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.
An exploration of the British Newspaper Archive online tells the story of how the bridge that makes Cambridge became the iron bridge that we’re familiar with today. The bridge that gives Cambridge its name as ‘the bridge over the River Cam’ used to be called “The Great Bridge” – today better known as Magdalene Bridge. … More Replacing ‘the Cam-Bridge’ with an Iron Bridge. 1822-23.
In November 1908, Mr Stanley Buckmaster KC MP (Liberal – Cambridge Borough) was called to account by the President of the London Society for Women’s Suffrage (Suffragists – Millicent Fawcett’s group) and a suffrage activist called Clara Rackham. Their exchange of letters was featured in the Cambridge Independent Press of 06 Nov 1908, following Mr … More Cambridge MP Stanley Buckmaster KC called to account by a young Clara Rackham and Lady Frances Balfour. 1908.
This is a lovely article describing the achievements of Cambridge’s first purpose built reading room for working men in town. Printed in the Cambridge Independent 13 Jan 1855, from the British Newspaper Archive. “Twelve months have about expired since this Reading-room was established, called into existence as it was by universal consent, and the requirements … More The first anniversary of the old Barnwell Working Men’s Reading Room (now under a widened East Road!) 13 Jan 1855