Cherry Hinton Memories - Book One
Here you will find the complete contents of Cherry Hinton Memories Book One - 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 One “The Cherry Hinton Gang” Those Golden Years
Contains memories from:
Below you will find the full transcription of book one, 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 1 “The Cherry Hinton Gangs” Those Golden Years.
Mick Covill 4th Jan 2011
‘Yess’ .. I do hold Cherry-Hinton with a great love & fondest memories. I myself was not born in Cherry Hinton but was born and lived in Broad Street of East Road Cambridge, born in 14-Aug-39. Can only just remember the last part of the war air raid shelters and the Anderson shelter we had in the living room which we got under when the air raid sirens went off.
My mum & dad moved to Cambridge when he got a job with Ralph Thompson as a painter. We then were offered a council house in either Trumpington or Cherry-Hinton but as the house in Fernlea Close were built by R. Thompson and the yard and offices were in Fernlea Close my mum & dad chose Cherry Hinton. We moved to Cherry Hinton when I was about 9 years old into number 6, the beginning of my life in Cherry Hinton.
I always remember Bert Quinney’s shop just in the High Street. You used to go in like a dark cellar where they sold most things. They then had a house & shop front built at the front of Fernlea Close, where we used to do most of our shopping. Bert Quinney used to be the local Bookies runner, and my dad used to give me some money wrapped up tightly in paper & say take this up to Bert’s. Bert who used to call me Billy - don’t know why – used to slip the money under the counter. If dad won any money he would send me up to Bert’s & I would say “have you anything for dad”. Bert would say “I will have a look” and then produce another bit of paper wrapped around money and say “here you are Billy” and slyly pass it to me to take back home. Bert Quinney’s shop was always open from early morn to late at night, he was a good man, friendly and kind.
One of my early introductions to Cherry Hinton was when Kenny Sutcliffe, who I did not really know, wanted to have a fight with me and my brother John. If I remember we declined and ran home.
My sister Marie and I went to the Catholic School in Cambridge, so we knew Ron Clarke and his family, also the noble family and the boys Peter George and Paul who lived on the High Street. Their father George was the bone collector from all the butchers.
I suppose my introduction to the friendship that Cherry Hinton was to offer me was passing my 11 plus exam and going to the Central Grammar School. Here I met and was in classes with John Anderson, who lived in the prefabs in Church End, and Ray Williams or chick to most people who lived in Queens Meadows. Also, Tony Short who lived also in Fernlea Close.
I used to do a paper round which was run by Jim Chapman, Bill Chapman’s uncle, I did Pen Close, Shepherds Close, Fishers Lane and worst of all, Fulbourn Old Drift. The drift was not very nice as it was very dark and everybody had guard dogs, which were not that friendly. Jim Chapman ran the paper business from the back room in the Chequers Pub run by Tony Tabor’s mum and Jesse his dad.
The years slowly passed and there are memories of all the new families moving into Cherry Hinton i.e. the Medow’s family, the O’Reiley’s - Paddy, Patric, Phillip, Brendon, Fergie – very poor families. I used to go scrumping walnuts with Paddy in Chalk’s farm off the High Street and finished up with stained hands which lasted weeks.
There was Jimmy Davidson, Mick Williams, who I think went to the County School also moved in.
When recalling names there was a great friends Peter Boland & Mick Boland, who lived down Mill End Road with sisters Margaret & Liz, also Stan Paine who lived in Rosemary Lane.
While I drift from name to name let’s not forget the Youth Club which was held in the old Cherry Hinton Infant School by the Labour Party members an old record player playing the latest hit songs and then the skifle groups who and about, and then the Youth Club held at the Lower Netherhall School and also the dances held in the British Legion Hall, Fishers Lane, where all the latest budding groups played. At these events all us Cherry Hinton boys and girls danced the night away and if I remember correctly no alcohol.
Flashes come back to me now of the Queen Edith’s school dances where the lads would sit in one corner of the room reading in Cambridge Blue, a paper with all local football results and pictures.
Must not forget my friend J Poulter who I met at Central School and I introduced him to the Cherry Hinton way of life and am sure he then made many, many friends.
Down the Red Lion pub, run by Norman and Joan, we played darts and bar billiards and on a Sunday morning we all played football which could last up to 2-3 hours and then we would go to the Red Lion for a drink. Norman would have loads of orange drinks lined up for us all which quenched our thirst.
Must not forget Cherry Hinton great such as Brian Stevens, Peter Dean, John Bertram, Danny Buttress, Mick Scoett?, Matt Lindsay.
I think ... could go on and on and write page after page. The pages I wrote may not have been of historic or exciting events but a small glimpse of some of the people I met from school to growing up and can say Cherry Hinton is in my blood. I love it, maybe I love the past more than the present because it has changed so much. However, I thank all those people and friends who made my life in Cherry Hinton such a wonderful life.
Yours Mick Covill
Bill Chapman’s Story Written 26/04/2011
I was born in Fisher’s Lane and then moved to Fulbourn Road when I was two months old. I went to school with my sister Shirley. We used to walk along a path which was called Long Walker (which started at Fulbourn Road and ran along the back of Cherry Hinton Rec where Colville Estate is now. How the High Street has changed!
There used to be a cottage on the corner, opposite the Robin Hood (just outside the Spinney). An old man, Mr Clark lived there. In the Spinney, gypsies would often park and live there sometimes. At the junction of the Robin Hood there were no traffic lights as today, but a little slip road from Queen Edith’s Way to Cherry Hinton Road and then the other road went straight across to Cherry Hinton. There was a little triangle green in between where Mr Snowy Scott used to preach on a Sunday evening. Mr Scott used to grow his own tobacco. On the left hand side there was a big hole (where a bungalow is now), we used to sledge there (it was called Prior’s Field).
Sheep were herded by the Creek Brothers from the Chalk Farm (off the High Street) to fields at the back of Fulbourn Road (near the water softener where the water company is now.) Next to the water softener there was a big barn where all of the wheat sheaves were gathered and stacked and threshed with a threshing machine. There used to be loads of rats and mice around there. There also used to be hare hunts that came through the village with all the hounds and then chase the hares at the back of Fulbourn Road. Taffy Lloyd (from Queens Meadows) was the local poacher. He would put snares out in Lime Kiln Quarry and you would see him coming home on his bike with rabbits across the cross bar. Percy Tabor was the nightwatchman at the chalk pits (where the caravan site is now). Luffy Tabor used to drive the steamroller through the village, and he was a great friend of my dad.
Rarzo Tabor was the landlord of the Robin Hood. Dad, Luffy, Rocky Root and Tubby Anderson used to sing around the piano at Christmas at 56 Fulbourn Road (where we lived).
There were two bakers: one in Fulbourn Road called Don Smith’s – the other one was in the High Street – Root’s Bakers. Then there was George Parish the butcher. Across the road there were two cottages next to the shop. There was another butchers opposite the rec (where the Building Society is now). Next to the Rec was Sid Hancock’s (the cobbler) shoe shop. Then the Chequer’s Pub run by the Tabors. Across the road from the Rec was Steven’s Building Yard where we used to keep the football marking machine. My dad (Olly) used to mark the football pitch. My dad was well known in Cherryhinton because he helped run the football club. My mum and dad were good parents.
Next to Love Lane (where the bank is now) there used to be a smallholding with chickens and ducks in a field. Next to that was Chalks Farm (roughly where Desmond Avenue is now). There was a big drive where they took cows across the High Street to the field opposite. There was a big pond in the field opposite (roughly where Colville Road is now).
Further on opposite Fisher’s Lane there used to stand a big tank filled with water. On the corner of Fisher’s Lane, I used to go to Chapel with my sister Shirley. We would be dressed in our Sunday best. Next to the Chapel (towards the railway line) were a row of 4 cottages (only 2 now) and then a police house. This was occupied by Mr Laddington who was the village copper at the time. Mr Bartram was the crossing man who was in charge of opening the railway gates (he was the father of my friend John). Just over the railway was the green hut where we went to youth club and played table tennis. Neville Cullup was a very good table tennis player. The school next door in an old building which has now been pulled down. Tommy Bray was the headmaster and he lived in a house next door (next to the Green Hut). Just across the road was the Five Bells pub and Quinney’s store where I used to buy my sweets.
Memories of Cherry Hinton from Kay Smith
I lived in Mill End Close until I was 17 years old. I think we were all very lucky to have lived in such a small safe community. In Mill End Close most of our parents were married just before the war and as was usual most of our mother’s either didn’t work or had part time jobs – unlike today.
My parents bought the house when they married in 1939 and my mother’s 1st cousin bought the other half of the semi so I was fortunate as an only child to have 4 cousins next door, namely Cynthia, Charlie, Diana and David Lilley. Diana being 3 weeks younger than me, Chris and Lorna Ketch, Ann and Sue Gentle, John and Christine Cornell and John and Peter Hedge, all similar in age lived in this great little cul-de-sac.
We all went to the village school together, walking safely through the village without parents coming with us.
We had Miss Wilson in reception class – with orange juice, cod liver oil and malt. Plus, the small bottles of milk, which in winter we stood beside the large ‘turtle’ heaters to defrost the ice. We had Miss Rush in the second class and I remember her saying as we left the class that we had to leave the bead frames behind but take our fingers with us.
I think it was on Friday mornings in assembly that we heard a record played but I only remember the Flight of the Bumble Bee and Finigal’s Cave. Perhaps they only had 2 records. I also remember Jeffrey Rheimen singing Greensleeves – he must have been good or brave!
We had some sad momentous occasions when Mr Bray died and also when we were in Miss Dunnetts class someone came into class and whispered in her ear and she announced, “The King is Dead”.
There was a great celebration on the Rec for the coronation and everyone dressed up in fancy dress. I was a black cat.
I also remember watching the hunt leaving from Chalk’s Farm – an amazing sight.
