Little Shelford historical stories & old newspaper cuttings

Little Shelford historical stories and newspaper cuttings courtesy of the Mike Petty archive 

May 1919 - Little Shelford political meeting pelted

Jan 1914  Mr. Hamer Towgood,—During the week, agriculture has sustained a severe loss by the death of Mr. Hamer Twogood of Sanfoins. Little Shelford, and the tidings of the demise of this prominent breeder of shire horses will be received with general regret in the agricultural counties of England. A son of Mr. Edward Towgood, of Paxton Hall, St. Neots, the deceased gentleman took up residence at Santfoins about 50 years ago. On the death of his father, he inherited a considerable interest in the Sawston paper mills, and for a long period he controlled this business. Agriculture, however, made a strong appeal to him, and he devoted; much of his time to the study of shire horses, and to the breeding of first-class animals. As judge, prize donor or exhibitor, Mr. Hamer Towgood was known to agricultural societies throughout the country, and the Cambs. and Isle of Ely Agricultural Society, of which he was a Vice-President and a generous supporter, has lost a great friend by reason of his death. The deceased gentleman was one of the original members of the Cambridgeshire County Council, representing the Sawston electoral division until his resignation in 1900. He was 71.

March 1916 Miraculous Escape. — Among the passengers on the P and O liner Maloja which was mined between Folkestone and Dover on Sunday morning and went down with a loss of about 150 lives was Miss Lily Dockerill daughter of Mr. Walter Dockerill, Little Shelford. Miss Dockerill had a marvellous escape and her parents were greatly relieved on Tuesday to hear of her safety. She was on her way to Bombay to be married and among her luggage, which has been entirely lost was the whole of her wedding trousseau and presents.

April 1919. Fire, — A fire, caused by some children smoking, broke out on the premises of Mr, James Dickerson, hurdle maker. Little Shelford, on Tuesday at 12.40 p.m. Mr. Bright Smith and Mr. Granville Austin (gateman at the railway station) both rendered valuable assistance and succeeded in saving a spring cart, which, together with a four-wheel van and a quantity of straw were in a burning shed. The van, straw, and shed were destroyed

March 1922 John Clay, University printer. Lord of Manor of Little Shelford – obituary

October 1925 The handsome village hall which has been erected by the people of Little Shelford as part of their memorial to the men and women who served in the Great War was opened in the presence of a fairly large company. It has seating accommodation for over 300 persons. A stage has been provided for plays and behind is an operating box so that cinema shows can be given. A kitchen, dressing room etc are also attached. The hall was a record of the great united effort made by everybody in the village, men and women, young and old, for King and Country & was inspired by the same spirit of unity that had won the war.

November 1926 The County Agricultural Organiser gave an interesting lecture on the destruction of rats at Little Shelford village hall. People did not pay enough attention to the rat menace. There were far too many rats about Cambridge for his liking and if they held a Little Shelford Rat Week it would do a world of good. Everybody should kill rats whenever they got the change. If each person killed one a week it would be doing some good.

April 1927 An inquest returned that a Lt Shelford woman found in a well had committed suicide while of unsound mind following an attack of influenza. She had had two lapses of memory. A month ago she had lost her memory for a day and “woke up” in the evening and found her way home after the people in the village had been looking for her all day. Then she had gone to the butcher’s but did not arrive and woke up to find herself in the main road in the dark eight miles from home. On Friday they noticed the lid of the well was open and looking down they saw her with her head under the water.

August 1928 Mr J.M. Barr of Wisconsin, an American beekeeper of great repute was the guest at the apiary established at Manor Farm, Lt Shelford. Several patterns of hives were shown, including one of an American type and here Mr Barr, in trying to pick up a bee from the alighting board received a sting. His host, Mr Clay had to apologise for the unfriendly reception accorded to the distinguished foreigner. The company then adjourned to tea in the garden room, a spacious verandah which just accommodated the whole party of 30 people.

January 1932 The Sanitary Inspector said that seven cottages at Hauxton Road, Little Shelford, were in a very bad state of repair and nothing had been done to them since August 1927. Notice of a closing order had been served and all the tenants with the exception of one man vacated the property. The owner did not deny the houses were unfit and past repair and there was no alternative to a demolition order.

