About Us

  • History

    History

    Bricks In Transit 1961. Image courtesy of Middleton Press. www.middletonpress.co.uk

    Brick making, railways, and a sports field are part of the more recent history of this site at Dogsthorpe, formally a hamlet outside Peterborough.
     
    On August 1st 1866, the Midland and Great Northern Railway opened a line from Peterborough to Dogsthorpe, Eye Green, Thorney, Wisbech, Kings Lynn, Melton Constable and Great Yarmouth, with a branch line to Hunstanton and Her Majesty the Queen’s Estate at Sandringham. The line ran through the then village of Dogsthorpe –  agricultural parish land at the time.
     
    Part of that land was purchased in the late 1880’s by a private brick company, one of several around Peterborough, well known for the brick making qualities of its clay soil. At the Dogsthorpe Works two draglines were used to excavate the clay which was then taken by a conveyor into the works where a two-shift system was operated that produced almost 750,000 bricks each week. These were all Tudor facings, due to the red clay being ideal for this type of brick. 
     
    The Dogsthorpe Works had three Hoffman kilns, each able to take fork lift trucks and the Dogsthorpe pit also supplied clay to the Northam Works with the clay being transferred over a mile by an aerial bucketed ropeway. Following production the majority of the bricks were transferred from Dogsthorpe by the M&GN railway line to all parts of the country. The Dogsthorpe Siding was adjacent to where Peterborough Garden Park is today and the line was taken out of service in 1966.
     
    For brick making purposes the quality of the clay on the Garden Centre part of the site was not as good as the land adjacent to it. Consequently the brick works used part of the site to deposit surplus clay which had been excavated from other parts of their site, but was not of sufficient quality for use.
     
    An amalgamation of all the private brick companies in Peterborough, including the Star Pressed Brick Company at Dogsthorpe, took place in 1922, when the London Brick Company took over the brick works land including the part on which the Garden Park now sits.
     
    The London Brick Company, in the late 1990’s when they stopped producing bricks, used the resultant deep craters for landfill and received planning approval for retail and other uses. 
     
    The planning approval was not implemented because of a land swap deal. London Brick were approached by the British Railway’s Property Board, who wished to dispose of several acres of land at New England, a more central location than Dogsthorpe, which housed the British Railway’s sports club and playing fields. A deal was done between the British Railway’s Property Board and the London Brick Company and a land swap took place, which included, with the permission of the City Council, the relocation of the retail planning permission from Dogsthorpe to New England.
     
    The members of the British Railway’s Sports Club protested vehemently at the severance of their club house and playing fields. Meetings took place at the Property Board in London with the local Member of Parliament, Dr. Brian Mawhinney MP and the Leader of the Council, Councillor Charles Swift OBE. Eventually the Property Board made the land available at Dogsthorpe to the local Railway Club, for the relocation of their sports facilities and also built a new club-house on two acres of the land at New England.  But over time the four mile distance between the New England facilities and the Dogsthorpe playing fields caused them to become disused. In 2008 the Rail Club sold the site to Peterborough Garden Park. 
     
    Peterborough Garden Park was formally opened by Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex on 8th July 2010.
     
    Commenting on the Garden Park, Councillor Charles W. Swift OBE
    North Ward Councillor said:
     
    “What has to be said and recorded for posterity, is that the purchase of this land and the development, which will be a jewel in the crown of the City of Peterborough, together with the contributions made by the developers in what is termed Section 106 Agreements, have improved over fifteen acres of derelict Council land with new football and cricket pitches, and the money paid to the Railway Club has enabled it to purchase other properties and revamp one of the most derelict areas in the city, again on land owned by the city Council, making facilities for the benefit of the community and local schools, in one of the most socially deprived areas.

    It has been a long, hard road over several years but what has now been achieved by the developers is indeed, to their credit".