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Andrew Percival Arrives in Peterborough



Andrew Percival came to Peterborough from Northampton to start his professional career. He went on to become a prominent citizen and he has left us a unique record of the transformation of Peterborough in the 19th century, his "Notes on Old Peterborough". When he arrived the population was 6,000. There were no railways; no cars; no gas; the bridge was a “shabby, ramshackle concern”. There were toll booths all round the town; barges were found in great abundance on the Nene; there were two large breweries in the centre of town; the hospital was a private house; sedan chairs flourished; Whittlesey Mere was “charming for skating”; Long Causeway was a smelly cattle market.


Last Use of the Sedan Chair



Peterborough was one of the last places in the country using sedan chairs for transport around the city, as described by Andrew Percival in his 'Notes on Old Peterborough'.

The New Lead-Free Cathedral Font Christened



According to the Cathedral registers, the font in the church was pulled down by Cromwellian troops. The registers state that it was 'puld downe, and the lead taken out of it by Cromwell's Souldyers.' A new font was ready for its first christening by November 1660. The first child to use the font was a girl named Hellen Austin on 7th November 1660. An elaborately carved font dating from the 13th century was rediscovered in 1820 in a canon's garden. It was unclear how long it had been in the garden and could possibly have been the one pulled down by Cromwell's soldiers. The lead in reference might have been an inner lining to the font. Knowing what we now do about lead, Hellen was lucky to to be the first child not to have a lead-lined christening.
W.D. Sweeting, Historical and Architectural Notes on the Parish Churches in and around Peterborough, (Whittaker and Co, 1868)
Photo credit:
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © J.Hannan-Briggs -