Mary Rainey


On 8th March 2011 at Peterborough Women’s Centre the Conference room will be dedicated to Mary Rainey.

Mary was instramental in setting up the Womens Centre at Peterborough and she had also received a Lifetime Achievement Award for years of work in the city.  Mary passed away in February 2010.

Some of her achievements during her lifetime she was a Teacher, Councillor, City Mayor, Wife and Mother.

During an interview with the Peterborough ET Mary said she had wanted to create a supporting environment where women could be not just supported but also empowered.

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Peterborough Museum


As part of our ‘Hands on History Women Who Shaped Peterborough’ course we were treated to a tour of Peterborough with a guide from Peterborough Museum. The museum which is currently closed for renovation runs city tours and is also looks at other ways to get out into the community. I have taken my family to the museum previously and staff in costume fascinated the children. I look forward to their reopening and hope that during their closure they will continue to organize events (especially during the school holidays).

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Women who shaped Peterborough Group


I have been working with the Women who Shaped Peterborough group since the beginning of January. We have been exploring women from Peterborough or who have a connection to Peterborough who have been inspirational.

As part of this we have been busy researching using the internet, the Archives in the local library and also a walk around Peterborough city centre with a guide from the Museum.

We have been working towards an exhibition as part of International Women’s Day on 8th March and this can be viewed at Peterborough Women’s Centre on Tuesday 8th March 2011.

The group have been a really lovely group to work with and I shall miss them!

Karen Wilson

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Learning IT with Peterborough Women’s Centre


I would like to mention how Karen Toon has helped me and many more people get On-line in Peterborough through her teaching sessions in the IT Suite at Peterborough Women Centre.  I know many women who are very grateful for what they have learned and there are many I have not even met.

In the last three years I have learned many skills and during the last year have also been helped by Di Skillen as well.  Thank-you to both of you.

You are both Women Who Shaped The Future Of Peterborough.



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Edith Cavell


All of us are familiar with the story of Florence Nightingale. “The Lady of the Lamp”and the bravery shown by her during the Crimean War, but how many of us know of the bravery of Edith Cavell?

Edith Louisa Cavell was born in Swardeston, Norfolk on December 4th 1865. When she was seventeen she became a pupil teacher at a school in Laurel Court which is in the precincts of Peterborough Cathedral.

She became interested in hospitals while travelling in Bavaria and began her nurse’s training in London in 1895. In 1906 she moved to Brussels to help train Belgian nurses. When World War 1 broke out in 1914 Edith was in charge of a clinic which she immediately converted into a hospital for wounded soldiers. She showed no discrimination, treating British, Belgian, French and German soldiers. She also helped allied soldiers, once they had recovered from their wounds, to escape over the border into Holland where they were able to rejoin their armies.

In 1915 Edith Cavell was betrayed to German authorities by a Belgian traitor and was imprisoned. Despite pleas for leniency and mercy by the British, American and Spanish governments she was executed by a German firing squad on October 12th, 1915.

Shortly before her death Edith Cavell was counseled by a British chaplain and is reported to have said during that interview “I have seen death so often that it is not strange or fearful to me, Standing as I do in the view of God and eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness to anyone.

Edith Cavell was a far better and braver woman than I could ever hope to be and deserves far more recognition than she has received so far. There is a statue erected in her memory in Saint Martin’s Place in London and she has a mountain named in her honour in Canada.

Edith Cavell

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Our Visit to the Library Archives


library archives group shot

Here we are at the archives

I went along with my hands on history class to the Archives at Peterborough Central Library for a prearranged appointment to trace the history of  women who shaped Peterborough.

The assistant Archivist allowed us to look at some original paper work of and exhibition work on WUTAC -Womens United Total Abistance Council.  Also original document copies associated with Fletton Infant Welfare Association. Then we were shown documents relating to Emily Pankhurst which then led to us being shown how to use the microfish machine to look at film of copies of old Peterborough Advertiser and Peterborough Standard – local papers – to find advertisements of Ms Pankhurst coming to the Corn Exchange in Peterborough and write ups following this meeting in both local papers dated 1911.

Microfiche image - Emily Pankhurst

On certain machine we were able to photocopy these items for use in our exhibition for International Womens  Day on 8th March 2011 to be displayed for the renaming of the conference room in Peterborough Womens Centre to The Mary Rainey Room – she was former founder of the Peterborough Womens Centre – who passed away in 2010.

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Women in Peterborough Census


It was only after 1800 that Peterborough became a significantly populated area.

The 1801 census recorded just 3,500 people here which more than doubled to 8,763 by the 1851 census.

It had rocketed to 30,873 by the time the 1901 census was taken.

The 2001 census showed there were 156,060 people in Peterborough 3,000 more than in 1991 – with roughly 4,000 more women than men.

The city has more people aged 30 to 34 and more children under the age of four than the national average.

The figures showed that 89.71% of the population (140,003) was white, compared to 92.58% ten years earlier.

There were 6,980 Pakistanis and 2,876 Indians in the city at the time.

Age Range           Total           Males                  Females

0-4                       10240         5166                    5074

5-9                       10922         5641                    5281

10-14                   11002         5554                    5448

20-24                   9640           4731                    4909

25-29                   11405         5676                    5729

30-34                   12692         6210                    6482

35-39                   12113         5900                    6213

40-44                   10799         5305                    5494

45-49                   10039         4872                    5167

50-54                   10287         5155                    5132

55-59                   8006           3914                    4092

60-64                   6809           3381                    3428

65-69                   6372           3007                    3365

70-79                   5679           4618                    2009 2609

80-84                   3069           1194                    1875

85-89                   1609           501                      1108

90 and over         269             190                      79

Totals                   156060       76017                  80043

What is the census?

A census is a count of the population. We have had one in the UK every ten years to find out more about who we are as a nation. We ask everyone to tell us a bit about themselves to help census users decide how best to plan and deliver the everyday services we all need – like housing, education, healthcare and transport.

The census will take place on 27 March 2011 and you will receive your questionnaire in the middle of March.

You are required by law to complete the census.

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