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«March 2009 Contents 1 CHARACTER SUMMARY 2 INTRODUCTION 2.1 Background 2.2 Methodology 2.3 Limitations 3 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT 3.1 Brief overview of ...»

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Cambridge Suburbs and Approaches

Madingley Road

Cambridge Suburbs and Approaches: Madingley Road

Prepared by

The Architectural History Practice Ltd


Cambridge City Council

March 2009




2.1 Background

2.2 Methodology

2.3 Limitations


3.1 Brief overview of the development of Cambridge

3.2 The development of Madingley Road


4.1 The Assessment Area

4.2 Overall Character and Appearance

4.3 Character Area 1

4.4 Character Area 2

4.5 Character Area 3


Cambridge Suburbs & Approaches: Madingley Road i List of Figures Figure 1: Enclosure map, 1805

Figure 2: Baker’s Map, 1830

Figure 3: 1888 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (detail)

Figure 4: 1956 OS map (detail)

Figure 5: Assessment Area, showing Character Areas

Cambridge City Council ii


The approach to Cambridge along Madingley Road is predominantly green and leafy, right into the City Centre, more so than other approaches into the City.

Notwithstanding some earlier developments, such as that for the Observatory, the road was developed from the late 19th century with large detached suburban houses, offering a taste of rus in urbe for dons newly permitted to marry. Thus the town end of the road was developed as what Pevsner calls Cambridge’s villenviertel, denoting that part of the City (along with Grange Road) where are to be found the largest and most significant houses. Here are represented works in a variety of architectural styles by architects of local and national renown.

Unlike Huntingdon Road and Barton Road, Madingley Road largely escaped 20th century ribbon development. The road gently undulates, with interwar developments such as Bulstrode Gardens, Hedgerley Close and Conduit Head Road giving off as closes to north and south. The most significant post-war development has been Churchill College, occupying a large part of the eastern side of the assessment area.

This is one of the most successful collegiate developments of post-war years, its (now listed) buildings set within spacious lawns and playing fields. A rural quality remains here, with a meandering stream following the side of the footpath.

Further west the landscape opens up, and towards the M11 becomes open fields, bounded to the road by mature hedges. This side of the assessment area has witnessed major development in recent years, notably Michael Hopkins’ Schlumberger Research Centre, a new beacon landmark on the approach to the City. More often, however, the quality of new development has been indifferent or poor.

At present the northern edge of the West Cambridge Conservation Area includes much of the eastern end of the assessment area but excludes Churchill College and its grounds, Bulstrode Gardens and Hedgerley Close. Further west, part of the assessment area lies within the Conservation Area which has been created around Conduit Head Road. It is recommended that consideration be given to reviewing these boundaries so as to afford Conservation Area status to the whole of the eastern side of the assessment area.

Cambridge Suburbs & Approaches: Madingley Road 1 2 INTRODUCTION

2.1 Background The Architectural History Practice Limited (AHP) was commissioned in January 2009 by Cambridge City Council (the Council) to undertake rapid assessments of Huntingdon Road, Madingley Road and Barton Road. These assessments are the first in, and will set the pattern for, a series of rapid and concise studies to provide assessments and understanding of ‘local distinctiveness’. The programme reflects Council members’ and residents’ concerns in relation to major growth proposals and the individual and cumulative impact of the replacement of individual houses with flats.

2.2 Methodology The assessment involved fieldwork, some desk research and analysis. Research was carried out at the County Record Office and in the building control records of the City Council. It consisted of a review of historic maps, and a more general review of works on the history of Cambridge, its architecture and development. Madingley Road was physically assessed on foot in February 2009. The assessment is based on what could be seen from the public highway.

2.3 Limitations AHP were commissioned to assess the architectural and historic character of Madingley Road as part of a characterisation assessment, including the heritage significance of the area. The assessment is not in sufficient depth to support potential Conservation Area designation, although it may provide a useful basis for consideration for designation.

