Heritage festival promises to be 'a feast for culture lovers'

Market Square 1840 before fire 

Market Square 1840 before fire - Credit: Cambridgeshire Collections

Open Cambridge kicks off next week with more than 65 free in-person and online events across 10 days.  

The annual festival, which is part of the Heritage Open Days scheme, runs from September 10-19. 

Visitors will be spoilt for choice with an array of events that showcase the city’s culinary heritage under the 2021 theme ‘Edible England’.  

Hinxton Ickleton and Duxford Flower Show, 22 Jul 1909.

Hinxton Ickleton and Duxford Flower Show, 22 Jul 1909. - Credit: Cambs Collections

Through a series of walks, talks, tours, drop-ins and online events, everyone will have the opportunity to explore what and how we ate spanning hundreds of years.

And it is not just limited to those living in the city or the region.

With a host of online events to choose from, anyone, anywhere in the world can enjoy the festival.  

Horticulture at a memorial site 

Horticulture at a memorial site - Credit: American Cemetery


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One event not to be missed takes place at the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College. 

Visitors can discover Six Centuries of food at Corpus Christi College by visiting the drop-in exhibition in the Wilkins Room in the Parker Library or by checking out the online exhibition. 

The event explores how food is depicted in some of the medieval manuscripts and early printed book.

Large Coppers square 

Large Coppers square - Credit: Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge

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It also shares objects from the college archives, including a turtle shell from 1913 and an ostrich egg goblet, and reveals treasures from the Silver collection.

These include the famed auroch drinking horn given to the college on its foundation in 1352. 

Living Landmasses event (image showing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) 

Living Landmasses event (image showing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) - Credit: Cambridge University

The exhibition also shows how the food served to Corpus Fellow and students has changed over the years, from medieval specialities such as jugged hare to elaborate Victorian menus for Commemoration of Benefactors Dinners.

And, of course, complaints by undergraduates, particularly during the war years when the whale meat dinners were deemed particularly unpalatable. 

Market Square 1840 before fire 

Market Square 1840 before fire - Credit: Cambridgeshire Collections

Books and manuscripts on display include the so-called Parker Cookbook, an early printed cookbook perhaps owned by Margaret Parker, wife of Matthew Parker, the 16th-century master and Archbishop of Canterbury.

Mill Road Cemetery

Mill Road Cemetery - Credit: Claire Martinsen

There is also an illustration of a medieval imperial wedding feast of Emperor Henry and Matilda (showing what appears to be a very early illustration of a medieval pretzel on the table).

Mill Road Cemetery

Mill Road Cemetery - Credit: Claire Martinsen

And the 1621 lease for Cambridge’s beloved pub The Eagle (which has been in college ownership for centuries) requiring the rent to be paid in ‘fat gammon’. 

Music in the Parks

Music in the Parks - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

In terms of online events, highlights include a talk about what the Churchills ate, the history of Indian Restaurants in Cambridge, and a look behind the scenes at the Zoology Museum's rare and extinct bird collection.

Neither a box nor a painting

Neither a box nor a painting - Credit: Stephen Bond

There's also a virtual tour of Homerton College Gardens, an Indian cookery class, and a chance to ask questions of the oldest student geological club in the world.  

Newnham college members in the garden 1940s

Newnham college members in the garden 1940s - Credit: Newnham College

The food historian, Dr Annie Gray, will reveal what and how the Churchills ate - ranging from long Edwardian menus, through to the pared-back light lunches of WWII - during her talk The Cook, The PM, His Wife and Their Foodways: archival adventures concerning the Churchills and their food

Odonata

Odonata - Credit: Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge

Dr Gray not only paints a picture of the changing dining habits of the Churchills themselves, but also reflects on wider trends within food in fashionable society.

She shows how the Churchills (or more precisely, their cook) managed the ration (spoiler: a lot like everyone else, but with a great deal more venison and useful friends abroad) and considers the reality of their everyday eating in comparison with the image they carefully cultivated.  

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue - Credit: Open Cambridge

Britain’s relationship with Indian cuisine has a long history, dating back over 400 years to the 1600s.

