Skip to main content


The final part of the Arbury Is Where We Live! uploads sees us standing squarely in 1980, looking at life from a child's eye level. Many delights - the little girl who sounded like a fire engine, the Scalectrix-chewing bird, the British Legion Home, the Arbury policeman, the headmaster of King's Hedges School, Dave the milkman, the 'wogglely' tooth... and much more!

Locked out at Hurrell Road, birds down the chimney and the Scalectrix chewer of Carlton Way...

Great shot here of the North Arbury shops. Do you remember the 'Bob' grocery stores?

The 'wogglely' tooth, Karina arrives in England, neighbours, and brotherly banter...

The Good Shepherd Church, The British Legion Block of Flats and How Arbury cares for Retired People...

A visit from Miss Samuel... Miss Samuel lived in Arbury for many years and will be remembered as an art teacher by many Manor goers. I last saw her when I was working at Arthur Rank House in the early 1990s - she was then helping out as a volunteer. She recognised me as one of her 'old boys' and we had a very happy reunion.

PC Cavanagh - the Arbury policeman - and a hymn of praise for teacher Miss Quigley. 

A visitor art class at King's Hedges School, and summing up the Arbury project...

Strong nostalgic pangs for me here - seeing the 'Voice of Arbury' title, the original newsletter of the Arbury Estate. Much praise was forthcoming for the Arbury 1980 project - from the Cambridge mayor, city and county councillors, the education authority and local residents who shared their memories with the children.

The final page. Out around Arbury - including the Arbury Community Centre (Manor Farmhouse trees in the background), Arbury Court and the Arbury Adventure Playground. The book ends on a second 'Arbury Rules' entry (for the first, see Part One). 

During the project, the children were able to peer into a past so distant it seemed staggering, and then return to Arbury in the modern day, look at how it worked, and relate their own experiences.

'We have reasons to be proud to live in Arbury with such a rich history. People have lived here for thousands of years,' as one child wrote back in 1980.

At its best, Arbury is vibrant, community minded and creative. This book now serves as a reminder of the potential of the original Arbury Estate, and the possibilities of living in that area in the modern day.

Arbury is far more than arbitrary (and historically inaccurate) City and County Council electoral wards, far more than a featureless or 'to be reviled' area of 'North Cambridge'.

Arbury Is Where We Live!


  1. This is a lovely blog and I found myself feeling quite emotional reading some of the posts. The Arbury Estate had a strong character right from the start really as the campaigns for facilities from the 1950s onwards show. It is a huge 1950s and 60s housing estate, looking at its various phases is a history lesson in itself, it has character, and council planners have not been very helpful at all over the years. I'm glad to read positive stuff rather than the current snobbish attitude towards the Arbury. Cambridge is a snobby place although it fancies itself frightfully left wing and 'with it'. Thanks a lot.

    1. Thank you, Claire. When I was a kid I was always very happy to be an Arbury boy, and fascinated by the history as my family lived at the Manor Farm before the estate. My great gran was always telling me stories about the 'Arbury Field' and 'Arbury Meadow' (all the Manor Farm fields had names) and great grandad's 'docky' and getting the washing done and so on. I was very inspired by Sallie Purkis later. She was tremendous. Although she didn't live on the Arbury herself, she really believed in it as a place on the map, based on its history, and the stories of Arbury people as worth telling.


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