There are a number of additional lines of research which might produce additional historical information on the history and development of Madingley Road such as rate books, insurance and building control records. Further research will provide greater detail and depth to an understanding of how the area developed.

Cambridge City Council 2


3.1 Brief overview of the development of Cambridge The City of Cambridge lies at the intersection of four Roman roads, and the Roman settlement developed on the west side of the river Cam in the present Castle Hill area. In Saxon times there was further settlement south of the river. After the Norman Conquest a castle was built north of the river and several churches and monastic foundations were in existence by the mid-13th century. The major growth of the town dates from the establishment of the University from the 13th century, and at the time of the Reformation there were 15 colleges.

Cambridge did not develop beyond its medieval bounds until the early 1800s, following the Acts of Enclosure. With the arrival of the railway in the 1840s the town expanded as a market town and agricultural centre. Large new areas of housing were built throughout the second half of the 19th century, building off and connecting the historic routes radiating out from the centre, including Madingley Road. In the first half of the 20th century the town’s population grew from 40,000 to 90,000;

outlying villages were connected and absorbed as ribbon development spread out from the centre.

Early resistance to this growth and the loss of village character in outlying areas was manifested in the establishment of the Cambridge Preservation Trust in 1928, and the protection given to the Gog Magog Hills, Grantchester, Coton and Madingley.

After the Second World War Sir William (later Lord) Holford and H. Myles Wright’s Cambridge Survey and Plan of 1950 formed the basis of the 1952 County Development Plan, defining the Green Belt and proposing new housing growth on the northern and south-eastern fringes of the town (which became a City in 1951).

Population was to be capped at 100,000.

Holford’s policy of containment proved unsustainable, and the post-war period has seen continuing pressure for and accommodation of development in and around the City. The coming years will see significant development in the City, with new housing, associated community facilities, as well as development of land for employment, medical and higher education expansion. Land giving off Madingley Road, particularly in the western half of the assessment area, has already been affected by major development in recent years. The Council wishes to ensure that Cambridge Suburbs & Approaches: Madingley Road 3 change is accommodated in the most appropriate way, taking account of the sustainability, mixed use, conservation and design objectives set out elsewhere in the Plan. The current assessment will inform the preparation of more detailed policies and guidance.

3.2 The development of Madingley Road At the turn of the 19th century Madingley Road was predominately fields, with ownership shared between St John’s College (the north and south of the far east end, stretching south to Barton Road), Sir Charles Cotton RN (the north west end), a Jacob Smith (who also owned land on Huntingdon Road), the Diocese of Ely (south west, rented to Thomas Whittred), the Storey’s Charity (adjacent to the latter), William Farish, Clerk, and Merton College (Oxford).

FIGURE 1: ENCLOSURE MAP, 1805 The Blackfriars’ Conduit Head, the stone structure over the spring that supplied piped water first to the Blackfriars and later to Trinity and St Johns Colleges, remains from the Middle Ages. The Observatory, built in 1822, was the first major University building to be built outside the town. By 1830 the town map produced by Baker (Figure 4) shows that smaller buildings had appeared, including Gravel Hill Farm (the present house and barn are very much of a later age) to the west and Church Farm to the south (on Farish’s land), whilst some of St John’s College land had been planted, as the Mount Pleasant Nursery. The area to the west of Gravel Hill Farm appears to have been marshy around Conduit Head, as shown on the 1888 1st edition OS map. There was also at least one brick kiln established, making the most of the rich local brick earth.