February 1942 Shelford House Gutted. — A spark from a chimney falling on to the thatched roof on Friday evening started a fire which caused extensive damage to the Old, Enclosure, a house in Newton Road, Little Shelford. There was no loss of life. The occupier is Mr, F. Bagnell, who lived at the house with his two sisters. Mr. Bagnell was alone in the house at about 8 p.m. when a neighbour came to the door and told him a chimney was on fire. Once ignited, the Norfolk blazed fiercely and Mr. Bagnell's efforts to control the flames with stirrup pump and chemical extinguisher were ineffectual, and the Fire Services were called. The fire was brought under control by ten o'clock. Nevertheless, the roof and. most of the interior were completely burnt out, and a large part of the furniture and other property were destroyed. In the house was a very valuable gold watch and chain belonging to Mr. Bagnell, which have not yet been recovered.

January 1948 Cambridgeshire has been well to the fore in implementing the proposals in the Children's Bill. Under the Bill responsibility for the care of children who have no normal home life is placed squarely on the shoulders of the local authority. I think I am right in saying that ours is one of the first County Council's to anticipate legislation. A Children's Committee has been set up, a full-time Children's officer appointed, an office established, and authorisation obtained for adding what staff is found necessary. The Committee has inherited a number of foster homes and the "Red House", Little Shelford and Ross Street Homes from the Public Assistance Committee. Council Chairman M.C. Burkitt said they were anxious that these homes shall be similar in atmosphere to an old-fashioned Victorian family

Nov1950 Sir, during the past months in Little Shelford three boys in the age range of 8-11 have been knocked down by motor vehicles. There are at least two spots that are sheer death traps for children, at the Prince Regent crossroads and the exit from the recreation ground in Whittlesford Road. It would be best to have the whole village brought within the speed limit, but what howls that would produce from the overburdened ratepayers. But would such ‘evidence of distress’ be comparable with that of a maimed and crippled child, or probably one sent to eternity – ‘Anxious parent’

March 1952 When Chesterton RDC acquired land to erect 2,000 council houses in “necklace villages” in order to accommodate the “over-spilled” population of Cambridge they should obtain sufficient land to allow for private building as well, said a councillor. Council houses were subsidised to the extent of £35 12s. and building private houses would ease the financial burden. The sewerage of the parishes of Milton and Great and Little Shelford was already in and they should be the first villages to be developed. Fulbourn, Stapleford, Harston, Barton and Coton were also on the priority list.

Dec 1953 At Winston House Boys’ Hostel, Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge each lad had presents sent from “Fairy Godmothers” who invited a number of them for dinner. For those who remained there was roast chicken and Christmas pudding. At The Grange Children’s’ Home, Swavesey the children hopefully hung up their stockings at the foot of the bed and on awaking found they had been filled. There was no shortage of presents at the Little Shelford Children’s’ Home, partly due to the generosity of the American servicemen station in the vicinity. An American ‘Father Christmas’ arrived from Wimpole Park bringing tennis racquets, bagatelle, darts, dolls and tea sets.

July 1954 Some villages have been ‘jumping the queue’ with main sewerage ahead of Cottenham, a councillor claimed. They had been promised a main drainage scheme some 25 years ago and the drains are in such a deplorable condition that nothing can be done. Their only sanitary accommodation is an open cesspool a few feet from the kitchen door. With all the new development sewage was the utmost priority. But there were major problems at Little Shelford where 47 per cent of people don’t have sinks in their homes and this was a matter of urgency on public health grounds. Pampisford was promised water seven years ago but the village is still not supplied.

September 1957 Little Shelford was an unspoilt village – it was a miracle it had been spared in view of its proximity to Cambridge – and with careful planning it could be kept a ‘picture village’, an Inquiry was told. A building firm withdrew its plans for the erection of 92 houses but appealed for 13 others, however the ‘Black Ditch’ was over-flowing and could not take even one more house.

Aug 1959 A fuel cell which produces useful quantities of electricity by consuming hydrogen and oxygen has been invented by F.T. Bacon of Little Shelford and developed by Marshall’s under a National Development Corporation contract. The present cell, containing two electrodes immersed in a solution of caustic soda or potash, is still in its rudimentary stages but it can supply enough electricity to operate a circular saw, a fork lift truck or even carry out welding. The Americans are interested in using it for manned space stations or space rockets.

