A simple event on this day had repercussions for the Great Northern Railway Hotel, then rented from the railway company for £1,500 a year by a Mr George Wilkins. It began when the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) stopped at Peterborough. The next day, the Daily Telegraph told of the prince's journey from Leeds to London - commenting that the party had stopped at Peterborough, 'where the prince alighted and took some refreshment. It is to be hoped that the soup served him was not the horrible puree of horse-beans which is retailed at that station at one shilling a plate to her Majesty's lieges'. Wilkins was understandably upset and wrote to the editor confirming that tea and other articles had been provided for the royal party, but that the prince had asked for something more substantial. He was served a soup retailed at the station and, after partaking of it, asked for seconds. On 8 August, the Telegraph responded with a paragraph headed 'Railway Refreshments at Peterborough' that reassured its readers that 'Mr Wilkins, the keeper of the refreshment rooms requests us to state that the soup which he sells at one shilling a plate is not made from horse-beans, as surmised by our reporter who tasted it on the way from Halifax'. (Peterborough Local History Society Magazine)
Taken from The Peterborough Book of Days by Brian Jones, The History Press, 2014.