Here you’ll find links to other sites to help you with your local history or family history research.
Most individual articles on this site also have links to material specific to their subject matter in the ‘For further information’ section at the end of the article.
We would like to continue to develop Capturing Cambridge as a useful network and resource for people researching or interested in the social history of Cambridge, its people and surroundings. Please use our contact form if you would like to tell us about further links for us to add to this page. Thank you.
Disclaimer: Capturing Cambridge (Museum of Cambridge) has selected these links as relevant to the content and aims of this website and likely to be of interest to our users and contributors. They have been provided as a convenience and for information purposes only and they do not constitute an endorsement or approval by the Museum of Cambridge of any of the information, services, products or opinions of the organisation, business or individual. The Museum of Cambridge bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external sites nor for that of subsequent links. Please contact the external site for answers to any questions regarding its content.
Archives and Libraries
The Cambridgeshire Archives identify, collect, preserve and actively promote the use of historical records relating to Cambridgeshire, including the former counties of Huntingdonshire and the Isle of Ely. The Cambridge searchroom is situated on the ground floor of Shire Hall and access is free. It is advisable to book a searchroom seat in advance ([email protected]). Visitors will need a County Archive Research Network (CARN) ticket which you can obtain free of charge on your first visit by providing identification of your name and home address. See Online Resources below for details of the online catalogue.
The Cambridgeshire Collection, established in 1855 , is currently based on the third floor of the Cambridge Central Library. It is a major, multi-media research library which provides a wide range and variety of resources on Cambridgeshire and its history. Some books are available for loan using a valid library card. Some items from the collection can be searched online via the library catalogue. There are also very useful newspaper cuttings and local biographies folders on a wide variety of topics and people. Mike Petty, former curator of the Cambridgeshire Collection, has written an online guide to using the collection and a history of it.
Cambridge University Library was established 600 years ago and now contains several million books, maps, manuscripts and journals. Members of the public conducting private research can join the library with reading access only (not borrowing) for a fee of £10 for six months, £20 for twelve months of free for one week only. See Online Resources below for details of the online catalogue.
Local Libraries: Arbury Court Library, Bar Hill Library, Barnwell Road Library, Cherry Hinton Library, Fulbourn Village Library, Great Shelford Library, Histon Library, Milton Road Library, Rock Road Library
Museums and Heritage Organisations
The Museum of Cambridge (formerly Cambridge & County Folk Museum) was set up in 1936 ‘to interest the ordinary citizen in aspects of local social life which were fast disappearing’. Its mission today is to be ‘a place where people discover and celebrate the diverse stories of Cambridge, its surroundings and its people’. The Museum has over 20,000 objects, images and documents. Please use our contact form for enquiries about accessing our collections.
Cambridge Museum of Technology, based in the original sewage pumping station for Cambridge, exists to preserve and exhibit material that is relevant to the Cambridge area, either by its use or its invention.
The Centre for Computing History is much more than a museum; it hosts hands-on exhibitions, learning workshops and a wide range of events. Most importantly, it makes the history of computing relevant and fun for all ages!
Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives hold a substantial and constantly growing collection of documents and artefacts that need to be permanently preserved for legal, financial and historical purposes.
Denny Abbey Farmland Museum started out as bits of broken pottery kept in a shoebox by four-year-old Craig Delanoy in the village of Haddenham in 1969. The collection, which now consists of over ten thousand objects, focuses on the farming and rural life of north and south Cambridgeshire which also incorporates a bygone collection by Frank Fossey of over two thousand objects.
University of Cambridge Museums and Collections are all within short walking distance of the City Centre. Explore more than five million works of art, artefacts and specimens in one square mile of Cambridge.
Cambridge University Press Museum contains original and facsimile copies of items relating to publishing, printing, bibles, prayer books, Press homes in Cambridge, London and around the world.
Cambridgeshire Heritage Education Group is a network for education professionals working in museum and heritage organisations around Cambridgeshire.
