Skip to main content

2022 - Day Out In Arbury - Part 1

 

Debs and Andy, intrepid Arbury Archivists, set off for an Arbury day out on 16 September, 2022. Here's Debs in Arbury Town Park, Campkin Road, admiring the view of Colonel Bennett's Manor Farmhouse garden trees across the road.

Campkin Road. The site across the road once contained the Manor Farmhouse and the view was then more like the picture below. A tree by the front of the farmhouse had been earmarked for saving at the time of the North Arbury development in 1960, but sadly died. The small island at the top of the alley leading to the garages marks the spot.

Manor Farmhouse in the 1930s.

Looking across part of the old Arbury Meadows, now containing Nicholson Way, Hanson Court, Walker Court and much more. Andy was thrilled to use the Arbury exploration to demonstrate his tremendous skill as a lousy photographer. 

The area of North Arbury was once known as Arbury/Harborough Meadows. King's Hedges had nothing to do with it until the King's Hedges Estate sub-district in North Arbury and the huge King's Hedges road redirection and expansion for the A14 in the 1970s, which lopped off the end of the original Arbury Road and brought the new King's Hedges Road across the historic Arbury area, right by the ancient earthwork at Arbury Camp. The power of the infernal combustion engine!

The Arbury Community had been campaigning for a community centre since the early-to-mid 1960s. Finally, in 1974, it happened. The Arbury Community Centre is now one of the main hubs of the original Arbury Estate.

In the Manor Farm's old Park Meadow, by North Cambridge Academy, we found the sad concrete remains of the old Manor School 'New Block', built in the early 1970s. This was the home of the fourth and fifth years' 'break time' areas, the photography darkroom, the dining hall (the original dining hall became the main corridor in the 1950s complex), the human biology lab, and much else. On leaving, we met two pupils from North Cambridge Academy who were very interested in Arbury history, very polite and a credit to themselves and the school.

The old 'New Block' at the Manor Community College, with a glimpse of the boys' gym and the school's highly distinctive tower block in the background.

Here's the old Manor Farm cowshed, probably the second oldest building on the original Arbury Estate. The cow shed was built in the 1930s, and was almost demolished by a high explosive bomb which fell just inside the Park Meadow (Manor School site) during World War II - and killed a cow. It is only pre-dated by the farm cottage on Campkin Road, which was built in 1924.

Colonel Charles Bennett planted the two large trees pictured here around the 1930s in the Manor Farmhouse garden. The Manor School boundary reflects the original boundary line of the farm buildings enclosure, and the circular shape of the farmhouse garden can be seen here. The trees have outlasted all things 'Manor' in Arbury - the farmhouse, the farm, the nurseries and the school/community college. Until recent years, there were three of them.

Nicholson Way, viewed across Arbury Town Park, home to the beloved Arbury Carnival since 1977.

Another view of the Arbury Community Centre, taken with the unique lack of skill only Andy can bring to photography. 

Campkin Road - looking towards Arbury Road. The old cottage, once No 3 Manor Farm Cottages, built in the 1920s can be seen on the left.

Back in 1983, Mr Gordon Cardinal, who wrote 'THE ARBURY', his contribution to the Arbury Archive (featured on this blog), told us to have a look in the hedgerow near Nicholson Way, where we would find the foundations to the old Manor Nurseries entrance columns. We did look - and we did find them. Andy and Debs decided to repeat the exercise this year and perhaps get a photograph of them, but the pavement had become a cycleway and was no place for an overweight gent in a 'Magic Roundabout' T-shirt or a lady in a wheelchair. Never mind.

Ernest Sale's Manor Nurseries on Arbury Road were well known throughout Cambridge. He lived at No 1 Manor Farm Cottages, which is now the site of the roadway in Campkin Road, near the Arbury Road junction. 

We love the Arbury history display at Arbury Court. It has a couple of problems - some ghostly and highly inaccurate inserted red writing on a vintage map, for instance, which is complete nonsense, and we are aware that the building of the original Arbury Estate began before 1957 - Arbury School opened in 1956. But it's great the Council did something here for Arbury community spirit and the plaque has a real 'feel good' vibe and some great accurate information, harking back to 'Arbury Is Where We Live!' (1981)

Andy has always been delighted that an 'Arbury Is Where We Live!' quote is featured from his grandmother's cousin, Reg Jones, who lived in Leys Avenue, on the Arbury Court Arbury history display. The piggery referred to in the quote belonged to Andy's great-great grandfather, Richard Brett, at Manor Farm. Richard will be the subject of our next 'Arbury People' profile.

Richard Brett of the Manor Farm on Arbury Road did many jobs to keep his family of eleven fed and clothed: he was Manor Farm horse keeper, horse keeper at the Milton Road Sewage Farm, farm labourer, pig and goat breeder, smallholder and more - very often holding down several jobs at once.

The Cambridge Gurdwara in Arbury Court is Cambridgeshire's first Sikh temple, and was once the Snowcat public house, built in 1959 to 'serve the rapidly expanding Arbury Estate.' The building cost £16,000!

Another of Andy's far from legendary photos - this time of Arbury Court. Built in the late 1950s, with the supermarket building and library added in the 1960s. The Castle School shop was the original small supermarket - Palmer's Superette.

