In what now feels like Week 562 of lockdown, there are definite signs that life is returning to the city with more people out and about and some cafes reopening for take out as they plan how they will operate longer term with social distancing etc. Here’s a round up of good things that are happening in Cambridge now.
Cafe Abantu on Hobson Street has reopened with a small take away menu of coffee, cake, sausage rolls and quiche. Abantu will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday next week but keep an eye on their social media as opening days/times will increase and the menu will evolve as the days go on. Welcome back, Wendy!!
The Botanic Garden may have closed its gates but, undaunted, the team is bringing the Festival of Plants 2020 to us online from 26 – 28 May. There’s a different theme each day (Plant Science, Horticulture and Conservation) with short talks, virtual Garden tours, events, family activities, films, Facebook Live sessions and a Twitter takeover. I know this is going to be fabulous but I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait to wander round the Garden again, then get stuck in to some delicious cake in the Cafe!
Aromi has their Peas Hill Gelateria window open every day from 12pm – 6pm for gelato and Sicilian coffee. So happy that this delicious ice cream is back! Opening times may vary so check their social media.
David Parr House is launching a new online exhibition “A Space of One’s Own”. Running from 25 May to 22 June, it comes at exactly the right time, as our lives have focused on our own homes for months now. This remarkable Arts and Crafts worker’s home has many fascinating stories to tell. The David Parr team would love people to respond to this exhibition with their own pictures and thoughts on the importance of having your own private space and the rooms or spaces that represent you and the way you like to live.
The Cambridge Oven on Hills Road has continued baking throughout much of the lockdown period and is now offering a full range of their gorgeous baked goods from a counter in the doorway with contactless payment only. They’re open Tuesday – Sunday 8am – 3pm with home deliveries still available for orders over £15.
And finally, nature is doing her beautiful thing, crisis or no crisis! Here’s a wild flower meadow on the lawn outside Trinity College and there are other glorious wild flower areas in most of the city’s green spaces, which really make me smile. Now that we are starting to emerge into some sort of new normal, I do hope that everybody is doing ok and most of all that you, your families and friends are keeping safe and well x
I love summertime in Cambridge. The May Balls and graduation ceremonies are done now and as the students leave for the summer, the rhythm of the city seems to change. There’s plenty going on, as you will see from this listing which I’ll update as the month unfurls.
1 – 14th Strawberries and Screen. Live screening of BBC coverage from Wimbledon on a giant LED screen between One The Square and The Tamburlaine Hotel. 100 chairs available. Bring your own picnic or buy from food vans (mainly available at lunchtimes). http://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/lovecambridge
3rd 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Afro Tema, a danceable mix of Senegalese salsa, furious mbalax, afro-rock and some serious roots reggae style music. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
6 – 7th 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
6th 2 – 4pm Family First Saturday. Activities and art-making on the theme of “caring for our museum”. Free, drop in event. Fitzwilliam Museum. http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk
6th 7.30pm Charity Concert supporting Cambridge Summit on Homelessness. Mawson Road Community Orchestra with classical pieces, a cappella from “Sound Scribblers” and traditional music from Greece, Russia, Romania, Macedonia, Scotland and Ireland plus an Auction of Promises. Tickets on the door. St Paul’s Church, Hills Road. http://www.mrco-cambridge.org.uk
8th onwards Cambridge Shakespeare Festival. Productions performed in College gardens, in full period costume and with live Elizabethan music. http://www.cambridgeshakespeare.com Read more about last year’s Cambridge Shakespeare Festival here
10th 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Martin Kemp’s Organised Chaos. Swing and jazz standards from 1930s to present. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
13 – 14th 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
13 – 21st Cambridge Veg Fest. A city-wide celebration of local and seasonal vegetables, bringing people together to grow, cook, eat and enjoy delicious veg. http://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org
13 – 27th Cambridge Summer Music Festival. Live classical music, focusing this year on music by women composers and music by – and inspired by – J S Bach. www.cambridgesummermusic.com
13th 4.30pm (child friendly) and 7.30pm Music for a summer’s evening. Fairhaven Singers. Strawberries and sparkling wine (included in ticket price) will be served on the banks of the Cam during the interval of the evening performance. Queens’ College Chapel. http://www.fairhavensingers.org.uk
14th 11am and 2pm Science on Sundays: Stop and smell the … pollination! Free, informal 30 minute drop in plant science talk. Botanic Garden. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
15 – 17th 10am – 5pm Visitor Centre Open Days and Launch of Museum on a Bike. David Parr House, 184 Gwydir Street. Facebook: @davidparrhouse Read more about David Parr House here
17th 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Truly Medley Deeply. A hybrid of live band, DJ and jukebox producing a huge sound from Motown classics to stadium rock. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
20 – 21st 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
21st 9am – 2pm Mill Road Summer Car Boot Sale. Gwydir Street Car Park.
