top of page

Great Shelford historical stories and newspaper cuttings part two courtesy of the Mike Petty archive

Dec  1936 The draft Cambridge town planning scheme would see the construction of bridges and closure of the level crossings at Histon and Shelford with footbridges for pedestrians. The line of the Ring Road from Huntingdon Road to Shelford was agreed and the difficult question of the aerodrome settled.


July 1937 The B.S.A. Company’s offer of a brand new bicycle to Britain’s oldest woman cyclist has brought several responses. Mrs Mortimer of Chedworth Street is 63; she has ridden a cycle since she was 10 and has toured Ireland, Scotland and much of England on it. Mrs F. Plumb of Great Shelford is 68 and delivers fruit grown in her garden to Cambridge every day. But the oldest so far is Mrs Cross of Brookside, Toft, who was born at Tydd St Mary’s in 1856 and still rides regularly.

January 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.

February 1939 An automatic machine dealer of Mill Road told the bankruptcy court he’d set up in 1934 starting with 20 machines on licensed premises. He was making a profit of £25 a week until police prohibited the machines in Cambridge and he was forced to move to other territories where profits were much lower. In 1937 he took the tenancy of the Magpie Transport Café at Shelford but it lost money. He carried on business as a bookmaker, losing £140 in one day. He kept no books. He was questioned about three machines at Prickwillow and a pawned gold ring.


July 1939 Two mobile first aid posts are to be provided, one stationed at Waterbeach and the other at Great Shelford to deal with air raid casualties and second-hand vehicles will be purchased for adaptation as ambulances.

February 1940 House Wall Collapses.—When a Cambs. soldier due from France on leave returns to his home, he will find it looking as though it had been bombed; An end wall of the house, which is situated in Tunwell's Lane, Great Shelford, collapsed on Wednesday as if torn off by high explosive, leaving two rooms exposed to view. Fortunately no one was inside at the time, though had the occupant, Mr. Thomas Roslyn, arrived on leave as expected, he and his wife might both have been there. As it was, Mrs. Roslyn went to the house to air it, but when her husband did not turn up she went to her mother's home in Stonehall Road, Shelford. The collapse occurred about 8.30 p.m., and the house looked like a doll's house with the end off. The furniture in the two rooms visible was undisturbed; a wardrobe in the bedroom could be seen standing within a few inches of the place where the wall had been.

May 1941 Great Shelford farmer fined as failed to plough land at Stapleford.

Aug 1944 A Fine Catch. — While L.A.C. Derrick Walker, of Stonehill Road Shelford, was home for 36 hours' leave during the past weekend he thought he would try his hand at fishing, and he had the good fortunate to land a large pike weighing just under 15 lbs. Luckily he had company with him to help him land this monster. When he got the pike home and opened it, he was surprised to find inside a large water rat which the fish had swallowed.

October 1949 “In my submission, the objectors merely want to see the High Street of Great Shelford as dead and respectable as a Acacia Avenue. It is clear they are the voice of suburbia raising itself in the village”. These remarks were made at a planning appeal when Mr A Townsend wished to erect a workshop for use in his business as a funeral director and builder. The village had become very much influenced by Cambridge and resembled more a suburb of the town rather than a village street. The majority of “genuine” residents had no objections to the proposal and those received were from suburban residents who had attempted to introduce the amenities of a suburb to a country village.


Nov 1950 Before Shelford rugby union football club began their match on Saturday, Mr Herbert Fordham declared open the new changing rooms which have been built for the club at their headquarters, the Peacock Inn. These rooms, with sufficient accommodation and bathing facilities for 60 players, are a gift by Mr Fordham and his brother. P.L. Davey (president of the club) expressed their pleasure and gratitude for “this wonderful gesture to sport in the village of Shelford and the cause of rugby in Cambridgeshire”


Nov 1950 The court was told how a Leyland lorry carrying 2,500 bricks hit a heap of tarmac on the Cambridge Road, Great Shelford, depositing 1,500 bricks into the road. The foreman of the Clifton Construction Company of Coronation Street said it was the night-watchman’s duty to ensure all obstructions were well lit. The watchman said the two lights on the heap of tarmac were out but he did not relight them as it was the break of day. If the driver had not been overtaking another vehicle he would have seen the obstruction. He was fined £2.

