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The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - TV WEEK -

In keep­ing with the pic­tures from the time of the Great War, this week’s reader feed­back con­cerns the pho­to­graph from 1918 (left) which ap­peared last week.

The cap­tion said it was taken at Walton air­field but I could find no ref­er­ence to such a place.

Michael Dougall got in touch and re­vealed the pic­ture was not taken in Peter­bor­ough. He wrote: “I in­stantly recog­nised the pic­ture. It is in the end­pa­pers of ‘A His­tory of Ae­rial War­fare’ by John W R Tay­lor. It is the pilots and per­son­nel of No. 1 Squadron with their S.E. 5a fighters near St Omer France in July 1918.

“No.1 Squadron was based at RAF Wit­ter­ing. Maybe the cause of the con­fu­sion.’’

Thanks to Michael for the in­for­ma­tion and also to Hazel Day who­had some in­for­ma­tion which might ex­plain why the pic­ture was cap­tioned “Walton air­field’’.

Hazel, who has lived in Walton since 1969, found ref­er­ence in the book ‘Pe­ter- bor­ough Past - The City & the Soke’to an air­craft fac­tory.

She told me a com­pany calledSage & Co re­lo­cated to Walton from Lon­donin 1911. It was a shop­fit­ters but when the war be­gan it was con­verted into an air­craft maker.

She said: “It was de­cided by the Gov­ern­ment to pro­duce mil­i­tary air­craft un­der li­cence dur­ing the First World War. They con­tin­ued build­ing af­ter the war and built sub­stan­tial num­bers of Avro 504Ks.

“The fac­tory was sold to the Aero­nau­ti­cal Cor­po­ra­tion of Great Bri­tain in 1936 which in 1937 went into ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“They tested the Avros ad­ja­cent to the fac­tory at Marholm Road golf course. They did not have enough land so they were part as­sem­bled on one side of the rail­way then had to be taken across the rail­way to the other side to get it fin­ished.’’

This plaque is lo­cated on the mod­ern (1930) finely cut stone fa­cade fac­ing into Cathe­dral Square between the Great Gate to the Cathe­dral Precincts and NatWest Bank.

The wall to which the plaque is af­fixed marks the limit of the for­mer monas­tic precinct in re­la­tion to the square, stand­ing at the western end of a range of build­ings run­ning east to­wards the Cathe­dral’s west front. This range con­tained, at its western end, the Ab­bot’s Gaol and, prob­a­bly in fairly close conjunction, the King’s Lodg­ing.

Con­struc­tion of the mod­ern wall upon which the plaque is placed was ne­ces­si­tated by the de­mo­li­tion of Ge­or­gian build­ings whose fa­cades fronted onto what was Nar­row Street, on its orig­i­nal align­ment, in or­der to cre­ate the present Town Hall – see plaque No. 16.

The mod­ern wall con­ceals a later twelfth cen­tury un­der­croft. Here was the Ab­bot’s Gaol.

By the later mid­dle ages the Ab­bot of Peter­bor­ough wielded enor­mous power. The priv­i­leges en­joyed by the Abbey (which set the Soke apart from the rest of Northamp­ton­shire) en­sured that, in prac­tice, the Ab­bot con­trolled many as­pects of or­di­nary royal gov­ern­ment as a kind of fran­chise held from the King. Thus his sources of power were twofold. First as land­lord – the abbey ef­fec­tively owned the ‘ser­vice town’- deal­ing with a whole range of mat­ters of con­cern to the town, from the re­newal of leases and sub-leases to re­solv­ing an as­sort­ment of griev­ances of one sort or an­other.

Sec­ond as holder of out­sourced gov­ern­men­tal pow­ers, in­clud­ing the right to po­lice crime, to hold courts, main­tain a prison and hold mar­kets, there was am­ple ba­sis for con­stant in­ter­ac­tion with royal power and its nom­i­nees.

At the Dis­so­lu­tion of the monastery the Dean and Chap­ter be­came lords of the manor, their power in this re­spect be­ing ini­tially as great as the Ab­bot’s had been. Although their con­trol slack­ened and weak­ened over time, the last tat­tered ves­tiges of their power can still, as­ton­ish­ingly, be de­tected al­most into the twen­ti­eth cen­tury.

The Ab­bot’s Gaol ceased to be used as the town prison in 1842, when Don­thorn’s NeoNor­man new Ses­sions Court House and prison (the lat­ter de­mol­ished 1962) was built on Thorpe Road.

De­bate con­tin­ues as to the prob­a­ble lo­ca­tion of the King’s Lodg­ing at dif­fer­ent times through­out the Mid­dle Ages.

This plaque is the twen­ti­eth (and last) in a se­ries of twenty blue plaques re­cently in­stalled in the city cen­tre by Peter­bor­ough Civic So­ci­ety. Fur­ther de­tails about all the plaques can be found in the ac­com­pa­ny­ing leaflet avail­able at the Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre in Bridge Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre in Bridge Street or via the so­ci­ety’s web­site.

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