Cherry Hinton Memories - Book Three
Here you will find the complete contents of Cherry Hinton Memories Book Three - if you haven't done so already, I would encourage you to take a brief look at the introduction page about these books first - which you can do by clicking the link here: Cherry Hinton Memory Books - Introduction
There are three books altogether and one separately written story - you can find the links to the other books and story by visiting the Cherry Hinton Memory Books Introduction page, mentioned above, or by searching the index (Categories) on the righthand side of this page or by using the search box on the right.
Book Three “The Golden Years - Cherry Hinton, 1930's-1960's"
Contains memories from:
Below you will find the full transcription of book three, copied as it is, with pictures of the handwritten stories to compare (and send me any corrections!). You can choose to read through it here or, for more detail, you can click on one of the names above to see their story individually and any extra pictures that I have added to illustrate their story.
Book 3 The Golden Years Cherry Hinton 1930's-1960's.
Unknown: Cherry Hinton Memories
I was born in the middle of the night in February 1944, in a council house up Fulbourn Road beside the Spinney and at the other end was a big Dutch barn, both the Spinney and the Dutch barn were ideal for children to play in.
The council houses at Fulbourn Road were the latest in Cherry Hinton, completed in 1939. They had flushing toilets, a luxury that not everyone enjoyed in England during the 1940’s.
I recall in my pre-school days the High Street was not made up and not kerbed all the way from the Robin Hood corner to the school – which was opposite Ling’s sweet shop.
We could drink the water from the natural spring opposite the Robin Hood where wild Honeysuckle grew and Moorhens nested on the island. There was a green triangle that made the slip road from Queen Edith's way to Cherry Hinton Road and Mr Scott, who lived in the first house by the Spinney in Queen Ediths Way used to hold Sunday service for the young men of the parish.
There were two thatched cottages in the corner of the Spinney opposite the Robin Hood where the late Bricky Mason used to live in one.
Turkeys often wandered along the High Street from Stevens Builders Yard where they were being fattened up for Christmas (meat was on ration).
In the late 1940’s for pre-school children Cherry Hinton was idyllic with the war over. We had the Spinney, the Recreation Ground, Cherry Hinton Hall, the chalk pits and lime pits, with only the chalk pits still being worked of these – we could roam free all over the village.
Fulbourn Road in the late forties and early fifties was home to lots of children. The games we played too numerous to remember all. The council house side was on a sub-road with only one entrance for cars, you could draw anything on the road and play. There were several variations of hop-scotch and with the Spinney and chalk pits nearby there was no shortage of chalk. I recall the game with the most competitive edge, passion, and arguments, that lasted days or until the next time all the children were available for a re-match was rounders – “boys against girls a catch was the whole side out”.
On the Recreation Ground then half the size it is now, as Bullard’s Brewery owned the Chequers and allotments behind it, there was Sid Hancock’s bungalow – the village cobbler. The old British Legion “Hut” as the locals called it was a long, mainly wooden structure built on raised concrete stilts, therefore small children could easily move underneath it. The Rec in those days had lots of bushes around it and small copses of trees more natural and evolved than the well organised and designed as today – but much more fun for children.
On V.E. day in May 1945 Fulbourn Road children had a celebration party under the Dutch barn.
In the late 40’s and early 50’s on a Saturday morning and early arrival was Mr Hardwick who came down the Fulbourn Road with a horse and cart, it was a mobile shop.
A thatched cottage caught fire on Saturday morning in the High Street 1955 and the Esso Garage and Petrol Station were built there.
Christine Wright nee Ellison Cherry Hinton Memories 12 Nov 2012
Cherry Hinton in the 50’s & 60’s was very special. I know everyone will say that about their village but it is true. Bert Quinney’s shop – he could serve 10 people at once as he knew who came in for cigarettes & what brand, he knew who paid cash and who had “tick”. I am sure he was the shopkeeper who “Open All Hours” character “Arkwright” was based on. Pledges newsagent in Coldhams Lane used to sell comics which were out of date much cheaper. I used to love going there to get “Bunty”. Greenwoods sweet shop near the railway was so small. In the 70’s Mrs Greenwood used to do chiropody. Our Sunday “paper boy” was Jim Chapman – bringing us the News of the World.
We lived in the prefabs in Teversham Drift which were lovely & warm until 1964 when we had to move to Fulbourn Road as they were going to be demolished. The house in Fulbourn Road was a shock as there was an outside toilet & ice on the inside of the windows!
Cherry Hinton Infants School with Mrs Holman as Headmistress. She showed my mum (Tess) the drawing I had done titled ‘what I did on a Sunday morning’. It was a picture of my friend Valerie Betts and I playing in the garden of the Red Lion while my mum was inside having a drink. All the other pictures were of children going to Sunday School, going to nana’s, taking the dog for a walk etc. Well, she always told me to tell the truth!
Miss Rush riding her ‘sit up & beg’ bike across the playground & all the children jumping out of the way convinced she would run them over. Was there a child in Cherry Hinton who was not frightened of her???
Colville School with Mr Farmer as Headmaster. Being milk monitor & carrying the crates on a cold icy morning & the milk had frozen forcing the top of the bottle was a highlight. Playing tig off ground in the girls toilets & being sent to Mr Farmer for the steel ruler treatment. Daren’t tell my mum otherwise I would have got another clout when I got home.
Many, many memories.
Christine Wright nee Ellison
Maree Williams nee Stevens Cherry Hinton Memories Nov 2012
My sister and I were born in the front room of Fulbourn Road in 1944, and I lived there until I got married. Growing up in Cherry Hinton was childhood heaven, we spent most of our time playing outside in the road, the Spinney, down the Rec and in the big barn at the end of our road and round the back of the houses there were allotments, no buildings then. My father kept pigs and chickens and Roy Tabor had a shepherd’s hut on his. My father used to walk the sows all the way down the High Street to Mr Fabbs pigs opposite the church.
We knew mostly all the neighbours, Tabors, Grays, Chapman, Walders, Clarke, Pearson. We would start building a bonfire weeks before Nov all the road contributing and on Nov 5th used to go with our potatoes. No fancy fireworks then – bangers, rockets, Catherine wheels. We would try and keep embers going for days.
We used to be sent to shop in Smiths. – on the bk, and George Parish the butchers used to have a bike with a huge basket on the front, smoking and coughing his heart out, then there was Arkright himself – Bert Quinney with his brown coat on.
Love Lane was another haunt there was a scrummy pear tree in the middle of the field ideal for scrumping, messing about down the island and falling in trying to get to the middle, playing in the buttercup field opposite the Spinney, doing a paper round on the new estate after collecting the papers from Jim Chapman in Coldhams Lane
We used to walk round from school once a week for country dancing, a lady used to play the accordion, and many happy times spent in the Tin Hut, it looks a bit worse for wear now. We also had lots of dancing etc. in the British Legion Hall down Fishers Lane, mostly every week there were live groups, rock, roll and skittle, Mark Arnold and Jonny Collum absolutely packed, great, happy times.
Malcolm Jobson Cherry Hinton Memories – 20/12/2012 – 75 High Street (after Giffords)
My family, the Jobson’s, mum Mary, dad Tom, Michael, Margaret, Alan and Brian, arrived in Cherryhinton in the early 1950’s from Radwinter End near Saffron Walden. We lived at number 75 High Street in a tied semi-detached home which belonged to the farm owned by Mr Chalk, where my dad worked as a famer. Mr Chalk was also an auctioneer at the cattle market which is now the industrial site at the top of Cherry Hinton Road near the railway.
