Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery

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The Museum and Art Gallery, Priestgate, Peterborough.
Portrait of George Montagu by John Giles Eccardt after Jean-Baptiste van Loo (c. 1739–1750).

Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery houses the historical and art collections of the city of Peterborough in the United Kingdom. It is part of the Greater Fens Museum Partnership.


Victorian operating theatre

The building, originally a private house dating from 1816 (though parts of the cellar date back to a house that was built in the 16th century), was acquired and donated to the Peterborough Natural History, Scientific and Archaeological Society in 1931 by Sir Percy Malcolm Stewart; the art gallery was added in 1939. Earlier, in 1856, the Priestgate mansion had been sold to Earl Fitzwilliam, who allowed it to be used as the city's first hospital – the public Dispensary and Infirmary – from 1857 until the opening of the War Memorial Hospital in 1928.[1] In 1968, the museum was presented to the city by the Peterborough Museum Society.

Since 2010, it has been managed on behalf of the city council by Vivacity, an independent not-for-profit organisation with charitable status, which also runs the Key Theatre and the city's libraries.[2]


Marine fossils
Norman Cross doll house

Peterborough Museum has a collection of some 227,000 objects, including local archaeology and social history ranging from the products of the Roman pottery industry to a collection of marine fossil remains of international importance from the Jurassic period.[3][4]

The museum also contains the original manuscripts of John Clare, the "Northamptonshire Peasant Poet" as he was commonly known in his own time and the Norman Cross collection of items made by French prisoners of war.[5] These prisoners were kept at Norman Cross on the outskirts of Peterborough from 1797 to 1814, in what is believed to be the world's first purpose built prisoner-of-war camp.[6] The art collection contains a variety of paintings, prints and drawings dating from the 17th century to the present day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beatty, Gwendoline, "Peterborough and District War Memorial Hospital 1928–1968" in Peterborough's Past Vol. 3, pp. 45–56. Peterborough Museum Society, 1988.
  2. ^ About Vivacity Vivacity Culture and Leisure (retrieved 15 January 2013).
  3. ^ Cambridgeshire (including City of Peterborough) Archived 21 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Natural England (retrieved 17 May 2010).
  4. ^ Martill, David M. Predation on Kosmoceras by Semionotid Fish in the Middle Jurassic Lower Oxford Clay of England Archived 24 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Journal of the Palaeontological Association, Vol. 33, Part 3, pp. 739–742, August 1990.
  5. ^ Grainger, Margaret, A Descriptive Catalogue of the John Clare Collection. Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery, 1973.
  6. ^ Time Team dig up old Norman Cross Pow camp's secrets, Peterborough Evening Telegraph, 16 July 2009.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°34′18″N 0°14′45″W / 52.57176°N 0.2459°W / 52.57176; -0.2459