The North Brink on the bank of the River Nene is one of the great streetscapes of Georgian England – a handsome testament to the prosperity of Wisbech in the 18th century. At the heart of the street stands Peckover House, built for the prosperous merchant class in 1722. From 1794 for 150 years it was the home of the Peckovers, a family of Quaker bankers, collectors and philanthropists. The polite and substantial façade hides a surprisingly large and exuberantly planted Victorian garden of two acres.
Originally known as Bank House, due to the banking business carried out on site, the property was donated to The National Trust in 1948 by the Honourable Alexandrina Peckover, daughter of Lord Peckover of Wisbech. As well as the house and garden, she also donated an estate of 48 acres, now used principally as the town’s playing fields.
How we present Peckover to visitors
When Peckover House was given to the National Trust, it was empty of contents. The years since then have seen a gradually opening up and furnishing of the house. Many of the contents you see are bought-in pieces, typical of the Georgian or Victorian period, or are pieces on loan from other institutions or individuals. A small number of original artefacts are on show, and our collecting policy aims to restore more of these to the house where possible. Historic inventories from 1834 and 1948 give an idea of how the house was furnished at these periods.
The Basement area, previously used as the Tearoom, is gradually being reclaimed to show the “service” areas of the house, which are of great interest to a number of our visitors. Future plans include the re-presentation of the Banking Hall (currently not on show to visitors).
As this was a Quaker household , the family lived simply and moderately with few pictures and little ornamentation. However, as the local bank managers, they had a position in society to maintain, and therefore did furnish the house well. They also entertained, so Lord Peckover kept a wine cellar, although many Quakers were teetotal.
Photographed and produced for the National Trust by Corvidae Ltd.
© 2007-2011 National Trust. Portions © 2005-2011 Corvidae Ltd