Stapleford Cambridgeshire historical stories and old newspaper cuttings
Read about famous Staplefordonians through history
Stapleford historical stories and newspaper cuttings courtesy of the Mike Petty archive
The Vicar of Stapleford was awarded compensation following the abolition of slavery.
Rev Robert Hawthorn received £204 for the slaves on the Penshurst estate in St Ann, Jamaica as judgement creditor from 1803 according to a new slavery compensation website.
He was the son of Robert Hawthorn of St Ann, Jamaica who died in 1798, who owned the Valley Minor estate.
Rev Hawthorn, who was born in Jamaica, was one of the claimants of the Penshurst Estate in Jamaica which had between 23 and 82 slaves.
The estate was owned by Gilbert and Sarah Senior. Even so, Rev Hawthorn made a counter claim for compensation from the British Government for £1700 when slavery was abolished. In the end, he got what was described as “interest and accruals.”
September 1897 Dr Harris, of the Grove, Stapleford, was peculiar. Opening with the 5th of February this year, when the trap delivered his baggage for the first time in Stapleford, Dr Harris seems to have carried on in high style by virtue of sheer audacity and bounce, driving about in a trap that did not belong to him, with a horse for which he had not paid and driven by a servant, who by some rule contrary to that generally governing such persons was content apparently to work without wages. Their orders were for the "best of everything" and local tradesmen - for a time - regularly deposited their goods at the Doctor's door and came away sweetly hoping for a day of reckoning. Some of them tried the reckoning without getting anything, others got more than was wanted of the wrong kind of settlement
May 1898 Stapleford boasts of having been more frequently visited by outbreaks of fire than almost any other village in the county, and to enumerate those of a more or less disastrous nature that have taken place in the near vicinity during the last half century would be a tedious task. During that time over half a dozen farmsteads have been completely burnt down, innumerable stack fires have expanded their short-lived vigour, and several cottages have ascended to the clouds in smoke. And few of the present inhabitants do not remember the conflagration at Galls rope factory when the amount of damage was.
Feb 1903 A serious fire occurred at Stapleford by which a house, known as The Poplars, was completely razed to the ground. It was large, spacious and old-fashioned, having been build about 200 years ago and was composed of woodwork, lath and plaster. Only the chimneys were made of brickwork and it is quite obvious that a fire of any size would soon destroy such an old place. Such was the case. It is believed that a spark from the wash-house chimney fell on the thatched roof and spread rapidly. #
Nov 1903 One hardly expects in the present day to find a highwayman abroad in the early hours of the evening. But Stephen Hagger, a farmer of Stapleford had just crossed the Stump Cross when a man rushed from under the hedge and called upon him to stop. Hagger however spurred his horse and galloped off but two pistol shots were fired at him; on arriving home he examined his hat and found a hole in it, such as might have been made by a revolver bullet.
March 1905 Alderman Hurrell called attention to the decision of the Education Committee to close Stapleford Council School and accommodate the scholars at Shelford. As this was a mile and a quarter distant the children would have to walk five miles a day or take their dinners with them. It was not all sunshine in the winter months when children aged from three to five would have to get up at 7.30 and tramp away through slush and snow. But there were 98 schools in the county with an average attendance of less than 100 and if every little school was to be kept alive it would mean high rates
1906 Fourteen public houses have been closed under the Licensing Act of 1904. They include a beer house at Heath Road Litlington, which sold one barrel a week, including stout, and a gallon of ginger wine. All their beer was made from pure malt and hops and it was a better house than the two nearest to it. There were four fully-licensed houses, four beer houses and one off-licence in the village. The Dolphin at Stapleford had been shut up for six weeks as the former landlord had run away and the village appeared to do well without it. The present tenant was a cycle agent and taxidermist as well, ‘So you stuff people first and put them on wheels afterwards?’
Also Cambridge: Jolly Butchers, Star, Sun; Bassingbourn: Crown; Bottisham: Plough; Comberton: Plough; Fordham: Six Bells, Landbeach: Red Cow; Lt Shelford: Carrier’s Cart; Stapleford: Dolphin; Steeple Morden: beer house; Waterbeach: Haunch of Mutton, Plough and Horses; Willingham: William IV, Rose and Crown .
