Publications from LBDAHS

Copies of all publications may be obtained from Maureen Brown on 01525 374050.

Cheques to be made payable to LBDAHS. If you wish to pay by card please go to links (on the left) and click on GenFair.


Recent Publications & Transactions

The Secrets of Q Central - How Leighton Buzzard shortened the Second World War

AVAILABLE NOW Leighton Buzzard, a quiet market town with no military presence was chosen as the secret communications centre for Britain as the country prepared for war with Germany in 1937. When hostilities began 'Q Central'attracted a dozen other clandestine operations set up to defend the country or designed to confuse and undermine enemy morale. The headquarters of radar, RAF 60 Group,also came to Leighton Buzzard to be hidden from German attack and to be close to the telephone and radio communications needed to run its vast chain of radar stations. These directed the defending fighters that saved the country in the Battle of Britain and then took the bombing war to Germany Close by for the same reasons of secrecy and safety were the satellite stations of Bletchley Park,the now famous code breaking centre, the Met Office at Dunstable, which gave the all-clear for the D-Day landings, Black Ops units that set up false radio stations and wrote propaganda to confuse the enemy, and airfields used for dropping agents behind enemy lines. At Q Central itself was the largest telephone exchange in the world and more than 1,000 teleprinters communicating with all the armed forces in every theatre of war and directing the operations of the secret services. Now the restrictions of the Official Secrets Act have been lifted eight members of the Leighton Buzzard and District Archaeology and History Society have been able to piece together this compelling story for the first time. The book also contains many details about the evacuees who were billeted in the town, and how local people coped with the upheaval. 318 pp paperback; comprehensive index can be viewed on our Research pages Price £14.99,or £18 to include p&p. Orders via the website or contact Paul Brown on 01525 374050

Local resident says on facebook: It's a wonderful book, thank you and all the editorial team! Like most people in Leighton, I had no idea of the part RAF Stanbridge played in the war; I only knew about Bletchley Park, with no hint that it was just a part of something much bigger. Now how am I going to work today when the book's lying there within reach ...?


Leighton Buzzard's Monolith

This slim volume tells the story of Leighton Buzzard's War Memorial, the largest block of granite every quarried in the UK. The general feeling throughout the country of needing to commemorate those who died in WWI is described along with the political climate of the time. The discussions as to what Leighton should have, and whether it should be joint with Linslade, are described as well as the principle of equality in death which resulted in the names being inscribed alphabetically without reference to rank. This new and important addition to the story of Leighton Buzzard's involvement in the Great War was launched on March 8th 2014. Price £3, or £4.50 inc p&p


Happy Days - Toddington Schools, 1854 to present day

Limited edition, quality hardback plus jacket. 168 pages with some 180 photographs printed on fine quality art paper. The book covers the National School, Primary School, Council School, Secondary School, St George of England School and Parkfields All pupils who started the National or Primary School between 1917 and 1961 are named. The highlights are the personal memories of the children at school from the 1930s onwards Price £20 plus £5P&P


Leighton Buzzard and Linslade: A History

by Paul Brown Published 2008 by Phillimore 132 page hardback; illustrated with 169 maps, photographs and drawings. Index. Price £19.00 (inc. p&p)


The Bassetts: Leighton Buzzard's First Family

by Maureen Brown and June Masters Published 1989 96 page paperback A5 portrait; illustrated with drawings, photographs and maps. Index. Price £3 (inc. p&p)


All Sorts of Bassetts

The story of the family that helped shape Leighton Buzzard by Paul Brown. The book is intended for younger readers, describing life for children in the Victorian period. It contains a mile long Bassett trail through the town. This takes you past the buildings the family built, into the bank they founded and the school that bears the family name. See what an amazing contribution four generations of this Quaker family made to the town. Price £5.50 (inc p&p)


Mary Bassett School Log Book 1863 to 1887

A transcript of the original handwritten record, this 218 page book contains information about the school, the pupil teachers, how the children were taught and what subjects, as well as details of many events in the town, descriptions of weather conditions, of reasons for absence (ranging from illnesses through blackberrying to the arrival of a circus in town). A valuable social history of Leighton Buzzard. There are only a few copies available Price £10 plus £2 P&P


The Cedars School 1921 to 1973

A largely pictorial history of the town's first secondary school from when it opened in 1921 in Cedars House (now part of Leighton Middle School) right through to 1973 when the change to the comprehensive system necessitated a bigger school, and a new school was built in Mentmore Rd where the school playing fields already were. Past pupils and their families will enjoy the nostalgia By Richard Hart Price £16.49 inc p&p SORRY: SOLD OUT


