The family lived on the North Brink Wisbech at Peckover House, now part of the National Trust, and were bankers whose endeavours ultimately lead to the start of Barclays Bank. From 1852 Wisbech, the Capital of the Fens changed dramatically. The River Nene, which runs through the centre of the town, saw more and more ships docking to unload their precious cargo. The industrial revolution drastically decided where the population of England would settle and Wisbech was growing at an astounding rate. Mr Jonathan Peckover wanted to lure the workingman and woman away from the temptations of drink and the modern world. He had a vision of starting a community centre where people could go instead of frequenting the many inns, taverns and gin houses that surrounded the fen town of Wisbech. Mr Peckover saw a need to educate and relieve the tedium of daily life for the ordinary folk, where the working day was long and not at all well paid. Alfred House was purchased and in 1864 work began.