NOSTALGIA: Perkins – Peterborough’s engine through the years

Duke of Kent at Perkins engines 1987
Duke of Kent at Perkins engines 1987

No telling of the Peterborough story would be complete without a significant chapter on Perkins.

The engineering giant has been synonymous with the city employing thousands and thousands of Peterborians over the years.

Frank Perkins and wife on tractor in 1953 21st birthday of Perkins engines

Frank Perkins and wife on tractor in 1953 21st birthday of Perkins engines

The company was formed in 1932 by the twin talents of brilliant salesman Frank Perkins and engineering genius Charles Chapman.

Today’s pictures provide a snapshot of the firm that has been integral to the city through good and bad times and has helped put Peterborough on the world map.

The picture top shows the Duke of Kent touring the factory in 1987.

The photograph below that is of Frank Perkins himself behind the controls of a tractor.

Perkins  anniversary with workers and their families coming together to celebrate

Perkins anniversary with workers and their families coming together to celebrate

His wife is also in the picture which was taken during the company’s 21st anniversary celebrations in 1953.

The third picture was also taken at the anniversary with workers and their families coming together to celebrate

Twenty years later the factory was an unhappier place. The next picture shows workers voting at a mass meeting.

At least, I think this was in 1973, when a bitter industrial dispute saw thousands of Perkins workers take lengthy strike action. The dispute lasted several months and nobody was a winner.

Perkins workers ballot for strike action

Perkins workers ballot for strike action

There are two undated factory floor shots. The aerial picture gives an idea of the vastness of the Peterborough site.

Finally, where it all began for the firm on Queen Street before it was demolished to make way for Queensgate.

Perkins engines

Perkins engines

ET library copies PERKINS engines

ET library copies PERKINS engines

Perkins site from the air

Perkins site from the air

Perkins engines

Perkins engines