Despite The Weather Ely Folk Festival Set For Another Sell-Out

With only a handful of Sunday tickets now available, the committee and volunteer stewards are beavering away on the festival site getting everything ready for the festival opening tomorrow. Rain, rain and more rain has not dampened the enthusiasm of all involved in the festival to ensure another great Ely folk festival experience.

Given the extent of rain that has fallen in this last week, and with more due to come, the festival committee is putting measures in place to manage the situation appropriately and to try and keep things as smoooth as possible for those arriving with tents and caravans tomorrow afternoon, and minimise damage to the surface of the various sports pitches we use during the festival. Stewards will be briefed this evening so that they’re prepared to give best guidance and assistance to festival-goers tomorrow.

Advice on getting to the festival

If coming by car, the festival site will not open until 13.00. Please don’t arrive early as you will likely be turned away while site preparations are completed.

If arriving by train, the festival shuttle bus will be doing a loop between the festival site, Market Street in Ely, and Ely rail station every 15-20 minutes from 14.00 to 00.30.

The festival shuttle bus will run approx every 15 minutes between the festival site and Market Street in Ely as follows over the weekend:
Friday : 14.00 – 00.30
Saturday : 09.30 – 00.30
Sunday : 10.00 – 23.00 (will drop off at station on request)

Festival concerts, workshops & ceilidhs

All marquees are now erected on the site, and are waterproof! As some of the marquees are larger this year, there should be plenty of space to shelter from the weather and take in some great music. In particular, marquee 3 is much larger and is located next to the beer tent – a configuration which seems to work well and will has us put on more workshops, mini-concerts and late night sessions.

The festival programme which wil be on sale on site sets out all the timings of the various concets, ceilidhs and workshops. Details of concert start and finish times are now available on the website. Details of workshops, meets and sessions are below.

Meet Steamchicken – 19.30-20.20
Singaround with Mary and Anahata – 20.30-22.30

Tai Chi – 09.30-10.30
Singing workshop with Lady Maisery – 11.30–12.20
Meet The Willows – 12.30-13.20
Guitar workshop with Ewan McLenan – 13.30-14.20
Singaround with Andy Wall – 14.30-15.50
Meet Nancy Kerr and James Fagan – 19.15-19.50
Shanty session with Sound Tradition – 20.00-21.00
Saturday Night Blowout Session with Pete Cunningham – 21.00-23.30

Tai Chi – 09.30-10.30
Harmony workshop with the Woodberrys – 12.00-12.50
Meet Mrs Ackroyd Band – 13.00-13.50
Jews Harp workshop with Pilgrim’s Way – 14.00-14.50
Rhythm workshop with TwoManTing – 15.00-15.50
Songwriting workshop with Anthony John Clarke – 16.00-16.50

Dance like a Witchman?

The now traditional morris dancing procession through Ely will start off from the cathedral area at 11.00 on Saturday morning. Morris teams will perform at various spots in the city centre, Jubilee Park & on the festival site on Saturday and Sunday afternoons (weather permtting). The sides will be collecting contributions for the Ely Aquarius Gateway Club who the festival is supporting this year – this is a local charity that works with adults with learning difficulties.

A molly dancing workshop with Pig Dyke will take place at 10.30 on Sunday morning, and a border morris workshop with Witchmen at 13.00 on Sunday afternoon – both in marquee 2.

And finally…

This is the last newsletter before the 2012 festival. We’re keen to get feedback from festival-goers on what has worked well and what hasn’t worked so well at this year’s festival, and suggestions on how we could improve the visitor experience. You can provide feedback via the feedback forms available on the festival site or by emailing us at We’d love to hear from you.

If you’re coming to Ely Folk Festival 2012, have a great time, may the sun shine on you at least some of the weekend, and don’t forget to pack your wellies!

Ely Runners Beginners course

About the course:
The 10-week course has been put together by coaches at England Athletics with the aim of introducing you to running in a safe and enjoyable way. We’ll start with some gentle walk/jog sessions, and hopefully by the end of the 10-weeks you’ll be able to run 5 kilometres (just over 3miles) – or perhaps even further!! Along the way we’ll give you advice on footwear and clothing and show you some stretches to help you stay injury free. The course lasts for 10-weeks and will start on Tuesday 17th July at 7pm. We’ll meet at the Paradise Centre in Ely – initially sessions will be held on the sports field behind the centre. We’ll then meet at the same time and place for the remaining 9-weeks. The course costs £10.

What do I need to wear?
You don’t need lots of kit to start running, but it’s important that you’re comfortable in what you’rewearing. It can be warm at this time of year – so either shorts or lightweight jogging bottoms would be ideal. During sessions you’re likely to get quite warm – so a short-sleeve T-shirt would be sensible with a lightweight long sleeve top for before/afterwards. Given the recent inclement weather it mayalso be worth obtaining a shower-proof jacket (about £10 from JJB or Sports Direct). You can buy perfectly good running clothing quite cheaply from big chains like JJB or Sports Direct (Cambridge Retail Park). If you want to spend a bit more, Advance Performance or the Sweatshop in Cambridge provide a very good service. You don’t need special trainers to get started as you won’t be running long distances just yet. A running shoe is best but cross-trainers like you would wear to the gym would also be fine to get you started.

Who leads the course?
The course will be led by qualified coaches from Ely Runners. They’re all experienced runners now, but they were beginners themselves once upon a time. All of our coaches will be happy to shareadvice and tales of their own running experiences (you can probably count on the latter)!!

What happens after the course?
At the end of the 10-week course we welcome you to join us at the free Cambridge Parkrun (5k) event at Milton Country Park in Cambridge (Saturday 22 nd September). This will provide you with an opportunity to see what a difference 10 weeks can make!! If you decide you’d like to continue running then you’ll also have the opportunity of joining Ely Runners at the discounted price of £35 (a £10 discount – i.e. the cost of your course). Visit Ely Runners website for further details.

What is Run England?
Run England is a part of England Athletics and was set up to try and encourage more people to try running in a completely non-competitive way. They aim to remove barriers to participation so that anyone can ‘give it a go’.

What is the Ely Runners Beginners group?
Run England have set up a network of running groups around the country that are just about running for fitness and enjoyment without any pressure to be fast or enter races. Ely Runners are setting upone of these groups.

If you decide to give the course a try, just complete the attached registration form and send with a cheque for £10 made payable to ‘Ely Runners’ to: Steve Tovey, Secretary Ely Runners, 19 Merivale Way, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4GQ

Winners of Ely Folk Festival 2012 Band Competition

Against strong competition from 14 other entries, bluegrass band The Woodberrys are worthy winners of this year’s Band Competition. Formed in 2011, The Woodberrys perform gorgeous three- and four-part harmonies singing mostly bluegrass and original material. They will open the 2012 festival by performing in the main festival marquee on Friday 13th July.

Fancy catching some of the other music acts who will be appearing at this year’s Ely Folk Festival? Get along to Jubilee Park in Ely for the Eel Day celebrations on Saturday 5th May. The festival is sponsoring lively local band Pagan Molly, acapella group Sound Tradition and acoustic folk band Two Coats Colder to perform during the afternoon. The festival is proud to support up-and-coming East Anglian folk acts and events like this provide a great showcase for local talent. Entry to the Eel Day event is free.

Festival ticket sales have been strong since the box office opened in February, so check out the website if you want to book a ticket. Remember that the early bird period for reduced price tickets finishes at the end of May.

More information about the festival and the acts appearing can be found at

East Cambridgeshire has UK’s best quality of life: Ely heads top ten ‘rural’ places to live

East Cambridgeshire has been named as having the best quality of life of any rural area in the UK according to a national survey.

Research conducted for the latest Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey highlights a number of reasons for the District’s top rating. They include:

* Residents are fit and well with 93 per cent reporting general good health, while it has the joint highest life expectancy amongst rural areas of 82 where life expectancy is four years higher than the UK average.
* The employment rate is high at 79 per cent and many residents enjoy relatively high incomes with weekly average earnings of £707.
* Residents also have the lowest domestic CO2 emissions of all rural local area districts.
* The average house price in the area is 5.3 times local annual gross earnings, which is below the average house price to earnings ratio for all rural areas of 5.9.

Councillor Peter Moakes, Leader at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The survey by the Halifax confirms what many of us have known for years, East Cambridgeshire is a great place to live. This ranking is a culmination of all the hard work which residents, communities and organisations have put in over the years. From our fantastic countryside to our healthy lifestyles and strong economy, living in our district is a wonderful thing and I count myself very lucky to be an East Cambridgeshire resident.

“Everyone of us wants to live, work and enjoy our district and are determined to achieve great things for East Cambridgeshire. However, we are not complacent with excellent districts like South Cambridgeshire also hunting for the top spot, we must continue to strive to be the best we can be. This is our goal but if this survey reminds us of anything it is the need to stop and reflect that despite the challenges we all face, East Cambridgeshire is a wonderful place to call home.”

Ely Folk Festival 2012 – Free Festival Ticket In Return For Working As A Steward

The line-up for Ely Folk Festival 2012 has been annouced and my goodness what a line-up it is! Featuring some of the biggest names on the British folk and roots circuit and with keenly priced tickets and a family-friendly vibe, it’s no wonder festival tickets are selling out fast. Headline acts include fabulous roots duo Show of Hands, The Blues Band, Jez Lowe, Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Scottish band Breabach and cajun band Elvis Fontenot and the Sugar Bees.

Ely Folk Festival will take place 13 – 15 July at the Outdoor Centre on Downham Road. It has been one of the very few folk festivals to make it onto the Sunday Times list of Top 100 Festivals in the last three years. Fantastic music, ceilidhs, opportunities to take part in music and dance workshops, kids entertainment, a real ale bar and a laid-back atmosphere are the ingredients that make for a great day or weekend out at the festival for all the family.

Weekend, day and evening tickets are now available for sale. You can buy a ticket on-line via the website or call the Box Office on 01353 669985. The festival has sold out in advance for the last four years, so get your tickets early.

Alternatively, if you would like a free festival ticket in return for working as a steward on the festival site for 10 hours over the festival, check out the website for details on how to apply.

To keep up with festival information, check out the website or follow it on facebook or twitter @ElyFolk.

Crossland To Reform For Charity Festival

One of Ely’s most popular bands of the late 80s and early 90s, Crossland, are to perform a one-off reunion set at the Maltings on 29 October 2011. Crossland along with reunions by Nutmeg and The Traceys (Donald Elseys Big Decision) make for a mouthwatering line-up for MickFest – A celebration of the life of Mick Gillett who recently passed away.

Crossland at 1990 Cambridge Rock Contest

Of Crossland, Lead singer Chris Williams said: ‘It’s been 19 years since we all last played together and you could say that a lot of water’s passed under the bridge. We’ve all been in and out of different bands over that time: Beach Blanket Bingo, Starlings, Rigby, The Traceys, Duvet, etc as well as starting families, having kids and seeing them grow up. Things were very different for us all in 1991!’

‘There were a number of factors that led us to get together but the real catalyst was when Lee Gillett contacted us about ‘Mickfest’. It seemed to make sense to do it now: in memory of Mick, it’s a worthwhile cause to raise money for and, hopefully, because it will be a great event with all the other bands involved. All the right reasons basically.’

‘Another reason is that, having tried out some of the songs, we think they sound as fresh and as vital as they ever did – and we’re looking forward to playing them again. They deserve to be heard!’

As with most band splits it wasn’t a particularly happy end to Crossland. ‘Mickfest’ will be a happier experience for us as well as serving as a massive thank you to all the Crossland fans from 20 years ago who haven’t forgotten us!

To coincide with their performance Crossland are to finally release the album ‘Rinky Dink’ after 19 years. Originally due out in 1992 but with the band splitting that year it never got a release. ‘Rinky Dink’ is a fantastic album and clearly showed the band were moving in a new direction from their previous album ‘Really Big Nothing’ (which will also be available on the night). All profits from the CD sales will go toward the festivals chosen charity.

Tickets are still available for £7.00 at MickFest.

A10 Set To Get Lower Speed Limit

A lower speed limit of 50mph is proposed for the A10 between Ely and Cambridge which has seen 96 injury accidents in the last three years.

The road was assessed under new national guidelines and found to meet the criteria for a reduction from 60mph to 50mph.

Speed tests also showed on average traffic was travelling around the 50mph mark in the stretches of road which currently have a 60mph limit.

The current 40mph from the A1123 roundabout to Stretham will remain the same.

The order to reduce the limit will be published and residents will be able to raise any objections.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Steve Criswell, Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, said: “This is part of our countywide review of speed limits following national guidelines on reducing speeds. There are a number of villages along this route and nearly 100 injury accidents in the last three years. Anyone who drives this road knows how congested it gets and the accidents that are on there, it is hoped the new speed limit will improve this.”

Ely Folk Festival 2011 Review

Ely Folk Festival may be somewhat small and overlooked in comparison with the more mainstream Cambridge Folk Festival, but it has a warmth and charm and is undeniably flawlessly executed. Run by a dedicated group of volunteers, the organising committee has a nonprofit ethos that had proved a formula for success, as for the third year running the festival has sold out well in advance of the weekend.

And to the festival…

Friday July 8, 2011
There’s always something a bit special about heading towards Ely Folk Festival on a Friday evening: meeting with friends, the excitement and anticipation of the wonderfully diverse line-up, and the general fun-loving atmosphere of what is intrinsically a family festival. The big question on everyone’s lips this year – will it rain? Well, not yet, but it was clear that Mother Nature had yet to decide the weather for the weekend. Nimbostratus clouds were hovering and didn’t seem to be moving anywhere fast.

There were positives to the threat of rain. A queue immediately formed for the main stage marquee, unheard of on a Friday night. Unfortunately, whoever was first in line had queued at the wrong entrance, which resulted in an undignified scramble to the correct one.

With the marquee packed to capacity it was time for the evening’s first performance, the festival’s band competition winner Jess Morgan, a singer-songwriter from Norwich. Quite rightly described as ‘Norfolk Americana’, her brand of alt-country was well received, although a slightly nervous Jess had earlier Tweeted: “Armour plated and ready for Ely Folk Festival tonight!!”

Marquee 2 was devoted to an evening of up-and-coming bands. The gentle charm of The Willows kicked things off, followed by multi instrumentalists Crown Street, who have an ethereal quality to their English folk music that was innocent and beautiful. Also on the bill were Ben Sayer, Pagan Molly and Cly Sparken.

As the evening drew on, the eclectic bill in Marquee 1 ranged from those of a more intimate persuasion (Hickman & Quinn and Brooks Williams Band) to the danceable (3 Daft Monkeys and headliner’s The Men They Couldn’t Hang).

Impossible to typecast, 3 Daft Monkeys’ stunning blend of upbeat, danceable music got the first people on their feet and dancing at the front of the stage. 3 Daft Monkeys were a popular choice and received ecstatic applause and an encore. The same cannot be said for the punk folk of The Men They Couldn’t Hang (TMTCH), with Stefan Cush’s opening salvo of expletives about Rupert Murdoch (‘…and he shifted all his f***ing poisonous dog-sh*t powers to Wapping…’) causing many to gasp before spitting out the political song ‘The Ghosts of Cable Street’, followed by ‘Wishing Well’. The applause was muted initially but as the set went on there was greater appreciation, even if Cush did push the boundaries of acceptability more than once.

Ghosts of Cable Street / Wishing Well by TMTCH

Of TMTCH, the following morning one Facebook user wrote: “Having great time, music good up till last band last night! Didn’t come to listen to foul language (there were kids present) and political rants! Glad they are not playing again.” TMTCH was a brave choice for the festival and were the highlight of the evening, although it may have been a wise choice to have 3 Daft Monkeys as headliners.

With the emphasis firmly on having fun and being sociable the ceilidh rounded the evening off. The key ingredients of a good ceilidh being enthusiasm, a good band, and usually – but not essentially – drink. This ceilidh had all.

Saturday July 9, 2011
Saturday morning kicked off with the festival parade through Ely city centre. Led by the colourful Knockhundred Shuttles and followed by Morris sides Witchmen, Ely and Littleport Riot, Tanglefoot Appalachian, Rockinghan Rapper, Bakanalia, Gog Magog, Young Miscellany, Manor Mill Clog, Devil’s Dyke, Coton, The King’s Morris, Green Dragon, Little Egypt, Bury Fair and Wype Doles, the procession drew equal amounts bewilderment and pleasure from the unsuspecting shoppers on the High Street.

When the parade finished around midday, it was back to the festival. With Saturday being the busiest of the three days and Mother Nature finally turning on the sunshine, avid festival-goers opened their fold-out chairs and positioned themselves around the front of Marquee 1 to take in a fantastic day’s music, while making the most of the continued good weather – although the individual with the tent probably took things too far!

The Ely Online Team

The on-site facilities were plentiful (food, beer and the usual array of niche stalls). The beer tent had a fantastic selection of ales and ciders with medieval sounding names. As the weekend drew on many barrels ran dry with ‘Dragon Slayer’ being one of the first casualties. The spontaneous folk sessions within the beer tent seemed to suffer this year. The musicians struggled to be heard over the louder than usual main stage performances, which was a shame really because these sessions are loved by many.

3 Daft Monkeys Perform Saturday Afternoon

Saturday night’s headline acts began with the charming Dervish, a traditional Irish band whose performance proved to be an intensely exciting series of jigs, reels and songs. Their singer Cathy Jordan captivated the audience with her lengthy song introductions and lush vocals over a rhythmic backing of bouzouki, mandolin and bodhran. The festival loved Dervish, by far the best set of the weekend.

An interesting fact you may not know, in 2007, Dervish were chosen as the group to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest Final that year in Helsinki with ‘They Can’t Stop The Spring.’ They finished last receiving only five points – all from Albania.

The evening finished with Acid Croft pioneers Shooglenifty, who once described their music as ‘hypno-folkadelic ambient trad’. In layman’s terms Shooglenifty push ‘traditional’ to its limits with their genre-defying blend of roots music and dance vibes. They have a huge following, which was clearly evident by the sizeable crowd that crammed up towards the front of the stage to dance.

Although infectious, Shooglenifty were not to everyone’s taste. With no anecdotes between jigs and reels, the performance continued like a seamless DJ mix-tape, which was probably too much for the seasoned folk-lover and it was noticeable that the seated area of the marquee wasn’t quite as full as when Dervish performed. But those who stayed (and there were many) fervently danced and thoroughly enjoyed the groundbreaking Scottish mavericks.

Shooglenifty (no audio)

While it was the headline acts (Dervish and Shooglenifty) who had the crowd on their feet, honourable mentions for Saturday must also go to Malingerers, Little Johnny England, Johnny Dickinson and The QP, who entertained and informed with their incisive take on the folk scene.

Saturday night’s festivities wound up around midnight but the party continued into the early hours of Sunday morning in the campsite grounds. The Shooglenifty brethren played impromptu sessions in the beer tent before being moved on and playing wherever they could.

