Happy 80th Birthday, Milton Road Library!

Happy 80th Birthday, Milton Road Library!

First opened in 1937, we celebrated our library’s 80th anniversary with a great party on 24th June. Starting off with special Story Sharing session for younger children at 2.30, the afternoon had something for everyone, and not just the endless supplies of tea and cakes. Many of these were donated by Friends who also lent bunting and helped decorate the library and garden.

A powerpoint presentation on the history of the library had been put together by Dr Sarah Preston and this ran all afternoon. Our library was built by local builders Kidman and Sons, and former councillor Ian Kidman was able to attend and provide us with some history of his family’s firm. A further reminder of the past was provided by a pictorial display of toys from the 1930’s.

Friends and supporters kindly donated a large collection of books for us to sell on our book stall. We ran a traditional lucky-dip bran tub for children who were also offered a literary quiz based around a set of books in the library. Joy Rutherford provided an interactive talk about illustrating children’s books which really captured the attention of children at the event.

A quartet of sax musicians provided a great selection of songs for much of the afternoon after which two teenage girls from Chesterton Community College brought their guitars and voices to add to the atmosphere of the occasion.

A special 80th anniversary cake cut for us by local resident and library user Ray Abraham (who is in his 80’s) and Jasper Osler (aged 8), with assistance from this year’s Mayor of Cambridge, George Pippas.

To ensure that our wonderful library building remains in our memories we have commissioned a painting from the renowned, and local artist, Nicholas Juett. At the end of the afternoon, Nicholas was able to provide us with a talk about the painting he is planning and got us to provide feedback on his ideas for it.

New Plans for Library & Community Hub

New Plans for Library & Community Hub


A new set of plans were developed late last year for the replacement of Milton Road library. Those attached to the planning application at the end of June were subject to extensive criticism from local residents, from the Friends of Milton Rd Library, and from the city council’s Urban Design and Conservation officers. That application has been withdrawn. In response to the criticism there was a radical rethink and the new plans are substantially different.

  • The scale and massing of the building is much reduced
  • Only 7 flats above the ground floor are now proposed instead of 10
  • The flats would be on top of the ground floor but separated into two buildings
  • The proposed balconies and roof terrace have been removed
  • The Ascham Rd front of the building would be moved further back from the pavement
  • More of the trees would be retained
  • The library and community facilities on the ground floor would be smaller than previously proposed but still slightly larger than at present

Work on the plans is still continuing with some further amendments being put forward. Regrettably it appears that the proposal to address the problem of the pavement’s blind corner where Ascham Rd meets Milton Rd is no longer in the plans.

The revised plans are on the City Council’s planning web site under reference 16/2060/FUL and are still the subject of consultation.


Cambridge Urban Sketchers

Cambridge Urban Sketchers


Cambridge Urban Sketchers have been spending time in the library capturing moments from the life of this building. This view of the front of the building is by Alan Jarvis.These will form a new exhibition in the library (date tbc) but also be gathered as a record of the old building to live in the new one.

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