A lunchtime at the museum
As a young man living and working in London, I didn’t take advantage of the fantastic heritage attractions that were right under my nose. I still haven’t learned my lesson and shame- facedly I must admit that I’ve never been to Flag Fen and other Peterborough places of interest.
I have been to the museum and art gallery but that was a few years back. I’ve been planning a return visit ever since it re- opened following its extensive revamp. Despite being just round the corner from Telegraph Towers, it’s taken me this long to get round to it - but it was the best lunch- hour I’d had for some time.
Entry is free – and hopefully despite the ever tightening grip on the public purse – it will remain so.
The museum is only small but it packs a lot into its exhibits. From the skull of an elephant to statues by Anthony “Angel Of The North’’ Gormley.
When I returned to my desk, I bored my colleagues with some of the fascinating facts I picked up.
And don’t think you lot are going to get away with it...
My intention is to whet your appetite so if you don’t want any surprises spoiled look away now.
Did you know that the last man to be hanged in Peterborough was D. T. Myers in 1812. Remarkably his crime was not murder nor stealing sheep but homosexuality!
A crowd of 6,000 gathered ( there was no Posh in those days) to witness his fate or his “precipitation into eternity’’ as the Ipswich Journal reported.
Peterborough also had a claim to fame as the location for the last time the Riot Act was read out in the UK . It was in 1914 after war had been declared on Germany. A mob gathered outside butchers in Westgate owned by German families. The mayor took to the steps of The Bull Hotel to read the riot act.
That butchers was Frank Bros which, of course, is still there selling sausages today.
In the natural history sec- tion there are the stunning, world famous fishy dinosaurs to admire but I also discovered that hippos once roamed the land where this city now stands. You can still see some of their descendants gathering around McDonalds in Cathedral Square.
I also discovered that Bretton as recently as 1971 had a population of just 60 souls. These days I’ve seen more people queueing at Sainsbury’s check- outs.
There are many more gems to discover and if you’ve not been recently I urge you not to make my mistake and ignore this heritage goldmine on our doorstep. Mrs T informed me the white stuff had arrived which puzzled me as she hadn’t stirred from under the duvet. ‘ How do you know’, I asked. “It says so on Facebook’, she replied brandishing her phone and showing me a picture one of her ‘ friends’ had taken of their garden in Fletton. Whoneeds windows? I took the advice and after deciding my journey was necessary ( a threatening text from the editor helped) I staggered it. Or at least I would have done if I knew what the hell ‘ stagger your journey’ means.