Bedford’s Victorian Lady

20 May

We like it when people take the trouble to contact us through which is a multiuse mailbox and here’s a welcomed and much appreciated missive following on from Deb’s “My Day Out” published last week. The blog mentioned the intriguing and noticeable Victorian Lady that can be seen around town wearing (at all times) period costume and parasol and we are not alone in our view that she adds to an otherwise drab town! article-2224739-15BDE83D000005DC-648_306x510

Debs pointed out that nobody seems to bat an eyelid when they see her leaving me to theorise that she’s an echo from the 1800 manifested across time by static electricity and therefore only visible to the gifted or the damned. Debs meanwhile has suggested the much less plausible reason that she’s been about so long everyone’s gotten used to her! 


And lead you through the streets of Bedford!

And lead you through the streets of Bedford!

Now I do know her name but let’s leave the Dickensian air of mystery hanging! To us she’s the Victorian Lady! And meanwhile here’s our guest contributor who has been given the Honorary title of Mr G. All photographs are random and totally unrelated to the text although if anyone has a pic of the Victorian Lady in question that has been taken with her permission for publishing please drop us a line!

Hello Bedford Bypass!

As an occasional lurker on your site (I’m an exile from Bedford, and BB keeps me more in touch with the old stamping ground than either of the town’s papers) I felt I should crawl out of the woodwork to chip in about the strange, wonderful and exotic creature that known as The Edwardian Lady, mentioned in today’s entry (16 May 2014).Garrick

I always look forward to ‘spotting’ her whenever I visit my home town, and have often felt moved to celebrate her spirit of individuality with a solo round of applause when she comes into view. (Sometimes people nearby have joined in, so it’s not just me). She acknowledges this appreciation with a graceful wave and smile worthy of the dear old Queen Mother herself (God Bless Her).

I can share the following insights about her behaviour and travels and I hope that these may be of interest to fellow fans.

She often travels into town by bus — I don’t recall which ‘number’ bus (or is it still ‘planet’-themed?), but more than once I have embarked at the stop near Kempton barracks, bound for St Paul’s, and found her already aboard with her pull-along trolley considerately stowed.

So much better in the Victorian period...

So much better in the Victorian period…

She has been sighted as far afield as the Black Cat Roundabout (unless she has an inferior imitator out in the sticks — but TWO Edwardian Ladies seems unlikely).

Kylie Said to Jason..It's all in the mind!

Kylie Said to Jason..It’s all in the mind!

She has been observed to go in and out of the telephone exchange building at the junction of St Loyes and Harpur Street. Since this place is heftily-protected and has a security pass system, I infer that she works there — but she seems to come and go irregularly, and her perambulations around town often occur on weekdays at non-lunchtime hours. This is a source of intrigue to me.

The only other thing I know about her is that she makes all her own clothes (well, you couldn’t buy them anywhere!): But this is not enough, and I want to know if she lives in a retrofitted Edwardian house too. Perhaps with gas lighting, a pianola and a parrot on a stand?

Next time I’m in beautiful Bedford, I shall have my phone with me and take a picture for you, as I nearly always see her on her travels.

Do not confuse the two!

Do not confuse the two!

Talk of Bedford’s many notable eccentrics reminds me of “Merlin”, a character whom I miss greatly, and I wonder if anyone has any news of him.

As you might imagine from the nickname, he is/was a tall and remarkably spindly old man with a long grey beard and hair, dressed in outlandishly non-matching charity-boutique clothing. His skinniness was accentuated by his tendency to wear stripy leggings (i.e., with coloured rings around the limbs) leggings — green and black were favourites — rather than trousers.

He sometimes drifted into the beer garden of our joint favourite, The Bear. I particularly remember that one Christmas, he came into the beer garden, produced a little framed picture of a Christmas robin, set it on the ground and gave every appearance of worshiping it, chanting something under his breath. Then he went away again, leaving the picture behind and leaving us all agog. lumumba

The legend attached to this notable person was that he was once a brain surgeon, but left the planet after one too many acid trips. This sounds like an urban myth to me, and I wonder if any other reader has heard other tales of Merlin’s past or seen him elsewhere.

Is he still alive? What happened to him? He seemed to just disappear around 2009/2010. I like to think that someone so extraordinary would ascend into another dimension rather than do anything so everyday and boring as dying.



One Response to “Bedford’s Victorian Lady”

  1. Eamonn May 20, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    I was sitting at the bar in The Bear when I felt something hit the back of my neck. I tunred around and there was Merlin chuckling away. He’d just fired an arrow made from a twig at me. It was shot from a homemade bow made of another twig and some twine.

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