Fred Harris remembers

Original resident Fred Harris was one of those to join us at our recent library visit, to explore North Bretton archival material. He kindly brought along his memory journal which accounts for his early experiences of the township, taking us up until the present day. We think it is wonderful (especially what Fred achieved in setting up the social group ‘Phase 3’) and we hope you agree.

Read his story here:


My name is Fred Harris, I am 84 years.

We came to Bretton in 1974, we lived in Stumpacre. I worked as a cook at Peterborough District Hospital.

There wasn’t much here; the Oxcoat Pub and the Pyramid. There were 2 mobile shops in the carpark by the Pyramid.

As there was nothing here some of us got together and formed Phase 3 which was Norburn, Watergall and Stumpacre.

We held dances at the Pyramid and had trips to the seaside for the children and also fetes to get together on the field.

There was also a group called the Good Companions for the pensioners, coffee mornings and also meetings and classes.

We had a fish and chip van that came round on a Thursday night, and a veg van that also came round. A van came round selling wet fish also.

Then there were some shops built, a fish and chip shop, a veg one. Martins shop also Post office and V.Gs for groceries.

After awhile Bretton Woods was built and Sainsburys and The Cresset was built, and opened by the Queen. 

More shops came into being. Wet fish, butchers, True Form shoe shop, bakers, a Boots. A Wimpy restaurant and a garage.

We couples from Bretton went to the Mayors ball at the Warrina, also with a group from Bruges in Belgium.

We  has bingo, Scouts, judo and entertainment.

Then the Cresset got bigger so Phase 3 wound down. Other things still carried on. There were some very bad winters.

The church in the Cresset came into being and the library. Where the pram shop is there was a pub but that went. 

We also had the Bretton Festival which now meets in Bretton Park.

My wife past away in December ’16, after 61 happy years.

Now my memory is going.

So I remain,

Fred Harris

PS.  Peterborough has changed. The NHS built Fenland House Hospital with all electric kitchens in their wisdom, and the knocked it down down and rebuilt it where St. Johns and the walk in centre is now.

Then they built Eadith Conwell hospital at Bretton Gate, then they weren’t happy with that one and they knocked it down and built the new city hospital and knocked down the P.D.H as well. 


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