of Bedford Borough Council
. Castle elects 3 councillors to Bedford Borough Council, all of which are currently independents
All of the Bedford's CBD is located in Castle ward. This means many major High Street Shops and brands are located here. The main shopping areas of note are the High Street which includes a Debenhams Department Store, a 'Wilkinsons' store, banks, many pubs, nightclubs and Restaurants. The Harpur Centre is Bedford's (and Castle's) main shopping Mall. Branches of Boots, TK Maxx, Littlewoods, Argos and many other stores are located here. To the east is Castle Road where there are a host of smaller independent shops and community stores.
Many of Bedford's central amenities and attractions are located in the Castle area, including Bedford's main Post Office, Town Hall, market, Magistrates Court, County Court, Bus station, police station and Bedford railway station. One of Bedford's largest hotels is located in the area - The Swan Hotel on the High Street. The main open space in the area is Russell Park and the Embankment. The Bedford Corn Exchange, the Bedford Civic Theatre, Bedford Museum and Esquires (a live music venue) are also located in the area.
There are two lower schools
in Castle - Priory Lower School
located on Greyfriars, and Castle Lower School
situated on Goldington Road. Most older Castle students attend Newnham Middle School
or Goldington Middle School
. For Upper School
education, most Castle students attend Biddenham Upper School
Places of Worship
There are many places of worship in Castle, some of which serve the entire Bedford area -
- St Paul's Church, Bedford (Church of England) located on St Paul's Square
- Bedford Spiritualist Church located on Ashburnam Road
- Italian Pentecostal Church also on Ashburnam Road
- Mount Zion Church located on Midland Road
- St Joseph & The Holy Child Roman Catholic Church also on Midland Road
- St Frances Cabrini Italian Church located on Woburn Road
- Rutland Road Church located on Rutland Road
- The Miracle of God in Christ Church located on Alexandra Road
- The Bedford Jamee Masjid & Islamic Cultural Centre located on Brereton Road
- Bedford Pentecostal Church located on Roise Street
- The Salvation Army run the Bedford Congress Hall located on Commercial Road
- The Bedford Bangladeshi Mosque & Islamic Mission also on Commercial Road
- The Bunyan Meeting Free Church & John Bunyan Museum located on Mill Street
- Polish Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus & St Cuthbert also on Mill Street
- The Panacea Society has its international headquarters on Albany Road
- The Providence Baptist Chapel located on Rothsay Road
- The St Josaphat Ukrainian Church (Byzantine Rite) located on York Street
- Bedford Christ Church (Church of England) located on Denmark Street
- Russell Park Baptist Church also on Denmark Street