The Shadows and unwanted arrivals - a nostalgic look at Ely and Cambridgeshire

The Shadows in May 1961

The Shadows: May 1961. The Shadows, an instrumental group who have developed an individual style of their own, entertained fans at the Regal Cinema. They have an elaborate arrangement of electronic and amplifying equipment that produces a sound that has become so effective, novel and unusual. The group, who until a short while ago were responsible for most of the backings in Cliff Richard records, played many of their popular numbers including ‘Frightened City’. Supporting acts included the Brook Brothers and the Red Price Group while Dave Allen the compere kept up a quick-fire routine of off-the-cuff humour. - Credit: MIKE PETTY

From disappearing concrete and The Shadows to famous tennis players and unwanted arrivals, take a step back in time and discover some of the faces and places of Ely's past. 

1948 London kids not wanted in Burwell 

London children come to Burwell in June 1914 in two batches for a fortnight’s holiday; there is need for someone to arrange lodgings for them but nobody wants the job. There has been so much mischief done by these holiday children that they cannot get a person to look after them. People take these children who have no room for them and the children are huddled up anyhow, Poor Law Guardians were told. - Credit: MIKE PETTY

The archives from historian Mike Petty continue to offer historical gems.  

Soham tennis 1948

A chapter of accident befell Miss Kay Stammers, one of Great Britain's two leading women tennis stars, when she went to Soham. The purpose of her visit was to "christen" a hard court presented to the town. Travelling from London by train Kay intended to get out at Cambridge, but overshot her target and found herself in Ely. She booked a taxi to take her back to Soham but it says little for the local knowledge of the Ely taxi drivers for the car went straight through the village and on to Newmarket. Eventually she arrived at Soham, where a mystified crowd awaited, only three-quarters of an hour late. - Credit: MIKE PETTY

Disappearing concrete: in May, 1913

Disappearing concrete: in May, 1913, Ebenezer Driver, an Isleham gravel and shingle merchant told the court he owned 16 lighters and a steam tug. He’d delivered eleven lighter loads of sand and gravel to Southery for the Methwold & Feltwell Drainage Board to use as concrete at the pumping station. Heber Martin, surveyor of Littleport said he’d measured the barges and worked out the amount supplied. Joseph Whitehead said he’d carted it from the lighters. But the Board disputed the quantity. The suggestion that being fenland it had acted as a quick-sand and swallowed up the materials could not be accepted since the ground was so hard people could not get a pick into it. It was possible more sand and gravel had been used in making the concrete than they’d allowed for. - Credit: MIKE PETTY

Shippea Hill rail smash in June 1906

Shippea Hill rail smash: In June, 1906, a Government Inspector’s report into the derailment of a passenger train near Shippea Hill concluded it was caused by unduly high speed over a portion of track under repair. At Cambridge Assizes a 15-year old boy from Prickwillow was indicted for having placed a sleeper on the railway line near Ely on the evening of March 6th. It was hit by the Norwich train and carried for a mile and a quarter - Credit: MIKE PETTY



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