24th 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Noga Ritter. Singer-songwriter and band performing Afro grooves and jazz. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
27 – 28th 11am – 6pm Cambridge Open Studios. Over 350 artists in and around Cambridge open their studio doors to the public. Fine art, photography, pottery, glass making, sculpture, illustration, textiles, jewellery and furniture. http://www.camopenstudios.co.uk Read more about last year’s Open Studios here
31st 6.15 – 7.15pm Sounds Green. Open air music. Singer-pianist Ruth Applin with the Josh Kemp Quartet playing classic jazz, blues and bossa nova. Botanic Garden. Tickets must be bought in advance online. http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk
It’s set to be another busy month here in Cambridge with so much going on from steampunk to poetry, comedy to ceilidh and everything in between! Read on for more and please do get in touch through my Contact page if you know of an event I could add in to the listing. 1st … Continue reading “What’s on in Cambridge – May”
It’s set to be another busy month here in Cambridge with so much going on from steampunk to poetry, comedy to ceilidh and everything in between! Read on for more and please do get in touch through my Contact page if you know of an event I could add in to the listing.
1st 4 – 8pm Student Discount Event, 25% off at Tindalls Art and Graphics, King Street
2nd 8pm St Matthew Passion, J S Bach. Singers from Trinity, St. John’s and King’s. Cambridge University Bach Ensemble. Trinity College Chapel. Tickets on the door.
5th 10.30am – 4pm Cambridge Vegan Market. Food stalls, lifestyle brands, cosmetics, ethical clothing, charities and more. Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.veganmarkets.co.uk/cambridge Read more about Cambridge Vegan Market here
5th 10.30am – 11pm Steampunk in Cambridge V11: May the 5th be with you! The seventh annual Steampunk in Cambridge event. Museum of Technology, Cheddars Lane. http://www.museumoftechnology.com
6th 9am meet for 10am departure. The Reach Ride, a bike ride to the 800 year old Reach Fair. Free. Organised by Camcycle. Assemble in front of the Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.camcycle.org.uk/reachride
7th 8pm Rhapsody in Blue. Cambridge University Wind Orchestra and Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.adcticketing.com
8th 3 – 8pm Spring Student Night, Grand Arcade. Discounts, DJ, freebies, drinks. www. grandarcade.co.uk
11th 10.30am – 4pm Eat Cambridge. Annual food and drink festival celebrating Cambridgeshire’s independent food scene. Followed by two weeks of fringe events. Guildhall, Market Square. http://www.eat-cambridge.co.uk
11th 11am – 5pm Open Gardens, Christ’s Pieces Residents’ Association. 8 gardens open in Parker Street, Victoria Street, Clarendon Street, Orchard Street and New Square. In aid of Jimmy’s Homeless Project East Road and the Cambridge Children’s Charity. £10 ticket on the day for all gardens (children are free) from the Unitarian Church, Emmanuel Road. Tea provided.
11th 4pm A Spring Concert with Rolling Thunder. CSD Brass. Free, retiring collection. St Luke’s Church, Victoria Road
11th 7.30pm Symphony 3, Mahler. City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, St Catherine’s College Girls’ Choir and St John’s College School Senior House Chamber Choir. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.adcticketing.com
15th 6 – 9pm Museum at Night. Explore the Museum of Zoology after hours and experience the natural world after dark. Age 18+ Free, no need to book. Museum of Zoology, Downing Street. http://www.museum.zoo.cam.ac.uk
16th David Parr House reopens. A terraced house and arts and craft movement treasure which was home to Victorian decorative artist David Parr. 186 Gwydir Street, CB1. http://www.davidparrhouse.org Read more about David Parr House here
16th 7.30pm Poetry at the Pub. Readings from two poets, open mic floor spots and books for sale. Blue Moon, Norfolk Street. http://www.cb1poetry.org.uk Read more about Poetry at the Pub here
17th 2pm and 4pm Puss In Boots. A ballet for children. 2pm is a Relaxed Performance. Northern Ballet. Cambridge Corn Exchange. http://www.cornex.co.uk
17th 6 – 9pm Drink and Draw. After hours sketching in the Cast Gallery with a glass of wine. Adults only, free, drop in. Materials provided, all abilities welcome. Museum of Classical Archeology, Sidgwick Avenue, CB3. http://www.museums.cam.ac.uk/events/drink-and-draw
18th 7.30pm Mass in B Minor, J S Bach. Cambridge Chorale and Academy of Ancient Music with soloists from Amici Voices. Trinity College Chapel. Tickets on the door or from http://www.cambridgechorale.org.uk
18th 7.30pm From London to Venice: Fusing Poetry and Music. Monteverdi, Grandi, Strozzi, Caccini, Ferrari and Merula. Clare Hall, Herschel Road. Tickets from Porters’ Lodge or email@example.com
19th 5.30pm and 7.30pm The Pelicantata, narrated by Sir Tony Robinson. Come dressed as your favourite Roald Dahl character! Cambridge Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and Chorus. Choirs from Chesterton Community College and Sawston Village College. West Road Concert Hall. http://www.cambridgephilharmonic.com
19th 6pm The Time of Gifts. Spring themed Medieval and Renaissance songs, traditional Spanish pieces with classical and contemporary works. The Lucy Cavendish Singers. Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington. http://www.lucycavendishsingers.org.uk
20 – 25th Cambridge Beer Festival. Cider, perry, mead and English wine also available at this CAMRA festival. Opening times vary. Jesus Green. http://www.cambridgebeerfestival.com Read more about Cambridge Beer Festival here
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.