Current Events

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Coronavirus pandemic

Due to the current national situation, the Civic Society is unable to hold open meetings but instead these will be conducted virtually using Zoom. They will only be made available to members. If you are not a member, we do hope you will join, please visit our Join Us page for details. Your membership will also help support the Society in its work. If you would like an active role then please contact any of the committee via the Contact Us page. The larger our membership the greater influence we can bring over matters of concern.

Speaker season via Zoom only available to members

8 February 2021 7.30pm - Victorian Crime and Punishment with Dr Liz Davies, Curator of St Neots Museum

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The Victorian passion for reform left its mark in every part of public life, with the criminal justice system being no exception. Many of the changes made stemmed from the widespread fear of the so-called “criminal underclass”, as exemplified in the pages of Oliver Twist.

Out went transportation to the colonies and capital punishment for crimes other than murder. In came effective police forces, penal servitude, new model prisons and separate reformatories for young offenders. In fact, some of these reforms had already begun before Victoria’s accession.

British society was characterised in the early nineteenth century as being rowdy and outspoken, but by the end it had become generally inhibited, orderly and respectable. How far, then, had the reforms to policing and criminal justice contributed to these changes in behaviour?

To guide us through these choppy and often murky waters, we welcome PCS member Dr Liz Davies. Born in New Zealand, Dr Davies graduated in History from Aberystwyth University, going on to train as a social history curator. She is particularly interested in the history of working people and everyday life. Prior to taking up her current post at St Neots, she worked in museums at Aylesbury and Stevenage, as well as at our own city museum.

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8 March 2021 7.30pm - Climate Change and the Work of the Wildlife Trust
Our speaker is Brian Eversham, Chief Executive, Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

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12 April 2021 7.30pm - Peterborough's Blue Plaques Phase 2
Our speaker is Toby Wood, vice-chair of our Society

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10 May 2021 7.30pm - City Centre Development Strategy
Our speaker is Steve Cox, Executive Director for Place & Economy, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

Completed talks

11 January 2021 7.30pm - Our AGM followed by
             Oliver Cromwell with Stuart Orme, Curator of the Cromwell Museum, Huntingdon

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On the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, Oliver Cromwell, aged 43, was an obscure country gentleman and back bench MP, showing no obvious signs of future greatness. Yet, within three years, and despite lacking any military experience, he had become one of the foremost generals of the Parliamentary Army. By 1653, rising far above the ranks of his contemporaries, he had assumed the office of Lord Protector, and, as “our chief of men”, was widely considered to be king in all but name.

What then was the background to Cromwell’s impressive public career? Are there clues from his private life to explain how he gained the resilience and strength of character to overcome the many challenges and setbacks he had to face? At a less exalted level, is it true that he wanted to ban Christmas, and did he really demand to have his portrait painted “warts and all”?

Our speaker, Stuart Orme, will be able to set out for us these and other facets of Cromwell’s remarkable life. Stuart is a long-term friend and supporter of the Society, who will be familiar to members from his previous roles with Peterborough Museum, Vivacity, and Peterborough Cathedral. Since February 2018, he has served as Curator of the Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon, in which capacity he kindly hosted a successful summer visit from the Society in July of last year.


Previous speakers from past years

Our previous speakers and their subjects can be found here.

Peterborough Civic Society

Summer visits 2019 (completed)

Due to the pandemic our planned visits for 2020 had to be cancelled, but when times were better below are the places we visited in 2019, so this is for information purposes only. They are initially publicised to members only, and only then released to the public if spaces remain to be filled. So to ensure you do not miss out as and when visits can restart or other activities we may get involved in, become a member now.

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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Guided tour in Oundle - afternoon of Tuesday 25 June

This is now fully booked and completed..

We will divide into two groups each led by an experienced town guide. Starting at the Old Town Hall town, we will progress westwards taking in the noteworthy buildings en route including Oundle Museum which has won various awards, including Best Volunteer Project, 2018, at the Northants Heritage Awards. The rich history of Oundle includes many exhibits from the Roman, Saxon and Medieval periods.

At the end of the tour tea and scones will be provided at a separate location.

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Cromwell Museum, Huntingdon, afternoon of Wednesday 17 July


Another get-yourself-there trip and various public car parking options available not too far from the location.

We will divide into two groups. One will receive a guided tour of the Museum from the curator, Stuart Orme, whilst the other will have a tour of the old Town Hall nearby. The groups will then swap guides so that we all have a complete experience. The 2 buildings will be visited in the course of about one hour. Refreshments are not provided but there are many cafes, restaurants and pubs close by for us to visit before returning home.

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Treasures of Thorney - afternoon of Thursday 1 August

This is now fully booked and completed..

Our guide will be Dorothy Halfhide and includes viewing of Thorney Heritage Museum, especially opened for us. A talk from Dorothy on the history of this remarkable HQ of the Duke of Bedford's Thorney estate and model village and current issues. Then a presentation by Paul Sharman, Chief Exec. of the North Level Internal Drainage Board on managing fenland waters.

Then a walk to Thorney Abbey followed by a talk on the history of the Abbey. Optional walk close to Abbey to view the Abbey fields and The Green area.

Peterborough Civic Society

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 7 January 2021