Secular Buildings: Miscellaneous

Pages 313-319

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Cambridge. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1959.

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(88) Former Workhouse of the parish of St. Andrew the Great, now shops, flat and store, stands at the S. end of St. Tibb's Row, N.E. of St. Andrew's Hill. It is of three storeys with a small cellar; the walls are of gault brick and the roofs are slate-covered. Built in 1829 (H. P. Stokes in C.A.S. Procs. XV (1911), 98) and superseded by the Union Workhouse in Mill Road (Monument (90)), it was sold by the Guardians of the Cambridge Union in 1838 (Camb. Chronicle 14 July 1838).

The building is a plain rectangle on plan, 89 ft. by 16 ft. The original windows are of squat proportions and sash-hung, with glazing of small panes. In the S. end is a mid 19th-century shop-front with plain pilasters dividing and flanking doorway and window. On the W. at first-floor level is a large opening with segmental head lighting and ventilating the staircase and latrines behind. The accommodation consisted of 'a sittingroom, large hall, back kitchen, cellar, yard, pump of good water and twelve good bedrooms'. The ground floor is more or less altered, but the upper floors are divided into rooms of nearly uniform size.

(89) Former Workhouse of the parish of St. Michael, now in part a shop, the rest a store, stands on the E. side of Gifford's Place, 10 yds. N. of Green Street. It is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the W. wall is of brick, the other walls are timber-framed and plastered and the roofs are tile-covered. Two tenements on the site were rebuilt by the parishioners for the paupers in 1794 (H. P. Stokes in C.A.S. Procs. XV (1911), 118). See Monument (90).

The building is a plain rectangle on plan. The W. side to the road is more or less symmetrical, with a doorway in the middle flanked by sash-hung windows; later brickwork of adjoining properties extends into each end of the ground floor, on the N. as far as a doorway to the latrines, on the S. to include a window. Over the main doorway is a timber panel now blank but formerly inscribed S.M.P. On the first floor are three sash-hung windows, and in the roof three gabled dormer-windows. All the other walls are blank.

Inside is a large central room with an iron post in the middle supporting the upper floor and, against the E. wall, a fireplace. At the N. end and behind the latrine entered from the street is a dark closet. At the S. end is an unpierced partition to a narrow room now serving the adjoining property. The first and second floors each have three intercommunicating rooms of nearly uniform size.

(90) Former Union Workhouse, now Maternity Hospital, stands on the E. side of Mill Road, nearly opposite Tenison Road. The original building is of two storeys; the walls are of yellow brick and the roofs are slate-covered. In 1836 the Poor Law Commissioners ordered that the fourteen parishes of the Borough should be united for the administration of the laws for the Relief of the Poor under the name of the Cambridge Union. The new Guardians at first retained only six of the parochial Workhouses, St. Andrew the Less, St. Mary the Less and Holy Sepulchre, Holy Trinity, St. Andrew the Great (Monument (88)), All Saints and St. Edward, and appointed a Committee to arrange for a Central Union Workhouse to take two hundred and fifty inmates. The building was designed by John Smith and occupied in 1838; the site had cost £480. (C. H. Cooper, Memorials of Cambridge III, 147; Camb. Chronicle 2 Aug. 1837, designs on view in Mr. Smith's office.) Some alterations and extensions were made almost immediately (Camb. Chronicle 18 May 1839). The original lay-out included four courts with porter'slodge, tramps' cells, bedrooms and offices, master's and matron's rooms, day-rooms, dormitories, baths, workshops, chapel and mortuary. Only the administrative block survives, amongst later buildings.

The Administrative-block is a long narrow building. The S.W. front is of eight bays; excluding the S.E. bay, the other bays are symmetrically arranged with a central doorway and the end bays paired under pedimented gables. At first-floor level is a continuous plat-band. The ground-floor windows are round-headed, the upper windows segmental-headed, and all contain double-hung sashes. The doorway has an architrave and a cornice supported on console-brackets. The pedimented gables have full cornices of which the lower members are continued across the building as a widely projecting eaves-cornice; each tympanum contains a small stucco panel with the date 1838. None of the other original walls contains features of note and the interior of the building has been completely modernised.

(91) Former Female Refuge stands 27 yds. S. of Christ Church to the S. of the Newmarket Road. It is of two storeys, with walls of gault brick and slate-covered roofs. An institution was established at Dover Cottage, East Road, in 1838 to 'afford to females who have been leading a sinful course of life, and express a desire of returning to the path of virtue, a temporary refuge where they may be sheltered from temptation, be provided with proper employment, receive religious and useful instruction'. In 1839 the managing Committee advertised for fresh premises or a building-site. The site was acquired and the present building completed probably by 1841, the date on a tablet in the boundary-wall (Camb. Chronicle 15 June, 6 July, 26 Oct. 1839). It is now divided into flats, and partitions have been built in the larger rooms.

The Refuge is of interest as a 19th-century welfare institution of unusual character retaining the original buildings and much of the original layout.

Female Refuge

The building is symmetrical and consists of a tall block, T-shaped on plan, sited axially upon Christ Church and midway between Napier Street on the E., Christchurch Street on the W.; single-storey ranges extend to both streets from the cross-arm of the T. The whole is enclosed on the E. and W., from the graveyard on the N. and private properties on the S. by a high wall. The entrance-front, the N. side, of the main block is in seven bays; the middle bay is partly screened by a singlestorey porch; the end bays project. At first-floor level is a continuous plat-band; a second, narrower, band continues the sills of the first-floor windows. At the wall-head is a wide timber eaves-cornice with modillions. The low-pitched roofs are hipped. The porch has clasping Roman Doric pilasters at the angles with exaggerated entasis, an outer round-headed archway of brick in two orders, a modillioned eaves-cornice and a low-pitched roof. The entrance-doorway has a fanlight in a segmental head. The windows have segmental brick heads, blind recesses of similar form taking the places of windows in the end bays. Symmetrically placed at the roof-ridge are two large chimney-stacks with paired groups of flues linked by open round-headed arches. The other sides of the main block have windows and blind recesses as described above except in the S. wing where, on the upper floor, modern windows replace small windows, now blocked, probably originally barred, set high up under the eaves.

The low E. and W. ranges formerly comprised a laundry and small cells; they are now bathrooms and stores.

The interior is severely plain. The arrangement shown on the plan is, in the main, repeated on the first floor, but here some of the partitions in the S. wing are older than those elsewhere.

The brick enclosing wall is 12 ft. high with an offset and pilaster-buttresses at intervals inside. On the W., towards the N. end, is a carriage-way with massive piers and, nearer the middle, a shallow projection containing an arcade of two blind arches flanking a doorway, all uniform and with round heads; the doorway gives access through the low W. range to a side door in the main block. Symmetrically on the E. is a similar blind arch in a projection of the wall to Napier Street. A stone tablet in the S. wall is inscribed 'This wall and the ground on which it stands belong wholly to the Cambridge Refuge July 1841. This stone was replaced March 1884'.

(92) Former Union Workhouse, Chesterton, standing on the S.W. side of Union Lane, 195 yds. from High Street, is now Chesterton Hospital. It is of one and three storeys, with walls of gault brick, stone dressings, and slate-covered roofs. The purchase deed for the land is dated 17 October 1836. Mr. Bell's tender for the building for £5,716, to John Smith's designs, was accepted the same year. Completed probably in 1838, some modifications, in particular the enlargement of the N.W. end range, were made either during building or very soon after. Subsequently many of the iron casement-windows have been replaced by sashes and the kitchen has been enlarged. In modern times extensive additions have involved the destruction of most of the boundary-wall.

Much of the original building survives and is of interest in the context of social history. It is one of a number of Workhouses in England, with a remarkable plan devised for this special purpose, inspired by Sampson Kempthorne's designs accompanying the First Report of the Poor Law Commissioners of 1835. The details in the Tudor style here are Smith's applications.