CALM online catalogue of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Archives contains catalogue entries for hundreds of thousands of original historical documents, including parish registers for many Anglican and Nonconformist churches, historic maps, school log books and admission registers, photographs, records of local government, including archives of prisons, magistrates’ courts, Quarter Sessions’ courts and coroners’ courts and many personal letters and papers of individuals.
British History Online is a digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain and Ireland, with a primary focus on the period between 1300 and 1800. It was founded by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust and currently contains over 1,260 volumes, including, of local relevance :
The Victoria County History of Cambridgeshire volume 3 is a comprehensive history of the City and University of Cambridge.
The Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England’s Inventory on the Historical Monuments in the City of Cambridge.
The British Newspaper Archive has over 600 searchable national newspaper titles including The Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 1813-1889, The Cambridge Daily News 1889-1939 and the Cambridge Independent Press 1839-1939. Subscription required or available free as part of a subscription to Find My Past.
University of Cambridge online catalogues enable you to search library collections and online article and database collections across the University. Separate Newton catalogues provide a traditional library catalogue interface for each library. The Janus project also provides a single point of networked access to catalogues of archives and manuscript collections held throughout Cambridge.
The Cambridge Group for the History of Population & Social Structure was founded in 1964. Members of the Group have made a spectacular series of discipline-transforming contributions to social science history.
Internet Archive is a non-profit searchable global library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more. Try searching ‘Cambridge UK’ for a diverse range of resources including winter birdsong recorded on Chesterton High Street and recorded debates from the University of Cambridge Union Society. Internet Archive is also the home of some of local historian Mike Petty’s collected resources and writings, including:
A Century of Cambridge News: A Chronicle of Cambridge Life and Change from 1888 A downloadable resource containing a wealth of information on many aspects of Cambridge history including health, hospitals, employment, politics, folkore, education (including the University), colleges, street changes, fires, police, planning, military activity, music, theatre, cinema, libraries and churches based on newspaper reports and cuttings.
Cambridgeshire Memories 1997 to 2015 A series of weekly articles in the Cambridge News from February 1997 to March 2015 featuring the memories of hundreds of local people on a wealth of topics not before recorded.
Cambridgeshire Engravers and Illustrators An introduction to the engravers and artists who have depicted Cambridgeshire since the 1660s.
Cambridgeshire Photographers: An Eye on the Past A series of articles identifying the photographers who have snapped Cambridgeshire since the 1840s.
Pickwick’s Cambridge Scrapbook 1838: Life Times and People in Dickensian Cambridgeshire
Cambridge City Council Conservation Areas Many parts of Cambridge have been identified as areas of ‘special architectural or historic interest’ that make them worth protecting and improving. The appraisal documents for the conservation areas contain interesting and useful historical information.
Maps at the Cambridge Digital Library
The Cambridge Digital Library at Cambridge University have many old maps and are adding more over time.
Mike Petty’s Guide to Researching Cambridge Streets and Houses in the Cambridgeshire Collection is a great place to start if you are interested in investigating the history of your house, street or neighbourhood in Cambridge.
Flat Caps and Bonnets sells (£4.95) a DVD of pdfs of local history resources for Cambridgeshire.
Google Books searches and gives access to the text of over 25 million books and magazines that Google has scanned, converted to text using optical character recognition, and stored in its digital database.
Google Scholar allows users to search for digital or physical copies of ‘scholarly’ articles, whether online or in libraries. Because many of Google Scholar’s search results link to commercial journal articles, most people will be able to access only an abstract and the citation details of an article, and have to pay a fee to access the entire article.
There are several online family history websites, including Ancestry, Find My Past and Genes Reunited, containing a wealth of information and sources to help you to discover your family history or the stories of people whose lives you are researching. They all offer a free short trial period but require a subscription for longer use.
Gwydir Street Website
The history of Gwydir Street, collected by Jo Edkins.
Societies, Associations and Local History, Community and Residents’ Groups
Cambridgeshire Association for Local History is a deep resource for Cambridgeshire local history that has been operating for over 60 years.
Cambridgeshire Community Archives Network is made up of over 30 groups from towns and villages in Cambridgeshire. Together they are recording the local history of the county.
