Cambridge Local History Powerpoints


The Bath House

The Bath House on Mill Road was once a place where local people would visit to wash, as everyone did not have mains water like we do now. So, many people would have to go along to their local ‘bath house’ to get clean! It was used as a Bath House from the late 1920s to the 1970s and helped improve hygiene in the local community. ‘Gywdir House’ as it was previously known was built in the Victorian Era and was lived in by a number of families from 1850 onwards, including local doctors and was therefore called ‘The Doctor’s House’ by many. Also see if you can spot the Cambridge Coat of Arms above the door, with symbols linked to its history as a trade route.

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Ditchburn Place- The Victorian Workhouse

Ditchburn Place is the oldest surviving building on Mill Road and opened as a Victorian workhouse in 1838. The workhouse took in people who were not able to be employed in society and would otherwise be homeless or starve to death. It was a place of great shame and people would do anything to try not to be admitted there. It closed in 1930 to become a hospital, serving as a war hospital in World War II then a maternity hospital from 1948 when the NHS was formed. In 1983 it was converted into sheltered accommodation for the elderly, as it still is today.

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Victorian School Life

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 Victorian School Life ppt


Tudor & Stuarts School Life

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Tudors and Stuarts School Life ppt


World War I - Histon Road Cemetery

By 1843, because of the growing population, Church graveyards in the town were full.  New burial grounds were needed.  Two Cemeteries were set up outside the town: Mill Road for the Church of England and Histon Road for the other Christian Churches.

This site, then just open fields, became Histon Road Cemetery. Imposing gates, a Lodge for a Caretaker and a Chapel (now gone) were built. Paths were put down and trees planted where we see them today. Only the wealthier people could afford headstones and memorials so many graves are unmarked. There have been 8200 burials, so the Cemetery is now full.

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World War I- Histon Road Cemetery (ppt)

World War I- Histon Road Cemetery (pdf)

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Chesterton Mills

Around 1850 William French bought the recently built windmill which then stood in open fields. By the mill there was also a granary to store the grain, stables for the horses that pulled the delivery wagon and a cottage to live in.

Wheat from local farms was ground between millstones, turned by the sails. The flour produced was sold to bakeries to be made into bread. Wind power was unreliable, so in 1868 a steam engine was installed in a new building with a tall chimney. The Windmill sails were removed in 1911. Milling continued on the site through both World Wars and finally stopped in 1955.

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Chesterton Mills (ppt)

Chesterton Mills (pdf)

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The Railway Comes to Cambridge

The railway came to Cambridge in the Victorian times, in July 1845. During that time The first ever timetable for Cambridge trains was published on 22nd July 1845 and was used on 30th July that year, on the day the railway was officially opened to the public. The old Great Eastern route to Cambridge has some of the fastest trains on it- with a train recorded at going at 70mph on route! The trains had a non-stop time of 72 minutes from Liverpool Street to Cambridge, covering 55.75 miles on its journey.

The coming of the railway led to lots of jobs being created and meant that more houses were built in the area to accommodate railway workers. The Railways Men (Workers on the Railway) mostly lived within walking distance of the station, such as in the Railway Cottages on Mill Road, by the Railway Bridge. 

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The Railway Comes to Cambridge (ppt)

The Railway Comes to Cambridge (pdf)

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This photo is reproduced thanks to the National Railway Museum Collection.


Abbey Estate

Cambridge is growing! The number of people living in the city is already 123,000, with nearly 30,000 more expected by 2020. People need homes and flats and new buildings are springing up all around the city. But this isn’t the first time builders have been busy. In 1801 there were just 252 people living in the Abbey ward, but by 1851 there were almost 12,000. In the 19th century new homes were needed for growing numbers of railway workers, craftsmen and shopkeepers. In the 20th century east Cambridge was newly built, including Abbey Meadows School in the 1950s & new estates nearby for families, with the adults working in firms such as Marshall’s Aerospace and Pye Electronics. There was a Co-op supermarket on Whitehill Road with flats above. Stories of people’s work and homes tell the story of Cambridge!

