Projects, events and news from the University of Cambridge Museums
In her book Period Piece, Gwen Raverat (whose work is currently on display in the House at Kettle’s Yard) includes a description of the Castle Hill area in a chapter entitled Ghosts and Horrors. She writes:
The rough gangs of boys who used to rove about Castle End were quite enough to terrify me. To reach our grandmother’s or uncles’ houses in the Huntingdon Road, we had to pass through a corner of Castle End, called Mount Pleasant… At the top of a steep green bank stood a short row of tumbledown cottages, inhabited by the most unpleasant people. The place was quiet, there were only gardens with very high palings, on the lower side of the road, so there was little hope of help if we were attacked.
One of the oldest parts of Cambridge, Castle Hill has a chequered history spanning over 2,000 years from when it was initially settled by the Romans, to the building of the first Norman castle, to being the site of the city gallows and area of ill-repute as described by Gwen Raverat, to today – a vibrant and fast growing part of the city.
Castle Hill Open Day 2014 is a celebration of all this: the past and present, people and places of our local area. On 18th October, the Museum of Cambridge, Kettle’s Yard, St. Giles’ and St. Peter’s Churches, Castle Street Methodist Church, Cambridge Castle and the County Archaeology Service (in a former nuclear bunker) will all be open and free to visit. Alongside this there will be tours exploring the history of the area, including a tour of old pub sites led by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA); talks from Cambridge Past, Present & Future and the Churches Conservation Trust describing their roles in preserving the architectural treasures of the area; storytelling and drop-in activities for families, as well as exhibitions, artists’ talks, music and much more.
2014 is the third Castle Hill Open Day and over the past two years we have been fascinated to hear all the stories people have told us about their memories of the area. This year we hope to collect your stories for posterity. Across all the sites you will you find boxes where you can post us your memories and, who knows, maybe one day it will be your story told at the start of a Castle Hill Open Day blogpost!
So wrap up warm, keep your fingers crossed that the rain stays away and come and join us. To keep you going throughout the afternoon, the Museum of Cambridge Tea Room will be open all day, St. Giles’ and Castle Street Methodist Churches will both be providing refreshments and this year we will also be joined by Steak & Honour and Beanissimo.
This year’s Castle Hill Open Day will take place on Saturday 18 October 2014, 12 – 5pm. For further details of all the events happening on the day click here.