The first systematic coverage of Huntingdonshire was made by the RAF in 1945-46; the next was made by B.K.S Surveys Ltd in 1971 on behalf of the then county of Huntingdon and Peterborough, although small areas had been photographed from time to time during the intervening years, mainly by the RAF.
Pre-1939 aerial photographs are much rarer, but some were made into postcards which occasionally survive RAF surveys: The Record Office has a set of prints of the 1945-46 survey, which is the most popular among researchers as it shows the county before the large scale changes in agriculture, urbanization and communications which have taken place since the war.
We also hold prints of various 1957-58 surveys made by the RAF of specific parts of the county including St lves, Yaxley, Fletton, the A1 improvement work at Norman Cross, and the Peterborough City area. All of these photographs are vertical. For copyright enquires regarding RAF photographs please contact Historic England, The Engine House, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon, SN2 2EH [email protected]
From the 1960s onwards local authorities commissioned aerial photographs from private companies, and the Record Office holds prints from some of these surveys, including: Meridian Airmaps Ltd 1965, of the Nene Valley area; Aerofilms Ltd 1965 of Brampton, West Perry and Huntingdon railway station; Meridian 1965 and1969 of Peterborough; Hunting Surveys Ltd of Southern Huntingdonshire; and B.K.S Surveys Ltd of the county, 1971.
As with the RAF surveys the Record Office can supply photocopies for private research only, not for publication.
For more information on aerial photographs available in the record office consult catalogue number 34: Aerial Photographs, in the searchroom.
Aerial photographs at Cambridgeshire Archives
Cambridgeshire Archives holds a number of series of aerial photographs for Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. The main series of surveys are:
- 1945, 1947, and 1947 Floods [RAF]
- 1949 [Fairey]
- 1952, 1954 and 1956 [RAF]
- 1962 [B.K.S.]
- 1969 [Meridian]
- 1987 [CUCAP]
- 1997 [GeoInformation Group]
In most cases the photographs are taken vertically, but some are oblique shots. There is a large collection of oblique photographs taken by Aerofilms between 1920 and 1971 [539/] and there are others among the Cambridgeshire County Council's collections, c. 1920-1965, which can be identified by searching our CALM catalogue by place.
While it is sometimes possible for staff to identify whether an individual photograph may include major details of interest, it is recommended that where possible researchers should view the images personally to ensure the correct area is shown.
Other places to try
The Ordnance Survey holds a large archive of aerial photographs from the early 1970s onwards which are now with Historic England: Historic England Archive, The Engine House, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon, SN2 2EH telephone: 01793 414600
Cambridge University has also taken a large number of aerial photographs of this part of England, contact CUCAP (Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography) Library, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3EN. Both of these bodies supply prints.
Cambridgeshire County Council's Historic Environment Record (HER) has oblique aerial photographs showing archaeological sites.
Further information about aerial photographs may be found in NAPLIB's Directory of Aerial Photographic Collections in the UK (1993).
Huntingdonshire has been deeply involved in the history of aviation. Portholme Meadow in Huntingdon was used as an airfield from as early as 1910, only two years after the Wright brothers first flew. Before 1914 the Portholme Aviation Company was set up, designing its own aeroplanes and building Sopwith Camels under contract.
The first RAF sortie of the Second World War took off from RAF Wyton, an airfield which later acted as the base for the Lancasters of the Pathfinder Squadron. The county has also stationed many USAAF and USAF squadrons.
Huntingdonshire Archives has some books and articles on aviation in the area, including a reprint of 'Huntingdon: The Aviation Centre (1910)'
Many photographs of aircraft on Portholme can be found in the general photographic illustrations index, or in the Whitney Collection of photographs. We also have some aerial photographs of airfields, taken in 1945-46 (see the entry in this Guide for Aerial Photographs).
The Earl of Sandwich, of Hinchingbrooke House in Huntingdon, took a great interest in the development of Portholme as an aerodrome: papers about the Portholme Aviation Scheme, 1910-1911, can be found in the Hinchingbrooke Collection, items HINCH 11/136-140.
