The centre is close to an area where the sidings and goods yard for Cambridge station were located.
Hobson's Conduit forms the western boundary of Accordia. It was designed to flush out Cambridge's Kings Ditch which over the centuries had become a foul health risk. The Conduit is now maintained by the Hobson's Brook Trust in partnership with the City Council.
The Brookland Farm buildings are now lost but they would have been in the grounds of the University Press. Around 1825 Richard Foster, a partner in Foster's Bank of Cambridge, bought the farm to build his own house and lay out a formal garden. The house was built in 1827 on the new Brooklands Avenue which was at the time just a dog-legged driveway with lodges at each end. The western lodge still exists and is Grade II listed. Many of the trees on Shaftesbury Road and the surrounding area would have been planted at that time.
In 1845 Cambridge Station opened and the rail company built sidings on both of Hills Road. The western portion of the goods yard would have occupied the area which lies between Hills Road and Clarendon Road.
The National Freehold Land Society (NFLS) took the opportunity to exploit the new railway from the 1850's onwards. As the first UK building society they laid out a grid of streets and development plots forming Clarendon Road, Fitzwilliam Road, Shaftesbury Road and part of Brooklands Avenue. At the time if a person owned land with an annual rent of 40 shillings they were qualified to vote so the HFLS found a market by selling land in narrow strips.
Over the next 90 years relatively little urban change occurred. The railway continued to grow with the expansion of the goods yards serviced from Brooklands Ave. At the time rail was the fastest connection to the rest of the country.
Brooklands Avenue was straightened out to provide a direct link to Trumpington Road in the west. The removal of the dog-leg drive meant that the avenue became an important thoroughfare for the growing city. Further residential streets were developed to the west of Hobson's Brook and Vicar's Brook. The Newton Road grid of streets was laid out for plots as were a few plots prepared by The National Freehold Land Society.
The next significant urban changes were a result of the Second World War.
In 1941 Brooklands House and its land were requisitioned for Civil Service departments displaced from London.
Temporary blocks were erected in the gardens of the house and despite extensive coverage of the buildings within the landscaped gardens, they were organised to fit around the mature trees that give the area so much character.
The buildings were single storey with flat roofs and in 1941 were occupied by the administration of No. 74 Wing of the RAF.
From 1953 there were further urban developments. The Cold War nuclear bunker built as a War Room and contained the BBC, emergency services, the Post Office and the Royal Society of Arts.
The University Press replaced Brookland Farm and offices that replaced the railway sidings.
From the turn of this century, the significant developments of Accordia and Kaleidoscope have been built.