Whittlesey is a Cambridgeshire market town in the Fenland district with a history dating back to the Bronze Age. Before the drainage of the fens, this area was an island of dry ground surrounded by the marshy fens.
The nearby Flag Fen archaeological park has evidence of settlement though to the Roman era, with an important trade route in the late Bronze Age, passing through Whittlesey. Log boats, evidence of settlement and the earliest complete wooden wheel found in Britain were all found nearby. A wooden causeway was discovered by archaeologists in the 1980s, having been made with over 60’000 oak timbers as a way to provide a sturdy way to cross the fens.
In more modern times, Whittlesey was significant for its brickyards, as the local clay soil was also used to make cob boundary walls during a period in which there was a brick tax. Some examples of these roofed walls still stand today and are claimed to be unique in Fenland.
The right to hold a market and three annual fairs was granted in 1715, though the market had been discontinued by the 1780s except for the June fair, where predominantly horses were traded. Shortly before 1851 the market was revived with bids to become an excellent corn market, but in 1868 it was said that only 'the tradition of a market lingers about the place on Friday afternoons'.
Market Place, which puts people at its heart, has worked with local people to create exciting creative opportunities in Whittlesey. The ‘Imagine: Whittlesey’ concert featuring local people and the Grand Union orchestra, a fun Family Music Day and an ‘Imagination Studio’ to enjoy ‘VJ-ing’ and an animation workshop for all the family. Market Place also worked with local care homes to bring technology and the arts together, trying different crafts & learning how to use iPads too
Learn more about The Library Presents events taking place in Whittlesey, in partnership with Babylon Arts in the program HERE