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Arbury Road: Standing Firm at Cherry's Corner - 1989

Cherry's Corner in the 1920s - before the parade of shops was built on Arbury Road. Photo: Cambridgeshire Collection.

When Andy began the Arbury Archive in 1983, he knew well the fact that the junction of Arbury Road and Milton Road was 'Cherry's Corner' - plus the fact that the Cherrys had built the parade of shops on Arbury Road by the corner. Older friends and relatives often referred to 'Cherry's Corner' and relayed the history to him as Andy's great-great grandparents had lived next door at No 1, Arbury Road, years before.

But he didn't know that Mrs Ceta Cherry, wife of Ernest, still owned the shops until this delightful Cambridge Weekly News article, published on 7 September, 1989:

       

Mrs Ceta Cherry with some of her tenants and their staff at Cherry's Corner. From left, Elaine Williams, Heather Mothersole, Heidi Morewej and Peter Workman.

Cherry's Corner is what older local people call the junction of Arbury Road and Milton Road.

And 85-year-old Mrs Ceta Cherry still owns the row of shops she and her husband had built in Arbury Road over 50 years ago.

The parade has a "mix" of businesses, with a traditional butcher, baker, watch repairer, hairdresser and grocery store. Just the sort of neighbourhood shops many people now realise are extremely precious.

'Mrs Cherry often comes in to see how things are going,' said Elaine Williams, who has worked since leaving school in what is now her own business.

'She takes a great interest in what we do, but never interferes,' said Mrs Williams. 'I took over the shop three years ago, and have some regular clients who have been coming in for over 20 years.'

The newest tenant is Sina Morawej who has taken over the Arbury Store with his family and aims to sell a good range of grocery and greengrocery items at reasonable prices.

'We want to offer a real community service for people. We are dealing with a company in London which stocks around 6,000 items and get deliveries from them twice a week.

'In between, if people come in wanting something we don't have, someone will go to the local cash and carry to get it for them,' said Mr Morawej.

Just three weeks after opening they have already taken up special requests from shoppers, including an order for Italian bread.

At Halls, butchers, Peter Workman has been running the shop for almost a year. He previously had freehold village businesses and this is the first time he has been a tenant.

'I think Mrs Cherry is quite exceptional. She often pops in to see if there are any problems, and you can always talk to her,' said Mr Workman.

'We're a very traditional business here, producing our own sausages, brawn, faggots, chitterlings and so on. Customers come from as far away as Norfolk or Bishop's Stortford because they can't get old-fashioned "pork butcher" goods elsewhere.'

Mr Workman said none of the meat used was pre-packed. 'It's all "on the hoof" and we try to stock a good variety, with barbecue, tandoori and stir fry items that younger people want, too.'

The shop opens at 7am each weekday and closes at 5pm, Thursday to Thursday, with Monday and Saturday half days.

Like other shops along the parade, he and his staff help elderly customers with free deliveries to their homes if they are ill.

Heather Mothersole [,who] is manageress of Godfreys, the bakers, said: 'Most of our trade is from regular customers, but we do pick up a fair bit of passing custom, especially for rolls at lunchtimes.'

Mrs Cherry is keen that the parade should continue to offer a balanced range of retail goods. 'I am a great supporter of local shops,' she said, 'and use my own in Newnham whenever I can.'

In fact, she still cycles to the shop. 'But I don't usually ride the bike back when its loaded with shopping, as it gets a bit wobbly,' said Mrs Cherry.

After leaving school at 14 - she was brought up in Cherry Hinton - she got a thorough business training with local firms. And it was a background she put to good use when she married Ernest Cherry and joined him in the business at Cherry's Corner.

'I love the shops still,' said Mrs Cherry. 'I suppose they are my hobby really. And as long as it's possible I want to carry on working with my tenants and watch them make a success of their lives.'

'Cambridge Evening News' photograph of the parade of shops at Cherry's Corner and Arbury Road in 1981.

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