April 1907 A retired Indian Civil servant was found dead with a revolver by his side. The deceased, who graduated at Caius College and was a teacher of Bengali, had been in ill-health for some time. His absence from home at Stapleford aroused comment so his son cycled over to the Indian Civil Service Rooms on Market Hill Cambridge where he found his father sitting in an armchair, shot through the heart.
1908 Twenty-six licensed houses are to close, magistrates decided. They include the Robin Hood at Litlington, Chesterton Long Reach, Swaffham Prior’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Three Jolly Watermen in Waterbeach Fen. But the Fox in the Wood at Soham and the Cock at Isleham were spared after Police Superintendent Winter failed to appear to give evidence. The licence of the Black Horse at Over was renewed after the Star Brewery appealed.
Also Barrington Boot & Shoe, Bassingbourn Yew Tree, Steeple Morden Lion, Swaffham Prior John Bull, Bottisham Rose & Crown, Cottenham Six Bells, Oakington Lion and Lamb, Stapleford Hammer & Anvil, Swavesey Chequers, Willingham Little Rose, Castle Camps George, Balsham Ram, Linton White Hart, Cambridge Yorkshire Grey, Old Red Lion, Nine Pines, Thatched House, Baker’s Arms, Red Lion, Brewery Tap & Carpenters’ Arms.
March 1908 Stapleford child run over by Pamplin traction engine
June 1908 The Sanitary Committee recommended that a well should be sunk at the end of Bar Lane, Stapleford at a cost of £50, but residents petitioned against it. The well was not required and would impose a rate, the complained. The matter arose out of an old report; there had been no trouble with the water recently and if a well was sunk it would not be used. But the water had been analysed and found to be bad. It was referred to the Parish Council to decide what to do.
Nov 1909 There had been a serious outbreak of diphtheria at Stapleford resulting in two deaths. The Sanitary Inspector has secured permission to use an old school for an Isolation Hospital and to move the nurses and the children there. Bedding had been secured from the Oakington Isolation Hospital but there were still one or two items of furniture needed. He could not use the Histon Isolation Hospital because there were so many cases of scarlet fever there and it would be impossible to allot separate wards for each disease. Also complaint about the Oakington hospital.
Dec 1909 The Ortona Motor Bus Company, whose enterprise has proved such a boon in Cambridge and Chesterton, intend to commence a service to Sawston via Trumpington, Shelford and Stapleford. A fine new Maudsley bus has been obtained which will do the full journey in 50 minutes. Parcels as well as passengers will be carried.
March 1911 A dental institute in connection with Stapleford Council School would cost £100 for the initial equipment and the dentist’s fee. A similar scheme in Cambridge had been one of the best pieces of work done for the sake of children. It was a good thing to see to children’s’ teeth but if they did it for one school it must be done all round, which would mean a great expense. Councillors agreed to pay £25 for equipment provided children attending Shelford School were included in the scheme.
Nov 1914 The Germans had a great network of spies, County Councillors were told. The county should be purged of all spies or people of treasonable actions. The Emergency committees which were being formed should ensure people were not installing secret petrol stores for Zeppelins or watch for partisans with carrier pigeons or wireless apparatus. University Laboratories were doing much undisclosed research involving explosives and chemicals and employed a high proportion of aliens. A man who had watched army evolutions on Parker’s Piece was pursued and arrested by two police constables after an old lady denounced him as a spy. A large number of naturalised German people lived locally but in the zeal to put down espionage an enormous amount of injustice had been done. 14 11 20
People in Shelford and Stapleford are worried about mysterious lights shining on the Gogs and are concerned that there are spies. But Dr Henry Bond says the light came from his house. There is concrete in the foundations and the removal of the house might provide a base from which a German gun could demolish King’s College chapel. He admits he speaks German and has had holidays there. But he is not a spy and honest folk are quite safe. However given the present alarm nobody who has electric light in his house, a bottle of German wine in his cellar, or worse of all (like our Royal Family) German blood in his veins, will be safe.
