Now stay with me here because I know parking isn’t the most absorbing topic for a blog post BUT if you are planning to bring your car into Cambridge over the coming weekends, you are probably already dreading the massive queues for municipal car parks, not to mention the whopping dent that parking charges will make in your wallet. This Christmas, there is another way …..
The Rotary Club of Cambridge South is opening three University sites for car parking. They ask for a cash donation of £7 or more per car and last year raised over £33,000 from parking donations. This year, your donations will go to support Headway, Romsey Mill, Projects in Africa, Rotary Foundation, CamPod, University of Cambridge Veterinary School Trust and Winter Comfort, with smaller donations to other charitable projects.
Read on for the parking locations, dates and opening times!
Downing Site, Tennis Court Road, CB2
Saturday 23 and 30 November. 7, 14, 21 and 28 December. Entry from 8.30am
Sunday 24 November. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 December. Entry from 10am
Friday 27 and Monday 30 December. Entry from 8.30am
Exit by 7pm
Department of Chemistry, Lensfield Road, CB2
Saturday 23 and 30 November. 7, 14, 21 and 28 December. Entry from 10am
Sunday 24 November. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 December. Entry from 11am
Friday 27 and Monday 30 December. Entry from 10am
Exit by 5pm
Cambridge Assessment, Harvey Road, CB1
Saturday 23 and 30 November. 7, 14, 21 and 28 December. Entry from 9.30am
Friday 27 and Monday 30 December. Entry from 9.30am
Exit by 5pm
PLEASE NOTE THIS SITE IS NOT OPEN ON SUNDAYS
For further details of this festive car parking and for more on the Rotary Club of Cambridge South, check out their website.
186 Gwydir Street looks like a typical Cambridge terraced house from the outside. But when you walk in through the front door, you leave the 21st century behind and enter the world of Victorian decorative artist David Parr.
David bought the house at auction in 1886 and lived there with his wife, Mary, and their three children. He’d been apprenticed at the age of 17 to the Cambridge firm of artworkmen F. R. Leach & Sons and he worked for them all his life, painting grand houses and churches with designs created by luminaries of the Arts and Crafts movement, including William Morris. After long days at work, David came home to decorate his house in the same style, painting by oil and candlelight during the evenings and creating intricate interiors in this relatively humble abode.
The exquisite decoration incorporates the use of cut out stencils, through which he stippled paint, and pin prick stencil work, all with individualised repeats which bring the designs alive. Pine doors and matchboarding are painted and grained to resemble more expensive woods. The main bedroom boasts an early version of hot air heating. David was bringing back ideas and sometimes left over materials from jobs he worked on to create a beautiful, unique home for his family.
After David’s death in 1927, his widow continued to live in the house with grand daughter Elsie who, in turn, married and brought up her two daughters there. The decor of the house remained unchanged through the generations but the family was very private and almost nobody knew about these wonderful interiors. Tamsin Wimhurst first saw the house in 2009 after she put out a call for interesting spaces in Cambridge while researching for an exhibition she was organising at the Museum of Cambridge. Elsie told Tamsin the story of her grandfather and the house, proud now to show off David Parr’s work. After Elsie died in 2013, aged 98, Tamsin and her husband decided to buy the house to conserve and restore it.
The programme of conservation and restoration has been painstaking. Happily, David Parr had logged everything he did to the house room by room and all the changes he made, both inside and outside. Family furniture, artefacts and textiles fill the house. It really does have the feeling of a home where the family has just stepped out for a while. On the day I visited, volunteers were busy landscaping and replanting the back garden as it is remembered by David Parr’s great grand daughters, both of whom still live locally.
David Parr House reopens on 16 May. For conservation reasons, tour places are limited at present as the team carefully monitors and assesses the multiple effects of visitor traffic on the painting and general fabric of the house. The scheduled house tours for this year are now sold out but it is still possible to book a private tour. Over the next two years, income from tours will be matched by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the proceeds will go into an endowment, the interest from which will fund a Curator post.