We used to go to Ling’s sweet shop opposite the school, and buy packets of crisps from Smith’s shop with the salt in the blue paper and hot bread from Root’s – all in the High Street. Our favourite play areas were the Spinney, catching sticklebacks in the brook – and falling in.
I went to church on Sunday mornings and then to the Baptist Chapel for Sunday School afternoons. The vicar was Fatten Forrest who drove an amazing car and used to bring carrots to school for us to eat in a wheelbarrow. He always seemed very shy but was very kind to me. When I went to see him about getting married in the church but no longer lived in the parish he suggested I use a different address – so my marriage certificate gives Ann Gentle’s address and the Gentle’s very kindly let me get ready and leave the from their house.
Cherry Hinton Childhood – Diana Lilley
As Kay has said, I also lived in Mill End Close, my parents bought the house in 1938 and my mother lived there until she died in 1995. They were truly very happy days, the whole of the Close very good friends – always helping one another out – I remember in the summer all the mums and dads loading up old prams with games and equipment and food, and we would walk over Lime Kiln Hill to the Beach Woods – We would spend the whole day there playing rounders, cricket etc. using the trees as our posts. The parents would light fires and perhaps cook sausages etc. on to eat. We used to have a great time, and then again walk home. We were always very safe having games in a very wide area, and never any fears hanging over us.
Kay also mentioned memories of Junior School, many of which I can remember. One thing Kay did not mention that I remember, was when we heard our 11 plus results, we individually went into see Mr Farmer, as it was then, and told our results. From school we were taken to Coldham’s Common swimming pool in our final year to learn to swim whatever the temperature in an unheated pool. Thereafter I would spend many days there at the cost of One Penny for the whole of the day.
Playing in Cherry Hinton and spending a lot of time in the Spinney. I remember walking to the Robin Hood corner and seeing the patients from Fulbourn Hospital out for a walk. They were all tied together and were resting on the wall outside the Robin Hood Public House, before walking back. I found this very frightening.
I could have been no more than 10 when Kay and I decided we would cycle to Balsham, which was a fair way. On arriving at my great aunts who had a farm, and I loved to visit – apart from the outside loo – (a shed with a wooden seat – with a hole in it). She said “Does your mother know where you are”, well as we said “No, why, should she, we are quite safe” – to which she fed and watered us and sent us home.
I went to Cherry Hinton Church with my brothers and sister on a Sunday and continued on to confirmation classes in the vicarage with Mrs Forest. The vicarage was a very large rambling house – we used to sit in one of the rooms for our class – and the ceiling was peeling off on to us. It always caused quite a laugh. Needless to say I did get confirmed in 1956 at St Pauls Church on Hills Road, and I did get married in Cherry Hinton Church in 1964.
When we were old enough, I delivered papers for Mr Seal – both morning and evenings, before and after school daily and on a Saturday I worked for Mr Bird the greengrocer in the new shops in the High Street when Colville Road was developed.
As mentioned previously in this book, I also had to deliver to Fulbourn Old Drift – a very dark and not a very nice place to be in the dark mornings and evenings, likewise, the caravan site on Bennett’s Farm, Mill End Road. I often had to get my dad to come with me.
Coronation year 1952, Kay’s family were the first in the Close to have a television and I remember each family having a time slot in which to go around and watch the occasion. They also had a motorbike and side-car which I remember being taken in when I was 11 to fetch my first pet dog Mick, and I also married a Mick!
There are many things in this book already that I recall – the cycling through either the Tins or the Snakey Path to the secondary school and later on to work. Quinney’s shop open 7 days a week – when mums ran out of something on a Sunday – he would sell it to us – and then wrap it in newspaper to disguise what we had. It was illegal to sell certain items on a Sunday years ago.
We were extremely lucky to have had our childhood in Cherry Hinton – we were well cared for and looked after. Very happy days.
Several of us have flown the nest, but we still keep in touch regularly, for lunch and a chat – Kay Smith, Chris Ketch – Ann Gentle, Gill Fordham and myself. We are friends for life.
Cherry Hinton Memories Ann Gentle
I lived in Mill End Close with my parents and sister Sue – who is 3 years younger than me. We were a close-knit community only 22 houses in the Close, and all the children played together. I went to the village school and was in the same classes as Vic Phillips, they were happy days. I remember us giving Mr Reed? our class teacher the bumps on his birthday, he took it all in good sport, I remember going to Mr Ling’s shop and buying 1p OXO’s to eat as we could not buy sweets because of rationing. I still like them now.
The summer holidays were great, we had the run of the village, going tiddler snatching in the brook, climbing trees on a ree?, many’s the time my dad would have to come and get me down as I got stuck up a tree. The Spinney was another favourite, my mum didn’t like me going up there but it did not stop me.
My dad kept racing pigeons and Tony Tabour and many of the boys used to come and see them. Vic my dad went to Crystal Palace with your mum and doing the High Jump I think they went to the same school. 1927 was the years I think they would have been about 14 years old.
The High Street was a lot different to what it is now, there were 2 farm cottages at the top of Mill End Close they belonged to Chalks Farm. The Jonson's lived in one of them. The farm was where the hunt used to go from, and we used to go and watch. In autumn we would scrump walnuts I have always liked them. opposite the farm there was a field with a pond. In the winter it would freeze over and we would skate on it. One day on the way to school I decided to have a go, the ice wasn't very thick and I fell in afraid to go home and tell my mum I sat in school all day in wet clothes. When I got home, someone had told mum she made me have a mustard bath to stop me catching cold. We used to go to parties in the Chequers pub they were great fun.
I left Cherry Hinton in 1963 when I married J Holmes. We lived in Chesterton for many years and had two sons I now live in Landbeach. My son Kevin now lives in my home in Cherry Hinton having bought it when my mother died so the connexion still goes on as I come back home quite often.
Some of my memories of Cherry Hinton – Chris Ketch
Our Cherry Hinton is unrecognisable from the one of today. There was only one pavement along part of the High Street, small gas street lamps and Chalk’s Farm on both sides. I remember a bull being in the field in summer and skating on the pond in winter. Twice a year the sheep were herded through the High Street, no traffic calming then, thank goodness.
I too was a Mill End Close girl, living there for 20 years with my parents and younger sister Lorna. The Millers, Janet, Roger and Sally, lived 2 doors away, Jackie and Danny Buttreas? across the road and Les, Win and their son Richard “Bonzo” King next door.
As the girls have said before, it was a safe, happy environment in which to grow up in. Everyone’s parents respected each other, the mothers calling each other Mrs, not using forenames and all extremely hard working.
School was a good experience then. Mrs Runnett getting us to chant times tables in the tin hut, Mrs North playing her piano accordion and being flung around by the boys who hated dancing. We often played marbles after school, rolling them down the High Street on the way home. In the winter we made long slides on the ice and formed an orderly queue for a “go”. It was also where I met Gill Fordham, my very good friend who came to live on the “new estate”. She is an adopted Mill End Close girl now. The wonderful Bernard Reed was the best teacher ever. How he remembers us all I will never know.
Sports days were a great occasion. The MC used to be Mr Thompson, Susan and Caroline’s father. Margaret Boland was a terrific runner, I did beat her once but only once. I remember Billy Taylor rolling one of the Richardson boys along in a huge tyre in one of the races. Gill and I came third in the three legged race on our last sports day. We won a comb each and we got a big cheer when we collected our prize and it felt like an Olympic medal.
Summer holidays were long and the best ever. Groups of us would disappear all day in the Spinney, on the Rec or the Beech Woods. Sometimes we would club together to buy a hot loaf from Roots the bakers to eat on the Rec. If it was wet we would play Monopoly in Di Lilly’s dad’s shed, for hours on end.
Church, Sunday School and Bible class was the plan for Sundays. We took a few pence for the collection but Lorna decided to pay a visit to Ling’s sweet shop sometimes and spent her collection money on sweets. Our mum found out when bubble gum stuck around her mouth. After Sunday morning service we would pick up an ice cream block from Quinney’s shop which he wrapped in newspaper. This was kept on the pantry floor as we had no fridges then.
As teenagers we went to youth club in the school hall and the British Legion Hall in Fishers Lane where some good local bands played live. No alcohol or drugs then but we had a really great time without the need for either.
Today, I live in Fulbourn where I see several old school friends. John Richardson works very hard in his woodyard at the bottom of my garden. Horace White is landlord of the Six Bells and lives near me. I also see Tony Mason around the village and Herbie and Marie Williams. All of them are still so friendly.
Great memories of very happy days spent in Cherry Hinton. - Chris x
A New Life in Cherry Hinton – Gill Rapley nee’ Fordham
I came to Cherry Hinton with my parents Bill and Chris and my sister Margaret in 1952. We moved into one of the new council houses in Leete Road on the Colville Road estate. As newcomers we were not welcomed by all the villagers, some obviously thought this influx of strangers would change the life of this small community and not for the better!
I well remember the terror of standing in the playground on my first day at the primary school next to the level crossing and knowing absolutely no-one.
That school with its coal fires, outside toilets and overflow class in the Green Hut was, it turned out, a wonderful place of learning with headmaster Mr Farmer, teachers Bernard Read and Miss’s Rush and Dunnett who enabled many of us to pass the 11+ and move on confidently to High School and Grammar Schools.
School holidays were spent in the Spinney, on the Rec, blackberrying on the Roman Road and exploring the Beechwoods. There were huge steam rollers in Pamplins Yard and Mr Fabbs equally huge pigs to feed in Fulbourn Old Drift. The Norman Cement Works along the Tins path was always fascinating with the huge cauldron of liquid cement constantly being fed by the chalk lorries from the pits in Lime Kiln Road.
The Green Hut with Brownies, Guides, Cubs, Scout groups, youth club and table tennis club was our social centre. I learned to Jive there to Paul Anka, Everly Bros and Elvis and I also fell in love for the first time, all such bitter sweet memories.