April 1916 Shelford Damage. — The great blizzard last week did an immense amount of damage in the village of Great Shelford, and neighbourhood. A number of trees were blown down. The drains had been blocked consequently the road in Sunnett’s Lane has been impassable for a considerable distance, and many gardens have also been flooded. In Little Shelford over 100 trees have been laid low. The road from Whittlesford through Little Shelford was blocked by a large elm tree that stood in the garden of King's Farm. It fell across the road, obstructing the traffic. The road between the two bridges was also rendered impassable by trees, the walls and fences being damaged. In Stapleford a number of trees were blown down; one fell on the school house, knocking in the window. A large arm of a tree belonging to Mr. Linton, Stapleford House, fell on the telegraph wires, breaking them through.
Jan 1917 Killed in naval battle.—Mr. and Mrs .A. Madison, of Stapleford, have received official notification that their second son, Sub Lieut. Bryant A. Maddison, R.N.R., was killed in the naval action in the North Sea on January 23rd. The deceased officer was 20 years of age and secured an apprenticeship in: the Merchant Service before joining the Navy. This is the second son Mr. and Mrs. Maddison have lost in the war.
Sept 1919 Constable's Promotion.—The many friends of P.c. A. E. Payne, of Cottenham, will be glad to learn that he has been promoted to the rank of sergeant, and will take up his duties at Stapleford in October, P.c. Payne joined the Cambs Con¬stabulary in June, 1907 and was first stationed at Toft. He joined the Army on Sept. 23 1916, and proceeded to France, being severe¬ly wounded near Ypres in Nov. 1917 and spending several months in hospital. He was demobilised on March 11 this year, when he was stationed at Cottenham. Although the time he has spent there has been short, P.c. Payne has made many friends and become exceed¬ingly popular both as a constable and in private life.
March 1924 Alderman Hurrell called attention to the decision of the Education Committee to close Stapleford Council School and accommodate the scholars at Shelford. As this was a mile and a quarter distant the children would have to walk five miles a day or take their dinners with them. It was not all sunshine in the winter months when children aged from three to five would have to get up at 7.30 and tramp away through slush and snow. But there were 98 schools in the county with an average attendance of less than 100 and if every little school was to be kept alive it would mean high rates.
October 1924 A Stapleford grocer told the bankruptcy court that he had started a small business pushing a barrow round the surrounding villages selling groceries, with about £3 capital. He just managed to make a living and thought he was solvent. He opened a shop last February in the hope of extending the business but it proved a failure. An auctioneer made him an offer for the business which realised £7.
May 1925 Stapleford parishioners are working hard to raise sufficient funds to build a vestry for their church. For two years various efforts have been devoted to raising the required £450. Plans have been drawn up and it is hoped to commence building within a year or so.
October 1925 Chesterton RDC was told that it was very well supplied with water but five parishes had no public pumps, three had private supplies and one relied upon artesian wells where they had 13 wells continuously running. They should take powers to prevent that water running to waste. At Stapleford the council had bought land for the erection of houses but the Cambridge Water Company area did not include the village and although the main passed in front of the land they had no right to supply water.
Aug 1926 A thorny question which seemed to have everybody guessing was investigated at the County Court, the matter at issue being an alleged encroachment near Stapleford railway bridge. Plaintiff said he had purchased the old toll house, double tenement and barns in 1925 and soon after a quickset hedge had been planted eighteen inches from his property. The little bit of land was nearly valueless for the purpose of agriculture but was not valueless to him. The judge said it was always desirable in a dispute between neighbours to settle the case if possible; he thought the hedge should be set back one foot.
January 1927 H.L. Hughes spoke on how town planning could be improved. The last 100 years have seen an enormous increase in population and as a result town planning if not a problem for the future but more for the immediate present. The traffic, the sewers, the gas or electricity all have to be thought of. There are roads from the foot of the Gogs to Shelford and Stapleford which only contain one or two houses along them. Buses may pass the door but one has to go miles for a doctor, a church or a school. In a few years’ time people will not live in such places and these houses will be left to fall down and spoil the approach to the town
Nov 1929 The parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Health visited Stapleford for the stone-laying of the 500th council house erected by the Rural District Council. It might be a good thing for Ministers of the Crown to come down to such places and see the conditions under which they were working. The former Housing Officer, Mr Bunnett, had been responsible for practically all the houses but the red brick corners on the present scheme were added by his successor. If they adopted every suggestion made there would be some very funny houses by the time they were finished. The party then went on to Harston were they viewed a new type of cottages built of concrete and timber with an old-world decoration made by pricking the plaster when wet, giving them a distinctive appearance.
