Huntingdon is a market town in Cambridgeshire, England. The town was chartered by King John in 1205. It is the traditional county town of Huntingdonshire and the seat of the Huntingdonshire district council. It is well known as the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell, who was born in 1599 and was the Member of Parliament (MP) for the town in the 17th century. The former Conservative Prime Minister (1990-97) John Major served as the MP for Huntingdon from 1979 until his retirement in 2001.
Huntingdon was founded by the Anglo-Saxons and Danes. Mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it seems that it was a staging post for Danish raids outside of East Anglia until 917, when the Danes moved to Tempsford, before being crushed by Edward the Elder. It prospered successively as a bridging point of the River Great Ouse, as a market town, and in the 18th and 19th centuries as a coaching centre, most notably the George Hotel. The town has a well-preserved medieval bridge that used to serve as the main route of Ermine Street over the river. The bridge only ceased to be the sole crossing point to Godmanchester in 1975, with the advent of what is now the A14 bypass.
Its valuable trading position was secured by the now vanished Huntingdon Castle. The site is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and is home to a beacon used to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Spanish Armada.
Parts of Huntingdon, including the town centre, were struck by an F1/T3 tornado on 23 November 1981, as part of the record-breaking nationwide tornado outbreak on that day. Moderate damage resulted in Huntingdon town centre.
Between the railway station and the old hospital building, stands a replica cannon. In the 1990s the replica was installed to replace an original Crimean War one, that stood there until the Second World War, being scrapped for the war effort. When the replica was installed it was placed in the opposite direction to the original. The St Mary's Street drill hall was built in the late 19th century.
The George Hotel, on the corner of High Street and George Street was once a posting house. It was named after St. George in 1574 and was bought some 25 years later by Henry Cromwell, grandfather of Oliver Cromwell. Charles I made the George Hotel his headquarters in 1645. Later Dick Turpin is reputed to have been a visitor when it was a coaching inn on the Great North Road. The mid-19th century saw two wings of the inn burnt down but two were saved including the one with the balcony overlooking the yard. Since 1959 the courtyard and its balcony have been the setting for performances of the plays of Shakespeare, produced by the Shakespeare at the George Trust.
Huntingdon has a town council consisting of 24 councillors. As elsewhere, local elections are held every four years. Two of the town councillors serve also as mayor and deputy mayor. Council meetings are normally held once a month at the town hall.
Huntingdon has three district wards of Huntingdon North, Huntingdon East and Huntingdon West for Huntingdonshire District Council. The ward of Huntingdon East is represented by three councillors and the other two wards each by two. The main offices for Huntingdonshire District Council are located in Huntingdon itself.
The highest tier of local government is Cambridgeshire County Council, based in Cambridge. This provides county-wide services such as major road infrastructure, fire and rescue, education, social services, libraries and heritage protection. Huntingdon is one of the 60 electoral divisions, represented by two county councillors.
Huntingdon is in the parliamentary constituency of Huntingdon, and has been represented by Jonathan Djanogly MP (Conservative) since 2001. The previous member was former prime minister John Major (Conservative), who held the seat in 1979–2001. For the European Parliament Huntingdon is part of the East of England constituency, which elects seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
The town lies on the north bank of the River Great Ouse, opposite Godmanchester and close to the market town of St Ives in the east and the village of Brampton in the west. Huntingdon now incorporates the village of Hartford to the east, and the developing areas of Oxmoor, Stukeley Meadows and Hinchingbrooke to the north and west.
Between Godmanchester, Huntingdon and Brampton lies England's largest meadow, Portholme Meadow. Around 257 acres (1 km²) in size and containing many rare species of grass, flowers and dragonfly, it is the only known habitat of the Marsh Dandelion in Britain. It acts as a natural reservoir for holding water in times of flood enabling the river to run off slowly, thereby helping to prevent flooding of nearby towns. It has also served as a horse race course and once was a centre for aviation.
Huntingdon is home to many local businesses, including a local horse-racing course, Huntingdon Racecourse. Hinchingbrooke Business Park has many offices and warehouses located in it.
The nearest weather station for which long term weather data is available is RAF Wyton, 3 mi (5 km) north-east of the town centre, although more recently Monks Wood, 5 mi (8 km) to the north-west, also provides data.
As with the rest of the British Isles, Huntingdon experiences a strongly temperate maritime based climate, free from temperature extremes, with rainfall fairly evenly spread throughout the year.
The absolute maximum recorded at Wyton was 35.4 °C (95.7 °F) during August 1990, although the temperature at Monks Wood rose to 35.1 °C (95.2 °F) during July 2006. Typically the warmest day will average 29.7 °C (85.5 °F), and 16.0 days a year will rise to 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.
Typically 43.2 nights of the year will report an air frost. The absolute minimum at Wyton (from 1960) was −16.1 °C (3.0 °F) recorded during January 1982. On average, the coldest night of the year will fall to −7.7 °C (18.1 °F)
With rainfall at under 550 mm per year, the Huntingdon area is amongst the driest in the UK – 103.4 days on average will record at least 1 mm of rain. All averages mentioned refer to the period 1971–2000.
In the period 1801 to 1901, the current town of Huntingdon consisted of four separate parishes: Huntingdon All Saints, Huntingdon St Benedict, Huntingdon St John and Huntingdon St Mary. The populations of these parishes were recorded every ten years by the UK census. During this time the combined population was in the range of 2,368 (the lowest was in 1801) and 4,735 (the highest was in 1891).
