Civic Pride: Showcasing what Peterborough does best

A great deal has been written about national party politics over the past few weeks and months, writes Toby Wood of Peterborough Civic Society.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 1:09 pm
The Proud To Be Posh exhibition
The Proud To Be Posh exhibition

Maybe the last thing that readers would expect the Civic Society to do would be to express a particular view or take a stance.

However, the Society is very much involved in taking an interest in what could be described as ‘civic politics’. Our aims are quite simple, we want Peterborough to be a top-class place to live in and to visit.

Of course, there may be differing views as to what that might look like and how it can be achieved. The economic climate is euphemistically referred to as ‘challenging’, particularly when our Council is in such dire straits and is currently unable to do anything other than carry out statutory functions. One of the ministries of government is the wide-ranging department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. On the surface it would appear difficult to combine those four seemingly distinct areas but here in Peterborough we achieved something possibly unique with an exhibition in Peterborough Museum in Priestgate that has a damn good try to encompass all four. I am referring to the ‘Proud To Be Posh’ exhibition that has been put together by Sheena Carman, the Gallery Curator/Arts Development and Community Engagement Manager at the Museum, along with staff from Peterborough United.

The Proud To Be Posh exhibition

The Sport element is obvious and the exhibition is a must for keen Poshies who will rejoice in the images of Ken Charlery, Norman Rigby and Jonson Clarke-Harris and others, the prototype for the statue of Chris Turner or the huge wall painting of Tommy Robson, the flying winger who, on the day of his testimonial match was unable to give a speech of thanks to fans from the stand until he had enjoyed a cigarette. Those were the days!

Digital and Media are there as well, the exhibition showcasing words, photos, pictures, sculptures, newspapers, moving images as well as a magnificent collection of shirts, tickets, scarves, mugs and other memorabilia.

But it’s the Culture element that interests me most. Culture is not just something that is destined to remain in the possession of the few, the privileged, some sort of elite – our own personal culture is as unique to us as our DNA, And of course our culture may be dictated by upbringing, experiences, preferences and aspirations. I know people who look down at football as some sort of inconsequential activity, undertaken and followed by mindless morons. On the other hand there are plenty of football supporters who feel that art, drama and music are ‘not for them’.

This exhibition is a superb example of how many in this city work in a variety of ways to celebrate the city and its talents. It’s lively, interesting and informative. But most of all it showcases Peterborough people doing what Peterborough people do best – Up the Posh!

Part of the Proud To Be Posh exhibition

The exhibition is on until 4 September, is free and is worth visiting for the photographs alone. Resident Posh photographer Joe Dent has provided many images and, in my humble opinion, Joe is not only able to capture a sporting moment but is also able to set those sporting images within the community. His photos of supporters are just as powerful and relevant as those of players. Joe is the Chris Porsz of the football world!

Peterborough Museum is constantly under threat due to modest levels of funding. One way for the Peterborough public to demonstrate our Museum’s value to the community is by visiting. Let’s see if everyone who visits the city centre can go to the Museum, even for a few minutes. Amongst the art, archaeology, Jurassic, Ice Age, Wildlife galleries and football exhibits, you are guaranteed to find something to enjoy. If you are disappointed I will personally give you your money back. Incidentally, everything is free! Oh, and there’s a half decent coffee shop as well!

Meanwhile, back at Posh, the new home kit was unveiled with a delightful one-minute ‘Our Home’ video featuring the new blue shirt worn by the likes of Barry Fry, Grant McCann and family, Rev Richard Longfoot, Talk Sport’s Adrian Durham, women of all ages, musicians, a wide variety of ages and ethnicities that truly represent our support base and a few dogs. Well done the team behind the video – Lewis Hargeaves, Joe Dent, Jake Baxter, Tyisha Lannon, Paolo Iantosca, Callum Stocking. Eat your heart out Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. Peterborough has its own culture! Appreciate it! Enjoy it! Support it!