NIGEL THORNTON: Make a golden future out of Peterborough's Bronze Age past

Let's not kid ourselves, unless Mr Disney decides to open up one of his fabulous parks somewhere near the city, Peterborough is never going to be a major tourist destination.

Friday, 18th March 2016, 11:43 am
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -

We are, to be brutally frank, short on attractions with a national or international pull.

Once you’ve been round the cathedral, what more is there to do? Don’t get me wrong there’s lots of great places to go from Ferry Meadows to Flag Fen, but these are not attractions to entice the tourist (and his dollar) from Yeovil let alone Yokohama.

Yet all of a sudden there is an opportunity – not so much a once in a lifetime, more a once in a millenium.

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And that is to capitalise on the fantastic discoveries being made at Must Farm near Whittlesey.

In Flag Fen we have a lovely Bronze Age facility, but it could be much more.

Vivacity, effectively the city council’s leisure and tourism arm, has revealed plans to invest millions of pounds in making Flag Fen the best Bronze Age attraction in the country.

Now is not the time for the Peterborians to hide their light under a Bronze Age bushel.

The city must grab this opportunity and go for broke. Look at what the Jorvik Centre did for York.

It will take vision and drive and lots of funding, but the key is to do it right – and that doesn’t mean just adding a bit more exhibtion space to Flag Fen

For example, the archaeologists at Must Farm are thrilled that among their finds has been ancient food remains. Wouldn’t it be great if at a future visitor centre those Bronze age meals could be recreated for people to taste?

Peterborough’s very own world famous archaeologist Dr Francis Pryor has called on the city to make the most of this chance to really put itself on the tourist destination map.

I’m no marketing man but imagine being able to offer the international traveller a package which involves visting Cambridge University AND the ultimate Bronze Age experience just up the road.

Should the dream come true, it would benefit the whole city and be a huge boost to the local economy. That is why everybody including MPs, councillors and the business community should get behind this plan and turn the bronze of our past into the gold of our future.

It’s a tough job..

The story of celebrity journalist turned blockbuster author Nigel May, from Thorney, which featured in last week’s PT had me green with envy.

One minute swopping books with Jackie Collins the next jet-skiing in Miami with Dannii Minogue (I’d have asked for her sister’s number), it sounds slightly more glamorous than reporting on Peterborough City Council’s strong and supportive communites scrutiny committee. But as I read on I discovered that Nigel had done the hard yards before reaping the benefits. Being editor of the East 17 official magazine is my idea of a tough gig.

Spinning class

Prime Minister David Cameron was caught with his PR pants down after he (or a spin doctor) offered newspapers dotted across the country a first person “exclusive’’ which began I Love (name of place we need votes from here)...

Lincolnshire got one, so did Norfolk, but nothing arrived at the PT. Perhaps the PM doesn’t “love’’ Cambridgeshire. I’ve started a file marked “I Love Politicians.’’

Diary Of A Bad Dad

I’m hoping the Toddlernator will be a top footballer or rock star when he grows up although all the signs are that he’ll be an explosives expert such is his appetite for destruction.

I know what Toddler T will be because in typically forthright manner she’s told me. “I’m going to be a mummy, a police lady, a swimming teacher and a wicked witch,’’ she asserted.

“Don’t you want to be a good witch?’’ I queried.

“No, because wicked witches go ‘ha, ha, ha’,’’ she cackled fiendishly.

You can’t really argue with that but at the risk of being turned into a frog I offered some careers advice suggesting: “You could be a newsman like your dad.’’

She was unimpressed and her “no’’ was unequivocal. Like the journalist I am, I asked why.

She replied: “You have to go to work in the morning and you don’t come home unitl it’s night.’’

I don’t think she’s cut out for the world of work, so a WAG it is.