Inspirational Cambridge - sketching hidden places

 Extract from a pen and ink drawing of Kings College

Extract from a pen and ink drawing of Kings College

September brings Open Cambridge which is an event I look forward to very much! It's a change to indulge my curiosity and get nosey as private places in Cambridge throw open their doors to the public. When I've been away from the city, I have genuinely missed the opportunity to get to know the hidden city where I live. 

I've had the chance to see inside a nuclear bunker that sits on Castle Hill, not far from where I used to live. I had no idea that there was such a structure and it's a reminder of how powerful fear is on the human mind. The University also opens up lots of places and I'm hoping to get on a tour of the University Library tower which is open this year. It was alleged that the tower contains all the banned books but this has been denied!

I try to take sketchbook too as I've started to pick up my pens and watercolours a lot more these days. I find it helps me to doodle which often leads to great ideas for design work. Open Cambridge got me thinking about hidden places I where like to draw in Cambridge. Here are my favs..

  • Tom's Cakes back garden. This lovely bakery has a gorgeous back garden and weirdly I never thought about the houses on Mill Road having gardens! It always seems so busy and yet here is this little oasis of peace.
  • Kings Parade. In the winter when the tourists have gone home, Cambridge starts to feel like home again. I love to walk along the riverside and onto Kings Parade where town meets gown, find a window seat in a coffee shop and draw. 
  • Mill Road Cemetery. I have to cross the cemetery to get to Tom's Cakes and I love to photograph or draw the gravestones. This Victorian cemetery is at risk of vandalism and I feel compelled to capture the memorials in case they are lost. There are also some beautiful Gordon Young sculptures which I was lucky enough to hear him talking about whilst I studied at Anglia Ruskin's School of Art.
  • Museums. We have so many fascinating museums. I love the Scott Polar for tails of epic adventures and sobering facts about climate change. We've got our own mini natural history one at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology too.
  • Leper Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene is 800 years old and famed for being the oldest complete building in Cambridge but often overlooked. It is pleasant riverside walk from where I live and sits by the side of an old railway junction which is also fascinating. There's always so much detail and new things to see in the stonework and the grounds.

What's your favourite place in Cambridge and are you a sketcher? I'd love to know!