Sunday July 10, 2011
Sunday dawned while sunshine once again blessed the festival ground. Sundays are always a much more relaxing and carefree affair. The valiant early morning festivalgoer can treat their body to a gentle and relaxing Tai Chi workout but most just settle back and take in the surroundings, have breakfast, maybe participate in a workshop and have a beer.

For the children, Jan Edgecombe’s famous blackboard van and activities are always a popular destination. As was the guy making GIANT soap bubbles (a lot of grown-ups liked this too). Elsewhere, Morris Dance displays entertained, the highlights being Rockingham Rapper’s intricate sword dances and the cadaverous Witchmen.

Not sure what happened with Marquee 3 this year, it still had great workshops but there was promise of more by Festival sponsors, Spiral Earth. On their website they wrote that the marquee was to be renamed the Spiral Earth Tent with talk of great workshops and club nights plus surprise guests, acoustic performances and interviews with the artists. It would have been a nice addition between the busier marquees but it just didn’t happen. Why?

Sunday afternoon in Marquee 1 gave many people the chance to see some of the weekend’s highlights (headline acts aside) and some praiseworthy one-off performances. Tom McConville’s peers say he is the top fiddle player in the country and it’s easy to see why. With his band he gave a virtuoso performance that was technically brilliant, entertaining and had the audience laughing out loud with his narrative.

Seize The Day Perform Sunday Afternoon

With protest band Seize the Day, every song sends a message. “You’re just as likely to meet us at your nearest frontline protest, whether it’s against GM crops, or war, or fossil fuels” states their website. Their songs included ‘I’m Only Doing My job’, written about the death of Jill Phipps, an animal rights protester who was crushed to death by a lorry transporting live veal calves, but presented from the lorry driver’s perspective. Also making a powerful statement to the afternoon audience was ‘Bigger, Brighter, Better, Bullshit’, about corporate greed.

Careful planning is required if you want to see the best of what marquees 1 & 2 have to offer as performance timings of both marquees inevitably overlap. This was the case mid-afternoon with Bounty Hounds and Heidi, John and Boo.

Bounty Hounds Perform Sunday Afternoon

Bounty Hounds unique brand of folk rock opened the proceedings in marquee 2 with a superlative set. While over in marquee 1, Heidi Talbert, John McCusker & Boo Hewerdine’s astonishingly beautiful music delicately captivated with a mix of each artist’s songs and minimal instrumentation (guitar, ukulele and fiddle). Perfect.

As the afternoon turned to evening the club tent’s best acts got the chance to perform on the main stage followed by the entertaining jongleur, Rory McLeod.

The fantastic Ahab had tweeted earlier a photograph with the caption ‘Sold out: Flyers on seats, sweaty tent… Let’s get the chairs kicked away’. Well, the chairs remained in place but the audience loved the harmonies of their folk flavoured UK brand of Americana.

The evening ended with Ely Folk Festival favourite, Martin Simpson, described as ‘the finest acoustic guitarist on the planet’. His American blues and English folk music went down well and was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Once again a big thank to the committee and all the volunteer stewards who made this weekend very special.

Some Audio From The Festival

Some iPhone audio from the festival.

2011 Ely Folk Festival Sells Out

For the third year running, Ely Folk Festival has sold out in advance of the festival weekend. A great line-up of acts plus the festival’s reputation for fantastic entertainment at good value has ensured demand for festival tickets. Andy Wall, chairman of the festival’s organising committee said “It’s great news that the festival has sold out again this year. It reflects the hard work the committee has put into selecting great performers and putting together a varied programme of activities to ensure that there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the festival.”

If you haven’t secured a ticket for the festival, you can still catch a taste of it with the annual morris dancing procession through Ely City Centre on the Saturday morning of the festival weekend (9th July). This year 16 morris dance sides from all over the UK will take part. The morris sides will dance in various spots around Ely city centre during the afternoon.

Please note that NO tickets will be available for sale at the Box Office on the festival site over the weekend.

Flower & Food Market – 25th September 2011

Date:  Sunday, 25 September 2011 – 10:00am – 4:00pm Location Ely Market Place Market Place Ely CB7 4NB United Kingdom See map: Google Maps Come along to the new monthly Flower & Food Market on Sunday 25th September and every last Sunday in the month on Ely Market Place from May to October. Contact:  Tourist Information Centre Telephone:  01353 662062 Email:

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Flower & Food Market – 25th September 2011

Vikings – Farmers, Raiders or Traders? – 16th May 2011

Date:  Monday, 16 May 2011 – 8:00pm – 9:15pm Location Ely Methodist Church Chapel Street Ely CB6 1TA United Kingdom See map: Google Maps Anne Holton-Krayenbuhl, tutor in adult education and a free-lance local historian presents: Vikings – Farmers, Raiders or Traders? This talk will examine the activities of these sea-farers from Norway, Denmark and Sweden, and consider the extent to which they were motivated by the attraction of plunder, or the wish to establish farming settlements or the need to trade. Cost:  Members free: visitors £2.50 Contact:  Mr Steve Cole Telephone:  01353 669326 Website:

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Vikings – Farmers, Raiders or Traders? – 16th May 2011

Ely Folk Festival Review 2010

Image: John Glover

Friday, July 9: From humble beginnings in 1985 when Ely first hosted its ‘Folk Day’ (ticket price £4.50), through years of the ‘Folk Weekend’ which was held in various venues throughout the City, to the Pocket Park Years the festival always retained a unique essence. The move to the Outdoor Centre in 2000 and the inclusion of more concerts, dances and workshops has not diminished that certain something that Ely has. As my Uncle Google says, ‘Licentia Puteus Unus’*

And so, to 2010, the Silver Anniversary of the Festival. With my Sun Dance instructions safely tucked away, the temperature at 35 degrees on the car gauge and 42 under my armpits, I set off for the festival.

Image: Ely Online Team

Ely Online assembled at the site for our traditional Friday evening photo with the Ship of the Fens as a backdrop and the remit to capture that special quality that keeps regulars coming back year after year.

Image: The Floozies

The Floozies were the first act I caught on the main stage and are so damn cool that they are like aural fans, their jazzy folk riffs bringing the temperature down with each blast from Paula Welham’s sax. Their gusts of harmony and virtuoso musicianship were a fine way to start the weekend.

Image: Harvey Andrews

Harvey Andrews was up next and the 67 year old singer song-writer enchanted the audience with his songs. With 43 years of his professional career chalked up he was proud to declare that he’s 2 years younger than Sir Cliff Richard but 2 years older that Keith Richards. The veteran was around the site on Saturday as well and he looked very chuffed after turning up for a sound-check and being sent away by the sound man as it was ‘just the same as Friday’. Very handy just being one man, a guitar and a head full of songs.

I’ve seen Colvin Quarmy 2 or 3 times before but they still have the ability to surprise. The captivating ‘Broken Man’ with its five part harmony is a tribute to NHS drugs that work and Gerry Colvin’s lyrics are a joy to listen to in these days when song writers seem scared to say what they mean.

The beer tent was doing brisk business and when the Dragon Slayer ran out my distraught daughter had to accept an alternative, Eelcatcher, which brought a grimace to her face. Luckily, there were many more barrels to hand and we enjoyed at various times; Reel Ale, Anniversary Ale, Dragonslayer and Shefford Bitter. Many thanks must go to the overworked volunteers who battled away all weekend to keep the beers cool and the customers satisfied.

Image: The Demon Barber Roadshow

The opening nights headliners ‘The Demon Barber Roadshow’ were, as the youth say, Awesome. Mixing traditional folk tunes and using clog-dancers and a beat-boxer (I think they’re called) as well as molly dancing themselves they earned a standing ovation.

At one point they were doing Pete Townsend style leg splits which I’ve never seen a Morris Man perform. It was like The Who doing Riverdance. No wonder they won the Best Live Act Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards last year. I don’t know what any of the songs were called apart from the rebel yelling ‘Captain Ward’ but they were excellent and went down a storm.

Saturday: Saturday began, as per recent tradition, with a ginormous cooked breakfast at Ely’s premier Fryuperie ‘Street Cafe’, before getting into position to watch the Morris dance procession.

Is it all bells and whistles? Nah – we were treated to a banging, shouting and whooping parade of a smorgasbord of English dance sides including long sword, Cotswold, north- west clog and Suffolk flip-flop. That slapping sound is rather irritating. I hope they won’t be asked back.

Image: The Rumworth Morris

Back on the site later, my own thoughts were echoed when I heard a camper sigh, incline his head towards an armpit and mutter, ‘Hmm…time for some deodorant’. It was about 32 degrees at this point.

To my shame I’d missed Les Barker on his previous visits to Ely so I was determined to catch his set and I’m glad I did. Although obviously old favourites with the packed marquee (cos they chanted most of the tag lines) I sat and giggled my way through ‘Occasional Table’, ‘Deja Vu’, ‘Mange Tout’ and the rest of Les’s gloriously surreal poems.

Next up, Lau, the band I had looked forward to with the most anticipation. I had ‘discovered’ the band by a tortuous route about 3 years ago in a way most music lovers will recognise. Whilst flicking through the folk cds in Ely Library I picked up Kris Drevers ‘Blackwater’ and noticed that he’d covered ‘Harvest Gypsies’, written by our very own Boo Hewerdine. I took it out, loved it and googled Kris to find Lau. That led me to their website and I clicked on the audio link for the frenetic ‘Hinba’. Result? Me continuously playing the song in the office for the next 4 days. I got some strange looks from colleagues, I can tell you, sitting there with my headphones on playing air accordion.

Lau didn’t let me down. Corking renditions of ‘Winter Moon’, ‘The Burran’ et al met with raucous applause from a packed Marquee. I was slightly disappointed that by the end of the set they hadn’t played my favourite tune. So, when they took a breather before starting the encore I was nonplussed when they announced they were going to treat us to a song called ‘Hitler’. Hitler! Who the hell would write a folk song about Hitler? I misheard – yep, it was Hinba, in all its manic glory. As the young people say, LOL and LMAO.

Image: Bof!

Whilst I was working up a sweat just watching Martin Green manhandle his accordion, Ely On Line’s chief lensman, Karl, was at the French dance workshop given by Bof! I had planned to join him but unfortunately I’d left my dancing trousers at home.

I’m writing this on a normal Sunday morning, sitting in my boxers, mug of tea to hand and typing the words, ‘death’, ‘cake’ and ‘burial’ into Google. I’m doing some research into a tragic story I read about years ago and I’m trying to find the details. I did write it all down in a diary but it’s faster to use the interweb than sit and read through 25 years of WH Smith diaries to find a paragraph of writing. And, I found this little nugget of information – Until 1823 suicides were buried under the public highway, usually at a crossroads, with a stake driven through the heart. Hmm – I feel a song coming on.

Image: New Essex Bluegrass band

Why do I relate this gloomy tale? Because it’s only at a folk (and probably Goth) festival that you’ll happily stand there as the band say, ‘Here’s another song about death’. Yup, The New Essex Bluegrass Band played a fantastic set of snappy tales of murder and mayhem from the Deep South. With an ‘Elvis’ style microphone to the fore they took turns to step up for their solos and received an ovation from an enthusiastic Marquee 2 . Brilliant.


As the refreshing evening breeze finally began to cool down the site the Ely online team promenaded between marquees 1 and 2 via the beer tent, taking in snippets of Chris & Kelli While, Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley and the fantastic Wizz Jones. At 71, Wizz can still make his guitar weep and he almost had me blubbing with ‘Burma Star’, a song about his dad coming home from the war.

The evening was rounded off by the evergreen Oysterband. They pounded their way through an energetic set of crowd pleasers defying their 30 years experience and with the sides of the marquee down and people spread almost half way across the site to listen, it was an apt way to conclude the Saturday night of the 25th Ely Festival.

Sunday: Sunday began with Dogan Mehmet and some exquisite fiddle playing and the percussionist apparently playing bongos on an upturned electric flower-pot. They created an alluring anglo-turkish vibe and I particularly enjoyed the sing along ‘Dillirga’ with more ‘La La’s’ in the chorus than an Andy Williams song.

Image: Dogan Mehmet

Tyde were up next and I can see why they were finalists in the Radio 2 Young Folk Awards last year. Their set was awash with hooky melodies and I’m looking forward to catching them again on the Thursday evening of the Cambridge Folk Festival.

As the sun continued to shine, the New Essex Bluegrass band were back, this time on the main stage and they played a completely different set including the tear-stained declaration of everlasting love, ‘All I Ever Loved Was You’. So – probably another song about death.

We decided to make a detour to a ‘meet me’ with Wizz Jones and he proceeded to give a fascinating insight into how he developed his style over the years, learning (and cribbing) from the best – mainly Big Bill Broonzy. Wizz has a witty self-deprecating sense of humour and managed to teach some old dogs some new tricks at the same time.

Now – a dilemma. The Sunday of the festival coincided with the World Cup Final. My wallchart was up to date and I’d enjoyed a month of the greatest game on earth (apart from Kerplunk) and I really did want to watch it. C’mon – Holland v Spain. What have I done before? In 1986 I passed over the opportunity to watch Madness on the Main Stage at Glastonbury in favour of watching England play Argentina in the Quarter Final. The ‘Hand of God’ was watched on a 2” portable tv with 6 lads crammed into a 2 man tent. In 2006 I missed I missed Zidane’s chest butt whilst enjoying Zambula at Ely. So – what to do?

Football won.

I’d already decided that this would be my last review of the EFF (my 10th) so I’ll be hanging up my stubby pencil and Oxfam diary and enjoying the festival in future as a lover of folk. No more jokes about beards and spangly waistcoats from me.

A Footnote:

During the weekend I was able to catch up with Kim Mahler Garton, the Tai Chi instructor. I asked her if she’d be able to teach me how to do the splits. ‘Well…’, she replied hesitantly, ‘…it isn’t really part of my routine but I might. How flexible are you?’ she asked. I thought about it and replied, ‘I can’t do Tuesdays’.

Top Ten Songs – In No Particular Order

  1. Floozies – Coolest Girl in School
  2. ColvinQuarmby – Broken Man
  3. Demon Barber Roadshow – The Fantastic Clogs and beatbox song.
  4. Doghan Mehmet -Dillirga
  5. Les Barker – Occasional Table
  6. Lau – The Burrian
  7. NEBB – Cold Wind
  8. Oysterband – Oxford Girl
  9. Wizz Jones – Burma Star
  10. NEBB – All I Ever Loved was You

See You Next Year! – 8th, 9th, 10th July 2011

*Leave Well Alone

The 25th Ely Folk Festival Review Coming Soon

The 2010 Ely Folk Festival was the festival’s twenty fifth birthday and celebrated in style with some fantastic performances and possibly the hottest weekend the festival had ever seen.

Ely Online’s traditional Ely Folk Festival review is forthcoming. In the meantime take a look at a few of our home video’s we shot during the heatwave that was Friday July 9 – Sunday July 11.


Ely Folk Festival Sells Out

For the second year running, Ely Folk Festival has sold out in advance of the festival weekend. A strong line-up and great reputation for good music have ensured strong ticket sales this year. Andy Wall, chairman of the festival’s organising committee said “It’s great news that the festival has sold out again this year. It reflects the hard work the committee has put into selecting great performers and putting together a varied programme of activities to ensure that there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the festival.”

The Mayor of Ely, Councillor Brian Ashton will visit the festival site on Friday evening to have a look at the activities taking place and to meet some of the hard-working volunteers who are responsible for making the festival happen.

The annual morris dancing procession will kick off at 11am on Saturday morning, proceeding along the High Street, Ely to the market square. This year 14 morris dance sides will take part. The morris sides will dance in various spots around Ely city centre during the afternoon.

Please note that NO tickets will be available for sale at the Box Office on the festival site over the weekend.

Ely Folk Festival Band Competition 2010 Winner is…

Gavin Adam Wood, a singer-songwriter based in Cambridge. Gavin sings his own compositions as well as covering others with his soulful and distinctive voice. Gavin is no stranger to winning competitions as he was voted best act in last year’s Cambridge Buskers and Street Performer Festival.

Ely Folk Festival 2010 is now almost sold out with only a limited number of tickets left for Friday evening & Sunday only. Check out the festival website for updates on ticket availability.

Ely Folk Festival Tickets Going Fast

Ely Folk Festival looks as though it’s well on its way to selling out again this year. The strong line-up combined with the festival’s reputation as a small family friendly events has proved a winning combination. Although weekend and Saturday tickets have now sold out, there are still tickets available for Friday night and Sunday.
The festival committee is working hard on the final stages of festival preparation. The huge number of entries for the popular Band Competition is currently being assessed and the results should be available soon. The Ely Folk Festival stall at Eel Day proved a popular draw and folk musicians Andy Wall, Matt Kelly and Bof! had the crowds toe-tapping along.

The festival relies on a small army of volunteers helping out over the festival weekend. If you fancy trying your hand at stewarding at this year’s festival, check out the information section on the festival website.

There are still some tickets available for Ely Folk Festival. They can be purchased from the Box Office by phoning 01353 669985 or emailing

Remember that early bird tickets are available at a reduced rate before 1st June.

Record Ticket Sales For 2010 Ely Folk Festival

In the first week following opening of its box office, Ely Folk Festival has experienced record ticket sales far outstripping sales in a similar period previous years. Its reputation as one of the top folk music events in the country combined with a strong performer line-up for the 2010 festival has guaranteed huge interest and lots of festival-goers are ensuring they buy their tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Andy Wall, Chairman of the Festival Committee said “We are thrilled to have sold over £20,000 worth of tickets in our first week. We are confident that the 2010 festival is going to be the best yet and a great event to celebrate the festival’s 25th anniversary.”

This year’s festival line-up includes Oysterband, The Demon Barber Roadshow, Faustus, New Essex Bluegrass Band, Vin Garbutt and Lau – winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2010.

Festival tickets can be purchased from the Box Office by phoning 01353 669985 or emailing, alternatively book on-line at Early bird tickets are available at a reduced rate before 1st June.

Authorities Illegally Seizing Assets Of Incapacitated

My husband John Westwell for whom I have Power of Attorney – even with Power of Attorney I am treated as a criminal by Cambridge County Council. The attack has been relentless since he was sectioned in 1992 and has been under their ‘care’ ever since. The authorities refuse to provide NHS funding for his care home fees. I have been constantly under attack – with demands for care home fees, to complete assessment forms, and to sign an agreement with the threat of having to pay the full care home fees if I did not. I have asked for a copy of their Code of Practice – they do not have one. My representative who attended a recent meeting described it as akin to a lynching.
When he was moved to Heron House by the authorities in 2006 my husband was clearly worse than Pamela Coughlin who won her case for NHS funded care in 1999. He was noisy, incontinent, unable to speak coherently , could not feed himself at all and needed a wheelchair. I received little information about the circumstances surrounding the closing of his ward and his removal to Addenbrooke’s Hospital and then to Heron House. At the time of his removal, the only contact was a phone call from the charge nurse at James Ward at Addenbrookes, Kathrin Phillips, who asked me to call 01223 586876. It was a wrong number and when I contacted the hospital no one had heard of Kathrin Phillips. I spent an hour and a half phoning, trying to speak to the person responsible for his removal from the ward at Fulbourn Hospital. No one, including Fulbourn Hospital, knew who was responsible or would not let me speak to them. I have regularly stated that I believe John should have full NHS funding and I wish to appeal against any decision against this.

