Cambridge in old picture postcards

Cambridge in old picture postcards

:   Michael Rouse
:   Cambridgeshire
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-2960-2
:   144
:   EUR 16.95 Including VAT *

Delivery time: 2-3 weeks (subject too). The illustrated cover may differ.


Fragments from the book 'Cambridge in old picture postcards'

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79. With all the development in Chesterton the pressure was applied for better pedestrian links with the centre of the town across the Cam instead of the ferries. This postcard was published at the time of the opening of a footbridge link from Pretoria Raad across to Midsummer Common on 2nd September 1927. The footbridge replaced the old halfpenny ferry which operated between the Gonville and Caius baat yard and the Fort St. George public house. The ferry operated by Walter Pauley, assisted later by his son, Ernest, sank while not in use shortly before the new footbridge opened.

80. Between Chesterton and Baitsbite Loek the University baat races take place. The May Races which are an inter-college competition are held on the first or second Wednesday in June and on the three following days, They are known as 'The Mays' and because of the narrowness of the river they are bumping races where the boats are started in order of a league table. As soon as the pursuing boat catches the one in front, a bump is recorded and the boats change places in the league table, The Mays have their origin in the rivalry between Trinity and St. John's Colleges which put the first eight oared boats on the river in 1826. Four boats raced in 1827 and from then the number of boats increased rapidly. In 1852 the practice of dividing the boats into divisions was established. The winning boat becomes Head of the River.

81. At the turn of the century huge crowds came to speetate. At Ditton the Rector set up marquees and provided teas in the Ditton Paddock to supplement his income, while on the opposite bank was a small fair. As can be seen from both these photographs spectators took up every vantage point they could from the specially built grand stands to the roofs of carriages and the tops of omnibuses.

82. Those who went to watch The Mays by boat often indulged in an unofficial race back to Jesus Locks once the last bumping races were over. The river was jammed with all manner of craft and there was considerable risk to life and limbo Harry A Moden, who drew cartoon postcards depicting town and University life in Edwardian times, showed in 'The Race Home' a humorous view of the event, which from some contemporary accounts of the chaos on the river does not seem too exaggerated.

83. Tragedy did strike after The Mays in 1905 with an accident to the ferry at 'The Plough' at Fen Ditton. Ditton Ferry was known as the 'Red Grind' and James Skinner was the operator at the time with Henry Clayton the conductor. On 10th June 1905, the ferry had made two trips already after the last race. On the third trip with twenty-two passengers already on board, two University men jumped on when it was about three yards out and the ferry lurched over snapping the chain. Three local girls were drowned. The ferry was replaced but eventually removed after another accident following the Lent races of 1961.

84. With rowing such a major College sport it is hardly surprising that boat houses line the northern bank of the River Cam in the area opposite Midsummer Common. There are nineteen of them from the Victorian to the modern. An anonymous photographer during the floods of 1918 shows two of the boathouses. This is Trinity Boat House, which was the first to be privately owned by a College, opened in 1872. It was extensively repaired in 1919 and replaced by a new construction in 1935. Why are the soldiers crowding the balcony? Troops did camp during the First World War on Midsummer Common and with no rowing taking place during the war years some of the boat houses were used by the military. This might have been a temporary use caused by the flooding.

85. The charming late Victorian boat house of Emmanuel College was opened in 1895 and apart from the loss of the balcony looks much the same today. This flood photograph shows the ferry operated by the Dant family for sixty years. David Dant owned the land in the photograph until his death in 1893 when much ofit was sold. The Dants continued to live in the cottages seen next to the boathouse. Cutter Ferry Lane ran down to the ferry and there had been a Cutter Inn nearby. In 1927 a footbridge similar to the one near Pretoria Road was built and the days of Dant's ferry were over. The cottages where the Dants lived have also gone but the boathouse and the footbridge, known as the Pye Bridge, are still there with some more modern buildings behind them.

86. Many people who have never seen a boathouse on the Cam still follow the fortunes of the Cambridge University eight in their annual challenge race from Putney to Mortlake on the Thames each year with Oxford University. The University Boat Club was established at Cambridge in 1827. The first boat race against Oxford was held at Henley in 1829. In 1836 quite by chance, or rather through the choice of a Mr. Phillips of Christ's, who ran to a nearby shop for a piece of ribbon to distinguish the Cambridge boat and came back with a light blue piece, light blue has been the University colour for all sports. In 1906 the crew seen here were clear winners over Oxford paddling home by 3Y2 lengths. They were, however, much criticised for their fast but ugly style.

87. Their stroke in 1906 and 1907 was D.e.R. Stuart who gave his name - the 'Duggie Stuart style' - to their effective manner of rowing which did not suit the purists. The 1907 crew of A.B. Close Brooks, bow, J.H.F. Benham, H.M. Goldsmith, J.S. Burn, H.G. Baynes, B.C. Johnstone, E.W. Powell, D.e.R. Stuart and R.F.R.F. Boyle, cox, again won easily by 4% lengths. On the back of this card it says: 'This snap of the Varsity having an 'easy' has just appeared it is a goed one.'

University Boathouses, Cambridge

Valeruines Serie!')

88. Before the boathouses on the Cam there were boatbuilding yards in the nineteenth century with such well known names as Winter, Foster, Pocock and Banham. The University and Colleges rented their boathouses from the boatbuilders. In this late nineteenth century photograph the University boathouses were in Foster's boathouses. Note the ferry in the foreground and the pleasure craft moored nearby.

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