Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Henry Cable - Sturton Street Baker

Henry Cable - 1900s
One of the first trades found in Sturton Street was Cable's the bakers, which was found at No.9 and was opened by Mr Henry Cable in 1888. Henry himself had originally been born in Halstead in 1840 and moved to Cambridge and to James Street in particular to be the first Co-op Master Baker at premises not far from his home. Henry left the services of Co-op because, it is thought, they not only wanted him to bake the bread, but also to push it around the streets, selling it from a hand-cart. He refused to do this and the Co-op had no choice but to bow to his demands and buy him a horse-drawn cart, but this didn't last long and he left to set up his own baking business in Sturton Street.

Henry had to be up at five every morning to make the bread from dough because all of his baking would have been done by hand. He baked two and half oven-loads of bread a day, which would be, according to the sizes of his ovens, about 500 loaves.
Once Henry had baked all his bread his family would mind the shop while he went out with his horse and cart selling it.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Great Fire of Cambridge

Before 1849 Cambridge market covered an L-shaped area stretching from Petty Cury to the northern end of Peas Hill.

The present market layout came about after a terrible fire that took place on the night of Saturday 15th September 1849, often called 'The Great Fire of Cambridge'.

In 'Cambridge Revisited' Arthur B. Gray recalls the events of the fire:

Market Hill - 1900s
'The fire-engines of the police, the various insurance offices and those belonging to Trinity and
St.John's were soon upon the spot, but alas! the key to Hobson Conduit could not be found. The final
discovery of the key only increased the prevailing excitement and confusion, for the firemen were soon vigorously squabbling over the limited water supply.'

'Matters were improved, however, by the numberless buckets and pails which literally showered upon the crowds
of willing helpers, who soon formed themselves into lines of supply to the engines now upon the scene.'
Market Hill - 1937

The fire raged on and was only put out at about 6am. Eight houses where burnt down and others were seriously damaged.

Senate Hill and the south side of Market Hill was used to dump all the broken and damaged furniture. The Police oversaw the whole operation to ward off looters.

Hobson's Conduit was removed from Market Hill to its present site at the junction of Trumpington Road and Lensfield Road. A new fountain was put up in the centre of the market in 1855, but in 1953 it was found to be unsafe and taken down. It was removed to the yard of the Cambridge and County Folk Museum, which is the former site of the old White Horse Inn in Castle Street.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Queen Elizabeth I's visit to Cambridge

The young Queen Elizabeth came to Cambridge in the summer of 1564 with the intention of spending a few nights in King's College. It was said the whole of Cambridge was full of excitement with the news of the Queen's visit.

Detailed instructions as to how the university was to entertain the young Queen were sent by Sir William Cecil.  All the Scholars had to cry out as the Queen passed them 'Vivat Regina!' which means 'Long live the Queen' and then they were to lower themselves and kneel while an orator was to tell the Queen how happy they were to see her.

Elizabeth I, Darnley Portrait, c1575
Each of the fourteen colleges at that time made its own plans and preparations for the hundreds of courtiers and servants who would be accompanying the Queen, who would all somehow need to be accommodated.

The town was said to be busy itself getting ready for the Queens visit, which included sanding the streets, painting the market cross, laying in stocks of beer, buying sugar loaves to give to the leading courtiers and a silver cup for the Queen, to be filled with coins called angels.

On Saturday August 5th the royal procession made its way from Haslingfield to Grantchester. The Mayor met the Queen near the hamlet of Newnham and it is said that at Newnham mill she changed horses.

There are notes to say that trumpeters sounded fanfares and crowds of people all cheered as the Queen rode into Cambridge.

It is also said church bells began to sound as she entered Cambridge, but the churchwardens of Great St. Mary's received a fine for not ringing as the Queen entered the town.

She entered King's College Chapel, which her father Henry VIII had completed, and she is said to have praised it above all others in her realm.

The Queen stayed in the Provest's lodge at King's and had only a few yards to walk the next morning to chapel for Sunday service.

Monday 7th August saw entertainment put on for the Queen in Great St. Mary's, the university church. As she entered, the graduates knelt and cried out 'Vivat Regina!'.

Nothing public was done the next day apart from at 9pm, when an English play called 'Ezechias' by Nicholas Udall was put on by King's college men.

The Queen apparently decided to stay a day longer in Cambridge, so pleased was she with things.

