The Grange, Littleport

Chris Partrick, East Cambridgeshire District Council’s Conservation Officer, gives us the low down on the how the Local Heritage List project has been going in East Cambridgeshire.

The Cambridgeshire LHL project has been live for 9 months and is now showing concrete results for East Cambridgeshire: over 450 candidates have been identified to add to the existing local list, and the bulk of the survey work, covering the entire district for the first time, is now complete. It’s still a mammoth task to compile statements of significance and assess those candidates for inclusion, but for the first time the end is in sight.

Whilst photographing and cataloguing nice buildings is a pleasure for any conservationist, the real interest has been in researching the history which lies behind the buildings. Who would guess for example that an unassuming Victorian villa (The Grange, Littleport) was a prisoner of war camp and hostel for Belgian refugees in WW1 and an RAF hospital in WW2, and a trade union convalescent home in between ?

Or that a racing enthusiast, Colonel Harry McCalmont, could burn through half of a £4 million inheritance in 10 years building a mansion and a dozen lodges in Cheveley Park, as many cottages in Cheveley and Woodditton, and a railway station and grand stands in Newmarket? Or that the Methodist circuit around Ely could commission so many remarkable chapels in the two decades between 1890 and 1910?

The connections and stories behind our heritage are fascinating and there is still a huge amount to discover: now is an ideal time to get involved !

So, what have we been up to since the website went live 6 months ago?

After a big media push at the beginning of the year we have been liaising with local heritage and community groups to share the news about the project and get them thinking about the types of assets in their community which they feel could meet the criteria for local listing. Cambridge Past Present and Future, have been out surveying and adding candidates for local listing. March and Wisbech societies have also been helping to spread the word. We have also recruited 9 volunteers who have been out in the Districts taking photos, and researching potential candidates to add to the website.

You may have also seen our project officer, Jess Johnston out and about attending town wide events such as the March St George's Day fayre, Ramsey Fen Fair and the very rainy Ely Jubi-eel day! If you’re coming to Cambridge Pride 9th July, come and say hello, she’ll be in the LGBTQ+ history café alongside historian John Mason and the Museum of Cambridge. We’d love to hear from you if you know of any places that are significant to the LGBTQ+ community as they could meet the criteria for local heritage listing.

Fen Cottage, Wicken, East Cambridgeshire

We've had a steady increase in traffic to the website with 90 users now registered and over 400 candidates added to the site to date. This now includes those buildings in East Cambs that have already been formally adopted onto a Local List in 2017 (although at time of writing their status is 'candidate work in progress' whilst our team add more information to the entries.')

The project board has also carried out an initial first sift of some of the candidates that have come forward. Here’s some candidates which they feel are ready to be considered for formal adoption

What's coming up?

Jess will be delivering ‘Awesome Architecture’ children’s activities at local Libraries and holiday clubs where they will learn weird and wonderful facts about buildings of the past and the way they were built. Did people really use cow poo in their walls? When were flushing toilets invented? What tools did they use to build them? They will also have a chance to get hands on with some artefacts from Cambridgeshire Archaeology archive, carving stone, and wood and designing and building a cardboard model house.

For September we’re currently in discussion with the Wisbech Society and Etcetera Community Hub about some Heritage Open Day activities. And hoping to run some heritage skills sessions in Fenland too.

Keep up to date on all activities via our social media pages


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