FORGE: pop-up exhibition

19th December 2020 – 8th February 2021

The Museum of Cambridge plays host to a multimedia exhibition inspired by the history of Ironworks

The FORGE exhibition presents a thought-provoking look and celebration of how the community has flourished through rediscovering and making new connections with local heritage, nature and traditions. FORGE will take you on a journey through the museum to explore artefacts from the past to the present-day. The display highlights how the revival and sharing of these traditions and crafts over the past year has given us hope and helped to inspire a kinder future.

Click the image to view/download a printable PDF of the poster

Inspired by the people and history of Sturton Town, Ironworks and Mill Road, FORGE has been conceived by Ironworks artist-in-residence Hilary Cox Condron and co-curated with community historian Helen Weinstein, local residents and The Museum of Cambridge.

Ironworks is a flagship development by Cambridge Investment Partnership, an equal partnership between Cambridge City Council and Hill Investment Partnerships.

Helen’s video Sturton Town in Victorian Times tells the story of how the neighbourhood was open fields up until September 1869 when it was sold to Joseph Sturton, a building developer. Click to view.

Click the image to view the video

Come along to the Museum of Cambridge between the 19th December 2020 and the 8th February 2021 and see the FORGE installations throughout the museum. The exhibitions and digital displays will shed new light on the former occupants of the homes around Ironworks and how the area’s past has informed the artworks that will feature within the public spaces being created as part of the new homes being built.

Throughout the exhibition will be a series of online events and workshops for audiences to delve a little deeper into some of the presentations, for a full list and up-to-date information please visit this link during the exhibition dates.

Opening Times
Thursdays to Saturdays 1pm – 5pm
1st Sunday of the month 12pm-4pm
There is no need to book your visit: tickets can be purchased at the Museum.

Holiday Opening Hours
The Museum will be closed for the bank holidays on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th December and Friday 1st January. The Museum has added an additional opening day on Wednesday 30th December 12pm-5pm.

Please note that a maximum of 18 visitors are allowed in the museum at any time and an entrance fee is payable. The date and duration of this exhibition are subject to HM Government’s covid-19 restrictions and the Museum of Cambridge‘s own risk mitigation policies. For up-to-date information and opening hours please visit the  Museum of Cambridge website (here) or phone 01223 355159.

The Museum of Cambridge is at 2-3 Castle Street, Cambridge CB3  0AQ.

FORGE forms part of the Resonance-Cambridge public art programme for the new homes being built by the Cambridge Investment Partnership.

REMEMBRANCE DAY

By Helen Weinstein | 11th November 2020

At a time when it is not possible for large gatherings for Remembrance Day because of the pandemic, there are other ways for those living and working around Mill Road to connect and share the memories of how our area experienced wars, past and present.

MARKING 75 YEARS SINCE WORLD WAR II

Helen Weinstein, community historian, is sharing a film with Mill Road Bridges when we are marking with commemorative events this year the significance of 75 years since the end of World War Two. The film takes you on local tour where Helen shows how the residents living around Mill Road experienced bombing in the 1940s.

Vicarage Terrace Bombing – Courtesy of Cambridgeshire Collection, Central Library

HistoryWorks has produced a short film to share because (due to the Covid-19 restrictions) all talks & history tours have had to be online. VE Day season and Remembrance Day week in Cambridge has therefore seen Helen Weinstein asked to give talks marking 75 years since the end of World War II sharing research, talks, and a walking tour film.

Gwydir Street VE Day Party – Courtesy of the Cambridgeshire Collection, Central Library

The film below, presented and produced by Helen Weinstein, tells the story of how Cambridge experienced the bombing raids in World War 2, showing it is a myth that Cambridge was not impacted because there were 50 homes destroyed, 2000 homes damaged, and many deaths and casualties.  The film shows how the residents and businesses near the railway line were impacted. 

Click to watch the World War 2 History Tour of the Mill Road area

The focus of the history trail film is to visit sites in the area known locally as Sturton Town, linking the Mill Road Railway Bridge to East Road and Newmarket Road. The tour includes the location of the air-raid shelter on Gwydir Street, the bombing of Vicarage Terrace on the night of June 18th 1940, and the Mill Road Bridge bombing on 30th January 1941, taking in the VE day street parties which took place 75 years ago. Helen shares letters, newspaper accounts and eye witness memories of civilian experiences from 1940s Cambridge.


