Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The original church on this site dated from Saxon times was dedicated to Edmund, King and Martyr. In the 12th century this was changed to St Edmund and the holy sepulchre and over time the church just became known as St Sepulchre. The church was rebuilt in the 15th century but was gutted by the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was restored in the 18th century.

St Sepulchre is the ‘bells of Old Bailey’ mentioned in the nursery rhyme oranges and lemons. It stands just across the road from the courts and the bells concerned are thought to refer to those rung before executions at nearby Newgate.

It is the patron church of musicians and the church of the Royal Fusiliers (of London Regiment).

The Romans in Britain

Posted: February 8, 2018 in History, Roman History, UK

Piccadilly Circus

Posted: February 7, 2018 in History, London, UK

I came across this wonderful video about Piccadilly Circus and its history


Neville Place is a large house in the middle of Peterborough not far from the Cathedral. The original Tudor House was built in 1536 on this site by Humphrey Orme, a courtier of Henry VIII. In 1816 the Orme family sold it to Thomas Coke, a merchant, and in 1856 it became the home of Peterborough Infirmary, being enlarged in 1897 and again in 1902. In 1928 the infirmary moved away and it became a Museum.

It is still a museum today and has displays on various aspects of local history.

The house and it’s different uses

The history of Peterborough

A wonderful collection of craft items made by internees at Norman Cross Camp. The prisoners made these from wood and animal bone and sold them to the locals to make money to spend in the prison stores.

Norman Cross was a prisoner of war camp during the Napoleonic war. Prior to its construction prisoners had been held on old ships (Prison Hulks) and conditions were not good. So the government set out to improve things by building prisoner camps on land. Initially, the plan worked well and the conditions were far better than on a hulk. However, as the war drew on and the number of prisoners increased the conditions got worse and over a thousand prisoners were killed by an outbreak of Typhus in 1800. It is recorded that in the years of its operation (1796-1816) 1770 prisoners died, although some argue that many deaths were not recorded. It was demolished in 1816 and only the governers House remains standing.

Reconstructions of Peterborough houses through the ages


In the 11th century, the Abbey built a church for the townspeople on land to the east of the Cathedral precinct. However, this site was liable to frequent floods and so in the 15th century, the church was moved to its current site of the west of the Market. The new Church opened in 1407 and was partially built using materials from the original building. It 1651 it, like the Cathedral, was damaged by Parliamentarian forces. The parish records show that in 1665-7, the rector buried 462 people who had died from the plague (out of a town’s population of around 3000).

The tower was to prove troublesome and in 1820 the original spire was removed as builders felt it to be unsafe, During a gale in 1881 part of the Tower broke away and crashed down through the roof of the Church.

The church contains a number of original features including the 15th-century font.

It also contains some fine stained glass windows.

Queen Victoria dies

Posted: January 22, 2018 in History, UK

Queen Victoria (1897) By ArishG – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


Today marks the 117th anniversary of the death of Queen Victoria. By the time of her death, she had reigned for more than 6 decades. The 81-year-old Queen spent her last days at Osbourne House, her residence on the Isle of Wight with her family. On the morning of the 21st, she seemed slightly recovered and called for her Pomeranian dog, Turi to come and play on her bed. But this was short-lived and she soon drifted off again. She called for her son, Bertie (soon to be Edward VII) and asked him to kiss her. The Dean of Westminster then recited her favourite hymn and she slipped into unconsciousness. She died at 6.30pm on the 22nd surrounded by her family including her grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

When the news broke, people ran through the streets shouting ‘Queen Dead!’ at the top of their voices which one observer described as ‘ a babel of voices’. I doubt that she would have been amused.

(taken from material in BBC History Magazine)



The magnificent front of Peterborough Cathedral dominates the precincts


The entrance to the Bishop’s Palace. the room above the entrance is known as Knight’s chamber as it is reputed to be accommodation for Knights hosted by the Abbey on the order of the King.


The walls of the Abbey Gardens


The Beckett Chapel, built around 1320 to replace a building of 1170 which housed relics from St Thomas Beckett. In 1541 following the dissolution of the Abbey it became part of King’s school and in 1885 Peterborough Museum. It is now the tea room for visitors to the Cathedral.


The Gateway between the Abbey precinct and the town square

Scott’s disappointment

Posted: January 15, 2018 in History

Captain Robert Falcon Scott was a British Royal Navy officer and explorer who explored the Antarctic region with the aim of being the first person to reach the South Pole. His first expedition in 1901–1904 had to be halted before they achieved their destination and so Scott returned in 1910 to try for a second time. On the 15th January 1912, Scott and his companions camped, knowing that this time they would be successful. The following morning they set off towards the pole. In Scott’s journal, he described what happened – as they approached, one of the officers spotted a black shape in the distance. ‘We marched on and found that it was a black flag tied to a sledge bearer; nearby with the remains of a camp; sledge tracks and ski tracks coming and going and a clear trace of dog paws -many dogs. This told us the whole story. The Norwegians had forestalled us and are first at the pole’. A Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it.

The expedition was to end in disaster and Scott and his colleagues were to die of exposure before they could meet up with the rest of the expedition and make their way back to the coast. Following the news of his death, Scott became a celebrated hero, a status reflected by the many memorials erected across the UK.

Capt Robert Falcon Scott By Henry Maull (1829–1914)   Source: Date:1905), Public Domain,


The exterior of the building has this very attractive black and white stonework

The Church has a number of chapels and altars, although not all these have been in continuous use as places of worship as church records indicate that at times they have been a printer’s shop and a blacksmith’s forge.


The Font                        The Martyrdom of St Bartholomew

The Entrance from the churchyard to Smithfield. Although this is now separated from the church by a long passage, this would originally have been at the east end of the original Priory church.

The Monastery of Peterborough was built in the 12th century and was closed in the dissolution of 1539. The buildings were demolished over the following centuries and little remains today, but it is still possible to see some of the remains incorporated into walls and buildings surrounding the Cathedral.


The remains of the walls of the cloisters are now the walls of a garden adjacent to the Cathedral. It is interesting to see the 3 different phases of the development of the cloister, starting with the original 12th century through two rebuilds to the final highly decorated version.


The other major remains are the building that contained the refectory and the dormitory.


Window of monastic building