The Vault

May 2021

The Vault is a public artwork that depicts a local urban legend and celebrated Bedford High Street all through the power of 3D Illusion Art.

Artists & Associates

On behalf of the Bedford Creative Consortium, Bedford Creative Arts commissioned Julian Beaver to create a 3D Illusionary Artwork. This artwork depicts a local urban legend and celebrated Bedford High Street all through the power of 3D Illusion Art.

We commissioned a world-renowned illusion artist, Julian Beever, who created a piece of extraordinary 3D art at the site of the old bank on the High Street. The piece allowed 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 depicted 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.

The artwork was revealed over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, but the Vault Project also had a digital offering. The public could delve deeper into the stories and characters that made the unique history of Bedford’s High Street.

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

This project was funded by Historic England as part of their ‘Hi!Street’ campaign.