Become a local history guru

Since 2000 H&IVSoc has been publishing local interest books and pamphlets. Now is the time to gen up on your local area so you can appreciate your daily walks or runs even more as you pass by buildings, pubs and streets. They all have a fascinating history, and our books will bring this to life for you.

Whether you are a pub enthusiast, a World War 1 aficionado, a local sports fan or simply interested in the historic buildings of the village, we have a book to for you to help you get through this lockdown.

For Information on books please click HERE

For an on-line order form please press HERE

If you would like any advice on publications, have any questions about our free membership or simply would like to get in touch with ideas for new books or to record your memoirs please contact us at:

Email: or Tel 07956 720023

NB All book sale proceeds support future book publications

Find out about the history of the village you live in

The Histon and Impington Village Society (HIVSoc) is delighted to announce that it is opening up membership FREE OF CHARGE to all Cambridgeshire residents. Membership will start immediately on registration and expire in January 2022. There is usually a £12.00 annual fee, but this is being waived for the first time ever, as the committee tries to help others during this Covid19 crisis. (Established HIVSoc members are entitled to a rollover 12 months free membership due to Covid restrictions. This will happen automatically, and you do not need to get in contact if you paid for membership this year.)

HIVSoc is a friendly society with over 70 members who have a shared interest in the local history of the area and an interest in conserving important elements the past for future generations to enjoy. One of their aims is researching, collating and recording historical information on Histon and Impington to share with the local community.

In normal times, the society would meet monthly at Impington Village College, for unique and interesting talks given by regional experts. However, due to the restrictions, HIVSoc has swiftly adapted its approach to ensure members still get their fix of colourful historical facts and stories about our village and its surroundings during these tough times.

For the past 6 months, members have been sent regular emailed articles on specific elements of the villages’ colourful past. This has varied from a 1st hand account, by Frank Unwin, of Unwin’s Seeds business which was based in Impington, facts and stories about the wonderful Histon Giant, through to detailed historical accounts of local roads and houses. These articles include old photos and fabulous anecdotes complemented with robust facts and figures.

HIVsoc chair Max Parish “We are so pleased to offer this access to our membership widely and without cost and hope the articles we send out provide interesting and stimulating reading for all as the winter months draw in. We are as frustrated as everyone that we can’t hold our monthly meetings, but we hope this will be the next best thing until those times return. We look forward to coming back with a bigger and even more enthusiastic membership”

The society is also investigating organising talks and presentations delivered through Zoom, possibly featuring representatives from the National Trust, local Historians and other speakers. These will hopefully replace some of the monthly talks held at Impington Village College whilst the pandemic restrictions are in place. All members will have the opportunity to sign up to these free of charge too.

So, if you would like to receive articles directly to your inbox and be the first to hear about potential HIVsoc Zoom talks, please do take advantage of this free membership and sign up now below. It will give you a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the place you live in without giving up too much time or money. Ideas for new projects and books, donations of old photographs and suggestions for speakers are always welcomed. Why not submit your own articles too?

There is zero commitment to signing up and you can unsubscribe at any time. All we need is your name and email address! It’s as straight forward as that. Please do also consider subscribing on someone else’s behalf, so you can print off the articles to take to an older resident or friend who doesn’t use email. NB HIVSoc adheres to a strict privacy policy in line with GDPR data protection.




TEL – 07956 720023

Bell House – A Histon House through Time

By Eleanor Whitehead

Part One – origins

It is believed that the Church Street area of Histon, known as Church End, has been a centre of settlement for over a thousand years. Bell House stands proudly at the top of Bell Hill at the junction with Church St, in Church End, Histon. This timber framed cottage was originally built as a lobby entry cottage during the Elizabethan era. From the appearance of the timber frame it may well have been built with three bays. Built on a much larger plot than today, it was once a dominant building in this part of the village in its heyday.

To read the full article please look under the heritage bulletin tag on our menu

Lucas Smith

Towards the end of the 18th C the agricultural revolution (leading to more food but less employment) caused a rising population to migrate to the cities. Poverty increased, as did crime. The prison population exploded. With Captain Cook’s discovery of the extent of the Australian continent, the British Government looked to secure the continent as a British colony. The overloaded penal system became a cheap source of labour to be used to construct the new settlements of Australia. By the 1830s, HM Government had also realised that the forced emigration of petty criminals (especially those who were skilled and literate) was an excellent method of colonising distant Australia.

To read what happened to Lucas Smith please follow the link

The Merrington and Christmas families

Sometime in the distant past, St Andrew’s Manor, Histon purchased a large close (enclosed village field) just over the boundary in Impington. Histon locals came to call this field Impington Close. By 1801 it had been subdivided and sold off to various farmers. One such allotment, which ran alongside Impington Lane (in the past variously described as Dog Kennel Lane, Green Hill, Mill Hill Lane) was called Ratcatchers. Until recently, this was associated with the Unwin seed packing factory. Today it is the site of the Merrington Place development. In 1801 it was owned by John Merrington.

To read more follow the link

Station and Cambridge Roads, Impington

Once the railway was opened in 1847, Station and Cambridge Roads became the focus for village expansion. In 1806 there was nothing but open fields and the windmill. In 1877 a bill of sale advertised land for housing development. By 1886 there was the ‘Railway Vue’, fifty eight new homes and, of course, the massive jam works. Visitors from all over the world saw the area with its orchards, pasture, strawberry fields and young plantations, as a wonderful and healthy location for such an industry. To read more on Impington follow the links

Histon and St Etheldreda

Recent discussion has centred on whether the care home in Histon should be Etheldred House – its actual name – or perhaps it should be Etheldreda House. Eleanor Whitehead has carefully examined the claims of the three King Etheldreds of the Anglo-Saxon period, but they don’t appear to have come near the place.

We did, however, have in the village the site of the ancient church of Histon St Etheldreda which was demolished by Sir Francis Hynde in 1599. He used the materials mainly to extend Madingley Hall, whilst some more have gradually re-appeared built into cottages scattered around Histon.

It is a fascinating question to examine why Histon was involved with St Etheldreda in the first place and to find that there is indeed a very real connection. To read the whole article please follow the link

Histon and Impington Prepare For World War II

By May 1938, Air Raid Wardens had been appointed and they were attending lectures on anti-gas precautions. Early on, it had been decided that the whole population would be issued with gas masks and Histon and Impington were amongst the first in the county to begin a house to house census on the number of gas respirators required.

The photo shows 1944 Histon and Impington Air Raid Wardens at Impington Village College.

To read the whole article pleas follow the link to