The Great Eastern Soldier’s and Sailor’s Rest Room opened on Christmas Eve 1915 at Peterborough East Railway Station. The rooms were managed by the Women’s United Total Abstinence Council (WUTAC), supporters of the temperance movement popular at that time.
During the first nine days alone, 321 servicemen called at the tea room. They were given food, drink and an opportunity to rest in comfort whilst waiting for their trains to and from the front. The ladies who managed the tea room encouraged the men to write in the visitors’ books, only two of which have survived from 1916 and 1917.
There are over 590 signatures in the books that reveal the servicemen came from across the United Kingdom and as far away as Australia. They wrote messages of gratitude, poetry and drew pictures expressing their appreciation for the service that the ladies were providing. These two slim volumes provide a brief insight into the thoughts and feelings of the men transiting through the city during the Great War.
The books have been digitised and transcribed and the servicemen’s personal histories researched in an effort to tell their story and trace their families.
On Thursday the 6th of August 1914, just after the outbreak of World War I, a crowd gathered outside the Westgate butcher shop owned by the German Frederick Frank, shouting insults and singing patriotic songs. The next day, Friday 7th August things turned nastier and stones were thrown, breaking the shop windows. This developed into a riot and the shop was badly damaged and its stock scattered. The Chief Constable rang the mayor, Sir Richard Winfrey, who arrived on his bicycle and read the Riot Act. The police were assisted by the Northampton Yeomanry in restoring order. On Saturday the 8th of August the unrest continued and a public house on Long Causeway, the Salmon and Compass was attacked.
Following this trouble 24 men were brought before the magistrates, 3 were jailed, others were fined, bound over to keep the peace or recruited into the armed forces.
The Memorial Hospital was opened by Field Marshal Sir William Robertson in 1928, as a memorial to those of the city and the 6th Northamptonshire Regiment who died in the First World War, it replaced the Peterborough Infirmary; the building that had housed the infirmary becoming Peterborough Museum.
When the Memorial Hospital opened it had six wards in three blocks: separate male and female surgical and medical wards, an accident ward and a children's ward. It had 150 beds, two operating theatres, a radiology department, a small casualty department, and outpatients, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy departments. A separate hospital at Fengate was used to treat infectious diseases.
The Memorial hospital was transferred to the newly formed National Health Service in 1948.
The Great Eastern Soldier’s and Sailor’s Rest Room opened on Christmas…
On Thursday the 6th of August 1914, just after the outbreak of World War I,…
The Memorial Hospital was opened by Field Marshal Sir William Robertso…