May 29 – On this day in Cambridgeshire history

Each weekend, Mike Petty and I look at the archives of the Cambridge News and recount some of the stories that occurred on this day in history.


Boxer sets his sights on light-welterweight title

1976

Dave “Boy” Green in June 1977. Mirrorpix.

Dave “Boy” Green, seen in the Fens as a reincarnation of their living legend, Eric “Golden Boy” Boon seeks the British title at the Royal Albert Hall. His ferocious fists have left a trail of 15 beaten bodies on his way to the title fight against Joey Singleton.

It is fighter against boxer, the punches of the slugger from the country against the wits of the artful dodger from the city. When the bell goes he will storm forward like a runaway thresher throwing out punches from all angles, punches launched from awesome shoulders with murderous momentum – ten stone of terror on the rampage. He first put on gloves then years ago when he went to the local amateur boxing club in Chatteris.


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Cars to be powered by fuel cells within ten years

1965

May 29 – On this day in Cambridgeshire historyMr F T Bacon demonstrating his invention called the ‘hydrox fuel cell’.

August 24, 1959. Mirrorpix.

Fuel cells may soon provide power for motor cars. The cells, which were developed by Mr Bacon of Great Shelford, have an ability to produce electric current.

I remember that, at the original demonstration in Cambridge, the cell was shown operating a fork lift truck. Now the Chrysler Corporation say they may take the place of conventional car power units within the next ten years. The immediate goal is to produce a cell which will use a simple hydrocarbon fuel such as petrol mixed with air in place of dangerous gases.


The Shadows entertain crowds at Regal Cinema

1961

May 29 – On this day in Cambridgeshire historyCliff Richard and The Shadows backstage at The Regal on November 10, 1959.

The Shadows, an instrumental group which has developed an individual style of its own, entertained fans at the Regal Cinema.

The group has an elaborate arrangement of electronic and amplifying equipment that produces a sound that has become so effective, novel and unusual. The group, which, 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.


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Barber who has shaved clients since he was nine

1934

May 29 – On this day in Cambridgeshire historyPrziborsky’s hairdressers.

One of the best-known Cambridge hairdressers, Alexander Joseph Priziborsky, was born in Cambridge 54 years ago.

It was his father who founded the hairdressing establishment in Round Church Street about 1856 and, on his death in 1905, his son took it over. He shaved his first customer when nine years old and built up a first class reputation, the majority of his customers coming from outside the town.


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Beekeepers belittle ‘backward’ handmade hives

1931

May 29 – On this day in Cambridgeshire historyEngraving of a beehive made of rush or straw coils and covered with straw thatch. Universal History Archive/Universal Images/Getty.

Mr Harry Semark, of Willingham still constructs the old-fashioned straw hives which are universally condemned by modern beekeepers and now seldom seen even in the ‘backward’ villages.

Yet he exports them to America and the remote Antipodes. In a recent book, there is a photograph of a lorry stacked sky-high with Willingham skeps. It is a coiled straw basket, woven by hand with strips of osier.

The basket can be moulded to any shape. Straw in his hands is like clay to the potter.


Men on the battlefield, women on the cornfield

1918

May 29 – On this day in Cambridgeshire historyLand Army girls in Ely.

A demonstration was given by members of the Women’s Land Army in Cambridge attracted a great deal of attention and should result in large numbers of girls filling the gaps left in the ranks of agricultural workers. About 200 assembled on Parker’s Piece and went in procession through the town with a banner saying ‘men on the battlefield, women on the cornfield’.

Agriculture had been almost denuded of its workmen and now 30,000 more were to be called up. We looked to the women of Cambridgeshire to come forward and take the places of the men who had been called upon to go out to help in France. It was absolutely necessary to grow more food here to release more shipping to carry our allies, the Americans, as well as munitions and other supplies for the men in France.

It was also necessary to grow more in order we might be self-supporting and not be hindered in any peace negotiations by the fear of starvation at home. The land was crying for labour to save the crops. The women of Italy were doing splendid work, the women in France were doing their utmost working in fields where shells were screaming over their heads.

The women of England are not to be behind those of our allies. The eastern counties have come forward to the tune of 900 women who were chiefly engaged in baling hay.


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Inspecting town’s main manufacturing company

1914

May 29 – On this day in Cambridgeshire history

Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company welcomed visitors to its workshops, test room, drawing office and stores. Visitors were shown the manufacture and operation of the various instruments made.

Many are of great commercial value. The extension is the fourth addition since the works were moved from Panton Street to Chesterton Road. It is the chief of the few manufacturing concerns in Cambridge and now employs 180 hands.


Noted pilot lost in English Channel feared dead

1914

May 29 – On this day in Cambridgeshire historyGustav Hamel and Eleanor T.

Davis cross the channel in a Bleriot monoplane on April 02, 1912. M. Rol.

All hope has now been abandoned of again seeing Mr.

Gustav Hamel, the famous aviator, alive. Mr. Hamel, after his brilliant display of flying and looping at Cambridge on Thursday last, departed for Paris with the intention of bringing back a new Morane-Saulnier monoplane, driven by a 160mph Gnome motor with which he intended to compete in the aerial derby round London on Saturday.

Owing to the weather conditions, the race was postponed, but Mr. Hamel was not aware of this, and he started from Villacoublay at half past four o’clock on Saturday morning, and landed at Le Crotoy, near Lille, about an hour later. He was afterwards reported as having landed at Hardelot and later at Boulogne.

He is said to have left Boulogne at half past one o’clock, and afterwards to have been seen at Calais, but after that all traces of his flight have been lost. The weather in the Channel on Saturday was extremely unfavourable for flying. Search was made in the Channel and the North Sea by ships, but on Tuesday all hope was given up.


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Two die in remarkable ptomaine poisoning case

1908

May 29 – On this day in Cambridgeshire history

A remarkable case of wholesale poisoning has occurred at Murrow where 17 people belonging to four families have been affected.

Two of them have succumbed. Mrs Boston, a bricklayer’s wife, bought a quantity of pig’s bones and pig’s head to make brawn or pork cheese. She gave some to the other families.

Medical men attribute the illness to ptomaine poisoning.


Villagers rendered destitute after disastrous fire

1908

May 29 – On this day in Cambridgeshire history

The little village of Meldreth was the scene of a disastrous fire; five cottages and two bakehouses were absolutely destroyed, and several poor inhabitants have been rendered destitute as well as homeless, for their belongings were devoured by the flames.

The havoc was complete and the site, about 700 yards from Meldreth station, is now marked by heaps of debris.

Remains of carts, whole sides of pork and a load of flour are amongst the ashes.