top of page

Another Landmark.

It seems ages since I posted the last piece of this drivel. Life seems to have been full of visits since my visit to Cambridge. Visits to the doctor, visits to the hospital and a visit to the barber for a not insignificant spring shearing, to name but three. All this gallivanting around seems to have left little time for census crawling, directory delving or tangentbord tapping. Tangentbord? It's Swedish for keyboard and extends the alliteration. I'm a font of useless information.

Staying with useless information, it seems that this is my two hundred and seventy-fifth post. A minor, minor landmark, sitting as it does midway between the two hundred and fiftieth (which featured the New Inn and the Scarsdale in Duffield) and some possible future three hundredth.

And whilst we're on about landmarks, the subject of this post was one of those 'landmark' pubs of my childhood. Just like the Griffin in Thorpe St. Andrew or Blofield's Globe, the passing of which would provide measure of how a homeward journey was progressing, passing this one suggested that we would soon arrive at my grandmother's house.

Rose and Crown Newmarket Road Cambridge
The former Rose and Crown in April 2024.

The Rose and Crown stood in Cambridge, where East Road, Abbey Road and Occupation Road all met Newmarket Road. When we'd turn left here into East Road and pass Parker's Piece, there'd only be a couple of minutes of the two hour journey remaining.  The road layout has been altered since, with the opening, in 1970, of Elizabeth Way which provided a new crossing of the River Cam. When the changes took place, access from the south to Abbey Road was cut off.

The Rose and Crown in the early 1960s.

If you look at the map below you can see the Rose and Crown marked just under the 'R' of the 'Road' in Newmarket Road. If you look even more closely you can just about make out the name 'Sun Street' running alongside Newmarket Road, just to the east of the Tabernacle.

The Rose and Crown marked on the OS map of 1901, seemingly bearing one of their bench marks.

Why this close scrutiny of the map? All will become clear shortly.

The earliest, definite, named reference to the pub that I've found was in the 1861 census, when John Page was a brewer and publican living in the Rose and Crown. It was recorded as being at number 49 East Road.

Extract from the 1861 census.

However, and here's where the need for a detailed peering at the map comes in, a decade earlier John was recorded as being an innkeeper in Sun Street...

Extract from the 1851 census.

...and, the previous year, Slater's directory names him as one of a number of keepers of taverns called the Rose and Crown in the city. One which just happens to be on Sun Street.

Extract from Slater's 1850 directory.

With all the roads converging, I'm making the assumption that this 1850 establishment is the same one that's named in 1861. If it is the same place then John could well have been there in 1841 too, for he was listed as a brewer in Sun Street in that headcount.

John Page was a brewer in Sun Street in the 1841 census.

Our Mr Page was there for quite while. Kelly's directory managed to record him there, although the pub is now classed as being on Newmarket Road, in 1879...

Extract from Kelly's 1879 directory.

...just before he departed to the following world in the following year.

After John Page's departure there followed a number of relatively short-term tenants until William and Alice Walsh and their family arrived on the scene. 1911 finds them at home in the Rose and Crown, together with Alice's recently widowed sister and her own children.

Extract from the 1911 census.

Walter died in 1913 but Alice stayed on at the pub at least well into the 1930s, by which time the properties on Newmarket Road had been renumbered.

Extract from the 1938 Cambridge Blue Book.

Thirty or so years at the Rose and Crown. But the Rose and Crown that Alice entered in the early1900s wasn't the same Rose and Crown that she left. In 1925, Greene King acquired Cambridge brewers Bailey and Tebbutt, along with 48 tied houses. One of these was the Rose and Crown. Shortly after this acquisition, the pub was rebuilt in 1928. The replacement hostelry was designed by artist and architect Basil Oliver who, just as A W Eccleston did for Great Yarmouth brewers Lacon a decade later, designed a number of pubs for Greene King.

Basil Oliver in 1930.

Oliver was working at the time when the Arts and Craft movement was coming to an end, if it hadn't actually ended, but it didn't prevent him from continuing to try and keep the movement alive. RIBA has in its collections a couple of internal views of Oliver's newly built boozer.

The Club Room in the Rose and Crown in 1929.

The servery of the Rose and Crown in 1929.

Eight decades after its rebirth, the Rose and Crown finally pulled its last pint in 2008...

...before it was converted for commercial use on the ground floor, currently occupied by Cambridge Property Lettings, with rented accommodation above. It just happens that it was only around a couple of hundred yards away from where Mrs Bygone Boozer and I stayed on our visit to Cambridge last month. If I hadn't have known that the building was a bygone boozer there was this clue in the pavement...

Rose and crown newmarket road cambridge
A tiny clue in the pavement.

...a couple more clues above the ground floor windows...

rose and crown newmarket road cambridge
I wonder what the rose and crown could possibly signify.

...and yet another above the door.

rose and crown newmarket road cambridge

With that, the Rose and Crown brings to an end this short sequence of posts about bygone boozers in Cambridge. At least for now. There just could be another one or three cropping up at some time in the future though.

Keith Edkins' image is copyright and is reproduced under the terms of this licence.

The Ordnance Survey map extract is also copyright and has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the terms of this CC BY licence.

If you've read this far, then thank you. Possibly, like me, you may have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. Clicking here will take you to a searchable/sortable index which you can use to see if I've already featured any lost locals from your locality. You can also subscribe to ensure that you don't miss any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could simply follow the link at the top of this page.


27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page