Annual AGM

Our annual meeting will take place this year on Thursday, 6 December in the Annexe at St Andrew’s Hall Chesterton at 7 pm.

Please join us for refreshments and a very brief AGM, followed by a talk by Dr. Michael Hrebeniak about his new film, “Where is the Dust that has not been alive? Stirbitch: An Imaginary,” including screening of an excerpt of the film.   Further details about the film appear below.

We look forward to seeing you for what should be a very interesting talk.


In 1199, King John granted a fair to the Leper Hospital on the Cambridge margins. Within a century Stourbridge Fair had outgrown its host to comprise the most significant event of its kind in medieval Europe: an international epicentre for material transaction. Its development would serve as an analogue of the movement from an economy of subsistence to that of surplus and, by the Nineteenth Century, the business of pleasure.

Today the site yields no sign of this temporary polis other than the Leper Chapel’s husk and a few survivals in local street-names. Patchily documented, it comprises an acute instance of culture without archive. A seven-century continuity of the carnivalesque has effectively been deleted.

Drawing upon his new film, Where is the Dust that has not been alive? Stirbitch: An Imaginary, that will be shown in the Whitechapel Gallery in early 2019, and his current text-photo installation in the Mumford Theatre foyer, Michael Hrebeniak will talk about his engagement with Stourbridge Common as a mnemonic to reflect upon relationships between the spatial performance of social life, habitat and cultural memory. It will explore how an imaginary of this ghost Fair can yield insights into the affective ties between people and the land’s physical contours.


2016 AGM and a talk by Pete Towers

It’s that time of year again … our AGM is this week … Friday night infact (Friday 13th no less) … come along at 7 pm to St. Andrew’s Hall in the Annexe.
There will be a brief AGM followed by a talk by local naturalist, Pete Towers, on ‘Wildlife Around the Year on Stourbridge Common’.
Pete’s knowledge of and passion for what lurks on the common are legendary and the evening will be hugely enjoyable and informative … and we have refreshments!
All welcome.

AGM and talk by David Stubbings

The Friends of Stourbridge Common will have their annual meeting on Friday, 14 November at 7 pm at St Andrew’s Hall, Chesterton.

There will be a brief AGM, followed by refreshments and a talk by David Stubbings, Chairman, Chesterton Local History Group on ‘Crossing the Cam: A Look at Some of the Ferries and Bridges Used by the Public’. Please join us and if you only want to come to the talk make sure you’re seated by 7.30pm!

The ‘timetable’ for the evening is:

7 pm AGM and elections,

7.15pm A representative from the Chesterton Festival Committee will update us on the Festival,

7.20 Refreshments,

7.30 David Stubbings speaks on ‘Crossing the Cam’ followed by the opportunity to ask questions and then chat with the committee, the speaker and other ‘Friends’.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there, the evenings are always informative and offer a great chance to talk to other people passionate about Stourbridge Common and life on, around and alongside it.

Waist high buttercups, bream and Banded Demoiselles


Stourbridge May 2014 (5) Stourbridge May 2013 (1)So many reasons to take a walk on Stourbridge Common and not just to stand and look at it from the bridge or row past …

The Common is looking glorious: if you stand with your back to the fence round the bare earth (the grass will soon grow). Lack of cows means that grasses and buttercups are waist high this year.

The sunny spring has meant a profusion of small tortoiseshell butterflies, and many caterpillars are now feasting on the nettle patches. Dragon flies – particularly Banded demoiselles and damselfly are already looking for flies. Looking down from the footbridge, you can see Bream spawning on the tree roots, now speckled with tiny pale eggs, just under the surface of the water (they only do this for a short time, so look today!)

– Pete, Friend of Stourbridge Common, Wednesday, 21st May 2014.

Stourbridge May 2014 Stourbridge May 2014 (4) Stourbridge May 2013 (3) Stourbridge May 2013 (2)

Guerilla gardening … veg patch on the common

Guerilla gardening on the Common …

You may have noticed that some rather enterprising soul has taken advantage of the redundant tree guard to the right of the Green Dragon bridge and started a small veg patch.

It’s the first time this has happened on the Common and makes great use of the space inside one of the soon to be removed tree guards where tree planting had failed due to vandalism.

However, we’re informed by one of the City Council Green Spaces Officers that the garden is to be removed shortly. Which is the right thing to do, Stourbridge Common is now a Local Nature Reserve as well as being common land and a shared public space and as such can’t be dug up by individuals for private purposes. It sets a precedent which just isn’t tenable.

FoSC committee member Ellie Stoneley is talking about the guerilla veg patch on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire on 6th May, and the rows of very neatly planted potatoes (we think) have attracted wider attention across the internet and from passers by.


guerilla gardening 2 guerilla gardening 3 guerilla gardening

Litter Pick and the Big Dig

We’re looking forward to the Stourbridge Common litter pick on 22 March 2014.

Meet at 10 am near the Riverside entrance of the Common to be issued with gloves, bags, and litter-pickers and to listen to a Health & Safety talk. We will finish by noon, it’s always fun and is a great way to meet other people who enjoy Stourbridge Common and help keep it safe and litter free for all its many users.

Another set of events that may be of interest (although there is partial overlap with our own litter pick):

Local charity Cambridge Carbon Footprint is helping co-ordinate a national community gardening event called The Big Dig.  They have three orchards and gardens where they would love volunteers to come along for a an hour or two to help them get ready for the growing season. Midsummer Common Community Orchard and Trumpington Community Orchard will be giving a warm welcome to volunteers on Saturday 22nd March 10am – 1pm and Empty Common Community Garden will be welcoming volunteers on Sunday 23rd March 10am – 1pm. Foraged fresh soup will be available to try, cake will be on offer and there will be a range of activities for all abilities (including a ukelele band dropping by to liven things up) . No need to book, just turn up.  For further details please do take a look at

Bird Boxes on Stourbridge Common

Guy Belcher from Cambridge City Council and ‘a few volunteers’ got together on Monday 27th January and installed 22-24 boxes in the belt of trees that borders the industrial estate. 
These are German brand Schwegler nest boxes made of ‘woodcrete’ a natural product made from 75% wood and 25% ‘natural additives’ to allow air permeability.  There are over 8.5 million Schwegler woodcrete nest boxes installed in Europe, US, Canada.
We helped put up a mix of boxes:  larger holes for great/blue/coal/crested tits, as well as sparrows and bats.  Boxes with smaller holes for marsh/blue/coal tits and possibly wrens.
Lisa, one of the FoSC volunteers says, “It was quite nice that as soon as a box went up, a great tit took up residence immediately. Also, bat boxes are placed to catch the sun, and I like the kind of ‘semi-detached’ situation with the two boxes next to each other.”
Putting up the next boxes
Putting up the next boxes


seeing how the Bat can get into the box
seeing how the Bat can get into the box
in situ
in situ
open for business
open for business

Help us install next boxes

On Monday, 27 January, Guy Belcher, the City’s Nature Conservation Officer will be installing new nest boxes for smaller birds and bat boxes on Stourbridge Common along the industrial estate tree belt (kestrel and tawny owl boxes have already been installed).

If you’d like to come along to help out or just watch, please meet at 10.30 at the Oyster Row Entrance.  All materials provided.

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