Despite the quiet rural feel, this scene is still recognizable today as you look along Thorpe Road towards the Longthorpe Parkway roundabout.
The road in the foreground is Cowgate (right) leading into Thorpe Road (left) which up until just before this photo was taken (1913) would have taken people across the dual-gated Crescent Crossing. The horse drawn carriage is coming out of Station Road with the Crescent Bridge builders sign still present behind it. The Cleveland Bridge Engineering Co., Darlington is still a thriving business in 2014 !
The central houses of the Crescent which was a small semi-circle of housing that sat just off Thorpe Road and just outside of the city.
The highly desirable housing soon became less desirable as first the railways were built right up alongside the houses and then the decision to build Crescent Bridge in 1911 resulted in them being leveled to make way for the bridge approaches.
For those with an interest in the Crescent, there is now an excellent book available detailing the inhabitants throughout its short life. Written by Gwendoline Ann Beatty, it is available from the Peterborough Museum shop.
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.
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