Jan 1951 A large congregation assembled in Great Shelford church for the dedication of the memorial to the late Charles Edward Swift. The new organ screen replaces a set of dummy organ pipes. He was headmaster of the Church of England school for 24 years and church choirmaster for 20.

June 1951 The Cambridgeshire of the future will have a number of new roads, fire & police stations, sewerage schemes, old peoples’ homes, a new children’s home and a mental deficiency colony. Planners say villages recommended for enlargement include Milton, Fulbourn, Shelford, Barton and Coton where the population will increase from 400 to 1,840. Road improvements recommended include a bypass to the east of Girton relinking the road interrupted by the RAF station but Cambridge bypasses are not shown as surveys show there is no immediate need for them.


Jan 1952 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


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.

July 1952 Sir – In 1950 the Shelford and Stapleford Scout Troop was re-opened after a lapse of many years and the first question was that of a H.Q. where meetings could be held. The Shelford guides could not help as their barn had developed dry rot in the floor which was no longer safe for games, and they too would soon be homeless. After many months of effort enough was raised to buy and erect an ex-Army hut. Permission was obtained and the H.Q. opened with great rejoicing in April 1951. But then came the Central Land Board with a claim for a £300 development charge!

Sept 1952 Beetles have caused serious damage at Great Shelford church. Some months ago while Mr L.P. Morley, one of the churchwardens, was cleaning down cobwebs from the clerestory windows he noticed what seemed to be deterioration of some of the roof woodwork. A thorough examination has now been made and the plate on which the whole roof rests, both in the nave and the aisles, is so riddled with beetle-holes that repair is a matter of urgency.

July 1954 Len Tibbs of Great Shelford is well-known as a pianist and comedian and has now been invited to appear at London’s Windmill Theatre where he will present the characterisations which have delighted audiences locally. He started his career as a comedian during the war, helping out with troop shows, and has appeared in most parts of the Easter Counties. Unbeknown to him his work was drawn to the attention of Mr Van Damm and he was surprised to receive an invitation to attend an audition. He has also accepted the offer to appear on Television’s variety show ‘Show Case’.

September 1954 Rain. Steel slivers of relentless ran beat into the track anxious officials had nursed for Great Shelford’s Special Sunday. Then the sun blazed for the War Memorial Hall sports day and carnival. More than 2,000 were there. Actress Jessie Matthews arrived quietly in her silver Bentley and was welcomed by the Chairman of the Parish Council. A carnival march heralded the arrival of the procession headed by a break-down truck towing a model of the present hall and the one villagers want to build. But then the breakdown truck had to leave for an accident at Foxton Station.

Oct 1954 Imagine a Hydrogen bomb has been dropped on Cambridge. In a five-mile radius from Great Shelford to Histon everything is just rubble. In a 12-mile radius, including Saffron Walden, Newmarket and Huntingdon, there is severe damage and for 20 miles, as far as Bishop’s Stortford, there is minor damage. Blast and heat flash from the bomb could also cause severe burns to people exposed in the open and if the bomb exploded on the ground or in water mud thrown up would be very radio-active and would be carried for many, many miles. But if an ‘ordinary’ a


Jan 1955 Complaints of flooding in the Hauxton Mill to Shelford area have been investigated and the River Cam will be dredged to eliminate the risk of summer flooding. No such scheme for improvement has previously ever been undertaken by the Great Ouse Catchment Board. The proposed by-pass at Barton Mills would involve a dualcarriageway bridge directly over the lock gate and reduce the length of the lock by 25 feet. But there was no active navigation on this part of the River Lark and a combined bridge and sluice structure could be built.