There were more pubs than shops when we first arrived but eventually Mr Seals newsagents, Mr Bowyers grocery shop and Mr Birds greengrocers augmented Bert Quinney’s and Lings sweet shop.
The friends I made all those years ago thankfully remain my friends today – I see Chris, Kay, Di and Anne quite regularly and so many of “the boys” now spend their retirement on the allotments on the Black Land where Mary and I spend a great deal of our time.
Cherry Hinton was a good place to move to in 1952 and it is still a good place to live in 2011 and I am thankful for it. – Gill
Sue Gentle March 2012 Mill End Close
My sister Ann (Gentle) brought this notebook of reminiscences to show me. Reading them made me want to contribute so here goes!
I have lived in the Pennine Hills almost twice as long as I lived in Cherry Hinton but my memories of my happy childhood are vivid. As others have mentioned we were so lucky to have had the freedom to roam, climb trees, make dens, go on long cycle rides. We would run home at lunch time then rush out to play again. Or sometimes we would take picnics which meant we were away from home for hours. This did not cause any parental concern as it would have me with my children.
As already mentioned by Kay, Mill End Close was a new build just before the war and most of the houses were bought by young newly married couples. Because of this a lot of children were born there, including us. As a consequence, we were never short of playmates. One of my first memories was of the close being flooded and having fun paddling in the road with our shoes on.
The year before I started school Peter Hedge (who was one year older than me) broke his arm so was off school. He and I went up the Rec to play on the swings (yes, with a broken arm!) Whilst there a hunt passed by heading for what was then the fields beyond. We were so frightened by the noise the dogs made – we swang as high as we could to escape them. Now when I hear a lot of dogs barking I think of this.
I remember walking to school with Christine Cornell and her pet chicken Billy. When we reached the level crossing we told Billy to go home, and it duly did.
One day I took my little doll to school – she was my pride and joy. On leaving school some boys in my sisters year (was it you?!) took the doll off me and when it was returned it had one leg missing. I cried all the way home. The leg went missing by the level crossing. Because I was so upset my dad went to look for it in the dark with Mr Bartrum the crossing keeper. He had a paraffin lamp. The leg wasn’t found but the next morning my doll had a wooden leg carved by my dear dad. It was even more special to me after that.
We loved to climb trees at the top of the Rec. How pleased I was with myself when I managed to get from tree one to tree seven without touching the ground. My sister got stuck up one of these trees and had to stay there until our dad came home to rescue her. I thought her a bit of a sissy!
We learnt to do things on our own like riding a bike and swimming. The former by getting on by a bench seat on the Rec and by falling off when wanting to stop. The latter by spending much time at Coldhams Lane swimming baths which I remember as always being cold. It didn’t bother us though.
I loved school especially Mr Read’s class. His classroom was of a wooden construction that was separate from the rest of the school, it was near the railway line. One day, when I should have been paying attention, I counted the number of freight coaches there were passing by. I hadn’t realised Mr Read had stopped talking and was looking at me. When he asked me how many coaches there were (I still remember there were 23) I had to write out 23 times “the goods train engine was pulling 23 coaches”!
We had a great time in Mr Read’s class doing project work. One project I was involved in was a study of the flora and fauna in the Brook. This was an excuse to have fun! He would allow us to go to the Brook in project time and we would come back invariably late and wet having paddled too deep or fallen in. Imagine a teacher giving pupils that freedom now!
How fortunate we were. Our parents had modest lifestyles but they gave us a very rich and secure upbringing in Cherry Hinton – Sue (Gentle) March 2012
Ronnie Clark 12-6-09
I remember in the 1950’s when Cherry Hinton had the best village football team in Cambridgeshire, and around the 1950’s when Cherry Hinton was a village, sadly no more. Farms up the High Street, Smiths bakers in Fulbourn Road. A piano playing all the old songs on a Saturday night in the Robin Hood.
I remember the sheep being brought from Fulbourn Road down the High Street to Chalks Farm. Old Ken Baker riding side-saddle on the big Shire horse, chewing a bit of straw, delivering muck for the allotments behind Fulbourn Road. Those were the days.
Walking to school from Fulbourn Road down what was classed as Long Walker (a path which ran from Fulbourn Road to Fishers Lane) before the council estate was built. And the other footpath which ran from between Fulbourn Road and the old Dutch barn over the hill to the Beech Woods. No longer there (but could be if the locals had it opened up). I remember Mr Ollie Chapman, 56 Fulbourn Road. He used to cut my hair for sixpence on a Sunday morning. If I did not keep still he would clip my ear. Oh those memeories.
Catching rats and rabbits when they done the harvest, the foreman from Chalks Farm, Mr Dawson, could not catch us. I remember Bill Chapman, who I owe so much for what he did for me, and was one of those players along with Peter Dean, Brian Stevens who would be todays £50,000,000 football players who played with pride. I could go on and on. Always dreaming but the times have gone, two other men I must mention are Douglas Kitson, who was like a brother to me, sadly no longer with us, and Bill Taylor from the High Street who also I owe so much to. I was born in Fulbourn Road, no. 34. Nickname Nobby. Cherry Hinton, thanks for the memories.
Tony Mason's Tale (born.1-12-41) June 2012
Lived at 10 Railway Street next door but one to Nev Cullup in a road where everyone knew everyone with a real community spirit. Kelly Ling a good friend of my sister Ann lived about halfway along the long row as did Marglin? Bird, Rodney Smith, Andrew Tabour and Richard Hallam? We had wonderful bonfire nights in those days with everyone mucking in building the bonfire and pooling our fireworks and potatoes for roasting later. Nev who still works in the village as a cobbler in his mid 70’s needs a medal for he was struck with TB as a child which severely disabled him but he was brilliant with his model aero engines and later so good at table tennis.
My memories of Cherry Hinton are really happy ones as it was such a wonderful rural village in the 1940’s and 1950’s and just a fraction of its present size. There were no houses between Fishers Lane and Jane Elwoods old thatched hut still stands next to the library, there was just a lovely meadow with cattle and horses grazing amongst daisies and buttercups but in the winter it flooded in its lower part to form a small lake on which we would float an old tin bath using a slab of wood as a paddle and when frozen it was brilliant for slides. In summer if the cattle were not using the field, it was used for a rounders or cricket pitch by the chapel the quality of the pitch being questionable, but we did have David Shepherd (yes the England cricketer) play on it. He and Bob Jones used to help out at the chapel whilst they were at Cambridge University and on Sundays they would stay with Joyce and Stuart Hill in Fishers Lane (Sue and Jane Hill’s parents), poor Jane had a hole in her heart and went through much surgery as a child at Guys Hospital in London, I think it was the early days of heart surgery.
There were just a few houses in Fishers Lane with a field on the left hand side where they held the village feast after the war and just beyond this field Prefabs were built to help house families of troops returning. At the bottom of Fishers Lane, which was quite short, were large fields stretching across towards Fulbourn Hospital where as a young one it was marvellous to watch the old binder making sheaves of corn which were stacked to dry before being pitchforked onto carts some horse drawn and some by an early tractor pulling them back to Chalks Farm which had a beautiful avenue of walnut trees roughly where the chemist and bookies are in the high street. It had a grand old farm house, surrounded by fields to the front going up the hill as far as the railway and very large barns built of chalk blocks and timber. Mr Chalk was the auctioneer, Grain? and Chalk, later to become Cheffins. He also had land to the south of Fulbourn Road where he grew corn and in winter moved his sheep well up the hill in compounds of bales, when they first came out, where the shepherd had his living van, dog with horse and cart so he could keep a close eye on the lambing as it progressed.
Behind Chalks Farm was a winding part of Mill End Road where the road followed the shape of the brook which ran open in those days, not in pipes as now. There were fields and stables where the wealthy of the University had their beautiful big horses kept which later became a riding school. Further down Mill End Road was Arnolds Farm which again had tennis courts to the side of a large farmhouse with lots of corn haystacks in the farmyard. A steam engine would arrive in autumn/winter to power the thresher which sorted grain from the straw. This farm had an ex-prisoner of war Hans working on it, he was a friendly chap who used to let us ride on the trailers up to fields to the north of Fulbourn Old Drift and to those near the cement works north of the railway. It was great fun and mum would get one to take a bag with me to glean the loose ears of corn for the chickens and straw for my rabbits.
Mr Fabb (Doreen’s father) had quite a lot of pigs in a large shed in a small field on Fulbourn Old Drift where I used to go with him at feed time and when he was ploughing it was great to hitch a ride on his old Fordson tractor which ran on paraffin. Next door to us in Railway Street lived Ray Coustons grandparents. Rays father used to come in a large van and sometimes we would go to the colleges to collect the vegetable cast offs which after he had sorted out the better veg at his Fishers Lane yard he would take the rest for his pigs that he kept in Church End somewhere near where Listers old building used to be. Dr Stracham lived in the big house in Church End used to give us school children a real treat in the autumn term by bringing a whole barrow load of apples into the playground. Another real treat in those days was the strawberry teas they used to do on sports days. We would all sit at great long tables with white tablecloths in the playground like a street party.
Back in the High Street was Lings shop just above the railway line on the corner of Railway Street. I always remember queuing in a really long queue on a Tuesday evening when they first had ice cream delivered. Between Lings and the old 5 Bells was nurse Armanents? thatched cottage, she was the District Nurse. Between the 5 bells and the old Quinney’s shop (the one you went down steps into) at the rear was a sizable house with Battlements and vast gardens and tennis court which was where Pamplins the steam engine contractors used to live. It was a large business for its day with engines out all over East Anglia. Nev Cullup’s grandfather Jim Fisher was Foreman and many of the workers were housed along the row in Railway Street. Luffey Tabour from Cherry Hinton started as a teaboy/cook for a steam engine gang and later drove engines for most of his life. He told me he would often be in the Lowestoft area for 6 moths at a time. The last steam engine I remember commercially working in Cherry Hinton was when I was quite young in the field north-east diagonally across from the church. When Wimpeys built on it dad always said it should never have been allowed because the land was left to the church for a further graveyard. No wonder there’s no room in the churchyard to bury people now.
