March Society takes a step back in time to people who lived between Earith and Denver

PUBLISHED: 11:54 30 April 2016

The March Society talk,

The March Society talk,


The life of people who lived along the Ouse washes were the subject of a talk by former Cambridge librarian Mike Petty.

Mr Petty, a writer and lecturer on Cambridgeshire and the Fens, gave a talk to the March Society about some of the people who lived between Earith and Denver.

His presentation included the history of the Old and New Bedford Rivers and attempts to reduce flooding from the River Great Ouse including how in recent years there have been increasing volumes of water overflowing onto the washes which is preventing birds from nesting and cattle from grazing, he said.

In the early 1970s the government funded a high speed, frictionless magnetic hovertrain project on a site between Earith and Sutton Gault and the train is on display in Peterborough.

However, Government funding was soon halted in favour of the advanced passenger train.

Isolated farmsteads experienced difficulties getting workers and had to offer bed and board in order to attract workers.

He spoke of smallholders in Little Downham and Manea Colony in the 1840s who abolished money and instead issued tokens to spend in local shops.

Skating championships were held at Welney on the frozen water between the two rivers.

The next March Society event is ‘An Interesting Walk in Guyhirn’ with Brian Payne at 6.45pm on Wednesday May 11 in Guyhirn.

Please contact The March Society to book a place. Lifts are available. Email

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