Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2022

1986: Mrs Wiles Remembers Old Arbury and Chesterton - Part 6

Mrs Muriel Wiles, then Miss Muriel Ashman, at work at Pye's in the 1920s. The sixth part of Mrs Muriel Wiles's memories of Old Arbury and Chesterton, added to the Arbury Archive in 1986, takes us into Mrs Wiles's early teens - a time of ill health and great concern for the Brett family in Arbury, contrasting with happy memories of leaving school and getting a job... 'When I think back, it was like, when I was a kiddie, Gran and Grandad had always been at Manor Farm and always would be,' said Mrs Wiles. 'But that was silly, of course. I used to spend a lot of time in Arbury with Gran, and then she started to get ill and started spending days in bed and it was quite frightening to me at first because... well... it was a big change. I was very worried. Grandad had Dr Fordyce out quite a few times from Chesterton Road. There were more and more motor cars about, nothing like today, of course, but he always arrived in a horse and carriage, and quite often I'd tur

1986: Mrs Wiles Remembers Old Arbury And Chesterton - Part 5

The Manor Boys' School nearing completion in 1959. At this point, some of the Manor Farm buildings remained. Part Five of Mrs Wiles's 1986 recollections of life in Old Arbury and Chesterton: From The Manor School in the 1970s To Christ's Pieces in the 1920s... 'I've only been to the Manor School once. It was a fete a few years back, with my friend, Mrs Royston. Well, it was a lovely day and I was telling Mrs Royston about the Manor Farm and Gran and Grandad and everything, and we were looking at that big tall block and wondering what the view was like from the top. We met one of the teachers, I think it was the headmaster, and he was lovely, we were chatting to him, just ordinary, about it all. He was very interested. He asked if we'd like to see the view from the top and we said, "Oh, yes, please!" and he got the caretaker and we went in. 'Now, wasn't that nice of him? 'It was better inside than out because there were a lot of windows and

1986: Mrs Wiles Remembers Old Arbury and Chesterton: Part 4

The Brett family in the Park Meadow at Manor Farm, Arbury Road, 12 September, 1908. Left to right: Back row: Henry ('Harry'), Alice Maud ('Maud'), Charles, Mabel, Alfred. Middle row: Ellen ('Cissie'), Elizabeth, Richard, Amelia, Arthur, Louisa. Front: Frank and Lily. Our coverage of Mrs Wiles's 1986 contribution to the Arbury Archive continues. The First World War has a devastating effect on the Brett family, and Mrs Wiles recounts a strange tale from the 1880s... 'It's strange to look back - two world wars in one lifetime,' said Mrs Wiles. 'But that's just the way it is. We're like birds and animals really - territorial - for all our beautiful poetry, colour tellies and machines that make you a cup of tea in bed! 'I was a tot when the First War started and I was used to seeing my uncles in uniform when they were on leave. They had to wear their uniforms or somebody  might give them a white feather for cowardice if they were seen

1986: Mrs Wiles Remembers Old Arbury and Chesterton: Part 3

1908: The Park Pasture at Manor Farm (later the site of the Manor School) was the scene for this happy wedding photograph, taken by Starr and Rignall Photographers of Cambridge and Ely - Thomas Walter Ashman and Louisa Brett were the happy couple. I have marked on the names of the main family members (the bride and groom are self explanatory!) - all who feature in Mrs Wiles's recollections. One of the Manor Farmhouse ('Manor House') chimneys can be seen in the background. Lydia Prevett was then in service there. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding and married Henry 'Harry' Brett in 1910. The third part of Mrs Muriel Wiles's memories of the Arbury and Chesterton district during her youth. Mrs Wiles (1909-1987) contributed these recollections to the Arbury Archive in 1986 'Mum and Dad met while Mum was working in Newmarket,' said Mrs Wiles. 'Dad would often cycle all the way from Newmarket to Arbury to visit Mum at Manor Farm. 'Mum said Gran and