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Food Machinery Company Moves to Peterborough

1904

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In 1904 Werner Pfleiderer and Perkins established a new factory close to the railway on Westwood Bridge Road (now Westfield Road). The factory was built to manufacture bakery and chemical machinery. They relocated from London to make use of the excellent transport links, which still draw companies to Peterborough today. A further tranche of employees relocated from the Willesden factory in 1933. This was a strong move and the company grew to be one of the most respected suppliers of specialist process equipment worldwide. The company went on to become Baker Perkins and later Perkins Engines. Throughout the 20th century Baker Perkins was a major Peterborough employer. Anyone who can recall the 'Perkins Fortnight' will remember how quiet the city was whilst Perkins employees were on holiday! The business moved to its current state of the art facility beside Paston Parkway in 1991. The previous site in Westwood was demolished and Peterborough Prison now occupies the site, although some listed buildings remain. It has the capacity to produce 500,000 engines per year and around 2,500 people are employed there. The Peterborough factory is part of a network of factories, which are located as far away as America and Singapore.





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Image of people using the Bishops Gardens

1902-1910

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The Bishops Gardens, just to the South of the Cathedral show a young family walking through them.The buildings which appear to be part of the gardens are now separated from them. This is where the water fountain dedicated to Henry Spencer Gates, Peterborough’s first Mayor was moved to from the Old Market Square. From an original postcard. Publisher Wrench, from the Keith Gill Collection.





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Image of a Boy by a Pond, Thorpe Village

1902-1910

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A view of a young boy sitting on the edge of the pond in Thorpe Village near Peterborough. Now known as Longthorpe. This image has been produced from an original postcard of the time. Publisher Wrench, from the Keith Gill Collection.      





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Peter Brotherhood Comes to Peterborough

1907

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The firm was founded in London in 1867 by Peter Brotherhood, an engineer. In the early days it mainly produced equipment for the brewery industry but in 1872, Peter Brotherhood invented a three cylinder, radial engine. This led to them making turbines, pumps and steering gear for ships, and even torpedoes and so massively diversifying the business. They were originally based in London but in 1907 the company was brought to Peterborough by Peter’s brother Stanley and occupied a 20 acre site on Lincoln Road, which now houses the Brotherhood Retail Park. The company played a large part in the war efforts in the twentieth century.





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Image of Narrow Street

1902-1910

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Narrow street led from Cathedral Square past the current Town Hall to Broad Street which started near the current road crossing near TK Max. Narrow street was deemed to be far too narrow to cope with the increased traffic levels and the continuing expansion of Peterborough as an industrial city. All of the buildings on the left hand side were demolished to widen the street. As a result many old and historic buildings were lost. This image has been produced from an original postcard of the time. Publisher unknown, from the Jacqui Catling Collection.    





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Image of the Old Market Square

1902-1910

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The memorial fountain to Peterborough’s first Mayor, Henry Pearson Gates is clearly visible with the Cathedral in the background. Many of the buildings on the right hand side were removed in the 1930’s to widen Narrow Street. One of the new trams is also in the scene. This image has been produced from an original postcard of the time. Publisher Unknown, from the Keith Gill Collection.  





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Image of the River Nene & Broad Street

1902-1910

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This is a view of the River Nene looking north along Broad Street which led to Narrow Street. At this time Peterborough was an inland port receiving barges from the coast via Wisbech and Kings Lynn. The old iron bridge is clearly visible and the Customs House, which is out of view is still on the right hand side. On the left hand side today are flats and The Rivergate Centre. This image has been produced from an original postcard of the time. Publisher unknown, from the Jacqui Catling Collection.  





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Image of the River Nene at Sunset

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This shows a view at sunset of the River Nene near the old Customs House. The ‘old’ iron bridge, which was built in 1872, replacing a very old rickety wooden one  is in the background. This bridge was replaced in 1934 with a concrete version which also spanned the east coast railway which aided access from the south side of the river. This image has been produced from an original postcard of the time. Publisher unknown, from the Jacqui Catlin Collection.  





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Image of Thorpe Village

1902-1910

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This is an enchanting rural scene of Thorpe Village, showing a young girl watching the Postman on his rounds. Thorpe Village is now known as Longthorpe. This image has been produced from an original postcard of the time. Publisher Unknown. From the Jacqui Catling Collection  





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Mystery of the Girl in the Glass Panelled Coffin.

1906

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On Monday 21 May 1906 the body of a young lady was found in the Sheep Wash in Werrington. The day before had been cold & miserable but the girl had no coat or cloak. A hankie in her pocket had “F Arnold” inked on. Her attire would suggest she was a domestic servant. Suggested age 25 years. No one of this name was missing in Peterborough. The body was placed in a coffin at the Blue Bell, with a glass panel over her face.

As nobody knew who the girl was, her photograph was put in the national papers in the hopes someone would recognise her. At the last minute, just before the funeral service, her parents arrived and identified her as Miss Florence Arnold, she had been engaged as a maid in Nottingham. She had a sweet & even temper, but in March had slipped in the snow and hit her head on a mangle. This led to her feeling “queer” at times and displaying fits of bad temper. She decided to discharge herself. Her clothes had arrived home but not Florrie. The father wrote to her employer who confirmed Florrie’s departure. Mr Arnold went up to Nottingham and evidence convinced him, that of only two women booking onto the London train, one of these was his daughter. In which case she would have got off the train at Walton and walked up through Werrington village. Had she done so she would certainly have drawn attention. She was a tall girl with very dark hair and pale skin, but nobody saw her.

The police theory is of suicide during temporary insanity to which her father agreed.

However, the story doesn’t quite end there. Villagers reported hearing a motor car that night drive up the road in the direction of the sheep wash and returned a short while later. Several accounts were given about a car or cars. The police made strict investigations into the matter but attached little significance to the rumours.

Her parents removed her body for burial at Lakenheath. (McKenzie, R.,Werrington Local History Group Newsletter no.15)







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