New or Old Issues?

John Roadley

There are many current issues in Harston – a new station, speed limits, traffic volumes, pub site developments, etc. So what did people in the past think about some of these?

Railway service good, but no station

Anonymously written in the Parish Mag, March 1979:

Once upon a time, in a little village not a million miles from here, there was a railway station. Each day the little trains used to stop and pick-up passengers to take them into the nearby town or to work in the big city. Unfortunately, the railway owner decided that he wasn’t making enough profit from the station and so he decided to close it. The villagers who by this time were all using their cars grumbled but allowed the station to be closed.

After a time the villagers forgot that they had ever had a railway station. Children could not understand why one of the roads was called Station Road. The nearby town grew into a moderately sized city and the village grew with it.

Newcomers to the village who needed some form of public transport, complained bitterly about the inadequacies of the local bus service but no-one took any notice. The villagers looked enviously at nearby villages, which had not grown as much but who had fought to keep their stations. However, nobody did anything.

The railway owner during this time was slowly modifying and improving the railway by putting in new signalling and using electric trains. When the railway owner made his plans to electrify the railway line passing through the village he did not remember that there had once been a station there. Nobody in the village thought to tell the owner just how much the village had grown and that it now needed a station. Not knowing this, the owner ordered the line to be electrified without any new stations being built.

Many years after, the villagers found that they could not use their private transport because fuel was in short supply and the only form of transport available to them was an even poorer bus service than they had previously had. The railway service was good, but as there was no station, the trains did not stop. People gradually moved away from the village because of the difficulties of travelling’ to work. The vacated houses were never filled and only a few of the non-travellers and older residents were left. When they died, the village died with them.

Speeding through Harston

Extract of letter from Church Warden Albert Hearn to Council published in Parish Mag Oct 1973:

There are many things-troubling the residents of Harston regarding the future development of Harston and these matters will be pursued in the right quarters; but ‘there is one thing that concerns your department and that is ‘the deep feeling aroused by the intended uplifting of the present 30 m.p.h. stretch to a 40 m.p.h. throughout the whole length of the village. If you do this you will be guilty of gross irresponsibility’ and be responsible for the very high toll in deaths and injuries occurring frequently on our High Street.

Extract from article by Chris Paget, Parish Council Chair 1986

A recent survey carried out by the police has shown an increase of 500 vehicles a day using the High Street of Harston, bringing the numbers to over 14,000 vehicles. A fair proportion of these were also found to be speeding. A day rarely passes without an accident occurring . Only recently the High Street was the scene of yet another fatal accident.

Entering Best Kept Village Competition

Extract from anonymous report in Parish Mag Nov 1981

For the first time ever Harston got further than the first round of the Best Kept Village Competition organised by the Cambs Association of Local Councils. In fact we got to the District Final! The judges comments on the included: Mostly well cared for but some of the Inns could look more attractive. What would they say about two of our Inn sites now?!

John Roadley Nov 2020. Harston Local History Group welcomes any other information on Harston people, places, businesses or events. Contact details at back. Website

This page was added on 29/11/2020.

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