After Mr Chalk died, the farm and the field were sold and now is the Chelwood Road estate behind Rectory Terrace on the High Street.
We later moved onto the Colville Road estate to live at No. 10 Drayton Close, my dad still lives there today with my brother Alan.
Going back to the house on the High Street, behind there was a builders yard owned by Mr Stevens who had a son called David whom I played games with. He had a elder brother who played football for Cherryhinton F.C. I had another mate named Peter Anderson who lived in Fishers Lane near the little chapel, we all used to go on the bus with the football team to away matches on Saturday afternoons. Some player’s I remember in the team were, Brian Stevens, Peter Dean, Billy Chapman, Mick Colville, Sam Bartrum, Ron Hagerty, to name a few, and the manager was a Mr Denny who lived in Queen Edith’s Way.
Opposite our house, and still there today is a little thatched cottage where Mrs Jane Elwood lived, a lovely old lady who used to give us children sweets and drink (orangeade). Behind her house was a field which someone used to keep a little pony, and every weekend a male patient from Fulbourn Hospital used to bring a carrot to feed it. We named him Pony Man. The site now belongs to Tony Mason Plastic Engineers.
To the left side of our home was a big white cottage and when the wife died the gentleman had it burnt down, and he went to live in a caravan in in the orchard at the bottom of his garden.
My friend Peter’s mum used to work as a cleaner at the big house in the middle of Cherry Hinton Hall grounds. At that time it was used as a play group, and one day, when his mum was there working she let us go down into the cellars which are still there today. It now belongs to Cambridge City Council who hire it out. At the back is a large playing field. When myself and Peter came out of Netherhall School we used to kick a tennis ball to each other on our way home.
Later when we were in our teens we met up with a lot more youngsters and we formed a Sunday football team which was called Hinton Rangers F.C. and we became the first team to win the newly formed league by one of our lads named Bruce Badcock and someone from the Cambridge newspaper. I remember we all met round Mick Davey’s house near Queen Ediths School to pick the name of the club and the all-green kit we played in by a show of our hands.
At the top of Fishers Lane on the High Street now stands a Guest House, before it was a home to Mr West who owned the Renault Garage at the top of Coldhams Lane near the traffic lights. They also had a son called Martin who used to let me and Peter play snooker on his father’s table.
The little hut in the picture with the lamp post outside in Mrs William’s Story was a classroom for the infants school which I had when I went there. We all loved Cherryhinton village as it was then, we knew a lot of people, who looked after the little ones, watched it grow to what it is now, no longer a village, but a part of the City.
By: Malcolm Jobson.
Bett Dawson (nee Stevens) Cherry Hinton Memories
In February 1938 we moved from a farmhouse in Shelford Bottom to the new council house in Fulbourn Road Cherry Hinton. My mum and dad and two brothers Peter and John, and my sister Pam. I was 9 years old.
We thought we were in heaven, bathroom, hot and cold water, flush toilet (even though it was outside).
We all went to the school in the High Street, Mr Bray was the headmaster, the times I’ve stood on a chair and was hit on the back of my legs with a ruler.
We spent holiday playing marbles in the street and hopscotch. My father was in the T.A. and went straight in the army when war was declared. During the war there was dances every Saturday in the Legion hut on the Rec, you could hardly move let alone dance it was so crowded, especially when the pubs closed.
We used to sit on the bank and watch the army convoys going down Fulbourn Road, on one such convoy there was a fatal accident near Fulbourn Hospital, my father built an air raid shelter in the garden but we rarely used it, it was much better to get under the table when the sirens went. Then we had the evacuees form London, the brightened things up. One or two families stayed in the village after the war.
In 1947 the weather was very bad, we had lots of snow, my brother Pete and I had to get in the loft and shovel snow out, the inside of the windows were iced over and you can guess what it was like getting up in the morning and walking on cold lino.
Over the years, whenever I’ve been, I’ve always come back to Cherry Hinton it was a lovely place to live, and I’m still living in Fulbourn Road.
Bett Dawson (Nee Stevens)
Stuart Nunn Cherry Hinton Memories 04/02/14
I was born on 27th April 1951 to Jim and Joyce Nunn (nee Elliot) and we initially lived in a room on Fulbourn Road next door to the Plumbs. Mum was the daughter of Kathleen and Bill Elliot who lived in Fishers Lane. Bill worked at the cement works and spent a lot of time at the Five Bells in the High Street and I remember on one occasion he fell off his bicycle attempting to get home after a session in the pub. Her mother also lived in Fishers Lane and I believe the family history goes back many years before that. Around the age of about 3 mum and dad got themselves a council house in Drayton Road, dad spent most of his time on the allotment and playing football for Cherry Hinton who were a very successful team in those days. I can remember as a young lad going football training with dad at Stevens Farm in Teversham and I think we were one of the few teams that had floodlight facilities for training. We used to watch the Cherries on the Rec and in the mid 50’s they won the premier division of the Cambs league and I recall seeing such people as Brian Stevens, Peter Dean, Billy Chapman in the team. I remember Mr Rust the hairdresser as one of the driving forces.
I used to go to the 27th Cubs at the red hut on the railway line and always went to Auntie Nelly and Uncle Charlie Mason who lived in Railway Street for my tea on a Thursday. Their daughter Ann would always make sure that my ears were clean and that my hands were not dirty before attending Cubs. When I visited Aunty Nelly and Uncle Charlie I used to play with their son Tony who used to shoot birds in the garden with his air rifle and I had the most enjoyable times playing with him. Mum and dad were regulars at the Unicorn where they played both skittles and darts and I can remember as a young boy sitting in the garden eating my crisps and glass of lemonade, the landlord being Reg and Daisy Fuller who would be always bickering with each other but the pub was very much community orientated with lots of Cherry Hinton people enjoying themselves.
I used to go shopping with mum at the co-op and was fascinated to see the money shooting around the tubes when she paid for goods. Gran had her groceries delivered from Bowyers but unfortunately their demise came in the late 60’s.
In my early teens my friends and myself used to visit Bob Hirsts fish and chip shop in the High Street who used to sell marvellous pickled onions and would always give you a bag full of fritters when you bought your chips.
Mum and dad then bought their first house in Claygate Road, Cherry Hinton for I believe in the region of £3,000 and I was lucky to pass the 11 plus and caught the bus from the High Street to Soham Grammar School on a daily basis.
When I was 16 dad encouraged me to join Cherry Hinton Football Club and I can remember dear old Bunny Tabor finding it difficult to keep up to date with play acting as a linesman. I was lucky enough to achieve first team recognition and a small amount of success was forthcoming. Most of the players came from Cherry Hinton such as Trevor Chapman, Tony Tabor, Paul Ritson, Barry Witt, Mick Colville, and the rest I just cannot remember.
A lot of my early years was football orientated and I can remember in the school holidays spending virtually all my spare time playing football on the Rec.
The only other activity on the Rec or near the Rec scrumping in the apple trees in the orchard which backed onto the Rec and we were only caught on one occasion and my god whoever hit us, hit us hard with a very large stick.
I think that covers the 50’s and 60’s and my recognition of what was then a great village to live in and I have not lived in Cherry Hinton since my early 20’s and am now semi retired living near to the Suffolk coast.
Mum died some 12 years ago and dad recently passed away on 9th December 2013. We have now sold the family house and I must say Cherry Hinton has changed so much, not for the better but I still have very fond memories of my early years.
Stuart Nunn 04/02/14
Nev Cullup Cherry Hinton Memories
I was born on 1st October 1936 at 6 Railway Street, Cherry Hinton in the front bedroom that looked out onto the cement works. Next door but one to my friend Tony Mason and his sister Ann.
