Capturing Cambridge
  • search
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Cambridge Evening News. December 6th 1985

Cambridge City Council: ‘Tell us what you want’

Following the 'East Road Riot' at Thake's in November 1985, council leaders called a public meeting to discuss the need for a music venue in the city.

‘The day following the Thake’s incident, there were alarming headlines in the Cambridge Evening News of a “Riot’ by a  ‘disco mob’.  We were all thinking ‘what riot?’. That evening I was in the Boat Race pub when I got a phone call at the bar – I crammed myself into a booth to pick up the phone. It was Chris Howard, leader of the City Council, who distinctly agitated. He must of got my name from John Woodhouse, who was supporting the Cambridge Music Trust’s campaigning for a new venue in the city.

Council leaders were anxious because the word ‘riot’ had been used, and Chris arranged to  have a  public meeting to be held at the Guildhall the following week to ‘discuss the issues’. The leaders of the Council were somewhat overwhelmed by the numbers, and demands of the young people who attended, and they committed on the spot to a sum of £250,000  to build a new venue. They proposed to fit out one of the existing sheds at the cattle market, probably thinking it would be the start of a redevelopment project on that site. When they took the proposal back to the next council meeting it was voted that the Council needed to know it would be feasible before allocating that amount of money. And so we were given £5,000 for the Feasibility Study. Around that time we were also given some funding to produce the album Strange Fish, promoting local bands.

Following this meeting, the Cambridge Music Trust were called to organise a new group that would formally represent the views and demands of the young people of Cambridge and the Cambridge Venue Group (CVG)  was inaugurated with the Mayor Cllr John Woodhouse in the Chair. At the first formal meeting of the CVG the Mayor handed the chair to me! ‘

by Hilary Cox Condron, following a conversation with Peter Ingram.


Peter Ingram discussing the first Council meeting – in conversation with Julian Clover. Courtesy of Cambridge Radio 105.


John Clements and Paul Christoforou discuss the the first public meeting called by Council leaders after the Thake’s riot. Recorded at The Museum of Cambridge. January 2020.


Cambridge Evening News. December 10th 1985


John Wroe (of The Cambridge Venue Group) : ‘it was the kind of public pressure that made them realise this wasn’t going to go away/.  Recorded January 2020.


Cambridge Evening News, December 17th 1985


‘Lost Nights and Love Songs’ is a Heritage Lottery funded project celebrating 30 years of The Cambridge Junction.



Do you have any information about the people or places in this article? If so, then please let us know using the Contact page or by emailing

Dear Visitor,


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.


Thank you,

The Museum of Cambridge