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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Ben le Vay's Eccentric Cambridge (Bradt Travel Guides (Bradt on Britain))
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 15 October 2013
Let down by poor research, poor proof reading and I've already spotted a couple of typos. Has this author even been to Cambridge? Well, apparently he was a student at the 'Tech' (long defunct and succeeded by Anglia Ruskin University), which was probably the last time Mr le Vay visited Cambridge.
In the 'Eccentric Year' section of this book there are details of the Race of the Boggmen and Egg Throwing. Now, I was born in Cambridge (mumble years ago) and I have never heard of it before. I read on and find it's actually in Gt Finborough, three miles south of Stowmarket in Suffolk and 42 miles from the centre of Cambridge. Hmmmmm, next. Dunmow Flitch Trials - 37 miles from Cambridge, World Snail Racing Championships...no, not heard of those either. That would be because they are 43 miles away in King's Lynn, Norfolk.
In a shining example of poor research, this second edition (published in 2011) lists The Ancient Druids as a pub in Napier Street - it hasn't been a pub for many a long year and is currently a Chinese Restaurant.
You cannot get more eccentric than the Corpus Christi clock at the end of Bene't Street. Tourists flock to see Dr John Taylor's (he invented the small piece of metal which triggers the 'off' switch when a kettle boils) amazing timepiece with it's dragon-like chronophage and they regularly block the road whilst they admire it. Yet there is no mention of this either and it was unveiled in 2008.
However, the most heinous crime against accuracy repeated time and again throughout the book is his reference to Oxford as 'Another Place'. "As any fule kno" (to borrow from the great Molesworth), Oxford is always referred to by any self-respecting Cantabrigian as 'The Other Place'
The whole credibility of this book is destroyed by such schoolboy errors for me. This is a shame because there is a lot of interesting information within - the question is, is it true or not?
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on 28 December 2013
Having lived in Cambridge for 37 years but recently moved and missing our home town this book was a lighthearted wander down memory lane reviving some happy moments. There was lot of interesting facts we didn't already know. I agree with the first reviewer in wondering why activities in Suffolk were included. Sure a lot more could have been made of the city itself. But it made us smile and keep reading.
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on 11 May 2016
Exactly so
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