Borough of Bedford
Official logo of Bedford
Bedford shown within Bedfordshire
Bedford shown within Bedfordshire
Coordinates: 52°8′0″N 0°27′0″W / 52.13333°N 0.45000°W / 52.13333; -0.45000
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
RegionEast of England
Ceremonial countyBedfordshire
Administrative HQBorough Hall, Bedford
 • TypeUnitary Authority
 • Governing bodyBedford Borough Council
 • MPsRichard Fuller (C)
Alistair Strathern (L)
Mohammad Yasin (L)
 • Total476 km2 (184 sq mi)
 • Total187,466
 • Rank108th
 • Density393/km2 (1,020/sq mi)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneGMT
 • Summer (DST)British Summer Time
ONS code00KB
NUTS 3UKH22 Edit this at Wikidata

Bedford, or the Borough of Bedford, is a local government district with borough status in the ceremonial county of Bedfordshire, England. Its council is a unitary authority, being a district council which also performs the functions of a county council. The council is based in Bedford, the borough's namesake and principal settlement, which is the county town of Bedfordshire.

The Bedford built-up-area is the 71st largest in the United Kingdom and also includes Kempston and Biddenham.[3] Away from the Bedford built-up area the borough includes a large rural area with many villages. 75% of the borough's population live in the Bedford built-up and the five large villages which surround it, which makes up slightly less than 6% of the total land area of the borough.

The borough is also the location of the Wixams new settlement, immediately south of Bedford, which received its first residents in 2009.


The ancient borough of Bedford was a borough by prescription, with its original date of incorporation unknown. The earliest surviving charter was issued c. 1166 by Henry II, confirming to the borough the liberties and customs which it had held in the reign of Henry I.[4][5] The borough became a municipal borough under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835.

The District of Bedford was formed on 1 April 1974 as a merger of the existing borough of Bedford, along with Kempston Urban District and Bedford Rural District. In 1975 the district was granted a royal charter granting borough status as North Bedfordshire.[6] The borough changed its name back from North Bedfordshire to Bedford in 1992.[7]

Bedfordshire's administrative structure was reorganised as part of the 2009 structural changes to local government in England, meaning that Bedford Borough Council became a unitary authority in April 2009. Bedford Borough Council assumed responsibility in areas such as education, social services and transport which were previously provided by Bedfordshire County Council.[8][9][10]


Main article: Bedford Borough Council

The council is based at Borough Hall on Cauldwell Street on the banks of the River Great Ouse in the centre of Bedford. The building was previously known as County Hall and had been the headquarters of Bedfordshire County Council prior to 2009. The unitary authority area is divided into 28 wards for elections to the Borough Council.[11]


See also: Civil parishes in Bedfordshire

Most of the area of the pre-1974 municipal borough of Bedford is unparished, although the parish of Brickhill was created within that area in 2004. The rest of the modern borough, including Kempston (the borough's only CP with a town council), is parished. The parishes are:[12]

Freedom of the Borough

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Borough of Bedford.

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (August 2020)


Military Units

See also


  1. ^ "Mid-Year Population Estimates, UK, June 2022". Office for National Statistics. 26 March 2024. Retrieved 3 May 2024.
  2. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Bedford Local Authority (E06000055)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  3. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Bedford Built-up Area (E34004993)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  4. ^ Page, William, ed. (1912). "The Borough of Bedford". A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3. British History Online. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  5. ^ "Bedford Borough records introduction". Bedfordshire Archives. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  6. ^ North Bedfordshire Borough Council, London Gazette, 31 October 1975, page 13813. Change of name and status from Bedford District to North Bedfordshire Borough with effect from 16 October 1975.
  7. ^ Bulletin of Changes of Local Authority Status, Names and Areas, 1 April 1992 - 31 March 1993 (Department of the Environment). Change of name from North Bedfordshire to Bedford effective from 1 October 1992.
  8. ^ Unitary solution confirmed for Bedfordshire – New flagship unitary councils approved for Cheshire – Corporate – Communities and Local Government Archived 22 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ County council to be abolished in shake-up – Bedford Today
  10. ^ A New Beginning Archived 24 February 2009 at
  11. ^ "Wards and polling district maps". Bedford Borough Council. Retrieved 3 December 2023.
  12. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 10 May 2023.
  13. ^ "Olympic canoeist Etienne Stott given freedom of Bedford". BBC News. 11 December 2012.
  14. ^ "RAF Cardington Camp".
  15. ^ "In pictures: Royal Anglians march through Bedford". BBC News. 22 July 2014.

52°08′04″N 0°27′47″W / 52.13444°N 0.46306°W / 52.13444; -0.46306