As a child I used to play in Orchard Estate with Martin Capon?, Teddy Harding, Ronnie Heywood, Dickie Pilsworth, Horace White, Peter Crabb. We used to go fishing in the brook in summer but I always remember Horace leading us through the village to meet a bus at the Robin Hood on which was coming the greatest den builder from Fulbourn (Rocky Root) who needless to say, after waiting for several hours, never turned up. But when he eventually moved to Cherry Hinton to live proved to be a great guy who still tends his allotment by the brook even though he now lives in Landbeach and has proved to be the best roof carpenter I have ever known. Many lovely people moved into Cherry Hinton with the new houses being built all around and the village seemed to have the greatest football team of all time, Brian Stevens left wing (Swavesey always put 2 men on him but he still ran through the pair of them), Peter Dean, Mick Cornish, Bill Chapman, Ron Hagaty, Sam Bartrum, Brian Merry, Bill Taylor, Jimmy Nunn, Winkey Wells, Tom Watson, Pete Bland and many more good players. They seemed to win everything. Brian played for Cambridge United then Leicester City he was outstanding the Beckham of his day to us young ones.
In my early days a tramp would knock our door and ask for his dirty old paint tin to be filled with tea, another similar sort of chap but cleaner would come on a bike with a stand that raised his wheel so he could pedal and drive a grinstone on which he would sharpen scissors, knives and shears.
In Fulbourn Old Drift there was a small railway siding where a few railway trucks filled with coal would be backed onto for the local coal merchant to unlock by hand into sacks on his cart. Mr Doughty, who had a wooden leg, lived near the siding and worked for the railway trimming the wicks of oil lamps and filling them with paraffin for the railway signals.
Doreen Tabour (nee Rowlings) who still lives in the row in Railway Street was relief railway gate lady. Mr Bartrum, John’s dad, was the resident gateman who lived in the old station house.
The hunt in the old days which was quite a spectacle, normally left from Chalks Farm but on some occasions left from the Vicarage, the hounds I think came from Gingell? of Horningsea, they looked magnificent. Steven Bros Builders yard used to be next to Mr Bendalls old thatch which after a fire became the site of a garage but is now housing.
The blacksmith shop, run by Kitch Gentle, opposite the Red Lion pub was the place to take glass accumulators to be charged for powering our radio as we did not have electricity, our lights were by gas or oil lamp. Upstairs at the back of the blacksmith shop was a beautiful picture with Springfield Farm on the edge of Cherry Hinton Road. There used to be another farm “Ventress” on the other side of Cherry Hinton Road just slightly along near the start of Cherry Hinton Hall, which again was burnt down for Harold Ridgeon (Sindals) to build more houses.
At the top of Fishers Lane just on the High Street was Clintons big drying shed where washing was deposited for the village ladies to wash and iron for the University. Several houses in those days had washrooms in their back gardens just behind their house. It would contain a water filled copper heated by a fire below.
Another large shed was at the back of the Steggles house in the High Street next to Joan and Bill Taylors house where tobacco would be dried. On the opposite side of the High Street was the Co-op Shop where later Freddy Reaverone? Was manager they had cables across the ceiling which took the money to the cashier, quite fascinating to watch as a child but the system seemed to hold up everyone because they had to wait for the cashier to process it and send it back the change in a little pot in a carriage zooming across the room against the ceiling – Hi Tek for its day I guess but slowed everyone down.
In later days the Rec was enlarged to include where allotments used to be behind the Chequers Pub. There seemed to be a lovely croud of lads came to live in the village, Herbie Williams from Stotfold moved into Leete Road, John Anderson into the prefabs in Church End, he was a brilliant lad, he built such a good hi-fi system, I think he cast concrete into the base of a speaker cabinet he fabricated, the sound was so good that the whole prefab vibrated with the deep base notes. He was always up to something clever. I well remember the time when he made some metal tubes with a tiny hole for the fuse but with thread at the tube end which he would fill with chemicals from I think Jim Davidson which he would ask one to put a bolt at the end and gently tighten. It was nothing to see a massive branch blown off near trunk of a large tree with a horrendous bang as a test that it would work. Followed by PC Plod roaming the neighbourhood for the next few hours when we had to make ourselves scarce. But John’s father was very good at fobbing him off because PC Plod knew very well who had probably done it. I shall never forget the tremendous boom in the toilets (when they used to be underground) in the centre of Market Square) one Bonfire night, I’m sure it must have been heard halfway to Newmarket.
I went with Herbie, Stan, John Poulter and others to learn to ride a motorbike at what was the old cattle market at the top of Cherry Hinton Road on Sunday mornings, it was a brilliant system where Hallens and Kings Harpes provided a bike for each of us to learn on off the road around the cattle market lane system. Needless to say we all got bikes which gave us the freedom to roam anywhere from there on.
It was a wonderful time you could always tell when Stan was zooming through the village on his fanny barnet, it seemed the throttle only had one position. I remember Vics younger brother Gordon riding pillion on the back of mine whilst Vic was on the back of Stans, Gordon never realised he was going to fly as we took the railway gates going downhill at full throttle – happy days, we were the lucky generation, we had all the benefits of prewar tranquillity with orange juice, cod liver oil, chocolate and later milk at school each morning and in our teens, when most older lads would have to do 2 years in their National Service, which most thought was a waste of 2 years in their prime of life, even that was stopped just a year or two ahead of us. I think the last from the village who had to go were Sammy Bercham, who went into the RAF as did Paddy Reilly, what a smashing lad he was to come into the village with bros. Pat, Fergie and others in the family. Pete Noland I think was the last to go into the army, unless someone knows different.
My dad Charlie was a bricklayer who worked until he was 74, quite a heavy job till that age, he would cycle all over as far as Girton but if he was working around town or nearer he would always cycle home at lunch times as well, people were really fit in those days with no cars to get about with. One of my fondest memories is of walking my son David, when he was little, to the cement works to watch the rotating machinery mulching the slurry to meet dad on his way home, David would sit on dads coat on his bikes handlebars with his feet in his basket, I think both of them were in heaven walking back through the Tins pathway. It was such simple things that gave such pleasure in those days, I can’t think of anywhere beter to have been brought up unless we were all living by the coast, maybe Bembridge I.O.W. (Isle of Wight) where Stan, Mick Colville and a group of us went for a holiday one year, before we had 4 chalets in a row at Skegness with a group of 16 of us another year with some of Vics United pals who joined the village lads at the Red Lion. We were a lucky generation. Tony Mason July 2012.
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I thought that I would share with you this history of Cherry Hinton Hall, which I have been working on, for some years on and off, this latest version, given below, is based the one that I placed in the appendix of the Cherry Hinton Hall Management Plan, which I wrote for Cambridge City Council in 2019. It was used as part of the application for a Green Flag for Cherry Hinton Hall, which was a successful application with a Green Flag being awarded for the park (I will place a separate blog post about this on here shortly).
I am the official historian for Cherry Hinton Hall and grew up just down the road from "the Hall" as many of us called it. I went to the playgroup in the Hall building and to the clinic, again within the Hall building, for my childhood jabs. I also spent many hours playing on the park, at the duck ponds and within the grounds.
I am writing a book about the site which will give the full history, in more detail, and I will let you know when this will be available (I've been saying this for years, I know!).
For now, here is a pretty decent length overview for you to have a look at.
Cherry Hinton Hall is a former Victorian country house and grounds. It was built, and the grounds laid out, in the late 1830’s by John Okes, a Cambridge surgeon, as his family home. Previous to the site being developed for this use, the area it was to be built upon, was part of the medieval open field system of the village of Cherry Hinton. There are very few surviving maps of this area before 1806. We can see the pre-Enclosure map and the Parliamentary Enclosure maps of 1806. These both show the dramatic transition from the medieval open field system, upon which, the village agricultural system used to function, to the changes to agriculture and the landscape, brought about by the Parliamentary Enclosure Acts. Through which process, the opportunity was provided to wealthy investors to purchase large parcels of land, which in this case, resulted in the land for the site of Cherry Hinton Hall to be acquired. From the time the Hall and Park were constructed and laid out, the site has remained relatively intact with its transition from a Victorian, family country home to its present form, as a multifunctioning, well managed public park.
The pre-Enclosure map shows that the area in which Cherry Hinton Hall was to be built, was within one of the 6 remaining open fields of the parish, these fields formed the medieval, agricultural, open field system of the village of Cherry Hinton. The site lay within the field, to the south west of the village, called ‘Bridge Field’ and through that field, the Hinton Brook flowed from the south-eastern side of the site. From the pre-Enclosure map, we can also see that there was a building called ‘Pecks Homestead’, which would have stood just south-west of where the present-day Hall building now stands. Within the ‘lake’ area by the waterways, at the north west of the site, there once stood several other buildings, which at the time of Enclosure, were in the occupation of Robert Rickards, who was the common herdsman of the village. These buildings are thought to be that of much older buildings, likely watermills and their associated dwellings, which have stood on the site since at least the 13th century.
 Cherry Hinton Hall 2004 Historical Research & Excavation Report, Bullivant & Clarke 2004
The 1806 Pre-Enclosure map of Bridge Field, Cherry Hinton. Showing the area that was to become the site for Cherry Hinton Hall & its parks and gardens. The red dot, added, shows where the future building of the Hall would stand. The blue lines show the water course and what was to become the ‘lake’ area of Cherry Hinton Hall.
We can also see the waterways of the site from the pre-Enclosure map above. The square, water-enclosed island in the south west corner, may have been a medieval, moated manor site and is currently thought (M. Bullivant) to have been the site of Netherhall Manor, which was one of the 4 known but now gone, manors of Cherry Hinton.
