Skip to main content

Ask Arbury and Arbury Postbag - 3: Arbury Court Enquiry, Arbury Camp - Fort or Village? The Manor School, Arbury Meadows, Arbury Is Where We Live! 'Yarrers', & Arbury Community Centre At 50.

Adventures at the Arbury Adventure Playground on the Nuns Way playing field in the mid-1970s.

We're going to share a few more of our recent comments and queries. All questions receive answers via email or blog comments, so if you're wondering about anything regarding the historic Arbury area (Gilbert Road to King's Hedges Road, and Orchard Park) please don't hesitate to get in touch. 

Beginning with an enquiry which readers might be able to help with:

Trying to find information on a shop that I believe my Grandmother owned in Arbury court in the early days (Late 50s/60s) her name was Jane Norman - haven’t been able to find anything on line so far - thought you might be able to help😊

We have much Arbury material here, but so far have found nothing. Does anybody out there have any information?

And now, some ancient history. Paul W has written:

Very interesting site and I wonder was Arbury a village or a fort?

We're delving into modern archaeological findings (thanks to Jim Smith for some fascinating material on the subject), and it seems that it may well have been a fort. Certainly the earthwork road in Orchard Park (originally Arbury Park, and, before that, Arbury Camp Farm) is called Ring Fort Road. We'll publish more on this soon. Part of the Arbury earthwork outline is included in Ring Fort Road. This is very obvious from the air, which we think is wonderful. The outline marks the oldest known habitation in the district and the origin of the Arbury name.

A landscape feature from the iron age onwards, the remaining section of the earthwork has been incorporated into the layout of the Orchard Park (originally Arbury Park) development.

Ms S has written:

Cheers 4 featuring more about the Manor. It's amazing that we were into the environmental issues even back in the 1980s. I agree with you that the last photo looks very modern. I love the fact that the Manor name went back to the old farm and your stuff about the Arbury Meadows. I live in Northfield Avenue so I'm in those meadows! My favourite teachers were Mrs New, Mr Daw, Mr Radcliffe and Mrs Bowyer.

Thanks, Ms S. Those teachers' names bring back memories to more than one of us! Yes, the Arbury Meadows covered most of the land north of Arbury Road, together with the North Arbury Furlong (up by the original King's Hedges Road farm track), Arbury Furlong and West Arbury Corner by Milton Road. Andy's great-great and great-grandparents lived at the Manor Farm from the 1880s to the 1920s, and his great-grandfather continued to farm a smallholding there until his death in 1941.

"Preferred Pronouns: Large Person/The One" has written:

When you wrote about Yarrows, which had branches in South and North Arbury, being pronounced 'Yarrers' you took me right back there in my mind. It was a good feeling. I'm cheesed off with people being snobby about Arbury or calling it 'North Cambridge' or 'King's Hedges'. It's strange because Chesterton doesn't seem to be included in 'North Cambridge', yet Arbury history predates it. It's great to see somebody takes the history of the Arbury seriously. Not every district boasts an iron age settlement and a name derived from it.

Very true, Preferred Pronouns. Thanks for writing. Andy spent about four hundred years searching through the newspaper archives at the wonderful Cambridgeshire Collection for Arbury references in the decades before online newspaper archives (which are wonderful too). Here is a 1972 ad for 'Yarrers', Carlton Way, South Arbury, branch from 1972.


Sarah writes:

I was a pupil at King's Hedges School when Arbury Is Where We Live happened. I wrote about the Arbury Carnival. It didn't get in the book, but was in the exhibition at the Manor School. I remember Arbury Adventure Playground at Nuns Way. The bloke that ran it had loads of patience and I always remembered him when I was bringing my kids up!

Thanks for writing, Sarah. The Arbury 1980 project and the 1981 book were wonderful community projects, bringing young and... er, not so young together! Sallie Purkis was brilliant.

Jaz says:

Fab to read about Councillor Alex Collis on here. One of the best North Arbury/"King's Hedges" councillors ever!

Lovely - very interested in the Arbury district as a real place with a history, and also down to earth and 'of the people'.

Arbury Boy has written:

Remember that the Arbury Community Centre is 50 this year. It would never of happened without the residents' effort.

We do! Terrific effort then - and continued terrific effort over all these years - has kept the Centre going as a real centre for the community. Our thanks to all those involved.

And finally, Mrs White has written:

May I just express my appreciation of your articles about Old Arbury from the transcribed conversations of people in the area years ago? They give a link to ways and days now long gone and the people that lived here then. I think they are wonderful.

Thank you very much, Mrs White. The articles are very popular and their origins go back to the Arbury 1980 project and the 1981 Arbury Is Where We Live! book, which inspired Andy to start the Arbury Archive. Some links to the articles: Mrs Hinchcliffe: here; Mrs Wiles: here; Mr Cardinal: here.

More soon!


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

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   Down Your Street  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. 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 contributed to t

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