I was absolutely captivated by David Parr House. The care and skill that has gone in to this beautiful place, both from its creator and the team that has ensured its future, is awe-inspiring. For more on the story of the house and the family, volunteering opportunities and tour reservations, take a look at the website.
It’s always a pleasure to visit Rowan, the Humberstone Road based arts centre and charity for people with learning disabilities. There’s such a friendly and purposeful atmosphere there as the student artists go about their work in small groups with tutors. They create beautiful pieces in the wood, ceramics, print, textiles and mixed media studios, undertake many private commissions and sell their work at exhibitions and events.
Rowan is holding its popular annual Winter Warmer on Wednesday 5 December from 5 – 8pm. Everybody is welcome and entry is free. You’ll find handmade gifts and cards, wooden reindeer, wooden table displays and ceramic tree decorations to buy and you can make a gorgeous ceramic Christmas tree at the Christmas workshop. And, of course, there’ll be mulled wine, mince pies and live music too!
Rowan’s major fundraiser for 2019 is the “Cambridge Seen” art exhibition, happening on 9 and 10 February at Long Road Sixth Form College. To be part of this, you can get creative and produce a piece of art work or go along to the exhibition to invest in some art. Or indeed, you can do both! You don’t need to be a professional artist at all … just buy a canvas from Rowan for £10 and, using whatever media you like, make a piece of art inspired by your view of Cambridge. A bridge, a building, a landscape, your garden … there’s no limit to the possibilities. Then when you’re done, return your completed canvas to Rowan by 1 February. Here are a couple of artworks that have been returned to them already.
Every penny raised from this “Cambridge Seen” exhibition will go to fund Rowan’s work. Activities here give the students a daily routine and structure as well as helping with development of their social and communication skills, building their self-esteem and increasing their self-confidence. There’s a real buzz as they mingle in the light, spacious communal areas at breaks and mealtimes. All places are subsidised so there is a need for fundraising year round to make sure that this remarkable venture and its student artists can continue to thrive.
For more details of Rowan, the Winter Warmer and the “Cambridge Seen” art exhibition, take a look at the website.
Bridge the Gap is a circular walk through the beautiful gardens of six Cambridge colleges. Now in its 17th year and happening on Sunday 9 September, this event is a great day out for families, friends and groups of work colleagues, allowing entry to the grounds of these historic colleges, some of which are not normally open to the public, whilst raising money to support the valuable work of two local charities, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and Romsey Mill.
I met with Georgina Forbes, Fundraiser for Romsey Mill, to find out more. The action starts and finishes on Parker’s Piece where you can register from 8.30am, have a coffee and some breakfast from one of the food trucks as well as collect a backpack filled with water, fruit and goodies provided by the event’s sponsors. You’ll also be given a brochure with a route map and information before heading out (there are three different waves of departures through the morning).
The route is approximately 5 miles long and takes in Emmanuel, Christ’s, Sidney Sussex and Trinity colleges before heading along the Backs to St Catherine’s and Pembroke colleges and then on to the Museum of Zoology which is celebrating its reopening.
There will be marshals to show you the way, Blue Badge guides in the colleges to answer your questions and the route is wheelchair and pushchair enabled. You’ll find music along the way (think brass, folk and jazz bands) and refreshments at St Catherine’s College. Back on Parker’s Piece, Cambridge 105 will be broadcasting from a 50 foot stage, there’ll be music courtesy of Cambridge City Brass and you might even want to join in the dancing with Cambridge Lindyhop. You’ll also find a soft play area for kids and various competitions happening plus that all important tea tent offering home made cake.
This year’s fundraising goal is £50,000. Thanks to the generosity of the event’s sponsors, all overheads are covered so 100% of your entry fee is shared equally between the two Cambridgeshire charities. Arthur Rank Hospice supports people who are living with a life-limiting illness and those who need end-of-life care. Romsey Mill is a Christian charity creating opportunities with young people, children and families, many of whom are facing significant challenges in their lives.
