Monday 18 June 2018

The Peterborough Museum *Review*

I love discovering new places to visit, especially if they are local and free to enter, although we did donate to continue the work of the museum.

When I asked Alfie what he wanted to do with me for his birthday I was actually kind of surprised at his response, usually he would want to go to the zoo or something nature or wildlife related but instead he asked to visit the Peterborough museum. He'd recently been on a school trip and loved it and had mentioned about going again so this seemed the perfect time as he was on a training day and I had booked annual leave. I roped my parents in too as thought they'd be interested and so it was arranged and we visited a couple of weeks ago.

As I started to read up about the museum prior to visiting I was absolutely fascinated by the building and its history. I love a good ghost story and finding out that where the museum is situated (within what used to be the old infirmary from 1857 to 1928 in a large, old mansion) and that  it is said to be Peterborough's most haunted building in the city certainly  intrigued me.

Set over 3 floors the Peterborough museum certainly boasts a mixed bag of exhibitions and artefacts. It's brilliant! As Alfie had previously been he was insistent we visited certain areas first but eventually convinced him that we should start in a logical manner ...... on the top floor......don't ask! We did however make our first stop at the rather eerie operating theatre (see below!). There certainly is a strong aroma of a medical nature in this area and a bone chilling aspect to this clinical and brightly airy room. I dread to think what it would have been like back in those days!

Dating back to around 1910 this is one of three period surgical/operating facilities in England. It has retained its original tiling on the floors and walls (all white and ceramic, easy to clean the blood from!) and the skylight and windows. There is also a glass cabinet with a Nurses uniform and a handful of rather macabre surgical instruments. It certainly made us all cringe with thoughts of operations with minimal pain relief and infection prevention. Poor Alfie wasn't a fan of this room! I just couldn't stop thinking of all the awful things that must have happened on the operating table and just how lucky we are now with medicine!

As I said the museum is set over 3 floors and as you make your way around the old mansion there is something to see of a historic nature around each staircase. From the collection or art work to the plethora of period features such as the specially designed wooden squares on the stair cases, designed to prevent staff slipping when the mansion was the infirmary. There is something at each turn. 

So what else can you see at the museum?

There are several permanent exhibitions and throughout the year have a variety of events and temporary exhibitions to ensure you will see something new when you visit. I don't want to give too much away so I'll just go into brief detail about each current exhibition and share some photos from our trip. 

The Norman Cross Depot - Prisoners of War
For those that don't know, Peterborough was the site of the very first purpose built POW (prisoner of war camp) , many of the items for the public to view in this section have been lovingly hand crafted by the prisoners. It's quite moving, the intricately carved items are seriously mind blowing. 

Changing Lives
This part is all about the story of Peterborough over the last 200 years. It is fascinating! I loved the part about how each part of the city has been developed and over the years how it has grown, plus about the industries within the city, I found it very interesting. There is also a little cinema area where you can sit and watch some films that originate from Peterborough (I think!). I love looking back at history, even more so if local. 

My parents particularly loved this little set up of an old, retro kitchen. Parts of it reminded me of my Grandparents house and we had great fun identifying items that we still use today but just how different they are and how technology had advanced. Alfie couldn't get over the size of the hoover!

We actually have the exact version of the mincer on the table! Retro I know but Adi wanted a proper mincer and bought it second had a few years ago, it is so heavy and quite the contraption.

Changing Landscapes Gallery
Alfie was so excited to show us this part as this was the part that he had talked about after his school trip. Here the gallery is designed to make you feel like you're underwater, it's beautifully done and I know it sounds weird but we all felt we could smell the sea? Very strange but true. It's quite a calming place to be in, and centres around the prehistoric creatures that swam in the seas around Peterborough about 150 million years ago. Hard to believe it was once submerged underwater.

Around the corner from the under the sea area is another changing landscapes area. This set up showed us the different creatures that can be seen at night and how sometimes we won't always see these animals. It was a nice place to sit for a quiet few minutes, replicating an urban scene we sat and just identified the animals for a few minutes enjoying some peace. We're all just in a rush all the time aren't we, sometimes it's so nice to just sit back and take things in. 

Archaeology Gallery - First People
I have no photos from this gallery I'm afraid but this area is all about the pre history of Peterborough. We learnt about the Romans, Anglo Saxons and Medieval period and it was a fascinating insight, there are some great little artefacts in this section that really were fab. I also thoroughly enjoyed making the large coin puzzles.....that's the kid in me, ha! This was a fascinating display from the past and we all enjoyed it.

After finishing looking at the galleries we wandered around the mansion, there are lots of different things to look at of interest. I found this grandfather clock particularly beautiful, look how intricate it is - stunning! This was positioned in the office of the chief surgeon (I think it was, from memory), apparently he got the pick of the room because of his position and this large, round room was suitable for his needs. It is quite a striking room with the curved walls and the light flooding in.

There was also this portrait in there, both my Dad and I agreed there was something quite sinister and creepy about it, we couldn't put our finger on why but there is definitely something about it that sends shivers down me! What do you think?

On the same day as visiting the museum there was also the new Antony Gormley sculpture display  'places to be' #lookup.  For those who aren't sure who he is, he's the dude who did 'The Angel of the North' and is an internationally renowned artist whose sculptures investigate the relationship between the human body and space. We have 3 situated around Peterborough and members of the public are encouraged to #lookup to see them. I love them, I think they're a great addition to the centre and people will come and see them encouraging tourism into Peterborough.

While at the museum I also treated myself to a brand new book, 'Haunted Peterborough' which appeals right to my interest surrounding ghosts and all things like this, I love finding out about local ghostly happenings and this book is brilliant for that, the inside knowledge about the ghostly sightings at the museum itself is great, I'll certainly  be looking out for them when we visit again!
I also cannot wait to visit the Priestgate vaults beneath the museum, these are by arrangement only and on certain days so I'm going to be dragging my Dad along at some  point. I also want to do the escape rooms which are also beneath too, they sounds so much fun and having only ever done one escape room in the past I'm looking for some new ones to try.

Overall we had a great time at the museum, if you are local to the area and haven't ever visited before I would highly recommend. Packed full of interesting artefacts, information and exhibitions it makes for a very interesting couple of hours.

*Please note I have not been asked to write this nor did I receive any incentive I have written this purely for information and because it was a great afternoon. 


  1. What an interesting place to visit! Glad you guys had a great time at the museum.

    Alfie is adorable!


  2. I love visiting all types of museums, this one looks great. I really like the sea creatures #BloggersBest

  3. Gosh, that looks exactly like my Nan's kitchen. Right down the colour! Wow, what an interesting place :) Thank you for sharing it

  4. It looks really interesting!! I think a lot of art is really creepy as well. That pic is a bit weird. Hope Alf loved it. xx #bloggersbest x

  5. We love visiting museums wherever we go and this looks like a nice little one to go to. My little one would love the prehistoric creatures! #bloggersbest

  6. Can't beat museums to explore especially if they are free X #bloggersbest

  7. It's an interesting place. I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to anything related to ghosts but that retro kitchen is definitely cool. #bloggersbest

  8. I find it is always hard to imagine what a museum will actually be like before you get there. Was only disappointed once and that was a Chocolate museum that should never have been classed as a museum.

  9. I love discovering museums! #bloggersbest

  10. It’s great that Alfie wanted to go back and I agree that picture is god damn creepy.

  11. We have a museum where we are too but have never been - & we've lived here almost 6 years! #bloggersbest


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