As I write this it's been raining for most of the week so welcome to July with Mill Road History! Coming up on Tuesday 14 July
we have our second online talk where Claire Martinsen will regale us with...
Tales from Mill Road Cemetery
Claire is a member of the Friends of Mill Road Cemetery and has a passion for local history and researching the stories within Mill Road Cemetery. She has researched and uploaded more than 250 stories on to the website www.millroadcemetery.org.uk and will share her favourite local stories with us in this talk.
This talk will be held using Zoom (https://zoom.us). The link to join the meeting is:
The meeting details if you need them are:
- Meeting ID: 929 6035 1492
- Password: 530852
The talk starts at 7:30pm, the room will be open from 7:15pm for people to chat and get set up. Unfortunately you will have to supply your own tea and biscuits.
The meeting will also be live streamed on Facebook (on our page at https://www.facebook.com/millroadhistory/) and can be watched there instead.
The event is free to watch but if you enjoy it please consider making a donation to our PayPal account, see the button on the home page of our website.
Hector Pieterson Playground
As a bonus this month here is some local history you may not be aware of from our treasurer Julia Ewans.
One of the many casualties of the Covid-19 lockdown has been this play area adjacent to the Bath House. The gates are locked for health safety reasons and the play equipment idle.
This playground site was originally the rear part of the ‘Doctor’s House’ at 99 Mill Road. One of the first houses to be built on Mill Road, it was compulsorily purchased for demolition and road widening in 1913. The Bath House was built on the site in 1927. The playground came later.
Hector Pieterson (19 August 1963 – 16 June 1976) was a South African schoolboy who was shot and killed during the Soweto uprising, when the police opened fire on students protesting the enforcement of teaching in Afrikaans. A news photograph by Sam Nzima of the mortally wounded Pieterson being carried by another Soweto resident while his sister ran next to them was published around the world. Sam reported ‘I saw a child fall down. Under a shower of bullets, I rushed forward and went for the picture. It had been a peaceful march, the children were told to disperse, they started singing Nkosi Sikelele. The police were ordered to shoot."
Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo. His sister, Antoinette Sithole, runs beside them.
The anniversary of his death is designated Youth Day, when South Africans honour young people and bring attention to their needs.
In South Africa in 2002, the Hector Pieterson Museum was opened near the place he was shot in Orlando West, Soweto to honour Pieterson and those who died around the country in the 1976 uprising. Funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Johannesburg City Council. It has become a major tourist attraction.
Cambridge had honoured Hector many years earlier with the dedication of this play area.
The original plaque on the playground wall read:-
“This playground is dedicated to the memory of Hector Peterson, a 13yearold black schoolboy shot in the back by a white policeman outside Orlando West High School in Soweto near Johannesburg in South Africa on the 16th June 1976. His name will be remembered when the barbarous acts of his oppressors are long forgotten. ‘Amandla Ngwethu -Power to the People’. Erected by Cambridge City Council and Cambridge Branch of the Antiapartheid Movement 22nd June 1985”
The playground was rededicated in December 2016 with the erection of a new plaque following Cambridge City Council using developer contributions to refurbished the play area. It had become very tired and dilapidated with little play value and it had become a congregating place for street drinking and anti-social behaviour which discouraged play.
Today, the play area which is intended for children under six years old and accompanying adults, is modern and colourful. It incorporates modern play equipment including a swing, a slide, a distinctive climbing net set in an arch, and a grid for the traditional game of hopscotch.
Although currently locked, we hope that this play area will soon be back in action and ringing to the laughter of children.