Book Launch: Histon – On and Off the Rails

Histon and Impington Village Society (H&IVSoc) is delighted to announce the launch of the society’s latest book: Histon – On and Off the Rails by Geoffrey Smallwood. This is the society’s first new publication since 2018 and is based on many years of research.

Drawing upon the memorabilia and highly entertaining memories of local residents, this beautifully illustrated book provides an in-depth guide to the history of Histon Station and its effect on the people and villages it served. Boasting over 200 photographs, it celebrates bygone times and captures a lost era of the village – a must read for all local residents and train enthusiasts alike.

Available from 25th September 2021. For more information HERE

The Creation of Kettle’s Yard Cambridge and it’s collection – Andrew Smith
VilSoc Talk Tuesday 29th June 7.30pm

Andrew has been a long-term fan of Kettle’s Yard since he moved to the area in the 1980s.
He’s worked as a visitor assistant since 2014, after a career in the design and manufacture of household electrical products and regularly gives guided tours of the house. His recent research projects include researching the history and background of the furniture in Kettle’s Yard House, although Andrew still describes himself as an enthusiast rather than an expert! He is a wonderful speaker and his enthusiasm for the house is totally infectious.

The Talk: A History Of Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge and is founder.

Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge was quoted as ‘One of the country’s most intimate and spellbinding museums, the collection of one man and his unerring eye; restorative, homely yet life-changing’ by Mark Fisher, in ‘Britain’s Best Museums and Galleries, 2004.’

This unique talk will cover the history and architecture of Kettle’s Yard and why it has been so influential as an ‘art environment’. The life of its founder, Jim Ede, is fascinating and Andrew will discuss what he was trying to achieve in the creation of Kettle’s Yard with some wonderful social history context, especially the effect of two world wars on Jim. Insights will also be given on some of the most important artists in Jim’s collection and also the ‘non art’ objects that are important to the collection.

About Kettle’s Yard:

In a quiet corner of Cambridge, overlooking St Peter’s Church, is a beautiful house filled with beautiful objects, once the home of H.S (Jim) Ede and his wife Helen.

Between 1958 and 1973 Kettle’s Yard was the home of Jim and Helen Ede. In the 1920s and 30s Jim had been a curator at the Tate Gallery in London. Thanks to his friendships with artists and other like-minded people, over the years he gathered a remarkable collection, including paintings by Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, David Jones and Joan Miró, as well as sculptures by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

At Kettle’s Yard, Jim carefully positioned these artworks alongside furniture, glass, ceramics and natural objects, with the aim of creating a harmonic whole……. More information on Kettle’s Yard or to book a visit

HIVSoc Talk 25th May 2021

Timothy Brittain-Catlin – The Edwardians and their houses.

HIVSoc Zoom Talk – 7.30pm 25th May 2021

To see a recording of this please press HERE


Timothy Brittain-Catlin is an architect and architectural historian who is presently teaching in the Department of Architecture at The University of Cambridge. After more than a decade working in Britain and abroad on both historic buildings and masterplanning, he returned to Cambridge in 2000 to research the buildings of A.W.N. Pugin and the domestic architecture of early Victorian England.

His first book, The English Parsonage in the Early Nineteenth Century, was published in 2008 and in 2020 he published his latest book The Edwardians and their Houses. This is the first radical appraisal of the subject for over 40 years. He is a member of Historic England’s national Advisory Committee and is published widely on houses and churches, including critiques in the Architectural Review, Architecture Today and many other magazines and journals.

The Talk: The Edwardians and their Houses: The New Life of Old England.

Tim will discuss the beauty and the varied style of Edwardian domestic architecture, which was very often designed and built to an unprecedented level of sophistication. It was also astonishingly innovative, and provided new building types for weekends, sport and gardening, as well as fascinating insights into attitudes to historic architecture, health and science. He demonstrates how the leading circle of the Liberal Party, who built incessantly and at every scale, influenced the pattern of building across England. He will provide an insight into the building literature of the period, from Country Life to the mass-production picture books for builders, tracing the links between these houses and suburbs on the one hand, and the literature and other creative forms of the period of the other.

Zoom Talks

Many thanks to all those who joined us on zoom for the talk by Eleanor Whitehead on

A Potted History of The Development of Histon and Impington

on 30th March 2021.

If you mised this talk, or if you would like to see it again please click HERE

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