The building of Queengate - image copyright Graham Wade

Forty Years On Project

Forty Years On was an ambitious and exciting three year programme of theatre, oral history and archive work. Led by Eastern Angles Theatre Company and the Peterborough Archives Service, it explored, archived and creatively interpreted forty years of Peterborough’s history from 1968 to 2008.

With £160,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Forty Years On gave local people the chance to investigate the history of Peterborough’s development and see it celebrated in a touring documentary show, Parkway Dreams. Meanwhile, £60,000 from Arts Council England’s ‘Grants for the arts’ scheme resulted in a major community play in Spring 2014 based on the research and stories of residents called ‘River Lane’.

Over 100 volunteers took part in the Forty Years On project. They catalogued and conserved the archives of the Peterborough Development Corporation to enable public access to the material for the first time. Alongside this, they collected over 150 oral histories from long term residents, those who relocated to Peterborough during the city’s rapid 40-year expansion, as well as Peterborough’s established immigrant groups and more recent arrivals from Eastern Europe. The interviews will form a valuable oral history archive within Peterborough Archives Service.

Visit the volunteering page for information about our latest volunteering opportunities, or contact us at 01733 864775 if you are interested in getting involved.

Have a listen to a snippet from the recent production of ‘Parkway Dreams’, our musical documentary play, and hear what some of the audience thought about the show.

Peterborough Development Corporation Catalogue online

At long last the cataloguing is complete. Over 55 volunteers have helped us to list, describe, conserve and number up around a quarter of a million documents. You can now view the fruits of their labours on the Archives Online Catalogue. To view any item from the collection either visit the Archives Service in the Central Library or ring staff on 01733 864160.

New education resource based on Forty Years On project

A new education resource for Key Stages 2 and 3 is now available for use by teachers, students and the general public. Devised by educational specialists and the Forty Years On team it gives a great introduction to Peterborough at the time of expansion, with photographs, audio clips, quizzes, factoids and much more! Visit to start discovering what’s out there!

Audio podcasts by PRC students

Level 2 students at the Media and Journalism Centre took inspiration from Forty Years On to create their own podcasts about how life has changed in the last forty years. This was the first time most had worked with audio and students undertook their own interviews with local residents to explore topics further. It was great to see all the students engaging with local history, but particular congratulations to Nick and Irina who won Parkway Dreams tickets for their efforts.

Have a listen to a selection of the podcasts below:
Irina – Cinema

Nick – Leisure

Charmaine – Fashion

Mathew – School and Education

If you would like a FREE copy of the ‘Forty Years On’ commemorative booklet, which includes photographs, maps and quotes taken from interviews with members of the Peterborough Development Corporation, business owners and residents, please contact the Archives Service on 01733 864160.