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Showing posts from October, 2022

The Manor School Chronicles 1977-1982: Part 4

'VOICE of ARBURY': In 1980, there was concern at Manor over class sizes at the Arbury schools, cutbacks, etc. In 1978, there was concern at Manor over possibly unlevel ears... In the early months of 1978, cousin Sharon and her friend, Sharon, dropped David Soul and Paul Michael Glazer as their 'dishy' idols. They were gone forever - totally swept out by one John Travolta, who took the country by storm when Saturday Night Fever , a film released in the USA in late 1977, arrived here. I quite liked the soundtrack, but cousin Sharon was staying with us a lot and, having heard it about seven hundred times in one day (or so it seemed), I vehemently disliked it. Started climbing the wall every time she got her LP out.  Mind you, it was better than David Soul's Black Bean Soup . The Manor had ceased to seem massive and now seemed like quite a dinky school. Familiarity!  1978 was a year of huge change for the school, as the headmaster, Mr Lewin, retired. He had been the or

1986: Mrs Wiles Remembers Old Arbury and Chesterton - Part 2

A postcard from Miss Mabel Brett of the Manor Farm, Arbury Road, Cambridge, to her sister, Mrs Louisa Ashman at 7, Turf Terrace, Newmarket. Alfred Brett, their brother, had joined the Territorial Army and Mabel notes: 'I have put an X against Alf'. The card, postmarked 25 August, 1913, reads:  Dear Sister, Received letter quite safe. Hope you are all well as it leaves us all the same. You can expect Alf and me over to day [ sic ] week, weather permitting. Dad has got his corn up. Arthur is having his Holiday this week. Mother, Arthur and Lil went to Felixstowe last Wednesday. Quite swanko.   Love from sister Mabel. Will tell you more when I see you. xxxx Note, that although most of the stamp has been removed, it is tilted in the then fashionable way to indicate a kiss. And 'swanko'? That meant 'posh', 'showy'. Part two of Mrs Wiles's memories of an Arbury and Chesterton childhood from 1986. 'I remember sitting in the big kitchen at Manor Farm wi

1986: Mrs Wiles Remembers Old Arbury and Chesterton... Part 1

Mrs Wiles at home in Springfield Terrace in 1986. The curtain to the left prevented draughts from the stairs door. The stairs ran up through the middle of the house. Andy remembers very well a wall over the stairs on which you could easily bang your head if you didn't remember it was there. 'I saw stars on those stairs many times!' he says. Mrs Muriel Wiles, née Ashman, is a fondly remembered family member to Andy. By the early 1980s, her family consisted entirely of cousins - first, second, third, fourth - as she'd never had children of her own. She had married late in life, and her husband had died suddenly after only three years of marriage. It must be said, that in the Brett family and its various branches, modern sociological notions of 'nuclear' and 'extended' family were totally unknown. Family was family, people related to you by blood, adoption or marriage, and this was the case well into Andy's life time.  'Extended family was close fri

Arbury Snippets Part 3

            A crop of mangolds, swedes and kohl rabi was up for sale at the Manor Farm in Arbury Road in 1917. But how do we know it was Manor Farm - the 'Cambridge Daily News' advertisement simply mentions 'Arbury Road'? The sale was 'by direction of Mr David Camps'. Who was Mr Camps? Where did he live? Many modern Arbury inhabitants may be surprised to learn that they drive over the spot every day! Andy set himself the goal of subjecting the local newspaper archive to a microscopic survey many years ago, and collecting any information he found relating to Arbury. The era he selected was 1880 to 1935. These 'snippets' have been tucked away in the Arbury Archive folders until now. The Archivists have used four main tools:  Oral history: interviewing various people in the 1980s and beyond and recording their Arbury memories by pen, as a series of quotes. Trying to relay what the person actually uttered on to paper was very important. Andy experimented wit

ARBURY: Mrs Osland's Memories

It all happened in 1983, when Andy was busy setting up the Arbury Archive. He heard that Mrs McCulloch, mother of Andrew McCulloch, who owned the TV shop in Arbury Court, might have some memories of the area in years gone by. He went to the shop and spoke to her. Mrs McCulloch was very helpful. Yes, she did know the Arbury well, but she had a friend who knew much more and would speak to her and find out if she could help. Andy left his address. He wasn't 'on the phone' at the time, and even basic analogue (and hugely expensive) mobiles ('yuppie toys'!) were still two years away. He hoped for a letter from Mrs McCulloch's friend. It was a week or so later that an elderly lady cycled up to Andy's front door.  'I do hope this will be of some help,' she said, handing over a small white envelope. This was Mrs Osland. She explained that she lived in Cockerell Road, and was delighted at the interest in Arbury history which had resulted from the 'Arbury

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

Ask Arbury and Arbury Postbag

Well, another interesting selection of Arbury emails this week, covering several different eras and topics... My friend is partially sighted and when the covid pandemic started he followed all the rules. When Mr Hancock and Mr Whitty said people could go out for a walk to exercise he did. He was in Arbury Road near the library and there was not many people about because of Lockdown. He heard a vehicle engine just behind him going slow and he thought it was a street sweeper or something and took no notice. Then it started blasting out an ambulance siren, and it was an ambulance moving slow. My friend nearly dropped his stick and he said it was a good job he didn't have a weak heart because he was really shook up. He thought the ambulance was going off on an emergency but it just cruised past him slowly and went on up Arbury Road. To this day he doesn't know why the driver did that because they're not supposed to scare people half to death. Sorry to hear this. These have been

The Manor School Chronicles 1977-1982: Part 3

The third part of Andy's recollections of his days as a pupil at the Manor School on Arbury Road. I used to get up when I heard the 'eight 'o' clock buzzer'. It was actually a factory siren or hooter at Pye's in Chesterton, and was heard as a high pitched distant wail in Arbury. It wasn't at all a buzzing sound, but we called it that anyway. There were two or three of them early in the morning for different shifts. I always had Weetabix for breakfast. Well, actually I had 'Bisk Wheat' or some such non-expensive version from Bishop's in Arbury Court, but it amounted to the same. After my first day, I left Sharon and Sharon to their discussions of David Soul and Paul Michael Glazer, and walked to the Manor alone. On the journey, I occasionally saw an elderly lady. She used to be walking along Carlton Way towards the shops, and, if she saw me, would always cross the road for a few words. She'd come along in her headscarf and mac, and say: 'I

Ask Arbury: From Randy, Rippett and Raft and Swinging Cats to a 1970s Road and a Manor School Diary...

Every so often we like to upload some of the questions posed by readers via email. Here's another selection. I got to thinking after your article with the Manor School diary. Do you remember a series that ran in the 'Manor Banner' school magazine called 'Randy, Rippett and Raft'? It was a spoof on the boys' PE teachers. We do, and at the top of the post is the first part from the Manor Banner,  summer, 1983. The comic strip was drawn by pupil Adrian Tompkins. The teachers in question were Mr Radcliffe, Mr Tippett and Mr Daft. They were good sports about the spoof (good sports, geddit, PE teachers?! Oh never mind...) and in the second part got into terrible trouble with Mr Raggs (Mr Gaggs), the headmaster.  The 'spooky wordsearch' is a reference to Dracula Spectacular , the school play that year. We love the inclusion of the word 'teachers' under the spooky heading! We recall a lot of excellent comradeship between pupils and teachers at the Manor