Bedford Bank Vault: Find out what lies beneath?


Bedford community to unearth local urban legend through the power of 3D Illusion Art in Vault Project (May 24-29)

The community of Bedford is about to benefit from a powerful piece of 3D illusion art, titled The Vault. The commission, which will be revealed on the Spring Bank Holiday, is a culmination of a wider national project working with local high streets.

Funded by Historic England, and BedfordBID, plus supported by SEMLEP and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the High Street Heritage Action Zones (HSHAZ) programme is set to unlock the potential of Bedford high street.

The aim is to boost the economic, social and cultural recovery of the area post-pandemic.

Bedford Creative Arts (BCA), on behalf of the HAZ Cultural Consortium has commissioned a world-renowned illusion artist for this upcoming project “The Vault”. BCA, working in collaboration with Blank Walls, identified international artist Julian Beever as the ideal candidate to deliver the project.

Julian will create a piece of extraordinary 3D art, allowing the people of Bedford to take a virtual look underneath the riverside bank site and discover what lies beneath. 

Based on a local urban myth that a hidden treasure – a bank vault – is still buried underneath the site, the art will depict past Bedford high street workers and shoppers who used the bank in their daily life. 

The bank provided support and expertise to the family businesses of Bedford. Through these relationships, its role became synonymous with that of caretaker of the town.

Bank site opposite Swan House (Nando’s)

To be revealed over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (11am Saturday, May 29), in line with current COVID restriction easing.  

The Bedford community are encouraged to share any stories of shopkeepers or local characters from the area to help build a rich collection of tales that will bring the high street to life and celebrate its relationship with local Bedfordians.   

The Bedford HSHAZ programme, led by Bedford Borough Council, has earmarked 43 buildings, which are eligible for funding for improvements.

The programme is designed to encourage partnerships with local organisations, building owners and occupiers to secure lasting improvements to buildings and the public realm.

The initiative aims to make the high street a more attractive place for residents to visit and shop, whilst repurposing and revitalising buildings with rich heritage into attractive and serviceable premises for new businesses to foster along with cultural activities, which will help to deliver a strong and vibrant town centre.

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