Great and Little Shelford in old picture postcards

Great and Little Shelford in old picture postcards

:   Margaret W. Ward
:   Cambridgeshire
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-5504-5
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Great and Little Shelford in old picture postcards'

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A very pleasant spot, where there are tlVo bridges - close to that is our mansion, witn walks extending down to the river - a more beautiful place I never saw; it is the garden of Cambridgeshire! Thus wrote Thomas Thomason c1800 of his home in Little Shelford.

The two parishes of Great and Little Shelford are situated on either side of the River Carn, or Granta. It was from the shallow ford found at this crossing point of the river between the two settlements th at the name of Shelford was derived. There are two branches of the river at this point and it was not until the late 14th century th at wooden bridges were built and a causeway was raised to cross the marshy ground between them. The villages developed over the centuries, each with its own distinct identity, and even today there are few similarities between them.

Great Shelford, to the east of the original river crossing, has twice as much land within its parish boundaries as its western neighbour and this land has been crossed by several important road routes from early times, but it was the arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century that really changed the face of Great Shelford. New to the village were the employees of the Railway Company - stationrnaster. porters, signalmen, gatekeepers, linesmen, etc. - many of these coming from distant parts of the country where they had already gained experience of the workings of the railways. With the journey to Cambridge now only taking a few minutes, there was an influx of professional people who chose to make their homes in the country houses, with large gardens, which were being built both within the village or in the surrounding open countryside. So Great Shelford ceased being the insular unit that it had become over the centuries, wh en population movement was generally between villages in the immediate vicinity. But

inhabitants adapted to the changes and the old-established businesses expanded and flourished, and new firms developed to cater for the needs of the growing population. As housing development spread with the passing years along Cam bridge Road, Great Shelford lost its feeling of isolation and was fast becoming a suburb of Cambridge. Whereas the majority of villagers had, in the past, found their ernployment within the confines of the parish, now commuting was becoming a word that many people understood. The population figures show that Great Shelford almost doubled in size in the forty years from 1891 when a figure of 1,020 is given, and 1931 when the figure stood at 1,864. During this same period Little Shelford shows a slight drop in population with 494 in 1891 and 440 in 1931. Life beyond the Water Bridges was not expanding to the same ex tent. Although able to take advantage of the presence of Shelford Station, Little Shelford life was not influenced by it and village life continued at a more leisurely, less competitive pace.

In this book I have hoped to depiet life in Great and Little Shelford from the end of the 1800s up to 1930. Days when pleasures we re simple and most entertainment was found within the village. At the annual Village Feast, which in Little Shelford was held around the Prince Regent, there was dancing in the evening and during the day villagers jostled amongst the fairground rides, booths and stalls that lined Church Street. Great Shelford Flower Show and Gala was a day to antielpare as July approached. Held on the recreation ground it was a grand affair with a band playing, athle tic sports, a baby show, country dancing, sideshows, as weil as numerous classes for amateur and professional gardeners. May Day was another highlight of the year, as we re the traditional country church festivals such as Rogationtide , Plough

Monday and, of course, Harvest. Many clubs and societies flourished. bearing narnes such as Comrades of the Great War and the Wornen's Friendly League. There was much fund-raising for worthwhile causes, and garden parties and fĂȘtes were organised for the summer months with slide shows and lectures to fil! the dark winterevenings.

This was the world of my grandfathers. when occupations such as higgler, fly proprietor, milliner , stocking knitter, hemp maker and strawplait maker were worthy of an critry in the Shelford pages of Keily's Trade Directory. Fanny Wale records: In 1911 two aeroplanes passed over [he Shelfords. Quite a spectacle! And five years earlier she mentions the sighting of a motorcar in the vil!age. By 1930 both planes and cars were becoming commonplace and radio was in everyone's horne.

When the author Rose Macaulay wrote to a friend after her family had moved to Great Shelford from Wales, she was scat hing about the flatness of the landscape. There are at least three mountains in our neighbourhood quite six feet high (the Gag Magog Hills), sa we ought to be contented. The natives regard them as young Alps. We mistook them [or mole-hills at first: we have to be very guarded in our language on the subject when we converse with the inhabitants.

Her friend Rupert Brooke also mentioned the village in his poem 'The Old Vicarage, Grantchester'. He wrote: And folks in Shelford and those parts I Have twisted lips and twisted hearts . Not very complimentary! But this we do know, that both of these writers spent many happy times together in the locality before the outbreak of the First World War. Rupert Brooke sadly was a victim of the conflict, but Rose in her oid age looked back to her years at Great Shelford and described them as 'that Golden Age'. In more modern times Philippa

Pearce, whose father Ernest owned King's Mil!, found such delight in her childhood surroundings that she was inspired to write 'Tom's Midnight Garden' and 'Minnow on the Tay', both of which draw on memories of happy days on and around the River Granta.

I spent my childhood at Four Mile House, as did S. Campion. author of 'Father - a picture of G.G. Coulton'. Her thoughts of the village over a period of eleven years are very evocative , and a description of the last winter of the First World War coincides with my own memories of the last winter of the Second World War. My last memory of Shelford is of winter, deep winter and hard frost. All the village has come to skate, slide, slither and tumble on our pond; we feel very much in the public eye. Warmly muffled [igures, only dark blurs in the distance but recognisable at a few yards, swoop back and fortn across the wonderjul soapy glimmer of the ice: someone has brought a lantern, and threads its light back and forth by the slide the children have made near the railway line. Yes, I remember it, as will other Shelford people who dared to venture on the Ballast Hole behind Four Mile House!