October 1955 In 1950 the Shelford scout troop and cub pack reopened after a break for the war years but had nowhere to meet. The Guides and Brownies had kept going in a barn which was too small. So they decided to pool their resources to erect a joint HQ. The prospect of dozens of children making merry in their vicinity appalled some local residents but Mr Williams of ‘Southernwood’ offered the use of his garden where a hut was erected. Now it needs repair and a fund has been opened


Dec 1955 Sir – three years ago the elm on Shelford Recreation Ground where children play and adults congregate was found to be in a bad condition. There was a large hole, full of water in the tree trunk and bottles and old cartridge cases taken out. The council called in a tree expert and decided to have it felled. Had the two heavy branches which came off a few weeks ago have fallen a foot nearer the bowling green we might be mourning the loss of the groundsmen. Think what torrent of abuse the council would have received if somebody had been killed. A few children’s lives are worth far more than all the elms in Shelford – Horace Reed


May 1956 Sanitary arrangements at Great Shelford School are in a deplorable condition. The first part of a scheme to enlarge the school was carried out in 1954, including modern sanitary accommodation but the managers were advised to retain the existing lavatories instead of building a septic tank for the new one since a main sewer was expected. But Chesterton RDC had not acted and the increased number of children now made new lavatories urgent.


August 1957 Great Shelford’s new Village Hall will open in December, but should it include a bar selling beer and spirits? Judge Lawson Campbell was opposed, feeling young members of the club would be tempted to indulge in drink and this would be a bad influence on their morals. But another villager said if he invited his friends to come along to the new hall and told them they would have to eat biscuits and drink lemonade they would want to go to the nearest public house instead.

Jan 1958 Great Shelford Memorial Hall was officially opened after twelve years of planning and hard work. The project began in 1945 but building restrictions made it difficult so they decided to investigate precast building. Apart from a Ministry grant the whole cost was met by voluntary contributions and support from the people of the village. It was a fitting memorial to the war dead of Shelford.


May 1958 New headquarters for the 14th detachment of the Cambridgeshire Red Cross were opened in a prefabricated building at Great Shelford. Mr Woodbridge had lent them the ground and members worked hard to get the interior neat and attractive. The walls were painted white and deep red curtains A Cambridgeshire Scrapbook 1897 to 1990 by Mike Petty 2346 Please make what use of this you may. Kindly remember where it came from. hung beneath neat pelmets. Miss C.J. Gaskell, the Divisional President praised their excellent work during both world wars. Lady Spens presented proficiency badges to Gillian Cann, Marion Robinson, Elizabeth Morley and Christine Ryder.


March 1959 A new Village College may be provided at Shelford to take children from Stapleford, Harston and Hauxton, providing a compact area with economic transport arrangements. It would avoid the expansion of Sawston and Melbourn village colleges when the school leaving age is raised to 16. But it is not included in the Development Plan and it is not thought likely there would be any considerable increase in population.


March 1961 Families living in Great Shelford and Stapleford are preparing to provide holiday homes for youngsters from Displaced Persons Camps in Germany. 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.


July 1962 Abberley House, Great Shelford is the HQ of the county Civil Defence Corps. In a nuclear war Wardens would give advice, Communications and Intelligence sections control operations and Scientists go out after an attack to collect technical information. First aiders would supplement the ambulance service, Rescue workers free trapped survivors while Welfare staff would provide food, shelter and clothing. Members of the C.D. are only asked to give as much time as they can spare and more volunteers are needed.

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 Little 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


April  1963     The Beeching report on the future of British Railways suggests the closing down of 19 stations in the Cambridge area – including three serving the main towns of Haverhill, Saffron Walden and St Ives. There would be the complete withdrawal of passenger services from branch lines, Cambridge-March, Great Shelford-Marks Tey, Audley End & Bartlow lines. Amongst the village stations closed to passenger traffic would be Histon, Wimblington and Chatteris, Bartlow, Pampisford and Linton together with Soham and Fordham. Services from Black Bank would also cease.

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.