Around 130 volunteers make this event happen with many different roles available. If you’d like to join them, contact Tasha.Hills@arhc.org.uk for route volunteering and email@example.com for volunteering on Parker’s Piece.
To take part in Bridge the Gap, you simply pre-register on the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity website (see the link below) or you can turn up at Parker’s Piece and pay on the morning. Group tickets are available at discounted rates and children go free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Houseboats, rowing boats, riverboats, punts ….. all every day traffic on the River Cam. On Saturday 8 September, they’ll be joined for one day only by a slightly different type of vessel as the Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival returns to the city.
More than 40 teams of up to 10 people each – groups of friends, sports clubs and companies – will battle it out along a 200m course at Ditton Meadows, Fen Ditton. Team spirit and enthusiasm are essential, previous experience of dragon boat racing is not. Each team is guaranteed a minimum of three races and race organisers, Gable Events, supply the 30′ dragon boats, all the necessary racing equipment and qualified helms to steer a straight course.
Carol Lester of Gable Events tells me that dragon boat racing originated in China over 2000 years ago. Legend has it that poet Qu Yuan was cast out by the government and, in his devastation, jumped into a river. He was revered by the people and fishermen raced out to save him, beating their drums and splashing their oars to keep fish and evil spirits away from him, but to no avail.
Today, dragon boat racing takes place around the world and is a popular group/teambuilding activity. The dragon heads on the boats symbolise a warding off of evil spirits while a drummer beats out a pulsing rhythm to help pace and synchronise the paddlers’ strokes.
Dragon boat racing is also a terrific spectator sport. There’s free parking and free access to Fen Ditton Meadow from where you can see all the action on the water. There’ll be plenty of entertainment on the riverbank with children’s activities, inflatables, food trucks, a bar, Chinese lion dancing and tai chi demonstrations.
Now in its 14th year, the Cambridge Dragon Boat Festival raises money for Addenbrookes Charitable Trust, to provide technology, specialist services, research and extra comforts for patients at Addenbrookes and the Rosie Maternity Hospital, over and above what would be possible through NHS funding alone. Last year, the Festival raised the amazing sum of £20,000. There’s still time to get a team together and be part of this. For more details, including information on how to enter a team, check out these websites.
The annual Cambridge Open Studios event returns as the workshops and studios of 350 artists, craftspeople and designer-makers across Cambridgeshire open their doors over four weekends in July to showcase painting, ceramics, sculpture, handmade jewellery, glass, photography and much more.
This is a great opportunity to see artists at work, to discuss their techniques and inspiration and to browse, buy or even commission their work, although there is no pressure to buy. Entry to all studios is free. Last week, I caught up with a couple of participants who are getting ready for Open Studios.
Regular readers of this blog may remember photographer, Sara Rawlinson, who I first met last September when I wrote about her journey from seismology to photography and her exhibition at Michaelhouse, “Illuminating Cambridge Libraries”. Over these past months, Sara has continued with her project, taking stunning photographs of more college libraries. She has plans for another exhibition and is also branching out into flower photography, particularly looking at tiny details, the texture of petals and frosty grasses in monochrome.
Sara is looking forward to opening her home studio in Beche Road for the first time and will be welcoming visitors on all four weekends. Find out more about Sara and her work on http://www.sararawlinson.com
Over at Rowan in Humberstone Road, the student artists are hard at work creating beautiful pieces in their studios. Rowan is an arts centre for people with learning disabilities and there’s truly a family atmosphere here. The student artists are supported to be autonomous, encouraged to learn and try new things and to enjoy being together in the light, airy social spaces that run through the building.
The work spaces were a hive of activity when I dropped in last week, with gorgeous cards being produced in the Print Studio, wooden phone stands, lamps and candlesticks coming from the Woodwork Studio and bright felted wool scarves hanging up to dry in the Textiles Studio.
