Memories Of Little Downham’s ‘Lofts’ Shop

When one recollects childhood memories, invariably there are many that standout. For me – growing up in Little Downham – these included my first day at Feofee’s primary school, the tragic death of Susan Cockerton (Susan and my Auntie Steph used to babysit me) in April, 1968, the ‘giant hydrogen-filled balloon’ that drifted over our primary school in August, 1970, making houses out of straw bales in the field bordering on our house (sorry Mr. Parsons!), fishing down the ‘Hurst’ and a little shop forever frozen in time. That shop was ‘Lofts’.

Image: Mrs. Hillen

‘Lofts’ closed sometime in the late 80s. It was a childhood memory that had not – physically – changed since my earliest visits on the way to primary school in the late 60s. Truth is, it probably hadn’t changed that much from the day it opened in the early 1900s!

Loft’s was a small dark foreboding place lost in the modern world; an amalgam of Royston Vasey’s ‘local’ shop in The League Of Gentlemen and Arkwright’s store in Open All Hours. But to a child in the late 60s and early 70s that lived east of St. Leonard’s Church it was first stop (we were to lazy to walk to ‘Barlows’ or ‘Proctors’) on the way to school or the ‘field’ (playing field), you see, the shop had a lot of sweets, in the big front window and the jars on the back wall, it also had Corona fizzy and Lyon’s ice lollies. What more could a kid wish for?
Read more

Ely’s Illegal Pavement Signs – Official Response

Image: Cambridge County Council's Own A-Board

A few weeks ago Ely Online ran a somewhat tongue-in-cheek article about Cambridge County Council’s East Highways Division dawn raid on ‘unauthorised’ advertising boards – boards that help promote shops that are not easy to come across should you be visiting Ely for the first time.

Some readers raised the valid point that nearly all cars that park along High Street over-run onto the pavement (this happens because when High Street was renovated a few years ago all the standard road kerbs were removed for low profile versions for pedestrianisation.) causing a worse obstruction than the advertising boards. Ely Online wrote to Cambridge County Council and today received an email in response to the article. A bit further down we publish that email in full with no alterations.

Before that Ely Online would like to point out an observation that was brought to our attention recently that is – at best – highly hypercritical after the council’s holier-than-thou attitude over the removal of some Ely shop’s pavement signs. So imagine our surprise when we found the Council’s own advertising boards in the worst possible location, roundabouts. The council have the sponsored (yes they are also making money from the signs) ‘A boards’ placed on many of Ely’s very busy roundabouts. Surely this is a distraction to the motorists or do different rules apply here?
Read more

Spotlight On: Ely Museum

Ely Online’s ‘Spotlight On’ is an occasional series that aims to unlock the secrets of the city, leading you to places of interest that most people don’t realise exist or just plain ignore, revealing little known facts about even the more famous landmarks of Ely City.

Image: Ely Museum

This month Ely Online points it’s spotlight on Ely Museum, housed in the Old Bishop’s Gaol in Market Street.
The museum is an attestation to Ely’s glorious past but have you ever actually visited Ely Museum? If the answer is no, you are missing out on some fabulous exhibits.

The museum itself is housed in a truly historical building, The Old Bishop’s Gaol, one of the oldest buildings in Ely, dating from the 13th Century, it has been a private house, a Tavern, a Registry Office and the Bishop’s Gaol. In 1997 the building was renovated, though much of the buildings history can still be seen, including prisoners graffiti, hidden doorways and original planking on the walls.
Read more

Another Late Night Mix #2

Image: Late Night Tales: Karl Bedingfield

Ely Online’s editor likes to mix and a few months ago completed yet another mix mix tape. He was was quite happy with the finished product and decided to make it available to the masses.

Karl had planned to release the mix last Christmas but just didn’t have the time, so once again presents you with my ‘Another Late Night Mix (Second Helpings) another mix that fits in nicely with the current staying-in-is-the-new-going-out trend in music. A trend that fits perfectly with Karl’s life as he seldom never goes clubbing these days and is more than happy to create a mix from the comfort of his home.

The mix has all Karl’s usual suspects; downtempo remixes, romantic pop, TV tunes, Motown, 60s gems and a little newness thrown in for good measure.
Read more