Almshouses – charitable buildings to help the poor and needy – were built on the corner of Cumbergate and Exchange Street in 1835 by the Feoffes of Peterborough, a body established in the 16th century with various public responsibilities.
They also ran a prison on the adjoining site until 1844 when a purpose built jail, now the Sessions House, was built in 1844.
The almshouses were largely rebuilt in 1903 thanks to Miss Frances Pears – the daughter of a well-known draper in the city – who left them £5,000 for the purpose when she died in 1901.
The listed building housed Topo Gigio’s restaurant – which has no link with the current restaurant of that name – between 1982 and 1996.
1n 1999, Yates Wine Lodge showed interest in opening up there, before opting for its current site on Broadway, and shortly afterwards, Peter Boizot opened the venue as a wine bar, only to see it close on February 24, 2003.
It is currently Harriets Café Tearooms.