Skip to main content

Manor School Memories...

The Manor School on Arbury Road was one of the main focuses of life for North and South Arbury for decades. With its evening classes and youth centre, and various community activities - like the annual Christmas party for the elderly and the annual school play in the 1980s (Annie Get Your Gun and Dracula Spectacular spring to mind) - the Manor opened as separate boys' and girls' schools in 1959 (the girls had to share the boys' buildings at first as their own were still under construction). The school later became co-ed.

An aerial view of the Manor Schools - Boys' and Girls', around 1960, with a section of Arbury Road and Arbury Court. Note Arbury Court was yet to gain its library and large supermarket building, and Campkin Road was still the Manor Farm Drive.

The side of the Manor School 'new block', built in the early 1970s, the tower block and boys' gym beyond.

The school was built in the Park Meadow of the old Manor Farm - which is how the 'Manor' name came about - and the school's boundary fence took the shape of the enclosure of the farm buildings - the shape of the garden boundary of the old Manor Farmhouse, which stood on Campkin Road (opposite Arbury Town Park) is still clearly visible today.

Did you go to Manor? Do these stir any memories?

Andy's Manor School homework diary. Here, you were supposed to write down your various homework assignments. You could also write anything else that appealed to you. Like 'Cambridge United Rule' or whatever.

In the old days of the Manor - the '60s, '70s and '80s - boys had to wear a tie. But, as a fifth year, you had the chance to purchase a special fifth years' tie, with the school badge embroidered all over it.

Here's Andy's old Manor tie. This design had to be worn by all boys for their first four years at the school. Why the knots? Andy can't remember how they happened.

Manor School football hat-trick, March, 1982: Andy actually watched this match. Were you there? Did you play? Was 'Spolton' Keith Spolton? 'Corcoran' is certainly Kevin Corcoran, and 'Steggall' (should it be Steggalls?) was Mark.

The attempt to close the school in 1983 was thwarted by a determined effort from the Arbury community. This was the badge that declared your support to retain the Manor. It was also in the early 1980s that the Manor became a community college.

The official logo for the Save The Manor Campaign - SACC - Save Arbury's Community College. 

Councillor Janet Jones, Chair of the Manor governors, said: '... the people of Arbury will make this their campaign and fight to save their school.' 

Councillor Peter Cowell, vice chair of the Manor governors, said: 'The Manor is a central focus in Arbury and its possible loss would do immeasurable damage to people of all ages in the community.'

The Manor launched its own pupil newsletter - the Manor Banner - in 1983. This cover is faded, but still legible. Click on image to enlarge. Fascinating article on 'School leavers' future prospects'. Amazing to realise that the Grafton Centre was still under construction back then. Chris South, of the 'Cambridge Evening News' helped the editors by supplying the headline lettering for a lot of the articles.

The Manor celebrated its silver jubilee in 1984.

The Manor School in 1982. The classroom at the top of the tower block with the person at the window was Mrs New's English classroom. Was it Mrs New at the window, we wonder?

The old Manor School boys' gym and a glimpse of the 'new block'. The large trees stood in the garden of the old Manor Farmhouse. Until fairly recent years (I'm not sure when) there were three. Who planted them? Aha!

Part two of Manor Memories is here.


  1. The 1st member of my family that want to the Manor was my mum. She was ├Âne of the 1st girl pupils and has been telling me stories of her time there .
    She was then followed by my aunt and my 2 uncles.
    Yrs later I went to the Manor, then my brother and then my sister.
    My neice left the Academy (the new name) 2yrs ago and my nephew now goes there . So for us it was a real family school.
    I loved my time at the Manor and have such happy memories and although by the time I left in the Summer of' '83 it had gained in my eyes an unfair reputation it was a school that taught us skills to help us through life ,taught us to be more accepting , to be aware of others and the list goes on. And much of that was down to the teachers like Paddy, Mr Hunter to name but 2
    Some of us were not that academic whilist there but it gave a good grounding which helped many of us achieve so much more once we went out into the big wide world.
    I got to do so much at my time at the Manor from the school musicals, singing in the choir, old peoples concerts, singing at the Albert Hall and painting murals on the school walls.
    And most of making life long friends that even after all these yrs still are in touch with and look out for one another.

    1. Dear old Paddy Radcliffe! A Manor legend. Thanks so much for this. The school musicals became quite renowned and we have a newspaper article about the murals we're soon to upload.

  2. When I left the Manor in 1995 both Mr Hunter and Paddy Radcliffe were still going strong. Legends indeed!

    1. They are! Loads of photos from the Manor days here. Will upload some soon!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Main Streets of Arbury: Campkin Road - Part 1

Left: work begins on Campkin Road in 1961. Numbers 1 and 2 Manor Farm Cottages have been demolished, but the intention is to preserve the old trees lining the old Manor Farm Drive. Right: a similar view in more modern times, with the Arbury Town Park and Campkin Road. In 1982, Campkin Road was described as the 'Hauptstrasse of North Arbury' by local journalist Sara Payne. Ms Payne's   Down Your Street  local history articles in the   Cambridge Weekly News   were hugely popular and, for each one, Ms Payne visited a street in Cambridge and talked to the residents, collecting their memories for publication and producing a fascinating series of 'Then and Now' style articles. Down Your Street  followed in the footsteps of a similar series in the local press in the early 1960s - by Erica Dimmock - and both now make fascinating reading. We're starting our look at Campkin Road with material from the 'Arbury 1980' project and accounts from locals contributed to t

What Did The Romans Ever Do for Arbury? Jim Smith

Our trusty old Arbury map showing location details before the Manor Farm was established. The red line, inserted by Jim Smith, indicates the course of the Roman road - Akeman Street or the Mere Way. The land north of Arbury Road was the Arbury or Harborough Meadows, Arbury/Harborough furlongs and Arbury Camp, King's Hedges was in its original position, north of the railway (now guided busway) and Arbury Road ran from the Ely/Milton Road to the Histon/Cambridge Road - as it did until the late 1970s. Introduction - by the Arbury Archivists Jim Smith is a local history researcher and a good friend of the Arbury Cambridge Blog. He has been researching Roman finds in the historic Arbury area and has written this article for us. We are most grateful! He follows the adventures of those who scraped away centuries of soil to reveal ancient findings beneath.  Of course, as always, we deal with historic Arbury here, not council planners' estates or electoral wards, which are both prone to

Exploring The REAL King's Hedges...

The Cambridge and St Ives Branch railway line is now the Guided Busway. Where was King's Hedges historically? How did the name come about? Why is the majority of King's Hedges Road no more historic than late 1970s - and nothing to do with the course of the original road? What have council planners of the 1960s and 1970s and the needs of motorists got to do with the King's Hedges presence in the historic Arbury district? All will be revealed... We're going to leave Arbury briefly and go to King's Hedges. No, not King's Hedges Ward - that area is, in reality, one of the most Arbury of Arbury areas in Cambridge historically, but the REAL King's Hedges. North of the Guided Busway. You see, the land north of Arbury Road is the site of the Arbury Camp, the Arbury/Harborough (a variation on the Arbury name) Meadows and the Arbury fields of Manor Farm.  It has absolutely nothing to do with King's Hedges at all. And King's Hedges was never a district. Land no