The Archives Service has microfilm copies of the RAF operations log books for bomber squadrons based in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire during the Second World War (the originals are at the Public Record Office in Kew).
The log books include information about all the bombers sent on a mission, the names of those on board, the selected targets, bomb load dropped, damage incurred and so on. The microfilms are usually kept at Cambridgeshire Archives, but specific films can be brought over to Huntingdon for consultation if enough notice is provided. Please speak to a member of staff for more details.
Huntingdonshire Archives has an album of photographs and various news cuttings regarding the USAF 1st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 1952-1980, based at RAF Alconbury, which flew Phantom jets (accession 4336 pt).
The Archdeaconry was founded by Bishop Remigius of Lincoln (1067-1092) and originally comprised the counties of Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire and part of Hertfordshire (Hitchin).
Cambridgeshire left in 1109 and Hitchin Division left in 1609. In 1837 the entire Archdeaconry was transferred from the Diocese of Lincoln to the Diocese of Ely.
The old ecclesiastical peculiars of Brampton, Buckden, Leighton Bromswold and Stow Longa were abolished in 1852 and made subject to the Archdeacon.
Huntingdonshire Archives has a substantial collection of Archdeaconry records. Most Huntingdon Archdeaconry records do not survive from before 1663, although some occasional items (mainly bishops transcripts and registers of wills) are older.
The records include bishops' mandates for induction of priests 1663-1915 (a list is available of these), acts of the archdeaconry court, records of visitation processes, meeting house petitions (a list is available of these), archdeacons' notebooks and (more recently) archdeacons' photographs.
The older records were summarily described while still held at the Archdeaconry Library by Rev. W M Noble and S Inskip Ladds in 'The Records of the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon', in 'Transactions of the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Archaeological Society' volume 4 pages 165-208; a reprint is available on the searchroom shelves.
Huntingdonshire Archives also has a copy of 'Patronage, Priest and Parish in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon 1109-1547', an unpublished PhD thesis kindly donated to the Office by C A Weale; it is available in the searchroom.
The Archdeaconry catalogue is now available online as part of our CALM database.
31st Hunts Regiment of Foot: this regiment was first raised in 1702. It ceased to exist in July 1881 while stationed at Dover, when it merged with the 70th Foot Surrey Regiment. We have no original records of this Regiment.
1st Hunts Rifles Volunteer Corps: slso known just as the Hunts Rifle Volunteers. This grew out of the militia, when voluntary service was introduced in 1850.
It was commanded by the Earl of Sandwich, and its soldiers wore dark green uniforms, allegedly the 'colour of the county.' The force moved to purpose-built barracks in Huntingdon in 1855, and was replaced by the Territorial Army in 1908. Please consult the Hinchingbrooke Collection catalogue for references to surviving documents.
1st Hunts Light Horse Volunteer Corps: not to be outdone by Sandwich, the Duke of Manchester raised his own force in 1860, its soldiers wearing bright red tunics. In 1863 it was joined by the 1st and 2nd Cambs Mounted Rifle Volunteer Corps; it was replaced by the TA in 1908. Please consult the various Manchester Collection catalogues for more information.
4th (Hunts) Volunteer Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment: this was raised on 4 December 1900 during the Boer War, as part of the Bedfordshire Regiment. On 1 April 1908 it became the 5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment (Territorial Force), but most local men left in 1914 to join the Hunts Cyclists. We have no original documents here.
Hunts Cyclists Battalion: this was raised just before World War One, on 27 February 1914, but was split up before seeing action. The Battalion was formally disembodied on 14 April 1919 and was reconstituted as the 5th (Hunts) Battalion, Northants Regiment. We have a modern list of soldiers who served in this battalion, compiled by Martyn Smith.
Hunts Territorial Force Association: this was set up following the Territorial Army Act of 1908. We have only some clothing and equipment ledgers and correspondence, 1914-1916: accession 3715.
5th (Hunts) Battalion (T), Northants Regiment: this was raised on 7 February 1920, and was based in Huntingdon until 1927 when its HQ moved to Peterborough. We have no original records here.