May 1963 A site has been identified for the proposed new Shelford Village College

October 1963 Land prices at Great Shelford have soared to ‘fantastic’ levels due to the rigid attitude of the County Planning Department, an Inquiry was told. Mr Douglas L. January, who wants to develop 11 acres surrounding his home, ‘Trinity House’, says it was a large house that was proving difficult and expensive to maintain. He was finding it difficult to get adequate domestic help if his present staff left him. But planners say it is outside the development area in the green belt and the sewage system is inadequate. It would change the character of the area entirely

Oct 1963 Shelford Library in Woollards Lane has new look.

April 1965 Shelford fight closure of Shelford-Marks Tey railway line –

March 1966 Shelford Rugby Union Football Club given six acres of land for new HQ by Percy Davey.

August 1972 Crandal - a village within a village. The most pleasant village of Great Shelford, has been for many years an idyllic residential area. The character and charm has been retained whilst every modern amenity is available. The strong community spirit that exists has led to the establishment of many local societies and clubs. It will be understood that the local authority wish to reserve the village feeling of Great Shelford. It has therefore been after much direct consultation that Arjon Development Company have evolved the concept that is Crandal, a development of exciting and unique homes. Plans have been approved for expansions of the amenities with a further 6 shops, a supermarket, library and health centre. All enquiries to sole selling agents – Adrians.

November 1972 Only three months after starting work on a housing scheme at Great Shelford, a development company who pitched their prices too high are pulling out and re- selling the land. Arjon, of Stansted, advertised three and four- bedroomed houses planned for the estate on

September 15. The asking prices were from £21,500 and £23,500 respectively. Only two people placed reservations on houses & later one of them withdrew but this house was later reserved at the price £3,000 lower by another purchaser. Now after partially completing the two houses reserved, Arjon have put the 18 remaining plots on the market.

June 1973 Two Mid-Anglia farm workers with 106 years service between them will be presented with long-service awards at the East of England Show. Mr Bertie Cowl of Soham can look back on 52 years on the land, most of them working for the same employer. Mr Harry Pryor can look back on an almost unbroken span of 54 years on the same farm at Great Shelford. Mr Cowl was born in Soham Fen. When the late Mr Herbert Bedford took over Fletcher's farm he joined him and has been there ever since. As farming has become more mechanised Mr Cowl has one special regret: "I particularly miss horses", he said. Mr Pryor who is 70 started on a farm at the age of 10 as a parttime cattle drover earning 3d a week. "We used to leave off school at 12 and then I'd run down to the village to take the cows from the fields into the barns for milking". He has never fully come to terms with driving a tractor and still looks back affectionately to when horse provided the power in the fields


October 1974 The most costly new houses are so difficult to sell that some Mid-Anglia builders have temporarily stopped constructing them. But general house sales are picking up after a slump of two months ago, say estate agents. A £15,000 three-bedroomed detached house built at Shelford two years ago is to be sold shortly. Hockeys Ltd of Cambridge report that houses costing less than £10,000 were selling “extremely well”. At Haverhill prices have dropped to a lower level. The houses that were not shifting were in the £12 - £20,000 bracket. In Newmarket houses in the £10-14,000 price bracket were selling quite easily


January 1975 World records don’t fall very often, but one took a hammering in Great 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.


February 1975 A house-to-house survey carried out in six Cambridgeshire villages showed that residents were overwhelmingly in favour of a superstore for Great Shelford, a public inquiry heard. The results delivered by the managing director of Scotsdale Garden Centre, the proposed site for the superstore, came as something of a shock on the last day of the inquiry. Up until then indications were that most people were strongly against a proposal of Asda to built a 50,000 square feet store and car park.


February 1975 Down in Great Shelford the traditional pub games of darts and dominoes have a rival. It’s chess. The stately game has found its way into the bars of the Square and Compasses public house where no fewer than 22 players entered the pub’s chess tournament. Landlord Mr Ron Hughes has bought two special chequered-topped tables for the saloon bar. “Its obvious that this is something that’s going to grow”, he said. “It’s about as popular as darts”.


