An Evening for Allan Brigham

An Evening for Allan Brigham

On Tuesday 30 March 2021, as part of the Cambridge Festival, we organised an evening to pay tribute to Allan Brigham, who passed away in September and over 200 people joined us on Zoom and Facebook.

Allan Brigham was one of the founder members of the Mill Road History Society and a valued contributor to Capturing Cambridge, the website where our research is posted. Allan was active throughout the city in many roles, but the Mill Road area was always particularly special to him.

The evening included tributes from some who knew him at work, as an author, a social activist, a historian and an inspiring tour leader. We also showed some rarely seen filmed material made by Allan and invited anyone attending to share their memories and stories.

We would like to offer our thanks to University of Cambridge for inviting us to be part of the Festival, ITV plc for permission to use the Anglia TV clips, and all those who spoke about Allan at the event.

The Allan Brigham Story

On Christmas Day Leigh Chambers of Cambridge 105 Radio presented a tribute to Allan Brigham including memories and reflections from those who knew him best. Contributors include his brothers Robert and Nigel, his niece and nephew, those who worked with him at the Cambridge Folk Museum and the Mill Road History Project, friends from the Cambridge Labour Party and others whose lives he touched.

Allan Brigham 1951-2020

Allan Brigham 1951-2020

Mill Road History Society is extremely sad that local champion, historian and founding member, Allan Brigham, has died this week.  He was an inspiration and friend to so many and found ways of connecting with most people he met. He was a valued and active member of the committee, always seen at and contributing to meetings. He also helped shape the preceding NLHF funded Mill Road History Project.

In spite of his long battle with cancer he managed to gather his detailed research on places and topics on Mill Road into several very readable publications. These are available on the Capturing Cambridge website and include the early history of Mill Road, Donkey Common, the Mill and the Depot amongst others.  He wore his expertise lightly, and was always ready to share his knowledge and skills. The encouragement he gave to other members of the society has been invaluable.

Allan was a long term trustee of the Museum of Cambridge and valued researching and showcasing the history of the town rather than the gown. But as a Blue Badge guide he was also very able to bridge the gap and lend the same authority to both worlds. He delighted in talking about and demonstrating the architectural detailing and infinite social nuancing in a terraced street off Mill Road with the same architectural historian’s eye as when talking about King’s College Chapel or any other prestigious building or street in the city.  

Allan also had another passion however – the building and protection of successful local communities, with housing and amenity space for all. He had both an historian’s eye and also that of a street-sweeper and local activist. Visitors and residents loved his walking tours not only because of his ability to shed intriguing light on so many aspects of Cambridge life – opening our eyes to the wealth of social and economic history that is preserved in our built environment – but also because they were always laced with views on planning history and present day issues.  We will miss him very much, and send our condolences to his wife Janice, and his family.

You can watch a 2013 interview with Allan talking about his life at

Selected writing

Online Events

As it looks like social activities won’t be getting back to normal any time soon now then Mill Road History Society has decided to take a step into the future and move our programme online.

Our first event is an online version of what we were originally planning to present as part of our AGM last month. In remembrance of the recent VE Day we have members of the society talking about WW2 objects they have “brought along” to show you.

See the event page at or on Facebook for all the details. The event is this Tuesday 9 June, at 7:30pm on Zoom.

We hope to bring you more online events, please sign up to our mailing list to be the first to be informed.

Events Suspended

We are sorry to announce that, due to the government advice to practice social distancing for the duration of the Coronavirus outbreak, we have decided to cancel our upcoming events for April, May and June.

We hope to rearrange these for the 2020/2021 season, assuming that life is back to normal then. We will update this website, and send information out to our mailing list and social media, as things change.

Cinemas, Pubs and Temperance: A Self-Led Mill Road Walking Tour

Cinemas, Pubs and Temperance: A Self-Led Mill Road Walking Tour

Please feel free to download and print out this walking tour for your own personal use.

You can find out more about all of the locations featured on this tour at

Our thanks to Emily Boldy for putting together this walking tour of Mill Road featuring details from our research.