‘Moral sewage’, Soham’s first car, firefighter breaks his glasses and the wonder of Woolies! 

Jolly |Anglers

The Jolly Anglers was a fully licensed house, situated at Waterbeach Fen, about a mile from Upware and three-and-a-half miles from Bottisham Lock. - Credit: Mike Petty

Those indeed were the days – when we celebrated milestones such as record newspaper sales, a first car ride to Hunstanton and opening of Woolworths in March.  

The echoes of past times are once again re captured with the help of Mike Petty.  

Soham’s First Car-ride to Hunstanton, 1899 – Ely Standard 18th March 1938 

Soham's first motor car

Soham's first motor car - Credit: Ely Standard

An old photograph shows Mr. Alfred Clark with his wife of Mill House, Soham, aboard a three and a half horsepower Benz car, which he purchased in 1899.  

The motorcar was the first in Soham; it was a two-seater and was belt driven.  

The engine was started by hand on the rim of the flywheel after lifting up the rear of the car piano fashion.  

March Woolworths – Ely Standard 18th March 1932 

Woolworth comes to March. It came, and eventually, went

Woolworth comes to March. It came, and eventually, went - Credit: Ely Standard

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Whenever building space has been available, local tongues have wagged about the possibility of F.W. Woolworth opening a branch. 

It has now been erected in Broad Street. 

No less than 90 per cent of the wares offered are British made. 

Whittlesey Boat and Anchor destroyed – Ely Standard 18th March 1938 

The Boat and Anchor, King’s Dike, more commonly known as The Ball, was gutted by fire.  

All that was left were the end walls and the scullery 

It is believed it was started by a spark settling on the dry thatched roof. 

Fireman Bert Bull of Inham Road was on the roof of the scullery when his hose swung round and the force of the water broke his spectacles.  

Forehill Car Park opens – Ely Standard 18th March 1965 

Forehill car park opening 

Forehill car park opening - Credit: Ely Standard

Ely’s Forehill car park with space for 107 cars was officially opened.  

It has already proved its worth having been in unofficial use for about a month with as many as 80 vehicles at peak periods. 

Offensive Divorce reports -  Cambridge News15th March 1923 

At the Ely Diocesan conference a resolution passed.

“That this conference protests against the publicity in the newspapers of full reports of trials in the divorce courts as being offensive and detrimental”.  

Mr Sells said they had the advantage over their forefathers by having their sewage taken away silently and quietly, and it seemed wrong that their moral sewage was not treated in the same way.  

It was now allowed to linger about and pollute the air. 

A friend had told him of two urchins in a car glancing over the unsavoury details put before them. It would be impossible to overestimate the harm done to the rising generation by such things 

Stretham Church Window Opening – Ely Standard 16th March 1934 

stretham stained glass window

Stained glass window is a memorial to the Grainger family who lived in Stretham about 100 years ago - Credit: Mike Petty/Archant

As the result of a generous bequest in the will of the late Mr E.E. Westley, a beautiful stained-glass window has been installed in the Memorial Corner, Stretham Church. 

It is a memorial to the Grainger family who lived in Stretham about 100 years ago and are now extinct – and to the benefactor herself. 

Top-selling paper-seller – Ely Standard 15th March 1935 

Burrows of Ely in 1935

The photograph shows Mr. Percy Burrows (who manages the business for his father), and eight of the young men who utilise all kinds of conveyances for delivering their supplies of ‘Ely Standard’ each Friday. - Credit: Ely Standard

Mr. J F Burrows started business in the city during the Christmas of 1899. 

Then Mr. Burrows sold only a few odd copies of the Ely Standard, whereas today he is the largest agent in any town or village in the huge area of 1000 square miles served by the Cambridge Times series of papers. 

Floods wash over A10 at Chittering – 1947  

The sandbag barricade at Chittering in 1947.

The sandbag barricade at Chittering in 1947. - Credit: Mike Petty

Flood water rushed from the Old West River across the main Ely-Cambridge Road at Chittering, a short distance beyond Stretham.  

Here a rather serious situation arose, the swiftly moving water washing away large stretches of the grass verge in its sweep towards the lower-lying land of Waterbeach Fen.  

As there was a danger of the road being undermined it was closed to traffic, which was diverted to Cambridge by way of Wilburton and Cottenham.

A large gang of men were engaged in trying to stem the rush of water by means of a wall of gault filled bags, erected along the road edge. 

The report appeared in ‘The Battle of the Banks’ published by Ely Rotary Club in 1947