March is a Fenland market town and civil parish in the Isle of Ely area of Cambridgeshire, England. March was the county town of the Isle of Ely which was a separate administrative county from 1889 to 1965. It is now the administrative centre of Fenland District Council.
The town was an important railway centre, with a major junction between the Great Eastern Railway and Great Northern Railway at March railway station. The station is from London by rail, north of Cambridge, north west of Ely and south of Wisbech.
Like many Fenland towns, March was once an island surrounded by marshes. It occupied the second largest "island" in the Great Level. As the land drained, the town grew and prospered as a trading and religious centre. It was also a minor port before, in more recent times, a market town and an administrative and railway centre.
March is situated on the banks of the old course of the navigable River Nene, and today mainly used by pleasure boats.
Before the draining of the fens, March was effectively an island in the marshy fens. It was formed from two settlements, Merche and Mercheford, separated by a canal. The town probably owes its origin to the ford on the old course of the River Nene, where the road between Ely and Wisbech, the two chief towns of the Isle of Ely, crossed the river. At one time shipping on the River Nene provided the basis of the town's trade, but this declined with the coming of the railways in the 19th century.
A single arch bridge was built over the River Nene towards the north end of the town in 1850. High Street, which is the chief thoroughfare, is continued over the bridge to Broad Street on the north side of the Nene, and The Causeway is lined with a fine avenue of elm and other trees.
A Local Board of Health was formed in 1851, under Act 14 and 15 Vict. c. 10, but by the provisions of the Local Government Act 1894 the town became governed by an Urban District Council of 12 members. Gas lighting was provided by the March Gas and Coke Co. Limited. The Wisbech Water Works Company, under a provisional order obtained in 1884, supplied the town with water, which was brought through mains pipes from Wisbech, away.
March was divided into four ecclesiastical parishes which, with three others, were formed out of the previous parish of Doddington after 1863, under the Doddington Rectory Division Acts of 1847 and 1856 [10 and 11 Vict. c. 3 (1847) and 19 and 20 Vict. c. 1 (1856)].