 Cherry Hinton Hall 2004 Historical Research & Excavation Report, Bullivant & Clarke 2004
The Hinton Brook, which runs through the site, was an important tributary of the River Cam, where it joined its destination at Stourbridge Common in Cambridge. The Brook broke forth as a series of fresh water springs at the north-west base of the Gog Magog Hills and formed a spring pool, known locally as Spring Head (also known as Giant’s Grave). The Spring Head was no doubt a major factor in the siting of the village. From the Spring Head, the chalk lined, fresh water brook, flowed in a north-westerly direction, where it entered Bridge Field, to be manipulated for early industrial purpose, before flowing on north-westerly to eventually join the River Cam.
Cherry Hinton Spring Head (aka Giants Grave) c.1910
Once the Parliamentary Enclosure had taken place, in 1806 in Cherry Hinton, much of the land ownership and use changed dramatically. The old, large, open fields and those systems of agriculture were gone. The land was divided up and sold into smaller parcels and new owners took over. Robert Rickards, the common herdsman living in Bridge Field, for example, was given notice to quit the property and land in 1814 and had to leave his home. These changes ultimately led to the purchasing of the land in Bridge Field and surrounding parcels of land by Mr John Okes, who planned and executed the building of Cherry Hinton Hall and the layout of its grounds. This new development work included clearing the old buildings that stood within the lake area of the site and once occupied by Robert Rickards and clearing the site of Pecks Homestead, all in preparation for the building of the Hall and park design, which began in 1831.
The 1806 Enclosure map of Cherry Hinton, showing what was Bridge Field.
John Okes had returned from the army in India and joined his father, Thomas Verny Okes, a well-known surgeon, at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, to work as a surgeon at the hospital himself. At this time Addenbrooke’s Hospital was on the Trumpington Road site, within the town of Cambridge. Cherry Hinton Hall was completed by 1839 and John Okes had laid out his ‘miniature park and gardens’ around the Hall building. The site was just 3 miles from the Cambridge town and the Old Addenbrooke’s Hospital. It provided a perfect family home for John, his wife Mary and their children, an escape from the busy town, which lay just within the bounds of the countryside.
Plan of Cherry Hinton Hall c.1960 , shows the various additions (shown in light tone) to the original form (shown in heavy tone). The additions include the billiard room to the north-west side and various minor additions to the rear. You will see that there was once a staircase added, within the main entrance porch, which is no longer there today.
Cherry Hinton Hall was built in the Gothic Revival style. It was placed centrally within the grounds. Built in Gault brick with stone dressing, with stone and slate covered roofs. The chimneystacks have separate octagonal shafts with oversailing brick capping. The glazing was lead-traced lozenge-shaped panes. The coach-house and stables were built just to the north west of the main building and the small Lodge was built in the same style as the house, to the south-west of the main Hall building, by the entrance gates and entrance to the driveway. The Lodge originally had its own length of garden, which ran to the eastern side of the property. The park and gardens were laid out with meadow and pasture, along with formal garden areas at the very front of the building, a kitchen garden to the rear of the property and features such as the orchard that lay within the lake area upon the place where Robert Rickards had once lived.
John Okes had the water course, flowing through his land, enlarged at one point to make an small ornamental lake and stocked the stream with trout and had a pike pond made. He also spent a considerable amount of money in planting the grounds. He had four weirs built along the watercourse to help control the water and a special deal was agreed with Cambridge University and Town Waterworks Company (CUTWC), of which John Okes’ brother Richard Okes was a Director, to supply a specific gallonage of water to the lake and stream at Cherry Hinton Hall, as the CUTWC had also acquired land in Cherry Hinton, specifically bought to begin taking advantage of the natural spring water that flowed out the chalk hills just to the south-east. This eventually resulted in the action of building reservoirs on top of Lime Kiln Hill, close by Cherry Hinton Hall and would have a drastic effect on the flow of water into the site, so specific plans were made and the design and control of the waterway running through the hall was managed in order to please both parties.
Front-piece of the Cambridge University and Town Waterworks Act 1871.
Cambridge University and Town Waterworks Company waterworks map.
The lake area of Cherry Hinton Hall (the duck pond and early paddling area) showing the Hinton Brook flowing through towards us, and showing one of the four weirs that John Okes had built during the Victorian period.
The planting of the varied selection of important trees adds to the historical value of the park. A combination of natural countrified meadows and paddocks with a mixture of formal gardens. From the sale particulars of the site in 1870, it can be seen that the grounds included a loose avenue from the gate lodge to the Hall, with the driveway forming a turning area on the Hall’s south side, outside of the front door entrance. Other parkland features included a kitchen garden, lawn and flower parterres, shrubberies and a fernery, two orchards, ornamental pleasure grounds, park-like paddocks, stream and fish pond, fine lawn, beautifully timbered and belted by fine plantations all set within about 35 acres.
John Okes died in 1870 and Cherry Hinton Hall and grounds were placed on the market for sale. The layout of the site, as he had intended it, can be seen from the sale map and particulars of the site. The sweeping driveway which ran from the south west of the site and curved round to the north east to meet at the front door of the hall was laid out when the grounds were planned, and remains, in its original position to this day.
Cherry Hinton Hall sale map, 1870. This map shows the detail of the grounds and features therein.
The sale advert for Cherry Hinton Hall 1870.
Following the death of John Okes, the site was sold to Cambridge University and Town Waterworks Company (CUTWC) for the sum of £5000, who went on rent the property and its grounds to private tenants. Cherry Hinton Hall remained in private occupation for around the next 60 years. During this time various people lived at the Hall.
The first tenant after the death of John Okes was Charles Balls. Charles Balls had started out life working as a shoemaker and then went on to become a Mayor of Cambridge and later a Director of The Cambridge University & Town Waterworks Company. He, his wife and four of his daughters lived at the Hall. His wife Eliza died in 1876 and Charles and his daughters remained at the Hall until 1888, when they moved back into Cambridge Town Centre.
Charles Balls (1810-1892) Read more here:
The O.S map of 1886 shows the park with its water ways, planting, buildings and curved driveway. At this time, the Lodge can be seen with its plot of garden running to the east of the Lodge building.
Robert Moffatt, a General manager of a bank in Cambridge, and his family lived at the Hall for a few years until Major Richard Thomas Lyons, a retired military surgeon, took over the tenancy for another couple of years until c.1900. Cherry Hinton Hall was then unoccupied for a short while until 1902 when Sir William Phene Neal and his wife moved in.
Sir William Phene Neal and his wife, Lady Eleanor Vise c.1902
Sir William Phene Neal who lived with his wife, Lady Eleanor Vise, at Cherry Hinton Hall, created the Cherry Hinton Hall Dairy Farm within the grounds. He went on to become the Lord Mayor of London in 1930 and local stories tell of remembering him being driven in a beautiful horse drawn carriage down the drive, from the park grounds and onwards to Cambridge train station, where he would travel to and from London. Last occupier of the Hall before its sale in the 1930’s was Lt. Col. Brocklehurst Phillips O.B.E.
Cherry Hinton Hall in 1910, showing the drive return and front garden planting.
Ownership remained with The CUTWC and as such the Cambridge University Trinity Estates to which CUTWC was held, until 1937 when Cambridge City Council purchased the whole site, Hall and grounds and the site remains in their ownership today. This particular period was one where nationally the move to acquire and ornament public open spaces was prevalent. Cambridge City Council purchased the Hall and the grounds in May 1937, for £13000.00, and it remains in their ownership today. In November 1937, a conveyance document with covenant was drawn up which laid out the conditions of the purchase. The covenant stated that the site “shall be reserved as a public open space under the Cambridge and District Planning Scheme”.
Original Deed of covenant, 1937 and Below: The transcription of this section
Some of the parkland was lost in the sale of the site to Cambridge City Council. A large portion, to the west of the site, was sold off to a Mr Ridgeon (now a well-known Cambridge building firm, Rigeons) and subsequently houses were built along this strip, along with the creation of a new road called Walpole Road.
Cherry Hinton Hall c.1930 OS map, showing the planning position for Walpole Road, across the western side of the grounds. Note the Lodge garden is gone by this date and the driveway finishes at the Hall in a circular sweep.
For the first couple of years in the Councils ownership Cherry Hinton Hall becomes a Youth Hostel. With the outbreak of WWII, the Hall was used a fire depot and a training centre. It then became a home for young evacuees from London.
After Second World War Cherry Hinton Hall was used as an orphanage and by 1944 the Hall was host to a nursery school from 1944-1988.
The Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Cambridge, originally published by HMSO in 1959 contains the following entry for the Hall:
“Cherry Hinton Hall, nearly 3⁄4 m. S.W. of the parish church, of two storeys with cellars, has gault brick walls with stone dressings and slate-covered roofs. It was built for John Okes and the title to the property begins with the purchase of plots of land in 1834 (University Library, Map Room: sale advertisement, 1870). Scratched on the roof-lead is the date 1839, to which the house would approximate on stylistic grounds. Late in the same century a billiard room was added on the W. Since 1948 it has been converted into a day-nursery and clinic involving alterations and additions inside and out. The coach-house and stabling standing nearby to the N.W. have been drastically remodelled to provide living-quarters. The Lodge some 210 yds. to the S.W. is contemporary with the house.
Cherry Hinton Hall is a large and rather bald building of the first half of the 19th century in the late Tudor style. The elevations generally have moulded strings at first-floor sill and eaves levels, tall parapet- walls carried up in gablets with moulded copings and apex-finials and stone-mullioned windows of one, two and three square-headed lights with labels; the ground-floor windows are transomed. The S. front is asymmetrical on plan and in height, the porch and the E. part being slightly higher than the rest westward. The doorway has continuously moulded jambs and four-centred head. The rectangular bay-window towards the W. end is an early addition. On the N. side is a four-light transomed window lighting the original staircase; to the kitchen is another of five lights on the W. side. The lights in several windows have been cut down for doorways and french-windows, others retain the original glazing of lozenge-shaped quarries. The chimneystacks have separate octagonal shafts with oversailing brick cappings.
