Passing the time in lockdown
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Photo courtesy of the Cambridgeshire Collection.
Dear <<First Name>>,
We thought we’d like to keep in touch with you during these strange and difficult times so we will from time to time send you a newsletter with a bit of Mill Road History and perhaps some suggestions. Don’t forget you can always find more on our Facebook page

During this period Caro is taking on the job of compiling the newsletter. Do get in touch with her at with any ideas for future stories we might run, or with anything else.

Online Talk: Cambridge University and Town Gas-Light Company

The Museum of Technology have managed to convert their scheduled talk this month into an online webinar which will take place at 7:45pm on Monday 20 April. Full details at

Some Mill Road History

As some of you will know Mill Road is looking very strange and desolate at the moment. 

I am reminded that on September 14th 1996, Reclaim the Streets held an event in Mill Road. The above scene was not what they might have envisaged or wished for. Reclaim the Streets (RTS) is a collective whose aim is the community ownership of public spaces with a particular emphasis on resisting the dominance of cars and other forms of mechanised transport. There is a full entry about the movement on Wikipedia at

In Mill Road on that September day the event began peacefully, but the Cambridge Evening News later reported:

Police ended the protest by environmental group Reclaim the Streets, which saw Mill Road closed for five hours, in force. Waves of riot police charged at around 200 protestors who stayed on when asked to leave […] Thirty-six people were arrested as police came under attack from a hail of beer cans and bottles during a tense stand off on the Mill Road Railway Bridge. [MP Anne Campbell, questioning the size of the police presence, told the News:]  I think it highly questionable when you have only a small number of trouble makers, particularly when people are crying out for more regular policing in the city. (CEN 16 Sep 1996)

You can read all about this on Capturing Cambridge at, pages 101-104, where you can find some local views of the event. You can also watch a video on

Some ideas for you

During this enforced time at home many of us are getting on with projects that have been on the back burner for some years. Lots of people start researching their family history when they retire but by then it is often too late to ask those vital questions of older relatives. So here are a few tips to get you started now. 

1. Write down what you know. Include stories you were told.
2. Draw a simple family tree.
3. Start the conversation with relatives.
4. Use on line resources to go back in time. Some are free (see list below).
5. Do not restrict yourself to your direct family line - great aunts & uncles can lead you to all sorts of interesting stories.
6. Try to keep a record of everything in an organised sort of way. Maybe a file for every family line. Do not feel you have to print everything but if you want any future generations to appreciate your work you need to give them something interesting to look at. 
7. Stories and photos can be woven into your trees.
8. Involve children and start telling them your stories now. 

By the time we can all go back into the world you will hopefully be heading for the library where you can use Ancestry & Find my Past for free. Or to the Archives in Ely where transcriptions of parish records are kept. Or able to visit wherever your family story started.


Family search - This site is free to use at home but you have to register. - Birth, marriage death registration from 1838 - census

Google Maps -
University of Leicester - - Street & General Directories or - If you register for a free trial, de-register at once or you may get charged

Specific to Cambridgeshire - free one name search, and an-line shop where you can pay to view. - you may find details about your area or who lived in your house - If your family lived in Cambridge in the 19th or early 20th century 

That’s all for now! 
Go well and stay well
Feel free to forward this email to anyone you think may be interested.
Heritage Lottery Fund
The Mill Road History project was made possible with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
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