17 August 2019

An old coaching house
has survived recent
changes in Peterborough

The Bull Hotel on Westgate has survived recent, large-scale developments in the centre of Peterborough (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Patrick Comerford

Like the Wortley Almshouse on Westgate, the Bull Hotel is another interesting listed building in the centre of Peterborough that has survived recent large-scale commercial developments.

The Bull Hotel is the only AA recognised four-star hotel in the city centre. It is directly opposite the entrance to Queensgate Shopping Centre and close to Peterborough Railway Station. But it dates back to the 17th century.

Over the years, this Grade II listed building in Westgate has been carefully restored and refurbished.

The Bull Hotel was first a small 17th century coaching inn and it had only eight rooms until 1901. The front entrance and reception area was a courtyard that provided convenient access from the main street through to the nearby cattle market, located in what is known today as Cattle Market Road.

In the 18th century, it was customary for hostelries and inns to be given a ‘town pound’ from the local magistrate, meaning a certain amount of livestock had to be accommodated in the outhouses as a service to the local farmers staying overnight before Market Day.

As a courtesy, stables were provided for resident guests in what is now the hotel car park.

When the motor car became fashionable at the start of the 20th century, petrol and oils were dispensed from hand pumps at the rear of the hotel.

In recent decades, the Bull Hotel has benefited from major development and refurbishment that began in the early 1970s, when the then Labour Government provided grants to help develop the hotel industry.

Much has changed since then, and in 1998 the Bull Hotel was acquired by Robert Peel in 1998 after the formation of Peel Hotels PLC.

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