"WHITTLESEY in Domesday Witesie, but generally written Whittlesea, is an ancient market and union town, and head of a petty sessional division, with a station on the Great Eastern railway, 82 miles from London, 11 west from March and 6½ east-by-south from Peterborough, in the Northern division of the county, hundred of North Witchford, Isle of Ely, county court district of Peterborough, rural deanery of March, and in the peculiar archidiaconal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Ely.
The Wash, which forms an extensive portion of this parish, is about seven miles long, and varies from half a mile to one mile and a quarter in width; the land is chiefly used for pasturage, but for many months in the year is covered with water to a depth of several feet. There are ferry-boats at several parts of the Wash; wild fowl and other migratory birds abound in the vicinity. The navigable river Nene and the Whittlesey dyke run on either side of the town.
The Whittlesey Improvement Act, 1849 (12 and 13 Vict. c.32), defined a district around the town for lighting, paving and cleansing the same, by commissioners appointed under the Act; but under the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1894 (56 and 57 Vict. c. 73), the district is governed by an Urban District Council of 18 members. The town is lighted with gas by a company and supplied with water from private wells. On the south side of the town the dyke banks are shaded by trees over-hanging the pathway, which thus forms an agreeable promenade. From Church street and Peterborough end extensive and pleasing views of the adjacent counties of Hunts and Northampton are obtained.
The area of Whittlesey Urban district and parish is 640 acres; rateable value, £6,085; the population in 1891 was 3,556: the area of Whittlesey Rural parish is 25,075 acres of rich and productive land and 155 of water; rateable value, £43,024; the population in 1891 was 2,789, which includes the hamlets of Coates, Eastrea and the surrounding fens and 57 officers and inmates in the workhouse. The population of St. Andrew ecclesiastical parish in 1891 was 2,171, and of St. Mary, 2,541."
[Description(s) transcribed by Martin Edwards ©2003 and later edited by Colin Hinson ©2010]