Inside, the staircase in the entrance-hall is a modern insertion involving the blocking of the four- centred archways in the N. and W. walls. The principal rooms have doorways with architraves and six-panel doors all with roll-mouldings; another period allusion is the heavy moulding of the plaster cornices. The E. part of the house retains two original fireplace surrounds of gray polished stone, with moulded jambs and four- centred arches, sunk spandrels and moulded shelves; they are flanked, one by pilaster-like responds with roll-moulded angles and moulded caps, the other by octagonal projections with trefoil-headed sunk panels in the faces. The main staircase has close moulded strings, grip handrails, square panelled newels and pierced strap work balustrading of gilded woodwork. The back staircase has cut strings, a turned newel and slender square balusters.
The Lodge, of one storey, with gault brick walls with stone dressings and tile-covered roofs, of uniform character with the house, has been much enlarged. It has large gables, and a smaller gable to the porch, all with moulded stone copings rising from corbelled kneelers. The windows have stone mullions and the tall chimney-stacks octagonal shafts.”
The grounds of the Hall were opened up to the general public as a public park in 1960. The Lodge building was rented out to a park steward who was responsible for opening and closing the gates and other duties (the park ceased to have a steward by the 1990’s and the lodge building continues to be rented out privately by the City Council.) Before long, there was the addition of a car park to the south west corner of the site, just inside of the front gates, along with the addition of a public convenience. This public park development of the site included providing a healthily stocked duck pond and a bird sanctuary to the eastern area of the site within the waterways. The paddocks at the north-west of the site were turned into a games field and the site began to take shape in its new role for the pleasure of the public. This development also, in turn, enabled protection and preservation of the wide variety of mature parkland trees and features.
Within the Hall building the children’s nursey continued, and there was a health clinic and offices from the 1960’s until the 1980’s.
In 1965 the first Cambridge Folk Festival was held, set within the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall. The Folk Festival has been held annually, at the site, at the start of August, ever since and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. It has grown to become one of the premier music events in Europe and one of the longest running and most famous folk festivals in the world. As a result, Cherry Hinton Hall is known world-wide and loved by many thousands of people, who over the years have attended the site.
By the mid 1970’s a paddling area was provided within the Hinton Brook, just north of the duck pond and a play area, with playpark equipment, was in use to the west of the site, where the playpark area has remained since.
c. 1979, Playpark equipment in the Hall grounds, close to where the present-day playpark is now situated. The photographs show a see-saw, a roundabout and a climbing frame. You can also see a bench, showing that public park furniture was being provided by this time (©M.Bullivant)
During this time Cambridge City Council continued to use the Hall building for office space and the rear of building was used for the City Council’s storage and horticultural use, for which they built glasshouses and a developed a nursey/propagation centre to provide bedding plants for council planning schemes.
c.1995 - The council propagation centre and planting nursey (now demolished) at back in the Hall building, which would have once been the site of the Victorian kitchen garden. (©M.Bullivant)
By the 1980’s the site was in full use as a public park and had developed a reputation of a lovely place to visit. There were regular outdoor performances by brass bands and families used the site for picnics. Cherry Hinton Hall became a firm favourite with dog walkers and duck feeders across the city and beyond. By 1988 the Hall building was then rented by the council to Eastern Arts, an arts development company, who additionally provided some art for the grounds of the Hall for the public to enjoy. There was also a fenced-off special bird sanctuary, to the east of the site, on the island beyond the lake and more wildfowl were introduced to the site.
c. 1984, Playpark equipment in the Hall grounds, close to where the present-day playpark is now situated. The photographs show a new roundabout and ‘rocking’ horses. (©M.Bullivant)
In 1987, a refreshment kiosk was opened on the west side of the building, this was only in service for a short time.
Aerial Photograph of Cherry Hinton Hall 1987 showing the site. (Courtesy of Cambridge University Committee for Aerial Photography).
During the 1990’s the playpark was further refurbished, with distinct toddler play areas and older children areas. A major new paddling pool area was constructed, which consists of two pools, one for general use and one for toddlers.
The newly built paddling pool, c.1995 with playpark in the background. (© M.Bullivant)
This wall was one of two original entrance walls, either side of the front door to the Hall building. This western wall, shown, was removed in the late 1990’s to make adaptions, in the form of a sloped pathway, so that the hall was wheelchair accessible, as previously, at the front of the entrance walls, were several steps. (© M.Bullivant)
In the 2000’s, tennis courts were added to the site, just immediate north to the playpark area and exercise equipment was also added. The bird sanctuary had closed by this time and some tree art was made from trees that had been retired. Further play area improvements were made with the addition of an accessible, disabled play equipment.
When I first started my research into the history of the Hall, back in 1998, I was amazed to learn that the buildings were not even grade listed. So I set about finding out how one goes about such a thing and I was successful in getting the Hall and buildings listed. If I can do it, so can you - always have a check if you think a building should be listed and now a days you can do the whole process online. I know it can be a mixed bag in some respects because of restrictions that then get placed on a building but I really did think it worth getting the Hall listed, to protect it for us all as it is a public park and we locals love it.
Cherry Hinton Hall is a Grade II listed building and was added to the Statutory List on 19 September 2002, along with the Lodge, gate piers and the gates at the drive entrance. The list description is provided below:
“667/0/10138 Cherry Hinton Hall 19-SEP-02 Grade II
Small country house, now training centre. 1839. For John Okes. Gault brick with stone dressings and parapeted slate roofs. Ornamental brick stacks, some with multiple flues. Tudor style with coped gables with finials. 2 storeys, attic and cellar. Entrance front is a 6-window range in all at first floor of 2-light casements with hood-moulds (single-light 2nd from left). To centre right is a projecting gable with a panelled door with Tudor-arched surround and casements to side walls and over. On the front to both sides of this projection are 2-light stone mullion and transom windows, one to right and two to left, some with leaded lights. On far left a gabled projection with large square bay to ground floor. Two gabled ranges further to left, one single-storey, the other 2- storey. Front to right has 2- and 3-light casements over taller similar mullion and transom windows with a canted bay to right. Rear has various wings and C20 extensions. A large leaded mullion and transom window lights the main staircase. INTERIOR. Entrance hall has arched screen and carved stone fireplace. Staircase hall has open well staircase with pierced fretwork balustrade. Other reception rooms have similar stone and marble fireplaces. Simpler fireplaces on first floor. Cornices and panelled reveals in some rooms. Service stairs with stick balustrade. Service wings have mainly C20 character. Cherry Hinton Hall is a well-detailed house of the period which retains many exterior and interior features. It forms a group with The Lodge and gate piers and gates at the drive entrance.”
In 2004 I ran a community archaeological investigation. A 'dig' around a small area of the site was carried out, within the lake are in order to establish the whereabouts of a lost medieval watermill site. The work was designed to include participation from the children of one of the local secondary schools and the end result was 2 different interpretation boards for the park along with public information leaflets, a better understanding of some of the archaeological history of the site and the discovery of one of the original medieval mill stones, who now makes an unusual seating feature by the Hinton Brook and information board. The site, as a whole, remains rich in archaeological remains and potential for future excavation and investigation.
I will do a separate blog post on here about this - 'The Lost Watermills of Cherry Hinton"
Photographs from the 2004 excavations at the Cherry Hinton Hall, Lost Watermills Excavation. Top Left: Children getting hands-on experience. Top Right: Capping stones of an old culvert discovered. Middle Left: View inside the culvert, which proved to be from the medieval watermill workings. Middle Right: A Victorian metal fruit tree tag, from John Okes’ orchards.
Bottom left, unveiling of the new information board by the lakes, about the findings and the lost watermills of Cherry Hinton. Bottom right, the new board by the lakes and the original medieval mill stone that I found on site during the project, now placed as a seat for all to enjoy. (© M.Bullivant)
After the departure of Eastern Arts, the Hall building has been leased to The Cambridge International School, since 2008, who remain the tenant of the building today. The school have just completed a major redesign and refurbishment of the main Hall buildings, at their own expense, including the building of a new all-purpose Hall, named The Okes Hall, at the rear of the main Hall. The Council continues to use an enclosed area to the rear of the main Hall building for storage and other council use, including a service area for when the annual Cambridge Folk Festival takes place.
With the design of the Master Plan for Cherry Hinton Hall in 2009 by Cambridge City Council and its subsequent implementation over the last 9 years, along with the formation of The Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall in 2009, it is clear that people still care and are passionate about this special place and that whilst utilising the site, it should be preserved and protected.
Here is a link to The Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall
In the 21st century, the park remains an important amenity for visitors, students, and local residents, being an important green space between Cambridge town and Cherry Hinton, giving the village of Cherry Hinton some much needed distinction and preventing it being swallowed up to become an indistinct suburb of Cambridge City, whilst at the same time being within easy reach of the City and Cambridge Train station. The park is also in close proximity to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, a major employer in Cambridge providing, not just green relief for the staff, but also the visitors to the hospital. In addition, the Cambridge Silicon Valley and technology park is only a few minutes’ walk away from the park, the site proving a popular lunchtime space for its workers. The proximity of several schools to the site means that the grounds are put to good use for educational purposes and the site remains an important tool, for positive development of future generations.
So, there you go, that hopefully gives you a good general feel for the main points in the growth and development of the site and a bit more about its history. I have no-end to add to this which I have already written down, from much more detail about John Okes, who built the Hall and his family, to more in-depth details of happenings at the Hall and grounds over the years, including many written memories from many people, old photographs and voice recordings. I will bring you all these in due course :)
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Ventress Farm, Cherry Hinton
A little exploration into one of the old farms of Cherry Hinton. Ventress Farm was one of the old farms that stood in Cherry Hinton village, positioned just off of, what is now, Cherry Hinton Road. There would appear to be nothing remaining of it to see today...or is there?...