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FIGURE 3: 1888 1ST EDITION ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP (DETAIL) After resident fellows were permitted to marry in 1882, colleges granted long leases on land for large family homes. These sprung up to the east of Madingley Road on land belonging to St John’s College. Balliol Croft (later Marshall House, no. 6 Madingley Road) was completed in 1886 to the designs of the well-known Victorian architect J.J. Stevenson. Marshall was an economist who returned from Oxford to Cambridge once married, and named the house after his old Oxford college. By 1903 nos. 1, 3, 5 and 7 had been built on the south side adjacent to the playing fields, as well the lodge to Westminster College and nos. 8, 10 and 12 (‘Elterholm’) on the north. Further west, the 2nd edition map shows that two inns (The Man Loaded with Mischief and Plough and Harrow) had been built along the road for travellers entering and leaving the City.

Cambridge Suburbs & Approaches: Madingley Road 5 Map progressions show that the large majority of houses in Madingley Road date from between 1926 and 1938, when the southeast side (including Bulstrode Gardens and Hedgerley Close), and Conduit Head Road (to the northwest) were developed.

Bulstrode Gardens and Hedgerley Close were developed at about the same time as each other. Most, if not all, of Bulstrode Gardens appears to have been speculatively developed by J. A. Alliston, in connection with the firm of Alliston & Drew of London.

With the exception of nos. 1 and 7, which were designed by Robert Furneaux Jordan (well known as an architectural writer), the houses of Hedgerley Close were built to the designs of the noted Cambridge architect H. C. Hughes.

The next significant phase was the development of the University towards the west, as a result of the 1950 Holford Report. The first buildings were those for the School of Veterinary Sciences (1953-5 by Ian Forbes, shown on the 1956 OS map, figure 6), stripped neo-Georgian/beaux arts, followed by Churchill College (1961-68, by Sheppard Robson & Partners), fully characteristic of that office’s modernist planning and formal resourcefulness.

FIGURE 4: 1956 OS MAP (DETAIL) Further west, the surrounding landscape remained relatively undeveloped until the recent University expansion to house new science buildings, some, such as the William Gates building, aided by private benefactors. Other sites were developed commercially, including the adjacent Microsoft Research Centre and further west, the distinctive stretched canopy of the Schlumberger Research Centre.

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• Character Area 1 (green) is the residential area in the south east of the assessment area, and includes Hedgerley Close and Bulstrode Gardens.

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At present the northern edge of the West Cambridge Conservation Area includes most of Character Area 1 but excludes Bulstrode Gardens and Hedgerley Close. On the north side of Madingley Road, the Conservation Area includes the buildings around Lucy Cavendish College but excludes Churchill College and its grounds.

Further west along Madingley Road, part of the assessment area (the properties closest to the street) form part of the Conservation Area which has been created around Conduit Head Road. It is recommended that consideration be given to reviewing and extending these boundaries so as to incorporate Character Areas 1 and 2 within existing or new Conservation Area boundaries.

4.2 Overall Character and Appearance Madingley Road is a principal route into the City, and retains its green and open quality closer to the City Centre to a larger extent than other approaches. The road remained relatively underdeveloped until the late 19th century when an eclectic series of large family houses were built, the best of them at the east end of the road.

They display the gamut of styles of the late 19th and early 20th century Domestic revival. Arts and Craft or vernacular styles are well represented in the later interwar houses around the middle of the south side of the road. These are supplemented by some early modern houses (outside the study area) and a good collection of postwar houses around Conduit Head Road.

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4.3 Character Area 1 The south east area of Madingley Road is composed of a series of large freestanding 1890s – 1930s villas, set back in well planted plots. Further middle class family homes followed as land was released or developed by the University. The houses are set back from the road, the plots frequently with two entrances, leading in and out of a drive. The front gardens were substantially planted out from the outset, Cambridge Suburbs & Approaches: Madingley Road 9 offering privacy from the busy road. The result is a high survival of original mature trees and cumulative plant growth. Most properties remain open to the pavement, albeit some heavily screened by planting. However, some (such as nos. 17, 19A and 21) have been hidden away behind large private gates, giving them a fortified air.

Character Area 1 has a varied mix of styles of houses giving it special interest. They are nearly all of a high architectural quality and little altered. Houses of particular

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