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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.


Record-Breaking Mallard Steams into Town



The growth of Peterborough in the nineteenth century was thanks to the arrival of the railways. It is only fitting then, that Peterborough was part of a record-breaking railway achievement. The East Coast Main Line that runs North to South through the city was the destination of the fastest speed achieved by a steam engine. The Mallard, an A4 class of steam locomotive, regularly travelled the route from London to Edinburgh. On July 3rd 1938 whilst heading south from Grantham towards Peterborough, it travelled faster than anyone could have hoped. It was being driven by the experienced driver Joe Duddington and Tommy Bray the fireman. Amazingly it achieved a top speed of 126mph (203kph). No other steam train has been able to achieve that speed. Tommy Bray was said to be 'grinning from ear to ear' when he arrived in Peterborough. (1) The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) had planned the event and knew that pushing The Mallard to achieve such high speeds was risky. They had a back up engine waiting in Peterborough North station, which was swapped with The Mallard. The train continued its journey on to London and The Mallard turned back towards Doncaster for some TLC. The Mallard is now part of the collection at the National Railway Museum in York.

St Mark’s Supportive Hankey



St Mark's Church on Lincoln Road owes its existence to the arrival of the railways. The huge influx of railway workers and their families were provided with housing by the railway companies and churches were built for each new area. St Mark's was consecrated on 26th September 1856 and completed in 1857 thanks to a £25 donation by local M.P. Mr T. Hankey. There was a ceremony to lay the first stone of the church in 1855. All the local dignitaries and school children gathered in Peterborough Cathedral to sing and listen to sermons before walking to the church. A total of £107 was raised by the congregation to pay for the building work. The first foundation stone was placed in the ground with several commemorative items. These included a glass bottle with current currency and a role of parchment naming the dignitaries and architect connected to the building. Several tools were deposited which related to the Freemasons, who we may assume, were instrumental in raising money for the building and/or construction of the building. The first vicar of St. Mark's was Rev. C. Camp/e who caused quite a commotion once by fainting during a sermon. The organ was installed in 1858 and was built by Messrs. Bryceson and Son, of London. In 1957, to mark the centenary of the church, a new hall was added to the building. Photo credit: St Mark's Church, Lincoln Road, Peterborough cc-by-sa/2.0 - © JThomas -