I have been obliged to have a solicitor help me fight my case: Mr Henry Anstey,

As indicated by a recent letter and minutes of a meeting held last week, I am being treated as an untrustworthy criminal and regardless of the law, they are intent on extricating funds from his accounts:

In a letter to my solicitor, Daniel Snowdon demanded a copy of a trust document and of John’s mother’s will (she died recently) because it may affect Mr Westwell’s financial assessment or his care at Heron House.

re a meeting on 20th October 2009 chaired by Vanessa Gibney: Lead Practitioner Safeguard: In the invitation to the meeting I am referred to as “the perpetrator “, my husband “the victim”.

at the meeting: Danie Snowdon said I was asked for money but refused to pay. (I had assumed payments would be taken at source but they were not. Then I had asked for the bank account details to make payments – none given. I had also asked that if I had to pay retrospectively could I pay this over a period of time. I am still waiting for a response.)

VG said in response to Dr T Dening, Consultant Psychiatrist of Fulbourn Hospital’s statement 1996 that the complexity of John’s illness meant that John should require continuing care in NHS accommodation: “The consultant didn’t have the power to make this point.”

Vanessa Gibney’s response to my representative saying: “we [will] make an appeal against the decision for continuing care” : “No-one will sanction that the NHS will have to pay – no way will he be funded. “

Vanessa Gibney is going to call the police liaison person to the next meeting and said they would arrange to stop John’s Incapacity Benefit and Pension Credit payments as the money was not being used appropriately. (I have been using his Incapacity Benefit and Pension Credit according to the way he would want me to – i.e. as a husband and father of 2 – the eldest having a child with brain cancer to deal with and as a member of his family).

UrbanX Goes Underground

Some of you may remember my article ‘Ely Urbex’ from back in May 2008, where I photographed areas in and around Ely that are normally ‘off-limits’ to the public. Recently, I have found I have been running out of ‘unseen’ areas to photograph. Then I came to the realisation I was only looking above ground, and that there must be a whole other world beneath our cobbled streets.

Even with some ambient light pouring in, my camera struggled to focus. Our technologically advanced eyes were also feeling the strain, and my iris’ dilated to let in any available light.

Image: Ely Urbex

A Self Portrait, and my favourite shot of the evening. Taken with a 20 Second Exposure

Image: Ely Urbex

We came across this chamber where three large drains met. This exposure was done with ‘light painting’. Setting the exposure to 8 seconds and rapidly ‘painting’ the walls with torchlight. In reality only a small spot of light was visible at any time. Hundreds of years of mineral growth, and erosion on the red brick walls had created a beautiful mural of colour.

Image: Ely Urbex

In life, you have a choice. You can stay in bed and take no risks, or you can go out and have a life which involves the taking of risks, telling of yarns, breaking various laws which restrict your freedom, finding out things of an unusual or interesting nature. Now, some people take drugs, some people watch TV, some people drive cars faster than the recommended speed limit, some people get heavily into tupperware, some people even play golf.

Since I find these things not very interesting, well, maybe the driving, I have taken to exploring drains. I like the dark, the wet, humid, earthy smell. I like the varying architecture. I like the solitude. I like the acoustics, the wildlife, the things I find, the places I come upon, the feeling knowing so few have seen what I am seeing.

Image: Ely Urbex

The tunnels are beautiful, and teeming with wildlife. Spiders, bats, and even some pretty hefty carp which swim blindly into your legs.

Image: Ely Urbex

Making our way back was harder than we thought. You have to walk against the current which batters your thighs. The floor was mirror smooth from 100 years of water erosion, which was coated in just enough algae to give it the quality of an ice rink. This proved a paranoia nightmare for me holding my expensive DSLR & tripod as high as I could in one hand (which didn’t help my centre of gravity one bit) and torch in the other. If I slipped the whole lot will be going under.

Image: Ely Urbex

With the city sleeping, blissfully unaware of the night time explorers walking the streets beneath them, we emerged. Drenched, exhausted, and with a rancid odour we stripped from our ‘drain’ clothes into normal street clothes, and made our way back to our warm cosy, clean beds. The splash on the right is where I stripped off…

Image: Ely Urbex

Cheers for looking.

More adventures can be found on my site:

Ely Folk Festival Review 2009

Image: John Glover

The Ely Online team ventured once again to The Ely Folk Festival to, hopefully, capture the spirit of the event. With myself (John Glover – pictured right) on pencil and paper and Karl Bedingfield (the camera) we hope to give you a slice of the festival from a non-folkie perspective. Holly and Mike were our ears and eyes on site and completed the Ely Online team. This, the 24th Festival, had a great line-up and the prospect of some decent weather. For my take of the Festival, read on:

The Week Before

As per, my Folk Festival week began on the Monday with a diligent trawl through the Artist list and some googling. Ely Online once more were given the opportunity to see the festival from a non-folkie perspective. Luckily for the uninformed (me), Myspace is information HQ for most bands and some of their best choons. With headphones clamped on and downloading like a dervish I delved into this years selection.

Image: Sold Out!

Shortly, without moving an inch I was enjoying The Dog Roses (winners of the Band competition and first act on Friday), While & Matthews, Hot Lips and Chilli Fingers and, as they say, many many more. Yup, as usual the Ely Folk Festival was shaping up to be the varied line up of traditional and contemporary that we have come to expect. The Folk World must agree because this year the whole weekend was sold out before a note was played.

One of the nice things about the Ely Folk Festival is that you see a lot of the same faces every year and a thought occurred to me when I was travelling home on the train after work. A few Folkies with rucksacks were running down the platform to get their connection and I wondered if they knew what to expect if it was their first visit. Ely must be one of the prettiest places to arrive at on a train from either direction.

Friday Evening

Image: The Dog Roses

The music I was researching? This week’s earworm was ‘A Little Bit More Blue’ by The Dog Roses, one of the most over the top, singable and downright uplifting songs I’ve ever heard. I eagerly awaited the live rendition when they opened the festival. As Band Competition winners they only had twenty minutes in which to showcase their talents and after introducing a song with the line, ‘Here’s a song about suicide’ I knew I’d like them. I patiently waited for the big finish which would undoubtedly be my favouritist new song. Guess what? They didn’t play the bugger! When I spoke to them later in the beer tent they didn’t even recognise the song I was slurring about. I had to sing the chorus to remind them. The Ely Online team all agreed that The Dogs (as we now call them) should be given a slot in next year’s festival.

Image: Strangefolk

Strangefolk sounded suspiciously like Jefferson Airplane and even did a cover of ‘Somebody to Love’. The band has been around since 2002 and I have to agree with the programme blurb, that they played with total commitment.

Next up, after some Whitby Cod and Chips, was Something Nasty In the Woodshed. My scribbled notes said ‘Bagpipes with heavy metal guitar’. Not too far wrong as it turned out but there was much more to them. I loved their Shoogleniftyish grooves and reggae tinged instrumentals. They went down a treat.

Image: Something Nasty In the Woodshed

I found a quiet seat at the back for Allan Taylor. Living in the States for years has influenced his troubadour tales which he’s gathered over the years from talking to strangers in bars which he says has cost him a lot of money. ‘The Veteran’ was a particularly hairy tale of an encounter with a gun-toting Vietnam Vet. ‘Leaving at Dawn’ is Allan’s reflection on the travails of earning your living as a musician. Other stand-out songs, ‘New York in the Seventies’ and ‘Frenchtown’ were expertly performed in his distinctive mellow tones.

Image: Baka Beyond

It was during Allan Taylor’s set that I realised Ely On Line’s self-confessed Geek, Karl, was meddling about with his new phone. Little did I know that he was ‘Tweeting’ from the festival. For those who’ve never heard of Twitter – don’t bother, it’s rubbish. I’m sticking to my Oxfam diary and scribbling notes.

Baka Beyond were the Friday headliners and are no strangers to Ely. They got the crowd dancing at the front and gave everyone a chance to throw some shapes as a warm up before the Ceilidh.

Image: Baka Beyond

Then I wobbled home on my bike.

Saturday Afternoon

Image: Ely Folk

After a breakfast of parasetemol and a fry-up for brunch I made my way back down to the festival site in time to catch the excellent ‘The QP’. With new bassist Tim playing his first gig you might have expected a few wobbles here and there but they’d obviously blooded him well and a tight set of tunes and songs delighted the (for a Saturday afternoon) fullish marquee. This was a band that had more wind-power than me after a curry, at the top of a hill, on a windy day. At one point during the fabulous ‘Mexican Catharsis Set’ they had a four-man front line of harmonica, flute, soprano saxophone and whistle blowing away at full throttle. Hexham Farmer featured the muscular harp playing of Will Pound and I’d have to say that The QP were my ‘Eureka Moment’ of this years Festival. I always drone on about being a non-folkie but there is usually an act every year that really crowbars open my eyes to the thrill of Folk music. I suspect I’m not the only one who will name The QP as their favourite act from this years list.

Image: Ely Folk

Next up were Toy Hearts, a 5 piece Bluegrass band from Birmingham. They were the real deal and I wasn’t surprised to hear that they are off on a 5-week tour of the States quite soon. They played a captivating set full of blues, Western swing, bluegrass and some Sun-era Elvis Presley. I liked them – I liked them a lot. ‘The Captain’ and ‘Stronger’ were my faves.

A duo new to me was next on stage – While & Matthews. They said they were last at Ely when they could smell the sewerage plant. Hmm…that’d be the Pocket Park then! Chris quipped that they were covered in mosquito bites for days after playing on the old site. I can confirm that the Pocket Park still has a goodly population of mozzies just waiting to prey on bare flesh after the wife and I went down that way for a stroll on a warm evening recently. No problems with that kind of thing at the Footy Club.

Several times nominated for various Radio 2 Folk Awards, they have won the best duo at the 2009 folk awards – and I can see why. ‘Single Act of Kindness’ and the incredibly sad ‘Comfort Women’ were the stand out songs and they received an enormous cheer at the end of their set.

Saturday Evening

Image: Flossie Malavialle

With a large black cloud hovering with malice aforethought above the Isle of Ely, festivalgoers headed for canvas. As Ely On Line traversed the site clutching pints of Dragon Slayer the ‘Sell Out’ signs on the gate definitely spoke the truth.

Image: Flossie Malavialle

My ‘You Tube’ search for Flossie Malavialle had produced a few results and to be honest I had considered giving her a miss and going to watch Strange Folk for a second time. I’m glad I didn’t though because she was excellent. Despite having only lived in the UK for seven years she’s developed a rich Geordie accent which has produced a glorious Anglo-French brogue. She sang beautifully; ‘La Vie En Rose’, ‘The Road’s My Middle Name’ and generally charmed the socks off the audience. And if that made you smile it means you were there.

Image: Edward II

Following Flossie was Edward II. Again, my Googling had led me to make notes such as ‘Folk/UB40’, which proved to be reasonably accurate with one huge difference – I’ve always been put off by Ali Campbell’s cod-Jamaican singing voice. Without an annoying vocal to put me off I was free to enjoy Edward II’s ‘dance tunes of old England, sunny sexy grooves of reggae and lover’s rock’. They certainly are a ‘crossover’ act and they had Marquee 1 rocking.

Image: The Peatbog Faeries

And then – the rain began to fall. The Peatbog Faeries came on and it’s fair to say the audience were divided. I suspect that after all the dancing during Edward II’s set that it was like being asked if you want another slice of chocolate cake – more Folk than you can eat. Anyway, as The Faeries ripped up a storm to match the one outside, a large crowd formed at the front to bop the evening away while a portion of the more Traditional folkers slid away to the more gentle homes of the Beer Tent session or While & Matthews in Marquee 2. Personally I love the The Boggers after buying ‘Faeries Stories’ but I can see why they split the crowd. I would imagine at a less ‘intimate’ festival they would have had the Tent bursting at the seams. In fact they would have gone down well at Dance Island that was held last week just up the road.


Image: Mike & Holly

The clouds parted and the sun shone. Sunday is traditionally chillin’ out day – take the sides off the marquees and sit outside.

Got down to the site for the tail end of Strangeworld’s set. Plenty of people had decided to keep out of the sun and they got a good reception. Next up was Adrian Nation. I remembered him from a couple of years ago and he did ‘Where the Lions Are’, ‘Brightest Star’ and a song that, apparently, gets sung at his lad’s school called, ‘Set the Course’. In my review of Adrian’s last visit to EFF I mentioned he does a good line in Van Morrison sounding songs and I’ll stick by that.

Adam Brown and Alan MacLeod filled Marquee 2 and I was pleased that my on-going folk education led me to think, ‘Hmm..that one sounds like a song off Lau’s first album’ as they squeezed and strummed their way through another funky folk tune. Yep – I’m into this folk stuff enough to recognise influences now. When Adam (3 time bodhran champ) started his finger-snapping solo, musos began to walk speedily from all directions of the site to the marquee to watch. Perfect entertainment for a sunny Sunday methinks.

Image: The QP
Image: Eric Bogle

More beer was taken on board while listening to The QP’s set in Marquee 2 but then I had to go to the Main Tent for Eric Bogle and John Munro. A couple of years ago I wrote how he won me over and in this, his last UK tour, he did it again. His between song anecdotes about leaving Scotland for Australia when he was 19 had the audience enthralled and his rendition of ‘And the band played Waltzing Matilda’ was particularly poignant this week in view the events in Afghanistan. He received a standing ovation and the crowd demanded an encore. My backstage informant reports that Eric was reluctant to go back on stage but he did. I must confess, I’ve never been a big fan of encores – shows are paced to fit a mood, whether celebratory or dramatic. I always think it’s a bit anti-climatic to do another song after a tearjerker like ‘And the band…’. However, the public are always right and Eric came back for well deserved thunderous applause.

Image: Hot Lips and Chilli Fingers

Hot Lips and Chilli Fingers are usually a duo of Steve Lockwood and Chris Newman but they were augmented by Mark Russell from the Ceilidh Allstars on Bodhran and a bass player for this gig. Steve Lockwood is a true star and kept his powder dry for the first few songs by sitting down. After 15 minutes he was up dancing, running around the Marquee and whipping up a storm with his Harmonica. He changed the mood for a moving version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, which was fantastic. My version of the song, ‘While My Catarrh Gently Seeps’ will soon be available on a Sinus Aid compilation CD.

Another band playing for the final time in the UK were Tanglefoot. They were introduced as old friends of the Ely Festival and Al Parrish was even wearing a spectacular green shirt apparently made by Ruth Bramley – is that true? The band energetically romped and stomped out favourites such as ‘Seven a side’ and ‘Vimy’ and Terry Young gave an impassioned speech on the dangers of Global Warming which turned out to be a sneaky attempt to sell some CD’s. Excellent stuff – and I have to admit that I loved them by the end of the set whereas when they came on stage I thought they were a ‘Spinal Tap’ folk band – those curly perms must still be popular in Canada.

Image: EFF Dog of The Year 2009 – Dog 20!

And Finally…along with increased signage at this year’s festival all the dogs had individual tags to identify them and over the 3 days I was enchanted by a little dog that was fussed over by its owners and anyone that saw her. I never discovered the mutts name but anyway, stand up (on yer hind legs) and take a bow (wow) – EFF Dog of The Year 2009 – Dog 20!

Ely Folk Festival Audio


Ely Folk Festival Video

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The Dog Roses (Friday)

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Baka Beyond (Friday)

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Something Nasty In The Woodshed (Friday)

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The Peatbog Faeries (Saturday)

Ely Folk Festival Slideshow

Image: Holly

Click Image above for our photo slideshow!

Top 10 Songs From the Weekend (in no particular order)

  1. A Little Bit More Blue – The Dog Roses
  2. The Captain – Toy Hearts
  3. Mexican Catharsis Set – The QP
  4. Leaving Nancy – Eric Bogle and John Munro
  5. Comfort Women – While and Matthews
  6. While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Hot Lips and Chilli Fingers
  7. Vimy – Tanglefoot
  8. Where The Lions Are – Adrian Nation
  9. Seven a Side – Tanglefoot
  10. Stronger – Toy Hearts

The 25th Ely Folk Festival will take place on 9th to 11th July 2010 – see you there!

Ely Folk Festival 2009 The Best Yet!

Feedback from festival goers is that Ely Folk Festival 2009 was the best yet!

With all festival tickets sold out a week in advance, the sun shone all weekend on 1500 happy festival goers. A strong line-up, great music and a friendly atmosphere all combined to make the festival one to remember. Top bands Edward II and Baka Beyond had the main marquee on its feet dancing on Friday and Saturday nights, while singing legend Eric Bogle sang his best known song ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ to a hushed audience on Sunday evening. Up-and-coming bands Something Nasty in the Woodshed and Dog Roses added verve and attitude to an impressive musician line-up.

Complimenting the concerts, a programme of workshops, informal artists ‘unplugged’ sessions, dance displays, ceilidhs and children’s entertainment over the weekend was enjoyed by festival goers. The Saturday morning dance procession was watched by crowds of local people and visitors as fifteen morris teams brought colour, music and spectacle to the streets of Ely.

Chair of the festival committee, Trish Reed, said “Ely 2009 was a fantastic event and we’ve had lots of positive feedback from festival goers. It was hard work but we’re so pleased that everyone had a great time and we’re really grateful for the help we received from our volunteer stewards over the weekend. We’re already planning Ely Folk Festival 2010”.

Ely Folk Festival 2010 will be the 25th festival and will take place 9-11 July 2010.

Be sure to read Ely Online’s full review here.

Dance Island 2009 In Hot Demand

Organisers are urging punters to buy their tickets soon so as not to miss out on East Anglia’s biggest
dance music experience of the year, Dance Island 2009, due to take place 4 July near Ely,

Standard and VIP tickets have been selling fast in the run up to the event and are still available online
and at selected HMV stores around the region.

The organisers have revealed that there will be tickets available on the day on a ‘first come first served’
basis at the festival but to avoid disappointment and save some money book tickets prior to the event.
Dance Island 2009 features four huge arenas, an outdoor stage, two arenas dedicated to local and new
and upcoming talent, a chill-out area, a VIP area, a fun fair, a food village, a range of trade stalls and
over 60 of the world’s best live dance acts and DJs.

Chicane (Live), Pendulum (DJ set and MC Jakes), Utah Saints, The Shapeshifters, Plump DJs, Altern8,
Danny Rampling, Dave Pearce, Public Domain, Lab4 and K90 are just some of the artists set to

Tickets are available through the Dance Island website – and selected HMV
stores throughout East Anglia. At £42.50 for standard tickets and £67.50 for VIP, the event is billed as
one of the best value for money festivals in the UK and will be celebrating 20 years of dance music
since the ‘Second Summer of Love’.

