Fascinating tale of one city family

Rodney Brailsford
Rodney Brailsford
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Many of us would like to research our family tree but for one reason or another never get round to it.

Not so Ailsworth resident Rodney Brailsford who has not only researched his family tree but has gone several steps further and produced a glossy book numbering more than 60 pages that documents the history of his family on his father’s side.

Eastholm Boys School 1958

Eastholm Boys School 1958

Lovingly put together it is a fascinating account of one Peterborough family. I’m sure that members of that family will rightly treasure the book, but it is also of interest to all local historians

Rodney had help from other relatives in compiling the book and being a printer by trade had the technical skills to see his ambitious project to fruition.

Containing pictures and birth certificates as well as a detailed narrative, the story begins with John Brailsford, the author’s great great grandfather who was born in 1821 and moved to Peterborough from Staffordshire some time in the 1870s to work in the brickyards.

Rodney said: “Going back to John born in 1821 there has only been one male in each generation to keep the Brailsford name going.’’

The Mansion House in Westgate

The Mansion House in Westgate

He was born in 1948 at his grandmother’s home in Gladstone Street. Rodney also had a direct involvement in one of Peterborough biggest stories of the 20th century.

The factory where his printing works was based took the brunt of the infamous Fengate factory explosion in which tragically a fireman died.

Rodney’s father, who was christened James but known as Ray, was one of the many injured in the blast which happened on March 22 1989,and ended up in intensive care.

Ray, who died in 2010 had many brushes with death including two serious road accidents, two explosions and two major heart operations.

Another picture of Westgate and the Mansion House

Another picture of Westgate and the Mansion House

Rodney has also ensured that his family name will always live on in Peterborough.

He reveals in the book that at a charity event the city council auctioned off four street names in the city.

John was successful with his bid - and that’s why there is a street in South Bretton called Brailsford Close.

The class of ‘58 at Eastholm Boys School

Is this the Primrose League?

Is this the Primrose League?

I received an email from Mike Strand who was a pupil at Eastholm Boys Secondary Modern School on Broadway,

He wrote that he came across an old photograph which was taken in 1958.

He said he was surprised at how many names he could remember.

He added: “It would be interesting to hear from any of the ‘boys’ 57 years later.

“When I left school at 14 (almost 15) in 1959 I wanted to be a pattern maker (not sure if that trade still exists today) but instead was apprenticed at John Lucas Builders on Dogsthorpe Road, as a carpenter and joiner.

“After three years of doing jobs around the city and making coffins for the very young and the old, I joined Ruddle and Wilkinson architects, as a trainee technician. In 1966 I decided to give up work in order to train as an architect on a full-time basis.

Mystery solved... this is Lincoln Road

Mystery solved... this is Lincoln Road

“I retired in 2009, moving to Pafos in Cyprus, which is now my home.’’

Anyone who wants to contact Mike can email him at pafos142@hotmail.com.

Thanks also to reader Raymond Preston who sent in two pictures.

He writes: “They are of the old Mansion House that used to stand in Westgate before being demolished in 1925/26.

“It was owned by a Mr Matthew Wylbore who was MP for Peterborough for two successive parliaments.’’

Is mystery picture of the Primrose League?

A few weeks back I published a picture of a group of some 50 smartly dressed men sent in by reader David Bradshaw. The picture was a mystery to David although he was sure it was taken in Peterborough.

The mystery has not been solved but there were some interesting suggestions from members of the Peterborough Images group on Facebook.

One member suggested: “Could this be Peterborough’s branch of the Primrose League? Most seem to be wearing a button-hole. It was a Conservative party organisation formed in memory of their late PM Benjamin Disraeli - the primrose being his favourite flower; it had over a million members at one time.’’

Another suggestion was that it was St Peter’s Teacher Training College taken just after WW1.

Less of a mystery was the identity of the street which featured in last week’s fun quiz.

Reader Eddie Hann told me: “It is Lincoln Road. Probably taken from around the front of 249. It looks like tram tracks down the middle of the road. The windmill used to stand in the grounds of what is now the Murco garage and the property in the centre of the picture is now the Xpress Grill.’’

The answers to the other pictures were 1. Dogsthorpe Road, 2. Midgate, 3. Park Road, 4. Thorpe Road, 5. St Paul’s Road.

Finally as reported a few weeks back Dogsthorpe Methodist Church is celebrating its 60th anniversary next year and want to hear from anyone with pictures and memories. Email trevuk22@live.co.uk if you want to contribute.