Castle Hill Open Day Cambridge

Castle Hill Open Day is happening on 13 July with free events led by historians, local experts, artists, musicians and dancers.  There’s something here for all ages as you explore the art, history and heritage of one of the oldest parts of Cambridge.

Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge

A quick history lesson …. Castle Hill was originally an Iron Age hill fort and subsequently the site of the Roman town of Durolipante.  The Normans built Cambridge Castle there in 1068 but all that remains of it now is grassy Castle Mound, a rare hill in our flat East Anglian landscape!  Climb this and you’ll be rewarded with terrific views of Cambridge.

Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge
Image credit: Kettle’s Yard

The packed programme for this year’s Open Day includes

  • art workshops, talks and music at Kettle’s Yard
  • a rare chance to explore the former Nuclear Bunker behind Shire Hall
  • a tour of the New Hall Art Collection which has over 400 works of art by women artists plus you can pick herbs and make tea in Murray Edwards College Garden
  • a “Museum of Mysteries” trail and a Cabinet of Curiosities family workshop at the Museum of Cambridge
  • an insight into the area’s history through the biographies of 60 people buried at Histon Road Cemetery
  • free themed tours of the Castle Hill area
Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge
Image credit: Kettle’s Yard

Food-wise, there’ll be plenty of picnic spots.  The cafes at Kettle’s Yard, the Museum of Cambridge, St Gile’s Church (cream tea, anyone?!) and the Methodist Church will be open.  There’ll be several food trucks, a vegan pop up cafe at Murray Edwards College and an ice cream van.

Castle Hill Open Day 2019 Cambridge
Image credit: Kettle’s Yard

You’ll find more information and full details of the Open Day schedule on the Kettle’s Yard website.

http://www.kettlesyard.co.uk/openday

 

 

 

Riverside Tea Garden at Cambridge Museum of Technology

There’s a massive chimney that dominates the skyline down at Riverside.  It’s in amongst a cluster of Victorian buildings that make up the Museum of Technology and I’ve walked past it dozens of times but never really knew what it was all about.  When I heard that there’s going to be a pop up Riverside Tea Garden there this summer, I decided to find out more and met with Assistant Curator, Morgan Bell.

Cambridge Museum of Technology

Built in 1894, the 53 metre tall chimney is part of a Victorian sewage pumping station which is now the Museum.  Here they burned the city’s household rubbish to create steam to fuel engines that pumped the city’s sewage out to a treatment plant in Milton.  Prior to this, sewage had discharged into the River Cam, causing cholera outbreaks so this wonderful Victorian engineering transformed public health in Cambridge.  The pumping station was decommissioned in 1968, at which point a group of local campaigners saved it from demolition and turned the buildings into a museum.

Hathorn Davey pumping machine Cambridge

Owned independently and funded by admission fees and donations, the Museum houses the last Hathorn Davey pumping engines in the world that still work.  It has also built up a collection of telecoms equipment, televisions and radios from Pye and historic scientific instruments from Cambridge Instrument Company.

Hathorn Davey pumping machine Cambridge

The Museum is currently closed as there’s a major redevelopment under way, thanks to money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Restoration of the old buildings is complicated and painstaking as they are a Scheduled Ancient Monument and permission is needed even to paint in there!  There are plans for a new building to house exhibition and learning space plus a cafe building with views over the river.  The boiler is being repaired so it can once again supply steam to run the pumping engines and they’re hoping to be open by mid 2019.

Boiler at Cambridge Museum of Technology

This redevelopment is about preserving heritage of course but it’s also about inspiring a generation of future engineers and innovators.  Jinx St. Leger, the Education Officer, tells me about the outreach programme with primary and secondary schools, encouraging students to look at STEM subjects in a new light.  “It’s teaching engineering by stealth,” she smiles.  “We make stomp rockets, create origami, make print blocks and masks and use a morse code machine to send and decode messages.”  Jinx will be running four craft based and four engineering based events over the summer at the Museum of Cambridge (check out http://www.museumofcambridge.org.uk/events for more details).

Cambridge Museum of Technology

Now back to the tea and cake … on Sunday afternoons between 15 July and 5 August, you’ll be able to enjoy drinks and cream teas at the Riverside Tea Garden in idyllic surroundings on the Museum’s lawn overlooking the river.  There’ll be stalls selling treasures, crafts, books, clothes, baked goods and produce.  And I’ve booked my ticket for The Floating Museum, a boat trip happening on various dates through the summer, during which you’ll discover more about the city’s industrial heritage along the river.  All profits from these ventures go back to the Museum to help fund the restoration.  Full details, plus a booking facility for The Floating Museum, are on the website.

http://www.museumoftechnology.com

The Old Pumping Station, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge CB5 8LD