Art does not belong to any one country

Piero D'Angelico

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The plaques helped to finance the project but we still need support from the community to maintain and continue the works. You can become part of this by sponsoring a plaque for yourself, your family or someone you love, leaving an indelible mark on this historic landmark.

To pay for a plaque you can register your interest using the following link 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.

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 project was initiated by Piero D’Angelico and Abdul Arain on behalf of the Mill Road Traders' Association (MRTA). The arch had once adorned the Hindu shrine in the temple in Bharat Bhavan (House of India) at the Old Library on Mill Road. When that closed in 2019, MRTA decided not to let the magnificent stone archway fade into obscurity, and negotiated to acquire it from the County Council for a nominal fee of £1.

The project saved a valuable piece of Mill Road heritage and preserved the presence and legacy of the Indian community in our local area. The pink sandstone carvings came from Rajasthan in India, commissioned by the Indian Community and Cultural Association (ICCA), and were installed circa May 2006. The new gateway honours the efforts of those who originally carved and commissioned the stones, and enables this magnificent craftmanship to stand and be admired for generations to come.

A study by Anglia Ruskin University students confirms that the carved stones do not have religious meaning. However, they display wonderfully intricate art, design and craftmanship. The original shape was 7 metres wide and 4 metres high, and weighed 6.5 tonnes. Piero D’Angelico, whose grandfather was a stonemason in Southern Italy, redesigned the stones into a rectangular shape, suitably sturdy for an outdoor garden. Here, at Ditchburn Place, close to the old Mill Road Library, the stones from the Bharat Bhavan shrine became a gateway, reborn into the Cambridge Gateway from India.

Ditchburn Place is an historic site in Cambridge and one of the oldest buildings on Mill Road. Built in 1838 as a Workhouse, it became the County Infirmary in 1930, and a wartime emergency hospital in 1939. In 1948 it became the Cambridge Maternity Hospital where many local people still alive today were born. In 1983, when the Rosie, the new maternity unit was built at Addenbrookes Hospital, Ditchburn was redesigned as sheltered accommodation for elderly and vulnerable people. When the residents were consulted about building the archway in their garden, 85% gave their approval and support.

No public money was spent on the project. A crowdfund was set up to raise funds and through successful Mill Road community participation and collective action from traders, local professionals and residents, the Universities, and City and County Council officers, our project raised the necessary funds to enable it to be completed in a record 28 months.

The stone paving around the gateway is adorned with brass plaques engraved with the names of people associated with Mill Road, from many different backgrounds, from the past and the present - a moving testimony to the global character of Cambridge and the embracing of diversity.

The plaques helped to finance the project but we still need support from the community to maintain and continue the works. You can become part of this by sponsoring a plaque for yourself, your family or someone you love, leaving an indelible mark on this historic landmark. To pay for a plaque you can register your interest using the following link

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.

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If you would like to donate money to the project, then please visit our crowdfunding page.

Donate Here