Feb 1931 Mrs Harold Gray of Wandlebury House was elected to the executive of the Women’s Institute movement at the end of the war and started an Institute at Stapleford. She resigned when her husband became Member of Parliament for the county but was elected President when his term of office ended. She says it is a strong social instructive link between women of each village, irrespective of rank. She is a true Bohemian at heart and has crossed the desert on a camel and almost gone ‘back to Nature’ on the Cocos Islands in the Pacific.
May 1931 A Stapleford grocer was summoned for displaying verses in his shop window accusing a dairyman of adulterating his milk. One read ‘Edgar had a little pump, With water soft as silk. And with the fluid from that pump, He used to mix his milk’. Crowds gathered to read them but nobody took them seriously. He claimed the milkman had broken the windows and threatened to wring his neck.
Sept 1934 At Sawston leather works the sheep skins used are mainly from New Zealand and Australia but the finest come from St Ives. When the skins get to the factory from the butcher they are fleshed and then split in two. The outer one is made into handbags and hat-bands, the inner into chamois leather for window-cleaning leathers and gloves - many of the factory employees take them home and do the sewing there. The skin trimmings are moved to the Granta works at Stapleford and processed into sheets of gelatine.
Sept 1936 A customer died with tragic suddenness in a Cambridgeshire inn. As he had not long arrived in the district, his identity remains unconfirmed. He was in the Three Horse Shoes public house at Stapleford and was about to sing a song to the company when, just before closing time, he collapsed and died. His is believed to have been a native of Chorley, Lancs, and had been working with a party of pea-pickers at Bury Farm, Stapleford.
Feb 1937 Mr W. King’s film display at Stapleford Institute featured scenes of the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary together with two of his latest films. ‘Armistice Day’ included colour pictures of Poppy Day in Cambridge and ‘Village Life’ showing the British Legion parade, Stapleford school children at their exercises in the playground and many scenes of farming life. Stapleford’s ambition is to be right upto-date. It has a water supply with hydrants in case of fire, gas and electricity though this has not been installed at the Institute and a wire was run from the Old Vicarage to operate the projector
May 1937 Chesterton RDC told an inspector that the parishes of Histon, Impington and Girton together with Shelford and Stapleford were provided with a piped water supply but were entirely unsewered, although some properties were connected to surface water drains that discharged into watercourses passing through the inhabited parts of the parishes. The development of building estates had given rise to cess-pool areas of considerable magnitude with the danger of pollution of the sub-soil. The pumping plants would be electrically driven and would not spoil the appearance of the countryside, there would be no smell unless one broke down. But nearby house owners claimed they might have an effect on the value of properties.
Aug 937 Sir – way back in the 1890s I booked a seat with the Sawston carrier. The morning broke with a grey sky. I remember his suspicious look until I paid him the ninepence fare and threepence extra providing there was no ‘scorching’. I also recollect his need of a shave. We made Stapleford in the first three hours, on to Shelford and rounded the Stone Bridge, Trumpington about noon, to schedule. But then the offside-wheel came off. I alighted at Market Hill, walked down Petty Cury and boarded a horse tram. Then from the delightful rhythm and sway of that luxuriously-upholstered vehicle I drank in the scenery of the skyscraper buildings in Regent Street before returning home – ‘Blisters’
Jan 1938 Henry Brunning of Great Shelford was a blacksmith for 55 years being kicked by horses many times. He did an apprenticeship at Barrington, then joined Alec Redhouse’s firm of engineers and general smiths at Balsham. He later worked at forges at Linton, Shelford and Stapleford. He remembers when all travelling had to be done by walking or carrier carts and there were more penny-farthing cycles than anything else. During the Great War he worked in a munitions factory at Trumpington. He treasures a box of six spoons sent by his daughter who served in France as a nurse; each carries the name of a battlefield on which she’d served.