The Way to School

A history of the schools of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade, including Lace and Straw Plait Schools and the Workhouse school, as well as Mary Bassett's 'School for Cripples'(not a term we would use today, but acceptable at the time) which is nothing to do with the present Mary Bassett School By Maggi Stannard Price £6 including p&p


Chalk Dust and Boiled Cabbage

A slim booklet of reminiscences about Stoke Road School (long demolished and replaced by flats) by a former teacher. It will stir the memory of former pupils and amaze those too young to recall a school without electricity (until 1953); making up and distributing ink to the inkwells in the desks; no telephone in school and so on. By Alan Scott Price £2.50 inc p&p


The Old Pubs of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade

by Maureen Brown, June Masters and Tom Lawson Published 1995 136 page paperback A5 landscape; illustrated with photographs and maps. Index. Price £6.50 (inc. p&p)


The Inns and Taverns of Lake St

A5 illustrated booklet describing the 14 inns and taverns historically found in Lake St, including changes of names. By Maureen Brown and June Masters £2 plus £1.50 p&p


All Saints Church Leighton Buzzard

A history of the great church of All Saints in Leighton Buzzard written in 1993 by the late Tom Lawson, a well-known and much loved local historian. This is a splendid collection of photographs, some very old, with Tom's inimitable commentary. This is not a detailed history book but a wonderful collection of snippets By Tom Lawson Price £5.50 inc p&p


St Barnabas Church Linslade; the First Hundred Years 1849 to 1949

The story of the parish church of St Barnabas, from how it came to be built as the population of Linslade moved from Old Linslade and increased rapidly with the coming of the canal and railway, so that the old church of St Mary as Old Linslade was inadequate, through the building of the school (now the Community Hall), the addition of the tower and south aisle, erection of stained glass windows, new organ, bells and clock, the Lady chapel and the new north aisle, and much more, right up to the centenary celebrations in 1949 By John Vickers Price £8.50 inc p&p


The Town Hall in Leighton Buzzard

by Maggi Stannard Published 2005 28 page paperback A5 portait; illustrated with photographs and maps. Price £3 (inc. p&p)


Heath and Reach Wills 1537-1601

A transcription of a large number of wills made by Heath and Reach residents between 1537 and 1601. The is a wealth of information about family relationships and occupations, about land holdings and about field names, as well as descriptions of people's property; some of the information predates surviving parish registers. Transcribed by Maureen Brown Price £4.50 inc p&p


Colour the Past

A colouring book for children with a number of pictures with a local history theme and a short historical caption to each Price £3 inc p&p


Transactions 10

Our tenth annual journal, with articles  about  Joseph Paxton, Mentmore, Kitty Towers, Tichborne Terrace, one of Billington Park's VS winners and more, plus records of the archaeological work that the society has been doing.

Price £4 plus  £2 p&p


Transactions 9

This ninth edition of our annual journal contains articles about Leighton Buzzard and Linslade's role in both World Wars as well as details of what the society has been doing in the past twelve months. There are some previously unpublished photographs, and a look at the origins of Old Linslade - and much more.

Price £4  +£2 p&p


Transactions 8

This is our biggest edition of our annual journal so far. Contents include the story of Morgan Carriage works, through cars to aeroplanes; Beaudesert War Memorial; Corbett's Hill Farm; the DamBusters Connection; Leighton's rotten roads - why we needed a turnpike; a Century of 'going to the pictures' and more. Price £5 + £2.50 p&p 


Transactions 7

The annual journal of the Society, published 2013. In this one we look at 200 years of Beaudesert School; the history of the White House; Victoria Cross Winners of Billington Park; Tales from the Visitors Book of the Swan; the Victoria Electric Picture Palace; Mary Norton - did the Borrowers really live in Lake St? and much more. Price £5.50 (inc p&p)


Transactions No 6

The Society's annual research magazine. This one contains the story of the newly discovered 1838 map, extracts of an 18th century diary, the world champion drinker and much more. Price £5.50 (inc p&p)


Transactions 5

Published 2011 by Leighton Buzzard and District Archaeological and Historical Society. 34 pages. A4 portrait, illustrated with photographs and maps. Contents: Editorial pii/Leighton Buzzard Spinney Pool p1, A Telegram Boy 1942-1945 p5/Leighton's Role in the Battle of Britain p8/The Roman Watling Street, Little Brickhill p9/LBDAHS Outreach to Children 2010 p14/34-36 High Street Leighton Buzzard, A Building Survey p15/An Iron Age Enclosure "Craddock's Camp" p23/Society Activities 2010 p26/Annual Accounts 2010 p28/Ordnance Survey Part 2 p29/ Railway Accident Between Dunstable and Leighton in 1892 p32 Price £5.50 (inc p&p).


