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Arbury Court - Part Of The 'Centre' Of The Original Arbury Estate...

A view across Arbury Court, looking towards Arbury Road, in 1987.

Arbury Court is part of the 'centre' of the original Arbury Estate in Cambridge. The Court, with its pub, supermarket, hardware store and post office, chip shop, newsagent, TV shop, greengrocer, hairdresser, chemist, supermarket and branch library, is part of the 'hub' of the estate.

The historic Arbury district. The Arbury or Harborough (the names were variations on each other and interchangeable) Meadows covered most of the land north of Arbury Road. The road ran from Milton Road to the Histon/Cambridge Road until the late 1970s. The Manor Farm was formed in the years following the 1840 Chesterton Enclosures. Orchard Park (originally Arbury Park and, before that, Arbury Camp Farm) features the outline of part of the Arbury prehistoric settlement at Ring Fort Road. We've inserted the sites of Arbury Court, the Guided Busway and Campkin Road.

Arbury Road marks the boundary of North and South Arbury, and also binds the neighbourhood together. As work began on North Arbury and the old Manor Farm/Arbury Meadows became the new estate north of Arbury Road, most of Arbury Court was already built, and beside the Court the Church of the Good Shepherd, the church for the Christian worshippers on the estate, was on the way. The estate's senior school, The Manor, was built in North Arbury, on the northern side of Arbury Road, around the same time as Arbury Court - its opening year was 1959.

A Christmas 1977 'Cambridge Evening News' advertising feature for Arbury Court. Quote: 'Christmas trees and all the other festive trimmings are very much in evidence at Arbury Court, the centre of the massive Arbury housing estate, which has now established its own self-contained community spirit'. By this time, residents had campaigned and raised funds for the Arbury Adventure Playground, on the Nuns Way playing field, the Arbury Community Centre and Arbury Town Park in Campkin Road, and other facilities. 1977 was also the first year of the Arbury Carnival, conceived originally as a one-off event to celebrate the queen's silver jubilee.

The establishment of a GP practice near the school, and the creation of Arbury Town Park and the Arbury Community Centre (1974) in Campkin Road added to the feeling of a 'centre' for the estate, binding North and South Arbury together.

The Arbury Court public house was called 'The Snowcat' - and it was one of two pubs in South Arbury. The Carlton, in Carlton Way, was the other. North Arbury sprouted The Ship and The Jenny Wren.

The Snowcat in the mid-1960s. It was designed by David Roberts and built by Kidman & Sons, contractors, for the Greene King Brewery at a cost of £16,000 in 1959.

The Snowcat changed its name to 'The Grove' - (like the school in Campkin Road - which was named after trees at the Manor Farm) in later years, and is now a Gurdwara (Sikh temple). It was inaugurated in 2013 and was the very first Sikh temple in Cambridgeshire.

The opening of the Cambridge Gurdwara was a major first for the Sikh community, not only in Arbury, but the whole of Cambridgeshire.

The original supermarket (a small one - a 'superette') at Arbury Court was Palmer's, in the building which later became Arbury Hardware and Post Office. The modern supermarket building arrived later, as did the Arbury Court Library, which opened in 1966. 

'Cambridge Evening News' advertisement for Palmers Superette, 1970 - the year before decimalisation.

The Palmers premises were later occupied by Arbury Hardware and Arbury Court Post Office - seen here in the 1980s. There were two other post offices in the area, Arbury Road (at 'Cherry's Corner'), which closed in 1984, and the North Arbury Post Office in Cameron Road.

The Castle School Community Shop in the premises originally occupied by Palmers Superette, 2022.

Arbury Court Library, 2022.

One of the main attractions of the Court years ago was Turner's Fish Locker, which served up delicious fish and chips, battered sausages, pies, etc. I well remember, back in the early 1970s, two pictures on the wall in the 'chippie' showing Andy and Florrie Capp of the Daily Mirror comic strip - Andy in one pic. Florrie in the other, waving to each other.

Turners 'Cambridge Evening News' advertisement, 1978.

Turner's fish shop was a wow - providing a special celebratory meal for us once a week - step-dad's pay day!

The Snowcat was my step-dad's 'local' when we lived in Cunningham Close on South Arbury in the early-to-mid 1970s. One of his fellow Snowcat patrons was known as 'Evo-Stik' - as he tended to stick to his cash and hardly ever bought a round! 

It all seems such a short time ago. 

And yet I'm going back fifty-odd years...



  1. The area makes more sense with this info so thanks.

  2. I suppose Arbury Court is a good example of late 50's architecture. I'm fond of the court but i hope that architecture is never revived.

  3. I can remember a dress shop between the Butchers and the Chemist and a wool shop which is now the Key Cutters


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