In Mill Road History Presents: The history of Indian restaurants in Cambridge, Shahida Rahman explores how the curry industry started and how it has led to decline today.

Orange juice for Elizabeth Rothwell - the Lend-Lease programme in action 

Orange juice for Elizabeth Rothwell - the Lend-Lease programme in action - Credit: IWM - V161 Rights in Common

She also discusses the history of these restaurants in Cambridge, including the Kohinoor, which opened on Mill Road in 1943, and the story of her father, who established two restaurants in the 1960s and 70s.  

Public Art

Public Art - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

Enthusiastic ornithologists, amateur or otherwise, can take delight in watching the Museum of Zoology’s fascinating look behind the scenes at their bird collection during Behind the scenes tour of the Museum of Zoology Bird Room

Rainbows over the flagpole at Cambridge American Cemetery 

Rainbows over the flagpole at Cambridge American Cemetery - Credit: Susie Harrison

Dr Daniel Field, the new curator of birds at the Museum of Zoology, shares some of the treasures of the museum’s bird collection, from rare and extinct species to birds with fascinating tales to tell of evolution and environmental change. 

Red list of endangered British birds by Jayne Ivimey (Bisque fired stoneware clay 2019) 

Red list of endangered British birds by Jayne Ivimey (Bisque fired stoneware clay 2019) - Credit: Jayne Ivimey

Keen gardeners, or anyone who simply wants to take a peek at one of the most gorgeous gardens in Cambridge, can delight as Emeritus Fellow Stephen Tomkins takes viewers on a tour during his film Homerton's Gardens: A Summer Tour.

Scott Polar Research Institute contribution

Scott Polar Research Institute contribution - Credit: Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

From descriptions of the many stunning trees to banks of fragrant roses, he explores the garden, which are at their most beautiful in the summer months, focussing on the senses while adding interesting anecdotes and considerable knowledge to his tour. 

The History of Indian Restaurants in Cambridge

The History of Indian Restaurants in Cambridge - Credit: Cambs Collections

History buffs should definitely watch Graptolites Pudding: The Sedgwick Club Archive to discover more about the oldest student geological club in the world and its archive, a rich resource for geological and social history.  

Online events also include:  

  • Mobile Teaching Kitchens: A community-led food revolution in India – learn how to cook healthy, nutritious Indian food, and find out what a community-led food revolution looks like. 

  • Meat from the market, spices from the Fair: feeding townspeople, students and visitors in past Cambridge – find out how the city used to feed its residents (spoiler: there were gardens and orchards right in the centre of the city, alongside poultry and pigs!) 

  • A land drained, a nation fed: the Fens since 1600 – discover how the efforts of successive generations have created the geometrical landscape we see today, which has a rich hidden complexity.
    This talk explores these changes, and what the Fens have produced in the past and are producing today (30% of our nation's green vegetables and 20% of our potatoes, sugar beet, flowers, and bulbs). 

  • 50 years of the Cambridge Museum of Technology – discover a different side of Cambridge by exploring its industrial history through this fascinating documentary that charts the past, present and future of the Cambridge Museum of Technology.
    From the transformation of the old pumping station in the late 1960s, to the opening of the museum in 1971, to its recent redevelopment and reopening,  

  • Cambridge Corn Exchange: Backstage tour – a behind-the-scenes virtual tour of the largest venue in East Anglia. 
    Viewers also hear from some of the team who are preparing the venue ready to open the doors and welcome back audiences for the first time since March 2020. 

As well as the online events, there are plenty of in-person drop-in events.

The power of steam Stretham Engine (1830)

The power of steam Stretham Engine (1830) - Credit: A KIRBY

Visitors can discover what life is like as a firefighter and what it takes to become one at the Cambridge Fire station open day.

They can enjoy a day of activities including garden tours with professional herbal practitioners offering foraging forays and healthy eating tips.

Thomas Rowlandson - 'Fox-hunting: the dinner'

Thomas Rowlandson - 'Fox-hunting: the dinner' - Credit: Yale Center for British Art

They can also taste homemade seasonal dishes and preserves at Explore Edible England in the Madingley Hall Gardens.

