Historian created wonderful slide shows

When local historian Tom Lawson died last December aged 95 he left an enormous collection of old pictures of Leighton Buzzard, Linslade and the surrounding villages.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 10th September 2011, 12:04 pm

In the 1970s and 1980s using his collection he created a series of entertaining slideshows with his own taped commentaries on the history and some of the characters of the town. His shows played to packed audiences.

He left a large part of the collection to fellow historian Maureen Brown, of the Leighton Buzzard Archaeological and Historical Society, who collaborated with him on a number of books on the locality.

Two of the shows have now been transferred by the society from the technology familiar to Tom to powerpoint presentations – but still with Tom’s inimitable commentary, recollections and anecdotes about Leighton during his long life. They will be shown by the society next Wednesday (September 14) at their monthly meeting.

Tom was born in Bedford Street, Leighton in 1916, one of seven children. He worked in the town as a hairdresser before the Second World War when he joined up and saw service in Africa.

He had a lifelong enthusiasm for Scouting and among his photographs still to be sorted and catalogued are dozens of pictures of summer camps and other gatherings.

After the war he married his sweetheart Sybil and lived in Regent Street. He was always generous to local history groups with his time and loan of photographs.

The first show of old pictures of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade, including the two above, will be shown at 8pm on Wednesday, September 14, at St Barnabas Church Hall, Linslade. All welcome, non-members £2 entrance.

Pictured here in the 1930s is the Linslade war memorial in its original position outside the Bedford Arms near the canal bridge. Due to ever-increasing traffic the memorial was moved in 1955 to the Mentmore Road Memorial Gardens.

The second picture is the Leighton windmill that once stood near Beaudesert and was painted by Thomas Fisher in 1820

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