Courtesy Keith Heppell

Sally Page, Trustee

I always found Allan’s passion for local history inspiring. I also used to enjoy coming across him at his allotment, and I remember how his patch of vegetables always looked somewhat more impressive than mine!

Max Field, Blue Badge Guide

I had the privilege of knowing Allan through the Museum of Cambridge guiding group but sadly only for a short time. Allan’s reputation for kindness and understanding went before him, but meeting him proved it to be the case and showed him to be the most considerate person, someone that you can only hope to emulate. The guides will miss him terribly as an excellent role model.

Courtesy Martin Bond

Caroline Biggs, former Trustee of the Museum of Cambridge

Allan Brigham’s passion for transporting people beyond the history of the famous walls of the ivy-clad Colleges will be his lasting legacy.  His legendary ‘Town Not Gown’ walking tours brought alive the long lost stories of our town. The focus of his tours was determinedly on the stories of the buildings and lives of ordinary people. 

The Museum of Cambridge was the natural place for Allan to serve as a Trustee and Chair of the Friends of the Museum.  He saw it as a ‘hub’ for anyone, at any level, to meet up for a talk or lecture and share their memories and pieces of historical research. 

After these events Allan would chat with the people who’d come along and discover, with great delight, that their ancestors had started or worked in the shops and businesses that might have made or sold the objects in the Museum. The light in the eyes of those recounting their stories of a lost time was reflected in his own as he listened to countless tales about what ‘so and so’ was really like or how hard, but happy, life had been in days gone by.

Allan and I reminisced too, often sitting on the bench beside the fireplace in the old bar where we speculated on the hundreds of tales told on that same spot as pipes were smoked and ale eased the cares of the day.  We loved the fact that after a talk about the history of Cambridge Pubs, part of Cambridge History Festival, people were able to enjoy a glass of Museum Porter – a beer specially brewed for the festival – and re-create,  for an evening, the warmth of hospitality of the old White Horse Inn. 

But Allan wasn’t all about looking backwards.  He knew how important but precarious the Museum’s future was.  Working tirelessly, he encouraged people to remember that the Museum of Cambridge fights to exist in an age of cutbacks, a time when our heritage is in danger of slipping away.   He was instrumental in raising precious financial and practical support to enable the lights to be switched on as it was his firm belief that both the past and the present need to be preserved for the good of a thriving city, both Town and Gown. 

Courtesy Keith Heppell

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