Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

From Bricks to the Baptist: A Day of Archaeology in Peterborough.

The Day of Archaeology seems to have unintentionally have been a day spent in ecclesiastical settings for me. It started with a visit to St Michaels and All Angels Church in Sutton near Peterborough for the Cambridgeshire Conservation Officer Forum meeting. This gathering happens every three months or so and allows Conservation Officers across the region to share best practice. It is hosted by a different authority each time, and this time it was our turn! Sutton Church was chosen as it has recently had works to create a new meeting space and kitchen within the 12th century fabric.

Douglas from SPAB giving his presentation in the evening. Photo by Toby Wood

Built as a chapel of ease to Castor St Kyneburgha (a stunning church as well), it has lovely Norman period carvings and some great gargoyles! Each meeting has a specialist building conservation presenter and for this meeting we had Peter Minter of Cambridge Brick and Tile Company (and Bulmer Brick & Tile), who brought some samples with him to show issues affecting tiles (make sure you ventilate your roofs, was the overarching message). Following this we visited Sacrewell Farm and Country Centre, just a mile up the road, to see their Grade II* listed Watermill, recently the recipient of a first round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In the evening I was back to a church, this time St John the Baptist in Peterborough City Centre, for the celebration event for Peterborough Buildings in Need, a project I have been running for the last nine months. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund this project has had a series of masterclasses and lectures on the theme of valuing the historic environment, alongside volunteer surveys of Peterborough City Centre Conservation Area. The website and end of project report and toolkit are here. The evening had some great talks, including from Douglas Kent from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings or SPAB (in the photo above), and some performance poets reading their poetry about the city (including a poem just for the project, on the front page of the website, and well worth a read!).

Alice Kershaw, Heritage Regeneration Officer

Opportunity Peterborough and Peterborough City Council