Starting gun fired on 900th anniversary of Peterborough Cathedral

Launch of the Peterborough Cathedral 900 celebtrations.  Guests attending EMN-170512-183458009
Launch of the Peterborough Cathedral 900 celebtrations. Guests attending EMN-170512-183458009
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Peterborough will come together as one in 2018 for the biggest celebration the city has seen for centuries.

As Peterborough Cathedral bells ring out with fireworks lighting up the city centre sky to mark the start of 2018, a year of celebrations and events will begin to mark 900 years since work began on the beautiful building.

From hosting kings and queens to daytime TV shows, surviving attacks by rebels, air raids during the war and a large fire, the cathedral has been the focal point of the city for almost a millennium.

Throughout the year the Peterborough Celebrates campaign will run, aiming to promote the Cathedral - and all the other great parts of the city.

The year will see world record attempts, spectacular charity fundraisers and the greatest treasures found in Peterborough brought back for a stunning display.

The campaign was officially launched this week, with Peterborough dignitaries, businesses and charity representatives gathering at the Cathedral.

Acting Dean Tim Alban Jones said the year’s celebrations were a ‘once in a lifetime’ event.

He said: “We have been preparing for the 900th anniversary celebrations for some time, but this is really firing the starting gun on the celebrations. It is a once in a lifetime event - it is one of the most beautiful and important buildings, not just in Peterborough but anywhere. As part of the celebrations, we want as many people as possible to come and see the Cathedral. It is sad there are some people who live in Peterborough who have never been to see the cathedral - we want the whole city to come and join us.

“Along with celebrating the past, 2018 is a time of new beginnings. We have the new Dean, The Very Rev Chris Dalliston joining us in January, so it will be a great start to the celebrations.”

Businesses and charities across the city are getting involved - with Queensgate, Railworld and the Marriott Hotel all staging events.

And the Peterborough Celebrates campaign is not just limited to the Cathedral, with the Nene Park Trust marking their 40th anniversary in 2018.

Residents and businesses are being urged to stage their own events, large or small, to join in the campaign, with organisers suggesting ideas including selling ‘900’ cupcakes - or for people celebrating their 50th birthday, inviting 18 guests to celebrations (50 x 18 = 900).

Cllr Steve Allen, Cabinet adviser to the leader, said: “This is a celebration of all the businesses and community groups coming together to support the city. Lots of people have committed to putting on events and donating their time and money to take part in the celebrations.

“We have to pay a special thanks to the city council’s City Services and Communications departments, as without their support we would not be here today.”

For more details about the Peterborough Celebrates campaign, and how to get involved, visit


- 655AD

A monastery is founded on the current Cathedral site, at that time called Medeswell

- 1116

A fire breaks out, destroying much of the monastery and town, seemingly from an unattended fire in a bakery

- 1118

The replacement monastic church – the present cathedral building - is begun

- 1381

An assault is made on the monastery by local rebels during the Peasants’ Revolt. The rebels are put down by the intervention of troops commanded by the Bishop of Norwich

- 1536

Katharine of Aragon, first wife and queen of Henry VIII, is buried in the monastic church

- 1541

To increase his control over the church in this area Henry VIII created a new bishop (the former abbot John Chambers) and Peterborough Abbey church became a cathedral by letters patent

- 1587

Mary, Queen of Scots is buried in the cathedral in August, five months after having been executed at nearby Fotheringhay Castle

- 1941

Air raid on the city causes significant damage. The cathedral suffers only minor damage thanks to work from a dedicated team of fire watchers

- 1975

Queen Elizabeth II gives Maundy Money at the cathedral

- 2001

A substantial fire breaks out in the South Transept, after which a major restoration project takes place

See more:

Cathedral 900: Year of special events and celebrations across Peterborough