April 1975 The Government has given permission to the giant Shell petrol company to look for oil in south Cambridgeshire. The area selected extends from Great Shelford up to Royston and southwards through Hertfordshire as far as Buntingford. In the west it takes in Ashwell, Steeple Morden and Gamlingay, while in the east it extends almost to Saffron Walden. The actual drilling areas have not yet been selected. Nearly six years ago an American oil company planned to make test borings in the north Cambridgeshire fens. A few years before that tests were made near Saffron Walden. Nothing came of either project.

July 1975 The Environment Minister, Mr Anthony Crosland has rejected a plan to build a supermarket on the Scotsdale Garden Centre site at Great Shelford. He says that the development would be in the wrong place, at the wrong time and would result in the over-provision of large-scale shopping. If it was permitted in addition to the recently built Sainsbury’s supermarket at Brooks Rd, Cambridge and the centre planned for Bar Hill it would overprovide shopping facilities in the “20-minute zone” car shopping journey area from Cambridge. In the longer term, however, population growth might justify further substantial additions to the food retailing outlets.


November 1975 An elm tree at Great Shelford was felled because a black cat named Jemima was trapped at the top and neither the RSPCA, the police, nor the fire brigade could think of any other way to rescue her. The tree – which was diseased anyway – was cut down and Jemima leapt to safety as it fell and made straight for the house where she was reunited with her very relieved owners.


March 1976 Two Cambridge brothers have just completed 50 years in the bakery business. Maurice and Dennis How, the bakers and confectioners in Mill Road started in the business by chance after leaving school. “Our father, who ran the business, was taken ill and had to go into hospital”, explained Maurice. “There was no one else to take over and keep things going. When we started a large loaf cost four pence in old money. Now the same sort of loaf is 17p”. Their father, Mr John How, started business at Shelford in 1868 and moved to Mill Road in 1901


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


Wednesday 28th August 1977 Although it is a city which expects to attract two million overseas tourists this year, Cambridge has nowhere within its bounds where a visitor can pitch a tent. During the summer months the only welcome that Stanley Belcher, warden of the Camping Club site at Shelford, has been able to offer many visitors is a “site full” notice. There is an additional problem in turning campers away as planning regulations limit him to 60 pitches – about a quarter of an acre each. So when the site is full it certainly does not that way to foreign eyes accustomed to the crammed conditions of popular continental locations. It is ironic that Cambridge City Council needs no licence to jam tents in like sardines for the folk festival.

October 1978 The 600-ton Fenman express train, the fastest on the Cambridge run, smashed through the level crossing gates at Shelford. Luck meant that none of the hundreds of commuting motorists was on the spot and luck stopped the 11-coach train carrying about 400 passengers being derailed. Luck also saved crossing-keeper Fred Bond as the other gate wound itself round his line-side hut, splintering the woodwork, smashing every window – but leaving intact the horseshoe nailed above the door. It was the third time in nine years that a train had gone through the closed gates.

October 1978 British Rail seems rather attached to the traditional style level crossing gate. Each time one is smashed to pieces by a train at Great Shelford they replace it with a new one. The crossing is a traditional manned gate system – branded by a Government report in 1968 as a ‘creaking anachronism’. Since then there have been level crossing accidents at Shelford in January 1969 and October 1971, Longstanton, Whittlesey, Prickwillow and Brinkley Road crossing near Newmarket. The sight of BR workmen installing yet another manned gate at Great Shelford has done little to allay the public’s fears of their safety.


June 1979 A huge blaze engulfed the RHM wheat silo at Great Shelford. Within minutes flames and dense black smoke was billowing high into the afternoon sky. The 50-year-old 60 feet tall building was entirely made of wood with just a corrugated iron shell & contained 1,000 tons of wheat. It took 30 firemen nearly an hour to bring it under control and prevent the fire spreading to the mill itself. Had it been of a metal construction it would have distorted and collapsed and it was the bulk of the timber which saved the building.


Nov 1982       Torch Computers was formed last year and has already produced a powerful business computer, opened a factory in Wales to manufacture it, opened offices in America and Canada and seen production climb above 250 a month. Now it’s new research and development centre at Abberley House, Great Shelford has been officially opened by the Technology Minister, Kenneth Baker. 


