Book a date with stories of city’s past

Jean Hooper with her book  Peterborough in 100 Dates. EMN-150508-162600009
Jean Hooper with her book Peterborough in 100 Dates. EMN-150508-162600009
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A new book which plots the course of Peterborough’s history - from the building of the Cathedral through to plans for Westgate - has gone on sale.

Peterborough in 100 Dates tells the story of the city’s past through stories of social, sporting and other occasions - from royal visits to performances from The Beatles.

It has been written and compiled by tour guide Jean Hooper (64) of Marholm Road, Bretton.

She said: “Lots of people who live in Peterborough are not originally from here, so the book is designed for people to learn about the history of the city. It is meant to be a light read, with something for everybody in it.

“It is not meant to cover everything that has ever happened, but to give a flavour of the past.”

The first date covered in the book is on April 17, 656 when the founder of the Peterborough Abbey was killed, with the last date in December 2014, with the plans for the Westgate development - with 98 equally important occasions being included,

Jean said: “With some of the older events it is difficult to find research, as newspapers were not around until much later.

“The Cathedral is a good place to start though. Henry IV spent a lot of time here, and his daughters were baptised in Peterborough.

“I also learnt a few surprising things. From a social point of view, I was surprised to learn Buffalo Bill visited the city.

“The Beatles’ first English concert outside of Liverpool and Lancashire was at the Embassy Theatre - which is now Edwards - on December 2, 1962. The reports say the review was terrible. They were unpaid at that time as well.

“They came back the following year when Love Me Do was in the charts, and Beatle-mania had begun.

“With the sports side of the book, I concentrated on Peterborough United. The biggest event in the club’s history was getting elected into the Football League.”

Details of the last public hanging - on May 18, 1812 - and the formation of the Peterborough Volunteer Fire Brigade on December 5, 1884 are also included. The voluntary service is the only one in the country to have been voluntary since it was founded, although the crews used to be paid in beer.

Jean, who has lived in the city for 40 years, working as a blue badge tour guide for more than 20 years, said: “The hardest part was cutting it down to only 100 dates.

“There is so much that has been going on.

“In history a lot of things that are recorded are serious or blood thirsty events.

“I have tried to include some of the social events or lighter events that have taken place here.”

The book, costing £7.99, is available from The History Press.