Description: The building was built in 1816 as a private house by Thomas Cooke. However, the Cellars are part of a far older house that was built on the site in the 16th Century.
The Orme family owned a house on this site from 1538.
Thomas Cooke (a local magistrate) and his wife Charlotte built the existing building and used it as their townhouse from 1816 – 1856. Thomas Cooke used to hold trials in the kitchen of the house.
Thomas and Charlotte divorced apparently amid a lot of scandal. It was then sold to 3rd Earl Fitzwilliam who gave permission for the building to be used as the city’s first hospital. It was The Peterborough Infirmary from 1857 – 1928.
There was apparently a big fire in the building in 1884. The building was then bought by the Museum Society and became a museum in 1931.
– There has been a massive increase in reported activity recently, this increase is thought to have been triggered by electrical work that has been going on at the museum.
– In January 2005, 2 visitors (one a young child) saw a dark figure in the museum (the child ran away screaming). This has been seen regularly before.
– After 6pm when the museum was closed, Stuart (Marketing and Events Mgr), heard loud banging on doors but no-one was there.
– In the week beginning 27/09/04, a staff member was working alone in the museum at about 6.30pm when she saw a male figure ‘flitting’ down the corridor.
– In the Exhibition Room Gallery people have been pushed, one work experience girl was pushed so violently she fell to the floor.
– In 1916 when the builiding was being used as a hosptial a solider was brought here and died – his ghost has been seen walking up the stairs. He’s described as being about 30 years old, brown haired and wearing a green or grey suit.
– On 11/09/04 a paranormal investigation was held here with members of the public. 4 people separately saw and heard a lady in a Georgian dress walking down the stairs and the sound of a woman called ‘Lady Charlotte, Lady Charlotte…’ after her.
– In mid-November 2004 – A group were being given an evening tour and were standing on the stairs when they heard 5 distinct footsteps at the top of the staircase. The guide and 2 of the people on the tour went up to have a look but no-one was there, just a cold spot at the top – there was no-one else in the whole building.
– In the Archeology Gallery a ouija board – picked up a Roman Soldier in this room – possibly connected to the sword kept in here rather than the building itself.
– Sergeant Thomas Hunter was born in Newcastle in 1880 but emigrated to Australia when he was a young man. He worked as a coal miner in New South Wales before enlisting with the ANZACs at the start of WW1 serving in Gallipoli and on the Western Front. He was seriously wounded in June 1916 and the field hospital that treated him decided that he needed more specialist treatment in Britain. He was shipped back to Britain and put on a train North but his condition worsened and the train stopped at the nearest station and he was taken to the nearest Hospital, what is now the Museum. However, treatment came too late and he died in the building on 31st July 1916. He’s buried in the Broadway Cemetery in Peterborough.
– One of the Doctors who worked here when the building was a hospital pioneered the use of x-rays, however, he accidentally radiated himself and died on the premises.
First Broadcast: 23rd August 2005