Cambridgeshire Records Society publishes editions of original documents relating to Cambridgeshire and the surrounding area. The volumes, which range from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, have introductions and notes to make the sources accessible to all Cambridgeshire people interested in their local and family history, and to historians worldwide. The Society also republishes unavailable printed works and historical maps.
Cambridge Antiquarian Society was founded in 1840 to provide access for local people to the local history, architecture and archaeology of Cambridgeshire. Among other benefits, members are eligible to attend the annual programme of monthly lectures, are entitled to a reduced fee for the Society’s annual spring conference, and receive a copy of the Society’s annual publications.
Cambridgeshire Family History Society is a charity established in 1976 with the specific aim of supporting the family historian who wishes to research Cambridgeshire family history. It offers access to databases of millions of names collected from a variety of sources including registration offices, parish records, military lists, non-conformist sources, shipping information and wills.
Cambridge Archaeology Field Group was formed in 1978 to carry out practical archaeology in the Cambridge area. Our purpose is to contribute to the archaeology of the region through our own field research, while also assisting the County Archaeology Service and co-operating with other interested groups or individuals. We also try to promote interest in archaeology through activities such as talks.
CamDig is an Archaeology Action Group in Arbury, Kings Hedges and Chesterton.
Cambridge Industrial Archaeology Society‘s aim is to study and record the industrial history and artefacts of Cambridgeshire.
Cambridge Branch of the Historical Association offers a wide variety of activities for members, including speaker events, debates, visits, film evenings, study days for school and college students and CPD sessions for teachers. Our meetings are usually held at Heffers bookshop or in the Cambridgeshire Collection in the Central Library. The branch is run in close collaboration with the history department at Anglia Ruskin University.
Abbey People continues the work of the Abbey Action project which started in 1998. It works to increase community involvement, support community ideas, help improve local facilities and be a voice for the Abbey area.
Barnwell and Fen Ditton Local History Society meets every month at Abbey Meadows Community Wing.
Caldecote Local History Group works with the school and other local clubs and organisations to help record and keep the village’s history alive. It has produced the highly successful ‘Book of Caldecote’, which is available to download here.
Cambridge Past Present and Future is a charity run by local people who are passionate about keeping Cambridge and the neighbouring villages and countryside special. We work hard to ensure that the future growth of Cambridge and its surroundings is of the highest quality to enhance the city’s character, ambiance and reputation.
Cambridge Philatelic Society is open to all with an interest in any aspect of philately. Members have access to a wealth of information on Cambridgeshire postal history.
Cambridgeshire’s Older Persons Enterprise Forum (COPE) is a voluntary organisation comprising Cambridgeshire residents aged 50+ that fulfils various important health-related functions for older people including social contact, friendship support, policy influencing and information-giving to members.
Cherry Hinton Local History Society was founded in 1982 to study and share local collections. Since then the society has grown in enthusiasm and size, welcoming and sharing information from other surrounding areas. We are a friendly and approachable group interested in all aspects of local history and its affiliated disciplines countrywide
Chesterton Local History Group meets at St Andrew’s Hall in Chesterton. They produced the book Chesterton: Images of England printed by The History Press in 2000.
Coldham’s Common Friends was set up to engage with the council in better management of the common.
Coton News updates information and images online relating to the history of the village.
Fulbourn Village History Society was formed in 1999 and meets regularly at the Fulbourn Centre. It maintains an archive collection relating to Fulbourn and produces publications.
Histon and Impington Village Society has been stimulating public interest in the history, care and preservation of Histon and Impington since 1979. The Society has sub-groups concerned with publications, projects, local history and the environment and monthly meetings re held at Impington Village College.
Jesus Green Pool A site run by the friends and regular swimmers of Cambridge’s longest outdoor pool. Includes a film of the 2003 summer season at the pool.
Madingley History Group meets at Madingley Village Hall and the group is open to everyone with an interest in the heritage, cultural and social history of Madingley. We are currently focussing on the last 100 years, recording villagers’ memories and piecing together a detailed picture of village life which we hope to publish as a book in the future.
