Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2021

Arbury 1918: The Death Of A Soldier, A Confusion Between Parishes, And Where Is King's Hedges In Reality?

                        Alfred Brett was a quiet, studious young man. On leaving St Andrew's School in Chesterton, he got a job as an assistant at an antiques shop in Cambridge and joined the Territorial Army. A postcard to Miss Lily Brett, Manor Farm, Arbury Road, Chesterton, Cambridge. The card came from Claude (Skinner) of the 3rd Norfolk Regiment (then in Felixstowe), a young friend of Lily:  Dear Lilly [sic] , Just a line hoping to find you and all quite safe as it leaves me at present. Tell Jimmy [?] he is a long time writing that letter. I expect Alf is alright. Give my love to all. Glad to hear that your father is better, from yours truly, Claude. Lance Corporal Alfred Brett, son of Richard and Amelia Brett of the Manor Farm, Arbury Road, 'Old Chesterton', was killed in the trenches of World War 1 not long before VE Day. The family - Richard, Amelia, and their ten remaining children - staggered under the blow, and their misery was in no way lessened by the fact tha

Manor 1981: Rubik's, Rubik's Nuts Are We, We're All Rubik's Loopy...

The Rubik's Cube was Lord of the Manor in 1981. I'm adapting the 1986 song  Snooker Loopy  for the blog post title here, and Rubik's Loopy  was certainly very descriptive of the Manor in 1981. The Rubik's Cube was quite an amazing thing in those days. It penetrated the Iron Curtain and made its way into the Western World - and that was really something! It was in January/February 1980 that Erno Rubik first demonstrated his invention at toy trade fairs in London, Paris, Nuremberg and New York. This was the original 'Buvos Kocka' - 'Magic Cube'. The Magic Cube had first been released in its native Hungary just before Christmas 1977, and there had been a small seepage across Hungarian borders in 1978, 1979 and early 1980, including a few into the UK. But the Magic Cube existed in only very small numbers and there were nowhere near enough to break the major pop culture barrier in the UK or the rest of the Western World. In early 1980, with Ideal Toys, trust

Coming Soon - Arbury Is Where We Live!

                          The two large trees seen here on Campkin Road (opposite Arbury Town Park) were planted in the Manor Farmhouse garden circa the 1930s. There were three of them until recent times. The Manor Farm covered 245 acres of North Arbury. One of the farm fields were called 'Arbury' and  another 'Arbury Field' - which may account for the fact that Arbury Road was known by locals back then as 'Arbury Meadow Road'. As 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the Arbury Is Where We Live! book - which followed the highly successful Arbury 1980 schools' project, we thought it would be good to revisit the book on the blog - and will be featuring the whole publication during the coming weeks in the run-up to Christmas. The Arbury 1980 project was participated in by all the Arbury primary schools - including Arbury, The Grove, and King's Hedges - and culminated in an exhibition of pupils' work at the Manor School on Arbury Road. The idea behind the

Arbury - 1970s Archive - 1: The Hump, The Seats, The Hills And The Block...

Photo captioned 'South Arbury homes' from the 'Cambridge Evening News', 1972 - Kingsway Flats, Carlton Way. In more recent years, great kebabs have been sold here. In 1972, I'd never even heard of one! We lived in Cunningham Close on South Arbury, and it surprises a lot of people to hear that, although it was the early 1970s, some people were buying their council houses. Before the 1980s, council houses were sold - it depended on individual councils. In the '80s it simply became a right for all. We didn't buy ours - only a few people in the road were doing that. Quite a lot of people, when they bought their house, would put on a new front door - hard wood, latticed, with a few panes of bullseye glass for a Victorian look perhaps, and might put up a Victorian style lamp by their door. It wasn't that people were desperate to be 'retro' as we call it nowadays - but Victorian style looked 'nice' and 'posh'. Anyway, every decade has i