Manor House, Chesterton House
Chesterton House, Church Street, Chesterton
History of the Chesterton House, Church Street
Royal Commission Survey of Cambridge 1959: at the corner of Chesterton Road and Church Street, was built at the very end of the 18th cent., but the original house has been almost completely obliterated by late 19th century alteration and extension. It retains linked to outbuildings to the SE an 18th century pigeon-house of brick with a tiled roof … the alighting platform on the roof survives but not the nesting-boxes.
Maria Susan Rickard
Annie Elizabeth Viveash
Maria Rickard hosted Jewish child refugees and evacuees during the Second World War.
My sister and I came to Cambridge on the Kindertransports. I don’t know who arranged our foster home – I vaguely remember the names Mrs Burkill and Mrs Hutton – but we really fell on our feet. They sent us to Church Street, Chesterton lo live with Miss Maria Susan Rickard.
Miss Rickard wasn’t that much older than we sisters but she lived in an enormous house in Chesterton. She had a big heart. Oh, and a huge garden – with a tennis court! I had never seen a house that big. She was unmarried but had a housekeeper, gardener, cook and countless cats. Then we came.
Miss Rickard was very kind but very correct, very ‘English’. She was affectionate in her won way. She was very active in the Girl Guides – and she encouraged us to join. We met lots of new English that way. Not content with looking after is, i remember that she took in evacuee boys from the East End. She took in those rather naughty boys that no one else wanted.
Somehow the committee got us a place at The Perse Girls. I remember all the English girls laughing when teacher asked me my shoe size. I said, “Thirty-nine miss.” “Thirty-nine!” she said, “You must be a giantess.”
A few days before war broke out, guess what? Our parents arrived in England and came to Cambridge. At first they weren’t able to look after us so stayed with Miss Rickard for over a year. Then we moved in with our parents.
I got my School Certificate and later became a teacher. Now I am 90 years old and live in Cardiff but still remember my happy days in Cambridge. Miss Rickard, auntie, that you so much.
(As told to the Museum of Cambridge)