When Peterborough Was Peterboro & Peterboro'

Ever noticed the spelling "Peterboro" and "Peterboro'" on old postcards and letters and such?

We reached out to local historian Elwood Jones at Trent Valley Archives, who tells PTBOCanada the spelling has offically been Peterborough since 1825, though there was some ambiguity after that. "Newspapers sometimes used the shorter spelling, particularly in the period from the 1880s to the 1910s. Also, the railways preferred the shorter form on timetables and the signs when approaching the city limits or railway station."

Photo courtesy  Niki AllDay

Photo courtesy Niki AllDay

Jones collaborated with Healther Aiton Landry at Trent Valley Archives to provide this sampling below to PTBOCanada of how the spellings were often used interchangeably over the decades.

The mixed use of Peterborough and Peterboro in 1863 is caught in the 1863 Peterborough Examiner below. The Port Hope and Peterborough Railway posted the times for trains to and from Peterboro. The American Hotel is in Peterborough, but the small ads (all on the front page then) give their address as Peterboro or Peterborough.

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Still in the 1860s, notice Port Hope & Peterboro’ Railway with the apostrophe added below. The newspaper, on the other hand, was sticking to the proper spelling of the time, "Peterborough".

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Also, check out The Peterboro’ Review below and notice the mixed uses in the column to the left of the Review ad. Confusing, yes!

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This sample from 1864 below shows the County using Peterboro’ officially, but it is still Peterborough Street in Norwood. Notice that Alex McNeil has his auction rooms in the Town of Peterboro’ and is selling property adjacent to park lots in the Town of Peterboro’, and in the County of Peterboro’, but one lot is “fronting on the old Peterborough Road.”

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In the early 1900s, "Peterboro" was popular on postcards, and the local post office even used Peterboro seen here in 1909...

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Curiously, Peterborough is used in the title for this postcard circa 1905, and for the Roy Studio logo, but the spelling on the train station is PETERBORO.

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However, in this postcard below, Roy is signing as from Peterboro (see far left), and the Lift Lock is described as being in Peterboro (far right).

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Even in this fairly recent photo from the 1970s, the Railway station has a new sign but is spelling Peterboro...

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The newspapers and postcards in this post are from collections at the Trent Valley Archives.

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The long and the short: Next time you spell Peterborough "Peterboro", just tell your friends you're going all old school cool. 

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