Summary: It’s ever so easy for local history to get forgotten about, lying unread on dusty shelves in little known archives. Part of the challenge for public historians is to bridge that gap between the work that researchers do and the wider public. Just over a year ago I noted down a number of dissertations … More Hidden works on Lost Cambridge by researchers predating the social media age
Summary: After being involved in the fight for votes for women in the USA, and an aborted attempt at bringing peace to Europe on Henry Ford’s 1915 peace mission, US political activist Lella Secor Florence came to Cambridge with her new British husband – the economist Philip Florence. In their eight years here, she would … More Lella Secor Florence – stepping up equalities campaigning in interwar Cambridge
Summary. As local communists in Cambridge under the leadership of Darwin’s great grandson and local lad John Cornford become more active, clashes between right wing undergraduates who had found out about a planned action by anti-war activists led to clashes by the river. The Tivoli cinema is in the news with the recent submission of … More Cambridge undergraduates have punch-up with anti-war activists outside The Tivoli Cinema – November 1933
Summary: An incredible publication few will have heard of, written by another American hero of Cambridge – Lella Secor Florence. Lella Secor Florence is another one of those incredibly talented women who was neither born in Cambridge, nor died in Cambridge, but whose time living here had a huge impact on our town (as it was … More Cambridge’s first birth control clinic of 1925 and the study of its first 300 service users in 1930
Summary: The first Englishman to die in Spain fighting the fascists at the start of the Spanish Civil War 1936-39. Although it consistently returned Conservative MPs throughout much of the 20th Century, there was a persistent hotbed of radical politics in Cambridge that refused to go away. We take some of it for granted today, … More John Cornford and the fight against the Fascists in the 1930s.
Another example of an attempt by private charity to solve a social problem. Rev Harvey Goodwin, later the Bishop of Carlisle, founded the Cambridge Industrial School. Rev. Goodwin presented his case to the local great and good at a meeting in Cambridge Town Hall in December 1847. From the British Newspaper Archive – original text … More Cambridge Industrial School and Rev Harvey Goodwin. 1847.
Summary: On news reporting of petty crimes – and attempts to combat it. Sources are from the British Newspaper Archive. Today it almost reads as if some of these were written for drama scripts – or certainly for public reading. The police courts were predecessor courts to magistrates courts. Much of the fun and games … More Roguishness and vagabondery in Victorian Cambridge – 1851.
Summary: The liberal-leaning Cambridge General Advertiser published a damning opinion piece on The University of Cambridge and its private prison, The Spinning House, following the death of, and inquest into Elizabeth Howe. Transcript from the British Newspaper Archive. “The mysteries of the Spinning House base at length become notorious throughout the country. The facts of … More Cambridge Newspaper slams Cambridge University over the Spinning House. 1846.
Following on from the last blogpost, opposition to the existence of the Spinning House pre-dated the death of Elizabeth Howe at those premises – to all intents and purposes little short of corporate manslaughter on the part of the University, and quite possibly contempt of The Coroner’s Court by the Rev W.T. Kingsley of Sidney … More Proposal to turn the Spinning House in Cambridge into a hospital. 1840.
I don’t know if Cambridge University has ever formally apologised for the horrific conduct of its officials towards the women of Cambridge over the centuries – something that only came to an end in the 1890s because townfolk raised enough money to mount a legal challenge against the Vice Chancellor. The inquest jury is quoted … More Inquest of Elizabeth Howe at the Spinning House, Cambridge University’s private prison. 1846.