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Saturday Night Riot

Posted on: February 28th, 2019 by Sue

‘ Disgraceful scenes: Police hustled in the execution of their duty: Butcher’s stall wrecked: Hostile demonstration against a city constable’, read the headlines on this day. This trouble was caused by the arrest of George Dyer, a Fletton labourer, who was alleged to have been drunk in Long Causeway this Saturday night. When he threw a punch at PC Stevenson they ended up struggling on the ground – perhaps not unusual on a Saturday night. However, the crowd ganged up on the side of Dyer; a mob developed, market stalls were upended and the contents of a fresh meat stall vanished ‘as if by magic’. Peterborough city centre came to a riotous standstill and trams into the ‘suburbs’ were being held up. PC Stevenson commandeered Mr Gaunt’s shop – already the refuge of a number of ladies – got himself and Dyer inside and then bolted the door. With mob law continuing, more police arrived and managed to keep a space between the mob and the shop. After about an hour, a butcher’s open cart was brought to the shop and Dyer bundled in. There was then a horse-drawn race through the crowds until they finally got to the police station. Dyer came up for trial on 25 August. (Peterborough Express; Peterborough Local History  Society Magazine)

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