How to Research Your House, Street and Area Histories in the Archives

Helen Weinstein’s Talk for Cambridge Festival

Helen Weinstein, as Community Historian for IronWorks (former Mill Road Depôt) showcases sources from Sturton Town in Cambridge telling stories of working class residents from the Victorian Era onwards.

Outdoor water-closet

In this illustrated talk Helen Weinstein, Public Historian & Director of HistoryWorks, will be introducing a wide range of local history sources and their stories from the Area known as ‘Sturton Town’ in Victorian times which is located just off Mill Road in Cambridge covering Gwydir, Kingston, Sturton, Sleaford, Hooper & Ainsworth Streets.

Signatures of Sturton Town residents, 1879

Based on her recent research Helen will be sharing the stories of Resident occupations from the census in Victorian times and revealing sources in the Archives & material objects in the Museum of Cambridge.

Helen will show participants how to find out about properties and the environment of Victorian Cambridge using well known sources like the 1891 census and the trade directories, sharing examples of the range of stories in newspaper and photography archives at the Cambridgeshire Collection. 

Deed for the Hooper Street / Ainsworth Street corner property
The property today, formerly Sarah Scarr’s corner shop

Helen also has considerable experience of maps and manuscript sources, and will show histories revealed when you dig deeper into the Cambridgeshire Archives with fascinating stories about the allotments, commons and parks, public health and sanitation, pub and brewery licensing, workhouse and charitable committees to illuminate the hidden histories of individual Victorian streets and their residents.


Bring your questions to the zoom event if you wish. The talk will be hosted by Lucy Walker, Chair of Trustees at the Museum of Cambridge; and Helen & Lucy invite you to ask questions in response to the talk, as well as to share photos, objects or paperwork you’ve found associated with your own house history!

Local history film

If you wish to view an introductory film with a tour of the local history of Sturton Town, presented and produced by Helen Weinstein, click here or on the image above.


The Museum of Cambridge is in need of your help. This event is free to attend, but we’d be so grateful if you can offer a donation of any size to support us to secure our future. Once you have secured your ticket via Eventbrite, you can donate to the museum here.



This event partners the Museum of Cambridge, where Helen Weinstein has co-curated an Exhibition called “Forge” alongside local residents in Sturton Town led by Artist in Resident at IronWorks, Hilary Cox Condron; which we invite Cambridge Residents to view online at our exhibition website here.



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.


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.


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.

Betty Morgan 1928-2020

By Jonathan Wilson

Mother of champion weightlifters, short in stature: big in personality

The lights of Mill Road gleam a little less brightly tonight after the death of Bessie “Betty” Morgan at the age of 92, one of the oldest residents in the area. 

Betty, who came from the well-known Silverman family, lived in Perowne Street for 68 years, setting up home there in 1952. She was a well known figure in the area, a familiar face in many of the shops and cafés until moving into the St Georges Court care home earlier this year. She died in October after developing pneumonia.

One of eight children, Betty was born in the city on 12 July 1928, to Samuel and May Silverman. Her late brother Charlie established the Silverman’s Office Furniture company, which still trades in the city while sister Doreen, aged 94, still lives in Fen Ditton.

In 1952, Betty married Ken, who worked as a carpenter for British Rail, and gave birth to two sons, David in 1964 and Tony in 1969. 

Although a mere 4ft 7inches tall, what Betty lacked in height she more than made up for with her big personality and strong work ethic. And it was as a mother that Betty thrived, showing extraordinary devotion and commitment to support “her boys” in their sporting careers. Both excelled in weightlifting and Betty was determined that each would achieve his potential. She supported them at events but beyond that normal parental help, she offered crucial financial help at one point working three separate jobs so that David and Tony could have the time to train when financial support for top athletes was not available.

David Morgan inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame, 2013. From left: Welsh weightlifter Daruis Jokarzadeh (6′ 9″) bronze medal in junior world championships; Welsh long jumper Lyn Davies, 1964 Olympic gold medal; David Morgan and mother Betty. Photo courtesy Jonathan Wilson.

And that devotion and commitment paid off: Tony became the youngest British senior champion at age 15, completed in the 1992 Olympics and then won a bronze in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. 

David twice came fourth in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles (1984) and four years later in Seoul. And is the only athlete ever to win gold at five different Commonwealth games. He competed in three Olympic Games, won various world championships and broke multiple world records. His sporting achievements culminated in the award of the MBE in this year’s New Year’s Honours list. And Betty could not have been more proud when David told her the news.

But David and Betty’s trip to Buckingham Palace in June was, of course, cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Betty with son David. Photo Jonathan Wilson

Sadly husband Ken died in 1994 of leukaemia, aged 69, but he lived long enough to see many of the successes of his sons.

In later life, Betty loved dressing in bright colours and always wore high-heeled boots.

In April 2004, Betty decided to slim-down her wardrobe. A neighbour, jokingly printed a sign.

She enjoyed her garden, butterflies and flowers, the Cambridge Botanic Gardens being one of her favourite haunts. Betty was also a proud grandmother to Tony’s children, Katie and Tom.

Betty with (L-R) Perowne Street neighbour Monica Smith, granddaughter Katie and son Tony enjoying the Perowne Street party in 2009

Betty loved the Perowne Street/Emery Street residents’ street parties. She regularly had breakfast at the Salvation Army, lunch at Ditchburn Place and afternoon tea in the Grafton Centre or elsewhere in the city centre.  

Betty’s funeral will be held at Cambridge Crematorium (West Chapel) on Wednesday 11th November 2020, at 2pm but, but given Covid restrictions, attendance will be strictly limited to family and close friends. For further information, please contact Rosalind or David Morgan on 07813 592479 or 01223 562595.

David and Tony intend to host a more fitting event to celebrate their mother’s life once the Covid pandemic has passed – hopefully an all-singing-all-dancing street party in Perowne Street – and are planning to adopt a bench in her honour in the Botanic Gardens. 

This post was amended on Monday 2nd November to correct the title to 1928-2020.

Local poet and neighbour, Carol Ann Wood, has written a poem to celebrate Betty Morgan’s life in Perowne Street.

Click the image to view/download a printable PDF of this poem.