Sept 1939 Elderly man knocked down by car at Stapleford during black-out
May 1941 Great Shelford farmer fined as failed to plough land at Stapleford
Aug 1941 Snacks for Farm Workers, — It is hoped to start a temporary canteen at Stapleford for the provision of snacks for harvest workers, to be opened on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. This was to have started this week, but was held up, waiting for the meat. It is hoped this difficulty will soon be solved and the food provided. The farmers’ wives in the village are making a special effort to help, the cooking being done at Bury Farm, and Magog Farm. Mrs. Layng, of Three Ways, is acting as secretary. At Melbourn, a harvest canteen opened at the council school last week
Nov 1943 Decorated by the King — Mrs. Doggett, of 12 Granta Terrace Stapleford, and her son and Miss A. Fuller, who is serving in the A.T.S. had an exciting day on Tuesday, when they attended an investiture at Buckingham Palace to see Sgt George Doggett decorated by the King. Sgt Doggett won the British Empire Medal in Canada, where he has served for 2½ years
Feb 1947 I hear that the "shooting" of the Cambridge Accident Prevention Council's new film finished this week, after difficulties caused by the death of five of its "extras" through poisoning. The "extras" concerned were puppies who absorbed through their pads a solution with which the kennels had been sprayed. They were duly replaced, and final shots of a number of pups walking over a pedestrian crossing were taken on Thursday in a garden at Stapleford. Teaching some of the lessons of road safety the film will show a dog doing kerb drill, as well as driving a small car and observing the rules of the road, including stopping at the traffic lights! The film is believed to be the first of its kind.
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.
December 1955 Stapleford villagers crowed into the general store to see the ‘door-bell-that-would-not-stop-ringing’. It began when the storekeeper removed the electric door-bell and put it in a bucket. He received the shock of his life when it began to ring and continued for two hours, even though it was not connected to anything. Soon the store was crowded with sightseers and many views were put forward as to the cause. The mystery was only solved when a CDN reporter dismantled the bell and discovered a small battery neatly concealed in a compartment thought to house the mechanism.
Nov 1956 There is one tree left on the new St Andrew’s housing estate at Stapleford, a 65 foot elm which stands at the junction of Priam’s Way and Hawthorne Road and is a beautiful landmark. But the neighbours who live nearest want it cut down because they think it is dangerous; they produced a five-foot long branch which had fallen on top of an inhabited caravan. But their house had not been erected in the agreed place and the tree was in good condition.
Dec 1957 Stapleford church is perhaps unique in having a coke-fired boiler with a band of eight men who act as voluntary stokers to tend it between November and April. The exorbitant price of coke deters them from lighting it for longer than really necessary but the temperatures average about 55 degrees. They also have gas lighting, which adds to the warmth and cosiness of the church.
Feb 1958 Stapleford Strict Baptist Chapel has been done out in the contemporary style. Yellowed, pitted plaster walls have been papered over in ivory white, dreary woodwork has been painted a deep royal blue, the ceiling done over in a warm cream colour – and the pulpit is blue and gold. Most striking of all is the end wall which is covered in bold squares containing a pattern that suggests spiders’ webs. It was very depressing before, a ‘dreadful place’, said the man who designed it. He did wonder what the old people would say about it
March 1958 Cambridge Water Company originally hoped the new Great Wilbraham pumping station would help meet the ever-growing demand, even in times of severe drought, until 1965. But the experiences of last summer have prompted a less optimistic view and they were sinking a trial bore near Stapleford. They are also moving from Bene’t Street, where they have been since 1866, to new offices in Rustat Road. 58 03 03
July 1958 At Stapleford the Peploe Estate of some 100 houses has been fully developed for nearly two years. At present 58 houses are connected to public sewers and the remainder drain into septic tanks. Since February some gardens of houses off Hawthorne Road have been permanently under water but after the rainfall on 26th June foul sewage was standing up to the damp proof courses of several houses. Planners should consider the drainage difficulties which arise when permission is given for the development of low-lying land.