On Wednesday 9th August the Queen took her progress about the colleges, riding in state royal, where all the lords and gentlemen were riding before her and all the ladies followed on horseback.

The Queen is said to have ridden into each college, beginning with Clare, where she was to receive a oration in Latin. In Trinity, the newest college, she was able to see how the work was progressing on the new chapel. At St John's college she rode right into the hall.  She left out Jesus College because it stood too far out of the way.

The Queen the rode on to Christ's College for an oration in Greek and she was given a pair of gloves in memory of her great grandmother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. She then went via Market Hill to Corpus Christi College, where she was to receive another pair of gloves, then on to Pembrooke for a Latin oration, the same at Peterhouse, where it was spoken by one of the youngest undergraduates, Anthony Mildmay.

The Queen then rode back to King's.

Later at Great St. Mary's there was a disputation in divinity and in law. The Queen was then going to receive a surprise as the lords knelt down and asked her to speak something to the university in Latin. It is said at first she refused, saying that she might speak her mind in English, but she was then informed that English could not be used in addressing the University. It was then the Bishop of Ely knelt and said that the three words of her mouth were enough. The Queen is then said to have delivered some four hundred words in Latin!

The next morning, August 10th, many of the courtiers received honorary degrees; at 9am there was a final Latin oration by Thomas Preston; then with her courtiers about her, she rode past Magdalene College towards Long Stanton to dine with the Bishop of Ely.

As the Queen rode out of Cambridge, never to come again, the cries of students rang out 'Vivat! Vivat! Vivat regina Elizabetha!'

She went on to stay at Hinchingbrooke House, near Huntingdon.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Shop of Secrets

The most famous unsolved Cambridgeshire murder took place on Wednesday 27th July 1921.

In the 1920s King Street, Cambridge was a small busy street and at No. 70 was a general store owned by Alice Maud Lawn. Miss Lawn was aged around 50 and she had run the shop for at least 20 years before this point.

Alice Maud Lawn 
Miss Lawn was unmarried and lived alone with just her cat, but she did have relatives nearby, her brother, a motor mechanic called Horace lived across the street with his wife at No. 79. She also had another brother and Sister – in – law living in the Cambridgeshire area.

Miss Lawns shop sold a variety of items including Bread, Tobacco and a range of dairy products.

The shop it’s self was an end terraced two – storey property, backing onto a green known as Christ’s Piece.
The building  had originally been a private house before it was converted and a narrow alley way called Milton Walk ran alongside the building, with a public house called the Champion of the Thames on the opposite of this passage.

At the back of the shop was a foot path and a tennis court, which is still found there today.

Although Cambridge is known for its market on Market Hill, in the 1920’s a second Wednesday market was being held in King Street. Friends of Miss Lawn said this had become a big concern to her because it would attract a large number of out of town strangers; she was a very nervous person and was noted to even tell customers of her concerns connected to the band performances on Christ’s Piece by saying

‘When the band performs on Christ’s piece there is such a rough crew who worry me. They rush into the shop for all sorts of things, that makes me very nervous indeed’

She had felt the same about the Wednesday markets, which even brought strangers as far from London.

Part of her routine was to keep the back door locked, most of all on Market day.

The shop at the time it was owned by Miss Lawn
She was also known to go out at points throughout the day, so it was not strange if customers found the shop closed during what would be normally opening hours, they would just think she popped out and would be back soon.

When a visitor to the shop at 11:30am on Wednesday the 27th July 1921 found the shop closed, they thought she had popped out, but when the husband of a neighbour still found the shop closed after lunch he notified Miss Lawn’s sister- in – law across the street. On receiving the news she was not aware Miss Lawn had gone out, and if she was going out more than a few minutes Miss Lawn would normally make her or her husband Horace aware. With some concern she contacted her husband, who was working close by.

It was at 3pm when Miss Lawn’s brother and his next- door neighbour Mr. Kirkup went to check the shop. Entering from the back door they immediately noticed a clear sign of a disturbance and within moments found her body.

She was lying at the foot of the stairs in a pool of blood, it was oblivious she had been dead for sometime and suffered a violent attack.

She had wounds to her head and a gag hung loose around her neck.

Once the police were called the first to the scene was Constable Alfred Flint, an officer who had been on duty outside the Post office. When Flint arrived Horace claimed he had heard something move upstairs, Flint carried out a search, but no one was found.