Transactions 4

Published 2010 by Leighton Buzzard and District Archaeological and Historical Society 34 page A4 portrait; illustrated with photographs and maps Contents: Editorial pii/Bedfordshire’s First ‘Blue Plaque’ p1/Who Lived in Leighton Buzzard in 1671? p4/Test pit at 8 Gig Lane, Heath and Reach p5/The Day the Choir Exploded! p6/Leighton Buzzard at War - recollections - Ludovic McRae and Viv Willis p13/A Glimpse of Wartime Leighton Buzzard p14/Heathwood Lower School Visit p15/Online Resources for Local History p16/Vista House p17/Excavation at 27 Rothschild Road, Linslade p18/Society Activities 2009 p23/Annual Accounts 2009 p24/Where did the people of Linslade come from? p26/Ordnance Survey p29/Picture Gallery p33 Price £5.50 (inc. p&p)


Transactions 3

Published 2009 by Leighton Buzzard and District Archaeological and Historical Society 42 page A4 portrait; illustrated with photographs and maps Contents: Editorial pii/Archives - Bringing the Past to Life p1/Linslade Rock p7/Railway Disaster at Leighton Buzzard p8/Commemorative Medal of the Market Cross p14/The Two Knolls, Plantation Road, Leighton Buzzard p15/Test pit at 61 Woburn Road, Heath and Reach (SP 924 288) p16/The Empress Who Stayed in Leighton Buzzard p17/Leighton Buzzard and Linslade - A History by Paul Brown p18/Durocobrivis - Have we found it at last? p19/Heath and Reach Pump and Clock Tower p21/Heath and Reach P3 walk Sunday 19th October 2008 p22/Ouzel Valley, Leighton Buzzard p23/Golden Riddy - Notes on its History p25/Leighton’s Mysterious Cannonball p26/The Inns and Taverns of Heath and Reach p28/Leighton Buzzard Fire Service - A History p32/Society Activities 2008 p37/Annual Accounts 2008 p38/Boarstall Tower p40 Price £5.50 (inc. p&p)


Transactions 2

Published 2008 by Leighton Buzzard and District Archaeological and Historical Society 36 page A4 portrait; illustrated with photographs and maps Contents: Editorial/The Piggott Family p1/ Heath and Reach 1851 Census p6/ History of the village of Heath and Reach: The Story So Far p10/ Triple Bank Earthwork, Whipsnade Common p14/ The 1950 Linslade Tornado p15/ 2006 Society Activities p18/ 2006 Society Accounts p19/ Ouzel Valley Mesolithic flints p20/ Watching Brief at Stone Lane Quarry p21/ Interim Report on the Excavation at Pond Meadow p26 Price £5.50 (inc. p&p)


Transactions 1

Published 2007 by Leighton Buzzard and District Archaeological and Historical Society 32 page A4 portrait; illustrated with photographs and maps Contents: Editorial/The Victoria Iron Works p1/Invisible events, looking for them in Tilsworth p5/The Medieval Leighton Iron Industry p6/John Bailey - surveyor of Ancient Buildings p9/ Paramount Cars p10/Row Riddy Stone p13/Benjamin Bevan of Leighton Buzzard 1773 - 1833 p15/Interim report on the excavations at 5 Church Avenue p17/Ouzel Valley, Leighton Buzzard p22/An Incised Sandstone Block p23/ Earthworks on Whipsnade Common p24/Pot Firing at Pond Meadow p25/School Visit to Pond Meadow p26/Notes and Queries p27/ German Prisoners of War p27/ Second Interim Report on the Excavation at Pond Meadow p28/ Magnetometry Survey at Pond Meadow p29/ 2007 Society Activities p32/ 2007 Society Accounts p34 Price £5.50 (inc. p&p)


Millers and Methodists

By Chris Mesley Published 2010 by Leighton Buzzard and District Archaeological and Historical Society 32 page A4 portrait; illustrated with photographs (some in colour), maps and family trees Contents: Acknowledgements pii/List of illustrations piv/Preface p1/Flemons the Miller p1/Methodism p4/Joseph Flemons’ Ambitions p7/The Younger Generation p8/A new Wesleyan Chapel p9/Influence on the wider church p12/Albion House p12/An aspiring grocer with an ethical dilemma p14/The Steam Corn Mill p18/Bransom the Miller p21/Dollimore the Miller p23/Connections p27/Postscript p27/Continuing Influence on Methodism p29/Albion House and the Steam Mill p29/Wesleyan Chapel p29/List of Sources p30/Index p31 Price £6.00 (inc.p&p) SORRY - SOLD OUT


Pond Meadow Dig. Heath and Reach

DVD Published 2006 by Leighton Buzzard and District Archaeological and Historical Society. Cost is £5 per copy, P+P £1.50 Cheques to be made payable to LBDAHS. The DVD is free to local schools on application.