My father Bert Cullup and mother Daisy had moved with my sister June from Fishers Lane to look after my grandfather Jim Fisher who worked for Pamplins Agricultural Engineers as a foreman driving threshing and ploughing steam engines. He was well known as the Steam Engine Man.
During the war I remember my father was a nightwatchman for Thompson’s Yard in the High Street. He dug an enormous hole in the back garden, then bought a large car body from Richies in Coldhams Lane and put it in the hole with steps down to the door and covered over with railway sleepers and earth.
When the sirens sounded we all got into the home made shelter together with our neighbours from number 4 the Stevens. However my grandfather Fisher refused to leave his bed.
I can remember bombs dropping over the railway line in a field close to Orchard Estate. One dropped through the roof of the cement works but failed to explode. However the one that fell on Riches Yard killed his guard dog. I can distinctly remember, even now, the sound of the Doddlebugs as they went overhead.
I remember my grandfather James Fisher cycling to nearby villages as foreman to oversee the ploughing and threshing engines from Pamplins who lived in ‘The Battlements’ in Fernlea Close.
Nearer to home I can recall at least 4 stacks waiting to be threshed at the end of Fishers Lane which was then an unmade road. The smell and heat from these mighty steam engines that remains with me to this day.
Also in Fisher Lane on the right Ray Cawston’s father George kept pigs. He also operated a mobile greengrocery van with his wife Gladys.
I remember coal being delivered to the school in the High Street through a sort of trap door in the wall to fire the tortoiseshell stove in the Parish Room (Green Hut) and the open fires in the classrooms. These were tended by the school caretaker Harold Fabb. On cold days in the winter the third pints of milk would be stood around these fires to warm – no ‘health and safety’ then.
Regarding memories of the school, I remember a sliding partition between Miss Wilson’s and Miss Rush’s classes which was folded back nearing Christmas to facilitate the playing of numerous simple but enjoyable games. Hester Anderson from Fishers Lane was the school cleaner. A large bell hung in an archway on the roof over the top of the school office with a rope hanging down into the hall. Perhaps somebody will recall it ringing?
Owen Fabb was a friend and his father Harold kept pigs and one cow in a field beside Fulbourn Old Drift. During the summer holidays when I was 9, Owen and I hoed almost a whole field of sugar beet. Harold gave me a suckling pig which I took home in a home-made wheelbarrow, to a sty in the garden. I called the pig Marco Polo as we were studying the adventures of Marco Polo in Miss Lilley’s class. One Saturday morning I remember Harold wanted to get the cow out from its stall. He tied a rope to her halter and round his waist. After some considerable pulling and swearing the cow bolted pulling Harold halfway across the field with both ending up in a ditch much to my and Owen’s amusement.
When I was 10 years old I developed a TB hip and was sent to a hospital in Shropshire. The school P.T.A. sent me 2 books and Sylvia Horner sent me comics. My own mother wrote to me every day, including Sundays for 5 years, she also sent food parcels twice a week because the hospital food, before the NHS, was quite awful. Five years later, after an operation, when I returned home, most of my contemporaries had finished secondary school.
I learned to walk again, then Mick Bentley and I made a table tennis table in a large shed in Steven’s Builders Yard in the High Street. We hired the Parish Room (Green Hut) and started a table tennis club. Among the members I remember were Ken Harrison, Fred Rentcomb, Peter Tyrrell, Peter Dean, Peter and Michael Boland and some local girls. We met most Friday nights and entered a good team in the Cambridge League for several years.
Opposite the Parish Room (Green Hut) in 1956 Lings shop was bought by Ted and Audrey Cunningham with their young daughter Sally. They introduced me to their niece Janet then 16 who I married in 1959. That same year I bought the bungalow and show repair business from Sid Hancock after working for him for 7 years. I continued the business until April 2013.
These are just a few of my memories of a Cherry Hinton childhood – perhaps I should write a book!
Basil Simpkins Cherry Hinton Memories Nov 2014
I was born 31st Jan 1941 at 36 Mill End Road, the youngest child of Ralph & Irene. I had two older sisters Daphne & Beryl, who have both sadly passed away. I remember the blacksmith at the top of the road and Chalks Farm at the bottom.
One incident I have always remembered was when my mum cycled by the brook through to Mill Road with me on the front I pointed to a Barrage Balloon in the sky & we both ended up in the water! I remember seeing the ration books hanging on the line to dry out.
Before I started school I played with Susan Thompson, who lived next door. I learnt that it’s not a good idea to chase women after chasing her round her rockery and cracking my head on a rock!
When I started school in the village I was in Miss Wilson’s class and we drew on little chalk boards. At the end of the day the children who had been good had a turn on the rocking boat. I then went to Miss Rush where I peaked and was top of the class (the only time!). I remember the start chart with the times tables on it and instruments mentioned by Chris Gifford.
In Miss Dunnett’s class I think we made made models with Homerton students. I enjoyed playing football and cricket in Mr Read’s class. I passed the 11 plus and went to the Central School with Chris Gifford, Dicky Pilsworth and ? Stevens. Tony Mason went to the “County”. I had happy years there, especially enjoying chess, football & cricket and maths.
At Cherry Hinton School I also remember country dancing with Mr North. We did a display on Sports Day and I danced with Doreen Fabb.
Around the village I remember playing on the Rec. with Tony & Brian Tabor, Peter & Michael Boland, John & Peter Hedge, John Cornell, Chris Gifford, Brian Grey, Billy Taylor & others. There was a track at the top of the Rec. for riding bikes between the trees. Ray Causton had the best bike. Billy Taylor would take his air pistol & rifle up there and if we were lucky he let us have a go.
We played in the brook – building dams and fishing for sticklebacks. My sister and I would go through Cherry Hinton Hall grounds across the wall at the lake, around the springs and into the High Street.
I was not allowed to go in the Spinney but of course I did! We loved building dens, making fires and playing “offs”. I remember bikes being ridden up and down the hills. I once borrowed Chris Gifford’s bike (I didn’t have one), came off halfway down, Brian Tabor came behind and his pedal hit my eye. I told my parents I had fallen over on the Rec & hit my eye on a brick! I had a black eye for ages.
In the hard winter of 1947 I remember we went into the field at Fishers Lane where there were icy pools. Margaret Boland was the first to run across the ice, making it crack!
I joined the Cubs in 1949 and loved the Cubs and Scouts, with Mr Ward the Scout Master. We had summer camps at Pakefield and Cromer and weekends at Pampisford Hall. We went in the back of Steven’s lorry. One Bob-a-Job I remember making sausages for George Parish the butcher with Michael Boland – very unhygienic!
During the holidays we would go out on all-day cycle rides, sometimes Newmarket or Royston. I must have been impressed with Royston because when I married in 1966 I moved there and have lived there ever since! Tony Tabor also married that year. We have remained good friends and meet up regularly – often reliving happy childhood memories of Cherry Hinton.
Tony Tabor Cherry Hinton Memories Jan 2015
Sorry, my memory is not good!!
I lived in the Chequers Public House on the High Street, Cherry Hinton with my mum Nellie, dad Jesse and brother Brian.
I remember going to school with Basil Simpkins, Chris Gifford, Bill Taylor, Brain Gray, also Peter and Mick Boland.
I also remember the butcher George Parish and also the shoe mender Sid Hancock (that was before Nev Cullup took over the business).
We had an Anderson bomb shelter in the back garden of the Chequers and Brian and I would play in and around it, I remember one of us fell down the shaft and hurt ourselves badly, but I can’t remember which one of us it was!!