April 1961 Little Shelford church used to have five bells in its tower and they pealed each Sunday morning. Now it is gaining another with the addition of a treble bell. When a strange bell is added to a peal the rest A Cambridgeshire Scrapbook 1897 to 1990 by Mike Petty 2456 Please make what use of this you may. Kindly remember where it came from. It has to be re-tuned which means sending them to a London foundry. A completely new frame has to be built into the tower to carry the bells, the oldest of which dates back to 1701. In a few weeks they will ring out once more 61 04 26

August 1961 Arthur Melbourne-Cooper was the builder of St Alban’s first cinema, a photographer and film-maker who was also a stunt man and acting coach. Having trained in his father’s photographic business he became cameraman to Birt Acres, a scientist who in 1892 was experimenting with ‘moving projection figures’. Arthur made short films which were presented by the showmen who travelled Hertfordshire showgrounds then set up a company and filmed extensively. Spectators often tried to disrupt proceedings and a crowd of undergraduates attacked his cast and camera crew when filming in Cambridge. He retired to Little Shelford.

May 1962 Little Shelford shop keeper inquest

May 1962 Fuel cells may soon provide power for motor cars, writes Rodney Tibbs, News motoring correspondent. The cells, which were developed by Mr Bacon of Great (sic) Shelford, have an ability to produce electric current. I remember that at the original demonstration in Cambridge the cell was shown operating a fork lift truck. Now the Chrysler Corporation say they may take the place of conventional car power units within the next ten years. The immediate goal is to produce a cell which will use a simple hydrocarbon fuel such as petrol mixed with air in place of dangerous gases

January 1963 Little Shelford residents protested against building a factory producing scientific and electronic glassware at the rear of a thatched cottage fronting Church Street. It was an important industry and some work was of a secret nature for the Atomic Energy Commission. It did nobody any harm as there was no noise, smell or fumes. It had grown over 10 years from a part-time concern and would employ up to 30. The land had existing industrial rights and was formerly used as a ropeworks. But neighbours said it would overlook their gardens and spoil the view.

Feb 1965 Gypsy couple with caravan by roadside at Little Shelford – Loveridge family

September 1973 The environmental effects on the Cambridgeshire countryside and a number of villages in the building of the Cambridge bypasses are given in the Government's go-ahead to the projects. The inspector concludes that at Grantchester environmental intrusion would be mitigated by a properly conceived planting scheme & the effects on the village would not be serious. At Hauxton and Little Shelford the environmental effects, though great, would not be intolerable. The Inspector does not support Girton's claims that the area will be severed in any practical sense by the Cambridge Northern Bypass. The new road would pass in a cutting and noise screening is recommended.

November 1974 Tomorrow Arnold Parker will put the final batch of loaves from his oven at Little Shelford. So ends a century-old baking tradition and so passes that delicious crusty loaf which arrived warm on the dwindling rapidly in recent years. In 1971 there were half a dozen left, and now the numbers are very small. The economic situation will probably kill them all off in the next few tables of homes in surrounding villages. Private bakeries have been

Jan 1976 Little Shelford has said “no” to further housing estates being built in the village because, say the parish council, probably three-quarters of the residents of the existing Courtyards estate seem not yet to have fully integrated into the village community. The council feels Little Shelford should be allowed to keep its own identity and not be merged with other villages or be over-developed.

Feb 1977 Planners took a long hard look around Cambridge to see where development could best be accommodated. They soon dismissed Histon or Girton because they have relatively limited potential for longer-term growth. At Milton there is considerable opportunity for expansion within the new road framework. Both Bar Hill and Waterbeach possess characteristics suitable for growth, but Cottenham is less accessible to Cambridge. Growth of up to 4,000 might be contemplated in the Teversham/Fulbourn area and the same at Bottisham. To the south it would be possible to develop the Clay Farm area of Trumpington and the Shelfords but Sawston seems to have the greatest development potential

Dec 1982 Prince Regent, Little Shelford, reopened

Nov 1985 People of Little Shelford and Harston have spent £3,000 to repair a magnificent obelisk which presides over open fields near Harston. However the man it commemorates appears to have left no mark in history. Gregory Wale died in 1739. He was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, county treasurer and Conservator of the River Cam. The memorial says he lived an advocate for liberty, was an agreeable companion, faithful friend and a useful member of society. But it remains a mystery why such a splendid monument should be erected to so unremarkable a man.

Little Shelford historical stories and newspaper cuttings courtesy of the Mike Petty archive