History of Cambridge Blue (85 Gwydir St) - formerly the Dewdrop Inn

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The Cambridge Blue

Robert Alderson, plasterer, lived in 85 Gwydir St in 1904 (see Spalding's Directory) and 1913 (see Spalding's Directory).

Number 85 Gwydir Street is now the Cambridge Blue. It used to be the Dewdrop Inn. The publicans in the early directories seem to have lived at no. 87, and given that as their address, and not referred to the Dewdrop Inn, at all - rather stupid as this was passing up free publicity! It definitely existed at this time, as the 1881 census shows the pub name. Number 87 has a cellar, which number 85 didn't, which explains why the publicans needed both houses. Number 85 is a large house, and I would have thought that it was always a pub. See number 87 for more information about the landlords of the Dewdrop Inn.

Since the census below show different people living in 85 and 87, perhaps the landlord of the pub (the Dewdrop) lived in 87, and had the pub on the ground floor of 85, while renting out the upper floor to other people.

Mary Young, who was raised in Gwydir Street but now lives in America, said (in 2005) "I remember the Peck family (former owners of The Dew Drop Inn) and I am in touch with Jill Peck who now lives in St. Louis. Jill, like myself married a US Service man and came to the USA."

The photograph on the right is of Leslie Peck, in 1963.

Photo and advert in Cambridge news 25 April 1963

Ad for Dewdrop Inn Ad for Dewdrop Inn

Sandra who used to live at 102, Gwydir Street said the following (in 2005):

I remember the Dewdrop Inn when I lived at 102 Gwydir St, across the street. Leslie and Maidie Peck were the licensees at the time, 1956, and my parents, Dorothy and Arthur Hewitt were good friends with them. The Pecks had a son John, hairdresser in Cambridge, and daughters, Janet and Gill. I know the house/Pub well as at age 12 yrs I was called upon to baby-sit Gill's 2 little girls, Vicky and Debbie, when she brought them home from St Louis, Missouri, USA, for a visit to her parents. I used to give them tea parties at the far end of the garden where there was a wall to the cemetery, is it still the same? There was a big barrel round the outside of the kitchen where there was always a dart board soaking. I've had many teas in the kitchen and watched much TV in the living room as well as bathing the girls in the big old bathroom upstairs at the back of the house. I'm still in touch with Gill.

After Leslie Peck gave it up their daughter, Janet and husband, Pete Plumb, along with their little daughter, Susan, took it over. Sadly, it didn't last long, Pete died young. Janet is still in Cambridge and only recently did her mother, Maidie, pass on.

The next licensee was my Uncle Ernie Stanley and Aunt Joyce . I don't remember how long they had it as I got married in 1967 and came to America. They moved back to East Rd to the flats across from where they had previously run the Pelican Pub (on the corner of East Rd and Nelson St) in the 50's.

The Dewdrop has probably changed a lot since those days but I loved going there, they also had a bigger TV than we did, ha, ha.

The Cambridge Blue

Memories from Jo Edkins (made in 2007):

I remember the Cambridge Blue when it was 'The Dewdrop'. This was a terrible Victorian pun - the Dewdrop Inn meaning 'Do drop in'. There was no garden. There were two bars, and we used to go to the right-hand bar, which had a jukebox. It served Tolly Cobold beer. Tolly wasn't a particularly popular beer at the time - there was a rumour that it was made with potato flour. In fact, when CAMRA visited the Tolly brewery, we asked about that, and Tolly said "No, not since potatoes went up in price". They may have been pulling our legs, of course. Anyway, in the 1970's, if you wanted Real Ale, it was Greene King, apart from a few pubs selling Charles Wells or Tolly Cobold, and it was pleasant to have a change from time to time.

Cambridge Blue inn sign

Then Chris and Debbie took over the Cambridge Blue. The pub was renamed and decorated with rowing memorabilia because their interest in rowing. There was a tiny bar at the front of the pub, which would take about 6 people round a table, if they were good friends. This was the area which had been the off-licence in the old days, where drink was sold to take away. This little bar had a low ceiling, and above it was suspended the forlorn remains of a wrecked Cambridge Eight (rowing boat). This was the famous boat wrecked on the way down to an Oxford and Cambridge boatrace. The boat was signed by the crew, with many acerbic comments on the navigational abilities of the cox! The sign of the Blue represented the nationalities of the landlords - the dragon for Chris (Welsh) and the eagle for Debbie (American). The pub used to be one of the few smoke-free pubs in Cambridge, before a certain recent change in the law.

Chris and Debbie have given up running the pub. Jethro and Terri have taken over.

Click here for the current pub's website.

From Capturing Cambridge:


1871: Dew Drop Inn
Thomas Stratton, 49, dairyman, b Cambridge
Matilda, 45, b Caxton
Harry, 14, draper's assistant, b Cambridge
George, 13, b Cambridge

CCJ 26.8.1871
: Mr French applied for a spirit license for Thomas Stratton, Dew Drop beer house, Gwydir Street, which he supported by a memorial from the inhabitants of the locality.

