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Peterborough Advertiser Founded

1854

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The Peterborough Advertiser was first printed in 1854, which makes it the oldest Peterborough newspaper. Peterborough news had been covered in the Stamford Mercury since the eighteenth century, but this was the first newspaper dedicated to the residents of Peterborough. First published in May of that year as a monthly paper, it was later published twice-weekly. It was merged with the Peterborough Citizen in 1946 to become the Peterborough Citizen and Advertiser.





Last Public Flogging

1819

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Benjamin Ayres and John Wyles were both convicted of stealing malt from Edward Hall of Wansford on 21st April at the Peterborough sessions.  John Wyles was given three months imprisonment, but Benjamin Ayres, having previously been employed by Mr Hall, received three months imprisonment and was to be publicly whipped once. An account from 90-year-old Thomas White Holdich in the Peterborough Advertiser in March 1899 recounted his memories of, amongst other things, whipping or flogging in the market place. Mr Holdich claimed that the prisoner would have has hands and feet tied behind him, whilst he was pulled behind a cart, forcing him to kneel. The gaol keeper would climb onto the cart with a cat-o'-nine tails and would whip the prisoner at around 30 second intervals as they travelled around the market place.





Quaker Meeting in Peterborough

1859

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Tuesday, 13th September 1859 the Peterborough Advertiser reported a Quaker Meeting in Peterborough. From that date there were infrequent, spasmodic attempts to establish Quaker Meetings in and around Peterborough.





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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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Werrington Windmill: Sails Lost in a Storm

1912

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A mill on this site was possibly mentioned in the Doomsday book and later there is a mention of Werrington Mill in 1291. A new mill was erected about 1835 replacing a previous mill which burnt down. The original mill and its successors were wind driven; steam power was installed later. In 1912 a serious misfortune befell the mill when a pair of sails was blown off in a storm, the sails crashed through the stone boundary wall of the mill property. In 1920 the sail-less cupola was removed as it was considered dangerous. Today the mill survives as part of a private house, just off Lincoln Road, in a cul-de-sac called Sharma Leas. The cupola, on the top, was replaced in 1991 but there are no sails.

There is an interesting aside about Werrington Mill; in 1958 it was reported in The Peterborough Citizen and Advertiser that, "Post Office officials are reported to be searching for 'a village called Werrington which has a windmill'. The search began when a letter from Iowa, USA was delivered at the offices of Broadwoodwidger Urban Council, Devon. Inside was a drawing of an old mill with the caption 'The old windmill of Werrington, England, was leased in 1664 for 1094 years, It must be preserved at least until 2758'. The accompanying letter, from a Mr Wayne Harbour asked if this was correct. The Chairman of the Urban Council, Mr F Stanbury, has told the GPO that no such building has ever existed in his district, so the search is to be extended to Peterborough and Stoke-on-Trent. We can save the GPO further trouble. The Werrington is 'our' Werrington, where a mill appears to have been in existence since the reign of Richard 1; records tell of a mill and a court there in 1291, a matter of 667 years ago." Just why this letter was sent from America with a copy of the lease & photo of the mill seems a mystery. ( Rita McKenzie)

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Opening of Peterborough’s Library

1906

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Though a free public library had been open in the city since 1893, it was realised that a purpose-built library was required. Negotiations occurred in August, 1903 between the Mayor, George Keeble JP, and Andrew Carnegie, the Scots-American steel magnate, millionaire and philanthropist, which resulted in the latter contributing the “handsome sum” of £6000 towards a new, central library. A newspaper report stated that the new library “will almost certainly be built on the ‘Stanley’ property.” This could be a reference to a piece of land owned by William Proctor Stanley, a local businessman. The new building on Broadway was opened on May 29th.1906 by Andrew Carnegie, who was later entertained to lunch by the Mayor, Thomas C Lamplugh JP in “the spacious upper room” of the library. Carnegie was also given the Freedom of the City of Peterborough; the first person to receive that particular honour. In turn, the 1906 library was superseded by the current premises which opened on July 2nd. 1990. References: Peterborough Standard, August 1903; Peterborough Standard, June 1906; Peterborough Advertiser, June 1906.