The Baptists are a Protestant denomination, founded in Amsterdam in 1609. They are opposed to traditional infant baptism, and believe in baptism by total immersion for adult believers only.
Cambridgeshire Archives holds records of the following Baptist churches, chapels and organisations:
- Cambridgeshire Baptist Association
- Cambridgeshire Baptist Ministers Fellowship
- Cambridgeshire Sunday School Union
- Barton Baptist Church
- Bottisham Lode Strict Baptist Chapel
- Cambridge, Eden Baptist Church
- Cambridge, St Andrews Street
- Zion Baptist Church Chatteris
- West Park Baptist Church
- Comberton Baptist Church
- Comberton/West Group Of Churches (Barton, Comberton, Coton and Grantchester)
- Cottenham Baptist Old Meeting
- Grantchester Baptist Church
- Harston Baptist Church
- Landbeach Baptist Church
- Milton Baptist Church
- Great Shelford Baptist Church
- Soham Baptist Church
- Stapleford Particular Baptist Church
- Teversham Baptist Chapel
- Thetford Baptist Church and Willingham Tabernacle Baptist Church
The Baptist Church has always had a strong presence in Huntingdonshire, with two chapels (at Fenstanton and Warboys) being established as early as 1644. The Baptists benefitted from the evangelical revival of the 18th century and a number of huge chapels were built - Bluntisham for instance could seat 700 people.
Huntingdonshire Archives holds original records of the following Baptist churches and chapels:
- Bluntisham Baptist Meeting House
- Broughton Baptist Church
- Ellington Baptist Church
- Great Gidding Particular Baptist Church
- Godmanchester Strict Baptist Church
- Great Gransden Baptist Church
- Hartford Baptist Church
- Huntingdon Trinity Church
- Kimbolton Independent Baptist Church
- Offord Darcy Baptist Church
- Perry Baptist Church
- St Neots Strict Baptist Church
- Somersham Baptist Church
- Great Staughton Baptist Chapel
- Little Stukeley Baptist Church
- Hail Weston Baptist Church
- Winwick Union Chapel
- Woodhurst Chapel
- Woodston Oundle Road Baptist Church
The records of Peterborough Park Road Baptist Church were transferred to Peterborough Local Studies and Archives in 2009.
We also hold some records of the Huntingdonshire Association of Baptist and Congregational Churches, and microfilm copies of some church records held elsewhere. Please note that some churches have set closure periods on their records.
Bishops transcripts (BTs for short) were copies of parish registers made by the incumbents and sent at yearly intervals to the Diocesan office. There are often many discrepancies between a parish church's own registers and the copies sent to the Bishop.
Most Cambridgeshire parishes fell within the Diocese of Ely and the Bishop's Transcripts, generally dating from 1599, are held with the Ely Diocesan Records at Cambridge University Library. BTs for Isleham in the Peculiar of Isleham and Freckenham are also available there.
Many of the parish register transcripts available in the searchroom have been checked against the Bishop's Transcripts and most marriages from BTs have been included in Boyd's Marriage index and supplements.
Bishop's Transcripts for the 14 parishes in the Archdeaconry of Sudbury are at the Bury St. Edmunds' branch of the Suffolk Record Office but the following microfilm is available at Cambridgeshire Archives:
- Burwell:1567-1641, 1663-99
- Cheveley: 1567-1641, 1663-99
- Chippenham:1567-1641, 1663-99
- Wood Ditton: 1569-1641, 1663-99
- Fordham:1567-1641, 1663-99
- Kirtling: 1570-1640, 1665-99
- Newmarket, All Saints: 1594-1640, 1665-99
- Newmarket, St. Mary: 1563-1641, 1663-99
- Snailwell: 1570-1641, 1663-99
- Soham: 1563-1641, 1663-99
- Wicken: 1599-1700
BTs for those Cambridgeshire parishes in the Archdeaconry of Norfolk i.e. Outwell, Upwell and Welney are at the Norfolk Record Office.