For full event details, ticket sales and the full line-up, visit

2009 Ely Folk Festival – What A Line Up

Ely Online is sproud to be a sponsor of this year’s Ely Folk Festival!

Kicking off on the evening of Friday 10 July through until Sunday 12 July, the festival will host top notch bands, a lively mix of concerts and ceilidhs, children’s entertainment, a real ale bar & morris dancing.

With top bands such as the Peatbog Faeries, Tanglefoot, Baka Beyond & Edward II along with a host of the best of British folk music acts including Eric Bogle and While & Matthews, the festival promises to be the best one yet.

The by now traditional morris dancing procession through Ely will take place on the morning of Saturday 11 July. Starting from Palace Green at 11.00am, 16 morris teams will process along the High Street & round the market before performing at various spots around the city centre.

Full details can be found at

BBC’s Flog It! Is Coming To Ely Cathedral

The popular BBC2 antiques programme, Flog It, presented by Paul Martin, is coming to Ely Cathedral, Chapter House, The College, Ely, CB7 4DL later this month.

Flog It! – the major BBC2 antiques series – regularly gets an audience of 2 million viewers each weekday – around 25% of the television audience.

Image: BBC 2 Flogit

ELY CATHEDRAL will be hosting the Flog It! Valuation Day. Rather like a treasure hunt, members of the public are invited to bring along the antiques and collectables they might be interested in selling. Once valued, the owner and team of experts decide whether it should go forward for auction. If the item is chosen it is sold a few weeks later – often with the owner making a tidy sum. Everyone who goes along to the Valuation Day will receive a valuation – even if their antiques are not chosen to go forward for auction.

Previous programmes have seen a small cream jug sold at auction for £1,300; a ceramic bowl, bought for £4 at a car boot sale, achieving £1,500; and a lady in Aberdeen sold a Shelley tea set for a huge £3,400! So if you’ve ever wondered how much those boot sale bargains or clutter in the loft might be worth, now is your chance to find out.

Presented by Paul Martin, Flog It! will be at the ELY CATHEDRAL, Ely on Wednesday 29th July from 9.30am until 4pm. The auction will take place on Friday 2nd October at the Bateman’s Auctioneers and Valuers, Stamford and will be broadcast as part of the eighth series later this year.

2009 Ely Folk Festival Band Competition Winners

The Dog Roses, a 5-piece band from South London has been selected as winners of this year’s Ely Folk Festival Band Competition.

With stiff competition from 24 other entries, The Dog Roses impressed the judges with their eclectic mix of country music, west coast harmonies and old time Americano mixed with the occasional burst of punk and indie attitude. The band formed in 2003 and combine double bass, mandolin, accordion, fiddle, drums and vocals to deliver a vigorous and driving sound. They’re currently working on their fourth CD.

‘Highly proficient…..deliver lyrical doses of worldly wisdom, spinning a sweetly sincere line or being witty and wry.’ Traditional Music Maker

“This is what you get if you mix country music with west coast harmonies, indie attitude and the odd furious burst of vitriolic home-made punk” – CZine

“The dogs light up the stage, get your toes tapping and your feet stomping” – online TV

The Dog Roses will open the Friday night concert at the 2009 festival.

Ely Folk Festival Makes The Sunday Times Top 100 Festivals List

The Sunday Times has listed Ely Folk Festival among it’s 100 top music festivals.
The preview includes events ‘from big beasts to boutique, family-friendly to hedonists-only, in-town to back-of-beyond and even overseas’. The festival is one of only five folk music festivals that have made it into the top 100.

It is just not the Sunday Times that has recognised that the festival is one of the best around – canny punters have been snapping up tickets for this year’s festival with sales so far outstripping previous years.

With a bill that includes Peatbog Faeries, Edward II, Baka Beyond, Eric Bogle and John Munro, and Tanglefoot, Ely Folk Festival 2009 is set to be a highlight of the festival circuit this year.

Information on the festival and details on how to purchase tickets can be found on the festival website:

Ely Folk Festival Flyer 2009

The 24th Ely Folk Festival is fast approaching (Friday 10 – Sunday 12 July). If you are not familiar with this year’s fantastic line-up download the flyer.

Ely Folk Festival Flyer 2009 Downloads: 5292 times

Ely Visitor Guide 2009

If you are planning a visit to Ely, then why not take a look at the new Visit Ely Guide. It is packed with useful information about Ely and the District, which will help you make the most of your visit. Find out about attractions in the area, where to stay, events happening through the year, where to eat, plus much more.

Ely Visitor Guide 2010 Downloads: 6420 times

Ely Car Parking Map 2009

There is a new car parking map now available. You can download the PDF by clicking the link below.
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Ely Folk Festival 2009 – Box Office Now Open

The Box Office for Ely Folk Festival is now OPEN and given the quality of this year’s line-up and the festival’s reputation for seeing great live acts in an intimate and family friendly environment, tickets are sure to go quickly.

Festival headliners include the Peatbog Faeries, Eric Bogle & John Munroe, Tanglefoot, While & Matthews, Baka Beyond and Edward II. Other fantastic acts include Allan Taylor, Adrian Nation and Flossie Malavialle. With a real ale bar, morris dancing, ceilidhs, sessions, music and dance workshops, and children’s entertainment, there will be something for everyone at this year’s festival.

Early bird tickets are available at a reduced rate before 1st June, so check out our new look web site for more details about purchasing tickets.

City of Ely Community College: Bullies Prosper While Victims Get Excluded!

School bullies at the City of Ely Community College are getting away with their intimidation, threats and taunting while victims are being excluded for defending themselves.

It was recently brought to our attention that a year 7 pupil was relentlessly taunted to the point that the bullied pupil lashed out at the provocateur. In this situation you would have thought that the bully would be firmly reprimanded and possibly excluded, but in this instance the victim was excluded for 5 days even though they told staff what happened and had witnesses. This cannot be right! If someone is bullying you you should tell someone you can trust – a teacher? Bullies find it hard to pick on someone if they know you have someone to support you. Unfortunately, on this occasion they appear to have sided with the bully.

Ely Online is aware of why the individual was bullied but does not want to publicise the circumstances.

As of publication the City of Ely Community College has not commented.

Ely Schoolgirl Vies For Miss Teen Queen UK Crown

Image: Miss Teen Queen UK

A local schoolgirl, Jade Gillett from Ely, has a chance at being crowned Miss Teen Queen UK. The 15 year old entered the competition for fun and was really pleased and surprised when she realised she had been chosen to go to for a photo shoot along with 80 other young girls who also qualified from over 5000 entrants.

The competition gives girls from all walks of life and backgrounds the chance to experience the exciting world of modeling, and the opportunity to take part in a professional photo-shoot at a top London studio with a renowned team of top stylists and photographers. It is a once in a lifetime chance that most girls can only dream about.

Jade is now at the public voting stage and is therefore trying to get enough votes to get through to the grand finale which will be hosted by two surprise celebrities. The finale will also have a panel of judges made up of sponsors and celebrity personalities. There will be two winners from each category, ages 16-19 for the queen title and 13-15 for the princess title, who will receive their sashes and tiaras along with their prizes.

Jade will be representing the Cambridgeshire region, and would love it if locals support her by voting for her. This can be done by calling 0901 656 1530 then pressing 02 or by texting Jade Gillett to 84205.

You can also see Jade on the website

Voting closes at 11.30pm on the 31st October.

‘Private Eye’ Exposes ECDC Members Greed

Satirical magazine ‘Private Eye‘ shamed ECDC’s greed in their August 8th issue (No. 1216) as part of the ‘Rotton Boroughs’ section. It reads…

“Council staff around Britain went on strike last month over a 2.45 percent pay rise. Happily their paymasters have felt less constrained in awarding themselves more generous rises.”

“At East Cambridgeshire district council senior members have just trousered a modest 94 percent increase in their allowances, while at the same time cutting the arts budget by £70,000 and forcing the closure of a gallery in Ely. The 94 percent is for committee chairs, with ordinary members getting a mere 10 percent rise, costing the council £22,000.”

Ely Folk Festival Review 2008

Image: The Gang

Armed with stubby pencils, scraps of paper and a camera Ely Online once again ventured down to The Ely Folk Festival to capture the spirit of the event. With me (John Glover) on words and Karl Bedingfield (on the piccies) we hope to give you a slice of the weekend from a non-folkie angle. Holly and Mike were camping and completed the Ely Online team.The forecast was dodgy but the list of bands was great. For my diary of the weekend, read on:
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Royal Mail To Close Post Offices In Ely, Little Downham & Soham

In a move likely to create chaos for the postal needs of people in Ely, Little Downham & Soham, the Royal Mail is to close the Post Offices of St. Johns Road, Ely, Main Street, Little Downham & Hall Street, Soham.

This will leave the Post Office in High Street Ely to meet the demands of Ely’s ever growing population. If you had the misfortune to use this Post Office you will be aware of the miserably long queues. How on earth it will cope with the sudden increase of trade is anyone’s guess.

The Royal Mail are so far out of touch with the public that they fail to realise that the success of local shops and of post offices is intertwined. Take for example Little Downham Post Office, the closure will hit the elderly and the very poor, who are dependent on a local service to pay bills and receive cash which also supports the continued existence of the local shop.

None of the post offices named will close immediately Post Office bosses insist they have drawn up the list initially for public consultation, and that people will have until August 26 to give their views on whether the services should be ended or not.

We understand that an official announcement will be made on Tuesday about these forthcoming closures.

The fight begins…

2008 Ely Folk Festival On Course To Sell Out

Ely Folk Festival is on course to sell out before the festival weekend for the first time in its 23 year history. Happening from 11th – 13th July at Ely Outdoor Centre the festival boasts a superb line up including Show of Hands, Martin Simpson, Spiers & Bowden and Boo Hewerdine, promising the best festival yet. Festival organiser Trish Reed said ‘Anyone hoping to come along is encouraged to book now to avoid disappointment in the event that the festival sells out’

If you can’t get to the festival itself, don’t miss the procession in Ely town centre from 11am on Saturday an amazing sight with a colourful array of Morris sides, headed by Saor Patrol with drums and pipes.

Tickets are on sale on line at or by calling 01353 669985.

Image: Saor-Patrol

Ely Online will also release it’s annual podcast – Folkin’ Hell, It’s Festival Time v3.0 next weekend. Stay tuned. In the meantime here is our first volume from 2006. Enjoy.



  1. Intro by Carol Batton
  2. Young Hearts Run Free – Nancy Wallace
  3. My Aunt Edna – Bonnie Koloc
  4. Bones For Doctor Swah – Wooden Wand
  5. Don’t Be Upset – Jeffrey & Jack Lewis
  6. Help Me Find Myself – Tudor Lodge
  7. Graveyard – Forrest
  8. Diamond Day – Vashti Bunyan

You can listen to the mix streamed online by pressing the play button below, broadband is your friend for this. If you don’t see the player below then you don’t have the Flash Player installed, that can be remedied by going here.

Ely Folk Festival 2008 A’ Comin’

The 23rd Ely Folk Festival takes place over the weekend of Friday 11th July – Sunday 13th July.

This will be my 8th visit to the Festival and, I’m ashamed to say, it should be my 23rd. It wasn’t until I was invited along to pen some words (from a non-folkie viewpoint) by Ely Online that I took off the blinkers and saw beyond the stereotype of beards, rainbow-coloured waistcoats and men waving hankies around. Of course, all that is on offer at the festival but there’s also a lot, lot more. The Ely festival features a wide variety of styles, all which fit into the broad church of folk.

This year’s line up is no exception with an impressive guest list and programme of workshops, concerts, displays, ceilidhs and children’s entertainment. I’m looking forward to watching guitar maestro Gareth Pearson (a big hit at last years festival), The Mighty ‘Show of Hands’, local bands Lightening Jack and the Wide Glide Band, Last Night’s Fun, Boo Hewerdine, Spiers and Boden and the extremely noisy percussion band Saor Patrol.

The amply stocked beer-tent and food stalls will keep me fuelled for the weekend and Jan’s Blackboard Van will keep me occupied if I fancy drawing a picture on the side of a lorry. Music, beer, food and men waving hankies – what more could you possibly want? See you there.

Read last year’s review for a taster.

Ely Urbex

UrbanX is an Ely based urban explorer.

The definition of an urban explorer: the study of parts of civilization that are normally unseen or off-limits, such as abandoned structures, drains, sewers, tunnels, etc.

UrbanX writes…

How often have you looked at the urban environment in Ely? I mean really looked, not just at the tourist trail of our beautiful Cathedral, Oliver Cromwell’s house, or Ely’s fabulous riverside views, but the truly hidden gems that abound within this ship of the Fens? I started really looking at our city during the balmy evenings of last spring, when the sky finally kicked off its winter overcoat and Ely sprang into consciousness. It was during this time that, whilst mulling over thoughts about the transient nature of architecture and sociological history, fate led me to my great discovery, the art of urban exploration.

Image: Station House, Fordham

Station House, Fordham © UrbanX 2008

Urban exploration is about pushing the boundaries of art and life, pushing oneself to discover new places and capture them for posterity. Photography allows us to document the beauty of these hidden landscapes, to revel in their richness and to contemplate their former states, before they fall into oblivion and out of our reach forever.

Image: They didn't come home

They didn’t come home © UrbanX 2008
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Ely Will Be Eeltastic This Saturday

Ely will be eeltastic this Saturday for the city’s fifth Annual Eel Day.

The day, to celebrate the humble eel, brings together a whole range of activities from eel throwing (don’t worry they are handmade toys) to 17th century re-enactments to highlight Ely’s heritage and historic association with the eel.

Starting at 10.30am, a carnival like procession led by ‘Ellie the Eel’, Ely’s Samba Band and 10 Town Criers will start from Cross Green next to the Cathedral and head along part of the City’s Eel Trail Heritage Walk, down to the Waterside. The procession will end in the Jubilee Gardens where a whole host of eel related events are planned.

Along with eel throwing, there will be puppet making, pottery making and tanks of real eels for everyone to learn about.

Tracey Harding, Tourism Team Leader at East Cambridgeshire District Council said: “The day is all about celebrating Ely’s culture and traditions and encouraging awareness and use of the Eel Trail. We hope to continue to build on this unique event each year and involve more and more businesses and organisations and further raise the profile of the Isle of Eels.

“This year’s procession sees the return of 10 visiting Town Criers in all their finery, as part of Ely’s Town Crier’s competition. The criers will gather on Palace Green for the first cry of the day at noon. Eight judges have been carefully selected from the local community and each one has a particular criteria to judge the criers performance on. The second cry of the day will be held in Jubilee Gardens at 3pm and the winners will then be announced.
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Armed Robbery At Ely Tescos

Armed raiders targeted a security van at Tesco in Ely yesterday afternoon.

Offenders, who were believed to have been armed with a shotgun, struck a blue Group 4 Securicor van in the city just after 4pm.

Police cordoned the area off with trolleys and a helicopter was deployed to search the local area.
The offenders made off in a black Subaru, which was dumped in Potters Lane, near Angel Drove.

They exchanged the Subaru for a BMW and drove off along the A10 towards Cambridge.

When they were south of Stretham, near Gullivers Restaurent, they collided with another vehicle, but they pulled away and drove straight off.

Detective inspector Adam Gallop said: “If anybody was driving behind this BMW or saw the drivers or their direction of travel please contact police at Parkside police station.”
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The Chronicle Of A 200th Anniversary Celebration

The Boat Race Founders Society was very pleased that so many of the Merivale family were able to participate in the celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Merivale’s birth. The Wordsworths were thinner on the ground, but the quality of those attending more than made up for the quantity.

It was good to welcome you all to the local communities of Ely and Cambridgeshire, and we hope we helped you re-establish some historic family links with Harrow School, the University Boat Clubs, Ely Cathedral, Glenalmond College and St Ninian’s Cathedral.

From time to time I am sure we will find good reasons to meet again, and I urge our younger members to plan ahead for another memorable party on the 10th June 2029, at a venue of their choosing.

To read the full chronicle please read this PDF file or to download click link below.

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.

Plans For New Parking Regulations Explained

In order to ensure a smooth transition for the new car parking arrangements in Ely, Council Chiefs have agreed to phase the new rules in over the next three months.

The decision was taken following feedback from the public and businesses; it also allows East Cambridgeshire District Council to focus on checking that drivers do not exceed the time limits in short stay car parks in the lead up to Christmas.

From the 10th December, the Town Centres Team will focus on the short-stay car parks to ensure that there is a regular turnover of spaces for shoppers and visitors and normal monitoring and enforcement regimes will be maintained. Then from 11th January they will extend the monitoring and enforcement activity into long stay car parks and commence a period of issuing warning notices to vehicles that do not comply with the new early morning restrictions introduced by the regulations.

This will be followed from 11th February 2008 by a fully monitored parking enforcement service, to combine with a business permit scheme, subject to the outcome of public consultation. It is at this stage that Penalty Charge Notices will be issued to vehicles that contravene the Parking Order.

Councillor John Seaman MBE, Chairman of the Environment & Transport Committee, said: “Having listened to feedback from the public, we are keen to phase the new regulations in to ensure everyone knows what is expected of them. We urge those who use the public car parks to comply with the new regulations as far as is practicable during these transitional arrangements.
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Have Your Say On Ely’s Transport Strategy

Residents in East Cambridgeshire are being asked to have their say on how to improve transport in and around Ely.

Consultation on a new Ely Market Town Transport Strategy will begin on Monday 26th November and run until January 2008.

The County Council has been working with East Cambridgeshire District Council to put together initial proposals aimed at improving travel choice and experience as well as the quality of life for residents and visitors.

The Councils now want to hear residents’ views on these draft proposals and hear about any ideas people might have.

All households in Ely and the surrounding area will receive a consultation leaflet about the Strategy over the next few days. This leaflet includes a freepost questionnaire to be completed and returned.

Three exhibitions will also be held in Ely, when Council transport officers will be available to talk about the proposals and answer questions.

The exhibitions will be held at Ely Market Place on the 29th November and at Ely Library in the City centre on the 30th November and 1st of December from 10am to 4pm each day. Questionnaires will also be available to be completed there.

Proposals include a City-wide cycling network, improvements to bus stops and making more information available about how people can travel in the City without using their cars.

County Council Transport Strategy Manager Jeremy Smith said: “With the huge housing growth going on in and around Ely it is vital that residents are given improved and high quality transport choice. Both East Cambridgeshire District and Cambridgeshire County Councils are working closely together to bring forward proposals and it is very important that people who travel in and around Ely tell us their views to make sure the city’s prosperity continues to grow. We’d like to see as many people as possible complete our questionnaire and come to the exhibitions so that we can take people’s opinions into account when creating the new Strategy.”

