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More Unrest in Westgate

Posted on: July 11th, 2018 by Sue

This evening it was obvious that undercurrents from yesterday’s troubles remained. A crowd of between 400 and 500 were in Westgate by 8 p.m, and it was evident that some there were bent on serious mischief. It didn’t take long before stones, bottles and other missiles began to be thrown at the plate-glass windows of the shop and, as they crashed through, the crowd cheered, some singing snatches of ‘Rule Britannia’. The police were outnumbered and powerless; there was no stopping the crowd. The glass from the shattered shop windows lay over the sausages, pork pies and other goods that were ready for the Saturday shoppers. By 10 p.m., the situation was so menacing that the chief constable went for the assistance of the Northants Yeomanry, who were quartered in the Corn Exchange awaiting orders. Mayor Winfrey read the Riot Act to the assembled mob as upwards of 100 Yeomanry arrived, with a few on horseback. By steady pressure, and what was described as ‘great forbearance’, the crowd was gradually forced back, but it was not until midnight that the streets were finally cleared. Meanwhile a section of the crowd had headed off to Mr Frank’s house in Fletton Avenue, which they treated in much the same way. (Peterborough Citizen and Advertiser, Peterborough Express)

Taken from The Peterborough Book of Days by Brian Jones, The History Press, 2014.