So as you can see from the two little video clips above, it may be that there is something of the old farm buildings remaining, that we can see today, hidden away from sight and only there if you go exploring and have a look. The question is, is that older looking house, within the more modern Ventress Farm Court Flats, actually the old Ventress farm house? or even on the site of the Ventress Farm. Given the name of the site today as Ventress Farm Court, it seems a fairly obvious clue that this was at the least the site of the old farm. So let's take a look at the things I can tell you about Ventress Farm, that I know of already and then see if we can decide if that house is, in fact the old farm house. Firstly lets get our position clearer in the landscape.
This is the southern end of Cherry Hinton. You can see the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall top left and the blue pool is Giant's Grave, which is at the crossroads at the start of Cherry Hinton High Street, with the Robin Hood pub opposite bottom right corner. The yellow X marks the entrance to Ventress Farm Court and the start of video clip 1, the yellow circle marks the potential old Ventress Farm building in video clip 2.
A good place to start is the old Enclosure map of Cherry Hinton, which is from 1806, when Enclosure took place in Cherry Hinton (more on that in another blog coming soon). This is one of the earliest maps that we have for the village in any detail and we can get to see what buildings were there at that time.
The Enclosure Map, 1806, of Cherry Hinton, showing the portion that we are examining. I have coloured in the Giant's Grave and the brook and marked two of the roads so that you might get your bearings. I have also put a red dot on the spot where Cherry Hinton Hall was to be built later, and a red X to mark where the Robin Hood pub now stands. I have circled in yellow the two sets of buildings on the road, around the area that Ventress Farm once stood.
So in 1806, we can see that there are two sets of buildings around the site. The ones, in the larger yellow circle, look more like a set of related buildings which make them a more likely candidate for a farm and then the second singular building in the smaller yellow circle further to the left. Let's have a go at overlaying the modern map with the Enclosure map to see if we can sort the position out better.
Hopefully you'll be able to make out a little of what is showing through the overlaid maps above. We can now rule out the building shown previously, in the smaller yellow circle, and turn our attention to the collection of buildings, within the plot of the larger yellow circle. As you can more or less make out in the overlaid maps above, the left hand L shaped building seems to lay beneath what is now a road way - (the second part of Ventress Farm Court roadway, which comes off of Greystoke Road). The building that is shown on the picture above, in the yellow circle above is the one to focus on. If it is not the building that remains today, it would have stood upon the same spot and may relate to those bricks that were reused to make the back wall, shown in video clip 2.
As you can see there are two L shaped buildings within this one plot, numbered 113, and marked as owned by Caius College. In fact look a little closer within the plot and you'll see another small, square building, by the roadside. The dark line going across the picture is where Cherry Hinton Road now lays (this used to be called Long Drove). It does not name the site as Ventress Farm on this map. I need to do several things to make this information clearer at this stage but given the lockdown that we are in, some things will just have to wait until another day - one of which is a trip to Caius College to have a look in their archives, as it will be good to see what they have on Cherry Hinton in general but also to see what this site was called in previous years to the Enclosure. I also need to pop back up to Cambridge Archives, which is now in Ely, in its new building there, and go over both the Enclosure and accompanying pre-Enclosure maps of Cherry Hinton, getting some new and clearer pictures of them to share with you. I will then also be able to look through the Enclosure award book to see what and who else may be listed, for the plot that we are looking at. I do have all these records here but hidden in piles of archives, in boxes, so it's just as well to go and get some newer pictures with better camera. As I get more data I will keep adding to this post.
In the old medieval open field system within the parish of Cherry Hinton, the site lay in a large parcel of land called Fendon Field. The written survey, of parts of the village in 1592, by Christopher Saxton, describes many of the smaller parcels of land within Fendon Field, most of which are owned by Gilbert Wise and his family but it doesn’t mention any buildings, only the size of the land parcels. The same can be said for the survey of the land carried out in 1733 by John Tracey, some of the land within Fendon Field still being owned by the Wise family, descendants of Gilbert Wise.As we've just seen, on the Enclosure map of 1806 we can see that Gonville and Caius (Cambridge College) are marked as owning the site. Here's a little more information relating to that for now.
“In 1503 Thomas Willows granted c.45 acres to Gonville Hall (Cambridge), to which in 1708 W. Peters left 66 acres copyhold of Netherhall manor. After inclosure  Caius College's main Hinton holdings were in Fendon field… Between 1830 and 1857 its land was leased out to William Ventris. Its lands were sold off piecemeal in the 20th century, and in 1998 it retained 20 acres....In account of Caius' building expenses between 1564 and 1573, amounting to £1,837, includes purchase of timber-trees from Warboys and Ramsey woods, freestone and rubble from Ramsey [Abbey] and Barnwell [Priory], freestone from King's Cliffe and Weldon, clunch from Haslingfield and Barrington and lime from Reach and Cherry Hinton.”
“From the 16th century Caius College owned other lands in Teversham, called WILLOWES. In 1502 Thomas Willows, a Cambridge glover, had devised his purchased lands, c. 79 a., in Teversham, Fen Ditton, Fulbourn, and Cherry Hinton, to Gonville Hall, for 99 years, to help maintain a fellow and bible clerk. The Teversham portion, which, with other land in Fulbourn and Fen Ditton, became Willowes farm.” [in Teversham]
(A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Victoria County History, London, 2002.)
The next thing we can do is to take a quick look at the site from the air.
So one last little thing to try before I start telling you about the tragic and interesting history from what I already know about Ventress Farm... let's overlay the Enclosure map with the aerial view to see just where that building lands, more or less ;)
Mr & Mrs Ventris lived and ran the farm on our site in the early 19th century, and it was called Ventris Farm - later, by the end of the 19th century the spelling had changed to Ventress. You can read more about the tragic incident that occurred, in 1813, to Mrs Ventris and her young child below:
The following is gleaned from old newspaper records about the Ventress (Ventris) family in Cherry Hinton and Ventress Farm:
Mrs Ventris, Relief of poor, May 1801 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
Relief of the poor in Cambridge and the neighbouring villages. Second subscription. Mrs Ventris, Cherry Hinton paid 10s 6d
Melancholy Event, September 24th 1813 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
We are much concerned in stating, that on Monday morning last, Mrs. Ventris, wife of Mr. Ventris of this place was found drowned in a ditch in the Parish of Cherry Hinton. She had left Cambridge on the preceding day, and took one of her children with her, a girl about 16 months old, who we regret to say, was also drowned, being found within a few feet of her mother. The Coroner's jury returned a verdict "found drowned".
This terrible thing happened and the verdict just seems so plain... 'Found drowned'. Perhaps it was as simple and as tragic as that. I presume that the ditch in question was most likely a point somewhere along the Hinton Brook, only across the road from Ventris Farm, which flows from Giant's Grave at the High Street crossroads, through the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall and on towards Coldham's Common, before joining the River Cam at Stourbridge Common. You have to bear in mind that the Hinton Brook had far more depth and the area was covered in marshy boggy places, with natural springs and their little ditches cropping out in various places. This was before the drainage of the parish took place and before the water reservoirs were built on top of Lime Kiln Hill in the late 19th century, which in turn lessened the flow of water in the Hinton Brook. So perhaps it was just that, a tragic accident. It is natural to wonder if there was more to it such as foul play or even suicide, perhaps due to something like postnatal illness or such like but we can not presume or surmise anything like that because we do not have the full facts and can only give our respectful thoughts and prayers to the memory of Mrs Ventris, her young child and her family, acknowledging the sad incident, now part of our Cherry Hinton history.
I have started a family tree for the Ventris family, on Ancestry, so that I can get further records and information about them, which I'll add here as I discover facts.
Mrs Ventris was called Mary and she was buried, at Cherry Hinton, 23rd September 1813 (FHL Film No. 2149251)
The child, who died with her, was called Elizabeth Ventris, as she is shown as also being buried in Cherry Hinton on 23rd September 1813. (FHL Film no. 214251).
The gravestone of Thomas Ventris (possibly William's father) and the only Ventris gravestone I could find on my social distancing walk this afternoon, in St Andrew's Churchyard, Cherry Hinton. This little patch would have been the Ventris family grave area though. Back in around 2005, I, along with Graeme Clarke, surveyed the entire graveyard here and reproduced the grave plan and written grave records for the vicar at the time. I will dig that file out and check for more info on the Ventris family and put here later.
The main and only village burial site from the medieval period onwards was St Andrew's Church at the top end of the village in Church End - There was a large Saxon burial site further down Church End, pre-dating the main church today, which was discovered and excavated about 2009. Before that we've got isolated burials all over the place, from the skeletons of those massacred in long gone battles, found up on top of Lime Kiln Hill, at the War Ditches - to the boundary marker, bronze age burials around the parish and more besides. I'm not sure if the Baptist Chapel on Fisher Lane ever allowed any burials there but on the whole everyone was buried in St Andrew's Church yard - before the creation of the Cambridge Cemetery on Newmarket Road. I have long thought that there may have been some earlier, collective burial site, down the south end of the village (Mill End) somewhere, because Church End (in the north) and Mill End (south) were quite separate from one another before drainage took place in the late 1800's. Perhaps there is still a Saxon burial site to be discovered in Mill End somewhere - the only indication of something religious down that end at the moment, is an odd reference to "God's House" which keeps cropping up on old surveys and documents - it seems to lay somewhere off of the High Street, opposite the Post Office, in that area. So much to explore and discover still...:)
You can visit the tree that I have now started on Ancestry, to learn more about the Ventris family by clicking this link: www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/pt/RSVP.aspx?dat=MTY5MDQ0MzkwOzswMWU5NDJkNS0wMDA2LTAwMDAtMDAwMC0wMDAwMDAwMDAwMDA7MjAyMDA1MTIwNzE3MDI7MQ==&mac=KJIo8AoL8hQtxxf6g8vMBA==
The basics are:
Mr Ventris was William Richmond Ventris and he married Mrs Ventris - Mary Lawrence in Cambridge on 28th December 1796 at Saint Andrew the Great Church.