The plan of the Workhouse consists of a cross with equal arms extending from a central octagon and ending in short ranges at right angles to them. The N.E. range contains the main entrance and a Boardroom above; it is flanked by low detached buildings, L-shaped on plan, bordering a forecourt. The octagon, containing the main Kitchen on the ground floor and the Master's Lodging above, is slightly higher than the three-storey wings and ends in a low-pitched pyramidal roof. The N.E. front of the entrance-range is the only one of any elaboration; it is in four bays, the middle two projecting slightly under a single gable, and has a stone plat-band at first-floor level, an eaves-cornice of oversailing courses of brickwork and a plain gable-parapet rising from moulded stone kneelers. The doorway in the middle and the windows have four-centred heads, the first having a rusticated stone architrave; the original door is in two panelled leaves. The other elevations are generally solely functional.

The interior, which is more or less altered, is for the greater part severely plain. The stone staircases have plain iron balustrades. The Boardroom has a cornice, moulded timber skirtings, window-surrounds and doorcases, all original. The Kitchen is covered with parallel segmental brick barrel-vaults on four segmental arches. The stack of the central fireplace is carried up through the middle of the Master's Lodging above where it is the central feature of a small square diagonally-set hall; from this last access is gained to small polygonal rooms and an entirely plain angular staircase. The fireplaces in the Lodging have fluted timber surrounds with bosses at the angles.

(93) Former Storey's Almshouses consist of two separate groups; the first group, of four dwellings, now shops and tenements, stands on the S. side of Northampton Street, 120 yds. W. of Magdalene Street; the second 60 yds. to E.S.E. of the first, in Tan Yard. They are of two storeys, the first with attics. The walls are of red brick; the roofs are tiled. The Almshouses were founded from a bequest of Edward Storey of Cambridge, bookseller, who died in 1693, for four widows of ministers of the Church of England, two widows and one maiden from the parish of St. Giles and three widows from Holy Trinity. The first group, for the clergymen's widows, was built in 1729 and the S.E. wing extended to provide an additional dwelling shortly after.

Storey's Almshouses

The second group consists of a range of six dwellings. It is probably in part the building, shown freestanding here in Loggan's map of Cambridge of 1688, which was a stable (31 Report of the Commissioners for inquiring concerning Charities (1837), 55). The ground floor is earlier than 1688 but the loftier upper floor was built or rebuilt in 1729. New Almshouses were provided on another site in 1844 (see below).

The group by Northampton Street is L-shaped on plan and comprises four dwellings. The wing aligned with the street is gabled at each end, though the S.W. gable-end is masked by an adjacent building; the S.E. wing is gabled at the free S.E. end. At first-floor level is a continuous plat-band, except where interrupted by a modern shop-front on the N.W.; upper platbands extend across both the free gable-ends at eaves-level. On the later extension the lower plat-band is deeper than elsewhere, of three courses, as opposed to two. The openings have flat brick arches and the larger windows are for the most part fitted with later sliding casements or double-hung sashes; small rectangular windows light the closets. On the roofs are four hipped dormer-windows, one of the two on the S.E. wing retaning an original leaded casement. The three chimneystacks are largely rebuilt.

The interior retains original stop-chamfered ceiling-beams, those in the 1729 building with scroll-stops. The original arrangement seems to have provided a lobby, living-room and closet on the ground floor, and a bedroom and closet above reached by a stair flanking the chimney. The party-walls are of stud, lath and plaster. A number of 18th-century plank doors with original hinges remain.

The group in Tan Yard has a plat-band at first-floor level and to a height of six courses below this the walling is of 17th-century brickwork, the bricks being thinner and more vitrified than those above. The ground-floor openings have segmental arches with solid tympana above later rectangular timber door and window-frames, the latter with sliding casements; one S. window retains an original two-light frame. For the rest the features are generally similar to those described in the first group.

Inside, the ground-floor ceiling-beams are square and of heavy scantling. The dwellings each included an entrance and staircase-lobby to the N. and a living-room to the S. on the ground-floor, a bedroom above. The diagonal fireplaces on the ground floor have timber eared surrounds, and those above plain segmental heads; an inserted late 18th or early 19th-century surround in No. 6 Tan Yard is moulded and with paterae at the angles. The 18th-century doors are in two panels.

Storey's Almhouses stand at the N.W. end of the site bounded by Mount Pleasant, Pleasant Row and Shelly Row. They are in two groups, of six and nine dwellings, of two storeys, with walls of yellow brick with freestone dressings and slated roofs. They were built in 1844 in the Tudor style (see above).