May 1983 Memories of the famous Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851 have been revived with the opening of Scotsdale Garden Centre’s new premises at Shelford. It has much in common with spectacular Victorian conservatories, creating an illusion of gracious living. Bulldozers moved in just over a year ago to knock down greenhouses put up 60 years ago. Now it houses a complete range of garden A Cambridgeshire Scrapbook 1897 to 1990 by Mike Petty 3081 Please make what use of this you may. Kindly remember where it came from. equipment with palms and house plants offering the convenience of supermarket shopping.


September 1984 The Freestone bakery and grocery store founded 90 years ago has closed, the victim of progress and superstores. They are selling of the equipment which has provided bread for three generations of Great Shelford villagers. In one room a Victorian pine trough in which the founder, George Freestone, mixed his dough nestles next to an electric mixer bought in 1942. The original brick oven now houses its electric counterpart besides its predecessor, an oil-fired over that went out of use decades ago. At one time they delivered two to three loaves of bread a day to village homes, now it’s just one small one. They can’t compete with Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s.


July 1986       Torch Computers of Great Shelford has developed a revolutionary Triple X computer using the Unix-based computing system with a revolutionary ‘Opentop’ facility that allows more than one page to be seen at a time. Around the edges of the screen are a number of symbols called ‘icons’. Using a control known as a ‘mouse’ the user can direct a floating arrow and by clicking the ‘mouse’ twice the accounts package comes up on the screen. By then double-clicking the calculator icon it appears on top of the accounts. This is known as ‘multi-tasking’. It means that for the first time one doesn’t need programming knowledge to take advantage of the Unix system’s benefits 


Jan 1987       A group of enterprising skateboard fans have set up their own club and raised £800 (£1,840 today) to buy ramps to skate on. They have been loaned £400 by Townsends toy and cycle shop and have saved the rest. Now they are looking for new members to join the club which will be based on Heath Farm, Shelford Bottom. Charles Bradford, whose parents run the farm, said “There is nowhere in Cambridge for us to skate. We have even had to go to London to find somewhere”. Membership will be £10 per year. 


September 1987       Skateboarding is back! The old Skate Park at Cheddars Lane was awful, the transitions were bad and you could feel every bump. But Billy’s Ramp Skate Club at Shelford Bottom is completely different allowing newer, better tricks practised by dedicated skateboarders determined to be ‘rad’ and not ‘lame’. The right gear is a must. Outrageously decorated T-shirts, below-the-knee Bermuda shorts, baseball-style boots and the essential protective helmet, wrist-guards, knee and elbow pads are all hallmarks of a hip skateboarder.


Jan 1987       What could be the oldest phone box in the county has gone on sale in Cambridge. The wooden box with leaded windows has been at the Cambridge & County Bowling Club for more than 50 years. But time has taken its toll and the phone has been moved inside the pavilion. The kiosk, which dates back to the 1930s, is on sale for £50 to anyone who could use a strange-looking shed or has a penchant for the past. (It was bought by a Great Shelford newsagent who planned to restore it as a garden hut for his children.)


March 1987 Chirpy market trader Bill Gray has gone to extreme lengths to keep his customers happy. He even skinned a rabbit for one person who stopped to buy some fruit and veg. His beaming smile and friendly small-talk has been a big boost for business. And the smile does not fade when the rain lashes down. Bill, of Great Shelford, has been a familiar face during the past 31 years. But now he is calling it a day and will hand the business over to his son and daughter-in-law. But his regulars – who include the wife of the former Master of Trinity - will be pleased to know that he will still help out sometimes.


July 1987 Shopkeeper of the Year, Jerry Brown, took over the village store at Hinton Way, Great Shelford, ten years ago and his outstanding service has been rewarded with continued custom. He provides a service supermarkets cannot give, selling everything from fresh bread to stationery, wine and even tins of snails. He belongs to Londis, opening every day – even Christmas Day if the newspapers publish. His customers say “It’s a very sociable shop, he enjoys a joke and stimulating conversation”


August 1989 Shelford Rugby Club pavilion damaged by fire.

To read stories from before 1936 click here.


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

bottom of page