In my select ion of pictures I have aimed to take the reader on a journey through the two villages, showing scenes which will bring back memories to older residents. and for those who did not know Great and Little Shelford in the years before 1930, an insight into the recent history and a bygone age.

Maris Farm, Great Shelford, September 1992.

Margaret Ward

1. There was very little development along the Cambridge Road until the 1920's and so the two-mile journey from Trumpington to Great Shelford would have been through open farmland. with only the oecasional house. The first of the eight public houses in the village of Great Shelford - The Greyhound would no doubt have been a welcome sight to many thirsty travelIers in the days at the beginning of the century. The road bends to the left and rises over the Northern bridge, which was built to carry the traffic over the Cambridge to King's Cross railway line in 1851. The view beyond stretches across meadows ta the distant cottages in Granham 's Raad, whilst the track to the right indicates the line of the original raad, and it was here that the turnpike rnilestone stood indicating four miles to Cam bridge.

2. This view from the Great Northern bridge looks across open fields to the distant hills. The daisy-strewn meadow was to be developed as The Crescent, and the field on the right was to become Granham's Close at a later date. In the middle distance stands Junction House, built at the point where the Liverpool Street and King's Cross railway lines merge. It was the home of the railway signalman and it was approached through a white-painted hand gate near the crossing in Granham's Road. Nine Wells House stands amongst woodland on the summit of White Hili. It was built for Sir Michael Foster at the end of the last century and affords distant views to the south as far as Royston Heath. White Hili Farm, with its large chalk , or clunch, barn, is situated on the lower slopes ofthe hill,

3. The railway gates in Granham's Road were manned by the crossing keeper, who lived in the bungalow on the left. This smaJl, but attractive, brick and slate building was typical of all the gate keepers' houses along this stretch of track. In previous centuries this road was known as Hollow Willow Back Road and it is along here th at the village ciay pit and also the chalk, or ciunch, pit were to be found. This roadway would have been in frequent use as the local people collected these rnaterials, to build or repair their houses or farm buildings. A favourite summer walk was to Nine Wells, the souree of Hobson's Brook in Cambridge, which is to be found along a footpath to the north of Granham's Road. These springs arise at the base of the chalk hiJl amongst a thicket of hawthom and brambles.

4. The Village Feast was the highlight of the month of July and attracted folk of all ages from far and near. In 1920 Ted Mort took a series of photographs of this event when it was held as usual in the field at the rear of the De Freville public house. Thurstons' Fair travelled throughout East Anglia and when they came to Shelford they brought the latest in rides, amusements and sideshows. The Gallopers. seen here , the swingboats, hoepla, coconut shie, rifle range, Try yom strength. Roll up, rol! up, plenty for everyone! Shivery and Amy Wright travelled for about forty years with Thurstons, living in their wooden waggon which in the early days was drawn by a piebald horse and later on by a giant traction engine. The Wrights chose to retire to Great Shelford and their caravan still stands only a hundred yards from the site of the Village Feast.

5. This photograph depiets a leisurely way oflife on High Green in the early years ofthe century. At the turn of the century Alfred Marfleet, master saddler and harness maker, worked and sold his wares from his shop next to the Post Office. In 1921 his son was still practising this craft, although no doubt he could see that the motor car was taking over from the horse and already there were two motor car garages in the village. The flint wall on the right fronts the garden of Malyons, the butchers, and beyond this is the house of Edward Webb, master blacksmith. The signpost marks the end of High Green, with High Street bearing off to the right and th us onto Little Shelford, whilst Tunwell's Lane continues on towards Stapleford with the tall trees ofThe Chestnuts bordering its left-hand side.

6. 'Established 1765' was proudly displayed on the large sign board at the end of Malyons' driveway on High Green. 'All home-killed English meat.' Young Samuel Malyon, aged 21, sits atop this smart turnout in the cobbled yard behind the shop. The year is 1898. Samuel was to meet an untimely death in 1915, in one of the first motor car fatalities, leaving his wife to continue the business until her sons were of an age to take over. Before refrigeration Mr. Malyon would select and buy various animals either from local farmers or at the cattle market, which he would then bring back to Shelford to graze in the field behind the shop until such time as they were needed to be slaughtered and sold. George and Frank Malyon retired in 1978 and the house is now a private home, appropriately called 'Malyons'.

7. "Their names live th for evermore. ' The memorial cross was unveiled by the Lord Lieutenant (Mr. C. Adeane) on 2nd January 1921 in front of a large congregation including comrades of the Great War and other ex-servicemen, the Girl Guides and members of the V.A.D. In his address Mr. Adeane appealed 'for the same spirit to be shown at the present time which obtained during the war'. Then the names of the forty-three men and women who had given their Jives for their country were read by Mr. W. de Devereux. Behind the memorial can be seen The Elrns, a large house built around 1850. At this time it was occupied by William SindalI, who gave the ground on which the memorial was placed. The house is now demolished, but sections ofthe garden wallcan still be seen in High St reet and Tunwell's Lane.

8. Several of the publicans in the village followed a second occupation. Such a man was Henry J. How, landlord of The Plough, who also had a bakehouse to the rear of the building. In the 1891 census returns he was living there with his 46-year-old wife, Harrier, and their ten children with ages ranging from 21 to 4 years. The public house flourished, as did the baker's business, and today we can still see evidence of the entrepreneurial success of Henry and his family, for in 1906 he was able to build a modern brick house on ground adjoining The Plough. This building stands largely unaltered in extern al appearance, 'H.J.H. 1906', engraved on the gable end, as a memorial to this energetic man. It has for many years been the village branch of Lloyds Bank.

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