A wonderful shot of troops from the Great War period marching off what appears to be Crescent Bridge onto Thorpe Road and away from the city with River Lane just visible to the far right.
The “Poor Law” Union Workhouse on Thorpe Road which was built in 1837 to accomodate the “poor and sick” under the requirements of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act which made it a requirement of local parishes to provide for and look after those in need.
The Workhouse was informally known as “Thorpe Road House” after World War I but was formally renamed St John’s Close in 1948, when it became shared between the County Council and the National Health Service. Once the County Council had completed building three new residential homes for the elderly, the workhouse buildings were demolished in 1971.
This image was actually a rather sombre frontage of a local postcard sent to Benefield born Catherine Currall who was working at the time as a domestic servant at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
Sheep being herded along a quiet Thorpe Road, presumably off to the city market. Westwood (Peterborough) High School would today be to the immediate right.
Looking down Thorpe Road towards Thorpe Hall with what would now be Peterborough High School on the right.
An excellent shot of the site of the old Thorpe Road level crossing, already out of use at the time of this image with the Crescent Bridge (right) now taking on the duties of crossing the busy main line. The presence of the bridge dates this one to post 1913.
The Union Workhouse could house up to 200 “inmates” and was opened in 1837 with an additional infirmary added in 1843 and a chapel in 1865. The Workhouse was informally known as ‘Thorpe Road House’ after World War I, but formally renamed St John’s Close in 1948, when it became shared between the County Council and the National Health Service. Once the County Council had completed building three new residential homes for the elderly, the workhouse buildings were demolished (c1971).
The former workhouse site, just past the Aldermans Drive turning on Thorpe Road, later became Peterborough District Hospital. Six acres of land and the former workhouse were acquired in March 1972 by the Secretary of State for Health on behalf of the Regional Health Authority, who then demolished the older buildings. On the cleared site a purpose-built geriatric hospital (Fenland House) was built 1976-80 as an annexe to Peterborough District Hospital.
The lower image shows a Mr & Mrs Webb who were caretakers of the workhouse in 1908. Census records show that staff working at the site included a Master and Matron, a Schoolmaster and Schoolmistress, two Nurses and a Porter.
The subway was built by the Great Northern Railway after local protests at the death of a local citizen who had been killed on the notoriously dangerous level crossing sited just to the left of the subway in 1881. The subway was eventually boarded up in 1913 once the new Crescent Bridge had been opened. The view looks out onto what was in those days the start of Thorpe Road and now it is River Lane.
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