Billy Fury, Embassy Theatre (1961)

The programme from Billy Fury’s appearance at the Embassy Theatre on Broadway on the evening of Thursday 26th October 1961. Support acts included Eden Kane, The Allisons, Chas McDevitt and the Karl Denver Trio.

Guildhall – Magic Lantern Slide (1890)

An 1890 dated magic lantern slide showing the Guildhall. The magic lantern was an early type of image projector employing pictures painted, printed or produced photographically on transparent plates usually made of glass. It was mostly developed in the 17th century but was in wide use from the 18th century until the mid-20th century when it was superseded by a compact version that could hold many 35mm photographic slides …… the slide projector.

Crowland Floods (1947)

Thanks to Phil Green for this fascinating image capturing the source of the Crowland Floods of 1947.

The Winter of 1947 had been a bitterly cold one and it was compounded when in early March there were strong gales and heavy snowstorms, creating blizzard conditions. Heavy snow fall created drifts up to 15 feet in some parts of the UK.

When the the cold weather ended, the temperatures rose rapidly causing a fast thaw of the lying snow which created serious problems as the still frozen ground caused run off into the streams and rivers. Compounded by hurricane force winds on 16th March, floodwater waves started to pound flood defences and, on Friday 21st March 1947, the old River Welland course breached its banks and water poured quickly onto the surrounding land until Crowland itself was completely surrounded by water, becoming a virtual island. The water eventually reached as far as English Drove, north of Thorney, and as far south as the railway line at Eye. The only route in or out of Crowland was via the B1040 towards Thorney.

On 24th March, due to the difficult access to the site, a three quarter mile stretch of light railway was laid from Crowland to the breach so that stone could be transported to build an encircling wall. The stone to fill the breach came from quarries at Helpston and Yarwell so it had take a roundabout route via Thorney. Villagers, R.E cadets and German Prisoners worked to build stone causeways either side of the breach.

On 26th March, Brigadier G Younghusband, Deputy Commander of the North Midlands District, hatched a “cunning plan” by bringing in 16 amphibious “Water Buffalo” tanks (aka LVT- Landing Vehicle Tracked). The plan was to create a “tank barricade” to reduce or stop the flow of water so repairs could progress faster. The tanks where placed at the extremes of the stone causeways rather than in the breach itself as the tremendous pressure of the water had eroded a hole 28 feet below ground level – the height of two double decker-buses.

On the 29th March, the breach was officially declared “sealed” and work started on pumping water back off the surrounding land ….. but it wasn’t quite resolved just yet !

On Friday 11th April, a second breach occurred at 7am when the water forced its way under five of the LVT’s and they were swept away. The Peterborough Citizen and Advertiser reported the tanks “whirled away like matchsticks”. Three of the tanks were sucked down into the 28 foot hole created by the original breach.

The following day, a further 12 tanks were brought in from York to reinforce the bank repairs and on 21st April, the breach was declared sealed for a second and final time.

Today, the site of the breach is still marked by a rectangular pond with surrounding banks that, according to news reports at the time, still hold 25 buried tanks as well as three vehicles at the foot of the pond itself !

 

The Light Railway top right
The “tank barricade”
The breach site in 2018 with the old river course on the left

Edwardian Peterborough Lads (1912)

Very unusual to know the identities of any of the many portrait photographs taken in the early 1900s but this photographer has kindly handwritten the names on the back of this one.
 
They are 22 year old Walter Scott, Gordon Amos, Walter Lansing and 18 year old Harold Goodwin and the photo was taken in 1912 at the studios of Stanley & Co, formerly of 111 Cromwell Road but, in 1912, were operating from a studio in the Mansion House on Westgate.
 
Scott and Goodwin both saw action in the Great War in 1915 and 1916 respectively. Amos and Lansing would undoubtedly have seen action too but I’ve been unable to find their military records.

North Ward FC (1948)

The North Ward football team pictured in 1948. Perhaps the injured player back right was the reason they only had ten dressed players !

Elton Green

The village green at Elton with a nice traction engine parked up outside one of the cottages.

Wansford Cross Roads

The old staggered crossroads in Wansford with the Great North Road crossing left to right and the old Leicester Road passing towards and away from the cameraman. Today that equates to the A1 crossing the A47 !

Eventually the crossroads were straightened by demolishing the Old Mermaid Inn which is just out of shot to the left of the photographer but both roads were eventually replaced with bypasses.

Trinity Street Slipper Baths

The old Slipper Baths on Trinity Street and, below, an old galvanised Slipper Bath sold recently at a local auction. The old buildings to the left of the Slipper Baths would, in 2018, be the site of the Trinity Street Car Park.

The Slipper Baths were used by locals who had no access to baths at home (or even hot water in some cases). The building opened in 1935 but was still in use into the early 1970s. At their peak of popularity in the early 1950s, more than 1,000 people used the baths every week !

Inside, there were 24 “slipper” baths (see image below), 18 for men and 6 for women. The charge was 6d for the bath, 6d for towel hire and 1d for soap. There were individual cubicles with their own mirror, bath brush and a wooden board to stand on.

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.

Currys Cycles on Narrow (Bridge) Street

A superb image showing Narrow (Bridge) Street and, in particular, the store of Currys Cycles which was a very early link to the current day Currys Electricals Store which started out as a Leicester based cycle shop.

Cutlack & Company Ltd

A nice advertising card for Cutlack & Co Brewers who were based at the Phoenix Brewery on Priestgate. The brewery was established in the mid-1800s by Charles Cutlack who ran the business until his death in 1884. It was then managed by his executors until Cutlack & Co Ltd was registered in 1895, which was in turn acquired by Cutlack & Harlock Ltd in March 1917 who continued brewing until 1923.

Portland House, Whittlesey

Portland House in Whittlesey pictured around 1915. The house was built as a private residence, dating back to the early 1600s and was believed to have been built by the second Earl of Portland. It was demolished in 1945 but some remains (gates, stone garden walls, diagonal paths and a rose garden) still survive today off Manor View in the town.