Please do come along and join in a public history event when Historyworks will be participating to provide history trails, craft activities, and engagement with the Chisholm Trail project.  Date is Saturday 7th September and we will be there from 12 noon to 4.30pm at the Leper Chapel on Newmarket Road, Cambridge.  The address is Barnwell Junction, Newmarket Rd, Cambridge CB5 8JJ.  Note access at present is only via steep stone steps.

Historyworks will be celebrating their Public History and Art project on 7th September, and in particular welcoming cyclists and walkers and engaging the local community in the forthcoming Chisholm Trail cycle and pedestrian pathway which is going to allow better access to the Leper Chapel by 2020.  

Re-enactment of the famous Stourbridge Fair at Cambridge's oldest building, the Leper Chapel, which was founded in the early 1100s as part of a hospital colony for those suffering from Leprosy, was always held during the month of September.   King John of Magna Carta fame granted a charter for the Fair in 1211 as a fundraiser for the Leper Hospital, and this Fair became one of the biggest in Europe by the early modern period, admired by Daniel Defoe, frequented by Isaac Newton. 

On 7th September, this wonderful, popular fair reenactment event for all the family allows you to step back in time to a past age. Witness the traditional way of opening the fair at noon by the University of Cambridge proctors with their traditional rituals and the costumed dancers.  All afternoon there will be free and fun activities.

As well as dancing, there will be singing, storytelling, stalls, crafts and fascinating history talks. You can also experience the historic chapel, which is normally closed.  Admission is free and all the crafting and history activities offered by Historyworks are free too.  Artists in Residence, Hilary Cox Condron and Jill Fordham will be on hand to help the public produce their own Leper Chapel themed artworks to take home.   All Welcome!

Helen Weinstein has worked with hundreds of school children, and Abbey People Youth Group, and found inspiration from archaeologists and geographers and historians from the University of Cambridge whose knowledge we will be sharing, added to the important local memories of people who live and work in and around Barnwell.  


In addition there are poets and musicians who have been working closely with Helen Weinstein at Historyworks and we will share some of the poetry and song Helen has co-created with the famous childrens poet, Michael Rosen; and a new geocaching trail around the Chisholm Trail route which has history headlines for every stop along the way, suitable as a treasure trail for old and young, about an hour circuit on a bike...  

Geocache trail leaflets will be available for free at the Stourbridge Fair event and circulated via Cam Cycle September Festival.


There's a Chisholm Trail stand - the Trail will go past nearby when it's opened - building a pathway to cycle and walk from the River Cam to the Leper Chapel. 


Adjacent to them a Historyworks stand engaging the public with the local stories through history trails and artworks for a project called 'Chisholm Trail Tales'.   Helen Weinstein, Artistic Director for the community engagement project, has been working with hundreds of local children and families to contribute poems and songs, paintings and collages for a giant mural which will tell the story of the area along Newmarket Road. 


Helen says "it has been brilliant to have so many involved in making the mural and walking to places of historical significance to connect the stories of the past to the present.  At Historyworks we have created a fun way to navigate the area around the Chisholm route, with a geocaching trail, which is a free permanent trail we've published to introduce the public to local history stories and places, including Stourbridge Fair locations and the Leper Chapel. 


As a historian, I'm really excited about the new Chisholm Trail being built because it connects the River to the Leper Chapel again, the same as it was in medieval times, when the Cam was the main travel route for traders and produce, were shipped along the River to Cambridge from all over Europe. 


Today at the Fair we have been illustrating the River Cam and the wildlife you'll see in the meadows nearby, so children and adults have been drawing pictures for the new mural with the help of local artists, Hilary Cox Condron and Jill Fordham.  


The Chisholm Trail Tales project has also involved Helen Weinstein leading workshops in Cambridge schools, to inspire primary teachers and students to be writing poems and songs, making collages and pictures for the mural.


Schools whose children are visiting the Leper Chapel with Helen Weinstein to be inspired by the story of the Fair to make the mural are from Galfrid Primary School, Fen Ditton Primary School, and Shirley Primary School.  Historyworks is also involving the CBBC's Horrible Histories songwriter, Dave Cohen, and the famous poet, Michael Rosen, who are visiting Cambridge for creative writing workshops in schools, and lines from their especially commissioned songs about the area will also be shared on the mural.  To keep in touch with the next events, you can find the project on facebook on @ChisholmTales



Please find out more about this history of Stourbridge Fair do find a free powerpoint and summary by Hisoryworks here:

Find out more about the Leper Chapel in the powerpoint and summary by Historyworks here:

Find out more about the Chisholm Trail here: