New Mermaid Inn, Wansford

The former New Mermaid Inn on the A1 at Wansford re-opened in 2016 after significant, superb and sympathetic restoration took it from the decaying ruin of the old Little Chef building to the new offices for Harris McCormack Architects (upstairs) and Peterborough Ducati (downstairs).

The original building dates back to 1932 when it opened as The Wansford Knight, the fifth “roadhouse” of the “Knights of the Road” chain. In 1936 it changed hands and became the New Mermaid Inn which was touted as the replacement for the Olde Mermaid Inn that was demolished that year at the point where the old Great North Road and Leicester Road crossed at the heart of Wansford village. The new premises were a popular wartime drinking location for USAAF airmen based at nearby Kings Cliffe Airfield.

In the late 1970s, the Inn was bought by Forte who rebranded it as a Little Chef restaurant which continued in existence until 2007 after which it fell into rapid, graffiti strewn, decay.

The original building was considered an architectural rarity as it was one of a small number surviving in the “Bauhaus” style which saw the building listed for preservation before renovations by Forte removed key elements of the original design.

Today, the building has been renamed “Archaus”, in recognition of the resident architects and of the original architectural style.

Thanks to Eddy Baxter of Ducati Peterborough for keeping us updated and for the 2016 images.

2016 ….. 

2000s …..

1980s …..

1940s …..

Haycock, Wansford (1947)

A fascinating shot of the Fitzwilliam hounds outside the Haycock in Wansford in 1947. The character second from right is carrying a movie camera and is from a 20th Century Fox film-crew who were shooting a scene from the movie “Escape” starring Rex Harrison.

James Bond in Peterborough (1982)

007 James Bond, played by Roger Moore, shot a number of scenes for the movie Octopussy in Peterborough in September 1982. Most of these were at or around the Nene Valley Railway HQ at Wansford station but a number were also shot at or around Orton Mere (see bottom image).