Our father had a newspaper business and we would go with him very early in the morning to collect the papers from the train station, then we would help to deliver them around Cherry Hinton houses.
When we were old enough we both helped mum and dad by serving in the Pub behind the bar, there were lots of great characters – Bags Chapman, Cyril Murrell.
David Gifford Cherry Hinton Memories – Ex – 75 High Street. Opposite to the Thatched Cottage. June 2018.
We went to school one day, and found some tyres in the playground. They were for a race on Sports Day. A boy was to sit inside the tyre, and another boy to push it along. Billy Taylor asked me to sit inside a tyre. When the race started, Billy gave a really big push, and away went the tyre over the finishing line, and continued until I think somebody stopped the tyre. When I looked back, I was the only one over the finishing line, thanks to Billy.
When I first went to school, I played with the bigger boys. One day a boy called me toddler, so I ran after him to hit him. All of the boys began to call me toddler, which after a time shortened to Todd. So Todd I was throughout my life.
When I was about seven years old, we were told about Cave Men at school, and I thought that I would like a Cave. So I took a spade and fork down to the bottom of our garden, next to Mill End Close. I began to dig a hole. Soon, some boys came by, and asked me what I was doing. When I told them, they came into my garden to help. More boys came by, and they helped too. But then I put the fork into my foot. It hurt, so I got out of the hole. By this time there were too many boys to dig. So some of them went onto the Playing Field (Rec). They returned with sticks and green plants to put over the deep hole. They had just finished, when my mother came to see what we were doing. She was not happy at all. Some of the gang had gone into Mill End Close. My mother was telling them off; when she stepped back onto the roof of our hole, which gave way, and she fell in. The gang ran off to the Playing Field, but I couldn’t run as my foot hurt so much. I didn’t know that my mother could speak a foreign language. I didn’t understand one word, but I knew that I was in for it when she got out of our hole.
Yes we had a great childhood.
They were happy days, but sadness too. After some years, I went to C.H. High Street. I knew that it was just before John Cornell’s 50th birthday. So I bought a card, and gave it to his mother to post. Some weeks later, he phoned me, and that was great. He said that he would look me up, but it didn’t happen. That year I was told that he had died on the way home from work. Only 50 years old.
I have had a good life. I became a Christian in my teens. I live near St. David’s in Wales, which is not much bigger than Cherry Hinton in the 1940’s.
I can look out of a window and see a line of hills two miles away, and the sea in another direction. It is great!
Kenneth Gifford (Kenny) Cherry Hinton Memories 2/04/2020
My name is Kenneth Gifford (Kenny). I’m the youngest brother of three, Chris and David (Todd). Mother “Dot” and dad “Sid”.
We have lived in the forties and fifties in the oldest house in Cherry Hinton High Street opposite the old Chequers Pub run by the Tabors. A big Tudor house with a large garden which went right down to Mill End Close where a lot of our friends lived.
My first recollection of growing up in Cherry Hinton was sitting on a little seat on my mother’s bicycle at the age of three and half going to pick potatoes in the large field running down the side of Fulbourn Old Drift opposite the parish church. The church where I was nearly stopped for going because I would not sit quietly. Like others, we also all went to the Baptist Church where I remember the Smith sisters would be teaching in Sunday School. Owners of the lovely little grocery shop near Roots Bakery.
The school has already been mentioned by others, I can only add that it holds some of my happiest memories. Mr Farmer and my form teacher Mrs Rush, I can still remember running home to tell mum and dad that Mrs Rush had given me the “ruler” across both calves for being cheeky. Me!! I remember one school Nativity play, the school hall was packed, people standing at the back and sides and four young boys were shepherds in the field looking after their sheep. Itchy blankets, tea towel on the head, sitting around a pretend fire. I only had one line “The star is very bright”. This unfortunately came out as “Cor Blimey me, it ain’t half bright in’t!!” My mother took days before she would leave the house. Someone said “A star was born”.
The games of conkers and marbles played in the playground were legendary. We always collected an abundance of conkers from the conker trees on our way to school. During September, just past Lover’s Lane was the farmers field which had a very large walnut tree. Iron Railings right along the path with just one bent railing just enough to squeeze through!! But there was always a very large unfriendly white horse just waiting for us. So with carrots in one hand one of the boys would try to lure the beast to the other end of the field, many a times I would just make it back through the railing!!
The Rec was another source of fun. Crawling under the British Legion Hut just behind the cobblers bungalow, especially when the dances were being held. We would watch our hero’s playing football during the winter and cricket during the summer. I never thought that I would receive a telephone call in 1962 from Joe Denny asking me to cycle to the Abbey Stadium as three of the first team forwards were either injured or unavailable to play against Girton in the Creake Shield Final. A dream first half saw me scoring the first and third goal in a 6-2 win, followed by my first beer back at the Chequers Pub with the men. My dad was so proud but it put me off beer for life!!
Behind the trees at the far end of the rec was a very large corn field where we would run through trying to find the skylarks nests, to no avail.
Who can remember the time during the forties when the army put on a show on the rec with all their equipment/guns etc and letting off canisters of “smoke screen” for us youngest to get lost in.
As somebody has already mentioned the freedom which we enjoyed during this time. Half penny bread rolls hot from the baker before spending most of the days in the “Spinney” playing “offs” and later riding our bikes up and down the big hills. I also remember always going to the Spinney to pick wild violets and primroses on Mothering Sunday for our dear mothers.
We built our own trollys and sledges for the mad rides down Lime Kiln Hill during the winter and summer. How we all reached adulthood I never know.
I nearly forgot about the snail races on the front path outside our house and the time in our back garden when about six/eight of us dug a large and deep hole to reach Australia. One evening my mother returning from the Chequers after playing in the ladies Darts team managed to fall right down in the hole. I learnt some of my first swear words that evening. Dear dad had to climb down to recue her. Needless to say the hole was gone the following day.
Like others I’m now in my seventies but I can still look back and say “What a great time to be born and spend my early childhood in such a wonder village as Cherry Hinton”
I now live in Comberton. Kenny Gifford.
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Cherry Hinton Memories - Book Two
Here you will find the complete contents of Cherry Hinton Memories Book Two - if you haven't done so already, I would encourage you to take a brief look at the introduction page about these books first - which you can do by clicking the link here: Cherry Hinton Memory Books - Introduction
There are three books altogether and one separately written story - you can find the links to the other books and story by visiting the Cherry Hinton Memory Books Introduction page, mentioned above, or by searching the index (Categories) on the righthand side of this page or by using the search box on the right.
Book Two “The Cherry Hinton Gang” Those Golden Years
Contains memories from:
Below you will find the full transcription of book two, copied as it is, with pictures of the handwritten stories to compare (and send me any corrections!). You can choose to read through it here or, for more detail, you can click on one of the names above to see their story individually and any extra pictures that I have added to illustrate their story.
Book 2 “The Cherry Hinton Gangs” Those Golden Years.
Memories of Cherry Hinton by Bryan Stevens
Vic Phillips often mentions me by my nickname “Ziggy”. Ziggy was the owner of the clothes shop in Newmarket Road before he moved into Regent Street “Stylebest”. This shop sold the most modern clothing during the fifties and sixties and it was where I bought most of my clothing, hence the name “Ziggy”. Ziggy gave me a gold tie pin for my wedding in 1959 which I still have. I am now happily married for the second time.
Bonfire nights in the High Street were something special. There was an air raid shelter opposite 197 High Street, where I used to live, and we would fill it up with logs collected from the Spinney. One Bonfire night the fire was so large that it nearly burnt down the telephone wires.
