Situated in south Cambridgeshire, Melbourn is just 2 miles north of Royston, 10 miles south of Cambridge and by-passed by the A10. It has maintained it’s popularity as a lively, thriving village and home to over 4400 inhabitants.
Whilst supporting a wide range of modern housing, the old charm of the village remains and many thatched cottages have survived. It was said that in 1947 ‘there were more thatched cottages in Melbourn than in any village’, although sadly, many have disappeared since then. However, the remaining ones do provide an insight into how the village appeared at the turn of the century before a great fire swept through the centre of the village, razing many residences to the ground.
Being in such a prime position, with easy access to train stations in neighbouring Meldreth and Royston and bus routes, it is a popular location for commuters to Cambridge and London, although local residents are very supportive of their village and it’s future. Community development such as the ongoing construction of the new church hall and planning application of a possible Parish office, library and community hall, various clubs, organisations and educational programmes prevent it from becoming just a ‘commuter’ village.
Education is provided by the Primary School and Village College catering for 41/2-16 year old students. The Village College specialises in music. Further education is then available at Meridian 6th form, Royston or various colleges in Cambridge. A wide variety of evening and Saturday classes are available at the Village College and also provides the venue for daytime meetings.
The older generation are well catered for in Melbourn. Moorlands, a privately run care home for the elderly, originally opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1963, has recently been enlarged and refurbished and has a homely atmosphere. John Impey Way provides sheltered housing as does Vicarage Close for the elderly, in individual units with a community room and a mobile warden scheme. Southwell Court is a Granta sheltered housing scheme for the frail and elderly and was opened by the Duchess of Gloucester in 1994.
Various clubs and meetings for the older members of the village take place in the village including a thriving U3A. Members of the community are active in providing occasions such as lunch for residents at Vicarage Close on Thursdays and support organised outings. A full calendar of monthly events is available in the local quarterly magazine.
‘Coffee stops’ are held at three venues weekly – at All Saints’ Community Hall on Saturday mornings, the Baptist Chapel on Wednesdays and at the United Reformed Church on Fridays. Villagers can meet in comfortable surroundings and chat over tea or coffee and biscuits.
Once a thriving fruit growing area, Melbourn’s industry has moved into modern technology and has a notable, well-established and expanding Science Park at the northern end of the village. The Technology Partnership for example, with international status not only provides employment for local residents, but commuters from outside the village also. It is also the major sponsor of the award winning Melbourn magazine.