Brickhill Community Centre
Brickhill shown within Bedfordshire
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The boundaries of Brickhill are approximately Kimbolton Road to the east, Bedford Park and the old Bedford cemetery to the south, with Cemetery Hill and the Manton Heights Industrial Estate to the west. The Woodlands Park housing estate (off Tyne Crescent) became part of Brickhill parish in 2015.
The name 'Brickhill' derives from 'Brickhill Farm' which occupied the land before the area was developed. 'Brickhill' may have been a reference to brick-making in the area, as the neighbourhood has a high clay content in its soils. Brick-making used to be a major industry in Bedfordshire (See Stewartby). The name may also derive from a compound of Brythonic and Anglo Saxon origins, which is a common occurrence in this part of the country. The Brythonic breg means 'hill', and the Anglo Saxon hyll also means 'hill'.
Brickhill Farm was the location of Brickhill House, a 17th Century make-over of a much older manor house. The residence was the seat the Foster family, and it was in its heyday in the 1820s, when the famous American author, Washington Irving, came to pay court to the daughter of the house, Emily Foster (she turned him down). The house was eventually destroyed by fire in 1946.
Following the World War II momentum grew in Bedford to plan the re-development of the town from its population of 58,000 to 75,000. This required the provision of a substantial area of land for housing development. At the time, Bedfordshire County Council (who were the planning authority) attempted to pursue Bedford Borough Council to consider development on areas of clay sub-soil around northern Bedford, and in particular across Brickhill. There initially appeared to be great resistance to this. Traditionally buildings in Bedford had been founded on areas of River Terrace gravels, and it was thought in 1949 that the cost of the foundations excavated into the Boulder Clay/Blue Oxford Clay would add approximately £70 to the cost of constructing a house. Since no viable alternative could be found by the Borough they eventually accepted the County's proposals for development of the Brickhill area.
Houses in South Brickhill were constructed from 1959. This neighbourhood became the Birds area, with all the streets named after birds (e.g. Linnet Way, Hawk Drive, Dove Road). North Brickhill was developed from 1966, and became the Rivers area, with all the streets named after rivers (e.g. Avon Drive, Waveney Avenue, Tyne Crescent).
The Charles Wells pub called the Bird in Hand which was located on Brickhill Drive closed in 2011. Charles Wells sold the pub building to Tesco who redeveloped it into a Tesco Express store. The opening of the store attracted considerable opposition from local residents and business owners.
Woodlands Park is a housing estate that was constructed from the late 2000s, and located directly to the north of Brickhill. Initially the estate was not formally part of the Brickhill parish, but was instead part of the nearby village of Ravensden. Woodlands Park formally became part of Brickhill parish in 2015, but remains part of Great Barford ward (which includes Ravensden) for elections to Bedford Borough Council.
Brickhill Parish Council is made up of 15 elected councillors, most of whom are currently from the Liberal Democrat party. Brickhill also elects two councillors to Bedford Borough Council, both of whom are also currently from the Liberal Democrat party. The Woodlands Park area of Brickhill elects two councillors to Bedford Borough Council as part of the separate Great Barford ward, and both councillors are cuurently from the Conservative Party.
There are two parades of shops in the area at which most local businesses are located. The first is found on Brickhill Drive which has a newsagent, a small Nisa supermarket, a Lloyds Pharmacy, a beauty salon, a Tesco Express store, a garage & car wash, a betting shop and a barber's shop.
The second shopping precinct is located on Avon Drive and consists of a small One Stop supermarket, a newsagent & post office, a fish & chip shop, a florists, a Coral betting shop, a garage, a pub called The Tiger Moth, and an Elderly Persons Home called 'Highfield'.
Further along Brickhill Drive is The Pilgrim Centre. This small business park (remodelled on the site of the old Pilgrim Upper School which closed in the mid 80s) houses Bedford's register office and a number of other offices and businesses.
There are a few other smaller businesses and facilities located in Brickhill, most notably a veterinary clinic, located on Linnet Way and the Charles Wells pub called The Pheasant, located on Avon Drive.
The Woodlands Park housing estate is currently an entirely residential development, though plans for a shop were included in the planning brief for the area. The older persons residential schemes 'Anjulita Court' and 'Ladyslaude Court' are located on Bramley Way in the area.
There are four state schools in Brickhill - Brickhill Lower School which is on Dove Road, and Scott Lower School plus Beauchamp Middle School which are located on Hawk Drive. St Thomas More Catholic School is a Roman Catholic secondary school located on Tyne Crescent. For upper school education, most of Brickhill is in the catchment of Biddenham International School, the remainder is in the catchment of Mark Rutherford School. St Thomas More School does not have a catchment area as it is a Roman Catholic school.
- Brickhill Baptist Church, located on Brickhill Drive
- St Phillip & St James Roman Catholic Church, located on Linnet Way
- St Marks Church of England and Methodist Church, located on Calder Rise, just off Avon Drive
- Noah's Ark Church hold Sunday services at Brickhill Community Centre
- Agape for All Nations Ministries International also hold Sunday services at Brickhill Community Centre
Brickhill's community centre is located at the Avon Drive shopping parade, as well as a recycling point. There is another recycling point on Brickhill Drive. There are a number of post boxes and telephone boxes throughout the area and a main bus route into Bedford town centre runs through Brickhill.
Brickhill has a comparatively high number of open spaces and children's play-parks, including Freeman's Common (situated between Linnet Way and Avon Drive). There is also a large area of allotments located off Brickhill Drive. In the Woodlands Park area there is also playing fields and sports changing facilities.
- Neighbourhood Statistics. "Neighbourhood Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- "Brickhill’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations". Brickhill Parish Council. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
- Doug Alcock. "'The Housing Boom and Bedford Corporation (1950 to 1973)'". Putnoe.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- Brickhill timeline[dead link]
- http://www.brickhillparishcouncil.gov.uk/ 'Brickhill Parish Council - welcome'
- "Bedfordshire Local News, Local News Headlines in Bedford | Bedfordshire Newspaper Online | Shop owner fearful of Tesco's 'Bird' plan". Bedfordshire-news.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
- "Bedfordshire Local News, Local News Headlines in Bedford | Bedfordshire Newspaper Online | Voters reject plans for new Tesco outlet by overwhelming majority". Bedfordshire-news.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
- "'Brickhill Parish Councillors'". Brickhillparishcouncil.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- "'Brickhill Borough Councillors'". Brickhillparishcouncil.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- "The Pheasant Pub". Charleswells.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- http://www.brickhilllowerschool.co.uk/ Brickhill Lower School
- http://www.scott.beds.sch.uk/ Scott Lower School
- http://www.beauchampschool.co.uk/ Beauchamp Middle School
- http://www.st-thomasmore.org.uk/ St Thomas More Upper School
- "'Bedfordshire School Catchment Areas'". Bedford.gov.uk. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
- http://www.pilgrims-school.info/ Pilgrims Pre-Preparatory School
- http://www.brickhillbaptistchurch.org/ Brickhill Baptist Church
- http://www.thisischurch.com/ St Marks Church
- http://noahsark-church.org/ Noah's Ark Church
- http://www.agapeforallnations.com/satellites/uk/england/zone7/area15/bedford/ Agape for All Nations Ministries International
- "Brickhill Community Centre". Bedford.gov.uk. 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2012-08-10.