There was a rubbish dump down Fulbourn Old Drift over the railway line and we would go up there with our air rifles to shoot the rats. One day we were up there shooting the rats when the siren sounded from Fulbourn Hospital and thinking someone had escaped we all ran home as fast as we could.
We all talk about the Spinney with fond memories. During the school summer holidays we more or less lived up there, making dens, laying turf for the floor of the den, and cooking on open fires. One day when we were there my dog Gyp caught two rabbits from out of the chalk pits which I took home.
Opposite the Robin Hood pub are the springs where the water for the brook starts. There used to be railings round the springs to try and keep us out but we would get in and try to catch the pike which would be by the island. We would stand on the now stepping stones and try to catch them before they went back to the lake in Cherry Hinton Hall.
In the brook round by the Black Land allotments we would block up the tunnel underneath the bridge with a sheet of corrugated iron so that the water could not escape and we could get it deep enough to swim.
Grandma Coe who used to live at the then 203 High Street was still riding her “sit up and beg” bike when she was 90 years old. I still remember when a horse and cart passed by her house and left “deposits”, she would rush out with a bucket and collect them. She always had the best roses in the High Street.
As you old Hintonians know, my grandfather started the Stevens Brothers Building Company. He built some of the first houses for the Housing Association in Cambridge. One of the last houses they built was the bungalow in the High Street for the Bartram family (the level crossing keepers). They also built the shoe repairers bungalow next to the recreation ground. The Cherry Hinton History Society have no record of the building company. My only record is a photograph of a cast iron sewage drain cover in the front garden of the house in the High Street which used to be 201 High Street. It reads “Stevens Bros, Builders, Cherry Hinton”. If anyone could help me find out any other information I would be grateful.
For the version of this story with pictures and added notes, please click HERE
June Kathleen Stevens (nee Buffett) Cherry Hinton Memories
I was born on Friday 13th June 1930 at 39, High Street, Cherry Hinton in my grandmothers little thatched cottage which sadly no longer exists as all three were demolished to make way for shops. We were fortunate to have a general store and post office next door – Mansfield’s. Mr Mansfield was also our landlord. We had no gas, electricity or water in the cottage; cooking was done in the oven heated by the fire (which was never allowed to go out) or on a small paraffin stove. Water was collected in pails from the pump in the road outside Mansfield’s, in later days a tap was installed in the next door cottage garden. I don’t remember the name of the lady who lived there but the Fuller family lived in the one adjacent to grans. Fred Fuller spent many years driving what was called ‘the clunch waggon’ from the chalk pits up to the cement works, back and forth many times a day. The water carrying was a chore mostly carried out by the man of the house – in later years my boyfriend came in handy for the job!
Grandad (Albert Buffett) was a road worker in his prime but after retirement I can remember him smoking his pipe, leaning on the gate at the top of the path and watching the world go by. The gate and railings were taken for the war effort but Grandad died in 1938 so didn’t miss them. At one time, he had an allotment round on ‘the black land’ and very productive it was. As a special treat, I was ferried there on the crossbar of his bike.
Gran (Elizabeth Buffett, nee Clarke, whose father owned the bakery and store in Weston Colville) remained in the cottage for many years and I lived with her after we had relocated back to Cambridge from Norwich in 1946.
My dad, Noel Eric Buffett, moved back to take over running the Self Motoring Garage on Hills Road. In his youth he was a milkman delivering by horse and dairy float in the village. This mode of transport soon became too slow, so he decided to be adventurous and started up a taxi service. I still have his first driving licence dated August 1922, he was 19! The service became quite popular, the local builders, Stevens Bros hired him every year to take them to Yarmouth for their day out at the races, I particularly know of this event as I am married to Bert Stevens’ second son Roger and the tales were told many times by Roger’s grandad.
As teenagers we had a great time in dear old Cherry Hinton, the Rec being a favourite meeting place. The village had the usual celebrations at the Queen’s coronation, I Particularly remember the football match on the Rec – girls versus boys. I believe the girls won although we had a distinct advantage – the boys had their hands tied behind their backs! My good friend Joyce Elliot was a major player in our team and gave no quarter!!
We also had the run of the Spinney, fishing for tiddlers down the ‘island’ opposite the Robin Hood and bike races down Lime Kiln Hill which would be very much frowned on by health and safety these days. How surprising that we al survived (Joey Ling did break his arm once!)
Roger has just reminded me of when he played football in the field at the top of Fishers Lane – before the game, everyone was required to remove the cow pats! A wonderful ‘growing up’ time in Cherry Hinton, writing this has made me recall so many things, the book is a great idea, long may it continue. Regards to all who may remember me – June Kathleen Stevens (nee Buffett).
Pat Clarke Cherry Hinton Memories 3-9-12
My memories as a kid in the 50’s & 60’s in Cherry Hinton, from Pat Clarke, nicknamed ‘Pixie’, from birth by: Ted Chapman, Dick Tabor & Bunny, when they first looked in my pram and saw my ears.
I remember looking from my bedroom window, out over the hill at the fields to the Beech Woods from 62, Fulbourn Road which is not there now because they pulled it down to make way for the new houses, most families used to go to the Beech Woods in the summer for picnics and spend all day there. I also remember at Fulbourn Road, families having chickens and hens in their back gardens, also homing pigeons which Bill Chapman from 56 and my brother Ron had who was born at my nana’s house, 34 Fulbourn Road, my nan also took in Doug Kitson from a baby such a good women. Ron used to bring pigeons home on the 131 bus down his shirt from the Catholic Church when he got home he used to be covered in pigeon shit!!
I remember playing in the Spinney and chalk pits in the summer holidays all day long, helping with the harvest in the summer, going down the High Street on the tractor to Chalk’s Farm, also cutting down branches in the spring for Bonfire Night. Everybody from Fulbourn Road was there, such fun and such good memories.
I remember going down the High Street nicking the empty beer bottles from the crates at the back of the Unicorn then going into the Off Licence and getting the money back on them from Reg & Daisy for a pence for sweets or crisps.
I also remember going on the coach on a Saturday to see the best village football team at that time. The coach used to take us to the away game. In the 50’s, they had the best team in the Cambs league at that time, with such good players like Big Stevo “Ziggy”, Bill Chapman, Peter Dean and don’t forget Ollie Chapman who helped with Cherry Hinton football club for many a year. What a great man he was.
On a Sunday you would see on the washing line all the football shirts hanging out to dry at 56 Fulbourn Road which Queenie, Bill’s mum, had washed, where on a Saturday night, Ron my brother & myself would go and watch TV, there would be Well Fargo, Dixon of Dock Green and not to forget the 65 Special etc! You would see Peter Dean who was dating Bill’s sister Shirley at the time who later married.
Christmas time at the Robin Hood Bill’s dad, Ollie my own father, “Nobby” Phil Clarke, Luffy, Rocky Root & Tubby Tabor all singing their heads off, also most Saturday nights, in the High Street, there was Smith’s where we used to get sweets. Next door was Parish Butchers on the corner of Mill End was Co-op where my mum used to send me for some groceries. Sometimes the ladies who worked there would get me to sing Elvis? With a broom as a guitar then give me some sweets. I also remember my mum going to the butchers which is now the Building Society and our dog followed her in and pinched a lump of meat and over to the Rec to eat the lot. We had to have him put down as the butcher wouldn’t accept payment for the meat and reported it.
I remember coming home from school straight round my nan, where she would have the tea-pot out or on the table and loads of home-made goodies ready, like Jam Roly Poly and Spotted Dick and also Suet Pudding. 9 times out of 10, Eddie Long would be sitting at the table with my nan, they were great friends at the time.
