Current Events - Speaker Season

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Coronavirus pandemic - we are back we hope!

Please wear a face mask as recommended under the current Governemnt Covid safety guidelines regarding crowded and enclosed areas, where you come into contact with other people.

All being well our talks will now be held back at our usual venue of St Marks Church Hall, Lincoln Road, PE1 2SN, to which NON-MEMBERS are welcome to attend. But please be aware that we rely entirely on subscriptions and voluntary contributions to cover our expenses. We therefore request that a donation of at least £3.00 is made for each non-member attendance at the meeting, or instead the non-member can join while at the meeting. Details of our subscription rates are on our Join Us page.

Your membership and subscription will help support the Society in its work, and the larger our membership the greater our voice and influence.
If you would like an active role then please contact any of the committee via the Contact Us page.


Speaker season

13 December 2021 7.30pm - Yule Logs and Boy Bishops, a look at Medideval Christmas Customs

with Chris Carr, Briga and friends

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This is an appropriately seasonal look at medieval Christmas customs brought to us by Briga and friends, a local group whose motto is “bringing history to life”. They have been operating for over ten years, offering talks and workshops in settings ranging from the pre-Roman era, through the Roman, medieval, and Tudor periods and including some more modern themes.

Briga and friends are led by Chris Carr. Chris has an MA in Classical Studies and has also studied medieval and renaissance history at undergraduate level. His particular area of interest is social history: how ordinary folk lived, what they wore and ate, how they kept clean and healthy, and how the major events of history changed their lives. He is a member of the Medieval Sokemen (a Peterborough-based living history group specialising in medieval and Tudor history) and a founder member of The Longthorpe Legion, who re-enact the life of the IX Legion and aim to portray the wider effects of the Romans’ arrival in Britain, appearing regularly at the Peterborough Heritage Festival.

 

10 January 2022 7.30pm - our Annual General Meeting followed by - Peterborough Bridges with Brian Keegan

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From our viewpoint, “crossing the river” is a simple enough exercise and we may hardly notice the bridges as we cruise at full speed along the Parkways. However, for most of Peterborough’s history river crossings were anything but simple, often involving long detours, and then wading through fords, paying for ferries, or entrusting one’s life to primitive bridges of dubious strength.

Over the centuries the bridge builders grew in confidence, so that the resulting structures could be not just useful but also elegant, as with Milton Bridge. During the past two hundred years, iron, steel, and concrete have allowed engineers to construct new crossings on a scale beyond the dreams of our ancestors so that, including footbridges, there are now eighteen river bridges in place between Wansford and Dog-in-a-Doublet, with one more in prospect. In addition, Peterborough has literally hundreds of other bridges over roads, railways, and minor watercourses.
 

Brian Keegan, former county councillor and long-term active citizen, will be our guide amongst this profusion of local bridges, highlighting the features that are of special interest. Brian is a civil engineer by profession and was for some years the structural engineer responsible for most of the city’s bridges while working for the City Council.

 

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14 February 2022 7.30pm - John Clare Countryside: Enhancing Peterborough's Rural, Natural and Built Heritage
Our speaker is Richard Astle.

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14 March 2022 7.30pm - The Stamford Canal - the earliest canal in England
Our speaker is Ken Otter.

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11 April 2022 7.30pm - Developments at Peterborough Cathedral
Our speaker is Stephen Oliver, Architect to the Cathedral.

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9 May 2022 7.30pm - A Peterborough university update
Our speaker is Mahmood Faroughi, Responsible Officer for Higher Education at the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.

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Completed talks

13 September 2021 7.30pm - Peterborough Exciting Developments 2021

with Tom Hennessy, Director, Opportunity Peterborough

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Opportunity Peterborough (OP) is the private not-for-profit company wholly owned by the City Council that, since 2010, has been charged with leading the city’s economic development and inward investment activity. This involves marketing Peterborough and working with incoming businesses to make their arrival here as smooth as possible, but also supporting the growth and development of existing local companies.

OP’s highly professional website sets out the many factors that continue to drive our city’s growth, but positive outcomes cannot be taken for granted and need to be nurtured. We have seen high-profile losses, such as Thomas Cook and John Lewis, as well as many gains, while much modern office space that could have provided job opportunities is also being lost through flat conversions.

Where then should Peterborough’s future economic growth be sought? OP lists six high performing sectors – advanced engineering and manufacturing, agritech, food and drink, digital and creative, energy and environment, and financial services – as being our city’s areas of strength. The creation of our own university campus and the refreshing of many of our public facilities through the Towns Fund programme should also help OP to attract new private investment.

In this talk, Tom Hennessy will outline for us OP’s vision and strategy. Tom joined OP in 2014 and became its Director three years’ ago. He also serves as a director of City Culture Peterborough and as a governor of City College. His educational attainments include an MBA from the University of Plymouth and an MSc in Development Management from the Open University.

 

11 October 2021 7.30pm - Cambridgeshire Historic Churches in the Peterborough area and the work of the Trust

with David Stazicker, Trustee of the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust

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The main aim of the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust is to provide financial assistance to the parishes of Cambridgeshire, when they undertake repair projects affecting the fabric, fixtures, furniture and ornaments of their historic churches and chapels.

Buildings belonging to any Christian denomination are eligible, provided they are likely to remain in use for public worship and be properly maintained for the foreseeable future. Grants and loans are available for the repair of an eligible building and its building services, including rewiring and heating projects.

