Allan Brigham was a long term trustee of the Museum of Cambridge and valued researching and showcasing the history of the town rather than the gown. But as a Blue Badge guide he was also very able to bridge the gap and lend the same authority to both worlds. He delighted in talking about and demonstrating the architectural detailing and infinite social nuancing in a terraced street off Mill Road with the same architectural historian’s eye as when talking about King’s College Chapel or any other prestigious building or street in the city.
Allan also had another passion however – the building and protection of successful local communities, with housing and amenity space for all. He had both an historian’s eye and also that of a street-sweeper and local activist. Visitors and residents loved his walking tours not only because of his ability to shed intriguing light on so many aspects of Cambridge life – opening our eyes to the wealth of social and economic history that is preserved in our built environment – but also because they were always laced with views on planning history and present day issues.
Capturing Cambridge hosts many articles that Allan wrote or contributed which can be found at the following link.
In 1999 Allan became county winner of the Silver Broom award presented to those who have ‘gone the extra mile’ to keep the local environment safe and clean.
Allan gave many workshops for children on litter and recycling; here is a City Council leaflet from 2010 on the subject.
An interview with Allan Brigham from 26 November 2013, filmed by Alan Macfarlane and edited by Sarah Harrison. Taken from the University of Cambridge collection “Film Interviews with Leading Thinkers”.
Making a Clean Sweep of Cambridge – a short film by Kip Loades about Allan.
Leigh Chambers of Cambridge 105 Radio presented a tribute to Allan Brigham, historian, tour guide and street sweeper, including memories and reflections from those who knew him best. Contributors include his brothers Robert and Nigel, his niece and nephew, those who worked with him at the Cambridge Folk Museum and the Mill Road History Project, friends from the Cambridge Labour Party and others whose lives he touched.
Obituaries in the Guardian, Cambridge Independent and by Mill Road History Society.
Memorial exhibition at the Museum of Cambridge.
Comments from people who knew him on Facebook.
Fundraising link for the Arthur Rank Hospice who looked after Allan.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Thank you for exploring historical Cambridgeshire! We hope you enjoy your visit.
Did you know that we are a small, independent Museum and that we rely on donations from people like you to survive?
If you love Capturing Cambridge, and you are able to, we’d appreciate your support today.
Every donation makes a world of difference.
The Museum of Cambridge