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P is for Sir Samuel Morton Peto

Sir Samuel Morton Peto

Peto was one of this country’s foremost entrepreneurs, civil engineers and railway developers in Victorian times.  In partnership with his cousin (1830-1847), Thomas Grissell, he was responsible for many major building projects in London including the Houses of Parliament and Nelson’s Column.

With the onset of the railways in the early 1840s he became increasingly involved in the construction of the same, dreaming of a nation-wide railway network. He is best remembered in Suffolk as “the maker of modern Lowestoft”. In 1846/47 his company constructed the first railway from that town to link it with Norwich and beyond. At the same time he laid out Lowestoft’s first promenade together with extensive first rate villas and a large hotel on what was open common land, thus establishing Lowestoft as an up-market “watering-place” by the mid 1850s.

At the same time, after purchasing and re-building Somerleyton Hall, he rebuilt Somerleyton village and the somewhat ruinous parish church.