Death in a lime kiln, the coming of electricity and brewery closures and sales

Children being ferried through the floods in an ex-army lorry at Earith

Children being ferried through the floods in an ex-army lorry at Earith- a free service operated by Eric Hard, 1960 - Credit: Mike Petty

Our weekly journey back through time, courtesy of the efforts of local historian Mike Petty.

His Fenland History on Facebook offers an eclectic selection of stores and photographs from the Cambridgeshire archives. 

In words we feature some of those snippers. 

And this week's photographic theme is transport.

The railway crossing at Six Mile Bottom is a dangerous ‘black spot’

1960: The railway crossing at Six Mile Bottom is a dangerous ‘black spot’. During peak holiday periods as many as 1,500 cars an hour use the crossing, which closes 40 times a day. - Credit: Mike Petty

Death - ‘Ely Chronicle’ - December 26 1846 

The remains of the body of Thomas Burgess, a youth about fifteen years of age was found dead and dreadfully burnt in the lime-kiln belonging to Mr. Benj. Warner, of Ely.  

No doubt he fell asleep by the side of the kiln, was suffocated and fell into the burning lime stone.  

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The appearance of the remains of the poor boy were too terrible to be described.  

It is only a few months ago that a bricklayer, named Cropley, was destroyed by suffocation at the same place, and two other persons have since had very narrow escapes. 

Downham Drove Costly Electricity – Cambridge News - November 22nd 1961 

Electricity Board representatives will tour Lt Downham, Pymore and Fodder Fen, Littleport seeking views on a scheme to bring electrification to the last few Fenland dwellers. 

Every hand shot up when the 130 people attending a meeting in Downham school were asked if they would like electricity.  

But the cost of bringing it to the Downham droves alone is over £50,000  

Traffic in Ely High Street, 1965

Traffic in Ely High Street, 1965 - Credit: Mike Petty

Reach Goes Electric – Cambridge News - November 17th 1953 

Reach’s oldest inhabitant, 84-year-old Mrs Badcock, leaned across a table in the lamplight and pulled a switch to turn on the village’s electricity supply.  

The lights blazed and a six-foot sign of red, white and blue bulbs glowed ‘Welcome to E.E.B.’ 

A large number stayed to watch a television that had been installed; others went to the hostelries to celebrate. 

Traffic in Emmanuel Street, Cambridge, 1929

Traffic in Emmanuel Street, Cambridge, 1929 - Credit: Mike Petty

Soham Fire Station break-in – Cambridge News - November 22nd 1924 

A deputation from the fire brigade attended Soham Parish Council.  

They reported that when the recent fire occurred at Mr Horley’s shop instead of calling the firemen someone forced open the Fire Station door and took out the Minimax fire extinguishers, one of which was damaged, while another is missing.  

It was agreed that only  recognised members of the Fire Brigade have the right to open the fire station door 

1954: Motor cycles in line outside Hallen's

1954: Motor cycles in line outside Hallen's: "Eight AJS motor cycles being loaded at Hallen’s garage for delivery to Cambs County Police. - Credit: Mike Petty


Ely Brewery Closure – Cambridge News - November 21st 1968 

The closure of Ely brewery makes economic sense said the chairman of Stewart and Patteson who own the brewery.  

It is some consolation to know that the closure implies no failure of men or material at Ely or any diminution of efficiency. 

The closure will make 200 workers redundant.  

March Brewery sale – Ely Standard - November 21st 1930 

Ogden & Sons, the well-known March brewers have disposed of their business to Greene King of Bury St Edmunds. 

It began in quite a small way being established in 1800 by Mr Ambrose Ogden who started a brewery at the Robin Hood Inn, Town End.  

Malnutrition and Epidemics in Schools – Ely Standard - November 21st 1924 

The School Medical Officer reported that in many villages where a large portion of the people were poor, they did not have enough sufficient money to give their children enough food.  

The children could go to the school clinics where they could get cod liver oil at reduced rates. Something should be done because the children affected, we're not in a position to receive the education provided for them. 

23 cases were spread over a large number of schools but this was a very small number of the 11,000 children attending.  

Suffering from malnutrition might not be from the effect of food exactly, but might be from heredity. And from the fact that a number of families were not healthy.  

Mr Payne said, as to the impossibility of some parents to secure good food there were a number of children on the borders of malnutrition. 

 There were epidemics of scarlet fever at Guyhirn and measles at Tydd St Giles and Parson Drove.