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Arbury Snippets Part 5: When 'The Arbury' was Under Construction, The Manor School and Arbury Court, and Memories of Early Arbury Carnivals...

Our latest Arbury 'bits and bobs' feature - thanks to all readers for contributing!

'Cambridge Daily News', 1954: the Arbury Road housing estate is under construction...

Our picture shows part of the latest development at the Arbury Road housing estate. Private houses and those built for the corporation are going up in three stages and at present work is being carried out on the first and second stages.

Over 1,200 houses are to be built which are at present costing between £1,200 and £1,500 each.

Lighting has been installed on the Arbury Road and other roads have been built with sewers ready to be connected as soon as the houses are erected. Lighting on these roads will be installed when the houses are ready.

It looks as though it might be Brimley Road on South Arbury to us. Anybody know for sure?

Here's a lovely aerial view of the Manor Schools, Arbury Road, Alex Wood Road, the Manor Farm Drive and Arbury Court around 1960. Note that the future site of Budgen's supermarket and the Arbury Court Library was then occupied by a stretch of Alex Wood Road, connecting with Arbury Road. The Manor was two separate schools, Boys' and Girls', until around 1970.

Thanks to Hilary Cox Condron, ex-County Councillor for the Arbury electoral ward and supporter of the original Arbury district, for these wonderful photographs. They were taken at an exhibition to celebrate forty years of the Arbury Carnival at the Cambridge Folk Museum in 2017. 

The Arbury electoral ward no longer actually covers the most historic Arbury area in Cambridge city - North Arbury - the old Arbury Meadows to the north of Arbury Road, home to Campkin Road, Hawkins Way, Nuns Way, etc - part of the inappropriately named 'King's Hedges Ward'. 

Council planners seem to have been strangely in love with the 'King's Hedges' name since the estate's early days, and determined to import it into Arbury - although hedged hunting warrens for royal 'jollies' and 1970s road redirections and expansions leave us cold. But Hilary is interested in Arbury as a place with a history, where modern people now live - not as a modular plastic unit of local governance - and we appreciate her input.

Presents for all the children at the big party at Arbury Adventure Playground on the Nuns Way playing field in 1977. We love the speech bubbles here. Oral history has tremendously aided the Arbury Archive since its inception in 1983, and was also a major feature of the Arbury 1980 project and 1981 'Arbury Is Where We Live!' book. We have accounts of the Arbury district dating back to the early 20th Century on this site. It's very much a 'people's history' - and reading the recollections of people who were actually there, be it 1977, 1983, 2017, 1934 or 1921, is fascinating.

The Arbury Carnival made its debut in 1977, as a one-off celebration for the Silver Jubilee, but has continued ever since. Taking place in the historic Arbury Meadows, it is a wonderful celebration for the modern community and anybody who likes to visit, and when the procession starts and the big wheel starts turning on Arbury Town Park in Campkin Road we're always very happy indeed.

The Carnival began as a community celebration for the community by the community, and still is, and has now been taking place for nearly half a century.

A former Arbury Carnival Princess points to herself on a photograph at the exhibition. Andy recognised one of the faces on the display - hello to Sally Anne, ex-Manorian, and an Arbury Carnival Queen in the early 1980s! 

As another of Andy's friends who held the coveted Arbury Carnival Queen title one year commented: 'Thank goodness you didn't have to be beautiful to be Arbury Queen! I would never have made it if you had!' Well, as we always say, by far the most important beauty comes from within. Mind you, there were those who thought the lack of an Arbury Prince was rather sexist!

A gentleman with fond Carnival memories.

Humorous memories of 1979!

A spectator at the first Carnival.

The Grove Primary School in Campkin Road under construction in the early 1960s. Note the Manor Farmhouse trees in the background. There were three of these trees, but today only two remain. The wall made a perfect seat for Carnival parade viewing!

The sun shines on a a recent Arbury Carnival - and all is recorded on modern gadgetry - which would have seemed incredible to original Carnival-goers in 1977!

More Arbury snippets soon!


  1. What a lousy resource the Victoria Histories are! They state the Arbury Estate was begun in 1957 and that's echoed everywhere from Wikipedia to the moon, but here we have a newspaper report from 1954 with the estate already underway. And Arbury School opened in 1956.

    1. The Histories are often excellent in our opinion, but it depends on the sources they find and use Their Arbury material is flawed and yes, it does get echoed.


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