Teddy boys in Soham, war memorials at Doddington, stackers and thatchers and ‘fashionable ladies.’ 

Cambridgeshire Collection

‘T’ is the heading for pictures of costume; T.V. depict the elderly. From the Cambridgeshire Collection - Credit: Mike Petty

Historian Mike Petty has again provided a selection of news and photos from the archives. 

You can read his regular nostalgic journeys back in time through his Fenland History on Facebook. 

He also collates nostalgic photos in a section entitled ‘Cambridgeshire Past’ and it is from that collection we bring you two offerings.  

Cambridgeshire Collection

Cambridgeshire Collection - Credit: Mike Petty

The Cambridgeshire Collection at Cambridge Central Library includes many thousand illustrations ranging from 17th-century engravings, through postcards to original photographs. They are arranged in classified order. 

Cambridgeshire Collection

Cambridgeshire Collection - Credit: Mike Petty

Soham Teddy Boys – Cambridge Daily News October 2nd 1958 

Cambridge Daily News October 2nd 1958

Cambridge Daily News October 2nd 1958 - Credit: Mike Petty


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“The reputation of Soham is getting shocking and it is time that the young people learned to behave themselves”, a magistrate remarked.  

“It is getting to the state of a lot of Teddy Boys; if you had differences to settle, instead of creating this awful maul and fight, you should have gone with your father and talked the thing out”, he told a couple summonsed after a dispute at the Chequers public house, Fordham.  

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Fish & Duck Golf Range - Cambridge News October 1st 1970 

Fish & Duck Marina, 1990

Fish & Duck Marina, 1990 - Credit: Mike Petty

The cost of the marina planned for the Fish and Duck Inn at Little Thetford will run into thousands of pounds, said the owner, Mr Albert Cedar.  

There will be a jetty almost 100 yards long providing moorings for 60 to 70 boats, slipways, undercover accommodation for at least six boats, fuel and provisions stores. 

Work has already started and a channel is being cut to allow access to both sides of the proposed jetty.  

The marina is planned to come into operation next spring. 

A car park would also be provided and he is turning a nearby 12-acre field into a golf driving range. “This will not be a money-making object but an extra facility for people coming to the marina”, he said. 

Doddington War Memorials unveiled – Ely Standard October 1st 1920 

Doddington War Memorials unveiled – Ely Standard October 1st 1920

Doddington War Memorials unveiled – Ely Standard October 1st 1920 - Credit: Ely Standard

The inhabitants of Doddington did signal reverence to the memory of the soldiers from the parish, 36 in number, who fell in the war at the unveiling ceremony of the permanent tributes in the churchyard, church and Wesleyan chapel. 

It was something more than a formal ceremony, the occasion being made a public expression of gratitude for the men who paid the price of victory. 

The large assembly of residents did honour to those who the memorials will commemorate.  

Royal Oak closure - Fen Times September30th 1981 

Bill and Joyce Burgess.

Bill and Joyce Burgess. - Credit: Mike Petty

The only Whitbread pub in the Ely area – the Royal Oak at Stretham – is closing down as licensees Bill and Joyce Burgess are retiring after 22 years at the riverside pub.  

The brewery says it is in an isolated position and needs a great deal of money spending to bring it up to modern standards.  

By Boat to the Wedding – Ely Standard September 30th 1932 

By Boat to the Wedding – Ely Standard September 30th 1932

By Boat to the Wedding – Ely Standard September 30th 1932 - Credit: Ely Standard

A boat load of smiling faces was recorded on the occasion of the wedding of Miss Kate Huckle, of Clayway, and Harry Lee of Second Drove at the Baptist Chapel.  

The novel feature of a motor boat conveying the bride and bridegroom and their guests to and from the chapel gave an added interest to the ceremony. 

