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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 strange and stressful times and the ambulance crew should have known better than to do that.


Do you remember Janet Jones the councillor going round in that van with the speaker on top singing 'VOTE FOR JANET JONES'? I think it was supposed to be all cuddly and cheerful but it really got on my wick to be honest. I saw her doing it in East Road once and that was hardly the old Arbury Ward. She was always pointing out negative things about Arbury and, although she'd jump on the bandwagon if something good happened, she never seemed to generate much feel good factor about the estate herself. 

She was a politician of course and I think Arbury was just a political pawn to her. She lapped up the change when the King's Hedges Ward was created out of the northern part of the Arbury. I heard she said, 'I'm so used to saying "Arbury, my people!" now I'll just have to get used to saying, "Kings Hedges, my people!"' If she was trying to whip people up, she'd always say things like: 'The people of Arbury will rise up and fight...', because she knew the Arbury name commanded loyalty. If it was anything else she was always saying things like the 'Arbury-King's Hedges complex'. She was quite theatrical and although I'm Labour I never liked her much.

We liked Janet - she did some excellent work and had a great deal of energy. She certainly tapped into local feeling, and the word 'Arbury' commanded a lot of loyalty, as you say - as well as being historical fact north of Arbury Road. But politicians do tend to be politicians we think.


I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Cardinal's memories of 'The Arbury' before the estate was built. Did he live in Arbury after the estate was built?

Mr Cardinal did us a great service with his work. A real gentleman, through and through. He didn't live in Arbury after the estate was built. When we knew him, in the early 1980s, he was living in Coton.


Badger's stuff about being a gay Arbury teen in the 1980s struck many a chord with me, although I lived in Chesterton. He wasn't far off my age and I remember the Burleigh Arms with its gay night with Mother and Stan. Before that there was another called the 451 Club on Newmarket Road. There were a lot of flamboyant fashions then and both of the places really sparkled.

Badger replies:

Hi! Glad you like the posts. I got loads of emails about them, 98% positive. I heard about the 451, but it was before my time. It was a very dressed-up time as you say and a real laugh. It was a very polarised time but I think the Clause 28 legislation actually won us support. A lot of people couldn't stick Thatcher and sided with us.


Mr Stops had several newsagents shops around Cambridge, not just Carlton Way.

He did! He had one on North Arbury for a start, and we think there were branches at Histon and on Cherry Hinton Road. Don't quote us though!

Thanks to all that have written. More very soon!


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