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Cambridgeshire
County
Cambridgeshire Flag.svg Coat of arms of Cambridgeshire County Council
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Corde Uno Sapientes Simus
("With one heart let us be wise")
Cambridgeshire within England
Cambridgeshire in England
Coordinates: 52°20′N 0°0′W / 52.333°N -0.000°E / 52.333; -0.000
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region East of England
Established 1 April 1974
Established by Local Government Act 1972
Preceded by Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely
Huntingdon and Peterborough
Origin Ancient
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Julie Spence
High Sheriff Timothy Seal (2020–21)
Area 3,389 km2 (1,309 sq mi)
 • Ranked 15th of 48
Population (2005 est.) 748,600
 • Ranked 29th of 48
Density 220/km2 (570/sq mi)
Ethnicity 94.6% White
2.6% S.Asian
Non-metropolitan county
County council Cambridgeshire County Council
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Cambridge
Area 3,046 km2 (1,176 sq mi)
 • Ranked 15th of 27
Population 588,900
 • Ranked 19th of 27
Density 193/km2 (500/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-CAM
ONS code 12
GSS code E10000003
NUTS UKH12
Unitary authorities
Councils Peterborough City Council
Cambridgeshire numbered districts.svg
Districts of Cambridgeshire
Unitary County council area
Districts
  1. City of Peterborough
  2. Fenland
  3. Huntingdonshire
  4. East Cambridgeshire
  5. South Cambridgeshire
  6. City of Cambridge
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Time zone GMT (UTC)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)

Cambridgeshire (abbreviated Cambs.) is a county in the East of England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the north-east, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west. The city of Cambridge is the county town. Following the Local Government Act 1972 restructuring, modern Cambridgeshire was formed in 1974 through the amalgamation of two administrative counties: Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely, comprising the historic county of Cambridgeshire (including the Isle of Ely); and Huntingdon and Peterborough, comprising the historic county of Huntingdonshire and the Soke of Peterborough, historically part of Northamptonshire. Cambridgeshire contains most of the region known as Silicon Fen.

The county is now divided between Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, which since 1998 has formed a separate unitary authority. In the non-metropolitan county there are five district councils, Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council. However, since 2017 the county has been reunited by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

History

Cambridgeshire is noted as the site of Flag Fen in Fengate, one of the earliest-known Neolithic permanent settlements in the United Kingdom, compared in importance to Balbridie in Aberdeen, Scotland. A great quantity of archaeological finds from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age were made in East Cambridgeshire. Most items were found in Isleham.

Cambridgeshire was recorded in the Domesday Book as "Grantbridgeshire" (or rather Grentebrigescire) (related to the river Granta).

Covering a large part of East Anglia, Cambridgeshire today is the result of several local government unifications. In 1888 when county councils were introduced, separate councils were set up, following the traditional division of Cambridgeshire, for

  • the area in the south around Cambridge, and
  • the liberty of the Isle of Ely.

In 1965, these two administrative counties were merged to form Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. Under the Local Government Act 1972 this merged with the county to the west, Huntingdon and Peterborough. (The latter had been organised in 1965 by the merger of Huntingdonshire with the Soke of Peterborough – previously a part of Northamptonshire which had its own county council). The resulting county was called simply Cambridgeshire.

Since 1998, the City of Peterborough has been a separately administered area, as a unitary authority. It is associated with Cambridgeshire for ceremonial purposes such as Lieutenancy, and joint functions such as policing and the fire service.

In 2002, the conservation charity Plantlife unofficially designated Cambridgeshire's county flower as the Pasqueflower.

The Cambridgeshire Regiment (or Fen Tigers), the county-based army unit, fought in the Boer War of South Africa, the First World War and Second World War.

Due to the county's flat terrain and proximity to the continent, during the Second World War the military built many airfields here for RAF Bomber Command, RAF Fighter Command, and the allied USAAF. In recognition of this collaboration, the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial is located in Madingley. It is the only WWII burial ground in England for American servicemen who died during that event.

Most English counties have nicknames for their people, such as a "Tyke" from Yorkshire and a "Yellowbelly" from Lincolnshire. The traditional nicknames for people from Cambridgeshire are "Cambridgeshire Camel" or "Cambridgeshire Crane", referring to the wildfowl that were once abundant in the fens. The term "Fenners" was often applied to those who come from the flat country to the north of Cambridge. Since the late 20th century, this term is considered to be derogatory and has been discouraged in use.

Original historical documents relating to Cambridgeshire are held by Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies.

Geography

See also Geology of Cambridgeshire

Large areas of the county are extremely low-lying and Holme Fen is notable for being the UK's lowest physical point at 2.75 m (9 ft) below sea level. The highest point is in the village of Great Chishill at 146 m (480 ft) above sea level. Other prominent hills are Little Trees Hill and Wandlebury Hill in the Gog Magog Downs, Rivey Hill above Linton, Rowley's Hill and the Madingley Hills.

Settlements

Cambridge-260x345
Map of the Cambridgeshire area (1904)
See also: Civil parishes in Cambridgeshire and List of Cambridgeshire settlements by population

These are the settlements in Cambridgeshire with a town charter, city status or a population over 5,000; for a complete list of settlements see list of places in Cambridgeshire.

See the List of Cambridgeshire settlements by population page for more detail.

The town of Newmarket is surrounded on three sides by Cambridgeshire, being connected by a narrow strip of land to the rest of Suffolk.

Cambridgeshire has seen 32,869 dwellings created from 2002–2013 and there are a further 35,360 planned new dwellings between now and 2023.

