When My World Changed: Forty Years of Cambridge

St Catharine's College in darkness
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I had just turned 19 when arrived in Cambridge in October 1979, with a full grant and a maintenance payment which meant it didn’t cost me or my parents anything.

I’d been brought up by my mum in a council house on one of the tougher council estates in Corby, Northants, and we weren’t in a position to pay fees or well-disposed to taking out loans and if it hadn’t been for the implementation of the Robbins Report I doubt I’d have gone to any university.

Find out about the Robbins Report 

Corby was a thriving new town with a massive steelworks when we moved there in 1965, moving down from Tyneside with my mum and sister. One of my earliest memories is arriving in Brixham Walk, parking near a lamppost and walking from the road to the house in the dark. We lived there for the next fourteen years.

I wrote something about Corby library 

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The Road from Jarrow Docks

The Roads to Wigan Pier
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I have lived in two towns that were destroyed by economic change and government policy. This may explain why I’ve lived in Cambridge for so long, because the place does have resiliency, and the university seems likely to make its millenium. It may also explain a lot about my politics and desire for social justice, fairness and mutualism.

 

I was born in Newcastle in 1960 and my family home was in Jarrow, a town famous for the 1936 Jarrow March [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarrow_March]  and whose troubles were so eloquently captured by local MP Ellen Wilkinson [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarrow_March] in her book ‘The Town That Was Murdered’.

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