Skip to main content

A FRIEND of a prisoner whose house burned down says he will have to rebuild his life when he's released tomorrow.Peter Wells (53) is due out of HMP Peterborough, where he is serving a seven-month sentence for possession with intent to supply 400 worth of cannabis.During the early hours of Saturday morning, Mr Wells' 19th-century cottage in Crowland Road, Eye, was gutted by a blaze. His wife Jane managed to flee the building after being woken by the couple's dog Taz, who perished in the fire.Now a friend of Mr Wells, Paul Hornsby, says further tragedy has befallen the pair. Mr Wells' mother Edna (90) died on Monday after a battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Mr Hornsby (44), who lives in Wittering, near Stamford, said: "Not only has he lost his house, now he has to deal with losing his mother as well. This is a tough time, but knowing how strong the couple are, I'm sure they will get through it." Mr Hornsby added that his friend is also devastated about losing his priceless vinyl collection in the fire.

Mr Wells, who runs the House On The Borderland record shop, in Lincoln Road, Peterborough, had new shelves put up in his home for his personal collection, which included all The Beatles albums, as well as rare records by the foursome.
He also lost many original Fleetwood Mac albums on the Blue Horizon label worth more 25 each, and rare vinyl by artists such as Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa. Mr Hornsby added: "I went to see Peter at the prison on Saturday. It was heartbreaking to see his tearful face when he found out about the fire. The collection meant everything to him. "I had just built a row of shelves so he could store the albums in the hall. We both share a passion for music, and he knows so much about it." Mr Hornsby added that Mrs Wells was lucky to be alive and had to jump out of the window of the burning house to escape. He added that Jane, who is in her 50s, tried to re-enter the burning house to rescue the dog who saved her life, but the flames were too strong. Taz has since been buried in the garden of the home, which will now have to be demolished. She was too upset to speak today, but Paul added: "She was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, but was thankfully released hours later. She loved Taz so much and his death has hit her hard."The fire is not being treated as suspicious, and it is believed to have started downstairs.

Sad news, Peter Wells - the iconic owner of Peterborough's House Of The Borderland record and comic shop - has died after a short illness. Those who shopped at HOTB remember Wells as not only having wide, varied stock but his friendly persona and courage in fighting racism and bringing different communities together. And here is Claudia Elliott's moving tribute to Pete "Some thoughts from a beautiful service held for Pete Wells, known to many in Peterborough as the owner of House on the Borderland record and comic shop, and a local anti-racist campaigner. Around the same time as Richard Branson started Virgin Records, Pete Wells set up his record stall on Peterborough market. He looked like a hippie but all musical tribes were drawn to his stall, where you'd see punk singles pegged up on a washing line above the crates of rock and reggae LPs.
In between blasts of Captain Beefheart, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits, we heard how Pete founded the Peterborough Action Group Against Racism. When the NF held a rally in the city, Pete was arrested by police for "crossing the road" to have a word with marchers on the other side. In 1977 a fascist paper named Pete 'Degenerate of the month', along with Joe Strummer.
We heard from Del Singh, who worked on his father's foreign food stall on the market, and would swap his NME for Pete's Melody Maker on Saturdays. Del also ran a mobile rock disco with his brothers and Pete would give him 10 LPs at a time to 'listen at home before you buy'. "At a time when hate groups like the NF were making me feel unwanted Peter and the bikers who came to our discos made us feel part of the fabric of the UK. We were equals, we were just regular people with a love for music... The loveliest man, who was years ahead of his time in peace, love and understanding."
I came away with positive feelings towards my hometown and a deeper appreciation of the subtle impact that a few creative, fearless individuals can have when you're growing up.
Thanks to Pete, I also heard this Woody Guthrie song for the first time. "This machine kills fascists". My condolences to his wife Jayne and all who knew him. Rest in peace, Pete - and play on." Published by Garth Cartwrigh


Peter Ward
11 Jan 2024 at 08:35
Firstly forgive the pedantry but the late Pete Wells was arrested in a counter-demonstration against the British Movement - this is what the NF had become. It was c.1982 and I was another protester. There were far more police officers than right-wing marchers, whose leader later saw the error of his ways.

And secondly, the Del Singh referred to ran a fortnightly disco with his brother Pete at Longthorpe, one of the poshest parts of Peterborough. Local residents protested and it was closed down, but it was a lot of fun with Led Zep etc played in abundance as well as traditional disco.

Never knew that about their source of LPs though! A great account.



32d Lincoln Road Peterborough / Cambridgeshire

Next in Cambridgeshire: Hunky Dory Records
Prev in Cambridgeshire: Hot Numbers
A-Z prev: House Of Wax