Bedworth Timeline

Market Place in 1907. Note J.C. Smiths and the chain fence across the front of the almshouses.

1086: According to the Domesday Book, the Earl of Mellent, a brother of the Earl of Warwick, held the the Manor of Bedworth. This holding was made up of 60 people, living with no priest or mill, on 720 arable acres for which they had two ploughs. Before the Norman Conquest of 1066 the land was owned by Edwyn, Earl of Mercia.

1300: Philip de Turville became the second recorded Rector of Bedworth.

1349: Few inhabitants of the town escaped the Black Death.

1555: Lawrence Saunders, nephew of John Saunders of that Estate in the manor of Bedworth, was burned at the stake for heresy, in Little Park, Coventry.

1570: Bedworth coal mines were the subject of a report to the Government by Richard Hussey, Stephen Verney and Michael Purfrey.

1590: The historian William Dugdale recorded only 14 families in the township.

1662: The Act of Uniformity was passed by Charles II, requiring England to accept the book of Common Prayer.

1664: Nicholas Chamberlaine became Rector of Bedworth.

1686 – 1686: The Old Meeting Church was established, with Julius Saunders as its first minister. His original manuscript diary is still preserved, together with a chained set of Bible commentaries 

1690: William Dugdale recorded that there were now 260 houses in Bedworth and 30 in Collycroft.

1715: Nicholas Chamberlaine died in July. His will specified his vision for the formation of the School Foundation (church schools) and Hospital and Sermon charities (Almshouses) which were to be named after him.

1715: Almshouses and schools were built in the grounds of Bedworth Hall.

1726: The Old Meeting Church was built.

1727: Steam engines were first used in a local mine, and experiments in mine ventilation began using a ‘Blow George’ ventilation fan.

1770: Parliament passed the first Bedworth Enclosure Award.

1782: John Wesley preached at Bedworth brickyard on 13th July.

1790: Boiler works established at Collycroft.

1821: The population rose to 3,519.

1824: The Parish appointed Josiah Page as Medical Attendant. He was to provide his own leeches.

1827: One Parish Meeting considered the Canal Company’s refusal to pay the levied rate, while another changed the official Wake from November to the first Sunday in September. The church was repaired and considerably enlarged.

1828: There was great economic distress in Bedworth, the poor rate amounted to almost £1,500.

1832: In the year of the great Reform Bill a local Board of Health was established.

1840: The old Almshouses were superseded by the present ones, at a construction cost of £8,500.

1845: The Church Schools were built; the Headmaster’s House in the town centre later became part of the schools when a replacement was built.

1846: Dr. Beaumont opened the present Wesley Church.

1850: Bedworth welcomed its new street gas-lighting, though Collycroft remained without gas till 1908.

1851: Despite meetings and protests, the Coventry, Nuneaton and Bedworth Railway was completed.

1860: The distress of thirty years earlier was repeated for the weavers, on whom £30 a week was spent from public subscriptions.

1861: The population was now 5,636.

1863: In September the shaft at Exhall Colliery was sunk.

1864: Parish business began to be transacted at the Parish Room in Congreve Square.

1871: The population had dropped by 498 in less than ten years to 5,138. 
         Bedworth Hall demolished.

1873: Bedworth Burial Board appointed Mr. Thomas Dewis as its first Clerk. The Central Schools were enlarged by an additional classroom and playgrounds.

1881: A report on water supplies to the town’s 5377 people showed that only half of the 1,150 houses were adequately supplied.

1883: The Roman Catholic Church of St. Francis in Rye Piece was opened.

1887: Messrs. Wootton and Forge brought the new hat-making industry to Leicester Street in Bedworth.

1889: The County Council assumed liability for the top part of King Street between the “Shoulder of Mutton” and the railway.

1891: The population, now rising, reached 5,485.

1894: The new Parish Council assumed the powers of the church, churchwardens and similar officials.

1898: The mine-shaft at the new Newdigate Colliery was sunk in December.

1899: New offices in Bulkington Road for the Warwickshire Miners’ Association opened.

1900: Bedworth Water Works and Tower came into use.

1901: The Parish Room saw the last Church Vestry Meeting, which considered the granting of a faculty to build the Belfry Gates. 

1901: The population of the town had increased to 7,189.

1906: Mr. William ‘Billy’ Johnson began his unbroken twelve years’ representation of the Nuneaton Division in parliament.

1907: The new Council School in George Street was opened.

1914: The First World War began, in which 1,129 Bedworth men served. 207 of these lost their lives.

1918: End of the First World War.

1921: The Great War memorial in the cemetery was unveiled.

1921: The population reached 11,548.

1923: The Miners Welfare Park was opened, and the Roman Catholic Church of St. Francis was consecrated.

1924: The Parish was divided into five wards. 

1928: Bedworth Urban District was established on 1st October and the first Council elected on 13th October.

1931: At the last census before the Second World War, the population was 12,060.

1932: From 1st April the Bedworth boundary embraced Exhall, Northern Foleshill, East Astley and part of Walsgrave-on-Sowe.

1938: A further boundary extension saw Bulkington come under the Urban District Council.

1939 - 45: The Second World War.

1946: The first Local Elections for seven years were held.

1951: The population reached 24,866.

1952: The Bulkington Sewerage Scheme, costing £160,000 was started.

1953: Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and Bedworth celebrated its Silver Jubilee as an Urban District.

1957: Population is now 28,640.

1973: Bedworth Civic Hall opens.

1974: End of Bedworth Urban District Council. Bedworth becomes part of Nuneaton Borough Council.

1980: Bill Lenton leads a successful fight to include Bedworth in the council title, becoming Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.

1981: The Bedworth Society was formed to fight for the preservation of the Victorian Parsonage which is part of the town's Almshouses.

1991: Bedworth’s population is now approximately 32,500.

2000: Parsonage Project Heritage Centre opened in the Parsonage.

2001: Bedworth’s population is now approximately 40,000.

2003: Completion of refurbishment of Nicholas Chamberlaine Almshouses.