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Showing posts from January, 2022

Old Arbury: Visual - Aerial View of Manor Farm In The 1950s And The Same Area In Recent Years. Spot The Farmhouse Garden Boundary!

So, this is Campkin Road, with the Arbury Community Centre, Arbury Town Park, Grove School and part of the North Cambridge Academy. I have marked in the field names from Manor Farm days. The old farm 'Drive', of course, became Campkin Road. The yellow star marks the site of the Manor Farmhouse. This was, as you can see below, a very large house - and was often referred to by locals as the 'manor house'.  After the farm was bought by Cambridgeshire County Council in 1909, the house was let to the Medlow family, and, after they left, became the residence of two County Land Agents in succession. There were also four semi-detached cottages at the farm, plus the foreman/horse keeper's house. A detached cottage was added in the 1920s. As mentioned before on this blog, the boundary of the farmhouse garden has been 'immortalised' in the old Manor School/North Cambridge Academy boundary, which was erected around it.  Compare the 1950s photograph below with the one ab

Reader's Question: Where Was The Arbury Adventure Playground?

Question from Mos: Hello! I like your site. I live in Campkin Road and I'm interested in the history of the estate of The Arbury. Please can you tell where the Arbury Adventure Playground was? I have never heard of anything called that. I thank you. Hello, Mos! Thanks for getting in touch. The Arbury Adventure Playground was in the big field out beyond Nun's Way. Arbury residents campaigned to get the field, and the City Council of the time promised facilities for it, but none were forthcoming. So, residents got together and collected for the playground. A real Arbury community effort! The City Council then provided some funding for staffing, etc. I've done my best to indicate the spot on the aerial view above - I may be a few feet out as aerial views can confuse me a bit! I've included pics of the playground through the years below, and also Mrs Lark's account of campaigning for the field and other facilities for Arbury. Mrs Lark and other residents on Arbury campa

VROOM! VROOM! King's Hedges - The Cambridge City Ward Driven By The Infernal Combustion Engine!

The original dead-end route of King's Hedges Road can be seen on this aerial view. It ended at the farm - see 1900 map below. I have blacked out the expanded road so you can clearly see where it begins. Frankly, the rise of King's Hedges Road from a dead-end farm track leading north of the guided busway to a small farm called King's Hedges, and on to the modern day major road looping around the prehistoric Arbury Camp and lopping off the end of the original Arbury Road, is amazing!  The motor car has led it to stardom. Hey, just where is King's Hedges? Probably not where you think... Nowadays, the Council's electoral ward is all over the historic Arbury Meadows/North Arbury, and in East Chesterton. We have inserted the earlier details of the Arbury Meadows/North Arbury Furlong, etc, on this 1900 map. 'Harborough' was a variation on the Arbury name and the two were used interchangeably.  That area has nothing to do with King's Hedges historically. And mos

Snippets From The Original Arbury Estate... 1

Featuring short anecdotes of life in North and South Arbury. When he was a child in the 1890s, my great grandfather, at the Manor Farm on Arbury Road, believed that babies were found underneath a gooseberry bush.  Of course, being a thoroughly modern twentieth century child, I knew that wasn't true. My sister was born at my aunt's house in Rutland Close, South Arbury, in 1972. I, aged seven, was anxiously scanning the night sky from the back bedroom window at the time - waiting for The Stork to fly in over the Kingsway Flats.


The excellent 'Arbury 1980' primary schools project led to one pupil from King's Hedges School writing: We have reasons to be proud to live in Arbury with such a rich history. People have lived here for thousands of years. The project swept pupils back to the iron age Arbury Camp, through the Roman invasion, and on through the history of the Arbury farms, Hall and Manor, the building of the estate, and life in 1980 for the pupils of the (then) present day. In 1981, the book Arbury Is Where We Live! was published and in 1983 one of the great powers behind the project, Sallie Purkis of Homerton College, schools officer of the Oral History Society, and the general editor of the Longman books series,  Into The Past ,   detailed the project in History Today magazine. It was a real Red Letter Day for the original Arbury Estate. Sallie believed in Arbury as a place on the map, and was a great encouragement to me when I began to delve into my family's pre-estate Arbury histor

ARBURY 70's ARCHIVE - PART 3 - 'Skiving' In Carlton Way...

The old homestead - Cunningham Close on South Arbury. This was my childhood home and it was here as a little 'un that I learned the concept of left and right. I stood on that corner and memorised the fact that we lived on the left and the other side was the right. Even now, when my poor addled old brain is required to work out right from left, I still spontaneously summon up a mental image of Cunningham Close. It might be nice to be able to write that I attended one of the Arbury primary schools, but I didn't, despite living in Cunningham Close on South Arbury. When I started school, I lived in Stretten Avenue - then considered as 'New Chesterton' by its inhabitants and, indeed, the home of the New Chesterton Window Cleaning Company - but residing in 'Castle Ward', electorally.  My mother had attended Milton Road School, as had my grandmother, and so I was sent there. When we moved to Cunningham Close, I expected to be moved to Arbury School on South Arbury or t


The War is over...  The third part of the 1981 book, born of the Arbury 1980 project. The building of 'The Arbury' begins.... Self-build houses in Essex Close and Brimley Road... For the Christian worshippers on the Arbury Estate - from an old army hut to the Good Shepherd Church! Community spirit was strong on the original Arbury Estate. Mrs Lark, who lived in the original King's Hedges Road, was concerned at the lack of community resources and joined forces with other Arbury people to campaign. Even so, it was a struggle, with the Arbury Adventure Playground (in the field near King's Hedges Road) being funded by local residents and the Arbury Town Park in Campkin Road being reduced in size from what the City Council had originally promised. Arbury did not gain a community centre until 1974. Fun at the Arbury Adventure Playground... I remember 'Tig Off Ground' very well indeed! The Arbury Adventure Playground goat in 1979! Raising money for the Arbury Adventur

Old Arbury - Campkin Road: The Site of the Manor Farmhouse...

Manor Farmhouse, Arbury Road in the early 20th Century. I've had some queries here at the blog so I will do my best to answer them. It will be a one-by-one process, so please bear with me. Here goes with the first: Jake has asked: Where exactly was the Manor Farmhouse on Campkin Road, and what's on the site now?Also, can you tell me why Arbury Ward was moved away from the original estate? This is a puzzle. Thanks for that, Jake. The Manor Farmhouse stood opposite what is now Arbury Town Park - which was once part of the Arbury/Harborough Meadows, and then the Manor Farm's 'Stable Field'. Harborough was a variation on the Arbury name. The Arbury/Harborough Meadows ran up to Milton Road and the original (dead end) King's Hedges Road. Up to 1977, Arbury Road ran from Milton Road to the Histon/Cambridge Road - until the building of the A14 motorway and the expansion and redirection of King's Hedges Road. Our 1900 map, featuring the locations of the Arbury/Harbor