The Harpur Trust

For over 400 years The Harpur Trust has been inspiring and supporting the people of Bedford to help them improve their lives. We want everyone to have pride in our community and to realise their own potential.
We support and promote education. We give grants to local community projects. We look after older people in our almshouses.

Celebrating 450 years as a charity for Bedford.

2016 promises to be an action packed and exciting year for Bedfordians with a host of events and initiatives being organised by The Harpur Trust to celebrate its 450th anniversary, honouring the remarkable legacy left to the people of Bedford by Sir William Harpur.

Harpur himself was born in Bedford to humble beginnings; the son of a tailor, he rose through Tudor Court circles to become Lord Mayor of London.  He bought a small piece of meadowland which he endowed to fund a small school for 30 boys in his home town of Bedford.  This land was on the outskirts of the city of London at the time but is now prime land in Holburn.  Today Harpur’s endowment is worth £78 million and the income is used to provide over £1 million in grants per year to benefit those in Bedford Borough, and a further £2.75 million a year in bursaries to help local children attend the Trust’s 4 schools. 

The celebration events all have a community focus; from a Run and Fun Day in May at Priory Country Park, to a play about Bedford’s history at Quarry Theatre.  There will be a series of events involving local schools (a writing competition with John Bunyan Museum, a major art competition culminating in a two month exhibition at The Higgins Bedford and a children’s concert by the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Corn Exchange).   The Trust has also given away 6,700 copies of local history book ‘The Bedford Chronicles’ to local school children.   Finally, the Trust is also giving away up to forty five £1000 grants for capital projects, aimed at local voluntary organisations and groups as part of its anniversary small grants programme.

More information on these events can be found at 

The Harpur Trust

The Harpur Trust


01234 369500

Bedford School, St Peters Street


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MK40 2PN

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