Each group forms a range symmetrically designed towards the front, with a plinth, a moulded string at first floor sill-level, a parapet-string and parapet-wall with moulded coping; projecting porches with plain parapets contain paired entrances with four-centred arches. At Mount Pleasant the three porches are set against slight projections of the main wall-face that are continued up to finish in small gables containing blank shields. The ground-floor windows are of three mullioned and transomed lights; the upper are of two and three lights. At the roof-ridges are chimney-stacks with grouped shafts on rectangular bases.

Inside, each dwelling has two main rooms on the ground floor and two above.

(94) Wray's Almshouses stand on the N. side of King Street, 85 yds. E. of the turn into Hobson Street. They are of two storeys, with brick walls, stucco-faced towards the street, and tile-covered roofs. A panel on the building is inscribed to the effect that Henry Wray, late of Cambridge, stationer, by his will proved 17 April 1629 gave these houses to be a hospital for the reception of four poor widowers and widows and gave also some lands and tenements towards the maintenance thereof; and that eight tenements here were rebuilt in 1838 by the Trustees, whose names are listed. The Almshouses now consist of a straight range of four dwellings towards the street dated 1698, but remodelled in 1838, pierced by a passage to a courtyard on the N. flanked by ranges each of four dwellings wholly of 1838.

The S. front of the earlier range has a plain plastered plinth and parapet-wall, the last with a panel inscribed 1698. It is symmetrical; the lofty archway to the through-passage in the middle has a chamfered four-centred head and the two doorways to each side have timber frames with heads of the same form with sunk spandrels. Three of the four ground-floor windows have fixed glazing of small panes with one pane hinged to open; the fourth window has a modern frame. The six upper windows are of three timber-framed lights with casements; they flank the inscription-panel referred to above. The back wall where not concealed by 19th-century additions is of red brick; the N. sides of the chimney-stacks are without rendering and the easternmost contains two sunk panels with arched heads of early 18th-century character. The ranges to the courtyard are of gault brick; they are similar to the industrial type of housing of the period and without features of note. The interiors of the dwellings are plain.

(95) Jakenett's Almshouses stand on the S. side of King Street opposite Belmont Place. They are of two storeys with walls of gault brick with red brick dressings and tile-covered roofs. A panel on the building has an inscription recording that Thomas Jakenett, formerly a burgess of Cambridge, and Agnes his wife founded an Almshouse in 1469 on the S. side of Great St. Mary's churchyard; that it was taken down in consequence of an Act of Parliament for paving and lighting the town, and rebuilt on this site in 1790 at the joint expense of the University and the parishioners of Great St. Mary's. In B.M. Add. MSS. 9412 f. 314 is an undated note [3 Feb. 1808?] that John Carter contracted for two tenements for the almshouses containing a room each for eight poor persons for £210.

The late 18th-century building consists of a single long range with a small gabled projection in the middle of the S. side. The street front is severely plain; it is symmetrically designed, with two doorways and four windows on the ground floor and four windows on the first floor. All the openings have flat brick arches and the windows contain timber frames of three lights with four-centred heads to the fitted casements. Midway between the floors, centrally, is the stone inscription-panel referred to above in a recess with segmental brick arch and sill; a second similar panel inserted over the E. doorway records an endowment by Joseph Merrill in 1805 of £166, the dividends to be distributed among the inhabitants of the Almshouses.

Inside are small staircase-halls flanked on each floor by bedsitting rooms. Small extensions were made at each end of the S. side in the 19th century.

(96) Victoria Homes stand on the N. side of Victoria Road, 170 yds. N.W. of the junction of Milton Road with Chesterton Road. The main building is of two storeys, with walls of white brick and slate-covered roofs. The Cambridge Victoria Friendly Society was founded in 1837 to provide almshouses for decayed members of benefit societies. The first homes were in cottages in James Street, Barnwell. In 1841 the range described below was built; it was designed by George Bradwell (C. H. Cooper, Memorials of Cambridge III, 177). After 1850 further accommodation was provided in separate groups of single-storey dwellings.