In the days after the murder, the police were satisfied the murderer could not have been that of a local man, and the person they were looking for was one of those market strangers.  If the crime had been planned, then the assailant evidently wanted the market day to perform the attack, when owing to the noise in the street, any cry might have been drowned out.

During these few days two theories also arose, the first was that the killer had gone to the shop posing as a customer and asked for something that would have needed her to go to the back and while she was out of sight the outside door was locked before the killer followed to murder her. The second theory was the killer had gained access though the back of the shop and hidden until he had the opportunity to attack.

On Saturday 30th July 1921 Miss Lawn’s funeral took place at Mill Road cemetery.

The case then went silent, that is until Friday 5th August 1921 when a man calling himself Jack Varden handed himself into Tottenham Court police station claiming to be the Cambridge murderer. He signed a statement and was interviewed by Chief Inspector Mercer who straight away noticed his confession was fake.

It was later revealed Varden had never been to Cambridge and his real name was really Ernest Shaw, he was just looking for food and shelter for the night and thought this to be an easy option as they would know by the morning his story was made up and he would be released.

A name which did come forward as the possible murderer was Thomas Clanwaring, Clanwaring was 23, he claimed to come to Cambridge to look for work as a French polisher.

Clanwaring was known for inventing stories and it soon came to light that some of his story could have been a lie.

He made a range of statements to the police, his first claiming the following.

‘My home address is 66, New Street, Slivertown; I was born in Bethnal Green, then moved to Slivertown and lived there ever since I came from Baldock to Cambridge on Friday night. I have been in the town just over a week. I stayed at the black bull, Baldock, I was there four days. I came from Manchester to there. I had come through Manchester. I Walked from Manchester to Baldock is, I think about 400 miles. I slept at nights under stacks. I had been from Slivertown  over 3 ½ years, during that time I have been working for chaps on the road shovelling up and sweeping. I came to Cambridge trying to get work as a French Polisher. I tried at Leavis and other places I have been with two chaps on two occasions. Since I have been in this town I have been with two, making three persons otherwise I have been by myself.'

The statement went on, but the two chaps he referred to were Albert Briggs and Frank Turner, who were also out of work labourers.

Bits of his statement were reasonable accurate, but parts were wrong because Clanwaring had been in Bedford gaol until the 16th July 1921. He had been imprisoned charged with theft of five bicycles.

Before his imprisonment he had been in Bedford for five days and had no luck finding work and his money soon ran out. He went to Bedford pretending to be deaf and dumb.

Thomas Clanwaring
His trial opened on 17th October 1921 and at the end it was clear even the judge in his summing up felt that Clanwaring should be found not guilty and the jury of eleven men and one woman after an hour and 33 minutes returned announcing him not guilty.

Within the following weeks the press were reporting the case would remain unsolved, either the guilty man had been freed or they had no more leads.

They were correct because no one else was ever charged with Miss Lawn’s murder, the shop today as now had an extension and its home to a fast food company, even the houses across the street where Miss Lawn’s brother Horace and his wife had lived has now gone and new buildings are in their place.

Everyone saw her as a sweet kind lady with no enemies, but with that in mind this did not stop her becoming a part of Cambridge’s most notorious unsolved pre- war murder case.

A life of a sweet kind lady was tragically taken and no one was ever found guilty of her murder, so the shop, once her home to this day remains the shop of secrets.

These article may also be of interest: The Last Execution in Cambridgeshire
                                                               Murder at King's College
                                                               Murder on Midsummer Common 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Queen Victoria's Coronation Celebration on Parker's Piece.

On the 28th June, 1838 Parker's Piece, named after Edward Parker in 1613, was home to a remarkable feast to celebrate the coronation of Queen Victoria. It is recorded that 15,000 of the towns poorer inhabitants attended the celebrations.

In the centre of the piece was a orchestra which performed from a bandstand covered in flags and flowers. Below the centrepiece bandstand was a extensive promenade area for those who had purchased tickets to help pay towards the costs of the celebration. Around the promenade was space occupied by 2,762 Sunday school children, and then, like spokes from a wheel were 60 tables to cater for 12,720 adults. At hand on the day were 351 stewards, 547 carvers, 441 waiters, 297 beer- waiters and 41 tapsters. There were 7,029 joints of beef, mutton, pork, veal and bacon, this worked out about 1lb of meat per head. Also available was 72lb of mustard, 125 gallons of pickles, four-and-a-half thousand 2lb loaves and endless supplies of salt. For sweet there were 1,608 plum puddings available.

