Updated : 1/9/16 More ‘exciting’ facts!

Peterborough Cathedral was begun in 1118 and finished in 1238.

The Black Death struck Peterborough hard in 1349. Records show there wasn’t enough people to bring in the harvest.

The Crab and Winkle is the only pub of its name in the UK. Named after the railway line that used to link Peterborough and the coast and was nicknamed ‘The crab and winkle line.’

Peterborough air-raid sirens sounded 650 times during the war. The Coalheaver’s Arms was hit by a bomb at 5 a.m., but was open in time for lunch.

The last execution in Peterborough took place in May 1812 when David Myers was put to death for committing a public act of homosexuality in Burghley Park.

Elevens members of a Peterborough family died when the Titanic sank in 1912.  Annie Sage and her husband ran an off-licence in Gladstone Street. They and their 9 children perished.

The Lido outdoor swimming pool was built at a cost of £20,800 in 1936 (£6m today).

I wanted to write my book based in Peterborough as even though it has its faults, having grown up here, I am very fond of it. For those of you who don’t know the city here are some interesting and surprising facts.

Peterborough was originally called Medeshamstede and was an Anglian settlement before AD 655, however there was a large 1st century Roman fort at Longthorpe, designed to house half a legion or about 3,000 soldiers, as early as around AD 44–48. Peterborough now has an unofficial population of 200,000.

Peterborough is a city of the future: it’s predicted to be England’s fastest growing city by 2025 with a population growth of 15% p.a. London is currently about  12%. It is one of the UK government’s demonstrator cities for innovation and technology. Its companies are developing cutting-edge solutions for global environmental challenges, and driving future sustainability.

Did you know that Peterborough has the fastest average rush hour commute in the entire country at just shy of 20 mph. In London it is half that?

Railway lines began operating locally during the 1840s, but it was the 1850 opening of the Great Northern Railway’s main line from London to York that transformed Peterborough from a market town to an industrial centre.

The city has experienced an economic boom compared to the rest of the country. Peterborough has become the most successful economy in the East of England. Between 2006 and 2012 a £1 billion redevelopment of the city centre and surrounding areas has taken place.

With traditionally low levels of unemployment, Peterborough is a popular destination for workers and has seen significant growth through migration since the post-war period. The leader of the council said in August 2006 that he believed that 80% of the 65,000 people who had arrived in East Anglia from the the European Union in 2004 were living in Peterborough. This is obviously not a shock to those of us who live here. Peterborough’s population growth was reportedly the second fastest of any British city over the ten years from 2004 to 2013, driven partly by immigration.

Did you know that Peterborough is a city in touch with its rural setting and boasts the highest amount of green space per person in the country. It has beautiful landscapes from country parks to working farmland.

According to a report published by the police in 2007, recent migration had resulted in increased translation costs and a change in the nature of crime in the county, with an increase in drink-driving offences, knife crime and an international dimension added to activities such as running cannabis factories and human trafficking.

HMP Peterborough is the only prison in the country to have men and women kept separately but on the same site, with the same senior management team and some staff moving between the two prisons. In January 2008, a national table of prisons compiled by the Prison Service revealed that Peterborough Prison had come last out of 132 prisons and prison clusters, with low marks for reducing re-offending, organisational effectiveness and decency.

The male side of the prison, which has space for about 900 inmates, was re-inspected by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons in February 2015. It was described as “an impressive local prison with a positive staff culture” and praised for its excellent and innovative work to resettle prisoners.

At the heart of Peterborough’s city centre is one of the country’s finest squares. The award-winning, £12m transformation of the city’s Cathedral Square provides a buzzing modern piazza and quiet spaces, with an unparalleled historic backdrop. It’s the perfect place to meet, shop, eat or just relax and watch the world go by. It also has a beautiful but controversial Christmas tree.

The King’s School in Park Road was founded in 1541 by Henry VIII as the Cathedral School to educate the Cathedral choristers and a close link remains.

Did you know that Holme Fen, 6 miles south of Peterborough, is the lowest point in Britain at 9 feet below sea level.

If you meet anyone abroad who asks you where you are from. Prepare for them to say ‘Petersburg? Where is that?’ Anyone from up north will think it’s near London and anyone from London will think it’s a muddy village on the train line.

I’m struggling a bit now so I will leave it there.