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Cycle of Songs – Local History in Cambridge

by Janine Noack

Some of our bloggers (Tiia Sahrakorpi, Emily Ward, Marta Musso, Janine Noack) are currently working together with Helen Weinstein and historyworks.tv on the project ‘Cycle of Songs’ (#cycleofsongs). When the Tour de France arrives in Cambridge on 7 July 2014 we will tell hidden stories of the city’s past along the route of the race. The stories will be performed by local people, choirs and musicians and be available online to listen to via podcasts.

We, as historians, are responsible for researching stories that could be interesting for the public. Yesterday we went to Cambridge Central Library to find out more about the “Coronation Feast “, the “Spinning House” and “Alice Springs”.

The “Coronation Feast” was a ceremony organised on June 28, 1838, to celebrate the coronation of Queen Victoria. The city organised a monumental banquet for 15000 people (strictly locals) and 17000 more participated as spectators… the entire population of Cambridge more or less. The “Spinning House” was a correctional facility for women and young girls founded in the 17th century, and “Alice Springs” is a town in Australia named after Alice Gillam Bell from Cambridge.

The stories need to be short and we have to get used to writing for a non-academic audience, which is a great challenge. They will be published on the blog soon.

Drafts are already accessible via googledocs for feedback. If you are interested in participating in the project, please feel free to contact Helen Weinstein (@historyworkstv); for more information: http://historyworks.tv/news/2014/03/13/cycle-of-songs/

Some first impressions from the archive work:

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