Mike Petty Illustrated Lectures

Mike Petty is an authority on Cambridge and the fenland. He has won a national award for his lectures and articles, which currently include daily and weekly columns in Cambridge newspapers – ‘Looking Back’, ‘Memories’ and ‘Pickwick’s Cambridge Scrapbook 1838’ together with monthly articles in ‘Our Time’

Mike has written numerous books on Cambridgeshire and the Fens including ‘Vanishing Cambridgeshire’, ‘Memory Lane Ely and the Fens’ and histories of Stretham and other villages. He is a regular contributor to radio and television programmes.

But probably Mike is best-known for his talks: “Not so much a lecture, more a performance” is one comment heard regularly from audiences throughout the region. Talks are illustrated with transparencies & suitable for all ages from school children to Senior Citizens.

Mike also specialises in presentations for conferences, anniversary dinners or anything concentrating on 20th-century issues

Mike Petty was Librarian of the Cambridgeshire Collection for 35 years during which time he assisted thousands of researchers. He was awarded the MBE & an Honorary Degree from Cambridge University for his work. Mike continues to share his knowledge offering a personal research and picture search service. For free help on any aspect of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire or the fens just email Mike.

Mike Petty Illustrated Presentations:
‘Not so much a lecture, more a performance’


  • Cambridge Market Hill 1200 to 2000: the story of Central Cambridge
  • Cambridge Transport History: From pony to Guided Bus
  • Sherlock Holmes in Cambridge: Follow the detective around Cambridge
  • Town and gown: Disputes from earliest times to present
  • Victorian Cambridge: Conditions in town and university
  • Edwardian Cambridge 1901-1910: The forgotten decade
  • Cambridge at War 1914-1918: From the Front to the Backs
  • Interwar Cambridge 1919-1939: Building the new town
  • Cambridge at War 1939-1945: The Home Front
  • Elizabethan Cambridge, 1952-2012: Most recent times


  • Victorian Cambridgeshire: Aspects of rural life 1838-1900
  • Vanishing Cambridgeshire 1900-1940: Unique pictures of a lost county
  • Ghosts & Witches of Cambridgeshire: Eyewitness accounts in fact and fiction
  • The River Cam: its history & commerce
  • Withers: The Life and Rhymes of the Cambridgeshire Hedgerow Poet


  • Fens 1066-1610: Hereward & other fighters
  • Fens 1610-1799: Drainage and the Civil War
  • Fens in the 1800s: Riots, hardship – and opium
  • Fens at War, 1914-1918: Zeppelins & casualties
  • Fens 1919-1939: Farming in crisis
  • Fens at War 1939-1945: Bombs and strangers
  • Fens in the 40's: WWII and the 1947 floods
  • Fens from the 50’s: Change in and around Ely
  • The Great Flood 1947: When it all went wrong
  • Taming the Fens: Fenland drainage
  • Fenland Past to Present: 1600 to present & future
  • Ely House of Correction: the forgotten prison

Pickwick’s Cambridge Scrapbook 1838: Characters and tales of Dickensian times
Includes: The Gardening scrapbook, The Fenland scrapbook, The Ely scrapbook, The Royston scrapbook,
The Peterborough scrapbook, The Wisbech scrapbook, The Women’s scrapbook – and others personalized
for individual groups.

Discovering resources for research

Cambridgeshire History on your computer: the library on your laptop
Cambridge Engravers 1574-1900: The artists who drew Cambridgeshire
Cambridge Photographers 1844-1900: Photographers and their pictures
Cambridgeshire Newspapers: Where to find and use them

Let down at the last moment? Give me a call, there’s usually something ready to go! Other topics on request Special presentations can be produced for conferences, classes or individuals Charges, 2009 Clubs & organisations, evenings from £30 Senior citizens, daytime from £25 Conferences, dinners, charities by arrangement Expenses 30p per mile return from Stretham Guided tours of the Fens for individuals or groups. Personal guided visits to Cambridge

M.J. Petty MBE, MA, ALA, 13a Reads Street, Stretham, Ely, Cambs. CB6 3JT
phone 01353 648106 E-mail mikepetty13a@gmail.com
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