Cat no. 1110

Gosling's Travels: Cambridge

Running time26:02 Colour Sound 1974 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

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A reflection on the polarised nature of Cambridge in the 1970s



Reporter, Ray Gosling has his photograph taken in a Cambridge gown in front of the Senate House. His photographer advises him on the correct form of dress. Ray Gosling explains that he has no degree and no title but he has come to enjoy what he's never had. Gosling realises that life in Cambridge is not all centred on the University. He goes to Cambridge Airport where Marshalls Engineering make the nose for Concorde. He hires a helicopter and views Cambridge and the surrounding countryside from on high, described as dull as ditch water.

Gosling mentions another famous Cambridge company, Pye, and there are views of Cambridge, including Kings College Chapel, recognisable from the air. Cambridge cyclists ride by the market and St. John's College. On a lawn some people are playing croquet. Gosling speaks to a Don about why the University grew up. He then speaks to the High Steward of the University, Lord Butler, about relationships between town and gown. Back in the town he takes directions from a local man and watches Snowy Farr and his small animal show, collecting money for Guide Dogs For The Blind. Back on the croquet lawn, people are discussing the traffic problem.

An elderly Don (Dr John Saltmarsh of King's College) recalls the days when one stopped one's pony and trap by the side of the road and the shop boy came out to take your order. Gosling takes the viewer on a tour of Cambridge, along King's Parade and the Backs, past the Bridge of Sighs at St. Johns College. He visits the Pitt Club and talks to the Steward about the all male membership. Members dine as the steward explains that many members are leading government figures. On the other side of the tracks, literally as Gosling has crossed the railway into Romsey town, he meets Paul and Jean. Both are graduates, yet Paul works as a dustman and Jean runs a Community Cafe. Jean describes ordinary Cambridge life as having a subservient role to the aristocratic set up. One of her employees reveals the contradiction many locals feel about the University; of feeling alienated from it, yet seeing it as an essential part of Cambridge.

At the annual May Ball, in June, at Downing College students dine in the marquee, alongside a serenading orchestra. A local boy, formerly a waiter at these events, now a Cambridge law student, talks about how students in Cambridge form their own circles. At a disco students dance to Free's 70s rock track, All Right Now. Drunken students, including Gosling, discuss burning the place down. Gosling goes for an early morning punt as college servants clean the place up. Gosling muses over serious points; years of Labour governments have witnessed the abolition of Grammar Schools, yet Eton and Harrow, and Cambridge, with reserved places for public school pupils remain. Gosling talks to a college servant and then visits The Rex ballroom, to meet some local Teddy Boys. One of them has a badly beaten eye. The film cuts to an Early Music group at the University, playing Pastime With Good Company. There are general shots of a bookshop, the town centre, student cricketers pulling the clothes off a team mate, schoolboys in Eton-style uniforms and the gasometer. There are shots of a non-too-serious cricket match, before the film ends with more general scenes.

Background Information:

Pastime With Good Company was written by Henry VIII. The majority of grammar schools were closed by Margaret Thatcher as Conservative Secretary of State for Education in Edward Heath's Government

Featured People:

Lord Butler, High Steward of the University of Cambridge; Snowy Farr; Ray Gosling, reporter

Featured Organisations:

University of Cambridge; Guide Dogs For The Blind

Featured Events:

May Ball, Downing College

Featured Buildings:

St. John's College; Bridge Of Sighs; King's College Chapel; The Senate House; William Pitt Club; The Romsey Cafe; Downing College; The Rex Ballroom

Granada Television

Ray Gosling; Richard Marquand

Mike Thompson

Andrew Page

Phil Taylor

Ray Gosling

Frank Griffiths (dubbing mixer)

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