World Photography Day – nice things from my photo archive

…because let’s face it, everything else is more than a little bit sh_te. 

So…here are some with descriptions below.

Cambridge medallions

1873 Cambridge Working Mens Club Medal_2

I found this medal going online and recognised it as being something more significant than it is. It was from the first Cambridge Workmen’s Club Industrial Exhibition from the early 1870s, awarded to a local man who was a colleague of David Parr. I’ve gifted it to the David Parr House off Mill Road so that you and the general public can see it.

Satirical cartoons

350316 STDMoon cartoon motorists road signs and fines

This is Sid Moon in the Cambridge Daily News in the Cambridgeshire Collection. He was the Saturday satirist for the paper until Ronald Searle of St Trinian’s fame took over. This is Sid Moon in the mid-1930s lampooning the new national standard road signs named after the Minister for Transport, Leslie Hore-Belisha.

They don’t make railway posters like they used to

181017 Cambridge Colleges MuseumofCamb Poster

This was a ***huge*** original railway poster by the artist Kerry Lee. I love the riot of colour in this poster, again which I acquired from an antique dealer on the south coast, and gifted to the Museum of Cambridge.

The old Shire Hall Assizes Court on Castle Hill

Shire Hall Court House 28543 Photo

Photo from the Museum of Cambridge. Built in the early 1840s, this was demolished in the 1950s as the building was full of dry rot and the county council were looking for an excuse to build a car park. My plan is to rebuild the court house down to the last moss-covered roof tile and have the building hosting an expanded Museum of Cambridge.

One of the guildhall’s we didn’t get

181009 Colour Photo Belcher Unbuilt Guildhall Horace Darwin 1898 Cambs Collection1.1

Designed by John Belcher for Mayor Horace Darwin – who was later knighted for his services to industry in WWI, the story of why we didn’t get this is here. Again I consider this design to be ‘work in progress’ which just requires a few amendments to make it suitable as a new facade for the guildhall in time for the centenary of Florence Ada Keynes’ centenary as Mayor.

Florence Ada Keynes – Mother of Modern Cambridge

Florence Ada Keynes Dissenting Forbears NevilleBrown

One of the greatest public servants in Cambridge’s history, she devoted her adult life to our city as soon as her three children were out of infancy. Our first woman councillor, in the group of our first women magistrates, and Mayor of Cambridge in 1932 after standing down as national president of the National Council of Women. She got our current guildhall built – against huge opposition, but as the latter could not agree on an alternative, we got the one in Market Square. Possibly the only major civic decision that I think she got wrong. But she got it built in time for World War 2. And in that regard, we cannot be fussy.

Books about how the country is run

I’m picking up quite a few of these – things that really should have been refreshed, published and publicised en masse years before we even thought about an EU Referendum.

A partly-built guildhall but we didn’t get the fancy stuff

181009 Guildhall unbuilt etching 1857.jpg

Peck & Stephens had this masterpiece planned in the late 1850s. We got the large hall in their design but not the things around it which would become fashionable as ‘Edwardian Baroque’ – often seen in London & built at the time of peak British Empire. It’s a style that (as with Belcher’s further above) that divides opinion. Personally I quite like it because there is something ‘magnificent’ about it – and furthermore it looks like the architects enjoyed drawing it up. I cannot say the same about many of Cambridge’s new buildings.

Hobson Street Cinema, built in 1930.

160607 OldBingoHallPerspective

It’s been unused for nearly a decade after initial plans to turn it into a jazz club were rejected on advice of the police and from the pressure of the college opposite. Many local groups have called on the owners to allow the building to be used for community groups – only to be rebuffed. Which makes these proposals from Labour all the more interesting.

The old Playhouse Cinema on Mill Road


Photo from the Museum of Cambridge – if anyone has a colour photograph of this, please let me or them know – I’d love to see a copy of it and cannot find one anywhere!

Sir William Holford’s motorway flyover plan from 1950


The Cambridge Development Plan of 1950 is worth studying in detail because the analysis is actually very good. I just disagree with more than a few of their plans – in particular their spine road that ploughs through Christ’s Pieces & Jesus Green, and this flyover that was planned to go over the river at Stourbridge Common – a classic case of a traffic-generating road. But townfolk protested strongly and the plan for both were dropped. Interestingly construction has started on a new cycle bridge for the “Chisholm Trail” that will link north and south Cambridge alongside the railway line, taking thousands of cyclists off main roads onto a segregated cycleway.

The people voted for a dragon, the people get a dragon


A year after Puffles beat UKIP in Coleridge ward in 2014 at the Cambridge City Council elections, the city council installed a new dragon slide at Coleridge Rec. Result.

I need to get back into music again – but health is preventing me at the moment

Me at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds – Photo by Mike Oliver (

I am absolutely petrified at this point – a couple of months after the city council elections of that year, this gig clashed with the World Cup Final of 2014. But this was my first group musical performance since…secondary school. And that was in 1992!

It’s still home – even though for years I hated the place


Cherry Hinton Hall – the Cambridge Folk Festival.

Cambridge’s old gasworks and sewage pumping station – by Howard Palmer from a local Cambridge Facebook Group.


A wonderful old colour photo from Mr Palmer from the latter part of the 20th Century, I always associated the two structures with each other because they appeared as tall as each other. But the gasometer is in fact a completely different building to the gasometer at what was the Cambridge Gas Works. The site became derelict as the country switched to North Sea Gas – this facility converted coal into coke and coal gas – going onto become one of the city’s largest industrial sites.

Cambridge Gas Works via Britain From Above

Cambridge Gas Works

You can see just how large this site was for a town that didn’t have a reputation for heavy industries. I still think we should have made a go of preserving the large gasometer, but the site was heavily polluted – as was the brickworks at the top of the photo. Hence why the site is mainly used for car-park-based retail. It requires far less land remediation work – which is incredibly expensive. Think of the costs of the Millennium Dome. The cost at the time was thought to have been at least £750million. The cost of the dome structure itself was only £50million. Most of the expense was in removing the highly polluted land – having to dig down to 15m into the ground. Where they dumped all of that material I have no idea.

Sylvia Pankhurst by Jerome Davenport


See here for details. I want some of these for Cambridge for our own local heroes.

Proposals for new council boundaries in Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire 1945

From 1945 – I’d be quite happy for these to be approximate boundaries for a new unitary council for Cambridge & beyond. The state of local government at the moment is a mess.

Cambridge Connect Light Rail


Can we have this please?

And finally…Cambridge controversies in the mid-1930s as vegetables

360919 Ronald Searle road signs as vegetables

Cambridge traffic problems dominating as motorists struggle with these national standard road signs and streetlights – and also Florence Ada Keynes’ guildhall plan.


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