I played football from the age of 14 for the village football team (The Cherries) from the 60’s right through to the late 70’s till I was in my 30’s. We had 4 teams at the time I started in the youth team. I remember playing Cambridge City Youth in the Cup on the Rec on the first pitch they roped it off, there was about 600 there and we won 3. 0. I did finished in the First Team, when I first started playing we got changed in the Unicorn. What days there were, I loved it and would do it all over again if I could. I could go on and on. Anyway I will never forget great peachy life.
Bunny Tabor, Bill Chapman, Trev Clapman, Dick Tabor, The Roots, Gentles, Pearsons, Bakers, Vic Phillips and one old mate, Barry Hawtins,
Such good times, NEVER FORGET
“Pixie” – Pat Clarke
Sorry Pixie again, I forgot Meadly Gray and his sister Evelyn & Grayson Tabor and his blind brother Russ playing football in the road and laughing his head off, all good fun as kids.
Thanks for all your memories, “Pixie”
Julie L Smith (nee Plumb) Cherry Hinton Memories
Formally Fulbourn Road (4 doors up from the Robin Hood and Little John)
The stories so far have triggered a lot of my memories and stories from my dad about Cherry Hinton who all of his family were CH people. Dad, Len Plumb or as everyone knew him ‘Doggy’, as he always had a dog, somebody in one of the previous stories mentioned horses in the High Street, well dad used to bring the working horses down to wash them down in the spring near the Robin Hood and Little John the would mount one and gallop at speed with 6 more tied up behind the High Street, he often got told off for this, he then lived in one of the houses next to the level crossing with 2 brothers and 4 sisters, so there will be a lot of stories lost.
Dads regiment was billeted back to Scotland were I was born and then we moved back to CH just after the war at the end of 1945, so my own memories start from here, my thoughts are triggered by many of the names of previous writers.
We lived in Fulbourn Road before it was straightened, our front garden went up to where the car park on the other side of the road is now, and before traffic lights were positioned. I with Richard Tabor and Trevor Chapman and others “whose names are often mentioned in previous notes” would be always in the Spinney and chalk pits looking for meteorites, then we’d speed down the road on carts made up from old prams and end up in the Robin Hood next to the big stone that according to us had Little Johns footprint on it “traffic what traffic”. School like many others was in the Green Hut with teacher Miss Rush and Mr Reed who gave me the slipper, many years later he came into the hairdressers that I had just started work and said to everybody “I gave Julie here the slipper”.
I digress. Back to better memories, can anybody else remember the day cattle got out of the train that had stopped at the crossing, they came charging down the road, can’t remember the date but we were in school.
My family now cannot understand how we would sit on the church wall collecting car numbers and collecting the confetti. One of my walks from home in Fulbourn Road, to my aunts (married Gordon Plumb) in March Lane, was as you walked up the High Street you had to pass field with bull’s in, I used to bribe a school friend who used to live near the scrap yard (Richies) in Coldhams Lane, to come with me pass the field near where the bookie’s shop is now, to see my aunt who had been evacuated here in 1940 from London. She lived next to Mrs Daniels who kept pigs. One of the places where they did washing and ironing for the University is a shed opposite the Unicorn pub, dad’s step mother was one of them, and aunt Eileen did the ironing, later married Noel Buffett. Also, opposite the Unicorn was our and Mr Birds back drive to the Gardens, as many people will remember collecting flowers and vegetables from Birdies garden next to dads, you would have to go past Don Smith’s bakery ovens.
Up to and possibly the early 70’s the patients from Fulbourn Hospital used to come down the High Street, accompanied by nurses to spend their pocket money. Fulbourn Hospital and Colville School used to run the local St John’s Ambulance Brigade where I attended, I only joined for the uniform.
In Fulbourn Old Drift was the coal merchant, Mrs Potter, I had to stand and count the sacks that we had delivered. Another memory is of all the turkeys near the brook by the bridge, they disappeared to be replaced with static caravans for a time, now all houses.
Cherry Hinton Hall was the nursery school and baby clinic. My aunt told me the extra land in the Recreation Ground was part paid for by the village people! Is this right? I didn’t realise how much freedom we had until you look back on it. Cherry Hinton was a village, even the local policemen knew everybody.
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This is an ongoing project to add the information, data and history of the pubs (Public Houses) that are in Cherry Hinton, both past and present. It is a fluid post with things being added to as I found out more along the way. Please do feel free to add your comments, which I can then approve to be added to the blog, if you so wish.
The Russian Arms Public House
The Russian Arms was a public house in Cherry Hinton, Cambridge, that was positioned on the east side of Cherry Hinton High Street, one house north from the Baptist Chapel, on the junction of Cherry Hinton High Street and Fisher's Lane. The records that I have found, so far, for this pub cover dates from 1867 to 1912. So, we know that it was in existence for at least 40 years as the ‘Russian Arms’.
The present-day map below shows the approximate position of the, now private, house which used to be known as the Russian Arms – marked with the red dot.
Here is a picture, below, of the building as it stands today. It is the building on the left, with the burgundy front door in the center. The top three windows from the left belong to this building, along with the 2 bay windows either side of the front door.
The only physical clue that we have to show us that there was once a pub on this site is the name above the front door, shown below, which states “Russian House 1867”
This clue gives us a solid date for this building and for, perhaps, its deliberate construction for use as a public house in 1867. There are no records of a public house upon this site, named the Russian Arms or otherwise before this date. Although, as we can see from this portion of the Cherry Hinton Enclosure Map of 1806, there were certainly buildings of some kind on this plot.
Here is the same map roughly overlaid onto a modern map - see if you can make out where the roads and buildings relate.
It is very likely, due to the angles at which both the older buildings depicted on the 1806 map and the later Russian House building stands, that they were positioned to face what was once one of the village greens in Cherry Hinton. Traditionally, the often thatched, cottages would line the edges of a village green to face inwards in order to be able to keep an eye of the cattle and livestock overnight when they were brought back in from the common land - just a little further down Fisher's Lane was a small common called Drayton Common (now built upon) which was in use throughout the medieval period. There is still some evidence today of the green at the corner of Fisher's Lane where it joins with the High Street. There was also a large pond (now filled in and built upon) on the other side of the road, on the High Street directly opposite the Baptist Chapel - giving clues to one of the features often associated with a village and it's green - a village pond. Perfect for keeping the livestock watered. It was very common to find a pub within this scene but as I have mentioned we have no records suggesting a pub on this site any earlier that our 1867 Russian House/Arms.
The records that I have found, that mention or relate to the Russian Arms, are as follows (in chronological order):
OCTOBER 29th 1881 – Cambridge Chronicle
“ “Russian Arms” Public House, and 18 tenements mostly brick and slate, ANNUAL RENTAL £133 14s. TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION BY WM. WALLIS, ON TUESDAY, November the 8th 1881, at the “Russian Arms”, Cherry Hinton, Cambs, at six for seven o’clock in the evening, by order of the Mortgagee with the power of sale in the following or other such lots as may be determined upon at the time of sale…….
LOT 4. All that New-built Brick and Slate PUBLIC-HOUSE, DOUBLE FRONTAGE, known by the sign of “The Russian Arms”, with a frontage of 66ft. 6in. The house is admirably adapted for business, having the above frontage with large Bay Windows and containing 8 Rooms with Club Room, good Cellar, Range and Copper, also a side gate Entrance to stable, Cart Shed, with lost over, Brick and Pantile outbuilding, etc. There is a Drying Ground to the back of this property with a width of 8ft. and a depth of 50ft. The above is let to Mr. W. H. Apthorpe on a lease expiring the 25th. March 1883 at a yearly rental of £35. Copyhold of the Manor of Hinton Netherhall.”
