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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 in those days, and some teachers were excellent at helping children who were experiencing problems outside of school - we speak from personal experience. So much better than these days of 'outstanding' schools, heavily populated by pupils from areas with natural academic leanings - and that's all that counts. Just our opinion, but in those days the Manor truly was outstanding...

Next question, please...

Great to see the old Manor School diary. I remember them very well and I wonder if we could have a peep inside?

Yes, we'll upload more scans of the diary soon.

Next - our most oft asked question of all, best summed up by: 'When is historic King's Hedges not historic King's Hedges? Answer: When it's historic Arbury...

I enjoy the blog, but are you seriously telling me that the majority of King's Hedges Road is late 1970s, and that the area around it wasn't King's Hedges historically, not even King's Hedges School?

We are constantly answering this question. Sorry, but yes. King's Hedges School is historically in the Arbury/Harborough Meadows (Harborough was a variation on the Arbury name), and the majority of King's Hedges Road has nothing to do with King's Hedges either, but an awful lot to do with historic Arbury, running right by the ancient earthwork which gave Arbury its name.

Northfield Avenue was named as the famous Roman villa with underfloor heating was discovered in a North Arbury field.

Much of King's Hedges Estate/King's Hedges Ward is also historically Arbury - although it does extend into Chesterton.

A lot of people are startled by the fact, particularly those who don't know the area well or who do not remember the vast King's Hedges Road expansion and redirection in the late '70s as part of the A14/Cambridge Northern Bypass development.  Many others just call the district 'North Arbury' (a far more legitimate name) or 'The Arbury' - lumped in as one estate with South Arbury. North Arbury is the most Arbury of Arbury areas historically. Check out our trusty old maps, the modern misinformation display, and the 1977 road building photograph below.

We've annotated this 1900 map to include the earlier details of the Arbury/Harborough Meadows. Manor Farm was established in the meadows some time after the 1840 Chesterton Enclosures.
The Arbury district in 1900.

Misinformation on a modern outside 'local history' display. The Roman villa referred to was near the ancient Arbury earthwork, which pre-dated it - and the area was known as the Arbury/Harborough Meadows. For  'Roman Landscape at King's Hedges' just substitute 'Arbury' for the final two words.

'Cambridge Evening News', 1969: the Roman villa and other findings in the North Arbury field. This is why Northfield Avenue was so named. The name of King's Hedges School was imported by council planners in the 1960s who seemed to be rather fixated with the name.

The new King's Hedges Road comes into being in the late 1970s, lopping off the original end of Arbury Road.

And finally (humorously, we think...)

When you wrote there wasn't room to swing a cat at Yarrow's in Carlton Way, wasn't that a bit anti-catist?

Heavens, yes thanks for that. Our bad. Let's just say there wasn't room to swing a pair of flared trousers.


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