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Arbury Will Rally To Fight... The Closure of the Manor Community College

The tremendous community spirit of Arbury was very much in evidence in 1983 as residents gathered to save their senior school, adult education and youth centre, the Manor Community College...

In October 1983, a Cambridgeshire County Council working party recommended closing the Manor Community College in 1987.

Coverage from the 'Cambridge Evening News'.

A very rare item - the first newsletter of SACC - Save Arbury's Community College, 1983.

Some of the (huge amount of) protest letters featured in the 'Cambridge Evening News'. To quote one woman from Campkin Road: 

Our main concern is to keep this school going, and like the Prime Minister we can also say "There will be no U turns" but a fight straight away to keep this part of Arbury alive.

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

Vice chair of the governors, Councillor Peter Cowell, said: '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's school magazine, The Manor Banner, was at the heart of the pupils' response. We love the picture on the front cover of the 16 November 1983 issue - sad pupils leaving the Manor for 'Other Schools' and the Shire Hall depicted as a bat infested Dracula-style castle.

It was bold and very human.

Here is an extract from the student editors' Banner Comment:

On Monday, the 31st October 1983 a proposal was made by the Cambridgeshire County Council's working party to close our College. Initial reaction was stunned amazement. Why should anybody want to close the Manor? Our School, our Community? When the news had sunk in we were all horrified and puzzled. The first thought was 'Why pick on us?' The Manor is the largest school in Cambridge in terms of land and buildings.

The school has done so much in its short life time both for the Arbury Community and the pupils who have passed through it, that closure would be like tearing Arbury's heart out. We think that Manor is Arbury's heart. Taking it away would kill most of Arbury's Community spirit - a Community that is still fast growing.

We had left the Manor by then, but participated in the fight to save it.

'The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there,' to quote LP Hartley.

We preferred it in some ways.

Today's world of school league tables and 'rebranding' schools regarded as 'failing' ('branding' and 'rebranding' is everywhere - we seem to live in a giant supermarket) leaves us cold.


  1. You wouldn't get that now. The council has done its best to bust up Arbury, do away with the name, and rebrand it to appeal to yuppies and academics and 'woke' types. It doesn't matter that some of the poorest streets are in North Arbury or 'King's Hedges Ward' as they call it. Most of us will be priced out of here soon. Cambridge stinks.

  2. The current schools' grading system means that schools with large numbers of students from well-off areas will always be 'excellent' - and, as is the case with Chesterton Community College - get better facilities and never be threatened with 'rebranding'. Swimming pools, sports centres, an inappropriate name - I mean, it's hardly even IN Chesterton! The current system is based on Victorian style social standards and is no indication of teaching standards at the schools.

  3. Councillors always dropped the "King's Hedges" bilge when they wanted to rally local people and it was ARBURY - 'the Manor is a central focus in Arbury,' 'the people of Arbury will make this their campaign...' etc! As soon as the initial rallying was over, they were inserting the KH bilge again. Highly manipulative.


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