George Allen, head, 37, railway smith's labourer, b Dorset
Mary A, wife, 44, b Oakington
James Sells, lodger, 22, railway engineer's labourer, b Ely
Frederick S Fuller, lodger, 35, telegraph linesman, b Suffolk

George Allen, head, 47, hammerman, b Dorset
Mary A, wife, 50, b Oakington
George Strudwick, boarder, 28, telegraphist, b Essex

Robert Alderson, 50, plasterer, b Yorks
Isabella, 48, b London
Richard, 16, b London

CIP 7.2.1902
: MISCHIEVOUS LADS. Richard Alderson, aged 17, a plasterer, of 85, Gwydir-street, and Percy Smith, aged 15, assistant at the Chemical Laboratory, of Gwydir street, were charged with wilfully doing damage to a public convenience at Hyde Park-corner, belonging to the Mayor and Aldermen and burgesses of the Borough of Cambridge, on the 26th January.—Both defendants pleaded not guilty.—The Town Clerk (Mr J. E. L. Whitehead) prosecuted, and said that although that building had only been put up very recently they had had numerous complaints of damage done to the fittings and portions of the building inside.—Henry John Thompson, of 25, Norfolk terrace, the custodian, said on the evening of Sunday, January 26th, he heard a terrible noise of kicking, thumping, and shouting. He doubled across the road, ran down stairs, and saw Alderson hanging on the lintel of one of the doors, kicking and shouting to someone who was inside to come out. He detained two lads who came from behind the screen, and Alderson then rushed up the stairs, jeering and remarking, "Ah, you've got the wrong one." Witness noticed the electric light was on in No. 3, and directly afterwards heard someone jump down inside. Smith then came out, and witness went in, found the seat scratched with footmarks, and three large bruises on the inside of the door. There were bruises and pencil marks also on the outside of the door, a luggage rest, which was painted white, was covered with nail marks. He had been round the place ten minutes before, and all was right then. He estimated the damage at 7s 6d.—John Henry Gates, shoemaker, and Archibald Clarke, an errand boy, both living in Gwydir-Street, gave evidence. —Alderson elected be sworn, and stated that he got on the door.—The Chairman said the state of their streets on Sunday evenings had been called attention to again and again, and it seemed that a set of lads of this type caused all the trouble —They fined Alderson 10s., and Smith 7s. 6d., both inclusive.

CIP 14.8.1908
: Row in Gwydir Street. Richard Alderson, aged 24, plasterer, of 85, Gwydir-street, was charged with assaulting Ann Pointon, wife of Henry John Pointon, plasterer, of 92, Gwydir-street, and also with wilfully damaging a panel of the door of Pointon's house to the extent of 12s. on August Ist.

Mr. A. J. Lyon appeared for the prosecution, and stated that for some time past Mrs. Pointon had been subjected to very considerable annoyance by the defendant. His had used very opprobrious epithets to her on several occasions, and as he lived opposite, and was very frequently in the vicinity of the complainant, he had made her life very unbearable for a long time past. On the occasion in question he commenced the same sort of behaviour, and going across the road, put himself in opposition to Mrs. Pointon, and hit her under the chin. Later on, when Mrs. Pointon's husband arrived home, he went across the road to the defendant's house to ask what the defendant meant by his conduct, and the defendant came out in such violent temper that Mr. Pointon returned to his house and shut the door. Shortly afterwards defendant went across to Pointon's house, knocked the door, and kicked the panel out, doing damage to the extent of 12s. Mr. Lyon pointed out that if the magistrates convicted the defendant of the assault they could not bind him over to keep the peace, and as it was important that Mrs. Pointon should be protected from the defendant in the future. He also asked the Bench not to convict the defendant of the assault, but bind him over with proper sureties to keep the peace. He also asked that the defendant should be ordered to make good the damage and pay such a penalty as would show him he must behave himself, and leave other people's property alone.

Mrs. Pointon, in her evidence as to the assault, stated that defendant hit her under the jaw with his fist, and took off his coat and challenged to fight her. He was "nasty drunk," and witness was in fear of him, and would like him bound over.

Defendant gave a blank denial to Mrs. Pointon's allegations, and called his father, Robert Alderson, who said that the defendant did not strike the complainant. Both of them called each other names.

The Mayor said that the affair was evidently in the nature of a quarrel, which must be very unpleasant to the other neighbours, and the Bench proposed to bind over both the defendant and Mrs. Pointon in the sum of £5 to keep the peace for six months.

Mr. Lyon asked the Bench to state a case with regard to their right to bind over Mrs. Pointon. He was sent there by the Rev. Wood, who had had Mrs. Pointon under his observation and care to some extent, and Mrs. Pointon had denied using any bad language to the man or annoying him in any shape or form.

The Bench acceded to the applicat ion, and remitted the costs.

With regard to the charge of wilful damage, both Mrs. Pointon and her husband stated that from their bedroom window they saw the defendant kick the panel, which was smashed, and would cost 12s. to repair.

For the defence, defendant's father stated that he did not see his son kick the panel, and, looking at the door from the other side of the street, he had not been able to see that the panel had been smashed to any extent. He would not swear that his son did not kick the door. The defendant did not believe he kicked the panel, and thought that the damage might have been done by his rapping the door with the knocker. The panel was only cracked a little.

The Magistrates convicted and fined the defendant 10s. and 8s. costs, and ordered him to pay the costs.

Mr. Lyon thereupon suggested to the Magistrates that, having heard the witnesses again in the second case, they should reconsider their decision with regard to binding over Mrs. Pointon.

The Bench retired to consider the point, and, on their return, the Mayor announced that, in view of the evidence given on the second charge, they had decided, after full thought and consideration, not to press the point against Mrs. Pointon.

Robert Alderson, 60, plasterer, b Yorks
Isabella, 58, b London

Robert Alderson, plasterer

Dew Drop Inn (number unknown)
Fred B Green

85/87 Dew Drop Inn

Dewdrop Inn (number unknown)

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