Since its formation in 1983, the Trust has provided parishes with £3 million in concessionary loans and over £1 million in grants. The Trust also seeks to promote interest in the heritage of these places of worship and the central place they play in local communities.

Our speaker, David Stazicker, has served as a trustee of the Trust since 2016. He lives in the county, at Mepal, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

 

8 November 2021 7.30pm - D'Arcy Jewellers, Peterborough's Oldest Shop with David D'Arcy

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Many members of the Society will have been saddened to learn of the closure of D’Arcy’s jewellers at no.7 Westgate on August 28th after a trading history of 166 years. As the oldest shop in Peterborough with a distinctive and historic frontage, it had a unique place in Peterborough’s commercial heritage.

There has been a building on the site at least from 1791 and quite possibly earlier, with the jewellers’ shop first being established by Walter Sawyer in 1855. In December 1923, Mr Sawyer rented the property and business to Jack D'Arcy, who had trained as a jeweller in Yorkshire. Since then, four generations of the D’Arcy family have been involved in the management and operation of the shop, which also served in the early days as the family home.

Jack D’Arcy was very involved in the public life of the city, serving as president of both the Chamber of Trade and City Rotary Club. The family has also had a long association with the Society, including taking part in our recent Heritage Open Days two weeks after the closure of the shop

So, until this year, J.W. D'Arcy, remained a family owned and run business, committed to the highest standards of customer service and expertise. Sadly, changing consumer preferences have now brought about the shop’s closure, but we will be privileged to hear about its long history as Peterborough’s premier jewellers, as told by David D’Arcy, of the fourth generation, who has himself served as a director of the business.


Previous speakers from past years

Our previous speakers and their subjects can be found here.


Summer visits 2021 - now concluded

The arrangements for each of our visits will comply with Covid 19 regulations in force at the time. Only members can book so for obvious reasons only part of the information is shown below. It is not too late for you to join the Society when full details will then be released to you to enable you to book. Should it be necessary for any to be cancelled, then refund of the booking fee will be made without delay.

For details on our very modest subscription rates and how to join please visit our Join Us page. The larger our membership the more influence we can bring over matters of concern.

  
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Fletton Quays and the Embankment - July - cost £12.00 per person

This tour is now fully booked.

A walking tour of the area led by members of the committee taking in the various aspects of housing, commercial and hotel development in Fletton Quays. Tour includes four of our blue plaques and the re-installed Mitchell bas-relief and possibly the outstanding repurposing of the Victorian former engine shed. Afternoon tea will be provided.

Toby Wood's photo presentation contrasting the old and new faces of this part of the city was circulated in advance to those attendees on email, and this is available for download.

Local author and railway historian Peter Waszak gave a presentation about the Engine Shed. Peter wrote an article for Peterborough Local History Society magazine about history of the building, which he has kindly made available to us and is available for download.

The following plaques (available on this website) were seen, our original Victorian Railway Engine Shed from 2009, see photo of the building taken at that time when in a very run down condition, and our new blue plaque to the Engine Shed and our plaque to the site of the former East Station.

  
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Picturesque Peakirk - August - cost £12.00 per person

This tour is now fully booked.

A get-yourself-there trip with parking at the Village Hall.

Trish Roberts will give a talk about the history of the church and village, followed by a talk from Dr Avril Lumley-Prior about the famous wall paintings. Then a scrumptious home baked tea followed by walk led by Dr Lumley-Prior around the tight medieval core of the village.

Peakirk Archaeological Survey Team may try to coincide the visit with an archaeological test pit and display on the village green. We will also be able to visit an engineering museum, not normally open to the public. St. Pega’s Church has recently lost its lead roof due to thieves, thus threatening its precious wall paintings. Our visit will give the Society an opportunity to contribute to safeguarding both church and paintings for future generations.

  
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The Shuttleworth Estates - aircraft, gardens & heritage - September - £36.00 per person

Another get-yourself-there trip with ample parking on site

The Shuttleworth Estate contains three separate attractions:

  • The famous Collection of sixty veteran and vintage aircraft (1909–1960) and other transport items.
  • The Swiss Garden, an outstanding example of the Regency fashion for creating landscapes in a picturesque alpine style.
  • Shuttleworth House, a grade II* listed mansion, built for the Shuttleworth family in 1875 and set in attractive parkland.

In the morning we will receive an overview of the Shuttleworth story with coffee and tea. Then a selfguided entry for the whole day to all three parts of the site. The Aircraft Collection is housed adjacent to the reception area and can easily absorb a full morning’s attention. Most of the aircraft are maintained in flying condition and may be some aerial activity. Lunch is not included in the cost but it can be taken on site at the Restaurant or, for those bringing their own food, at the picnic area.

Afternoon, transport by vintage bus from the Collection to Shuttleworth House for a guided tour lasting about one hour. (The House can also be reached by car, having its own car park, or by a pleasant twenty-minute walk through the park.) Afterwards return in the bus to explore the Swiss Garden. Cream tea provided.


Some photos from Fletton Quays and the Embankment visit

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Some photos from the Peakirk visit

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Some photos from the Shuttleworth visit

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Committee Meetings

Committee meetings are normally arranged on the first Monday of each month throughout the year, except January and May which are on the second Monday.

Summaries of the society's talks and accounts of its visits appear in our Annual Report. The contents of our most recent Annual Reports are listed here To obtain a copy please write or email our Secretary.

page last changed 28 November 2021