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Abbey Stadium

The team was established in 1912 and initially named “Abbey United”, after the Abbey area where it was set up. The team settled in the Abbey Stadium and after years of playing local amateur leagues, became professional in 1949. Cambridge United Football Club entered the promised land of the Football League in 1970 for the first time. It was the latest twist in the tale of Cambridge football because people had already been playing the beautiful game in the city for centuries. It all started with the Roman game of harpastum that was an early form of football. The next landmark moments were in 1579 when there was a town against gown match that ended in a brawl. Then in 1848 the teams in the area met to establish one uniform set of rules as a way of preventing fights and disagreements. These football rules were written on papers fixed to the trees on Parker’s Piece and, later, when the Football Association was founded in 1863, they used the Cambridge rules. This history shows that Football has been at the centre of Cambridge’s culture for generations

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Abbey Stadium Powerpoint (ppt)
Abbey Stadium Powerpoint (pdf)


Barnwell Priory

Barnwell Priory was founded in 1092 and is the Abbey for which Abbey ward is named! It hosted numerous medieval kings and even a Parliament. But it was not always popular. It survived a revolt launched by angry locals in 1381, and150 years later it became the target of a more powerful foe, King Henry VIII. Most of the Abbey was dismantled, standing as a ruin from 1538 to 1810. Hardly anything now remains of this medieval landmark, except for the storehouse called the Exchequer (for coins fish and grain), which you can see on Beche Road. The Abbey is now memorialized by the naming of Abbey Meadows School and by the street names which are named after Priors from 800 years ago, as in Thorleye Road, Rayson Way, Stanesfield Road, Gerard Road, Rawlyn Road and Peverel Road.

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Cambridge Brick & Tile Works

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Cambridge Museum of Technology

As the population of Cambridge surged with businesses and housing, plus the University growing, there was a problem with sewage and smells in the River Cam. Not only did this cause discomfort to breathing and health problems, it also spread diseases, such as typhoid. The terrible stench and state of the river was noticed alike by poor and rich, worker and monarch. On a visit to Cambridge in 1843, Queen Victoria asked, “What are those pieces of paper floating in the river?” Rather than saying they were book and newspaper pages used as toilet paper, the tactful answer was, “Those Ma’am are notices that bathing is forbidden!”. Eglantyne Jebb was a campaigner for improved living conditions. She wrote an important policy report advocating proper piping from toilets to sewage pipes, and a sewage treatment facility. Her work resulted in the pumping station built on Riverside in 1894 through which the sewage from the city was pumped out to the village of Milton, powered by steam pressure. It was closed down in 1968, but volunteers maintain the steam engines, which are now on display as part of the museum.

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Coldham's Common

Coldham’s Common is one of twelve commons in Cambridge. In the Middle Ages the area of Abbey was rural with farms and the work done by peasants. They had strips of land where they grew their own food. Peasants had to work on their lord’s land growing the lord’s food. Cows and sheep and horses owned by the people of the community, were grazed on their commons for free. Over time, these strips of land and the commons were reorganized into fields, and surrounded by fences. This change was known as ‘enclosure’. Cambridge people, called ‘commoners’, were against losing their common land and so in 1594 they rose up against local landowners. Under the leadership of a commoner, Jake of the Style, they resisted enclosure and as a result the land is still for all the commoners today and is naturally grazed by cows and managed as a nature reserve for everyone to enjoy! A time that Coldham’s Common changed was when there was a rifle range made for training in WW1 and WW2, and the remains are known as “chalk hill”. A century earlier the Common became industrial for a while when dinosaur poo, (called coprolite), was discovered and huge holes were dug including the pond that is known locally as “dead man’s lake”. 

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Coprolite Mining

The industry began in the mid 19th century, when shortage of food after the Napoleonic Wars caused an influx in demand for fertilizers. The coprolite itself is fossilized dinosaur faeces which, when ground up, can be mixed with acid or water to make fertilizer. This fertilizer was discovered when a brick kiln using local clay exploded. One of the first areas in Cambridge to undergo coprolite mining was Coldham’s Common between the 1850s and 1890s. Wages were far higher in mining than agriculture so there was a ‘coprolite mine rush’ with huge pits dug on the common. The making of fertiliser and mining of dinosaur and pterosaur poo began to decline when international competition kicked in from America. But the industry was revived during the First World War when imported goods became unreliable and England needed to grow more food.