March 1961 Families living in Great Shelford and Stapleford are preparing to provide holiday homes for youngsters from Displaced Persons Camps in German. For the children of Hitler’s white slave army who have known nothing but poverty, overcrowding, illness and hunger, it will be their first experience of life as it should be lived under normal happy conditions. They will attend local schools and be taken on a few organised outings but mostly become just part of an English family. Before leaving Germany they will have been medically examined and equipped with as many belongings as possible and local people are collecting clothing for them, with particular emphasis on shoes
Jan 1961 The owner of the ‘Magpie’ Café in Stapleford told an Inspector that at the moment it looked like a bomb site with heavy lorries pulling in. He wanted to convert it from a transport café into a restaurant which local people would use and to build a motor showroom, lock-up garages and a petrol filling station. But almost every resident of Dolphin Way objected to the proposal saying that it was already a street where drivers parked their lorries. If the restaurant did not prove profitable it might revert to a transport café again.
June 1961 Stapleford Horticultural Society welcomed the BBC’s “Gardener’s Question Time” panel to the Institute. Questionmaster Freddy Grisewood introduced the team of Alan Gemmell, Bill Sowerbutts and Fred Loads. Mrs A. Crook, a housewife with half an acre of land, wanted to know if it was possible to grow tomatoes and cucumbers in the same greenhouse. Mr G.L.N. Dunn asked if the new non-trailing runner bean would catch on and other questions were posed by the Society’s Chairman, Mr H. Beavis, Mrs Worboys, N. Woodhams and G.F. Sparrow. The one-hour recording will be condensed and transmitted on June 25th
June 1961 Stapleford school swimming pool opened by ‘Dickie’ Jeeps
March 1962 In 1803 Robert Willis built Stapleford smock windmill on the road to the Gogs. The mill ceased to function in 1910 but continued to provide a shelter for many an owl, jackdaw and wood pigeon until it quietly collapsed on June 22 1945. All that remains is the spinney which protected it from the northern blasts, the lintel of the door with ‘R.W. 1803’ engraved thereon and the mill stones, one of which may grace a local garden. The land on which the mill once stood has been cleared and will now grow corn which will be sent elsewhere to be ground.
Aug 1962 A Cambridgeshire bungalow stuck together with glue has been chosen by ‘Ideal Home’ magazine as one of its ‘houses of the year’. Situated in a large secluded garden at Stapleford it uses epoxy resins made by CIBA at Duxford. The framework is built of plywood beams strengthened with struts glued with resin and other of the firm’s products, such as shipboard panels have also been used. It is hoped that the principal can be adopted on a larger scale and adapted to all kinds of buildings.
March 1963 Stapleford and Shelford would probably be virtually unknown outside the immediate district but for one man – L.L. Baynes. Ten years ago he felt that the D.I.Y. movement had great possibilities so built a single-storey shop, Shelford Building Supplies. Handymen appreciated his advice and range of products and as the business expanded extensions became necessary, leading to a new store in 1962. Undergraduates come to get materials for making bookshelves and members of the armed forces from the many camps in the area are also good customers. Now he issues a 36-page illustrated catalogue of his stock.
June 1963 Stapleford man builds ultra-light monoplane in garage –
Nov 1963 Stapleford Parish Council has called a public meeting to discuss the removal of the recreation ground from the outskirts to the centre of the village. The cricket club is opposed, having done much work on the present pitch. Recently two hard tennis courts were constructed at a cost of £1,000. Now Chesterton RDC wants to develop land at Vine Farm for a school, recreation ground and a limited amount of housing. The say the present rec would make an idea housing site
Dec 1964 A bomb disposal team exploded five pounds of gelignite and a quantity of industrial detonators found in a wood on the Gig Magog Hill. The gelignite was of the type used in safe-breaking and it was found by police after they received information from a man serving a prison sentence. The explosion blew a two feet deep hole and was heard more than a mile away in Stapleford. People rushed into the street to see what had happened
Oct 1965 Magpie service station, London Rd, Stapleford opens
Feb 1975 A coffin-stool disappears– one of the stools on which coffins used to be rested during a funeral service has disappeared from Stapleford church. “They are much sought after as furnishings for people’s houses these days”, said the vicar, the Rev C.A. Barber. “We haven’t any proof that it has been stolen – it might just have been borrowed”, he said
February 1975 World records don’t fall very often, but one took a hammering in Gt Shelford when Robert Manderson of Stapleford sang for nine hours without a break and that took care of the existing record for non-stop singing in the Guinness Book of records.