GRAVES OF COMMONWEALTH SOLDIERS 

Also recommended, is a visit to Mill Road Cemetery as a place for remembering the dead in peaceful surroundings, in a haven for wildlife and for quiet contemplation . There are many burials of the fallen soldiers in the cemetery.  

The CommonWealth War Graves Commission maintain the graves of 33 Commonwealth service personnel from World War I and four from World War II.

Mill Road Cemetery has a graves database with information provided by Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Family History Society, with further research by the Cemetery History Group. See the links below.

For each grave it is possible to click to show the location within the cemetery.

Planning Application – Former Sally Ann’s

Caro Wilson writes:

Please do take the time to study the details of the planning application and add your comments.

A recent view of the former Sally Ann’s shop, Caro Wilson

Readers may not be aware that before 44a Mill Road was the Sally Ann’s shop it was Fine Fare, Cambridge’s first self-service supermarket.

Fine Fare, Mill Road, courtesy of the Cambridgeshire Collection, from the Capturing Cambridge website

Before that it was The Playhouse, Cambridge’s first purpose-built cinema.

Playhouse c1936, from the Capturing Cambridge website

Do take note of its pedimented roof line and do go and take a look at the side wall where generations of children waiting for the Saturday film show carved their initials and made holes in the brick work with their copper pennies.

Side wall August 2015, photo by Simon Middleton, from the Capturing Cambridge website

Read all about the history of this important building 44a Mill Road on the Capturing Cambridge website, compiled by members of the Mill Road History Society

Your comments on the planning application on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning portal could help to persuade the owners of this site to preserve as much as possible of its important heritage.


See also Redeveloping the Mill Road Playhouse Cinema, 26th September 2020, on the Lost Cambridge blog.


Whilst you may add comments below, these will not be seen by officers of the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning partnership, nor be taken into consideration by the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee.

Time for a Mill Road Plan?

Cambridge is renowned for quality architecture and open spaces. But are we seeing this on Mill Road’? Two recent planning applications — Mickey Flynn’s site in Petersfield and The Labour Club in Romsey — both support the claim that buildings are being parachuted into the street scene without respect for the surrounding area.

Mickey Flynn’s

Recently submitted plans for this site have failed to respect the City Council’s advice that new developments should ‘Maximise the unique characteristics of the site to create a sense of identity’ and ‘Make a positive contribution to the character of the surrounding area’ (Design Guide. 2011). This site could and should be designed to enhance the surrounding area (perhaps opening onto a pavement café), but the plans only made a nod towards this option. The new proposed development rises above the pavement, while the building line comes forward towards Mill Road, reducing the existing welcome sense of space for pedestrians.

Development of this site is a one-off chance to enhance this area, bordered by one of Mill Road ’s distinctive historic buildings — the Bath House. The plans fail to recognise or add to the partial improvements made 15 years ago. These established a base-line by using high quality materials — recycled granite bollards; a special lamp column; Judas Tree; ground cover planting; and underground soakaway. The redevelopment of this former snooker hall should be the completion of this scheme — creating a ‘public square’ in Petersfield and bringing the ‘Cambridge’ quality into Mill Road. Revised plans awaited.

Romsey Labour Club

Over the bridge, plans have now sadly been approved by the City Council for the redevelopment of a piece of local social history — the Romsey Labour Club. Although ‘retaining’ the original facade, the old building will be dwarfed by a block of student flats. This mockery of the historic frontage reduces the important story that it tells about Romsey and is unsympathetic to the Conservation Area. The inappropriate use of materials shout at pedestrians, while the height will block out light from the surrounding streets.

Mill Road is at the centre of a Conservation area. No other arterial road in the city has this designation. The road’s history is central to the story of Cambridge. It is a ‘High Street’ in its own right. It serves the population of a small town in the surrounding catchment area, with the highest pedestrian footfall of any main road outside the city centre, but the City Council has no ‘Plan’ for Mill Road.

Developers exhaust planning officers and residents by first submitting applications that ignore planning guidance. They then return with plans that are marginally improved, and which are accepted. Too often plans lack aspiration and fail to reflect local knowledge. But what is built will be here for 100 years, and it is important that it is not ‘just good enough’, but ‘the best’. So, is it time to have a ‘Mill Road Plan’?

Allan Brigham

Allan Brigham