Sunday, 23 December 2012

Cambridge YMCA - Queen Anne House in 1985...

Here's the Cambridge YMCA in Gonville Place way back in 1985. Much has changed since those days. The front building pictured now has an extra two storeys and a gym, which is open to the public.

The Cambridge YMCA gained its first proper gym facility known as the Gymcam, in late 1988. Originally, there was just a sports room. The YMCA was anxious not to duplicate the facilities of the Kelsey Kerridge gym in 1974, which may have led to objections from that establishment, and as gyms were nowhere near as popular as today, a gym development at Queen Anne House was seen as an unwise investment. As it was, in that era of galloping inflation, the building was restricted - a storey being left off the front block due to financial difficulties.

 Much of the reception area decor at Queen Anne House dates back to the 1980s.  Cambridge YMCA moved to the Queen Anne House location in 1974, but the current reception desk dates from circa 1984. Originally, reception was a hatch in the wall on the right hand side as you entered the building, with two offices occupying the space where the current desk is. After the current desk was installed, there were two office spaces behind it with a connecting door, but these were knocked into one in the mid-to-late 1980s. The two glass sides to the desk were a much later addition, probably dating to the early 21st Century.


  1. I remember those days well. There used to be a Coffee Lounge at the Y which was open to the public and a lady called Vera worked there. Nice place to stop off for a cuppa and a mini-pizza for lunch!

  2. I remember Vera. Also, Annie and Rosie worked there - I think Annie managed the coffee lounge, but I'm not sure. Robert Higginbottom was the Cambridge Y manager in the mid-1980s and Pauline Bishop and Martin Flowerdew worked there too. They were nice people - and so was Emma on reception.

    1. John Mason was the Director at the time of Pauline and Martin - Paul was the Chef/Catering Manager

    2. I think Roger Hunt became director in 1985. He took the photograph of the 1985 Queen Anne House sports team featured in our other Cambridge YMCA blog post. Mrs Rayner was the housekeeper. The cleaner of the rooms on my floor was called Louise and she became a good friend to me. She always made sure my room window was closed if I was due home late in the winter time so that the room would be nice and warm when I got there. The current reception desk dates from the 1980s. The original reception was a hatch in the wall on the right as you walked in! It was like that until the early '80s. There were two offices where the current reception is. I have read that Pauline came to work there in the early 1980s. Martin wanted to become a priest, and was very involved in youth activities. It was a direct access YMCA in those days.

  3. The Y Gym at Queen Anne House is wonderful! Very cosy and friendly. Just the thing if you don't like the posing at larger gyms!