Climate

Cambridgeshire has a maritime temperate climate which is broadly similar to the rest of the United Kingdom, though it is drier than the UK average due to its low altitude and easterly location, the prevailing southwesterly winds having already deposited moisture on higher ground further west. Average winter temperatures are cooler than the English average, due to Cambridgeshire's inland location and relative nearness to continental Europe, which results in the moderating maritime influence being less strong. Snowfall is slightly more common than in western areas, due to the relative winter coolness and easterly winds bringing occasional snow from the North Sea. In summer temperatures are average or slightly above, due to less cloud cover. It reaches 25 °C (77 °F) on around 10 days each year, and is comparable to parts of Kent and East Anglia.

Climate data for Cambridge 1971–2000 average
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.0
(44.6)
7.4
(45.3)
10.2
(50.4)
12.6
(54.7)
16.5
(61.7)
19.4
(66.9)
22.2
(72)
22.3
(72.1)
18.9
(66)
14.6
(58.3)
9.9
(49.8)
7.8
(46)
14.1
(57.4)
Average low °C (°F) 1.3
(34.3)
1.1
(34)
2.9
(37.2)
4.0
(39.2)
6.7
(44.1)
9.8
(49.6)
12.0
(53.6)
11.9
(53.4)
10.1
(50.2)
7.1
(44.8)
3.7
(38.7)
2.3
(36.1)
6.1
(43)
Rainfall mm (inches) 45.0
(1.772)
32.7
(1.287)
41.5
(1.634)
43.1
(1.697)
44.5
(1.752)
53.8
(2.118)
38.2
(1.504)
48.8
(1.921)
51.0
(2.008)
53.8
(2.118)
51.1
(2.012)
50.0
(1.969)
553.5
(21.791)
Source: Met Office

Culture

Sports

England Bandy Federation
The logo of England Bandy Federation, based in Cambridgeshire

Various forms of football have been popular in Cambridgeshire since medieval times at least. In 1579 one match played at Chesterton between townspeople and Cambridge University students ended in a violent brawl that led the Vice-Chancellor to issue a decree forbidding them to play "footeball” outside of college grounds. Despite this and other decrees, football continued to be popular. George Elwes Corrie, Master of Jesus College, observed in 1838, that while walking past a park named Parker's Piece he "saw some forty Gownsmen playing at football. The novelty and liveliness of the scene were amusing!" By 1839, Albert Pell was organising football matches at the university; because each town or school had different rules, students had to devise a compromise set of rules.

At Cambridge University in 1846, H. de Winton and J. C. Thring formed a pioneering football club. Only a few matches were played, but in 1848 interest in football increased and that year the Cambridge rules, the first attempt to codify a form of football were drawn up in Cambridge. The Cambridge rules are generally regarded as the main precursor of Association football.

As a result of its role in the formation of the first football rules, Parker's Piece remains hallowed turf for football fans and historians. According to folklore, there are 11 players on each team because, when the game was invented, there were 11 trees on either side of Parker's Piece. In commemoration of the creation of Football; a statue is to be raised in the middle of the park where the game was invented.

Cambridgeshire is also the birthplace of bandy, Tebbutt was instrumental in spreading the sport to many countries. England Bandy Federation is based in Cambridgeshire.

On 6–7 June 2015, the inaugural Tour of Cambridgeshire cycle race took place on closed roads across the county. The event was an official UCI qualification event, and consisted of a Time Trial on the 6th, and a Gran Fondo event on the 7th. The Gran Fondo event was open to the public, and over 6000 riders took part in the 128 km (80 mi) race.

Contemporary Art

Cambridge is home to the Kettle's Yard gallery and the artist run Aid and Abet project Space. Nine miles west of Cambridge next to the village of Bourn is Wysing Arts Centre.

Places of interest

Key
National Trust Owned by the National Trust
English Heritage Owned by English Heritage
Forestry Commission Owned by the Forestry Commission
Country Park A Country Park
Accessible open space An Accessible open space
Museum (free) Museum (free)
Museum Museum (charges entry fee)
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Cambridgeshire at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of English Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 5,896 228 1,646 4,022
2000 7,996 166 2,029 5,801
2003 10,154 207 2,195 7,752

AWG plc is based in Huntingdon. The RAF has several stations in the Huntingdon and St Ives area. RAF Alconbury, three miles north of Huntingdon, is being reorganised after a period of obsolescence following the departure of the USAF, to be the focus of RAF/USAFE intelligence operations, with activities at Upwood and Molesworth being transferred there. Most of Cambridgeshire is agricultural. Close to Cambridge is the so-called Silicon Fen area of high-technology (electronics, computing and biotechnology) companies. ARM Limited is based in Cherry Hinton. The inland Port of Wisbech on the River Nene is the county's only remaining port.

Education

Primary and secondary

Cambridgeshire has a comprehensive education system with over 240 state schools, not including sixth form colleges. The independent sector includes Wisbech Grammar School, founded in 1379, it is one of the oldest schools in the country.

Some of the secondary schools act as Village Colleges, institutions unique to Cambridgeshire. For example, Bottisham Village College.

Tertiary

Cambridgeshire is home to a number of institutes of higher education:

  • The University of Cambridge – second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, and regarded as one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world
  • Anglia Ruskin University – has campuses located in Cambridge and Peterborough and a base at Fulbourn
  • The Open University – has a regional centre located in Cambridge
  • The University Centre Peterborough – operated by Anglia Ruskin University and Peterborough Regional College, located in Peterborough
  • The College of West Anglia has a campus at Milton, on the northern outskirts of Cambridge and a campus at Wisbech.

In addition, Cambridge Regional College and Huntingdonshire Regional College both offer a limited range of higher education courses in conjunction with partner universities.

Notable people from Cambridgeshire

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