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Visiting the Great Exhibition



The Great Exhibition, sometimes called the Crystal Palace Exhibition due to the temporary glass building constructed to hold it, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851 organised by Prince Albert and Henry Cole. The magnificent building was designed by Joseph Paxton. It was very fashionable to visit the exhibition and due to the arrival of the railway in Peterborough, the city's inhabitants had the opportunity to attend. Day trippers could leave Peterborough at 7 a.m. on the Great Northern Railway for a visit paying 5s (25p) for a second class ticket.

Laying of the Corner Stone



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.