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Jesus Green, Cambridge

Introduction

A public park which originally was effectively one large common incorporating Midsummer Common and Greencroft Common. The name Jesus Green pre-dates the act of enclosing and dividing the areas of common land surrounding it. The site houses one of the largest open air swimming pools in the country and is one of the last remaining examples of the 'lidos' (open air swimming pools) which were built across the country during the 1920s and 1930s.

The footpaths relate to the routes established after Jesus Lock was completed in 1832. The drainage channels (Middle Ditch) disappeared by 1890 in preparation for the 1894 Royal Agricultural Show. 1890 saw the planting of the horse chestnut avenue along Victoria Avenue, these were subsequently removed for the Royal Agricultural Show in 1894 and then replanted.

In 1913 the diagonal avenue of London planes were later augmented by other avenues of ornamental fruit trees. By 1926 the swimming pool, tennis courts and bowling green were opened.

Then by 1951 a putting green and a sports pavilion had been provided by the lock bridge. Recent changes have meant the loss of the putting green and a band stand, but the dead elms have been replaced by beech, lime and horse chestnuts.

The river bank has now been planted with willows and the swimming pool has been upgraded.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/leisure-and-entertainment/swimming-pools/#parkside

History

On Maundy Thursday 1556, Cambridge's only martyr, John Hullier, a scholar of Kings College, was burnt on Jesus Green.

Before 1890 Jesus Green, Midsummer Common and Greencroft were effectively one large common (these names overlapped). The name of Jesus Green existed before Victoria Road and the bridge were laid out in 1890. Then the common was divided and the land to the west of the road was named Jesus Green.

A proposal to enclose this common in 1841 applied to other commons in the city. A misinterpretation of the Council's Powers given in the Cambridge Corporation Act led to Jesus Green being mistakenly classified as a recreation ground in 1923. In 1965 the Commons Registration Act omitted Jesus Green from the registration. Thus today it is no longer common land.

Features & Designations

Features

  • Bowling Green
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Tree Avenue
  • Pavilion
  • Earliest Date:
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Key Information

Type

Public Park

Survival

Extant

Open to the public

Yes

References