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Stegosaurus

150 million years ago

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While marine reptiles swam in the Jurassic seas, dinosaurs roamed the land. Where Peterborough is today was under the Jurassic seas, so dinosaur bones are rarely found. Some however may have washed down to the coast. These bones thought to belong to a Stegosaurus where found in the Fletton brick pits.  Stegosaurus was a large, plant-eating dinosaur that had two rows of bony plates along its back that end with a double pair of spikes.





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A Fox Hunt Through the City

1843

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One plucky fox garnered its own special mention in the Cambridge Chronicle and Journal in 1843. The paper recounted how a fox hunt had started in Norwood, which was open country between Paston and Eye, and from there took a remarkable journey. The riders and dogs chased the fox from Norwood to Fengate and then to Boongate. From there the fox fled into the cathedral grounds, but finding no salvation, continued on to Bridge Street. It hurried along Bridge Street, crossing over the bridge to Fletton, where it tried to hide in the parsonage of Rev. Edward Theed. Sadly, there was no one home, so the fox was flushed out and the chase was over. It's thought that between 200 and 300 people were there to see the spectacular chase. Cambridge Chronicle and Journal, November 1843





The London Brick Company

1877

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Peterborough benefitted from a type of clay that provided an ideal raw material for brick making – first exploited by the Romans, abandoned after they left and again revived in the 1400’s by local craftspeople who created the material for building locally. In 1877 James McCallum Craig bought a property at auction near Peterborough, known as Fletton Lodge. He decided that the site was ideal for local brick making and started a small company. When excavation of the surface clay at Fletton began, a much harder clay was found deeper down, the unique Lower Oxford Clay. It was locally known as the ‘Fletton’ because of its original place of manufacture, but its main market was in London, transported there on the Peterborough to London rail line, so giving the name London Brick. The end of the First World War in 1918 brought a huge demand for London Bricks to fulfil the massive increase in house building and in the late 1920s there was an amalgamation of several small companies into a larger, more efficient company, London Brick. By 1931, 1,000 million bricks a year were being produced. After World War II there was another building boom and this increased the success of the company; demand for bricks far outstripped supply and by the early 1950s many workers were being recruited from as far afield as Italy to satisfy the need for London Bricks.





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‘Welcome’ to the Suffragettes!

1912

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The Great Pilgrimage was a march in Britain by suffragists campaigning non-violently for women's suffrage, organised by the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).  The march finished at Hyde Park in London and women (50 000 of them) came from all around England and Wales. When the Great Pilgrimage reached Peterborough in November 1912 their welcome was not very warm! The suffragettes had planned a meeting in the Stanley Recreation Ground, even though the Chief Constable of the City had advised them to hire a hall; his advice proved wise as the meeting was stormed by young men who threw eggs and did not allow anyone to speak. The suffragettes were chased back to their headquarters at the Bedford Hotel. Mrs Fordham of Fletton Avenue, the honorary secretary of the Peterborough Branch of the Women's Social and Political Union was quoted in the Peterborough Advertiser of 16 November 2012 saying, " I am thoroughly ashamed of Peterborough boys. It was not full grown and sensible citizens who rushed our meeting, threw rotten eggs and endangered life; it was not the college boys either, but two or three hundred schoolboys of about fourteen years of age. And these are the young hopefuls who are to be given a voice in the government of their imperial motherland, so soon as they reach the mature age of twenty one, while women, however educated, sensible, wise, sedate, however wealthy in property, however hard they have to work for their living in factory, shop and home, are denied that elemental right of citizenship".





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Suffragettes Plant a ‘Bomb’

1913

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On Monday 21 April 1913 Mr William Cowling of New Fletton discovered a brown paper parcel under the Oundle Road Railway Bridge. On the parcel was a pasted label saying, 'Votes for Women. Handle With Care. Votes For Women', there was also a Sufferage Society badge pinned on it. Mr Cowling, unsurprisingly, handed it into the police! When it was opened it was found to contain a square tin box with a hole in the lid with a wick protruding. Inside the box were partially burned bits of brown paper and pieces of brick, sugar and sawdust. This was harmless (unlike some suffragette acts in other areas) but it did alarm the authorities that such an item could be placed under an important railway bridge with such ease and without exciting suspicion. The perpetrator was never caught.





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Fletton Church Fascinations

c.800

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St Margaret's Church in Fletton was identified in the Domesday Book of 1086, but some of its features are considerably older. Safely protected inside the church are Anglo-Saxon carvings, presumed to be 8th or 9th Century, consisting of a frieze and two separate figures. The frieze contains images of saints, angels and mythical beasts, set amongst typical Anglo-Saxon woven designs. The images are thought to be of St. Michael and an Evangelist. All of the stonework is a light pink colour suggesting that it was once in a fire. One theory is that they had been moved from Peterborough Abbey during the great fire of 1116. Another feature of the church is a large cross in the churchyard which may have Anglo-Saxon origins. The cross has had several additions and alterations and contains a rather peculiar Latin inscription at its base.
Access
The cross can be easily accessed in the churchyard, but the internal features can only be viewed when the church is open. Photo credit: St Margaret's Church, Old Fletton, Peterborough cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Julian Dowse - geograph.org.uk/p/147475





Founding of Peterborough United

1934

Information

Peterborough United football club was formed on 17th May 1934 at a meeting at the Angel hotel. The new club filled the void left for a senior club by the demise of Peterborough & Fletton United football club in October 1932. They were known as the 'Brickies'. The meeting was played out in the local press where it claimed there was standing room only. It was an 'enthusiastic' meeting where they 'unanimously agreed to form a fresh club'. They were intending to apply to join the Midland League, but if unsuccessful, their second option was the Central Combination. Thankfully, they were accepted into the Midland League with a £20 deposit, which was returned to them with they left the league in 1960. Shares in the company, it was agreed, would be sold for 5 shillings each. 50 or 60 shares were sold that evening, but an unlimited number would be available.
References
Friday 25th May 1934, Market Harborough and Midland Mail, p3, Col 2 https://www.theposh.com/club/club-history/