Reredos for Newfoundland

1923

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In the 11th May 1923 edition of the Peterborough Advertiser was an article entitled ‘Peterborough Reredos for Newfoundland’. Referring to a photograph, it said, ‘This is little more than half of a very beautiful Stone Reredos for the Cathedral of St John’s Newfoundland, executed at Peterborough by Messrs John Thompson and Co. The article continued ‘The reredos is 26ft in length and 14ft 6in high combining the Gothic and Byzantine styles. It is of Auchinheath white Scottish stone and the Sculptured figures in Peasonhurst stone and depict left to right Theodore (Archbishop of Canterbury 668 to 690), St David, St Michael, Our Lord St George, St Andrew and St Patrick’. The design was that of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who later designed the red telephone box and the Battersea Power Station (of Pink Floyd L.P. cover fame). Note: A reredos is an ornamental screen covering the wall at the back of an altar.





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Cycling Club Formed

1874

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The Peterborough Cycling Club was formed by amalgamating the Amateur Cycling Club and the Tricycle Club in 1874,  it is the oldest continuously active cycling club in the country. Mr Robert (Bob) Julyan and his father George Langham Julyan being two of the founder members. The first meeting was held at George’s outfitter’s shop in Bridge Street. By 1878 they adopted a dark blue uniform, and helmets. In 1879 the captain, Mr Gardner, spoke of the report of ‘Their noisy behaviour while passing through villages causing the club to be ridiculed and looked down upon’. Mr C Buckle added the great desideratum of the club was a racing track which would pay for itself in two years and enable the club to hold the finest matches and race meetings for miles around. Councillor Taylor spoke of the outcry against bicycle riding, ‘It is said cycles are dangerous to the men that ride them and dangerous to the general-public.’ Mr Gardner believed the risk of accidents over-rated as he had that year ridden 900 miles without mishap. The cyclists would ride various distances from a 100-yards slow race to fifty plus miles. In 1888 they rode a fifty-mile handicap which was open to the members on any machine including tandems. Mr G Neale and R Julyan were allowed twenty-minutes start on Safety bicycles.   References: 1.Peterborough Standard, 25/01/1935 2.Peterborough Advertiser, 08/03/1955 3. Peterborough Standard, 30/03/1878 4. Peterborough Standard, 21/01/1888    





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Peterborough Free Library Opens

1893

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Dr. Thomas J Walker, a prominent local member of the medical profession, was instrumental in persuading the City Council to establish a Public Library. As a consequence, the Peterborough Free Library opened on April 10th 1893 in the Fitzwilliam Hall, Park Road. The Hall began life in 1872 as a venue for entertainment, and later became known as “The Empire”. It was sited just north of the present Central Library. Applications for membership could be made on the opening day, but the first books were not actually issued until the following Thursday. Membership application was slow to begin with – apparently the opening of the library was not very well advertised in the local press. The first librarian was Mr. L Stanley Jastrzebski, who later became President of the Library Association. The library contained two sections; one for adults and one for children. The Dewey system of classification was adopted from the onset for cataloguing the books. (Mr. Melvill Dewey was Director of New York State Library.) This library was replaced in 1906 by a purpose-built library funded by the Scots-American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. References:
  1. Peterborough Standard, April 1893.
2. Peterborough Standard, August 1903. 3. Peterborough Standard, June 1906 4. Peterborough Advertiser, April 1893. 5. Peterborough Advertiser, June 1906.  





Laying of the Corner Stone

1884

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In the Peterborough Advertiser of 17th March 1933 was an article about the retirement of Mr Samuel Bird. He had worked for nearly 60 years for the Peterborough Building Contractor John Thompson. Mr Bird was interviewed by the newspaper at the age of 77. He was interviewed in his office situated in the extensive yards at the Thompson business premises in Cromwell Road. On 1st January 1883, Mr Bird took charge of the rebuilding of the Central Tower of Peterborough Minster. The work was so complex it took a total of ten years to complete. Mr Bird had vivid memories of the laying of the corner stone of the north east pier of the tower on 7th May 1884. He recalled that the chief stone was laid by the Earl of Carnarvon in the name  of H.R.H Prince Albert Edward of Wales. Mr Bird remarked ‘copies of the Advertiser and The Times together with current coins of the realm, from £1 to a silver penny, new from the mint, were placed beneath the stone. Mr James T. Irvine was the clever Architects clerk of the Works at the time’. This time capsule, presumably the first Peterborough time capsule, is still in place. After the ceremony a tea was arranged for people associated with the works. The image associated with this story is an admittance slip for the tea party.  





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