Most Huntingdonshire BTs survive from 1604 until about 1858 or 1859, although usually with many large gaps. Before 1825 they were sent to the Diocesan Registry at Lincoln; thereafter they were sent to the Archdeaconry Office in Huntingdon, and most of the earlier transcripts were transferred shortly afterwards (although some of the very early ones did not transfer until 1938).
There is a notice of the 1825 change pasted in the Great Catworth baptism register for the period (HP14/1/2/1).
The catalogue of Bishops Transcripts at Huntingdonshire Archives is available on the CALM online catalogue.
Following the Poor Law Amendment Act in 1834 Boards of Guardians were appointed to administer groups of parishes in poor law unions, and were empowered to build workhouses. Various additional duties were added over time (such as vaccination from 1840, rate assessment from 1862).
In 1930 workhouses were renamed Public Assistance Institutions and were removed from Guardians' control to be placed under the control of County Councils; further records can be found in County Council Public Assistance Committee minutes.
There are many books available on how the Guardians operated, including:
- Andy Reid, 'The Union Workhouse' (BAHL 1994)
- Michael E Rose, 'The English Poor Law '(David and Charles 1971)
- Sidney and Beatrice Webb, 'English Poor Law History Part II volumes 1 and 2' (London 1929)
Workhouses in Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire in particular are discussed in 'In and Out of the Workhouse' (Workers Education Association 1978).
- Cambridge Union: minutes and committee minutes; letter books; financial records; registers of births, deaths and inmates; creed registers; records about lunacy, property, boarding out, vaccination and settlement and removal.
- Caxton and Arrington Union: minutes; papers about property; financial records; records of the relieving officer; registers of births and deaths; records of vaccination.
- Chesterton Union: minutes; correspondence; workhouse plans; records of the relieving officer; financial records; registers of births and deaths; creed registers; vaccination records.
- Ely Union: minutes; creed register; register of mental defectives; letter books; financial records; school attendance registers; contracts for building workhouse; map of district; register of services in chapel.
- Linton Union: minutes; correspondence; plans; financial records; relieving officer's records; registers of admissions and removals of mentally defective patients; creed register; records of vaccination.
- Newmarket Union: collector's accounts; relieving officer's records; records of vaccination.
- Royston Union: District Medical officers' contracts; vaccination records.
- St. Ives Union (Swavesey district): birth returns and vaccination records.
- Whittlesey Union: minutes; admission and discharge books; letter book; financial records; deeds of workhouse site; school fees order book.
- Wisbech Union: minutes; ledgers; relief order books; letter books; creed register; registers of births and deaths; register of inmates; officers' service registers.
- North Witchford: minutes; financial records; register of officers and servants; dietary.
Records of Huntingdon, St Ives and St Neots Boards of Guardians are held at Huntingdonshire Archives. They include:
- minute books
- admission and discharge registers
- creed registers
- occasional workhouse plans
- many financial records
The registers of births and deaths in each of the three workhouses have been transcribed and indexed, and are available in the searchroom. An index to the admissions at Huntingdon Union Workhouse (1837-1874) is available to browse under the reference KGH/3/3/1.
Records of Peterborough Board of Guardians, which included much of northern Huntingdonshire, are currently at Northamptonshire Record Office.
Records at Huntingdon Archives:
Gotobed & Son, Cambridge
Brewery sale particulars, 1850: 560/21
The Fenstanton Brewery
Brewery sale particulars, 1894: 3294 & ED/4169/1/4
Murfin’s Robin Hood Brewery, Great Staughton
Brewery sale particulars and plan, 1898: 559/8/3
Huntingdon Brewery records
This collection includes the records of Marshall Brothers Brewery (originally Herbert’s Brewery) and the Falcon Brewery of Jenkins and Jones (originally Pumfrett’s Brewery). The two breweries entered into a working agreement in 1919 and amalgamated in 1932 to become Huntingdon Brewery.