Water Parties on Whittlesea Mere. - Fenland Notes and Queries, Vol.1 1891 no.165, p261 

Water Parties on Whittlesea Mere. - Fenland Notes and Queries, Vol.1 1891 no.165, p261

Water Parties on Whittlesea Mere. - Fenland Notes and Queries, Vol.1 1891 no.165, p261 - Credit: Fenland Notes and Queries

The following is a newspaper cutting dated the 9th of June, 1840. 

“Whittlesea Mere has of late years, on the day following the anniversary of Yaxley club feast, exhibited a scene of festivity, cheerfulness and joy. 

It may probably be the recollection of some of our readers that we last year gave an account of the gala day, which as is usual took place on the second Tuesday in June.  

The vessels then mentioned belonging to Mr. Buckle, Mr. Sherrard, Mr. Richardson, & co., were this year fitted up in admirable style, and some splendid sailing was anticipated. 

The morning was remarkably fine, and the placid mere was glided over by upwards of 80 pleasure boats of various sizes and descriptions. 

They contained by calculation 1,000 persons, many of whom were fashionable and well-dressed ladies. 

They assembled at the rallying point, on the south side of the mere, about the time Sol passed the meridian, when the scene was changed to one of disappointment and perplexity, about one o'clock, by a thunder storm, attended by a heavy downfall of rain, which lasted four hours in succession.  

The ladies' dresses were literally drenched, the boats were nearly half filled with water, and the only alternative was to re- cross the mere from the point at which they had assembled." 

Ely Canning Factory - Ely Standard September 30th 1933 

The construction of the 'Jam Factory' 1890

The construction of the 'Jam Factory' 1890 - Credit: Archant

Operation in the Ely fruit canning and bottling factory are not quite up to the standard they hoped to reach, principally due to fruit supplies.  

Better results are looked forward to another year.  

A new machine for sticking the labels to cans and bottles has arrived. When this is functioning, it is anticipated the whole of the stocks will be disposed of by the end of January. 

Old Soham Grammarian killed in air crash – Ely Standard September 29th 1933 

Former Soham Grammarian, Flying Officer Norman Charles Styche was one of the two men who perished when the bombing machine in which they were flying crashed and burst into flames.  

He was an orphan born at Hammersmith and spent his early life in a home.  

At the age of 12 he went to stay with Mrs Boreham at Fordham and won a scholarship to Soham Grammar School, where he showed himself to be a brilliant boy.  

He also won a scholarship to Fitzwilliam House Cambridge, but as there was not enough money to back it could not take it. 

When he was about 17, he went to live at Cambridge where he took a job in a solicitor’s office but his ambition to do more than ‘push a pen’ couple with his love of aviation led him to study for the Air Force where he became a short service commissioner officer.  

On completion of his course, he went to No. 40 Squadron with which he had been ever since.  

He had been in two previous crashes but was unhurt hurt in both. 

Prize stackers and thatchers – Ely Standard September 29th 1933 

Prize stackers and thatchers – Ely Standard September 29th 1933

Prize stackers and thatchers – Ely Standard September 29th 1933 - Credit: Ely Standard

For the sixth successive year the premier awards in the stacking and thatching competition, arranged by March branch of the National Farmers Union have been won by the same competitors.  

This achievement stands to the credit of Mr F.G. Smith who each year has built the stacks to a high degree of perfection and Mr F. Seekings whose covering has consistently been a model of the thatcher’s art.  

Their splendid workmanship has been demonstrated on Mr W.G. Ruston’s farm at Boots Bridge, Wimblington and the stacks are a perfect picture of symmetry and neatness.  

Ely Gas Masks assembled - Cambridge News September 28th 1938 

With the delivery of 20,000 gas masks from the Home Office – part of a consignment of 70,000 for the Isle – the Ely depot has been the scene of tremendous activity.  

Wardens, special constables and members of the public have been assembling them ready for distribution.  

A census of rooms available in houses will be taken to accommodate people who may be evacuated from London.  

Territorials have been filling bags with sand at the Barracks ground. They will be used to protect the Drill Hall, which is being made gas-proof 38 09 28b 



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