Arn Dekker has just compiled the Cambridge Peace Trail, with photographs taken by Annie Lovett.
Some social and economic contributions were recorded, including an overview of the admirable life of Thomas Hobson (1544-1630). An octagonal monument to Hobson stands at the corner of Lensfield Road.
Thomas Hobson was one of many involved in the building of a conduit to bring fresh water into the city from springs at Nine Wells, now a local nature reserve. Designed by the Master of Peterhouse, ‘revived’ by the Master of Sidney Sussex College and known as Hobson’s Conduit, this is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Hobson endowed a Hobson’s Conduit Trust to deal with maintenance of the waterway.
A blue plaque on Hobson House in St Andrew’s Street mentions that he founded a charitable trust to set up and fund the Spinning House providing housing and employment to the poor, spinning flax or beating hemp.
In his livery stable, horses not being used to deliver the mail to London and back were rented by students, who preferred the fastest animals. After noticing that these were suffering from overwork, Hobson arranged a rotation of horses and insisted that the animal nearest the door be hired, giving rise to the phrase, ‘Hobson’s Choice’.
A most practical philanthropist . . .