Skip to main content

'The Arbury' - The Memories of Mr Cardinal - Part 1

After the publication of Arbury Is Where We Live! in 1981, Sallie Purkis wrote in History Today (1983): 'The establishment of an Arbury archive has scarcely begun'.

Several local people were working to address the issue. Mr Gordon Cardinal wrote to the Cambridge Weekly News in 1982, inspired by the book and a feature on Arbury Road - part of the paper's local history series.

The Arbury Archive contacted Mr Cardinal, who was a very helpful gentleman, and he happily agreed to write about his memories of Arbury life in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s for us.

Mr Cardinal died in the 1990s. He was very keen to deposit his memories somewhere so that they may benefit future generations, and his enthusiasm and fondness for Arbury shone through on each page of his manuscript.

Now, for the first time, via the miracle of the World Wide Web, we would like to share extracts from his work, which he called The Arbury

The memories begin about ten years after the ending of the Arbury Story of Farming Folk featured elsewhere on this blog. 

Life at Manor Farm had moved on. The old set-up of tenant farmer and employees had changed in 1909, as recounted in the Arbury Story articles - Cambridgeshire County Council had bought the farm and rented it out as smallholdings. The four cottages at the farm were all rented out (some, of course, to existing tenants), as was the foreman's house, and a new cottage built in 1924 on part of the old orchard.

The Manor Farmhouse, known by many locally as the 'manor house', was occupied by the County Land Agent, Colonel Charles Bennett, and his family.

The Manor Farm orchard was rented by Ernest Sale, of No 1, Manor Farm Cottages, and he used it as part of his Manor Nurseries business, which occupied part of the old Arbury Field.

Relatives of Mr Cardinal moved into the new farm cottage - his uncle and aunt, Fred and Alice Cardinal. Alice was the sister of Ernest Sale.

Gordon Cardinal's father would soon be bringing his own branch of the family to the district...

The Arbury

By Gordon Cardinal

Part One

In 1934 my family moved from Haslingfield to King's Hedges Road. Up to the time of our move, my father, David Cardinal, used to cycle from Haslingfield to the Manor Farm on Arbury Road every day, seven days a week. I can't ever remember him having a holiday as such. He would go on the Milk Round and cycle home again. As children at home in Haslingfield we hardly ever saw Father except on Sundays when he would finish work a bit earlier. We used to wait for him to come home at the top of 'Lords Bridge' railway bridge, then we could all walk home for a late tea. That was looked upon as a Sunday treat.

My father's brother, Fred, was trading as F CARDINAL, MANOR FARM. Before he moved to the Arbury, he had a smallholding and greengrocery round, based somewhere near what is now Milton School [the original Milton Road School]

With the end of the 1914-18 War my father returned from the army and worked for his brother Fred, running the Milk Round and building it up into the large round it became. Milk was served  from the churn, which stood up front on the milk float - there was half pint or pint measures - or in glass bottles. Again, one could have a half pint or a pint.

The bottles were all printed with the dairy name on and were thick at the top to take a waxed cardboard disc which was the stopper. Again, the disc would have the dairy name on it.

Fred Cardinal died in 1930, but my aunt carried on at Manor Farm.

Our move to King's Hedges Road in 1934 was my first sight of the Arbury. King's Hedges Road then led to the railway track and beyond to the farm and the Mere Way, out towards Histon and Impington.

After he had finished his milk round, my father would go out to the Manor Farm smallholdings and do some more work on the lighter evenings. It was fun in the spring time because he would spend a lot of time making chicken coops for the broody hens and their chickens. My brother, sister and I would take Father's tea to him.

We often took some time to get there.

It must have seemed a long time to my father before his tea arrived.

We would stop and have races in the watercourse with pieces of stick, or perhaps see a rabbit and give chase. Once we arrived, we would 'explore' the old sheds or pick the wild flowers that grew in abundance all around. It was always a fascination to watch the skylarks going higher and higher in the sky. There were always partridges, rabbits or hares to see in the Arbury fields...

Part two is here.

Copies of most of the prints featured on this blog are available to buy at the Cambridgeshire Collection, Cambridge Central Library. Many other prints and resources are also available there.


Comments

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