The dinner began at two o'clock after grace had been sung, and while the meal was being ate, the band played and the combined choir of King's and Trinity Colleges sang. After completing the dinner everyone sang a special grace composed for the celebration, then pipes and tobacco were placed on tables, and glasses were charged from 99 barrels of ale, and the mayor proposed the Queen's health, it was responded with a deafening cheer, before everyone sang the Nation Anthem.

At five o'clock, led by the mayor and the band, everyone marched to Midsummer Common for rural sports and to see Mr. & Mrs. Green ascend in a balloon ( it later descended near Fulbourn ). A firework display ended the celebrations.

The day had been a wonderful success, it was the only day that week which had see good weather. The poor who were unable to attend from age or illness were entertained in their homes, and so were those in the workhouses.

The whole celebration cost £1,709 19s 6d. in documents I found in the Cambridgeshire collection, but other sources have said it totalled to £1,767 14 shillings and 10 pence. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Society for Psychical Research's Cambridge Roots

Frederic Myers a well-known poet and classical lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge, along with colleagues who included Edmund Gurney, a Classical Scholar at Cambridge, Professor Henry Sidgwick, a Cambridge philosopher, and Frank Podmore, together formed the Society of Psychical Research in 1882.

Frederic Myers 
The SPR was formed to investigate apparitional accounts.

Frederic Myers, Edmund Gurney and Frank Podmore in 1886 published what was called at the time  'The most ambitious piece of psychical research to date'.

The report contained 1,400 pages and was called 'Phantasms of the living' and Fredrick Myers is reported to have said it was 'To open an inquiry which was manifestly impending and to lay the foundation - stone of a study which will loom large in the approaching age'

The authors hoped the report would banish any remaining doubts about the reality of phantom encounters.

The reports in 'Phantasms of the Living' looked at a theory based on telepathy. The authors noted that ' The ability of one mind to impress or be impressed by another mind other than through the recognized channels of sense' Basically the percipient could be receiving a telepathic signal from the apparent.

The theory also states the apparition does not need to be present in any order to be represented as a phantom.

Edmund Gurney
Frederic Myers is said to sum it up as 'Instead of describing a ghost as a dead person permitted to communicate with the living, let us define it as a manifestation of persistent personal energy'

The report became controversial and of the 701 cases reported more than half coincided with either the approach of the death of the apparent or with some critical moment in a person's life. It was suggested that in such moments of crisis, telepathic communication seemed more likely to take place.

Another report looked at by the SPR was put together by Professor Henry Sidgwick and called 'Census of Hallucination'

Sidgewick hoped to discover what proportion of the public had experienced hallucinations that could be apparitional.

He looked at three types of hallucinations: sight, hearing and touch.

The question on the census paper read: ' Have you ever, when believing yourself to be completely awake, had a vivid impression of seeing or being touched by a living being or animate object, or of hearing a voice, which impression , so far as you could discover, was not due to any external physical cause?'

The question was on a form that required a simple Yes or No answer.  Those who answered Yes were provided with another form on which they were asked to put all the details.

Henry Sidgwick
The census had 17,000 responses and turned into an international one, with answers from Brazil, Germany, France, Austria, Italy and Russia as well as Great Britain.

Nearly ten percent admitted to having experienced sensory hallucination.

The figures were 1,029 women, 655 men.  Of the total numbers reported, 1,087 were visual and 493 where audio, two had been by touch and 129 of the phantom encounters had been experienced by more than one person.

Sidgwick discovered crisis apparitions occurred with far greater regularity than any other type; in fact, apparition at a time of crisis proved 440 times more frequently than the chances of one appearing for any other discernible reason.

This article may also be of interest:  The Silver Street Ghost 

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Tale of Green Street

Green Street in the 1910s
The origins of the name of Green Street are said to come from a man named Oliver Green who was involved with property in the area and is believed to have lived from about 1563 to 1623.
That is of course the recorded history, but while I was researching some information on the street I came across this alternative version of where the name came from and it is this alternative version I want to share with you now.

It is said that during the time of the plague it was this street that was heavily affected in Cambridge, and it was decided that because of this the houses on both sides of the street had to be boarded up to contain it.