We'll take a break here. Sadly, we didn't penetrate that far into North Arbury - we wanted to take a look at The Ship, the North Arbury Chapel and the legendary Arbury Kebab, but we did go on into South Arbury as far as the boundary of the original Arbury Estate at the Carlton Way/Gilbert Road junction. Part two is here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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

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 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. 'Cambridge Weekly News', 1982. 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

Manor School Memories Part 1

The Manor School on Arbury Road was one of the main focuses of life for North and South Arbury for decades. With its evening classes and youth centre, and various community activities - like the annual Christmas party for the elderly and the annual school play in the 1980s ( Annie Get Your Gun and Dracula Spectacular spring to mind) - the Manor opened as separate boys' and girls' schools in 1959 (the girls had to share the boys' buildings at first as their own were still under construction). The school later became co-ed.      An aerial view of t he Manor Schools - Boys' and Girls', around 1960, with a section of Arbury Road and Arbury Court. Note Arbury Court was yet to gain its library and large supermarket building, and Campkin Road was still the Manor Farm Drive. The side of the Manor School 'new block', built in the early 1970s, the tower block and boys' gym beyond. The school was built in the Park Meadow of the old Manor Farm - which is how the &

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

A view across Arbury Court, looking towards Arbury Road, in 1976. 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, a

Arbury Archaeology and History: Part 1

Imagine an iron age settlement. It is surrounded by a circular earthwork. People live here. There are houses, and pens for animals within the enclosure. Until recent years, it was not believed to be a fort. The settlement is larger than some, but believed to be very much the equivalent of what we now call a village - the earthwork simply to defend it from wolves and animal thieves. The earthwork is filled with water, and reeds and rushes grow there. Despite the naming of the Arbury earthwork as 'Ring Fort Road' in the Arbury Camp Farm Arbury/Orchard Park development, the original height of the earthwork and its enclosed area were not believed to indicate that Arbury was a fort (compare to Wandlebury), and the findings of archaeologists from Cambridge and London from the early 1960s to 1970 discounted the notion. Comment from Arbury Camp, Cambridge, A Preliminary Report on Excavations - by John Alexander and David Trump, 1970: The excavations therefore tend to confirm earlier s

Arbury Snippets Part 4: Arbury Terrace, Arbury Hedges, 19th Century Pugilists, Hunting & Escaped Prisoners At The Real King's Hedges And Suspects On The Arbury Meadows...

We've superimposed the old Arbury Meadows, Furlongs and Corner onto a 1900 map. Remember, the Manor Farm, which covered most of North Arbury (or the Council's inappropriately named 'King's Hedges Ward'), did not exist before the 1840s. Our 1900 map also features the details from the 1840 enclosures map. The names Arbury and Harborough were variations on each other and interchangeable. Whilst the 1840 enclosures map used the 'Harborough' form, an 1839 newspaper article (featured) used the 'Arbury' form. During the late 1800s, the 'Harborough' form all but disappeared. The Arbury name is derived from the Old English for 'earthwork', the earthwork surrounding the iron age settlement at Arbury Camp Farm (now Orchard Park, originally Arbury Park). The earthwork, or at least part of it, was a landscape feature for around 2000 years, and the part of the outline seen on this map is incorporated into the design of Ring Fort Road. Arbury was. f

Ask Arbury: The Roman Villa in Arbury

     E-mail to Arbury Cambridge blog: Was a Roman villa found at King's Hedges? I recently saw an outside display in North Arbury/King's Hedges Ward called 'The Roman Landscape in King's Hedges' which claims there was one. And is King's Hedges Road Roman?  We've seen that display. Electoral wards are not historic areas and local historians really do need to be mindful of that fact. The answer to your question regarding the Roman villa and King's Hedges Road is no. The Roman villa was found on the site of King's Hedges School, which is not part of the historic King's Hedges acres. Historically, King's Hedges was simply a named property, a farm, of fifty eight acres, and is now north of the guided busway. It was never a district. King's Hedges School is dearly loved by many of us and we treasure it, but those in the know accept it's not actually in any historically meaningful King's Hedges district, and the site had nothing to do w

What Arbury Means To You...

We thought it would be good to invite comments (or emails - arburyestate@btinternet.com) from readers about what Arbury means to you. Of course, many have already made their views plain on here, but we like the idea of a dedicated blog post. Please be aware that we are referring to the original Arbury area here, the area between Gilbert Road and King's Hedges Road, not modern electoral wards/misnamed apparently 'separate' housing estates. From 'Arbury is Where We Live!' (1981): Community action has always been important in Arbury. The first Arbury community groups were formed with the building of South Arbury in the 1950s, and North Arbury has seen many fantastic community efforts - resulting in the likes of the Arbury Adventure Playground, Arbury Carnival, Arbury Community Centre and the Arbury Town Park. So, what does Arbury mean to YOU? How long have you lived here? Are you interested in Arbury history? What do you like about Arbury? What do you dislike? What mak

Manor School Memories - Part 2

Lads from the Manor Boys' School in 1960. D. Claton, M. Farrow, R. Mitchell, C. Peck, I. Skeels, R. Potter and G. Paine are present. Do any readers remember who is who? School's back in - Manor School/Community College on Arbury Road that is (now North Cambridge Academy). Here is the second part of our series on Manor Memories - Part 1 is here . Pupils' foreign holiday, 1960: the first Manor girls to go on a joint foreign holiday with Manor boys: G. Anderson, J. Barnes, C. Blackwell, H. Brown, S. Budd, L. Carter, A. Clarke, L. Doggett, C. Doughty, P. Drake, S. Hardy, E. Harradine, B. Kaspar, D. Miller, J. Parker, L. Phillips, J. Reeves, J. Spencer, J. Symonds, with headmistress Mrs Firman. Note the Manor Schools' caretaker's house can be seen in the background, and the trees of the old Manor Farm orchard. October 1960, and here is a view of the Manor Boys' and Girls' schools from the car park at the Snow Cat public house (now the Cambridge Gurdwara). A view