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CROMWELL'S HEAD

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Eglantyne Jebb

Eglantyne Jebb was an educator and economist, a philanthropist and social activist, a political campaigner for womens' rights and childrens' rights and refugees' rights in the era of Queen Victoria. Her story can be pinned to her family home which still exists called “Springfield” on the corner of Sidgewick Street and Queens Road overlooking the backs at Queens Green. And although Queens Green and Road were named such to mark the visit of Queen Victoria to Cambridge in 1842 and 1847, Eglantyne was not herself born until 1876 in Shropshire but frequently came to stay in Cambridge because she came from a powerful intellectual family, her Uncle being the Professor of Classics who socialized with the Darwin family and the founders of Newnham College, filled with feisty educated women with progressive ideas and activist attitudes.  It is no surprise that Eglantyne went to College too, first to Oxford and then to teacher training college, showing a quirky streak by chucking out most of the furniture so she could study in a room with no distracting objects. Importantly for Cambridge, she returned to live there in 1900 and was put to work by the infamous social reformer and economist Florence Keynes, to research the poverty and inequality between town and gown that most in the University overlooked.  In 1906 Eglantyne published this survey of economic inequalities and the social consequences of poverty , which was called “Cambridge: a Social Study”  highlighting the poor working and living conditions, especially the diseases and deaths arising from bad sanitation. Her activism made a difference to Cambridge and then to the UK, because Eglantyne joined the marches and processions of the suffragettes to campaign for the vote for women. And after that, her work made a difference internationally when she campaigned as a refugee organizer in the Balkans during the First World War, fundraising for the relief of famines and food distribution to refugees, becoming a particular expert about the plight of displaced children in war, going on to co-found the Save the Children Fund on 6th January 1920, a charity that works in war torn situations to this day.  Her determination to change the world for the better did not stop there, and her most important achievement in terms of safeguarding child protection which still has resonance today, was that in 1924 the League of Nations endorsed her Declaration on the Rights of the Child.

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EQUIANO & ABOLITION OF SLAVE TRADE

Cambridge was once home to two of the most prominent campaigners against the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797), enslaved African and author who married in Cambridgeshire, and Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846), a graduate of St John’s College, were both early activists. They devoted their lives to the cause and were pivotal in the eventual Bill which abolished the Slave Trade within Britain (1807).

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Experiences of WWI

On the 4th of August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany. The next four years of fighting, known as the First World War, had a huge impact on those sent to the battlefield, but also on the towns and cities, families and friends that they had left behind. Cambridge experienced food shortages, suspected spies, and air raid warnings. Explore how the lives of local people were changed forever by a war that asked so much of the men, women, and children of Cambridge.

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Great St. Mary's Church

Great St. Mary’s foundations were thought to have been laid around 1010 and it was first recorded in legal documents in 1205, when it was called ‘St. Mary-by-the-market’. It became the University of Cambridge church when scholars arrived in 1209 and it has been in the heart of Cambridge for over a thousand years! The church completely burnt down in 1290, which wasn’t surprising, as it was surrounded by thatched roofed buildings and wooden market stalls. Eventually in 1478 they started rebuilding the church- which is the church you can see there today!

During Tudor times there was a great deal of activity in and around Great St. Mary’s, including the building of Hobson’s fountain in Market Square and the burning of Bucer’s dead body under the order of Mary I. There were also a number of royal visits, including Elizabeth I, when she came to Cambridge in 1564. Sadly the church was still not complete when she arrived and it was surrounded by deep mud, so they had to pour bags of sand onto the ground to try and cover the mess. The church was also fined for not having the bells ring on her arrival! Many Tudor monarchs also donated to the building of the church, and Elizabeth I said she would do the same on her visit to Cambridge- but she never kept her promise!

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King's College Chapel

King’s College Chapel is one of the most iconic buildings in Cambridge and took over half a century to build! King’s College and its chapel were founded by Henry VI in 1446, who is believed to have laid the first stone on St. James’ Day on 25th July, 1446.

However, Henry never saw the completed chapel, as the main structure of the building wasn’t finished until nearly 70 years later in 1515, during the reign of Henry VIII. The construction of the chapel had a number of hiccups along the way, including wars and funding problems, as Henry VI’s grand designs were very expensive!

In 1508 work on the chapel restarted and although Henry VII died in 1509, money from his will ensured that the building work continued. In 1515 the whole building was complete, including the beautiful fan vault ceiling, which was designed by architect John Wastell and took just 3 years to create. This impressive ceiling is still the largest fan vault ceiling in the world!

 

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Leper Chapel

The chapel acted as a leper hospital during the Middle Ages, earning income from the annual Stourbridge Fair, which they were allowed by a grant from King John of Magna Carta fame! The Fair was so popular that the chapel became immensely wealthy, but towards the end of the 13th century, the leper colony closed and so the chapel was handed to Cambridge town. During the 18th century, the chapel was used as a pub for a while but come the mid 19th century, it was restored to the original chapel. This unique structure (at over 800 years old) is the oldest building in Cambridge, centuries older than the more famous King’s Chapel in the historic centre, so a building which Abbey is very proud of!