The building of 1841 consists of a single elongated range with a wide carriage-way through the middle. Both the N. and S. sides are symmetrically designed; each has a plinth, a plat-band at first-floor level interrupted by two colossal Roman Doric pilasters flanking the centre bay, and a deep projecting band at the wall-head representing the architrave and frieze of an entablature of which the boxed eaves form the cornice, the whole returning across the centre bay as the entablature of the order and pedimented. For the rest, the centrepiece has on the ground floor a wide archway with segmental head springing from stucco imposts, on the first floor a wide sash-hung window with tripartite timber frame, 'Cambridge Victoria Homes' painted on the entablature, and a clock in the tympanum flanked by the painted legend 'Estd. 1837'. The doorways to the dwellings have round brick arches and stucco imposts; the windows have flat brick arches, double-hung sashes and stone sills.

The interior arrangement to each side of the through-way consists of small staircase-halls the full width of the range, with doorways in both external walls, alternating with main rooms, and all intercommunicating. The whole has been modernised.

(97) Old Perse School, now part of the University Department of Physical Chemistry, stands on the E. side of Free School Lane towards the southern end. It is of two storeys, with walls of brick and tile-covered roofs. The School was founded under the terms of the will of Stephen Perse, M.D., Senior Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, who died in 1615, and completed presumably by February 1623–4 when rules for governance were drawn up. The building consisted of a range running N. and S. with two W. wings, which formed three sides of a court open to Free School Lane. It was much altered in 1841–2 and bought by the University in 1890 when it ceased to be used for the original purpose.

Only the N. to S. range (22 ft. by 70 ft.) of the 17th-century School building remains identifiable. The W. front is entirely concealed by modern laboratories. The N. and S. ends have parapeted gables and are faced with 19th-century white brickwork; all the openings are of 1841 or modern. The E. side has the lower part masked, the upper faced with 19th-century brick and pierced for access to a modern E. wing.

The interior of the range is divided into two storeys by a modern floor. Recent alterations have exposed the walls in section; the original brickwork is 1½ ft. thick, with a 19th-century 9 ins. brick facing. The timber roof is divided into five bays over all by restored 17th-century hammer-beam trusses. These last spring from moulded stone corbels and have moulded pendants below the hammer-posts and centrally under each collar between arched braces; the spandrels are filled with pierced scroll-work and the bays are ceiled in plaster at collar-beam level. The trusses are copied in the modern E. wing.

(98) Former National School, now garage and workshop, stands on the N. side of King Street some 30 yds. W. of Belmont Place. It is of two storeys; the walls are of white brick and the low-pitched roofs are slate-covered. It was built in 1816 (Camb. Chronicle 23 Feb. 1816). Adjoining on the S. is a small contemporary dwelling, probably for the teacher.

The School building is rectangular on plan, gabled to N. and S. The longer sides are divided into five bays by pilasterbuttresses the height of the ground floor and have three oversailing courses of brickwork at the eaves. Those windows unaltered here and in the teacher's dwelling are sash-hung. The whole is built with the severest economy. The interiors have been remodelled.

(99) Former Pound Hill School with teacher's house, now a medical centre and private dwelling respectively, stand on the N. side of Pound Hill some 50 yds. N.W. of Northampton Street. The two adjoin and are of one build though separately roofed. The first is of one storey with cellars, the second of two storeys and a basement. The walls are of brick; the low-pitched roofs are slated. In 1810 tenders were invited for the supply of building materials and in March 1811 the School was described as 'lately established'. (Camb. Chronicle 13 July 1810, 2 March 1811). Additions were made later.

The School building is rectangular on plan, orientated S.E. and N.W., with the teacher's house on the N.W. end. The additions at the opposite end are of the later 19th and 20th centuries. The S.W. side is in five bays; the centre bay projects and has a stepped stone blocking-course inscribed 'Free School supported by voluntary contributions'. All the windows on this side have been enlarged except the one in the N.W. bay, with square head, stone sill and double-hung sashes. The end walls are masked. The N.E. side is divided into bays by pilaster-strips as shown on the plan; it retains the original entrance doorway and five original windows.

Pound Hill School

Inside, the roof of the main schoolroom is divided by trusses into seven bays; a wider eighth bay over the classroom to the S.E. is spanned by a longitudinal truss supporting the hip of the roof. Various partitions and a chimney have been inserted in modern times.

