We’re not in Impington any more…

If you live in the northern part of Hurst Park and consult the deeds to your house, you may find that they suggest you live in the parish of Impington. If you moved in soon after your house was built in the early 1930s, then, for a few years, you did. Some even-numbered residents of Orchard Avenue can still find evidence of the parish boundary at the bottom of their gardens. Comparison of estate and builders’ plans with Ordnance Survey maps shows that the boundary bisected some building plots.

Walter Boyton bought plots 132 to 139 in November 1929 and built 32 to 46 Orchard Avenue, which were in both Cambridge and Impington until 1935.

There’s a simple explanation. Under the provisions of the Cambridge Borough (extension) Order, 1911, the built-up part of the parish of Chesterton was incorporated into the Borough of Cambridge in 1912. But the rural part, including most of Leys Farm, was transferred to Impington, leaving the future Orchard Avenue, Highfield Avenue, much of Leys Avenue, the top part of Hurst Park Avenue, and the nearby stretch of Arbury Road, outside Cambridge. Another part of Chesterton went into Milton parish.

We can surmise that the boundary was drawn across what was later Hurst Park because the nearest part of Milton Road was already built up, and Highworth Avenue and Leys Road had been laid out and advertised for development by March 1912. Furthermore, Ascham Road, Gurney Way, and a road on the line of what later became the west side of Mulberry Close, had also been proposed. They all appear on a plan that accompanies the 1912 sales particulars for the Highworth Estate and ended up on the urban, Cambridge, side of the boundary rather than in rural Impington.

In 1935 the Impington part of the estate was swept up and deposited in Cambridge under the terms of the Cambridge (extension) Order, 1934.1

Plots 166 and 167 on this 1925 Ordnance Survey map were absorbed by Cambridge in 1912 but the rest of Leys Farm, including the orchard, went to Impington, the parts not to be reunited until Cambridge expanded again in 1935. The course of the boundary round the orchard means that some houses and gardens in Orchard Avenue were in both districts. The boundary between the farm and the Highworth Avenue and Leys Road gardens is marked 4ft. R.H. (4 feet from the root of the hedge): there is still evidence of this gap at the ends of some Orchard Avenue gardens.

References

  1. Mitchell JB, 1938. The Growth of Cambridge. In: Darby HC (ed.) The Cambridge Region, Cambridge: CUP, pp 178-9.