Ask Arbury & Arbury Postbag - 2: Manor School, Dormitory Suburbs, Andrew McCulloch, The King Street Tragedy, Phone Boxes in Arbury, and a Plesiosaur Relic
Thanks for all the emails to Arbury Cambridge. We appreciate the questions and feedback and have replied to all.
This is the second of our Ask Arbury articles, in which we highlight some readers' comments and questions.
Mr Reid has written:
I remember the pictures of Andy and Florrie Capp at Turners Fish Locker in Arbury Court. Do you remember Andrew McCulloch's video library in the 1980s and 1990s?
We do! VCRs became affordable and widespread during the 1980s, and Andrew McCulloch was very much into the new technology.
Mos has written:
I have been reading here since you started. It is excellent to know the history of Arbury and where everything was. I don't think historic areas are considered to be that important now, simply as election wards which are not in the right areas in Arbury. Everybody only talks about being in Central Cambridge or North Cambridge or Greater Cambridge. As you mentioned, the wealthier areas, like West Chesterton and Newnham, are more considered in terms of their history. I happen to know that when Carlyle Road was included in Arbury Ward for a while, the City Council took great care to distinguish it as part of 'the Chesterton triangle'. Nobody has ever taken any trouble with historic Arbury boundaries. It is good that somebody takes interest in our history here. I enjoy reading but I think for many people Arbury, including the strange King's Hedges, are really just dormitory suburbs or wards of Cambridge. Some of the old Arbury community spirit remains and I like that.
Thanks, Mos. Absolutely. We wanted to put Arbury's history online and we have had a lot of interest. We detail the facts, and readers can take them or leave them as they please. We delight in the fact that the Arbury Carnival still takes place, with the parade through the site of the Arbury Meadows and the festivities at Arbury Town Park. It's always a delight to us to see our wonderful modern community celebrating under the historic Arbury name, which is linked to the oldest known (iron age) community in the area.
Mrs Sargent asks:
Was there a telephone box outside Arbury School in Carlton Way? I seem to remember one, but my sister says there wasn't!
The elders of the Arbury Archivists seem to think there was, Mrs S - if not exactly outside Arbury School, not far away. There are also recollections of one in Campkin Road, opposite Arbury Town Park near the Grove School, and one near the North Arbury Post Office in Cameron Road. There were also a couple, side by side, in Arbury Court.
Jim Smith's article What Did the Romans Ever Do for Arbury? has attracted many page views. Songe writes:
I love your blog. 'North Arbury' has been part of my vocabulary since I moved to the so-called King's Hedges over 20 years ago as it's what the more knowledgeable and experienced people have always called the estate to me. I didn't know that it's on a site previously known as Arbury Meadows though! The Manor Farm is also interesting because Manor School was the original name of North Cambridge Academy. I read something about a plesiosaur bone being discovered on one of the Arbury Meadows Roman sites very recently, apparently prized by its Roman occupants!
Thanks, Songe. Yes, we read about the plesiosaur relic. We must write something up about it!
Crissie T writes:
You must feature more about the Manor! If not I'm gonna walk up and down Arbury Road with a banner chanting 'MORE MANOR! MORE MANOR!' I'm kidding and congrats on the blog which is only brilliant but more Manor please. My kids go to North Cambridge Academy and even they're interested in the Manor. Ta.
Lots more Manor School/Community College material in the pipeline, Crissie - we promise!
We've had several questions regarding Mrs Hinchcliffe's memories and the 'King Street Tragedy' of 1921 - the murder of Miss Alice Maud Lawn at her shop in King Street, Cambridge.
We have replied to all questions personally, but here is one of the most frequently asked:
Do you have more details about the murder and Miss Lawn?
Andy first heard of the tragedy via his grandmother, Mrs Hinchcliffe, when he was a child in the 1970s. Mrs Hinchcliffe mentioned no details regarding Miss Lawn other than those included in the transcript, apart from the fact that the Lawn family was known to her mother to a small degree. Mrs Hinchcliffe's only contact with Miss Lawn was through childhood visits to the shop with her father.
It was what we call an 'off Arbury' event, but simply included as Arbury did not (and does not) exist in a vacuum and the wider world of Cambridge did (and does) feature in people's lives.
Andy was surprised to discover the 'two hooligans apprehended by the police/Miss Lawn pushed down stairs' inaccuracies: 'I'd grown up with knowledge of the King Street Tragedy and my grandmother's memory was second to none, so it startled me to discover the truth.'
The full facts of the case as it unfolded are available in the newspaper archive at the Cambridgeshire Collection at Cambridge Central Library, and we think there is also a book on Cambridge area murders that covers the case, which is also at the Collection.