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Peterborough in the Great War

Peterborough had a very active campaign for abstinence at the start of the twentieth century and the Womens United Total Abstinence Council ran a coffee wagon in the city's market place to try and entice men away from the pubs.

During the First World War their coffee bar relocated to the railway station and provided an alternative non-alcoholic drink to servicemen travelling through the station, as well as a place for companionship and conversation. Patrons of the coffee shop were invited to sign their name in a visitors’ book, two of which survive.

As Peterborough is on the East Coast Mainline which serves the east of England, the north east and Scotland, the visitors’ books record sailors and soldiers who were travelling to and from the front from all over the UK. The books, held by Peterborough Archives, are an extraordinary record of a wide variety of servicemen.

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About this Project

Vivacity has been awarded £99,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project to digitize, research and explore two unique guestbooks from World War 1.

The project is a partnership between Vivacity’s Archives Service, based in the Central Library and Vivacity’s Heritage Service, based at Peterborough Museum, Flag Fen and Longthorpe Tower.

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