A nostalgic look at Ely and Cambridgeshire

“Biafran butcher” June 6, 1975

“Biafran butcher” June 6, 1975: Student yells of “Biafran butcher” at General Yakubu Gowon failed to disrupt the Honorary Degree ceremony at the Cambridge Senate House. The General gave the thumbs up sign to a bunch of two dozen students who chanted insults at the Nigerian head of state as he walked in procession. He was flanked on one side by a hefty special branch armed bodyguard plus the Cambridgeshire chief constable, Mr F. Drayton Porter, and by contrast on the other by the tall, elegant figure of Queen Margrethe of Denmark. - Credit: MIKE PETTY

From disappearing shovels to a twenty pence pint and an unexpected discovery, take a step back in time and discover some of the faces and places of Ely's past. 

Ely Cathedral railings under threat, June 6, 1941

I learn from the Dean of Ely (writes Watchman) that the Ministry of Supply has communicated with the Dean and Chapter requesting that the wrought iron railings around the cathedral be taken down to help the war effort. The Dean remarks that he does not like the idea at all and intended to write a letter to the Press on the subject in due course - Credit: MIKE PETTY

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

“Biafran butcher” June 6, 1975

“Biafran butcher” June 6, 1975: Student yells of “Biafran butcher” at General Yakubu Gowon failed to disrupt the Honorary Degree ceremony at the Cambridge Senate House. The General gave the thumbs up sign to a bunch of two dozen students who chanted insults at the Nigerian head of state as he walked in procession. He was flanked on one side by a hefty special branch armed bodyguard plus the Cambridgeshire chief constable, Mr F. Drayton Porter, and by contrast on the other by the tall, elegant figure of Queen Margrethe of Denmark. - Credit: MIKE PETTY

‘Stretosaurus’ - June 10, 1952 

‘Stretosaurus’ - June 10, 1952: The skeletons of two prehistoric animals believed to be about 140 million years old have been unearthed on the Wicken Road, Stretham. One, a plesiosaurus is thought to be about 20 feet long, and the other is believed to be a dinosaur. The discovery was made during dragline operations. - Credit: MIKE PETTY

Disappearing Shovels - June 10, 1936

Disappearing Shovels - June 10, 1936: Nine men who worked on the fen banks at Soham Lode during the recent floods appeared in court charged with stealing a shovel each, the property of the Great Ouse Catchment Board. Several of the men said they had lost their own shovels and took another as ‘compensation’. - Credit: MIKE PETTY

Twenty Pence Pint: June 10, 1982.

Twenty Pence Pint: June 10, 1982. The landlords of the Twenty Pence Inn near Cottenham invited the Queen and the Prime Minister to a party to celebrate the introduction of the new 20p coin. But they both had other engagements. A special Twenty Pence Ale – brewed for the occasion – was on sale but could only be bought with a 20 pence coin. - Credit: MIKE PETTY


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