This is the first documentary evidence that I have found that discusses our pub. You can see from the record that it is regarding the sale of the property. We know from that date of the building, that it appears to have been constructed in 1867. 14 years later in 1881 it is being sold along with some other properties and the auction of all of these properties, along with the pub, is taking place at the Russian Arms itself. Auctions of property often took place in public houses in those days. What we can see from the description of the Russian Arms, is what it would have looked like and how that correlates to what remains today. The description lists the Russian Arms as 'new built', which in essence it was, being about only 14 years old. The large bay windows mentioned are still there today and we get a good description of what the building and pub itself would have been like, inside and out.
The seller of the property is William Wallis, an agent for the Netherhall Manor estate, and the property is copyhold of the Manor of Hinton Netherhall. There were once four manors in Cherry Hinton, two situated in Church End (the north part of Cherry Hinton) - Uphall Manor and Mallets Manor and two more situated in Mill End (the southern part of Cherry Hinton) - Rectory Manor and Netherhall Manor. Netherhall Manor was one of the largest Manors and would have been a physical manor house with a large administrative role in the village. Today there are no manor houses in physical form left -each one having fallen in to disrepair, gone out of use or pulled down. The only one that we do have some evidence of still standing, is that of Uphall Manor, which stands in Church End as a private house now. It was extensively remodelled and changed, the only clues to its original purpose hidden behind later brick encasement. (A separate blog is being done for the manors of Cherry Hinton, where you'll be able to read more there). At the time of this sale of the Russian Arms in 1881, Netherhall Manor was no longer a 'manor house' but was an administrative body which ran the estate and lands still belonging to what was Netherhall Manor.
The other key piece of information within the sale details is that the Russian Arms was being let to Mr W. H. Apthorpe, his lease was due to expire in another two years.
Both William Henry Apthorpe junior and his father W H Apthorpe were both well known brewers and public house owners in Cambridge during the mid-late 1800's. In 1868 William Henry Apthorpe junior had acquired the Albion Brewery in Coronation Street in Cambridge. His father owned the Victoria Brewery in Napier Street. W H Apthorpe senior retired from brewing by 1875 and the pubs that his brewery controlled were passed on to his son. By 1895 the Albion Brewery had at least 50 tied pubs in Cambridge - presumably including our own Russian Arms.
It is wholly likely then, that beer brewed at Apthorpe's Albion Brewery, shown in the picture above, was sold and served in the Russian Arms, here in Cherry Hinton.
An article on Albion Brewery on capturingcambridge.org shows what happened to the brewery after this date:
1896: acquired hy Lacon
E Lacon & Co, brewers, wine and spirit merchants
H W Badcock, Granta View, Stapleford, manager
E Lacon Ltd, brewers wine and spirit merchants
Lacon taken over by Whitbreads. Site demolished soon after.
The last date of use of our Russian Arms, being a working pub in the village, is 1912. So from the information given above it would have seen at least one change of ownership and probably brewery - that of the change in 1896 to Lacon.
In the London Gazette 1862 we find further evidence as to which Apthrope - father or son - would have been involved with our Russian Arms:
"NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership sub- sisting between us the undersigned, William Henry Apthorpe and William Henry Apthorpe the younger, in the business of Maltsters and Brewers, carried on by us at the borough of Cambridge, under the firm of Apthorpe and Son, was this day dissolved by mutual consent. All debts due to and from the partnership will be received and paid by the said William Henry Aptborpe, by whom the busi- ness will in future solely be carried on.—Dated this 12th day of May, 1862.
W. H. Apthorpe.'
With our building being constructed in 1867, it would mean that the Russian Arms would be in the management of William Henry Apthorpe junior.
Shortly after the notice of sale, in November 1881 we find the following announcement:
NOVEMBER 12th 1881 – Cambridge Chronicle
“On Tuesday last, the following property, situate at Cherry Hinton, was sold at the “Russian Arms”, by Mr. Wm. Wallis:-………………
LOT 4. The “Russian Arms” public-house, with cart-shed, loft and brick and pantile outbuilding, copyhold of the Manor of Hinton Netherhall, fine certain, sold to Mr. W. H. Apthorpe for £480.”
This shows that Apthorpe junior goes ahead and buys the Russian Arms and becomes owner rather than the tenant of the property. It does make me wonder though...If the Apthorpe's were the first to run a pub there and if they didn't actually build the building itself (as tenants only, why would they have?) then perhaps the naming of the pub "The Russian Arms" was simply due to the house being called "Russian House" as we can see remains the name above the door today. This means rather than searching for reasons for naming a pub the Russian Arms, the line of enquiry falls to why the original building was named Russian House. I would, at this point, be inclined to think that the Russian Arms was so named after the house itself....although....having said that...surely it was built for use as a pub rather than converted - if we go by the sale description of the building? this is a little mystery to solve!
We can see that the pub was still in business in 1887 as it is mentioned indirectly when an announcement is made in the Cambridge Newspaper regarding two cottages that were being sold next door - notice that Fisher's Lane is referred to as "Chapel Lane" due to the Baptist Chapel which was built in 1870. This name doesn't seem to be used very often in the records and today retains the preferred "Fisher's Lane". There wasn't another small lane next to the Chapel which could have had this name that can be discovered as of yet.
March 4th 1887 – Cambridge Chronicle
“CHERRY HINTON, CAMBS
Two Freehold Cottages in Chapel Lane…..and Two Brick, Stud and Tiled Cottages, situate next “The Russian Arms” Public House, …..”
In 1888 we find an entry that shows the Russian Arms still going strong and playing its role as an integral part of the community, when an inquest is held at the pub - again, along with auctions, sales and various club meetings, village pubs were often used to hold inquests and court session.
JANUARY 20th 1888 – Cambridge Chronicle
“INQUEST – Mr. C. W. Palmer, the county coroner, on Wednesday, held an inquiry at the “Russian Arms”, Cherry Hinton, into the circumstances attending the death of Blackman Flack, aged 57. The deceased had been an outpatient at the Hospital, and died rather suddenly on the 11th inst. A post-mortem examination, made by Dr. Perkins, showed that death was occasioned by consumption, and a verdict to that effect was returned.”
In 1893 we again find reference to the Russian Arms through an announcement regarding the sale of some cottages next door.
MAY 26th 1893 – Cambridge Chronicle
“Two Cottages, Brick, Stud and Tile built. Situate next the Russian Arms Public House….To be sold.”
Then the final newspaper entry that I can find for our pub, dated 1894, is in regard to another inquest held at the premises:
SEPTEMBER 7th 1894 – Cambridge Chronicle
“A FATAL FIT
An inquest was held at the “Russian Arms”, Cherry Hinton, on Wednesday evening, by Mr. A.J. Lyon, County Coroner, on the body of Susan Merry aged 49, who died somewhat suddenly on the previous Tuesday morning. David Merry, a labourer, the husband of the deceased, said on Monday afternoon, while his wife was washing, she fell down in a fit. She was subject to fainting fits, but on this occasion she did not rally as usual, and she never spoke again. He did not send for a doctor, as he thought she would come round; he had known her to be in a fit for six hours. There was no change in her condition from the time when she was seized until just before she died.-
Mrs Sarah Watts said when she was called to the deceased she was lying insensible on the floor of the kitchen. She remained in that condition for two or three hours. The doctor was sent for when witness though the deceased was dying.-
Dr. Nicholls, of Fulbourn, said he had made a post mortem examination of the body, and was of the opinion that death was due to heart disease. It was doubtful if a doctor could have done any good had he been sent for at the time of the seizure. The jury returned a verdict of “Death from natural causes.”