When the boards were finally taken down grass had grown thick and long behind them all, and it was from this day that the street was called Green Street.

This is a truly wonderful tale and I had to share it with you all after I read it. It is amazing how it has stayed alive for so long and been passed through the generations. .

Thursday, 12 July 2012

World War 2 Air Attacks on Cambridge 1940 -1942

During the Second World War there were a total of about 30 people killed and up to 70 hurt during air attacks on the city, the damage was up to 51 houses destroyed and 1,271 less badly damaged.

Below is details about some of those attacks on Cambridge from 1940 - 1942.

If you study the history of air raids on Cambridge you will discover the first devastating air attack took place on Vicarage Terrace in June 1940, but few people, even now, are aware that about 10 weeks before the Vicarage Terrace attack 11 H.E bombs were aimed at Cambridge, but fell in sugar beet fields on the outskirts of the city, only causing damage to the crops.

The Vicarage Terrace Attack
After the attack on Vicarage Terrace, (Story HERE) One August night in 1940 eight H.E bombs were dropped at different parts of the city, including Fenner's cricket ground. No casualties were reported, but there was damage from the blast.

On the 28th August a total of eight bombs fell on Cambridge again ( One failing to go off), there were again a large number of people who escaped the attack. The unexploded bomb fell a few feet from a house at the top of Leys Avenue, there was slight damage to the property, but the people inside went unharmed. Some other bombs fell in Pemberton Terrace and Shaftesbury Avenue.

On the 15th October one person was killed when a single bomb hit a house in Barrow Road.

It was during the next year, 1941, Cambridge saw the worse year for bombing.

On the 16th January, a cold icy night, 200 incendiary bombs, most of them in the area of Hyde Park Corner were dropped on the city. Perse School was severely damaged by fire, while a warehouse nearby in Regent Street, also suffered damage. Firemen were hampered by hydrants either buried in the snow or found they got frozen up.

On the 30th January at four o'clock in the afternoon attacks were made in the Mill Road bridge area, where two small cottages were hit at the side of the bridge. Two people lost their lives and ten others were injured.

On the 15th February a bomb fell in front of a house in Cherry Hinton Road, The porch was blown apart, but all eight people inside escaped unhurt.

On the 24th February the city suffered a attack that resulted in the death of eleven people, including wardens and firewatchers on duty. This attack was carried out in three phases.

The attack started with incendiaries being dropped in the Cherry Hinton Road area at about 10pm. At 10:35pm two H.E's made a direct hit on a house at Grantchester Meadows, killing two woman. At 11.15 a whole batch of H.E's and a score of incendiaries fell on Hills Road between Hyde Park Corner and Station Road. Wardens and firewatchers were caught up in the attacks, while others were injured in their homes.

On the 9th May a more determined attack happened with fire bombs. Hundreds of incendiaries were showed in the area between Hills Road and Trumpington Road. Fifty houses received direct hits, yet all but four or five of the resulting fires were put out within minutes.

On the 29th August Romsey Town was the scene of a serious attack. 10 H.E bombs, presumably aimed at the railway, hit two houses in Great Eastern Street, causing two deaths and injuries to seven people.

On the 29th September on a wet evening at about 11 o'clock incendiaries hit Huntingdon Road, just beyond the top of Castle Hill. Extensive damage was caused to telephone wires and public service pipes, but luckily there was no traffic about and nobody was in the road at the time, or they would not have survived.

Ten months elapsed before the next air raid.

On the 28th July 1942 when the bombing started again, it was on a sharp scale. A single low-flying raider, clearly visible in the moonlight, attacked Bridge Street and Sidney Street with eleven H.E's and many incendiaries. It was with this attack that the Germans are said to have made use of their new explosive incendiary bombs, one of which caused the big fire at the Union Society building. As the result of this attack three people were killed and seven injured; 10 buildings were destroyed or rendered unsafe so they had to be demolished, and another 127 properties were damaged to a much lesser extent.

The results of the attacks would of been much worse but for the fact that three of the H.E's failed to explode. One of the bombs went through a roof of a house in Portugal Place and rested just above the basement where the residents were sheltering. One lodger who was still in bed awoke to see the bomb sticking through the wall.