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Magdalene Bridge

During Roman times, the River Cam was fully navigable from the Wash as far as Cambridge and was the northernmost point where transport from East Anglia to the Midlands was practicable. Therefore, Magdalene Bridge marks the site of an important Roman era river crossing. It used to be known as “Great Bridge”. All routes, both local and long- distance, had to converge on this crossing point, giving it strategic importance. From 1118 to 1845, when the opening of the railway to London dealt the river trade its death-blow, the River Cam was the essential travel and trading route by which Cambridge was fed and built with boats bringing fish and grain, meat and salt, coal and reeds, timber and stone.

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NEWTON'S APPLE TREE

On a warm evening in 1666, just after dinner, the soon to be famous Issaac Newton sat down beneath this tree outside of Trinity to mull over his thoughts, when all of a sudden he was struck on the top of his head by a large, red apple.‘Eureka’, he cried, and Gravity was discovered. As entertaining as this tale is, Newton was not struck on the head by an apple and he was not underneath this tree. In fact, no such tree existed in Cambridge at the time. But in just half a century, this grand myth was woven by his admirers from its original simple story.  This tree isa grafteddescendantof the original one at the home of Sir Isaac Newton's mother in Woolsthrope, Lincolnshire. On a visit to his mother's garden during his Cambridge days in the late 1660s, heobservedagreenapple fall from a tree and only then began toconsiderthe mechanism that drove what is now termed Gravity.

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PARKER'S PIECE

Parker's Piece is one of Cambridge's most famous open spaces. Originally part of Trinity College, it was acquired by the town of Cambridge in 1613 as pasture land and named after a college cook, Edward Parker. In the 19th century, it was used as a first-class cricket-pitch and a sports ground for Varsity matches between the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. In 1838, a feast for over 15,000 people was held in honour of Queen Victoria's coronation. There were bands, choirs, sports and games, fireworks, and even a hot air balloon. In 1911, local history was made when former Cambridge undergraduate and aviator W.B.R. Moorhouse made an emergency landing in Parker's Piece. Today, this green space is a place football, cricket, fairs, and picnics.

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ROSALIND FRANKLIN: DISCOVERY OF DNA

Have you heard of Rosalind Franklin? Neither have a lot of people! But she had an important role in the discovery of DNA - the building blocks for all living beings. Franklin’s work was instrumental in pointing scientists James Watson and Francis Crick in the right direction. Using X-Rays Franklin took pictures of DNA that changed our understanding of biology. .Unfortunately Rosalind Franklin’s story and contribution to science has been unfairly been eclipsed in the history books by men such as Wilkins, Watson and Crick.

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Stourbridge Fair

From humble beginnings in 1211, Stourbridge Fair became a vital feature of Cambridge life for the next 700 years. It was the largest medieval fair in England (and, some say, even the whole world!), drawing merchants and crowds from all over Europe to the banks of the River Cam. The River was a vital route and most of the wares and the traders and the visitors all came to Stourbridge Fair by boat, those from London and from overseas via King’s Lynn. The fair was therefore an important trading event, especially for pots and pans, clothes and textiles, baskets and mats, horses and horseshoes, pitch and tar, coal and charcoal, iron and timber, books and musical instruments. Residents and visitors also came just to enjoy themselves and especially to eat and drink huge quantities of fish and bread, wine and ale. Most famous were the oyster sellers and discarded oyster shells can still be found in this area today. There is also a street called “Oyster Row” marking the site for the oyster sellers at the fair. Many entertainments were on offer, including toy stalls and puppet shows, musical and theatrical booths. Stourbridge Fair had something for everyone!

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THE LIONS OF THE FITZWILLIAM MUSEUM

The lions that decorate the outside of the Fitzwilliam Museum were built in 1839 by William Grinsell Nicholl and are said, at the stroke of midnight, to come to life, walk down from their plinths, and drink from the guttering in the street, before returning to the museum.  

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THOMAS HOBSON x2 INNKEEPER & DONOR

The information and pictures that you will find on this page are to inspire YOU to find out more about Hobson & create your own poem, song, rap, story, drama, animation, film.  So please get reading and get creative! 

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WW2 The Marshall's Experience

Marshall of Cambridge was established in 1909 by David Gregory Marshall as a car vehicle business, specialising as a chauffeur drive company. It was located in a small lock-up garage in Brunswick Gardens. Marshall’s first involvement in aviation dates back to 1912, when its mechanics helped repair the engine of a British Army airship, the Beta II, which had made an emergency landing on Jesus Green, just behind the Marshall garage. The family purchased the house and land of Whitehall Farm and in 1937 the new Cambridge Airport opened.

With the Second World War in 1939, the aerodrome soon became involved in war work; training pilots and repairing airplanes. Whitehall Farm was sold to build houses for Whitehall Estate and Peverel Estate, but the Marshall aerodrome buildings and runways expanded to become a complex at the top of Newmarket Road.

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