Permits Planned For City Workers

Council Chiefs will be debating three key aspects of the Ely Transport Strategy today to ensure the new car parking regime is fit to meet the needs of shoppers, visitors and workers in the city.

As part of a number of measures to encourage better use of the limited resources within the city, Councillors will be looking at how the car parks can accommodate city centre workers, confirm details of the Saturday Park & Ride service and look at suitable locations for coaches to park:

Following surveys of businesses in the city, it is envisaged that a permit scheme be introduced for businesses. These permits, costing £25 each, would be available for employers to apply for and come with a host of security measures to prevent misuse.

The new Saturday Park & Ride service from the new Angel Drove car park will be free and those using this new service will be able to redeem their car park charge at a number of local shops.

Finally, members will endorse an alternative coach parking site on the outskirts of the City, which will allow more off street parking spaces to be provided in Barton Road.

These enhancements, if approved, will be included within the draft Parking Order 2008:

Councillor John Seaman MBE, Chairman of the Environment & Transport Committee, said: “We have gone to huge lengths to consult the public about the car parking regulations which they would like to see and have listened to a great deal of what they had to say. We have introduced measures to move commuters out of the city centre car parks, we have suggested a scheme to allow the city’s businesses to thrive and we have made new park and ride proposals.

“However we understand that we cannot satisfy the demands of everyone no matter how much we would like to. We have had to make compromises and strike a balance with our limited resources to meet the best interests of the city. The Council will continue to monitor the changing patterns of parking when the new order comes into effect and feedback is particularly welcome to assist in evaluating the new regime.”

Spineless Councillors Uphold ADeC Cutbacks

Councillors yesterday agreed to uphold the decision made by the Members of the Community Services Committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council, to reduce the funding grant received by ADeC.

Members of the Internal Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard arguments both for and against the original decision from Councillors and members of the public before voting to uphold the resolution that was made in October.

The move to make a reduction of £70,000 in the ADeC grant for the financial year 2008/9 will now form part of the Community Services Committee budget to be debated in December 2007.

An Ulterior Motive For Reducing ADeC’s Funding?

Image: ADeC Cinema website

Many of you will be aware about the current funding debacle at ADeC. If not, here’s a re-cap: East Cambridgeshire District Council’s community services committee voted to slash by 40 per cent the funding it gives to Art Development East Cambridgeshire (ADeC), which runs Ely’s cinema and art gallery as well as hosting concerts and plays.

It looks like ECDC are being somewhat conservative (excuse the pun) with truth!

The Council say they have to make cuts but actually they didn’t, they volunteered to do so. They then cut a huge chunk of the money from ADeC without actually consulting it. Despite pleas from residents who filled the public seats in the council chamber, the £70,000 was cut from the £174,242 council grant was voted through by councillors from the controlling Conservative group meaning that the Babylon Gallery and the cinema are likely to close.

One of the theories is that they want to sell Babylon Bridge House for development or that they want to tie it in with a change of tenure at the Maltings, which is going to be refurbished in April. The theory goes that this is a way of getting ADEC out first.

They have also come into £100,000 unexpectedly from a legal action so they didn’t even need to reduce funding in the first place!

Mereham’s Highway To Hell

Driving to Cambridge on the Twenty Pence Road is going to be a whole new congested experience if the proposed Mereham development wins its appeal this October.

The latest figures reveal that on an average weekday, over 5,500 cars use the B1049 between Wilburton and Cottenham – this quadruples to over 24,000 as vehicles pass through Histon and Impington. Even the stretch of the road between Haddenham and Wilburton carries 9,400 cars a day.

Whether it is a route to work, a shopping trip or a short cut to the A14, many residents of Fenland and East Cambridgeshire will find their journeys will become subject to more heavy and possibly jammed traffic.

This is due to inadequate transport provision made by the developers of Mereham to develop the road network to take into account the proposed increase in traffic which 5,000 new homes would create.

From the Mereham’s own website it says: ”The conclusion of the traffic modelling is that only the Stretham Roundabout shows any additional congestion as a direct result of the development of Mereham and this is not significant. All junctions analysed will still experience a degree of congestion after Mereham has been completed, but delays in general will be kept at or below the levels which would be experienced if the new community did not go ahead. “

The website goes onto suggest potential ‘traffic calming measures along the B1049 Twenty Pence Road at potential hazard locations’ which would drive more vehicles onto the heavily congested A10.

Councillor Bill Hunt, District and County Councillor for Stretham and Haddenham, said: “Mereham would have a catastrophic impact on the road network in East Cambridgeshire. This is an impact which would not be limited to one district but the whole county. For example, they suggest widening the A10 but keeping it as a single carriageway. This has the potential to create accident blackspots on an already congested route and would jam the Twenty Pence Road with thousands of vehicles.

“According to the Mereham Transport Assessment itself, the development is estimated to result in more than 14,500 car journeys being added to the roads of East Cambridgeshire each day. The plans which the developers made are wholly inadequate provision for such a development and we will continue to fight to stop it.
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Your Views On Conserving Ely City

Residents of Ely are getting their chance to see and comment on the future of Ely’s conservation area next week.

An open day will be held on Wednesday 5th September at The Vernon Cross Room at The Old Gaol, Market Street, Ely, between 2.30pm and 7pm, to allow local residents to come and have their questions answered on the proposed changes to conservation area.

The existing conservation area in Ely mainly covers the city centre; the proposed new area would significantly increase the size covered.

Rosie Burton, Conservation Officer at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The open day at the Old Gaol is a great opportunity for anyone to come along and speak to me about our plans for protecting the historic centre of Ely.

“So far we have only had a few comments in from the public which either means everyone is happy with the proposals or have not yet submitted their thoughts. It is important that if you have a question or point of view you get in touch with us – if I don’t have your feedback, I cannot allow for them when we set the final boundaries.”
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Ely’s New Parking Regulations

Car parks designed to meet the needs of shoppers, visitors and commuters are on the agenda at next week’s Environment and Transport Committee.

Council Chiefs will debate changes to the car park regimes within Ely designed to ensure city centre car parks are available specifically for visitors and shoppers, while commuters get their own car park at Angel Drove. This all means an increase of approximately 200 car parking spaces across the city.

Councillor John Seaman MBE, Chairman of the Environment & Transport Committee, said: “We have to strike a careful balance between all the people who want to use the car parks in Ely. Currently the city’s car parks and streets are imbalanced with too many spaces in the city centre being taken by long stay users. This forces shoppers and visitors to have to search in vain for a free space.

“The changes which are being put forward to next week’s Environment and Transport Committee aim to tackle this problem. With the new car park at Angel Drove opening in late autumn, we have an excellent opportunity to come up with new car parking regimes in addition to having approximately 200 extra spaces which will fit the needs of our city. The goal is to free up the car parking in the centre of Ely for shoppers and visitors while preventing those who do not need such prime locations from using these car parks.
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Ely Folk Festival Review 2007

Image: Ely Folk Festival 2007

There’s an old Neil Young album recorded at some Mudfest or other in the 70’s where he tries a spot of weather manipulation with the crowd. ‘Maybe if we all shout loud enough we can stop this rain!’ he implores the throng. Needless to say, it didn’t work and they all got trench foot and dysentery. However, after three weeks of continuous rain I thought it worth a try and in the week leading up to the 22nd Ely Folk Festival I did some furtive chanting, whilst pretending to work: ‘No rain. No rain. No rain’. At one point I started to rock back and forth in my chair and drooled a bit, prompting a concerned colleague to ask if I was ok. Going that extra kilometre on behalf of the weather pixies worked. By 6pm on Friday the rain had stopped. That wasn’t much consolation for the people who had to push caravans through the mud to get onto the site but it didn’t rain any more. Not a drop.

Despite the possibility of rain I was looking forward to the Festival with bated ears, quivering with anticipation at the opportunity to watch some decent live folk music. I’d watched brief parts of the Princess Diana Birthday bash on telly and was heartily sick of the diet of corporate rock bands that always play at those kind of events. I’m also getting weary of the kind of pap that record companies try to fling at blokes like me on Father’s Day – “40 Motorway Tearjerkers” and suchlike.
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Baebes In The Lady Chapel

Mediaeval Baebes, a stunning group of female vocalists who specialize in Mediaeval music, captured a packed audience in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral with their astounding sounds.

Their pure voices in perfectly gelled harmony and the impact of skilful instrumental support entranced the listeners with music that brought Mediaeval culture alive. With interesting descriptions of the way mediaeval people saw the world, we were taken on a magical journey to those times. Their songs told tales of love, mythical beings, and mystical religious adoration. A body-crushing snake, sweet soothing reflections on the rose and its symbolism, a tantrum throwing queen, and a song of the debilitating effects of alcohol were all par for the course.

Highlights included “The Lord’s Prayer” beautifully arranged and sung in Cornish and “Dringo Bell”. This song was made more effective by the delightful mocking tones used. Another special item was their mesmerising “Coventry Carol” – one of the two well-deserved encores.

Unforgettable moments also included the endearing choreography of the girls in their glamorous costumes, the striking effects of the lighting after the interval when the instrumentalists were starkly silhouetted as they wowed the audience with their skill. The mediaeval instruments included a mediaeval fiddle, a hurdy gurdy, the whole family of recorders including the highest ‘garklein’, a cittern, a guitar and drums. Instruments and voices were exquisitely and naturally interwoven to produce a gripping folk-like effect.

This was an evocative event that was undoubtedly highly successful. The Baebes expressed a desire to return to the Lady Chapel next year with the possibility of singing without amplification. (They certainly have the voice for it and the instrumentalists the ability to balance well). Let us hope that we will be able to see this excellent team in Ely again soon.
The Baebes are Katharine Blake, Bev Lee, Emily Ovenden, Melpomeni Kermanidou, Sofia Escobar, Maxine Fone and Clair Rabbit.

Derailed Train Salvage Begins

Two rail trucks full of ballast were left dangling over a bridge crossing a river in Cambridgeshire after a train derailed during the night.

The rail line, mostly used by freight trains, was closed near Ely station but no-one was hurt.


Eleven of the EWS train’s 37 trucks fell on to their sides with two hanging over a bridge over the River Ouse.

One Railway services from Peterborough to London have been affected and an accident investigation is under way.

The bridge was damaged by the derailment so the River Ouse was shut to river traffic and a path was sealed off for safety reasons.
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Roswell Planning, It’s The Pits

The new Planning Committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council yesterday (Wednesday 6th June) heard the latest developments regarding the actions taken so far by officers and options available for the future regarding Roswell Pits.

The members were told there had been no further work carried out at the site since mid May and that officers had served a Tree Preservation Order on Roswell Pits and a Planning Contravention Notice on the developer.

The Tree Preservation Order will protect the woodland at the Pits and the Planning Contravention Notice requests details from the developer of his plans for the site. It is a legal requirement he answers the questions in this Notice.

The report also outlined the concerns that some of the work that has been undertaken may require planning permission, and the unease of other bodies such as the RSPB, The Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency regarding the work already carried out.

Following meetings with the developer, officers believe they will be receiving planning applications in the near future for development on the Pits. Depending on the scale and nature of future development an Environmental Impact Assessment may be required.

Giles Hughes, Head of Planning and Economic Development at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “My officers have continued to move quickly to deal with the concerns over work at the Roswell Pits.

“Following our action and the recent audit which has taken place of the Pits by the RSPB, work has stopped at the site. However, we have received an urgent health and safety request from the developer to fill in the trench, which was dug on the site. We have accepted that this should be done urgently following further discussion with the developer.

“The Council, as the planning authority, can only deal with planning and related legislation. Other bodies such as Natural England and the Police have to deal with work affecting Sites of Special Scientific Interests or offences under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. We are working with these bodies to ensure we coordinate actions.

“We share the concerns of the residents of East Cambridgeshire regarding the development of any areas of natural beauty and we are working as fast as the planning law will allow to ensure we protect these areas for the future.”

Afternoon Tea With The BBC

Hardeep Singh Kohli, the popular writer, presenter and broadcaster was in Market Square this afternoon filming segments about the great British cuppa (that’s tea to the uninitiated) for BBC1’s The One Show that will air this July.

Hardeep asked members of the public to decide whether the ‘builder’s brew’ was better than traditional teas from India and China.

Image: Hardeep Singh Kohli, Ely

Why Ely, it’s not renowned as a place of pilgrimage for a cup of tea is it? Well, you may be surprised to learn that a tearoom in Ely was awarded the UK Tea Council’s elite Top Tea Place 2007 award, alongside The Dorchester in London who won the Top London Afternoon Tea award. The tearoom in Ely is Peacock’s Tearoom, located at 65 Waterside, Ely.

Irene Gorman, The Head of The Tea Guild, commented that “Peacocks offer a very special tea experience. The tea menu is extensive with lots of interesting, witty and helpful information. The quality of the teas and the delicious sandwiches, scones and cakes make this a must on any trip to Ely.

“The very warm and welcoming tearoom is attractively decorated with a display of tea memorabilia and pictures and the pretty garden provides a haven in warmer weather. All the staff are really friendly and visitors are very well looked after.”
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Ely Folk Festival Need’s You

Image: Ely Folk Podcast

Stewards are a vital part of Ely Folk Festival’s organisation, handling a huge variety of tasks from checking tickets and bar work to managing car parking and keeping the site clean.

If you are interested in stewarding at the festival please complete the form as soon as possible so we can start planning the rota. Shifts are likely to be around 3-4 hours per day, 8-10 hours in total, usually worked in 2-4 hour shifts. In return you will receive a free weekend pass with camping (if required).

In return you will receive a free weekend pass with camping

Please indicate on the form if you have any particular preference for duties. We also need people on the Thursday and Friday before for ‘set up’ and the Monday and Tuesday afterwards for ‘break down’ of the festival site so if you would rather help before or after the festival so you can enjoy the weekend please let us know.

You can download an application form here.
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All The Fun Of The Fair

Ely’s biennial fair is back in the city later this month, but did you know the origins of the fair goes back centuries?

Image: Ely Fair

In fact, Henry I (c.1069 – 1135) granted a fair to the abbot and convent for 7 days, beginning 3 days before the feast of St. Etheldreda (or St Awdrey as she was generally called), a celebratory day remembering the anniversary of her death on 23rd June AD 679. The fair was popular and sold cheap, trifling objects to pilgrims by way of souvenirs; the word ‘tawdry’, a corruption of St Awdrey, derives from this practice.

In 1312 a fair was granted to the prior for 15 days at the festival at St. Lambert and in 1318 a fair was granted to the bishop for 22 days, beginning on the Vigil of the Ascension.

Throughout the Middle Ages the fairs were marts of great activity, particularly that of St. Etheldreda which continued to thrive. So popular was the fair that booths were erected all round the precinct walls, at the gateways, in the streets, and on the wharves.

By the 15th century representatives of large commercial firms bargained in Ely over the sale of iron and timber. Townspeople took part in the lively scene. St. Audrey’s ribbons, held in veneration even in the 16th century as having touched the shrine of St. Etheldreda, were in wide demand. So profitable were the fairs to the grantee that a jealous eye was kept for fear that any other fair should queer the pitch.
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Conservatives Take Control In East Cambs

The Conservative Party has been elected as ECDC’s ruling party with a majority of nine.

Following the count the District Council is now made up of 24 Conservative, 13 Liberal Democrat and two Independent Councillors.

The count began at 10pm, just as the first ballot boxes arrived, with over 3,000 postal votes being counted. The count then went through the night with last result declared at 4.34am after 21,769 votes had been cast equalling a turn out of 36.4 per cent.

Before the election the Council was made up of 17 Liberal Democrat, 16 Conservative and 6 Independent Councillors.

Nearly half of the Councillors are new Members to East Cambridgeshire District Council.

John Hill, Chief Executive at East Cambridgeshire District Council and Returning Officer on the night, said: “It was another exciting night for democracy in East Cambridgeshire with over 21,000 people going to their polling station and choosing the members of the District Council.
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Our Flickr Photos

Ely’s Four-Pint Bridge World Record Attempt

The next time you pour the last dregs of milk from your four-pint milk carton don’t throw it away as you can be part of an ambitious project to build a 36-metre-long bridge that will span the River Ouse – the bridge will be made from 14,100 empty four-pint cartons!

Image: Four-Pint Bridge

Once completed the bridge will bear a load of 30 people at any one time and allow an an environmentally friendly Smart car to drive across the river and will be a new world record.

The bridge is aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues and is the idea of Jack Waterfall, a councillor on ECDC. Jack said: ‘The bridge will represent the amount of plastic people in Cambridgeshire are consuming before dinner time. That amount of plastic consumption is not sustainable, so it is bringing that forward to the public’s attention.”

The World Record Attempt will take place on June 23rd as part of the Ely Rowing Club and Ely Sailing Club’s ‘Ely Classic Regatta’ which starts 12 noon to 5pm (accessed from Willow Walk or Kiln Lane, Ely).
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Ely Scholars Prepare For Historic Hoop Trundle

Ely King’s and Queen’s Scholars are preparing for one of the most fiercely contested events in the King’s School school calendar – the annual Hoop Trundle.

The scholars, in their scarlet gowns, run races in the Cathedral precinct while bowling traditional wooden hoops.

The Hoop Trundle commemorates the re-founding of The King’s School Ely by King Henry V111 in 1541. Having dissolved Ely monastery, which had educated children for centuries, he gave the school its first royal charter and established the 12 King’s Scholars (boys). One of the privileges he allowed them was to play games, including the bowling of hoops, in the Cathedral precincts.

Image: King's School Hoop Trundle

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Ever Get The Feeling Of Déjà Vu?

Ely Online: April 2nd 2006:

Absolutely Quackers – ECDC To Suffocate Ducks:

In a move that King Herod would be proud of, East Cambridgeshire District Council plans to suck the life out of Ely’s newly laid Muscovy duck eggs before the cute little chicks hatch by oiling eggs (meaning dip them into paraffin). ECDC have, apparently, received many complaints about the number of Muscovy ducks in Ely.

Cambridge Evening News: March 5th 2007:

Council Hatches Plan To Curb Duck Growth:

ELY’S ever-growing duck population may be checked by special measures to stop eggs hatching.

East Cambridgeshire District Council says it will consult local residents and cover Muscovy duck eggs in oil to stop the growth in numbers if enough people express concerns.

Award-Winning Show Comes To Ely

An award-winning one–woman show comes to King’s on Wednesday 14 March when Rohan McCullogh presents Testament of Youth, based on the life of Vera Brittain.

Image: Rohan McCullogh

The dramatic and moving piece won The Scotsman drama award for the actress who began her career in the original cast of the musical Hair. She has appeared as Antigone in Oedipus at Colonnus (Manchester Royal Exchange) and in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Royal Shakespeare Company).

Her film and television appearance include Sunday Bloody Sunday, Derek Jarman’s War Requiem, and David Hare’s Strapless.