From 1901, a census was taken every ten years with the exception of 1941 (due to the Second World War).
All population census figures from report Historic Census figures Cambridgeshire to 2011 by Cambridgeshire Insight.
For the census that was taken in 1961 and also for the census in 1971, Huntingdon was combined with Godmanchester.
In 2011, the parish covered an area of 2,765 acres (1,119 hectares) and the population density of Huntingdon in 2011 was 5,493.1 persons per square mile (2,120.8 per square kilometre).
Culture and communityEdit
The former Literary and Scientific Institute is now Commemoration Hall.
There are 3 RAF stations within 4 mi (6 km) of the town: RAF Brampton, once home to Headquarters RAF Support Command and now part of the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO); RAF Wyton, once a major flying station but now also part of the DLO; and RAF Alconbury currently occupied by the United States Air Force.
Part of the medieval infirmary hall of St Johns on the marketplace became Huntingdon Grammar School and was attended by Cromwell and diarist Samuel Pepys. The building is now the Cromwell Museum, run by Cambridgeshire County Council.
Once a convent, Hinchingbrooke House is said to be haunted. The bridge over the Alconbury Brook named Nun's Bridge is said to be also haunted by one of the nuns who once lived at the old convent that is now Hinchingbrooke House. It's said she is often accompanied by another ghost which resembles the appearance of a nurse. The myth goes that the nun had a lover, a monk who caused them to be murdered. In 1965 a married couple reported seeing the ghosts on the bridge, and again when they returned home the same night.
Local primary schools include Hartford Junior School, Huntingdon Primary School, Thongsley Fields Primary School, St John's Primary School, Stukeley Meadows Primary School and Cromwell Park Primary School. Special needs schools include Spring Common School. Secondary schools include St Peter's and Hinchingbrooke School. Further Education colleges include Huntingdonshire Regional College Hinchingbrooke school sixth form college and St Peter's Sixth Form.
There are direct bus services to Peterborough, St Neots, Ramsey, St Ives and Cambridge, as well as within the town and to Hinchingbrooke Hospital. Most buses are provided by Whippet Coaches, a Transit Systems subsidiary, or by Stagecoach East.
Once renowned for many more churches within the town, there are now four Church of England churches in Huntingdon, which together with the churches in the adjacent villages Great and Little Stukeley are members of the Huntingdon Team Ministry in the Diocese of Ely. The four churches are All Saints' (next to the Market Square), St Mary's (opposite Pathfinder House), St Barnabas (on the Oxmoor estate) and All Saints', Hartford.
Names are in birth order. Data is from the subject's Wikipedia site except where referenced.
Arts and entertainmentEdit
- Henry Compton (Charles Mackenzie, 1805–1877), actor, born in Huntingdon
- George Mackley (1900–1983), wood engraver, born in Huntingdon
- Terry Reid, (born 1949), rock vocalist and guitarist, born in Huntingdon
- Ceara O'Neill (born 1990), actor and musician, born in Huntingdon
- Himesh Patel (born 1990), actor, born in Huntingdon
- Henry of Huntingdon (c. 1088–1157), historian (Historia Anglorum) and Archdeacon of Huntingdon
- Samuel Pepys (1633–1703), diarist, attended Huntingdon Grammar School in about 1644.
- Basil Montagu (1770–1851), jurist, barrister, writer and philanthropist, and illegitimate son of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich and Martha Ray
- Robert Carruthers (1799–1878), local historian (History of Huntingdon) and journalist
- David, Earl of Huntingdon (c. 1144–1219), Scottish prince, born in Huntingdon
- Richard Patrick (died 1566), MP for Huntingdon in 1559
- Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658), Lord Protector, born in Huntingdon
- Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich (1625–1672), English Civil War general and Restoration politician, attended Huntingdon Grammar School.
- Richard Cromwell (1626–1712), Lord Protector (1658–59), born in Huntingdon
- Henry Cromwell (1628–1674), Lord Deputy of Ireland and chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin, born in Huntingdon
- Charlie Elphicke (born 1971), Conservative member of Parliament, born in Huntingdon
Science and engineeringEdit
- Michael Foster (1836–1907), physiologist and academic, born in Huntingdon
- Robert William Edis (1839–1927), architect and writer on decoration, born in Huntingdon and educated at Huntingdon Grammar School
- Walter Samuel Millard (1864–1952), naturalist and conservationist, born in Huntingdon
- John Hilton Grace (1873–1958), neurologist and Fellow of the Royal Society, died in Huntingdon
- Walter Yarnold (1893–1978), first-class cricketer, born in Huntingdon
- Josh Gifford, (1941–2012), National Hunt jockey and trainer, born in Huntingdon
- Oliver Gavin (born 1972), racing car driver, born in Huntingdon
- Charlotte Edwards (born 1979), international women's cricketer, born in Huntingdon
- Darren Bent (born 1984), footballer, raised in Huntingdon
- Harriet Lee (born 1991), Paralympic swimmer, born in Huntingdon
- James Sykes (born 1992), first-class cricketer, born in Huntingdon
- James Kettleborough (born 1992), first-class cricketer, born in Huntingdon
- Todd Kane (born 1993), footballer, born in Huntingdon
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