Neighbourhood Gathering

HistoryWorks is located closeby another successful start-up Cambridge business called Calverleys, and it was a real pleasure that Sam and Tom Calverley, kindly agreed to host our first event for the IronWorks community historian to meet the community alongside the recently commissioned IronWors artists led by Hilary Cox Condron, Artist in Residence.  For this occasion, we set up the yard with a welcome exhibition and HistoryWorks brought along bunting to greet residents for a party atmostphere, and a kids table for young children to do drawing and contribution to the Artworks.   Pasted up onto the doorways of this Victorian buildings, was the perfect space for the exhibition about the local area produced by Helen Weinstein of Historyworks. 

The exhibition was to show what Helen Weinstein has unearthed about the Headly Iron Foundry and Coprolite Mill which is the first business to be built on the site after the railway came in 1845 and changed the area from one of agriculture to industry and dwellings for workers in Cambridge.   The exhibition had photographs to illustrate each the Iron Foundry and Coprolite Mill, including the railway track and sidings for the foundry. Information was displayed about the Headly family who owned the Eagle Iron Foundry, including their family tree to take account of the next generations including Headly and Edwards, and a picture of the Headly grave plot at Mill Road Cemetery. Helen Weinstein also collated pictures of what the scale of the Foundry building may have looked like based on similar Victorian industries such as the brickworks and timberworks on Newmarket Road, and the 1894 pumping station on Riverside, now the Cambridge Museum of Technology.  Helen has also spent many months tracking down photographs of objects made by the Headly Foundry and these were clearly displayed including the Cattle Market Railings where the Junction is located now, and the Water Pump from Market Squrae which is now in the courtyard at the Museum of Cambridge on Castle Hill.

In this exhibition we showcased a big map which was kindly made with help from Max Satchell in the Geography Department at the University of Cambridge who stitched 8 maps together from the OS of 1886/1888, which is for research purposes to share with the community so that we could have a seamless map showing the Mill Road Railway bridge on the very edge of the map focusing on the area of Victorian residences and businesses located around and behind the Eagle Foundry between the Railway line and the boundaries of Mill Road down to Newmarket Road and across to East Road.  The highlight of this map is to clearly see the scale of the Eagle Foundry and Coprolite Mill in context of the dwellings and small businesses in the surrounding streets.  Also of interest is that on the Romsey side of the railway line there are few dwellings in 1186, instead still agricultural fields.  Plus in Petersfield the influx of residents is so intensive during the Victorian era that there are several infant and primary schools in short walking distance from the Headly foundry and coprolite mill including the school at St Barnabas Road behind the Church, the Infant school on Sturton Street, the St Matthews boys and girls on York Street, the St Matthews Primary and Infants also located on Norfolk Street, so 5 schools in total!

The artists were located at the base of Calverley's yard, including Hilary Cox Condron who was greeting the community to introduce them to the artists, and Rodney Harris out in the yard clay modelling fruits of the globe to be found in the households and groceries of the Mill Road area.   Children and adults had lots of fun talking to Rodney about his practice and sharing their fruit and veg stories as they modelled with the clay. In what Calverley's 'shed', the former farm workshop, were two artists.  First, Tom Pearman, an artist who was talking to the residents about switches and make origami switches with them to engage with his potential graphic artwork. Second,  Jo Chapman engaging the public with her sculptural practice and co-producing printed items on a hand-held press.

The sharing of local history by residents was very successful for Helen Weinstein, who was joned by Parkside Students doing their placements.   It was great to have the younger students making Pterosaurs, flying lizards who ate fish in the River Cam basin and left their deposits in Cambridge during the Jurassic period, whose poo was known as 'coprolite' and dug up in the area in the Victorian period to make super charged fertiliser, dug up by fossil diggers and ground up at the Coprolite Mill located at the Hooper Street end of the Headly site.   Many of the very young children made Pterosaur puppets which Helen Weinstein had prepared as a puppet for children to take home.

Helen Weinstein also had a set of finding resources that were made in advance by Helen and her other Parkside student, Jack, who is shaping up to be a fantastic social historian.  We printed out the 1891 census for the closest streets to the Foundry, including Kingston, Hooper, Sturton, Sleaford, York Terrace, Stone Terrace, Ainsworth Street. During the afternoon a couple of hundred people visited us, and many were responding to the tags Helen had pinned up on doors, tempting residents to visit us with lines such as 'Did you know that in 1891 a baker called Henry Cable lived in your house.  Come along to our event from 2pm onwards and find out more..."


Neighbourhood Gathering


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