Mining the Archives at Bretton Library

On Friday we were at Bretton Library to explore North Bretton archival material – joined by a group of local residents, armed with a wealth of memories of their own, from the early days of Bretton.

With central library archivist (and emerge creative producer) Hannah Saunders, kindly on hand to guide us through, we explored Peterborough Development Cooperation maps and marketing material, original slides of images from North Bretton, old community newsletters and listened to audio recordings of interviews with early residents to the Township and those involved in its delivery.


We started to try and identity common, overarching themes and images emerging out of  Bretton’s history and evolving identity through the ages.

Some of the common themes were identified as:

  • navigation: the confusing street patterns
  • freedom (sense of safety)
  • zoned nature of the township
  • play parks
  • Bretton’s landscaping: tree / cul-de-sac’s

The most interesting part of day was hearing from one another, and personal memories. Here you can see images of the items people brought with them:


(You can read Fred’s memory in full here.)

We also started doing some of the prep work for the memory walk on 8th of April, which will involve a community-walk around Bretton listening to one another’s early experiences of the Township and collecting people’s memories along the way.

Our wonderful artist Eleanor Shipman had prepared banner 1 ‘WHAT WAS’ which we will carry while we walk, and asked that we write our own personal memories of Bretton onto luggage tags, to add to the evolving banner.

WHAT WAS Banner Pic (1).jpg

See what people wrote on their tags here:


  • watching birds with children
  • Plant a tree in seventy-three
    Plant some more in seventy-four
    Will they survive till seventy-five
    Pull out the sticks in seventy-six
  • pick your own strawberries at park near Bretton centre

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