Mr Ventris was born around 1765 and his parents were from Teversham. He was married first to Martha Plume (born 1764 - died 1788) and they had 2 or 3 children together. He then married Mary and they had 4 or 5 children together.
William and Mary had a baby called Sarah in June 1812 and who was then buried in Cherry Hinton in June 1812. Mary and her daughter Elizabeth died the in September 1813 - the newspaper article saying that Elizabeth was about 16 months old - I wonder if Sarah and Elizabeth had been twins? - a quick check of the records confirms this to be the case, as both Elizabeth and Sarah are baptised together in Cherry Hinton on 6th June 1812.
William and Mary's son, Edward Ventris (b.1802 -d.1886) went on to live in Cambridge (3, Bateman Street, Cambridge) and was the Vicar of the parish church in Stow-Cum-Quy.
William Ventris died in 1827.
More newspaper clips and information regarding Ventris Farm:
27th September and 4th October 1816 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
Parish of Cherry Hinton in the County of Cambridge
Whereas the GAME within this Parish has been much destroyed by poachers and unqualified persons, and considerable damage done by persons sporting amongst standing crops and other acts of unsportsmanlike conduct, obliges us to adopt this mode of proceeding. We the undersigned being owners and occupiers of Lands within the said parish, do hereby give notice, that such persons found trespassing will be prosecuted, and qualified persons are requested not to sport.
T.S. Headly, R. Johnson, R.Rickard, R.Emson, W.Capp, J.Barrance, R.Granger sen., R. Granger jun., J.Truslove, John Headly, John Green, W.R. Ventris, William Tagg, Thomas Hart, J.Clements, William Coe.
October 15th 1819 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
Furniture - Cherry Hinton
To be sold by auction by Elliot Smith on the premises of Mrs Ventris, deceased, on Tuesday next the 19th October at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Consisting of bedsteads and furnishings, beds and bedding, 8 day clock, a bureau, corner cupboard, kitchen utensils, hooks and various other articles. May be viewed morning of sale. Catelogues to be had at the Coach and Horses, Fulbourn, Red Lion, Cherry Hinton, and Elliot Smith.
January 1st 1822 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
On Friday last, an inquest was held before John Ingle Esq., one of the coroners for this County, on view of the body of Thomas Lane, servant at Mr. Ventris's farm, at Cherry Hinton. It appeared that the deceased, who had been unwell for some time, but not so much so as to prevent his going about his usual avocations, retired to bed after eating a hearty supper. In the night a person in the adjoining room was awoke by the cries of a lad, who slept with the deceased. He immediately got up and only arrived in time to see the poor fellow expire. Verdict, died by the visitation of God.
September 14th 1832 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
On Sunday night last or early on the following morning, a post chaise was stolen from the premises of Mrs. Ventris of Cherry Hinton.
October 21st 1882 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
J.Barton will supply
Daily pure MILK from the cow
8 pints for 1 shilling.
Deliveries to all part of the Town.
All orders received at Ventris Farm, Cherry Hinton.
Owners and occupiers of Ventris (Ventress) farm over the years:
The 1888 Os Map (https://cherry-hinton.ccan.co.uk/content/catalogue_item/map-of-1888) showing Ventress Farm, as a collection of buildings in a square layout. P. indicates a pump and our building that stands today is upon the spot along the southside of this complex. Notice how the little building on the far left, which was shown on the 1806 Enclosure map, still stands.
Both the 1851 and 1861 Census do not record Ventris Farm by name but records a John Spencer as a farmer in the vicinity of where Ventris Farm would have been, on Cambridge Road (called Fulbourn Road 1861) - but we can not say for certainty that this is the same site, so for now we'll just note that, rather that say for definite.
In the news, which may relate to Ventris Farm, if Mr Spencer did indeed farm and live there, the following entry in the Cambridge Chronicle appears:
November 17th 1849
On the night of Tuesday last, about 12 o'clock, a fire broke out in a wheat stack situate in a field on the farm of Mr. Spencer, of this parish. The flames speedily communicated to a contiguous wheat stack and a barley cob, and the three were reduced to ashes. The stacks were at some distance from the Homestead and there is no doubt that they were maliciously fired. The conflagration, from the solidity of the Stacks, lasted for a considerable period, and created a great deal of alarm in Cambridge. Mr Spencer is insured, but we have not heard an estimate of the loss, which must be considerable.
(Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
Both the 1871 and 1881 Census do not record Ventris Farm by name but records a Remmington Pratt as a farmer in the vicinity of where Ventris Farm would have been, on Cambridge Road - but we can not say for certainty that this is the same site, so as with 1851 and 1861 previously, for now we'll just note that, rather that say for definite.
OS map 1885 shows the name spelt Ventress rather than Ventris.
On the 1891 Census, Ventris Farm isn't named but approximately where it would be expected a farm is listed but called Barton's Farm - perhaps a temporary change? this needs more investigation. As it corresponds to the site, it is worth mentioning the details here:
Barton's Farm -
James Bass, Head, married, aged 60, Farm Bailiff, employed, born in Oxford
Emma Bass, wife, aged 61, born Bucks
William Bass, son, single, aged 37, Book Cavasser, born Bucks
Louisa Bass, daughter, single, aged 23, born Trumpington
Walter Bass, son, single, aged 19, Stationary Engine Driver, employed, born Trumpington
*note how the son, Walter is a stationary engine driver - this suggests that he was working for the Pamplin family of Cherry Hinton who ran the steam plough works (where there were stationary engines working the plough) in the village and are recorded as owning the Ventris Farm site in 1913 - perhaps they owned it from this date, 1891
The 1901 Census doesn't name Ventris Farm, just the road, but we can presume with some degree of certainty that Daniel Coe who is shown as Farm Baliff and is on the 1911 Census (see below) as a Farm Steward, living at Ventris Farm, is at the same place in 1901.
So for 1901 it is likely that the following applies:
Cambridge Road, Cherry Hinton -
Daniel Coe, Head, married, aged 48, Farm Baliff, worker, born in Cherry Hinton
Emma Coe (Emily on 1911 Census), wife, aged 47 years, born Cherry Hinton
Lizzie Coe (Lucy on 1911 Census), daughter, aged 20, Dressmaker, born in Cherry Hinton
Ada F Coe, daughter, aged 16, born Cherry Hinton
Any other the families shown either side of the Coe's on this Census could also be living on the site but without a link we can not presume to add them at this point.
In 1909 a sad incident took place at the farm:
On the 1911 Census for Cherry Hinton, there are three people listed as living at Ventris (spelt the original way) Farm, as follows:
Obdiah John Malting, head of the household, aged 52, married for 30 years, 3 children born alive, 2 living, one died. Horse keeper, worker. born in Suffolk.
Caroline Malting, wife, aged 51, born in Suffolk
Harry Joseph Malting, son, aged 20, single. Born in Suffolk.
The house is listed as having 4 rooms (not inc. any scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom nor warehouse, office or shop)
Also on the 1911 Census, shown living as separate family (and most likely building with in complex) at Ventris Farm were:
Daniel Coe, Head, aged 59, married for 40 years, Farm Steward, Farmer, Worker, born in Cherry Hinton.
Emily Coe, wife, aged 59, 5 children born alive and 5 children living, born in Cherry Hinton.
Lucy Coe, daughter, aged 30, single, dressmaker, born in Cherry Hinton
c. 1913 - The two farms at Cherry Hinton owned by Pamplins were Ventris Farm and Sidney Farm. Ventris Farm stood on the left of Cherry Hinton Road as you left the Robin Hood public house and made your way towards Cambridge, the farmhouse stood on the site that is now a brand new housing complex of flats called Ventress Farm Court. (M. Bullivant, Cherry Hinton Community Archives (CCAN). You can read more about the Pamplin Bros. here - https://cherry-hinton.ccan.co.uk/wp-search/ventris)
Harold Ridgeon and his family are living at Ventress Farm in the 1960's - a well known Cambridge family, involved with the Sindalls Company, which had a site further down Cherry Hinton Road, opposite Wulfstan Way.
The record on the Cambridgeshire Historic Environment Record database is as follows:
Which we now know isn't quite correct, the farm isn't completely demolished. So I have written to them to request the record now be updated with the new information provided by this post. You'd never know it was there, unless you live in Ventris Farm Court and saw that odd building in the middle as different, or if you didn't just come off road and explore because it can not been seen from the road side at all.
This welcome comment was posted to this article by Ivan who said the following:
"Not sure if you found it already but if you search for planning reference C/75/0116 on the greater Cambridge planning portal, you find : "Address: Ventress Farm House Cherry Hinton Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire. Proposal: Erection of two-storey extention to existing dwelling to from flats.Change of use of existing dwelling to flats". Dated 02 Apr 1975. The application was granted - maybe this is as straightforward as it sounds - the house was there at that time and was converted to flats then?"
If you go onto the planning portal yourself, you will find the information he is referring to and you'll see that it does indeed give the date for which the flats we see today at Ventress Farm were approved for construction in 1975 and that it also says they are to be extended from the farmhouse that stood on the site. It also suggests that the house itself is converted to flats. Here's a screen shot of part of the original application:
Many thanks to Ivan for this information - and remember, if you have any information you'd like to add or ideas you want to suggest please do get in touch. In addition, you are more than welcome to share you memories of Ventress Farm and the site, living in the flats and so on, to this site - just drop me a line :)
If you'd like to support the work that I do, why not buy me a coffee, I'd be really grateful and it will help keep me going :)
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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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