Flickering faces and fragments of life from the city’s past and present, along with iconic streetscapes, renowned cultural events and quirky details that sum up the essence of Cambridge, are all to be found on a specially commissioned 9-minute film to be projected onto the historic 1930s façade of the city centre Guildhall.

Each evening for 2 weeks, Cambridge Light Show at the Guildhall will aim to celebrate the Cambridge community, acknowledging some of the city’s history, industry, diversity, values, and achievements. This is a guide to some of the images featured.

Cambridge of old. This section of black and white collages, on a blue background showing a map of Cambridge, illustrate the routes into the city – road, rail, river – and the industry and livelihoods that stemmed from them.

The Guildhall location marked on a map. The earlies known property on this site was a house granted by King Henry III for use as a prison in 1224. In 1270 it would later be the site of a tollbooth for entry to the town, which then became used for performances

Development of the city is represented in this section showing bricks assembling buildings across the city: Storey’s Fields Centre, the Fire Station at Parker’s Piece, Marshall, the Science Park. 

This then leads to the construction of the Guildhall as we know it today. Designed by Charles Cowles-Voysey in the Neo-Georgian style, it was completed in 1939. 

Coat of Arms of the City of Cambridge. It features Cambridge Castle, a bridge between two roses, below three boats. The Arms are supported by two seahorses

English Roses and Pasqueflowers.  The Pasqueflower is the county flower of Cambridgeshire. It gets its name from the fact that it flowers around Easter.  Its downy purple flowers can be seen on grasslands and hillsides. Legend has it that the pasqueflower grows on the graves of Viking warriors.

Public Art. This section features to sculptures found next to and near the Guildhall – ‘Between the lines’ by Peter Randall Page, and ‘Memorial to Snowy Farr’ by Gary Webb. Details about these and other public art commissions can be found at:

The market square, open for trade since the middle-ages is represented by this next sequence of images, featuring market awnings, market trade and products flying through the space. Visit 10am to 4pm every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year’s Day.

he Rainbow Flag, symbol of the LGBT+ social movement drops down the Guildhall façade.  This is one of the flags raised atop the building through out the year. The Guildhall is a site of celebrations and commemorations, acknowledging the City’s communities, their histories, and achievements.

Festivals and Events take place around the City. Community events like Arbury Carnival and Mill Road Winter Fair are part of the City’s calendar alongside The Cambridge Folk Festival and Big Weekend.

Cambridge’s museums and galleries feature acclaimed collections that attract visitors from around the world. This scene highlights the University of Cambridge Museums as well as independent collections such as Cambridge Museum of Technology and the Museum of Computing History.

Cambridge has a drawn many different communities.  This scene features only a small fraction of the diverse population.  Cultural celebrations are documented on Capturing Cambridge a site to document the city’s stories:

Cultural Events are also a feature of the Cambridge’s offering. The film features, Cambridge Film Festival, Strawberry Fair and The Festival of Ideas as just some of the opportunities to spotlight and creative output and interests.


Archive material sourced and contributed by 

Cambridgeshire Collection

Cambridge Pride

Cambridge University Library

The Museum of Cambridge

University of Cambridge Museums


Animation by Double Take Productions

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