She has given poetry and music recitals at the Wigmore Hall, the South Bank, and at arts festivals nationwide.

But she has achieved her most notable success with her one-woman shows. Testament of Youth tells the story of the life of one of the most inspiring women of the early 20th century.

Having battled her way to Somerville College in the face of parental opposition, Vera Brittain abandoned her studies at the outbreak of the First World War to serve as a volunteer nurse witnessing the horrors of trench warfare. In 1918, with many of those closest to her dead, she returned to Oxford and later devoted her energies to the causes of pacifism and feminism, writing and lecturing worldwide.
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Ely Cathedral Pictorial

Ely Cathedral is probably the most photographed landmark in Ely City. With this in mind and digital photography available to the masses, Ely Online searched Flickr (the online photo application) to see how many photographs had been uploaded of the Cathedral – 2,125 actually.

There were many ‘holiday snaps’ that served their purpose but failed to excite then we came across this simply beautiful photo-set by Andrew Stawarz. Andrew is an amateur photographer from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

We contacted Andrew and he very kindly agreed to allow us to exhibit his photographs on our website.

Image: Ely Cathedral

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Council Buys Land For 180 Space Car Park

Image: Land for car park

A new car park specifically to meet the needs of commuters has moved a step closer now the District Council has bought land at Cambridgeshire Business Park in Ely.

Officers at ECDC have purchased half a hectare of land for the development of the 180-space car park as part of the Ely Transport Strategy.

With development at the site due to begin in the summer, the facility should be welcoming its first vehicles in the autumn.
John Hill, Chief Executive at ECDC, said: ‘This is a major step forward in the development of the Ely Transport Strategy. The new car park, once completed, will offer commuters a safe and secure place to leave the car while they travel to their place of work.
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The Old Fire Engine House Telegraph Review

The Old Fire Engine House Restaurant & Gallery has been one of Ely’s most popular restaurants since it first opened it’s doors in 1968. The use of many local recipes, seasonal ingredients and traditional English cooking has helped make this quaint restaurant much loved with the residents of Ely and beyond.

Image: The Old Fire Engine House Restaurant

Respected journalist Rowan Pelling recently visited the restaurant and wrote this review for the Daily Telegraph newspaper as part of her column ‘Are you ready to order?’

Here is the review:

A friend and I once decided that the four words most likely to incite a public riot in Britain were: “I hate Judi Dench.” Some institutions are just too beloved to allow dissent.

Another such may well be The Old Fire Engine House at Ely. This idiosyncratic restaurant and art gallery (and former Victorian fire station) is a stone’s throw from the cathedral and has been in the same hands since 1968.

I have not met anyone in Cambridgeshire who doesn’t speak of the place with the unrestrained ardour Brits normally reserve for Labrador puppies.

Eating there feels like dining with a favourite aunt who cooks sturdy comfort food in a no-frills English tradition. It’s the only restaurant I know where you are always pressed by a solicitous hostess to have seconds, though I have yet to see anyone manage the feat.

I have not met anyone in Cambridgeshire who doesn’t speak of the place with the unrestrained ardour Brits normally reserve for Labrador puppies.

Most ingredients are sourced nearby and cooked using local recipes: pike and eel crop up regularly. So you can imagine the umbrage in the Fens this autumn when a pundit from another newspaper popped up from London and slated the food.

It was hard not to feel that the poor chap had somehow missed the point – rather like criticising the Queen for not being Kate Moss.
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Ely Online Welcomes Rosemary Westwell

Image: Rosemary Westwell

I’m delighted to announce that Ely Online is adding some new contributing authors, starting with Rosemary Westwell. Rosemary recently got in touch with Ely Online mentioning that there seemed to be a lot of events on in the Ely area that get little coverage.

Rosemary, loves the arts and visits as many local events as possible, enjoying the fruits of the labour of other people. Rosemary says: ‘Having taught secondary school music before, when I had to put on musical productions myself, I have an idea of how difficult it can be’.

‘I write glowing reports of the events I see – but – read between the lines – not everything is as glowing as it may seem’.

You’ll find Rosemary’s full biography here and her first article here.

Welcome aboard Rosemary!

White Lines (Cambs CC Don’t Do It)

Image: Downham Road, Ely

On the Cambridgeshire County Council website it states under their maintenance policy that ‘All carriageway markings will be maintained to be clearly visible day and night.’ So Ely Online has to ask the question: Why is it that Downham Road and Egremont Street have been without ‘centre lines and cat’s eyes’ for over six months?

Last summer both roads were resurfaced and rightly enough the ‘school – keep – clear’ signs (Keep entrance clear of stationary vehicles) were in place in record time outside the Downham road schools and Egremont House school but why are these roads without centre lines and Cat’s Eyes?

CCC’s website also proclaims: ‘Our main objectives when maintaining the county’s roads and pavements are safety and value for money. We pull out all the stops to ensure that we are providing the best possible service, whilst keeping costs down’.

All carriageway markings will be maintained to be clearly visible day and night.

Cambridgeshire County Council website

The Highway Code states in Rule 106: A broken white line marks the centre of the road. When this line lengthens and the gaps shorten, it means that there is a hazard ahead.

Road markings are as important as signs. So when are we getting our centre lines then?
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Ely Misses Out On ‘UK Best Market’ Award

Image: Ely Market

Ely just missed out on the coveted ‘Market of the Year 2007’ award last Wednesday (31 January). The Awards Ceremony took place at the NABMA Showcasing Markets Seminar at The Council House, Birmingham.

Ely’s market (along with Newark and Bury) were highly commended, recognising all those who have a role in making Ely Markets successful. A fine achievement when you consider that there were 50 entries in the category Best Street / Outdoor Market.

The recent success of Ely Markets led to ECDC entering the Market of the Year 2007 competition after growing in popularity and prestige since the Saturday general market was introduced to accompany the established farmers market in 2003, Ely Markets has continued to grow significantly while others in towns around the country have declined.

At a time when many markets are in decline, Ely Markets remain well supported.

Alison Callaby, Team Leader – Town Centres at ECDC

A study in 2005 by the East Cambridgeshire Retail, noted the ‘regular and thriving’ street market together with other factors meant that Ely was able to offer a shopping environment, which is not found in these larger centres. The study also singled out the ‘successful markets’ as ‘enhancing the attraction of Ely as a shopping destination’.
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Details Of Ely Folk Festival 2007

Image: Ely Folk Festival 2007

With memories of the 2006 Ely Folk Festival still fresh in the mind, it’s time to announce the details the 22nd Festival to be held on 6th-8th July 2007.

As always the committee have lined up a diverse range of artists that should appeal to anyone with an interest in folk. Acts such as The Battlefield Band, Shooglenifty, Jez Lowe and local favourites, Ezio, are sure to attract another sell-out crowd to Downham Road.

There’s a chance for newcomers to have a go: the committee have introduced a Band Competition, which is open to all. Send in a CD and you may get the chance to open the Festival on the Friday night from the main stage.

Tickets for the Festival are now available. Details of all the above and much more can be found on our events pages.

Read last years review – Ely Folk Festival 2006 – to get a flavour of what the Festival is all about. I’m already getting in the mood by listening to Bob Dylan’s first album (which I’ve never heard before). See you there. Mine’s a pint of Dragon Slayer.

Orchestral Play Day In Ely

Compared to Cambridge just down the road – and even Kings Lynn – Ely doesn’t have a huge amount of classical music going on. It’s sad, because there are a lot of talented people in the area and we have a cathedral with a wonderful choir. Anyway, most Ely people who want to play or even listen to classical music have to go somewhere else.

Image: Ely Sinfonia

As a way of remedying this problem, The Ely Sinfonia, Ely’s community orchestra, is putting on a play day on Sunday week, 28th January, 2007, that will allow aspiring local musicians to try their hand playing major orchestral works alongside more experienced teachers and semi-professionals.

The orchestral day, to be directed by well-known local conductor Peter Britton, will feature two exciting and challenging works, Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Chabrier’s Espana. It will be open to musicians of any age who play (or have played) a standard orchestral instrument and have reached grade V standard or above. It will take place at the City of Ely Community College, Downham Road, Ely, from 9am to 5pm and will cost £10 per player.

Anyone will be welcome who has the right ability, but the day will be a particularly useful re-introduction to playing for those who have left school and are missing active music-making. It will also provide an excellent chance for younger players who have reached grade V or above to find out what it feels like to play in a full-scale symphony orchestra. Players will sit along side regular members of Ely Sinfonia, who will act as mentors and help to keep them on the right track.

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ECDC Commissions Lulu Quinn’s ‘Ely Sluice’

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s Planning Committee has today approved a landmark lighting project for Ely.
‘Sluice’ is a major artwork by Lulu Quinn, and has been commissioned by visual arts agency Commissions East. Utilising light and new technology, it will further enhance an important area of public space along the River Ouse by creating a new cultural attraction for visitors and residents to visit and admire by the Maltings.

The four-metre high steel sluice replica will project light images of water ebbing and flowing in synchronisation with the real river flow using data gathered from Norfolk’s Denver Sluice by the Environment Agency. There will also be actual sounds of water from speakers built into the structure as well as blue and white lighting to animate the artwork.


Alison Callaby, Team Leader – Town Centres at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: ‘Sluice’ is a unique artwork commission for Ely’s riverside, highlighting as it does the link between water management and the physical environment.
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2007: Ely’s New Year Revolution? Doubtful!

Image: Happy New Year

Yes, yes we know, it’s been forever (4 months in fact) and if we are honest writing regularly here never really happened in 2006 but things should be getting back to normal very soon, and we will (once again) regale you all with tales from the other side of Ely.

Why the lull in writing? General blog burnout and “lackoftimeandattention-itis”, a fall in contributor features and the local media’s obsession with the car parking debate (see ‘ETA v ECDC’ below) to name a few reasons.

Were we missed? Probably not, though one anonymous soul did find the time to email this: ‘Oi you lazy git, so nothning has happened since August? I hope you dont get any council tax funding for this pile of misspelt crap’. Misspelled crap? Oh, the irony!

Our interest is piqued again. We have several local history features planned including a pictorial look at St. Martin’s jam factory that once traded from Bray’s Lane in the ‘1930 onwards, thanks to recently discovered photographs and letters kindly donated by John Evitt.
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Ely: A Local Perspective

Having been a listed writer here for a while I thought it was time I actually wrote about something… so it seemed logical to write about the bit of local life I’m most involved in, the Ely Perspective.

I got into it 4 years ago when I stopped work. I’d been using Ely as a dormitory – I worked in Cambridge officially but I drove to Birmingham or Heathrow to work a couple of days a week – so I decided that maybe, now I wasn’t haring up and down the country in my car, I should try to learn something about my home city. The Perspective seemed to be involved in all sorts of interesting things at the time and was always cropping up in the local press. Most of the ideas were great but at the time I thought some weren’t and wished I could be in a position to find out what their rationale was or even better change their view.

I kept thinking. “Who are these people? They’re not elected by anybody. How come they get to be involved in all this stuff and not me?” I rang up the council to find out more – or possibly to have a go at somebody about it if I could find the right person – and was surprised, and a little disarmed to discover that the only reason I hadn’t been involved in any of this stuff to date was because I hadn’t joined in. It was that simple.
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Ely Folk Festival Review 2006

Image: John Glover

Once again the Ely Online Folk Boy Three got our annual dose of Folk at the 21st Ely Folk Festival. I was there to provide the words, Karl the pictures and Holly the spangly jumpers.

Held over three days and three nights Ely Folk Festival has steadily grown (in size and stature) since its demure beginnings at Ely’s Pocket Park. This year sees the event undergo a slight change in name from ‘Ely Folk Weekend’ to ‘Ely Folk Festival’ and the publicity has a more polished appearance and what better time to do this with the sudden resurgence of Folk music.

Friday – Evening

It was fitting that the first act up on stage at the 21st Ely Folk Festival should be ex-committee member and Ely Folk Club stalwart, Andy Wall, who paid tribute to the committees ‘re-badging’ of the festival. As Andy explained, things have changed but have also stayed, comfortingly, the same. The festival logo has been updated and, cunningly, the ‘Weekend’ has transmogrified into a ‘Festival’. As for myself, I stepped into the weekend like I would a trusty pair of old Y-fronts.

As in previous years, it was Ely Online’s job to provide a non-folkie view of the festival. We knew we would be well catered for as committee chairman, John Adams, said prior to the weekend, there would be, ‘…a rich and varied line-up of blues, folk-rock, acoustic sets and African music’. We weren’t to be disappointed.
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BBC’s ‘The Big Dance’ Coming To Ely

Image: The Big Dance

As you may or may not be aware, Ely has been chosen as the Cambridgeshire venue for the BBC’s Guinness Book of Records attempt to have the most number of people dancing a set routine at the same time. Locations have been selected up and down the country and it is hoped that 80,000 people will participate in this Big Dance.

The BBC are working with the Arts Council, BBC Radio Stations and location organisers to put on this national event on Saturday 22nd July. At 11.30 am a professional dancer (yet to be named for our area) will arrive in Jubilee Gardens to rehearse the routine with as many local dance groups as possible. The idea being that dance groups will naturally pick the routine up much quicker and then when the general public join in at 12.30 pm there will be more people to follow. The routine is only ten minutes long and has been devised to suit all ages and disabilities. Radio Cambridgeshire will be broadcasting live from 11.30 am until 2.30 pm in the Gardens and the ten minute routine (and possibly more) from 12.30 pm to 12.40 pm will be recorded. Clips from all the locations will form part of a 1½ hour show on BBC that evening. The show, presented by Bruce Forsyth will appear in two parts – an hour show before Casualty and half an hour after Casualty.

Any dance groups willing to participate should be at the Gardens by 11.30 am for the practise and then encourage as many of your friends and families to join in this world record attempt at 12.30 pm.

Ely Folk Festival ’06 – Pre-Event Gig & Ticket Offer

Image: Ely Folk Festival

Ely Folk Festival kicks off the festival with a pre-festival Gig at The Lamb Hotel, Ely on Saturday 1st July at 8pm. Appearing are festival guests Cave supported by John Meed. Entrance fee £5 payable on the door.

Cave are a young band from Northampton performing self penned traditional style folk rock songs bringing a new fresh sound to the folk music scene. John Meed singer and songwriter based in Cambridge, plays beautifully melodic heartfelt songs that range across war, the world, injustice and love.

Earlier on Saturday 1st July at lunchtime in Ely Market place another festival guest Adrian Nation will be playing alternating sessions with Cave between 12 and 2pm. Ely & Littleport Riot Morris side will also be dancing in town.

Ely Folk Festival organisers are also offering a chance for local families to go and see what the festival is all about and is offering reduced price family tickets for the Sunday – 9th July. For residents in CB6 and CB7 postcodes the festival is offering a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) for £25. This includes admission to the site and all concerts and workshops held during the day and evening. This offer is limited to the first 50 families so make sure you book in advance!
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Les Français Envahissent Ely

Ely’s French Market brought a huge range of continental food and drink to the Market Place at the weekend, and saw a ceremonial exchange of bread between England and France. 24 market traders from France brought the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional French market to Ely’s market square.

We hope you enjoy this brief pictorial view of this weekend’s French Market.

Image: Ely French Market
Image: Ely French Market

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Southery 2006 Subbuteo World Cup

Image: Southery 2006 Subbuteo World Cup

Last weekend saw Ely Subbuteo Premier Leauge host their first Subbuteo World Cup event from Southery.

The Southery 2006 Subbuteo World Cup’s full fixture list was based on the real World Cup, and 36 players all eager to lift the World Cup Trophy travelled to Southery to compete.

After 63 games and loads of fun along the way, Jason Flack’s Poland and Scott Insall’s Argentina made it to the Subbuteo World Cup Final. Argentina went into the game as favourites and didnt dissappoint, beating Poland 3-0 in a game that was hotly contested by both players. A fitting end to a fantastic day for all concerned.

As well as winning the World Cup, Scott Insall also took the Golden Boot for scoring the most goals, with 17.

‘We are going to try and run tournament every year’ commented Andy Everitt, one of the organisers. ‘Everyone loved it, even the woman and children, everyone had a great day’

There will be a DVD of the tournament available very shortly. Pricing will be a meargre £5.00. So what you waiting for, reserve your copy now by getting in touch with Ely Online.
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Daily Telegraph Letters & Ely Cathedral’s Meadows

Image: Ely Cathedral

As the controversy continues to surround ECDC’s proposal to extend a car park onto land that houses an ancient orchard in a designated conservation area of the cathedral’s precinct. It is good to see such important stories about Ely making the The Daily Telegraph’s letters page.

Anna Hitchin first raised awareness with her website – Parkland or Car Park? As Anna states on her website: ‘The area which it is intended to pave over is an ancient Orchard in a designated conservation area, having historical and natural significance. It is part of the cathedral precinct, and has been used by the monastic and cathedral foundations as vineyards and as orchard land since the middle ages. It is important too, as surviving physical evidence of the economic changes to monastic cathedrals at the Reformation, and as part of the greatest range of medieval monastic buildings in continual use in Europe.’

The area which it is intended to pave over is an ancient Orchard in a designated conservation area, having historical and natural significance.

There does seem to be some confusion with the local media as to whether Ely Cathedral are in favour of this proposal. In an interview with the Ely Standard: Cathedral dean, the Rev Michael Chandler, said: ‘We were approached by representatives of East Cambridgeshire District Council some time ago and the matter was given consideration. But we are not in negotiations with anybody about this land.

‘We would never consider putting a permanent car park in the meadow that would impinge on the cathedral or the park. We would never do anything that would be seen as a negative development for the Cathedral or the city of Ely.

‘If it were to go-ahead it would be on a lease basis and any developments would be reversible once the lease came up for renewal or concluded. The dean and chapter today is very different to those of 20 years ago and that has to be a consideration. We are very protective of the cathedral. The people of Ely will have to trust us.’

Listed below are recent letters that have appeared in the The Daily Telegraph’s letters page.
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Film Crew Besieges Ely Cathedral

Image: Film Crew Besieges Ely Cathedral

If you live in Ely you will (probably) know that Ely Cathedral was chosen as major film location for Handmade Films and is currently being besieged by a film crew and a number of Hollywood’s elite actors for the new film Golden Age, the follow-up to the 1998 award-winning film Elizabeth (about the early years of Elizabeth I’s life and reign), is transforming Ely Cathedral’s 12th Century Lady Chapel to become the great hall of Whitehall Palace in Westminster, which was the centre of Government and state ceremonies as well as the Queen’s main home. They are also using the main nave of the 11th Century cathedral to double as buildings from Elizabeth’s reign, from 1558-1603.

Ely Online had hoped to show some photographs of this with the possibility of some interviews but it appears the film companies PR department had other ideas. Ely Cathedral’s Marketing Manager informed Ely Online: ‘Press Event is looking less likely at the moment since the film companies PR dept are not letting anyone in since some of the principal actors have requested that there are no members of the press/media on set’.