Midsummer Common Friends is a group of Cambridge people who are concerned with the good management and responsible use of this ancient grassland. Our mission is to make the Common a place for everyone to enjoy and we welcome new members from any part of Cambridge.
Mill Road History Society was created in 2015 to continue the work started by the Mill Road History Project to investigate the stories behind the buildings and people of Mill Road and the surrounding area. The results are published in a project on this website.
Milton village community website has a history section including images and useful information on road names as well as an excellent video in which local residents share memories and information about old photographs of the village.
Mitcham’s Corner Friends Association was formed in 2010 and holds regular meetings in the Pavilion at the Cambridge Victoria Homes. If you are interested in helping to form a Mitcham’s Corner Local History group please come along to a meeting.
My Cambridge is a growing partnership of organisations and individuals committed to making sure that all young people feel part of the rich variety of culture in Cambridge.
Richmond Road Residents’ Association history and archives The association was established in 2009 and is compiling a history of the street.
Rock Road Library Friends is a group of volunteers who share an enthusiasm for retaining Rock Road Library library as a vibrant resource at the heart of our community.
Trumpington Local History Group was formed in 1995 and meets regularly at Trumpington Village Hall. The group has produced several publications including Trumpington Through Time and Trumpington Past and Present.
Other Local History and Community Projects
The Bunker Project was a city-wide investigative project created by Metis Arts exploring experiences of the hidden war spaces of Cambridge and beyond. The project involved interviewing a wide range of respondents about both the Cold War and World War II.
The Enid Porter Project made use of the author’s collection of writings, owned by the Museum of Cambridge, as the inspiration and starting point to investigate some of Cambridgeshire’s historic past.
The Lost Pubs Project is archiving the decline of the local pub, county by county.
The Friends of Histon Road Cemetery was established in 2006 and has since worked closely with the local community and Cambridge City Council. A development plan is now being implemented to improve the site whilst preserving its historical integrity. Regular gardening volunteers have made enormous improvements.
The Friends of the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground aim to protect and enhance the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground for the public benefit as a place of remembrance, spirituality, history and nature.
Mill Road Cemetery
The Cemetery was created and consecrated in 1848. You can find the life stories of local people and search for the grave of someone you believe may be buried there.
Local History Trails and Tours
Town not Gown Tours Cambridge history tours for local residents. Discover the hidden history of Cambridge with local historian and Blue Badge Guide Allan Brigham.
Trumpington History Trails are ten walking or cycle trails which are a fascinating way to find out more about the history of Trumpington and the surrounding area. The trails were developed by the Trumpington Residents’ Association and the Trumpington Local History Group with support from Cambridge City Council.
Visit Cambridge and Beyond organises guided tours of Cambridge with highly qualified Cambridge Blue and Green Badge Guides.
The Cambridge Peace Trail This self-guided trail offers a chance to find out how one-time inhabitants of our city made efforts over the years to bring about peace and justice for us all.
See Cambridge Differently specialise in providing bespoke, private guided tours of Cambridge to inspire, amuse and edify, including food tours, science and hi-tech tours, literary tours, Cambridge University tours, Pink Floyd tours and death and disease in Cambridge.
Black Shuck run a series of tours on Friday and Saturday evenings in Cambridge from April to November re-telling local myths, legends and ghostly stories.
Websites and blogs of local interest
A Cambridge Diary is photographer Martin Bond’s collection of daily photographs taken in Cambridge since 2010.
Cambridge Nostalgia is the Cambridge News’ gallery of images and articles about Cambridge past.
Cambridge Historian is Fonz Chamberlain’s collection of photographs and articles in which he shares some of the history of Cambridge. He also has a Cambridge Historian page on Facebook.
Cambridge in the Good Old Days is Derek Smiley’s Facebook group where nostalgia rules.
Urban Sketchers Cambridge draw on location in and around Cambridge.
Heritage Lottery Fund
This site and project were made possible with the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.