Skip to main content

What Arbury Means To You...

We thought it would be good to invite comments (or emails - 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 makes Arbury special? Does ANYTHING make Arbury special in your opinion? Is Arbury an important name? Or is North Cambridge better? Should the name Arbury be consigned to history, applied willy-nilly to other areas via electoral wards, or be an area which makes historical sense?

Please take part. We'd love to hear from you.

We'll publish comments here and extracts from emails, with permission, in future posts. Be anonymous, state your name. Just tell us what you think.

Arbury history. Does it enhance understanding of the area and provide a sense of belonging? Or is it a bore? Should we bury the name and simply insist on being a suburb called 'North Cambridge'? Should we celebrate the name, which links back to the oldest human-made landmark in the entire area - the earthwork surrounding a prehistoric village? Should we simply pretend we're King's Hedges, because it sounds 'posher' - although some are not keen on the name's hunting origins? Come and tell us!


  1. The best thing about Arbury, the real area, is its distinctiveness. You step off the bus in South or North Arbury and you are on this estate of housing built continuously from the 1950s to the early 1980s. It has a vibe and is best standing united. West Chesterton is rich and gets loads of attention from the Council. No calling Chesterton Community College anything else - although it's hardly in Chesterton and doesn't only serve Chesterton. Snob value? "Branding". United Arbury was a working class challenge to all that. The history is great. It worked for Arbury is where we live, and people are still interested.

    1. True conversation with a shopping delivery driver two days ago...
      Me: 'I went to school in Arbury!'
      Delivery Driver: 'Same!'
      Me: 'Oh, you went to Manor?'
      Delivery Driver: 'No, Chesterton.'
      Arbury really is something other than councillors perceive it!

  2. It would be great to rename West Chesterton 'Chesterton Overspill Ward', that's all New Chesterton was, suburban growth from the original Chesterton village due to its closeness to Cambridge and, hence, desirability. Rename Chesterton Community College something appropriate - ('Bateson Road Academy' - and fling some money at the Manor/North Cambridge Academy. As soon as the academy was built, Chesterton was in there demanding improvements. I noticed in a guide book to St Andrew's Church in Chesterton from the '80s that it mentioned Arbury in its history - Chesterton apparently meaning 'town by the camp or castle - the camp being the ancient British camp of Arbury or Harborough'. They've dropped that now. Cambridge goes backwards with its class system, not forward.

  3. Its home. And when I look at the original arbury estate without the Kings Hedge rbbish it has form and meaning. The Kings Hedges name gives me the creeps. Im a vegan and I don't want to sound sanctimonious but the idea of the brutal medieval hunting sport makes me cold.

  4. I like it because there are lots of green areas and trees but there are not enough bus shelters. If you've ever stood at that bus stop at Arbury Town Park with the wind whipping across it in autumn or winter you'll know what I mean. I take the name Arbury for granted. It's what just about everybody calls the original area and it's the government's fault that there are problems like drug abuse, not Arbury's. This doesn't stop a lot of sneering going on, but that's normal in Cambridge.

  5. I just read your tweet - bloody hilarious. The modern Labour Party wouldn't support a 'united working class Arbury against well-heeled West Chesterton'! What century are you living in? It's all woke, Ariadne does misandry and letting weeds grow all over the place from Cambridge City Council these days. And breaking up established working class areas and calling them after royal hedged hunting warrens.

  6. I don't live in Arbury anymore, I haven't since 2008, but I always smile when I see the Arbury bus because it brings back happy memories. I don't understand the separate King's Hedges thing, because that estate was a part of North Arbury and is not even an appropriate or very nice name anyway. I remember Arbury people for their kindness - when my Mum was ill they gave me lifts to hospital and helped me a lot. I love reading the history on here. I agree with others who say Arbury's problems weren't created by Arbury, but by governments. It's a great place and I'm really pleased to see it get some positive coverage.

  7. I like Arbury. There is a major disconnect between what the Council calls Arbury and what people actually know it is, but that's because the PEOPLE actually got interested in the name and researched its history with Arbury Is Where We Live! This blog is just what we need. I recognise the 'Ariadne Syndrome' at the Council. The Guildhall is like a gilded palace for the woke and virtue signallers. It doesn't have much to do with Arbury, east Chesterton, Romsey Town or real life in general. Note the perfectly good trees they chopped down in Milton Road in the name of 'biodiversity'. They're fighting a big 'emergency' engendered by the likes of Klaus Schwab and his buddies at the World Economic Forum and the WHO - corrupt as hell. That's the perfect opportunity not to bother too much about us freezing in our houses and flats here in Arbury because we daren't put the heating on. Cambridge is rotten to the core when it comes to being poor. I read a few years ago that three of the poorest streets in England - based on official figures - are in North Arbury (King's Hedges ward). Not much made of that at all.

  8. Arbury is a fine place to live. There are lots of lovely people around here. Can I recommend the staff at Budgens in Arbury Court and the Tesco Express in North Arbury who are lovely and always have a friendly word? The Council force trendy stuff on the Arbury, like that awful mural on the side of Arbury Court. Who decided we must have it? Why not something less trendy like some nice flowers or a big sun? The idea of letting tall grassy weeds grow in nice cultivated areas is stupid. There are plenty of places where that happens anyway. The Council IS out of step with the majority of people. The history is good because things used to be better round here when the neighbourhood recognised its history and had a true sense of identity. It's a big broad inclusive sweep, from the iron age and Romans to today. The Cambridge elite apparently applauded it while secretly wanting to smash it.

  9. It's not a good place in many ways because the Council have let it go to pot and tried to break it up into 'North Cambridge' and 'Kings Hedges'. Only Chesterton gets to have an historic name. The Arbury Ward doesn't cover most of historic Arbury. And we keep getting Lady Mucks wafting down from the Shire Hall and Guildhall telling us how oppressed their sex is, how awful men are, and how wonderful they are. Ideological indoctrination, victimhood culture and narcissism. It means nothing to us trying to keep up with the bills.

  10. There isn't an Arbury. Estate agents advertise houses as Chesterton or North Cambridge. Arbury went a long time ago.

  11. This site has told me more about Arbury than I ever knew and makes the area seem just as interesting historically as the long recognised Chesterton, but without the budget lavished on West Chesterton, which is sad. Merry Christmas and happy 2023 to you!

  12. This is most interesting. If you ask somebody from Hawkins Road or nuns Way where they live they so often say "arbury" but the council says it different. The council is like the newspaper "The Guardian", which is a very snobbish paper. I vote Labour but the council is not about poor people really or trying to make us happy. It is all about being trendy and ignoring real problems. Arbury does ok because it still has some community spirit but the council is not to thank for most of it. That is very sad.

  13. North Cambridge is OK - when applied to North Cambridge, including West Chesterton. It's not OK when applied only to the historic Arbury district (South Arbury and North Arbury, including the council's own cherished but misnamed King's Hedges). We end up with tinpot dormitory estates, while West Chesterton still enjoys the cream (dosh, dosh, dosh!) and recognition as an historic area.


Post a Comment

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

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