May 1976 Tourists left King’s college chapel, Cambridge, when Stapleford sheep farmer, Mr Gerald Beavis, gave what many people took to be a demonstration for their benefit of sheep shearing. But it was a routine part of his work. With a flock of 41 Suffolk ewes grazing on Scholars’ Piece he decided to do the shearing at the college rather than lose time by taking the sheep back to his farm
October 1977 Stapleford Parish Council reaffirmed that it was willing to run the village library with voluntary helpers if it would result in it being saved. The library, which occupies a room in the school, is open for eight hours a week and its one of eight threatened with closure by the County Council. But the County Librarian says this could not be considered because it would cause trouble with the trade union.
October 1977 The Three Horseshoes at Stapleford, which had been closed since April 1976 is gone forever. And in its place is a completely new pub, The Longbow. Only the exterior of the building remains the same, inside are all the comforts of a modern establishment. Initially they are stocking Truman Crown, Whitbread Trophy and Whitbread “BB” mild on draught but intend to supply according to local demand.
Dec 1977 Restoration work is underway on a pair of thatched cottages in Church Street Stapleford, bought for just £1. Also included in the deal was an old slaughterhouse next door. All are being rethatched. The buildings were owned by a development company and were offered to the Parish Council when a preservation order was made. The cottages were then sold to the Cambridgeshire Cottage Improvement Society who will renovate and let them to people in the village. The council has kept the slaughterhouse which may be used as a museum.
March 1978 No public libraries in Cambridgeshire will be closed this year – and books stocks will not be depleted – although the County Council is facing a continuing financial crisis. The council had threatened to close the Milton Road and Mill Road libraries in Cambridge, village libraries at Stapleford and Milton and two libraries in Peterborough. The threats caused storms of protest and now financial experts have discovered the council has saved £60,000 on last year’s spending which can be used to buy new books.
June 1978 Annie Norman moved back into the home she has lived in for 36 – but it was a different cottage to the one she left last October. The cottage at Church Street, Stapleford was one of two bought for £1 from Shelford Building Supplies by the Cambridgeshire Cottage Improvement Society. Now it has a bathroom and lavatory, new thatch, plaster and paint. “It’s fantastic now, previously there was only a lavatory at the bottom of the garden”, she said.
April 1982 Welch’s Garage at Stapleford has an excellent reputation but since they negotiated the Mazda dealership they have been looking for premises to expand. Now they have a completely new garage and showroom at Foxton which will specialise in Ford cars. It started with a wooden shed but now customers will find a purpose built showroom plus the usual service station facilities. They are very optimistic about the future and have had particular success with Fiat Magirusdeuts commercial vehicles
April 1986 Two Cambridge libraries threatened with closure are facing their second crisis in eight years. The axe first loomed over Milton Road and Mill Road branches in 1977 but they were saved together with others in Milton and Stapleford. Now a report says they are old and in the wrong position to provide the best service. But Cambridgeshire Labour councillors have started a campaign to save them and Alliance councillors are organising a petition against closure.
Feb 1987 Trumpington newsagent Bert Truelove is celebrating half a century in the trade – and he is only 57. He started selling papers in his father’s Stapleford shop in 1937 when he was so small that he had to stand on a box to see the customers. After the war the family came to Trumpington and battled through years of austerity when a shortage of papers meant demand for copies of the News often succeeded supplies. It is a different picture now with a boom in sales. New technology ensures he gets the papers on time. He has not forgotten the paper boys and girls who have helped him over the years: they have been invited to a disco in the village hall.
Stapleford historical stories and newspaper cuttings courtesy of the Mike Petty archive