In 1950 the Brewery merged with East Anglian Breweries. Huntingdonshire Archives has catalogued the following collections of Huntingdon Brewery records:
Deeds, 1679-1910: 1626
Records of Falcon and Marshall’s, 1883-1950: 1795
Deeds, 1679-1925, 1982
Miscellaneous records include:
Sale Particulars, Pumfrett’s Brewery, 1849: 49/2
Falcon Brewery plan, n.d: 3399
Falcon Brewery advert and photograph of Brewery offices, 1910: HP46/30/4/2
Photograph of Marshall Brothers [early 20th cent.]: WH3/2317
Photographs of Marshall Brothers advertising signs, 1912; c.1920; 1980s: WH3/2501A; 2598; 3101-2
Newspaper cutting re Huntingdon, 1961: 574
Sandifer’s Brewery, Needingworth
Brewery sale particulars, 1888: 1294 & ED/4169/1/3
Buckle & Co., Peterborough
Brewery sale particulars, 1853: 1818
Fowler Brothers Brewery, St Neots
Conveyance, 1814: 563/1
Day & Son Brewery, St Neots
Day books, trade books etc., 1811-1885: 1299
Brewery sale particulars, 1840: M35A/6/11
Brewery sale particulars, 1919: 3165
Photograph, c1963: PH69A/81
Brewery history notes, 1980s: Local History file
Paine & Co. Brewery, St Neots
Diaries and registers, 1903-1937: 2501
Order books, ledgers etc., 1853-1915: 3254
Day books (2), 1881-1895: 4078
Deeds, 1691-1991: 4242
Working journals and ledgers, 1951-1985: 4733
Photographs of Brewery before conversion, [1990s]: 5218/2/344
Rent book of Thomas Waite, miller and brewer, 1843-1864: 345/1
Brewery sale poster, 1856: 345/5
The Burial Act of 1853 enabled parishes and boroughs to establish and administer their own cemeteries. In 1894 district and parish councils were allowed to adopt the powers of their local burial boards if they so resolved. These burial boards were set up to supplement, rather than replace, local churchyards.
The law relating to burial boards and authorities was complex, with no fewer than fifteen specific Burial Acts being passed by Parliament between 1852 and 1906, not to mention the many other acts concerning local government, churches, coroners and so on which impinged upon burial law.
All the relevant acts and statutes from 1803 to 1939 can be found in A. Fellows 'The Law of Burial' (London 1940); a practical guide on the administration of burial grounds, E. Austin's 'Burial Grounds and Cemeteries' (London 1907) is also worth consulting. Copies of both these works are in the Huntingdonshire Archives library, available on request.
Huntingdonshire Archives holds some records of:
- Eynesbury Burial Board
- Huntingdon Burial Board
- Ramsey Burial Board
- St Ives Public Cemetery Co.
- St Neots Burial Board
Burial Board records from Fletton, Woodston and Stanground are now held at Peterborough Crematorium; we have photocopies of the burial registers and indexes. Burial Board records for Brampton, Broughton, Fenstanton, Farcet, Hemingford Grey, Houghton and Wyton, Stilton, and many other parishes, have been deposited as part of the records of parish councils, and have been listed as such.
Further records of Huntingdon, Eynesbury, St Neots and Ramsey burial grounds, as well as Godmanchester, Buckden and Eaton Socon grounds, are held by Huntingdonshire District Council. The St. Ives Public Cemetery Co. register of burials 1848-1938 was returned to St Ives Town Council in 1981.
Browse Burial Board records on our online catalogue.
The survival of local business records can be quite haphazard; they may have fallen in to private hands or been destroyed following sudden closure or bankruptcy. Many small or family businesses would not have been run on a particularly formal basis and would not have generated the type of records you might come across in larger, long-established companies.
The range and breadth of records that do survive can also vary widely from business to business. Many small businesses may only have relatively recent account books but larger companies may also have minute books, share records, personnel records, technical drawings and publicity material.
If you are having problems trying to locate the records of a particular business; try an online search of the National Register of Archives which is now integrated with the National Archives Discover catalogue
The Business Archives Council is a charitable organisation that promotes the preservation of business records. Whilst they are not a repository for records their website contains some useful guidance.
Cambridgeshire Archives holds records of the following companies:
- Chivers of Histon, jam makers
- John Mortlock & Co. of Cambridge, bankers
- Edward Towgood & Sons of Sawston, paper manufacturers
- and more