These article may also be of interest: The Bombing of Vicarage Terrace  
                                                               The Cambridge Evacuee's 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Fred Unwin - Pimbo Author

Ever since I became involved with the history of Cambridge I have been inspired by others who have helped record the city's past and one man who stood out to me was the 'Pimbo' author, Fred Unwin.

Fred was not a historian, he was just a everyday Cambridge man who had a great knowledge of living and growing up in the city and turned this knowledge of his life and the people he met into 20 wonderful books.

Fred self-published all his books and from 1976 to 1998 and went door-to-door selling them to the public.

On the 6th November 2008 I got to meet with the man behind the books. It was a dream come true because he was one of the people who inspired me to share the history of Cambridge with the community, like he had done in his own way with his wonderful books.

A Little about Fred Unwin and his books

Born Fred Thomas Unwin on the 28th May 1915 in Cambridge, Fred has written twenty books, listed below.

Three of his books were best sellers at Heffers bookshop in Cambridge.

Fred has said his ideas for his books and poetry came from years of dealing with the public as a brush salesman, milkman and a psychiatric nurse; also, during World War II he was a 'desert rat' with the Eighth Army.

In total Fred Unwin has written 21 books, which are:

Pimbo (1976)
Dew on my Feet (1976)
What Pimbo Did Next (1977)
Pimbo and Jenny in Old Cambridge (1978)
Knock on Any Door with Pimbo and Jenny (1979)
From Cambridge - One and All! (1980)
In the Shadow of King's (1981)
Gentle Tales of Old Cambridge (1982)
Cambridge Tales of Mystery and Mirth (1983)
The Magic Book for Cats (1984)
Cambridge - As War Clouds Roll By (1985)
A Cambridge Childhood (1986)
Fame Cost (1987)
More Gentle Tales of Cambridge (1988)
Cambridge Barber Shop Tales (1989)
Flicks Through Cambridge (1990)
A Cambridge Childhood Revisited (1991)
Only the Lonely (1992)
Cambridge Crime Busters (1994)
Cambridge - the Good, the Bad and the Lovely (1998)
The Girl Who Came in From Outside ( 2003) 

Fred's books are still read today by hundreds of people from all over the world and I have been sent some wonderful comments about them.

Fred sadly passed away on Thursday 18th December 2014.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Little Kettle

In Fitzroy Street long before the Kite redevelopment and the Grafton Centre, there once stood a little shop next to Cartwright's the barber's with a tin kettle attached to the front of the building.

The building was a hardware and grocery shop found at numbers 70 and 72 (number 20 before the 1920 renumbering of the street) and was owned by Mrs Varlander. A old saying amongst Cambridge folk was 'If you can't find what you're looking for at Varlander's, you won't find it at all'.

The shop was probably one of the first places in Cambridge to offer a saving stamp scheme. This is a format which today has been devolved by big names like Tesco into Clubcard schemes, where you receive a point for every pound spent. Varlander's scheme would offer free soap in exchange for a customer's saving stamps.

Virginia La Charite with the plan for the renovation - March 1978
In the late 1970's the Little Kettle became the headquarters of the Kite Action Group which campaigned against the Kite redevelopment.

The group's plan was to redevelop the Little Kettle as a general store, but sadly this wasn't to be and it was demolished in July 1981.
The site of the shop now lies under the Grafton Centre. It may be gone, but let's not forget it - the Little Kettle of Fitzroy Street.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pink Floyd's Cambridge Roots

Pink Floyd
The name Pink Floyd is known all over the world as one of the most recognised bands of the Sixties and Seventies. The group produced hits like 'See Emily Play' 'Wish You Were Here' and 'Money' and albums like ' The Dark Side of the Moon' and 'The Wall'.

But it wasn't always like this because, before they hit the big time, members of the group played gigs all over Cambridgeshire including school and village halls.

This is a little bit about how the Pink Floyd began from Cambridge roots.

At the age of 16 Syd Barrett joined his first band, Geoff Mott and the Mottoes, where he played guitar, He was joined in the band by Geoff Mott on Vocals, Tony Santi on Bass and Clive Welham on drums.

Clive Welham went to play drums with Jokers Wild along with Tony Santi on bass, and another future Pink Floyd member David Gilmour, but more on that in a moment.

Geoff Mott and the Mottoes like most bands at that time only performed for fun and had no plans to turn professional. The band mainly performed Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran hits.

After getting a good reception throughout Cambridge their luck wasn't to last and they soon split.