Or discover more about local farming and traditional and favourite family recipes during Edible Cambridgeshire with Cambridgeshire Libraries and Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Family History Society. 

Trumpington community orchard

Trumpington community orchard - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

Open Cambridge, run by the University of Cambridge Public Engagement team and supported by the Cambridge BID, has extended its usual three-day run to 10 days of events.

The festival is part of the Heritage Open Days scheme, which is designed to offer access to places that are normally closed to the public or charge admission.  

University Farm

University Farm - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

For more information or to see the full events programme visit the website.  

Utricularia inflata trap with copeopod prey both inside and stuck in the mouth.

Utricularia inflata trap with copeopod prey both inside and stuck in the mouth. - Credit: Karen Lee

Vegetal Hospitality

Vegetal Hospitality - Credit: Emma Smith

Wren Library

Wren Library - Credit: Trinity College

Champagne and diets: a musical look at the world of Victorian food and drink credit 

Champagne and diets: a musical look at the world of Victorian food and drink credit - Credit: UL

A fifth-century pottery cremation urn from the Roman to Anglian cemetery at Girton College 

A fifth-century pottery cremation urn from the Roman to Anglian cemetery at Girton College - Credit: Girton College

A G Brighton Building

A G Brighton Building - Credit: Matthew Smith

Alan Turing Tours wikimedia commons

Alan Turing Tours wikimedia commons - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

Burnside allotments

Burnside allotments - Credit: Emma Smith

Cam tours

Cam tours - Credit: Chris Skilton

Cambridge market place honor event

Cambridge market place honor event - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

Cambridge Mosque

Cambridge Mosque - Credit: Sir Cam

Carolina Parakeets in the collections of the Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge 

Carolina Parakeets in the collections of the Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge - Credit: University of Cambridge

Chalk and Cherry

Chalk and Cherry - Credit: Janetka Platun

Museum of Cambridge

Museum of Cambridge - Credit: Museum of Cambridge

Credit Sidney Sussex College - a personalised menu card for the Confraternitas Historica banquet held on St Nicholas Day 1913

Credit Sidney Sussex College - a personalised menu card for the Confraternitas Historica banquet held on St Nicholas Day 1913 - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

St John's College, Cambridge

St John's College, Cambridge - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

Crematorium

Crematorium - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

Cyrenians allotment 

Cyrenians allotment - Credit: Ruth Wood

Dr Annie Gray

Dr Annie Gray - Credit: Kristy Noble

Edbile Cambs

Edbile Cambs - Credit: Cambridgeshire Collections

F P Fenner - old man with hands as trophy quote 1892

F P Fenner - old man with hands as trophy quote 1892 - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

Plate. Alcora factory, Spain, Valencia. The plate has a a rim with six indentations in the edge, a d

Plate. Alcora factory, Spain, Valencia. The plate has a a rim with six indentations in the edge, a deep, sloping rim, and flat centre on which are fourteen moulded and applied fruits. The plate has green and orange bands around the rim, below which is an orange garland outlined in brown, comprising circular stylized flowerheads with swags of fabric between them. The greenish-yellow fruit have dull pink streaks radiating from a brown spot at the top to about half-way down their sides. The glaze has 'crawled' in one place on the edge of the rim. There are three peg marks on the back of the rim. Tin-glazed earthenware painted in green, greenish-yellow, pale orange, and dull pink, and dark brown. - Credit: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Image Li

Kitchen utensils, meat and vegetables. Schooten, Floris Gerritsz. van (Dutch, op.1612-1655). Oil on

Kitchen utensils, meat and vegetables. Schooten, Floris Gerritsz. van (Dutch, op.1612-1655). Oil on canvas, height 102.2 cm, width 158.1 cm, circa 1600-1610. - Credit: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Image Li

Fragile Glass

Fragile Glass - Credit: Stephen Bond

Handwritten text George and the Chocolate Factory hand drawn factory merging into chocolate bar

Handwritten text George and the Chocolate Factory hand drawn factory merging into chocolate bar - Credit: OPEN CAMBRIDGE

Hedge hoardings

Hedge hoardings - Credit: Hermione Spriggs


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