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'The Arbury ' - The Memories of Mr Gordon Cardinal: Part 6

David Cardinal, Gordon's father, who was the milk roundsman for his brother and sister in law's business - seen here at the back of No 3, Manor Farm Cottages, in the 1930s.

The final part of Mr Gordon Cardinal's The Arbury ends with his best wishes to the (then) modern day Arbury children of 1983, and his hope that they will derive as much fun and enjoyment from living in the district as he did when it was farmland.

The Arbury was written two years after the publication of Arbury Is Where We Live! - the book based on the 'Arbury 1980' primary schools' project. It was a source of great pleasure to Mr Cardinal that modern children felt a sense of community and belonging to the Arbury Estate - and that 'The Arbury', although vastly changed since his childhood, lived on.


By Gordon Cardinal


When we closed the nursery each day, we just pulled the five bar across the drive. No locks needed then. Just a notice saying 'CLOSED' on the gate. Ernie Sale would not put up opening and closing hours on the notice because he was always ready to do a deal day or night. Ernie was an excellent businessman anyway, and many deals were initiated informally, but the post-war years were particularly lean times.

Ernest Sale was a gifted florist, but flowers were not the only interest in his life. Love of animals took a great deal of his time. His constant companions were his dogs, Dinah and Sally.

On the opposite side of the Manor Farm Drive from his cottage was the orchard, which, as I've mentioned before, he rented. It ran from Arbury Road down to my aunt's cottage. Into that orchard went any animal that took his fancy - geese, ducks, chickens of all sorts, even a donkey that could be heard braying for miles.

St Kilda Avenue had been started with a few houses around 1938-39. We all thought that was the start of the great ring road for Cambridge. Work was halted by the War.

When building started up again after the War, a lot of things were talked about as to what was going to happen to the Arbury area. I could see changes coming and the old times would soon be gone, so I took a great step with my ever searching interest and moved away.

Aerial view of the Manor Farm 'Drive' and Manor School around 1960. The Manor Schools (boys' and girls') opened in 1959, but work was not completed on the girls' school until 1960. The large trees bordering the Manor 'Drive' were to be retained and would have edged the pavement along Campkin Road, opposite Arbury Town Park. But, sadly, the tap roots were accidentally cut through while cables and pipes were being laid for North Arbury.

I never came back to the Arbury that I knew. When I did, North and South Arbury had been built. The Manor School had taken over the old paddocks. The old farm cottage where my uncle, aunt and cousins lived still stood, along with the pine trees of the old Manor [Farm] House and in the hedgerow on Arbury Road do I still see what is left of the old entrance to the Manor Nurseries? 

So, for me, the Old Arbury still lives on.

Two of the Manor farmhouse trees still remain on the site. They were planted by Colonel Charles Bennett. Up until recent years, there were three trees there.

A Google aerial view of part of the original North Arbury Estate, with modern day landmarks and small inset pictures of some of the old landmarks Gordon Cardinal knew in the days of 'Old Arbury'. Click on image for larger view.

May the many children who pass through the schools gain as much happiness and interest from the Arbury as I have done throughout the years.

Gordon Stephens Cardinal, 19/6/1983

Prints of many of the photographs featured on this blog can be purchased from the Cambridgeshire Collection, Cambridge Central Library. This is an essential resource for all Cambridge history researchers. We recommend you make it one of your first stops when embarking on any Cambridgeshire local history project.


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