Babylon Gallery To Close! Ely Cinema Survives!

Back in October we wrote about the slashing of funds to ADeC. One of the theories we discussed was that the council wanted to sell Babylon Bridge House for development. Well, Babylon Gallery is to close at the end of it’s current program. It looks increasingly likely the building will be sold. We’ll have to wait and see whether thats to developers. Here is ECDC’s press release about saving Ely Cinema:

There will be a cinema at the core of the final arts solution for East Cambridgeshire, the two organisations responsible for arts delivery in the District have announced today.

East Cambridgeshire District Council and ADeC (Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire) have been holding a series of meetings to determine the future priorities for the District.

In the latest meeting, both organisations agreed a cinema was key to the future of arts in the District and would be a major priority in the new arts service for East Cambridgeshire.

Councillor Peter Cresswell, Chairman of the Community Services Committee, said: “Our meetings with ADeC have been very constructive over the last couple of months and we have come to agree on many points. We both realised we could do nothing without listening to what the residents of East Cambridgeshire wanted. They have told us loud and clear that they see a cinema as being vital to the arts in the District.
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Ely Folk Festival 2008 Box Office Now Open

After last year’s gloriously successful festival, plans are well under way for an even more exciting festival line up this year including Show of Hands, Martin Simpson (Best album and best original song Radio 2 Folk Awards 2008) Spiers & Bowden, Boo Hewerdine, Saor Patrol, Mawkin:Causeley and many more.

There is also an opportunity for those with talent to enter the band competition with the winners appearing on Main Stage 1 to open the festival on the Friday night. For further details see the website.

Tickets are now on sale online at or by calling 01353 669985.

St. Martin’s Jam Factory, Ely

Image: Jam Label

If you go back several decades you may be surprised to learn just how industrious Ely was. It had a well renowned brewery, ‘Ely Ales’ and Ely was also had a major Sugar Beet Factory built in 1928 by Joanness Van Rossum (The factory closed in 1981). And for nearly twenty years (from 1939 to late 1958) Ely had it’s own Jam Factory at the end of Bray’s lane. The factory was called St. Martin’s Jam Factory.

Late last year Ely Online received an email from the nephew of St. Martin’s Jam Factory’s managing director (Arthur Strevens). The email read:

“My uncle, Arthur Strevens, was Managing Director of the St Martin’s Jam Factory for many years in the 40s & 50s. My wife was his executrix, and when he died we ended up with various boxes of records and some small artifacts from the factory (Ely & Grimsby). We were reluctant to throw them away in case they might be of interest to local historians, but never got round to doing anything about it!”
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