The Ely Cathedral website stated: ‘This is a wonderful opportunity for both the Cathedral and the city of Ely’ said Stephen Wikner, the Cathedral Bursar – ‘We have had a number of meetings with the directors, producers and members of the crew and they are all highly respectful of the Cathedral, the building, its spiritualism and the fact that it is, first and foremost, a Christian place of worship.’

That said, Ely Online was suprised to see that Ely Cathedral was actually closed for 4 days to accommodate filming. Ely Online wasn’t aware that anyone had the right to close a place of worship for financial benefit.

Today the film crew was cleaning up and moving out to make way for the Open University graduation ceremony.

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?
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Thousands Visit Ely’s Eel Day

Image: Ellie The Eel

People came in their thousands on Saturday to celebrate what is fast becoming one of Ely’s most successful events. Many joined the eel like procession, snaking its way from the town into Jubilee Gardens. Led by Star 107’s Promo Car and Ely Samba’s Band, the procession stretched from the bottom of Forehill to the very top. Once in the gardens, the magnificent 3-metre high galvanized steel Eel was unveiled by Anglia TV weather girl Wendy Hurrell. A gift from the Rotary Club of Ely to the people of Ely and District, it was accepted on behalf of the community by Councillor Jeremy Friend-Smith, Chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Rotary President, Keith Butterworth, explained that the members of his Club had decided to mark the centenary of Rotary International by commissioning the Eel from Peter Baker, a well-known artist in steel who lives in Pymoor. £7000 had been raised in ‘cash and kind’ to enable the project to be brought to completion. Much of the money had come from Rotarians’ own pockets, but the local companies and corporate bodies who had also generously donated were acknowledged in a commemorative pamphlet which was given.
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Ely Author’s World Cup Stories

Image: Chris Hunt (with World Cup)

When the 2006 World Cup kicks off this summer, local Ely author and journalist Chris Hunt (pictured right with Geoff Hurst and Peter Shilton) will be hoping for a good tournament. His book, ‘World Cup Stories: The History Of The FIFA World Cup’ (Interact) has just been published and the feelgood factor created by a successful England campaign could help its sales go through the roof. “If England do well this summer it will really help,” says Chris Hunt. “Nothing cheers up the country more than a great World Cup campaign.”

A former Editor of Match, Britain’s biggest selling football magazine, Ely based Chris Hunt is a freelance journalist, magazine editor and broadcaster, who splits his time between football and rock music journalism. In the last few years he has been Editor of many of the Special Editions of Q, Mojo, NME and Uncut, producing high quality magazines devoted to artists such as The Beatles, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain, and musical genres like mod and punk rock. But this year is a football year for Chris. “It’s the World Cup,” he says, “so I’ll be busy all year.”
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F**k, Gordon Ramsey Almost Joined Eel Day

Image: Gordon Ramsey

A source close to ECDC tell’s me that celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsey had considered filming part of his The F Word TV show at this year’s Eel Day. ECDC’s tourism office had a call from Gordon Ramsey’s F-word production crew to say that they were currently recording the second series and intended doing one programme on eels and had got information about Ely’s Eel Day and were potentially interesting in attending.

Unfortunately, the F-word production crew came back saying the timing of the event was not right and they would not be attending! So it is just good old Wendy Hurrell, the weather girl from About Anglia that will be joining the celebrations. However, with both Star 107 and Q103 attending this event along with the TV cameras, the day will be well covered. Gordon would have been the icing on the cake mind you!

Absolutely Quackers – ECDC To Suffocate Ducks

Image: Muscovy chick

In a move that King Herod would be proud of, East Cambridgeshire District Council plans to suck the life out of Ely’s newly laid Muscovy duck eggs before the cute little chicks hatch by oiling eggs (meaning dip them into paraffin). ECDC have, apparently, received many complaints about the number of Muscovy ducks in Ely.

Environmental health officer, Claire Finlayson, said:’ There has been a massive increase in the duck population in Ely and therefore an increase in fouling. ‘The last two winters have been mild and this has brought about a duck breeding bonanza,’

In contradiction to the council’s view, many residents of Ely are actually quite fond of the ducks. Michael Tuck, of Annesdale, said he had lived with the ducks for 30 years and said he did not think they were a nuisance and for many young children it is a draw to Ely’s waterside to feed the ducks.

Conspiracy theories are rife that ECDC were to wring the necks of the mature ducks in a midnight operation without alerting residents, a rumor that has been strenuously denied by ECDC. ‘We all love to see the ducks in Ely’ a spokesperson quacked.

You can shop a duck nesting in a garden by contacting the council on 01353 616284, If you can live by your actions!

Court In The Act: Ely Mods, Rockers & Skins

Image: Mark and Chris at Ely Magistrates Court (1982)

In an occasional feature Ely Online peeks into the archives of our local newspapers to discover just what trouble Ely’s teenagers got into with the police and the courts in the early-80s. This month we focus on the Ely Mods and their altercations with Soham Rockers and Lakenheath Skins.

Twenty Six years on and its hard convey the diffidence an Ely Mod lived with around 1979-1982. Going to Ely on a Saturday afternoon/evening could bring you unwanted attention (laughing at the way we dress – too smart and clean) from any number of clique’s: rockers, skins, punks, and even the occasional teddy boy. Back then it wasn’t uncommon for fights to break out in the street, disco or pub, that’s not to say the mods never started any trouble, of course they did. The mods went to the weekend discos at Little Downham, Ely and Littleport and trouble was never far away. Most of the mod’s hostility was aimed at Soham’s rockers and (to a lesser extent) Lakenheath Skins who crossed into the Ely neighborhood when they dated local girls.

Here are a few related court cases that were featured in the Ely Standard and Cambridge Evening News. The names have been abbreviated, if you were around back then you will know who’s who.

Be sure to check the footer of the page for an Ely Mod’s slideshow.
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Council Snatch Squads, Ransom Demanded

Image: Cambridge County Council

Tuesday saw the East Highways Division of Cambridgeshire County Council sanction a snatch squad to enter the City Centre and forcibly remove, without warning, the street advertising boards of Ely’s independent traders and then demand a ransom of £20 per board for their safe return, it is believed the boards are being held somewhere in Witchford.

One trader who wished to remain anonymous, for fear of reprisal said: ‘I have had so many people coming into my shop saying they wouldn’t have known it was here unless they had seen the advertising board’

The CCC defended the move saying it gave traders plenty of warning and is meeting a Government directive given to every local authority across the country to destroy any hope independent traders have of making their business a success.

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Hollywood Movie Stars To Visit Ely

Image: Cate Blanchett

Ely will once again pay host to some of Hollywood’s latest A list movie stars this May. Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Clive Owen will visit Ely (and Cambridge) to start principal photography for a new period drama, Golden Age, the follow-up to Working Title’s 1998 award-winning film Elizabeth which follows the early years of Elizabeth I’s life and reign.
Golden Age, an historical thriller set against the backdrop of the religious fanaticism of the late 16th century, picks up the story 15 years on from the events of Elizabeth and visits the ‘Virgin Queen’ in the middle years of her reign.

Crews are set to use Ely Cathedral and an as yet unnamed Cambridge University college to double as buildings from Elizabeth’s reign, from 1558-1603, with studio filming taking place at the famous Shepperton Studios in Middlesex.

In the past Ely has been a popular location for film studios. In 1985 Ely saw Al Pacino and Donald Sutherland on location in Cherry Hill Park, the Palace Green and Silver Street for the box office flop ‘Revolution‘, 1987 saw David Jason and Ian Richardson on location for the TV series ‘Porterhouse Blue‘.

Hat’s Off To Ely’s Hereward Pub

Image: Betty Wilbraham

As I am currently in Mississippi I am a little late running this article that once again puts Ely’s newest pub, the Hereward in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The story was brought to my attention by the sheer number of comments I received relating to articles (1st article, 2nd article) Ely Online published about the Hereward Pub.

As security risks go it would be hard to imagine what risk an 82 year old poses. But that’s exactly what they labelled retired school teacher and Woman’s Institute member Betty Wilbraham when she ran foul of the Hereward Pub’s rule that bans any person from wearing any type of headwear. The rule was introduced primarily to twart potential young trouble makers from hiding their face from the pubs invasive 13 camera CCTV system.

Outraged Betty had entered the pub for a lunchtime meal after a busy morning shopping and had just ordered her meal when a member of the bar staff said to Betty: ‘Would you mind taking your hat off as this is a hatless pub’. A clearly bemused Betty said: ‘On the other occasions I shared a table with two ladies who were wearing hats and there was no problem.’

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Finally, ECDC See Sense With Ely Car Park Plan

Finally ECDC have seen sense and taken heed to the outcry caused by their aborted attemps to charge fo all parking in Ely. This week ECDC voted overwhemingly to provide funds of £900,00 for a 150-space pay-and-display car park in Angel Drove that would primarily serve the rail users whose cars currently clutter up the streets close to Ely Rail Station and hopefully ease traffic congestion and free spaces in the city centre car parks (as our illustration above shows, Ely can get congested!).

Some seven months ago Ely Online suggested that instead of charging for city centre parking the council would be better served introducing a park & ride scheme:
Why not have a Park & Ride Scheme built on the Angel Drove area of Ely expressly targeted to the commuters who use the Railway Station, people who work in Ely but need to drive in and of course daytrippers.
Not quite what we suggested but a positive move all the same, a point echoed by Ely Traders’ Association chairman, Elaine Griffin-Singh, who said: ‘We are extremely pleased that the council has listened to our suggestion to build a new car park for Ely as long as the rest of Ely remains free then everybody wins’.

As long as the rest of Ely remains free then everybody wins.

Charges are likely to be £2 a day with concessions for season ticket holders and at weekends shoppers to Ely will be able to benefit from long stay parking at a reduced rate to encourage shoppers outside the city to visit Ely.

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21st Ely Folk Festival 2006 – Provisional Line-Up

Website: Ely Folk Festival 2006

Can it be only 4 months away? It doesn’t seem five minutes since we were basking in the sun of 2005’s 20th Ely Folk Weekend.
Held over three days and three nights Ely Folk Weekend has steadily grown (in size and stature) since its demure beginnings at Ely’s Pocket Park. This year sees the event undergo a slight change in name from ‘Ely Folk Weekend’ to ‘Ely Folk Festival’ and the publicity has a more polished appearance and what better time to do this with the sudden resurgence of Folk music (did it ever go away?) by artists such as Devendra Banhart, Espers, Josephine Foster, Beth Orton, Jack Johnson, The Eighteenth Day of May and even Vashti Bunyan releasing a new CD. All this appreciation has the potential to bring a new following to the Ely Folk Festival.

This year’s confirmed artists are (click names for websites):

For the first time you can now order your tickets online. Tickets for the whole weekend for an adult are £52.00 but if you order your tickets by June 1st you can save yourself £7.00.

Full details of artists and ticket prices can be found at Ely Online’s Event Listings or for up-to-the-minute news the Ely Folk Festival website.

If you were there last year you will know just how magical that hot weekend in July was. If you missed it, mark your calendar for July 7, 8 & 9, 2006 and we’ll see you soon.

History Of Ely

Historical Articles

Historical Ely Articles

Over the millennia, Ely has been visited by many historic heroes such as King Canute, Hereward the Wake, William the Conqueror and perhaps her most famous of inhabitants, Military Genius, Lord Protector and Un–Crowned King of Great Britain, Oliver Cromwell, so be sure to visit the history section as it will be updated regularly with fascinating stories about Ely’s glorious past.

The King’s School Ely In Cannabis Shocker

Image: The King's School Ely

Ely’s King’s School has grown accustomed to their students being high achievers, but last Thursday some students interpretation of ‘high’ took on an entirely different meaning!

In a shock disclosure it was reported that five public schoolboys at Ely’s prestigious £19,000 a year King’s School have been permanently excluded after being caught in possession of cannabis.

Headteacher Sue Freestone wrote to all parents: ‘At King’s we work to convey the dangers of consuming illegal substances.

‘It is a source of great sadness to the whole community the trust we have placed in these individuals has been betrayed.’

Of course parents of the pot smoking dopeheadz are outraged that their high maintenance children’s expensive education has gone up in smoke and feel they have been treated badly. One parent, obviously too ashamed of their child to give their name, wants the pupils reinstated and said in the Cambridge Evening News: ‘The school seems to have discovered tiny quantities of cannabis had occasionally changed hands on school premises.’

‘Of course the ringleaders should be given a stern talking to and cautioned but there is no need to deploy tactics reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition in bringing those pupils to book.’

Let’s hope the ringleader wasn’t your child then madam!

Tesco Ely Axe Free Bus Service

It would appear that ‘Every little hurts’ when it come to Tesco helping it’s needier shoppers.

Image: Tesco Flyer

The route to Ely’s Tesco supermarket in Angel Drove ceased operation on January 17th of this year. Tesco claims that ‘due to declining usage’. But those who rely on it say this is not the case.

When Tesco moved from it’s Broad Street premises (also relocating it’s popular Market Street Home and Wear store a few years later) to it’s larger store in Angel Drove, Tesco always maintained it would provide a free bus shuttle for those without access to transport. The majority of people who use it are elderly and don’t have their own transport.

If people are not using the service it would be reasonable to declare it is because they don’t know it is there!

Ely Online is not totally won over by the company’s argument that the bus was not being used. If people are not using the service it would be reasonable to declare it is because they don’t know it is there! When Ely Online spoke to some of it’s customers at the store many were unaware that there was a free bus service running.

Surely Tesco, with all the money it is making, can afford it. They are not going to save that much are they?

Tesco would not release details about how many people used the service or how much it cost to run.

If you wish to complain to Tesco you can do so by writing to Tesco Customer Service, PO Box 73, Baird Avenue
Dryburgh Industrial Estate, Dundee, DD1 9NF.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

Image: The White Hart

Now I don’t wish to appear sardonic, but ECDC have served an enforcement notice on John Borland’s boardered City Centre shop stating: ‘The property is unsightly, has been neglected appearance, and has a detrimental impact on the street scene’.

This wouldn’t be the same ECDC that enforced the closure of many retail units along Market Street some fifteen years ago to accommodate their now aborted plans to have a sheltered shopping centre where ‘The Cloisters’ and ‘Waitrose’ now stand?.

At one point a whole row of retail & business dwellings stood empty for many years. In this time we lost Ely’s Post Office, The White Hart Hotel, Thornhill’s, Dyversion, The Co-Op Food Store & Department Store. Just a little further down Market Street we also lost the Bus Station Ticket & Waiting Room.

Could it be the same council?

Image: Market Street, Ely

Nah, couldn’t have been!

Image: Market Street, Ely

One Man, A Scanner, One Shoebox Of Negatives

Santa was kind enough to bring me a shiny new negative scanner this Xmas, so I have been delving into my battered old shoebox full of negatives that have sat at the top of the wardrobe for the last few years. Although I have lost many actual photographs over the years I always made a point of storing the negatives but was always too tight to get reprints. Over Xmas I began the task of turning my negatives into digital prints – Most of my photographs date from 1979-1992.

Karl and Chris (1983)

It is interesting to see my photographic metamorphosis from ‘kid with a 110 instamatic camera’ to having aspirations of being the next ‘David Bailey’. The biggest kick is rediscovering photos I took in the 80s; especially photos of my ‘Mod Revival’ years (1979-1984) and of friends enjoying the many Xmas parties we attended at the Ely Rugby Club & Ely Community College.

Quality of negatives ranges from pretty poor (that would be the 110 camera) to good. So take a look at my Flickr photo gallery and take a trip with me down memory lane.

Its an end of an era for me really as I do not see me ever using film again now we are in the digital age.

In the right sidebar of this site you can see thumbnails of my latest uploads along with selected photosets. As well as old photographs you will also see a good selection of recent images such as those of the Ely Folk Weekend.

You can visit my Flickr Gallery here

Drop a comment if you feel inclined, it would be nice to get a little feedback on ‘my life in pictures’.

ECDC Planners Reject New Town ‘Mereham’

Image: Mereham - Town's End Village

In a widely expected move, ECDC Planning Committee rejected the planning application by Multiplex Stannifer to build the 5000+ homes and 8000 sq.m of retail development on land adjacent to the A10 between Stretham and Wilburton (full details below).

The New Town (illustrations confirm the influence of the Simpsons hometown of Springfield), to be called Mereham, which will be made up of 5 neighbourhoods (Red Hill Park, Snoot’s Common, Brook End, Town’s End Village & Low Fen Village) has provoked outrage from village communities living close to the proposed site worried that the infrastructure won’t sustain a development of this size and that it would have a detrimental affect to the rural life these communities live. Action groups such as the ‘Wilburton Action Group Oppose New Settlement’ (Wagons) have attracted wide media attention, Carol Massey, of Wagons, voiced her concerns: ‘Our children are able to enjoy idyllic childhoods playing in fields and enjoy a rural way of life. If this went ahead it would ruin Wilburton for future generations’. Placcards seen at a recent meeting proclaimed ‘We Say No To SATANnifer’ and ‘Mereham Means Mayhem’.

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Ely Online 2005 Year-End Introspective

As the pulse of 2005 ebbs away and we prepare to welcome 2006, Ely Online presents our year-end introspective. Here are some randomly-selected things that made Ely Online happy, sad and downright pissed-off in 2005, in no particular order.

A huge thanks to everyone who reads, comments on, what I and my main contributors (Anne DeBondt, John Glover, and Lester Pete) write. I wouldn’t be doing this without your feedback and participation. Happy New Year!

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Hereward The Greedy

Image: The Hereward Pub

It appears Ely’s newest pub, the Hereward in Market Street, got somewhat greedy on Christmas Eve by charging (unannounced) a £5 admission fee to enter the pub. In turn, regulars who would normally frequent ‘the Hereward’ as part of the Christmas crawl decided to form a long queue to enter the ‘Town House’ across the road which was free to enter on Christmas Eve.

It wasn’t so long ago a doorman would keep an eye on the numbers entering a pub and lets face it, Christmas Eve is going to be a busy night for any pub so why charge an addmission with so much money being taken at the bar?

Ely Rail Station is ‘Cycle-Rail’ station of the year!

Image: Ely Railway Station

One (the train operator) and Ely Rail Station were awarded ‘Best Cycle-Rail Station’ at the National Cycle-Rail Awards 2005 hosted by Association of Train Operating Companies. The National Rail Cycle Awards reward the work of individuals and companies all over Britain to increase and promote opportunities for people to use bicycles and trains when making a journey. Ely Rail Station was considered for the award because of ‘significant improvements in cycle parking at the station over the last year’.

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Its Been A While

Sorry for the no-show in recent months. To quote Booker T & The M.G.’s, ‘Time Was Tight’ with work commitments, a problematic server and some legal action being applied to a well known photographer from Fordham!

Normal service will be resumed shortly. Thanks for your patience.

