Thorpe Road

A distinctly rural view along Thorpe Road in the early 1900s with a pony and trap approaching from the distant grounds of Thorpe Hall which was a very popular recreational location for city dwellers at the time.

British Legion (1922/3)

Marked simply as “British Legion 1922/1923” with an accompanying pencil note suggesting the photograph was taken at “Thorpe Lawns”. The British Legion was founded in 1921 which suggests this may have been the newly formed Peterborough branch.

The Gables, Thorpe Road

An undated image showing the Grade II listed Gables on Thorpe Road which dates back to the 1890s and was used as a maternity hospital from 1947 through to 1970.

The frontage of the building is all that remains today.

Thorpe Road Gaol (c.1924)

A superb early 1920s aerial image looking down on Thorpe Road and the old Gaol building.

Built in 1840, the buildings were only a prison for a relatively short period of time as, by 1878, the buildings had become the home of the Liberty of Peterborough and the Liberty magistrates’ court with the prisoners having been transferred to Cambridge or Northampton.

The frontage of the old gaol is all that remains today, having become a Grade II listed building in 1973.

Thorpe Hall Maternity Wing (c.1945)

The maternity wing of Thorpe Hall captured around 1945. Thorpe Hall had been requisitioned for use as a hospital during the Second World War and became a maternity home immediately after. Thousands of Peterborians started life at Thorpe Hall which continued as the city’s primary maternity unit until 1971 when Peterborough District Hospital took over.

Thorpe Park

Cattle roaming in the grounds of Thorpe Hall – date unknown but a photograph taken by and traded as a postcard by Westgate’s Harrison “Postcard” Smith who traded opposite Westgate Church.

DT Myers – Peterborough Execution (1812)

A fascinating notice printed after the death of DT Myers who was executed at the fengate Gaol in 1812. His crime was an act of homosexuality !

Stuart Orme adds, “David Thompson Myers was the last man to be executed in Peterborough, hung in public in May 1812 at Fengate. He was held in the Abbot’s Gaol (lately Reba on Cathedral Square) and according to the accounts in the Stamford Mercury was hung in front of a crowd of 5,000. (Bear in mind the population of the city was 3,500) His ‘crime’ was Sodomy – this was the era of the ‘Bloody Code’ where over 200 crimes had the death penalty, including homosexuality. He was found guilty of a homosexual act in Burghley Park (the other chap got away).

This sort of confession was given to the witnesses cited at the bottom who printed this up and sold it to the crowds at the hanging – as was normal – as much as a souvenir!”

The Crescent, Thorpe Road

An early 1900s image showing the entrance to the Crescent, the small group of houses after which the Crescent Bridge was named.

This entrance was off the old Thorpe Road as it climbed up from the level crossing and would be River Lane today.

The houses were demolished in 1912 to make way for the Crescent Bridge and the “new” Thorpe Road approach to the bridge.

Thorpe Road

A wonderfully random image of a horse seemingly making his own way along a desolate Thorpe Road. The building on the left is today (2015) Thorpe Lodge Hotel.

The Old Gaol, Thorpe Road (1924)

A rare 1924 aerial shot showing the old Gaol buildings on Thorpe Road …… the surviving frontage more recently housing the Sessions House restaurant.

Built in 1840, the buildings were only a prison for a relatively short period of time as, by 1878, the buildings had become the home of the Liberty of Peterborough and the Liberty magistrates’ court with the prisoners having been transferred to Cambridge or Northampton.

The frontage of the old gaol is all that remains today, having become a Grade II listed building in 1973.

Crescent Bridge (c.1913)

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 !

Crescent Houses – off Thorpe Road

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.