The Ceramic and Mixed Media studios were equally busy and the Rowan team, who are old hands at the Cambridge Open Studios event, are looking forward to welcoming visitors on the weekend of 7 and 8 July. Proceeds from the sale of the student artists’ work go straight back into the charity to enable their remarkable work to continue. Rowan also takes commissions for one off pieces. You’ll find more on http://www.rowanhumberstone.co.uk
In a new initiative, Cambridge Open Studios has joined forces with ofo bikes this year, with the dual aim of helping visitors travel between city centre studios easily whilst reducing the environmental impact of the event. You can locate ofo bikes using the free ofo Smartphone app, available from the App Store or Google Play. Then just use a code printed in the Open Studios yellow guidebook to claim five free one hour ofo bike rides and get pedalling!
Studios will be open to visitors from 11am to 6pm on July 7/8, 14/15, 21/22 and 28/29 and entry is free. Do bear in mind that not every artist will exhibit every weekend. You’ll find printed guides for this event in shops, galleries and libraries. You can also go to the website to download the 2018 COS App which gives full details of the Open Studios together with an interactive map to help you with planning your day and navigation.
Cam Sight is a wonderful Cambridge charity that I’ve been meaning to write about for some time now. From its Cambridge HQ in Chesterton and its Wisbech outreach centre, its staff and a band of around 350 dedicated volunteers work to ensure that clients with low vision and blindness can access the support and advice they need to live the life they choose.
I met with Nick Burr, Cam Sight’s Fundraising and Promotions Officer, and his beautiful assistance dog Amber, to find out more about this remarkable organisation which began life as the Cambridge Society for the Blind in 1912 and which today works with around 1800 clients across Cambridgeshire.
The services that Cam Sight offers are extensive. On the practical side of life, there’s help with choosing of and training on the many technologies available. There’s a weekly magnification and lighting clinic and they sell a wide range of equipment to help with carrying out day to day tasks, from talking clocks to canes, kitchen safety aids and large button telephones. In one-to-one sessions, a (re)habilitation specialist can help with mobility, orientation and daily living skills while the community team visits clients at home, to help and advise with welfare and housing benefits application as well as adaptations to the home.
The emotional side of life is, of course, just as important as the practical. Cam Sight organises outings and social activities while volunteer befrienders give support and companionship in many different ways. And in a peer support initiative, there are monthly gatherings held across Cambridgeshire for clients, their carers and family members. Cam Sight also offers emotional support and counselling sessions.
“We run three groups for children,” Nick tells me, “for preschool and 4 – 11 year olds, then the teenage group is a lot of fun, whether they’re playing pool and eating pizza, enjoying an activity day or a trip to a theme park.”
Cam Sight also supports clients to return to sport or indeed to try a new sport. Tandem cycling is an option, with a trained sighted pilot and a low vision stoker. They own seven tandems and on 1 July, several pairs will be cycling in the annual London to Cambridge bike ride (yes, that is 63 miles!) to raise money for Cam Sight. So they’re busy training and if you’d like to sponsor them, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Another fundraiser coming up is Cam Sight’s first Golf Day on 20 July at Cambridge Meridian Golf Club. You can enter individually or get a team of four together. There’ll be 18 holes of golf plus breakfast, a barbecue, prizes, a raffle and an auction, all for a suggested donation of £60 per person. To sign up for the Golf Day, just contact email@example.com
On 17 July at 7.30pm, there’s a talk “John Henslow and the Education of Charles Darwin” given by Professor John Parker, former Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, at the Sainsburys Laboratory Auditorium. Tickets are £15, include canapes and drinks and are available from Cam Sight on 01223 420033. Fundraising activities are also organised by the Friends of Cam Sight, a group who run their own events in support of the charity’s work.
If you’d be interested in volunteering with Cam Sight, there are many roles available from driving to befriending, helping with bucket collections at external events and riding as a pilot on a tandem. Joy Hallifax, the volunteer team leader, would be delighted to hear from you. Just email her on firstname.lastname@example.org All volunteers receive an induction with full training and ongoing support.