The Case For Parking Charges In Ely

Image: Ely Parking

Ely Online has been forthright in it’s opposure to proposed parking charges for Ely. Recently quoted Philip Eden, Chair of The Ely Perspective who wrote an open letter to the Ely Weekly News.

Here is that letter in full giving ECDC’s Ely Transport Strategies case for introducing parking charges:

There has been much coverage of the proposal to introduce charges for parking in Ely. Along with other independent representatives, I sit on the Transport Strategy working group, which is looking at these proposals. The City of Ely Perspective, of which I am chairman, has been working with the district council and others for some time on Ely’s Transport Strategy, which is about far more than just car parking. Little has been said about the background to the proposals though, and what they will achieve. Clearly, anyone asked to pay for something previously free is bound to be unhappy. This is totally understandable.

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Ely Parking Charge Decision Deferred

Image: Ely Parking Charges

The much anticipated decision by East Cambs District Councillors whether Ely shoppers and visitors will soon have to pay to pay to park has been deferred. No doubt the 10,000 strong petition and mass protest in the High Street on Saturday 24th September aroused the councillors vexation but it seems inevitable that ECDC will push ahead with the unpopular proposal.
William Burton, of Ely Trader’s Association, said disenchantingly: ‘In their minds the committee have made their decision. They can see the revenue that will follow and this alone will inform their decision.”

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Ely Parking Charges Demonstration

Image: Ely Parking Charges

A massive demonstration of shoppers and shop owners marched through the streets of Ely today to protest at ECDC’s moot proposal to introduce car parking charges.

The demonstration was well supported by the media with BBC’s ‘Look East’ regional news programme showing coverage at peak time.

Elaine Griffin-Singh, ETA chairman, said: ‘This is a chance for the people of Ely to show how they feel about parking charges.

We feel a one-off charge to Council Tax payers would be preferable to solve the city’s current parking issues.’

Mrs Griffin-Singh is proposing the council pay for a park and ride scheme on Angel Drove – as outlined in their current plans – and for them to ask taxpayers to contribute rather than implement parking charges.

Mrs Griffin-Singh continued: ‘If charges are introduced, we will all be paying forever and a day. Ely is busy and parking can sometimes be a problem, but we don’t think it is as big a problem as the council is trying to make out. A new park and ride would ease congestion and satisfy everyone.’

If ECDC ratify the proposal people visiting Ely could pay up to 50p an hour to park their car.

ECDC are due to vote on this controversial on Tuesday 27th September.

Parking Crises Update – Peak Time Parking

Image: Cresswell's Lane Car Park

Recently ECDC claimed that ‘central car parks are full on market days’, I was not convinced so decided to visit all the car parks in Ely at a peak time, Saturday at 3pm. As expected the car parks very close to the City Centre were almost full, these being: Brays Lane (Waitrose), Forehill, St. Mary’s Street, Newnham Street, Barton Road car park was 3 quarters full. There was quite a lot of bays free in the Grange (ECDC car park) & Hereward Housings car park within the Barton Road car park. Cresswell’s Lane and Fisherman’s car parks were almost empty, between the 2 of these car parks there are 67 parking bays. Only 20 bays were occupied (and half of those were works vans parked for the weekend) when I visited them at 3pm. Both car parks are, at worst, 10 minutes from the City Centre and a stones throw from the tourist destination of Waterside. I was able to park in all the car parks I visited. Does this prove anything? Not really, just that as stated in my article ‘The Friday Focus: Parking Charges For Ely’, you can find a parking space in Ely relatively easy!

Image: Fisherman's Lane Car Park

A Visitor’s View Of Ely

Ely Online recently had a comment posted about Starbucks opening in Ely by someone who writes under the name of Mochachocolatté. Mochachocolatté is a Londoner who has been spending time in Ely and wrote an interesting oberservational piece on Ely.

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The Friday Focus: Parking Charges For Ely

Image: Ely Parking

Ely Online intends to periodically evince issues facing the Catherdral City of Ely, in general to question whether Ely is moving in the right direction.
This forum, which Ely Online is calling ‘The Friday Focus’, will serve as a means by which you can consider matters of importance facing Ely in the coming months and years, and encourage you to make your views public and uncensored.

This week Ely Online is to discuss ECDC controversial plan to introduce parking charges to Ely.

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Starbucks To Open In Ely August 8th

Image: Visit Starbucks Website

Starbucks will open in Ely High Street on Monday 8th August. Although there is still major interior work to be done the shopfitters said the date was firm although one worker did proclaim when asked when it opens, ‘A week Monday, Its hard to believe isn’t it?’

Starbucks said, ‘We are delighted to be opening our first store in Ely and we’re looking forward to becoming part of the community here.

We hope the store will be a real asset to its neighbourhood, providing approximately 14 jobs and offering a relaxing environment to enjoy some of the best coffees from around the world.

The new store will also showcase a selection of vintage photography depicting basket making, fishing and the local market, to celebrate Ely’s heritage. Local artist, Claire McGinley has been commissioned to produce a landscape painting featuring Ely Cathedral that will be put on display in the store’.

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Ely City FC – Friendlies

Image: Ely City FC Badge

Even though we’re only one match into the Test Cricket series, football is starting again. If you’re new to Ely and are a supporter of a Big Red Team (Arsenal, Man Utd or Liverpool), c’mon and try out a Little Red Team – Ely City: The Robins

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Ely Folk Weekend Review 2005

Image: Folk Boy Three

Once again the Ely Online Folk Boy Three (plus new recruit, Holly), got our yearly dose of Folk Music at the 20th Ely Folk Weekend. I was there to provide the words, Karl the pictures, Holly the spangly hats and Lee the musician’s eye view of the proceedings.

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Judging Day – Ely In Bloom 2005

Image: Ely In Bloom

After working flat out since March, the day of reckoning has finally arrived for the volunteers, organisations and businesses who have been working with the Ely Perspective to prepare the City for entry in this year’s Anglia in Bloom… along with the judges, Brian Thornton and Brian Swift.

Just under 40 voluntary organisations and businesses have been involved along with numerous individuals and preparations have been extensive and sustained as progress throughout the year has had to be recorded.

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The Sun Sets on Ely Folk Weekend 2005

Although decidedly chilly on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday was blessed with sunshine from dawn til dusk making Ely Folk Weekend 2005 the place to be!

Highlights for me included Colvin Quarmby, Steve Tilston, Last Night’s Fun and Acoustic Strawbs.

A full review will be available from John Glover very soon.

Ely Folk Weekend 2005 Is Here!

Image: Ely Folk Festival

Ely Onliners of the past few years may have seen my dodgy reviews [2000/02/03/04] of previous Folk Weekends. This year will be no different. From today (Friday 8th) to Sunday 10th of July, myself and the Ed will be found down at the site on Downham Road taking in the music, atmosphere and, hopefully, the sun. And, as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, they’re gradually drawing me in to their world of beards, hats and colourful trousers. I’ve even been down to the Folk Club at the Maltings twice now. It’s good stuff.

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Ely Standstill

So there I was. Just arriving at Kings Cross with no idea of what was going on apart from the constant siren noises which frankly are part of London commuters’ life every day. After being whisked off to Pentonville Road I remember being asked what exactly had happened. Even as a journalist I had no clue. I walked to Farringdon but absolute pandemonium ensued.
The most worrying thing is if this can grind London to a standstill then what will happen come the 2012 olmpics launch?
Four bombs went off today but I honestly question why this was allowed to happen.

The Righteous Non-Smokers

This week I’ve focused on the righteous non-smokers (not to be confused with us mere non-smokers), the “new”? Ely market square that’s sure to look old and the junk we women are intimidated into buying in our never-ending search for youth!

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Le marché d’Ely va Français

Image: Ely French Market

Ely’s market went French this weekend and with temperatures in the 90s the market was assured a huge turnout. 24 market traders from France brought the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional French market to Ely’s market square.

We hope you enjoy this brief pictorial view of this weekend’s French Market.

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Hereward Pub – Why All The Controversy?

Image: The Hereward Pub

There’s The Cutter Inn, The Fenman Bar, The Fountain, The Kings Arms, The Minster Tavern, The Prince Albert, The Royal Standard, The Town House, Deans, Pure, Bar Zest and the West End in Ely – forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone.
And do any of these pubs or clubs admit children on a regular basis? And do we really need these pubs or clubs to admit children on a regular basis? It begs the question then why all the controversy over the new Hereward Pub and its over 18’s only policy?

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Ely’s Cinema Success

Image: ADeC Cinema website

After its grand unveiling at the start of the month, Ely’s cinema is shaping up to be a huge success.
Under the nurturing wing of ADeC the cinema at The Maltings is fast becoming a great way to spend a summer evening. The range of films is astounding; so far I have seen a French comi-drama about schoolchildren and a film based on the true history of Rwanda’s massacres in back in the early 90s. July has even more treats in store; Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the jewel in the crown.
Yet it is really the atmosphere of the place that makes this cinema a lot more inviting than city centre multi-plexes. Greeted by steward volunteers before sitting down to watch a good film with a glass of excellent wine; this really sets it apart. If you haven’t been, I would seriously recommend giving it a try. Watch a film, sit outside afterwards and enjoy a beautiful summer evening on Ely’s glorious river.

Starbucks Coming To Ely

Image: Visit Starbucks Website

Ely will have it’s very own Starbucks coffee shop by mid-summer. Planning permission has now been granted for the conversion of the old ‘Thresher’ wine shop on the corner of the High Street/Butter market junction.

The application reads:

Change of use and conversion of ground floor to Starbucks coffee shop (mixed A1 (shop) & A3 (food and drink) use). Continued use of first floor as 2 number self-contained flats including the enlargement of one flat at 49 High Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire by SEP Properties Limited.

Work began recently although it was briefly suspended when visiting local conservation officers noticed that period beams of the listed building had been tampered with. Permission was granted on the understanding that the listed building’s interior was not altered.

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Medieval Pageant Hailed A Success

Image: Child shown armour

East Cambs’ first Medieval Pageant was hailed a great success as thousands of spectators turned out to wander round an authentic medieval encampment set up in Ely Park and watch the re-enactment of the Battle of the Bishop’s Rebellion of 1342.

The two-day event featured a sprawling encampment of genuine medieval style tents, with armourers, blacksmiths, men-at-arms, knights, merchants, women’s quarters and camp followers. Nearby were hog roast stalls and a beer tent selling medieval-style honey beer and cider.

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French Market in Ely

Image: Ely French Market

Next Friday (June 17th) see’s the welcome return of the Marché de France (Market of France), a team of French traders who will turn Ely’s Market Place Square into a 24 stall French Market for 3 days.

There will be a magnificent cheese lorry with a truly enormous selection of French cheeses from Normandy and many other regions of France. There will also will be the Charcuterie with wonderful sausages and salamis and of course, the bread stall, with its wonderful varieties of bread baked on site will also be part of the market.

Full details can be found in our ‘What’s On’ section.

Terror-Ready or Game Hosts?

Image: London Olympic Village

It’s good to be back. I took an unexpected sojourn through ill health, moving house and decorating. But I have returned and I’m ready to vent my spleen once again …
I’d like to state up front that should any of the readers be easily offended, affronted by my straightforwardness, or just irked by my honesty, feel free to either write me about it or read someone else’s article.

I’ve noticed that the more we boost the terrorist-awareness in this country, the more the government campaigns for the 2012 Olympics to be held in London.

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Ely In Bloom 2005

Image: Ely In Bloom

Now it’s shop windows in bloom!
The Ely in Bloom campaign is gathering steam! As the date of the judges’ visit is announced, a wide range of different projects begin to produce results for all to see – and now comes a call from Ely’s new Mayor for local shops and businesses to play their part in getting Ely that coveted top gold award – which could mean a place in the national Britain in Bloom context next year.

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Blind Drunk In Ely

Its not everyday a local person makes it into a national tabloid but thats exactly what happened for one 44 year old woman and for all the wrong reasons.

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Ely Battered By Tornado

Ely was battered by a tornado yesterday , the tornado was up to 30 feet wide and travelling around 20mph. There was no damage.

Wilder claims in ‘The Sun’ newspaper, said the tornado hit speeds of 80mph as the 30 foot twister swept down High Street. It quoted ‘shocked onlooker’, Peter Davis as saying ‘To see a tornado up so close was amazing. It was something out of a movie’. Indeed!

Hereward Wakes – Ely’s New Pub Opens

Image: The Hereward Pub

Tonight sees the grand opening of Ely’s newest public house ‘The Hereward’ located in Market Street and owned by the Barracuda Group.

£600,000 was invested in transforming the former Cutlacks hardware store into an upmarket, authentic pub offering an award-winning menu complemented by an extensive range of beers and wines.

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High Street – Time For Pedestrianisation?

Image: Bad parking example

It’s a daily event – either a delivery vehicle blocks the road and causes gridlock or parked cars encroach the pavement. Welcome to Ely High Street!

Why are there no traffic wardens patrolling High Street these days? Almost every car is parked diaganoally and therefore illegally, lazy able-bodied motorists arrogantly park in the disabled and motorcyclist bays and delivery vehicles routinely park either in the middle of the road blocking traffic or on the pavement causing the pedestrians to walk into the road while they do the delivery.

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The Hibernation Of Hedgehog Records

Image: David Cooke at Hedgehog Records

It’s just over a year now since Hedgehog Records ceased trading in Market Street and I for one miss the shop and David Cooke, the proprietor.

Hedgehog Records was special, a record shop with a great selection of music (you name it David probably had it), a guy with great musical prowess and superb customer service (if it wasn’t in stock it would be in a couple of days) .

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Malcolm Gaskill Talks In Ely

Image: Buy the book

As I raced through Kings Cross to get my train back to the Isle of Ely, only one thought was in my head. Besides my murderous anger at those wheelie suitcases. If I get this train I can be back in time for Gaskill’s talk.
And I was. Just.
Racing up Back Hill, I arrived at Topping and Co. bookshop without a second to spare. I went upstairs and was quickly offered a china cup of red wine and ushered to the back of the narrow literary emporium.
A hush came over the proceedings and Malcolm began his talk.

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Ely Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee

Ely Online recently received an email from tourist Thomas Bewley and he was far from happy with his visit…

‘My wife and I are gradually visiting all the cathedral cities of England. I have to tell you how very disappointed we were, apart from the magnificent Cathedral, by our visit March 28-30.

From a limited choice of accommodation we booked a room in a smallish hotel in a quiet part of the city – it was quite simply the worst hotel we have been to in 30 years – extremely shabby, dirty and run down, but not cheap!

The only tea room near the Cathedral was closed down (arriving at 4 and wanting to look round the Cathedral and stained glass museum before it closed we were too late for the cath. refectory) and later there was hardly a restaurant in town. One near the centre was advertised as being open every day but showed no sign of life; not wanting a hotel bar meal we settled in the end for an Indian. Luckily on Tuesday we found the very recently opened Boat House – an oasis in a culinary desert!

Have to do much better, I am afraid.’

Does he have a point?

The Hereward Pub

Ely’s newsest pub is to be called ‘The Hereward’ (formerly tagged as ‘The Barracuda Pub’). The pub in Market Street is owned by the Barracuda pub chain under their ‘Smith and Jones Pub’ brand.

Image: The Hereward Public House

The name was chosen after the Ely Standard ran a competition in conjunction with the Barracuda pub chain. For those not familiar with the legend of ‘Hereward’ can find out more about his local links here.

Names such as ‘The Cromwellian’ and ‘The Slippery Eel’ (actually I like that one!) spring to mind. Have you any suggestions on what the pub should have been called? Let Ely Online know by leaving a comment.

The pub opens in a couple of weeks.

Horizontal Hold

Day Two of my football specials. I promise to talk about a wider variety of subjects in future:

With the collapse of the ITV2 deal a couple of years ago and the resultant problems for Nationwide league clubs, football’s corporate money men have been left crying into their laptops. Some pundits have suggested that the bubble has burst – it was a deal too far. Over the past few years, with the advent of extra-terrestrial television, armchair fans have gradually gained access to seven nights of football a week from this country and around the world. Countless programmes are devoted to discussion of the game and even Andrew Lloyd Webber got in on the act with a musical in the West End. It’s hard to remember a time when it wasn’t like this…

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Archive Linkage

Robin Reliant

I support Ely City. When people ask me why, I say; because I’m a glory-hunter.

No, it’s because they are only ten minutes down the road and I’ve lived in the Isle of Ely since I was an egg. As much as I love the game I can’t say I’d ever be the type to do those mammoth trips that you hear about on phone-in shows; you know the ones. They set off from Torquay on their bike on a Friday morning for a Blackburn home game and then get back on Monday night.

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Election Results: Cambridgeshire North East

Just in case you missed the election results for Cambridgeshire North East here they are.

Top three parties at a glance

  • Conservative 47.5%
  • Labour 30.0%
  • Liberal Democrat 17.1%
  • Swing: 2.1% from Labour to Conservative

In detail

  • Malcolm Moss (Conservative) 24,181 votes (47.5%)
  • Ffinlo Costain (Labour) 15,280 votes (30%)
  • Alan Dean (Liberal Democrat) 8,693 votes (17.1%)
  • Len Baynes (UKIP) 2,723 5.4 votes (5.4%)

Conservative majority of 8,901 (17.5%)

Turnout: 50,877 (59.8%)

Election Fever

After weeks of being bombarded with election news, the day has finally arrived. The good, and for that matter the not-so good, citizens of Ely must walk to a random church or village hall and make their choice. Or at least that is what you should be doing.

As a young-ish person I am constantly being labelled as ‘apathetic.’ Allegations of a lack of political consciousness are thrown about like the chip shop papers from which I apparently eat at bus stations late at night.

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‘X’ Marks The Spot

People of Ely – use your vote wisely. Whether your colours are Red, Blue, Orange or Green, make your mark today and let’s have a 100% turn out. It’s no good complaining afterwards that the ‘wrong’ person was elected. I won’t reveal my own political allegiance but I can exclusively predict what will happen in the next 15 years:

Image: Polling Day In Little Downham

Labour will win this General Election with a reduced majority, Tony Blair will resign in May 2007 after completing 10 years in the hot seat and Gordon Brown will take over. After bringing in a raft of traditional socialist policies he will alienate all the voters who have switched to Labour recently. The next election will be in June 2009 which Labour will win with a majority of only 23. At that point a rising star in the Tory party will finally emerge and force Prime Minister Brown to call an early Election in 2012 which the Tories will win with a majority of 88. The Tories will win the next election (2016) and the one after that (2020). At that point I’ll be 57 and will vote for whoever offers the most ‘cold-winter’ allowance and a free tv licence.

Archive Index

Elyonline Archive Index

Ely is a Fenland city in Cambridgeshire U.K. and is famous for its magnificent Cathedral. It was also for a period the home of Oliver Cromwell.

The Elyonline website has been active for many years and has accumulated a mass of information about Ely and the surrounding area which we present below. Take your pick from the largest archive of Ely information in existence today.