Art does not belong to any one country
UPDATE JUNE 2023
Dear all, we wanted to thank each and everyone of you who came out and supported the groundbreaking event. Over 100 of you decided to show your support in person on the day and we are massively grateful for the support you have shown over the last few months.
We are overjoyed at the success of the project, not only receiving donations from Cambridge, or within the UK but from another 23 countries as well, and most importantly we believe it’s strengthened the essence of community on Mill Road, and we would like to personally thank you all for partaking in this project and helping in our journey.
We couldn’t have done it without you.
We would also like to welcome interest in an exciting new opportunity to donate towards the project. Having recently communicated with a local engravement specialist. As part of this legacy, each one of you can become a significant contributor by sponsoring a plaque for yourself or your family, leaving an indelible mark on this historic landmark.
Each plaque is priced at £120 and is capable of having 40 characters. There is an additional capability for a Logo to be added but please contact us regarding this.
To pay for a plaque you can register your interest using the following link firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively by clicking the 'Register your interest' button. You can also pay directly via our sumup page by clicking/scanning the QR link above.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2022
Friends, finally, the location has been found with full planning permission approved. Apologies if it took longer than expected, but we faced a great deal of challenges along the way due to the government and the limitations set in place of people coming together post pandemic.
I would like to thank every one of you for your contribution and also to officers from Cambridge City Council and County Council councillors, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Independent and The New Indian Express for their news coverage, Trinity Hall Cambridge, Travis Perkins, Cambridge Print Solutions, Architects, Web designers, Graphic Designers, Davda & Co Accountants Ltd, DR Renu Raj - Radanks Limited UK, Structural Engineers, Mick George Group, and many volunteers from the local community for their contribution with time and services, their support has been vital to move forward with the project.
Special Thanks to:
The residents of Ditchburn Place in Cambridge supporting the planning application.
The Chair of Mill Road Traders Association and its members
The trustee of Devonshire Mosque
The Chair of the Hindu community ICCA
So far, we have been able to raise an extraordinary £25,000 between cash and donation in kind.
Unfortunately, the large donations we were expecting in grants have been totally unsuccessful
due to the fact we are not a Charity. The cost to complete the resurrection of the stones is
£28,000 which includes transport modification of the arch, equipment and labour.
We still have some work to meet the goal, so I invite you all to support us with your time, resources, voice and any other talents that you may possess.
We need your help to complete it.
About myself and the project
I grew up in a family of stone masons. Thanks to my grandad’s passion and expertise, to this day, I still have a working knowledge of the different types of stones, and an eye for what a finished product should look like. I am the current Mill Road Traders’ Associati+on Ambassador in Cambridge UK, and my goal is to engage not only with the traders, but with the whole community.
In March 2021, by chance I heard about work taking place at the former Hindu temple, and because I am a “curious person”, I spoke to the site manager about taking a look around. He kindly invited me in, and I was so surprised to see before me a majestic stone archway. I was just so fascinated by its intricate Indian craftmanship. I was then shocked to then hear that it was due to be dumped in a skip that same day. I shouted: “It is sacrilege!”
I couldn’t get out of my mind, all the years of hard work that were put into the stone masons carving it, and the Hindu community having it shipped from India to the UK, were just going to go to waste. So, I started my mission to save this unique piece of art, as I shared the urgent need to rescue it with the Chair and trustees of the Mill Road Traders’ Association. They all supported my desire to raise the required money to pay for the safe dismantling and relocating of the stone archway.
These stones were erected in memory of my grandfather, Master stone mason, Falco Gian Pietro. I would not have been able to reassemble these stones from the shrine at Bhavat Bhavan, without the knowledge i gained as a boy from my grandfather, who was a Master stone mason in Daunia, Italy. He said to me "Learn these skills, one day they will be useful to you." And he was right.
I also want to acknowledge the skills of the stone masons of Rajastan, who originally carved these stones for Bhavat Bhavan. I'm proud that today we have been able to reassemble this wonderful carved gateway in a way which really shows off its beauty.
The plaque was laid by the Mayor of Castelluccio Valmaggiore , Sir Pasquale Marchese, and the Deputy Mayor of Cambridge, Baiju Thitta Varkey. We hope the Gateway will inspire all who enjoy it, as a tribute to our love and respect for our shared heritage and community. My grandfather said "Art does not have a country. It belongs to everybody."
Ironically my grandfather spent all his life in a house which was by the Gateway into the ancient town of Castelluccio Valmaggiore. It was bought and restored by the Mayor soon after he passed the way.
As a testimony of this cultural exchange, I am donating the last, unused carved stone rose of the shrine in Bhavat Bhavan, now the gateway from India here in Mill Road, to be installed as part of the gateway of Castelluccio Valmaggiore. These links between our ancestors and our dispersed communities are made possible by shared connections, respect, and affection.
The Cambridge Gateway
from India Project
The Cambridge Gateway from India Project is an initiative born out of the Mill Road Traders' Association (MRTA) commitment to preserving our local heritage. We refused to let the magnificent stone archway fade into obscurity, choosing instead to acquire it from the county council for a nominal fee of £1.
Piero D’Angelico, Ambassador of the Mill Road Traders’ Association, emphasized the profound value of the archway, far beyond its £750,000 price tag. Its emotional and aesthetic significance to the community and visitors is immeasurable. This archway's beauty and historical importance are treasures that enrich our lives and culture. To make this preservation possible, the MRTA launched the Cambridge Gateway from India Project. Our mission is to raise funds through crowd-funding efforts, both in cash and donations. Our ultimate aim is to erect the archway as a timeless monument in the public gardens at Ditchburn Place, a site owned by the city council and located on Mill Road.
Through successful community participation and collective action, our project aims to secure the necessary funds and donations. This support ensures the proper preservation, installation, and maintenance of the stone archway. We're thrilled to showcase the incredible potential of community involvement in safeguarding and celebrating our shared history and heritage. Join us in making history come alive!
The History of the project
ICCA - Indian Community and Culture Association (Cambridge) - leased the Grade II listed Old Mill Road library circa. 1999, and renamed it Bharat Bhavan (House of India).
They then embarked on an extensive refurbishment project. These plans included adding an extravagant stone archway commissioned in Rajasthan, India. The completed stone works arrived in Cambridge circa May 2006. In the ensuing years, a number of community groups enjoyed using the space complete with the stunning stone archway.
Then in 2019, when ICCA was no longer able to sustain the lease of the building, the city council reclaimed the building, but did not have a vision for the stone archway, in their renovation plans.
How can you get involved ?
For this vision to become a reality, it will require a wide-range of volunteers with different skills - from stone masons, builders, structural engineers, architects, landscapers, graphic designers, electricians, fundraisers, to website managers and designers.
If you would like to volunteer, then please get in touch by using the email link below.Email Us
If you would like to donate money to the project, then please visit our crowdfunding page.Donate Here