Cambridge honours a local history hero

Allan Brigham

As regular readers of Local History Online and Local History Magazine will know already Allan Brigham from Cambridge is a talented and innovative local historian. It seems that others share our opinion, including the University of Cambridge, which has just awarded him an honorary MA for his contribution to the city's local history and for his work as a Blue Badge tourist guide.

For the last few weeks Allan has been on the receiving end of a lot of well deserved media attention and despite being no stranger to TV cameras (see his article in LHM No.77, Jan/Feb 2000, 'What was Hobson's Choice? Who is Rory McGrath? My Five Minutes of Fame? Making a local history programme for TV'), he was still a little surprised to find himself in a punt with Radio 4 and being interviewed by David Baddiel for a programme about the origins of the university, then followed by a German camera crew for two days. Alan told us 'The one good thing about the graduation ceremony was that because I was receiving an honorary degree I got to go first. It was something I enjoyed greatly, but was glad when I could relax with my family after'. He added 'I’m happy to go back to quiet obscurity now. The really nice bit about it all has been the response from people on the street — strangers, and those I’ve seen around for years'.

Local History Magazine No.77

What readers won't know is that Allan is recovering from a long and serious, life threatening, illness and is much more than just a local historian and a Blue Badge guide. He is also Chair of the Friends of Cambridge Folk Museum, a community activist and has a passion for parks ( He is not afraid to tackle social issues, as is demonstrated by his article 'Romsey Town, Cambridge: 'Red Russia' and the search for community – Grappling with history on your doorstep' (LHM No.118 May/June 2008).

We're sure that Local History Online users and Local History Magazine readers will want to join us in congratulating Allan on the deserved recognition he has received from the University of Cambridge.

24 July 2009

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