Don’t miss a once-in-a-generation chance to see incredibly rare, fragile and beautiful manuscripts written by John Clare on display at Vivacity’s Peterborough Museum, from May 10 –  June 22.

Discover the largest collection of the poet’s works shown in one place since 1893. Explore the fascinating story of how an ill-educated peasant from Helpston, on the outskirts of Peterborough, could go to become one of the most celebrated literary figures of the early 19th century.

See original manuscripts that demonstrate his literary versatility and also his descent into madness that led to him being confined in Northampton Lunatic Asylum for the later period of his life. View the committal notice, in which John Clare was described as suffering from years of ‘poetical prosing’, and also his very last poem ‘Birds’ Nests.’


“This exhibition offers a very rare opportunity to see a large collection of manuscripts in one place at the same time,” explains Vivacity’s Archives Manager Richard Hunt. “The fragile papers and homemade inks mean these documents are normally only viewed by academic scholars, but for a few weeks everyone has the opportunity to come and see them!”

Peterborough Museum’s exhibition has been developed in collaboration with the Centre for John Clare Studies at the University of Cambridge. Don’t miss the very special event to launch the exhibition on May 10.

Entry is free, except on special event days. For more information, call 01733 864663, email or visit

Peterborough Museum, Priestgate, Peterborough PE1 1 LF.

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