It is worth now checking the census returns to see who was actually living in the building over the years and to see if we can find a solid date when the building stopped being a public house.
The first entry that we have for the Russian Arms is in the 1871 Census - about 4 years after being built. Census returns were done every 10 years, the previous return was for 1861 - before our building was erected. I did however search the entire Census entries from 1841 - when they started - through to 1861 just in case there was any evidence of a pub previously on the same site but there was none.
The following details are given in 1871 Census:
Russian Arms, High Street, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge
Thomas Merry, born in Cherry Hinton, aged 33, Head, Beer House Keeper - living with him are; Charlotte Merry, born Little Wilbraham, aged 32, shop keeper - along with Fred Merry, 1 year old and George Merry 1 month old, both born in Cherry Hinton.
Notice that Thomas is running the 'beer house' but that his wife Charlotte is noted as a shop keeper - was this her occupation elsewhere in the village or town of Cambridge or did she run a small shop from the pub premises?
A couple of doors up from Thomas and Charlotte are further members of the 'Merry' family - perhaps Thomas' parents. They are predominantly Agricultural labourers.
In the 1881 Census the following details are given:
Russian Arms, High Street, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge
Thomas Merry, born Cherry Hinton, aged 44, porter - living with him are;
Charlotte Merry, born Little Wilbraham, aged 44 - along with Mary A Merry, aged 13, scholar, George Merry, aged 11, scholar, Frederick Merry, aged 10, scholar, Sarah Merry, aged 7, scholar and Rosina Merry, aged 2.
No mention of Charlotte being a shopkeeper and Thomas is listed as a porter - beer porter? or an additional occupation? Their daughter Mary A Merry wasn't listed on the previous census, so was presumably staying with relatives when the last census was being taken. Frederick and George are still there and in the intervening ten years Sarah and Rosina Merry have been born.
In the County Directory, Thomas Merry is listed as a Beer Retailer and shop keeper in 1869 & 1879 and Beer Retailer in Cherry Hinton in 1883.
The 1891 Census tells us the following:
Russian Arms, High Street, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge-
Sarah Fuller, aged 58, born Essex, Little Bury, Widow, Publican
with her are her daughter Mary Ann Fuller, born Cherry Hinton, aged 36, Laundress and her son Charles Henry Fuller, born Cherry Hinton, aged 34, Carrier.
As you can see from the above, the Merry family are no longer at the premises. Sarah Fuller was married to Charles Fuller and they had previous lived in Mill End, Cherry Hinton. Charles senior had been a railway labourer. After he had died Sarah takes on the business of running the Russian Arms.
Sarah Fuller is listed in the County Directory as a Beer Retailer, Cherry Hinton in 1892.
1901 Census is more vague with its addresses and there is a possibility for the occupants of the Russian Arms, listed on the High Street, Cherry Hinton but it doesn't distinguish where exactly on the High Street or if it could be the Hopbine, Five Bells or the Russian Arms - all of which were on the High Street at this time. Annoyingly it does note the names of The Robin Hood, The Unicorn and The Red Lion - at least it rules those ones out. Even with reading through the addresses in succession it is still not completely clear - we do have an 'Inn Keeper' on the High Street called Jane Nightingale who is a widow from Barnwell, Cambridge and is living on which ever premises it is with six of his children aged from 11 -27 (all of whom were born in Trumpington - two of the girls are working as laundry workers - a well known Cherry Hinton profession). At the moment we can't say for certain if this is the family who are then living at our pub.
An interesting article in Ale -Cambridge & District Branch Newsletter Issue 391 February 2019 - discusses the interesting character of Joe Nightingale from Trumpington who's second wife was Jane Nightingale. They had been running the Volunteer pub in Trumpington. When Jane was widowed she came to Cherry Hinton and was running the Russian Arms in 1901. So it would seem it was the Nightgales at the Russian Arms at this date.
"....his evidently very sturdy widow probably carried on in the Volunteer for a short time, but by 1901 she (along with much of her brood) had moved on to the Russian Arms in Cherry Hinton...."
You can read more about this here: https://www.cambridge-camra.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/pdf/Ale391.pdf
The image above shows us what the Russian Arms would have looked like during its working existence, this is very roughly dated to around 1910. I will place a zoomed in version below so that we can see the pub and its sign a little better.
We have more luck with the 1911 Census, which gives the following information:
Russian Arms, High Street, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge;
George Burch, Head, aged 38, born Ipswich, Publican.
Annie Burch, wife, aged 36, born Eastmeon, Hants, married for 15 years, 7 children - all survived, assisting in the business.
Florence Burch, born Eastbourn, Sussex, aged 14, domestic day girl.
Winnifred Burch, born Eastbourne, Sussex, aged 13, school.
Daisy Burch, born Eastbourne, Sussex, aged 11, school.
Fred Burch, born Portsmouth, aged 10, school.
Edgar Burch, born Cambridge, aged 9, school.
Dorothy Burch, born Cambridge, aged 6, school.
Edward Burch, born Cherry Hinton, aged 2.
We can see that the pub is still running in 1911, the Burch family in residence. Given the age of Edward Burch, their youngest at 2 years old and being the first of the children born in Cherry Hinton, suggests that the family are relatively new to the village and therefore perhaps not that long in the pub itself.
We cannot yet access the 1921 Census until January 2022 when it is to be released. So now I shall turn to the County and Village Directories to see if we can find out anything else.
So far, I have been hitting a dead end for anything after 1911 to say that the pub was still in use and no records coming up for the Burch family placing them still there, so as it stands we know that the pub was still going in 1911 but that is currently the end date we have for its use.
The Lost Pubs (www.closedpubs.co.uk) project gives us the following information:
"The Russian Arms was situated on Cherry Hinton High Street. This pub closed in 1912 under the 1904 Compensation Act."
Mike Petty (www.mikepetty.org.uk) also mentions this, in his compilation on Cherry Hinton, taken from historical newspaper reports:
1912 07 26
Licensing: Cherry Hinton Russian Arms, 12 07 26
1912 11 15
Licensing compensation for Cherry Hinton Russian Arms
1935 07 05 The Five Bells was one of five fully-licensed houses in Cherry Hinton. In 1920 the Hop Bine, next door, was done away with and the Russian Arms had been closed in 1912. Lacons the brewers said the extra penny on beer had hit sales. The Five Bells had been ringing harmoniously for a good many years to the comfort and convenience of the inhabitants and should be allowed to continue to ring a litter longer. The licence was renewed - 35 07 05b
From these reports we can see that the Russian Arms ceased trading in 1912 and became a private dwelling house.
The Russian Arms had closed as a result of the 1904 Licensing Act. It seems that the idea was to reduce the numbers of licences in congested areas, and compensation was paid under the Act.
Under the Licensing Act, 1904, in the seven years from 1905 to 1911, 7,318 licensed premises were closed with compensation. Of these, 6,880 were in England and 438 in Wales. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/acts/licensing-act-1904
Please do get in touch if you would like to make a comment or have any further information. More history and information on the other pubs in Cherry Hinton coming soon....
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This is the blog page for my articles, memories and archives relating to the archaeology and local history of Cherry Hinton, a village to the southeast of Cambridge UK. The area covered is the old Parish of Cherry Hinton which today includes the Ward of Queen Edith's.
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