David Gilmour on the other hand, at about the same time Syd Barrett was with Geoff Mott and the Mottoes, was playing with the Group The Newcomers.

This group consisted of Ken Waterson on bass, Johnny Barnes on guitar, Willie Wilson on Drums and David Gilmour on Guitar.

Within a Year Glimour left The Newcomers and Joined Jokers Wild. He was joined by former Geoff Mott and the Mottoes members Tony Sandi and Clive Welham. Other members included Dave Altham and Johnny Gordon on guitar.

Jokers Wild was a blues style rock band.

The group did produce privately- pressed single sided LP's and Singles, of which maybe only 50 copies were made at one time.

They also recorded what as meant to be the UK version of Sam and Dave's ' Hold on I'm coming' but it was never released, so the Joker's Wild version went unheard.

David Glimour left Jokers Wild and joined Bullet with Ricky Wills on bass. Ricky had played with groups like the Small Faces and went on to play with the groups Roxy Music and Foreigner. They were joined by Willie Wilson on drums who come from the band The Newcomers.

After his time with Bullet David Gilmour then joined a new group already up and running. The members included former Geoff Mott and the Mottoes member Syd Barrett on guitar, Nick Mason on drums, Richard Wright on keyboard and Roger Walters on bass. The group was Pink Floyd and as they say the rest is history.

Pink Floyd - Arnold Layne
Released 11th March 1967 in the UK and 24th April 1967 in the US
This was Pink Floyd's First Single Release

These articles may also be of interest: Jokers Wild in Cambridge
                                                              The Beatles in Cambridge 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Bombing of Vicarage Terrace

It was the night of the 18th/19th June 1940, when Cambridge first got to experience the horrors war would bring.

It was just before midnight when the air raid sirens sounded and about fifteen minutes later a Heinki 111 bomber was reported to be flying low over Gwydir Street.

Within moments two HE bombs were dropped destroying numbers 1-6 Vicarage Terrace and badly damaging numbers 7-10. Houses in Edward Street and St. Matthew Street also suffered damage.

Ten people were reported to have been killed, by this attack alone, and up to nine were injured.
This was the first air attack on the city and is believed to be one of the earliest attacks to focus on a target in England during the war.

These article may also be of interest : 
                                                         World War 2 Air Attacks on Cambridge 1940 - 1942 
                                                                The Cambridge Evacuee's 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Murder On Midsummer Common

It was on the evening of Thursday 24th August 1876 a gross murder took place on Midsummer Common.

Robert Browning, aged 25, lived with his parents and brother and worked as a tailor in Covent Garden, just off Mill Road. Browning was also known in the area as being a heavy drinker and liked the company of women.

Midsummer Common 
On the evening in question it is reported that Browning and his brother finished work on a pair of trousers and received five shillings from a Mr. Ward for a job well done. Both brothers went to spend the money on drink.

It was at half-past eight when Browning left his brother's company and returned home for supper. While at home his mother noticed he was a little on edge and advised him to go to bed, but instead he picked up a cut-throat razor and placed it in his jacket pocket before leaving.

He went to a public house in Fair Street where he drank some more before going on to the Four Lamps at about 9.30pm.

While he was at the Four Lamps he met two girls. One was Emma Rolfe, aged 16. Both Emma and Browning left without the company of the other girl and went to an area of Midsummer Common called Butt's Green.

In the darkness Browning took the razor from his pocket and slashed Emma's throat from ear to ear, nearly severing the head from her shoulders.

Browning left the scene and went to the Garrick Inn. It was reported while he was there that some of the
Emma Rolfe's grave in Mill Road Cemetery 
people came concerned about his unusual behaviour.
After leaving the Inn and walking towards home he came face to face with PC Wheel who was patrolling in the area. The moment Browning saw Wheel he gave himself up saying he had killed a woman.
At first PC Wheel did not believe him so Browning took him to where Emma's body lay and he handed him the blood stained razor.
When he was taken into custody Browning said he had killed her because she had stolen a shilling from him, but no money was found.
Later Browning wrote a statement saying he had gone out intending to kill a girl he had been to Royston with because she had given him a disease.
At his trial on the 29th November 1876 Browning made no effort to defend himself and he was sentenced to death.
Just before 8am on the 15th December 1876 Browning was hanged.

These article may also be of interest: Murder at King's College
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