News

Vendor City Guide: Cambridge

Street secrets revealed by the people who know them best. This week we head to Cambridge with Big Issue vendor Lee

Our guide this week: Lee Welham, 34, is from Great Yarmouth but after a family breakdown he moved to Cambridge for a fresh start. He has been selling The Big Issue outside The Round Church since the summer and is regularly surrounded by passing pedestrians

Why I like Cambridge
It’s the learning capital of the world.

There are so many places to see here, loads of good things – all the colleges, all the different cultures that are here. I’ve learned to say thank you in at least 25 languages. My favourite is Afrikaans. It’s pronounced ‘baie dankie’ but I remember it as ‘buy a donkey’.

The best history
Great breakthroughs happened here in Cambridge and there are plaques all over the place.

There’s loads of history. Oliver Cromwell, the guy who tried to get rid of all the royal family – after they had his head on a spike at Westminster Hall they brought it back here and buried it at Sidney Sussex College.

My favourite park
Christ’s Pieces was voted the fifth-best park in the UK.

It’s lovely, they’ve got ready for Christmas now so as soon as it gets dark you’ve got all these beautiful lights. It’s so well groomed. The rubbish is pretty bad at four o’clock in the morning but the team of council workers that clean these places up, they genuinely do deserve a medal. Cambridge always looks nice for the tourists.

Best cafe
I get my tea from Bould Brothers Coffee.

They’ve just got in Vanity Fair magazine, they’re being talked about all over the world, this little tea shop near my pitch. They’re really nice to me. So are the staff at Toni & Guy if you need a haircut.

My favourite spot
Trinity Hall is one of my favourites because it’s the most prestigious college.

It’s lovely. You can walk around and in the grounds is the Newton Apple Tree. It’s a direct descendant of the very apple tree that helped Isaac Newton figure gravity out.

Not in the guidebooks
Allama Muhammad Iqbal is credited as being the ‘spiritual father of Pakistan’.

I didn’t know who he was at first but the amount of people who’ve asked: “Where’s Portugal Place? We want to go and check this out.” All they do is look at the plaque but it’s somewhere they don’t advertise in brochures and leaflets.

Visit my pitch
My pitch is outside the Round Church.

It’s the oldest round church in the UK, built in the 1130s. The reason it’s round is because you can’t hide a devil in the corner… Then after the Crusades all churches had to be in the shape of a cross so when God looked down he could see the Christian cross. The old Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is brilliant. He comes to see me twice a week to ask me how I am.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
FOSO is the new FOMO: Why are we so afraid to switch off and be out of office?
Work

FOSO is the new FOMO: Why are we so afraid to switch off and be out of office?

Almost no recorded cases of disability benefit fraud despite DWP crackdown: 'PIP fraud is a non-issue'
dwp pip/ disabled person
Disability benefits

Almost no recorded cases of disability benefit fraud despite DWP crackdown: 'PIP fraud is a non-issue'

Deaf man awarded £50,000 after 'oppressive' and 'discriminatory' treatment by DWP
dwp jobcentre
Department for Work and Pensions

Deaf man awarded £50,000 after 'oppressive' and 'discriminatory' treatment by DWP

Green transition: Help retrain gas workers or risk 'cliff edge' job losses, government warned
Green transition

Green transition: Help retrain gas workers or risk 'cliff edge' job losses, government warned

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know