The Teacher's House is severely plain outside and in except for the pilaster-strips on the N.W. and N.E., as shown on the plan; the entrance door-case is of timber, with fluted architrave, roundels at the corners and a shallow hood. The windows have double-hung sashes. The staircase is original, with plain balusters; spanning the passage behind it is a semi-circular arch springing from console-brackets.

(100) Former Infant School with teacher's house, now a store, off the N.W. side of Albion Row, near Mount Pleasant, has walls of gault brick and slate-covered roofs. It is of one storey and was built probably c. 1825. (References to Infant Schools, Camb. Chronicle 28 April, 8 Dec. 1826). Later alterations and additions have been made.

The building is rectangular on plan and consists of a large schoolroom with a teacher's house on the N.W. end; the two are of one build but separately roofed. The first is lit by three sash-hung windows on each side and is open to the roof, which has three king-post trusses. The Teacher's House, entered from the schoolroom through a doorway in the middle of the N.W. wall of the latter, has had all the internal walls and floors etc. removed.

(101) National School stands on the S. side of Russell Street, 160 yds. from Hills Road. It is of two storeys, with walls of gault brick with stone dressings and slate-covered roofs. The School was established in 1845, presumably on rented land, for the site was given in 1847 (C. H. Cooper, Memorials of Cambridge III, 163–4). Subsequently two S. extensions have been made, the first replacing most of an original single-storey projection, and the boys' entrance-porch has been enlarged and heightened to two storeys. In 1952 the girls' timber staircase was replaced by one of concrete.

The original building contains one large schoolroom on each floor, a staircase across the N. end, and lateral N.W. and N.E. porches. The N. front to the street is of some architectural pretension although the narrow single-flight staircase intervenes between it and the schoolrooms. It is pedimented and has three tall round-headed arched recesses on the ground floor, blind below the returned impost-band and originally pierced above, with tall keystones rising to a brick plat-band at first-floor level interrupted in the middle by a stone panel inscribed 'National School'. The first-floor windows have segmental brick arches, stone sills and double-hung sashes. The timber cornice is continuous round the building and in the tympanum of the pediment is a round louvred opening. The entrances to the porches have low elliptical arches with stone imposts and keystones, these last rising to panels in returns of the main impost-band inscribed 'Boys' in one, 'Girls' in the other.

National School

The schoolrooms are lit by five segmental-headed windows down each side. The original S. end is masked. The later 19th-century S. extension incorporates in the lower part of the W wall some original walling in continuation of the main W. wall.

Inside, the boys' schoolroom is divided into five bays by plain pilasters and tie-beams; the beams have the further support of staggered cast-iron columns down the middle of the room. In the S.W. corner is the doorway, now disused, to the former S. projection. The girls' schoolroom is spanned by queen-post trusses.

The original massive brick and stone piers of the two gates to the street survive. They are linked by a dwarf wall and have brick plinths and necking courses and stone caps with flat pyramidal tops. All the original ironwork has been removed.

(102) School, in Chesterton, on the N. side of High Street, 35 yds. N.E. of Ferry Lane, is of one storey. The walls are of brick, the roofs slate-covered. It was built in 1844.

The school is T-shaped on plan. The main cross-range is gabled and has in the S.E. gable-end a panel inscribed 'School Rooms in union with the National Society in 1844'. Additions have been made subsequently on the N.W. side of the N.E. wing. The building is severely plain.

(103) School, in Trumpington, on the N. side of Church Lane, 86 yds. E. by N. of the parish church, is of one storey with brick walls and tile-covered roofs. A letter in the Cambridge Chronicle of 22 July 1843 refers to it as recently built.

The original schoolroom some 20 ft. by 36 ft. is half obscured outside by extensive later additions; it is gabled to N. and S. and has a moulded brick plinth. The E. wall is divided into three bays by weathered buttresses and in each bay is a window-opening with depressed triangular head containing a timber frame comprising three lights with trefoiled openings. The window in the N. wall is similar to the foregoing in design but larger. The position of the original entrance is not certainly identifiable..The inside has been modernised.