Monday, 8 March 2010

To the South East Cambridgeshire parts of Newmarket again

To the South East Cambridgeshire parts of Newmarket again.

Much of the old Cheveley Park estate was sold off following the death in 1902 of Colonel Harry McCalmont, MP, and the land upon which is now Ashley Road, Centre Drive and Duchess Drive was developed. In many respects, this area is one of the most pleasant in Newmarket but the silly thing is that it is in the constituency of South East Cambridgeshire and it is 'governed' by East Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, whereas some of the remainder of the town is under the control of Forest Heath District Council, based at distant Mildenhall, and Suffolk County Council, based at distant Ipswich. Newmarket is split. The potential for confusion and muddle is enormous and, to show just one example, electors living in the Cambridgeshire parts of Newmarket cannot now take part in the affairs of Newmarket Town Council.

Cllr. Peter Cresswell (pictured left), the present chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council, who lives in Newmarket, is minded, like me, to do something about the situation and my preference is for the whole town of Newmarket to be in 'my' constituency of South East Cambridgeshire.

Colonel Harry Leslie Blundell McCalmont (1861 - 1902), a friend of Cecil Rhodes and a very wealthy racehorse owner, was an interesting member of the House of Commons - representing our area - and was wont to distribute dead rabbits from his estate to the 'deserving poor' of the surrounding villages. Perhaps he did this to avoid the need for canvassing?

Colonel McCalmont was elected as Conservative MP for the then East Cambridgeshire seat on the 29th of July, 1895. His winning then may have been helped by his famous tour of the constituency on polling day to rally support, in which he covered some 87 miles in under twelve hours. I recall the late Lord Pym (then Mr Francis Pym, MP) doing much the same thing back in the 1960s, though in Mr Pym's case, the tour was by car, in the inimitable and rather grand PYM 4. I know: I often drove Mr and Mrs Pym and was proud so to do.

Colonel McCalmont served in South Africa as colonel of the 6th battalion of the Royal Warwickshires, and was on active service at the time of his re-election to his East Cambridgeshire seat in October, 1900, again, presumably, getting by and in with rabbits and without canvassing. He was appointed a CB (Commander of the Order of the Bath) in 1900 for his South African services.

In 1901 Colonel McCalmont returned to England, determined to restore his racing prestige. He had a very successful racing season in 1902. Earlier in that year (on the 16th of January) he moved in the House of Commons the address in reply to the the then king's (Edward VII) speech. On the 8th of December, 1902, Colonel McCalmont died of heart failure at his London house. He was buried in the churchyard at Cheveley.

Colonel McCalmont was caricatured by 'Spy' for Vanity Fair. The caricature (right) was published in 1889.

How political times have changed: I canvass vigorously and have no inclination nor need to hand out dead rabbits to anybody!

Just one street sign is all that marks the once important and influential Colonel Harry McCalmont. It is pictured below. I canvassed McCalmont Way and much more this afternoon and early evening.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.