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48 Storey's Way

A Grade II* Listed Building in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.2151 / 52°12'54"N

Longitude: 0.1002 / 0°6'0"E

OS Eastings: 543577

OS Northings: 259510

OS Grid: TL435595

Mapcode National: GBR L78.24Y

Mapcode Global: VHHK2.PL98

Plus Code: 9F426482+23

Entry Name: 48 Storey's Way

Listing Date: 18 May 1967

Last Amended: 22 December 2014

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1126090

English Heritage Legacy ID: 47782

Location: Castle, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB3

County: Cambridgeshire

District: Cambridge

Electoral Ward/Division: Castle

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Cambridge

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Cambridge The Ascension

Church of England Diocese: Ely

Tagged with: Building

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Arts and Crafts house built in 1913 to the designs of M. H. Baillie Scott.


Arts and Crafts house built in 1913 to the designs of M. H. Baillie Scott.

MATERIALS: brick covered in whitewashed cement render with a rough texture and a roof covering of plain red clay tiles of variegated hues and late C20 red brick chimney stacks laid in stretcher bond.

PLAN: the house is positioned towards the north end of a long, narrow garden plot. It has a long rectangular plan facing north-eastwards towards the road and a small lobby and store projecting from the north corner. The plan is laid out on a cross axis with the front and back doors aligned, and the reception rooms and bedrooms positioned along the south-west garden front.

(The current Ordnance Survey map shows a projection on the east side of the north-east elevation. This was a later garage that was removed in 1991.)

EXTERIOR: the house is in a striking and picturesque Arts and Crafts style. It has two storeys and an attic under a dramatic roofscape from which rise two tall chimney stacks with water tabling and narrow projecting caps: one is a ridge stack on the left side, and the other passes through the rear pitch on the right side and has a small roof masking the joint with the main roof. The principal north-east elevation has a two and a half storey gabled wing with a low sweep on the right side, and to the left a lower, two-storey gabled stair bay set forward, both with swept valleys. The steeply pitched roof over the main range on the left side sweeps down to ground-floor level. The fenestration consists of horizontal casements of a varying number of leaded lights in wooden frames set flush with the wall. Those on the façade and on the ground-floor of the garden frontage are cambered. On the left is a door of three vertical studded panels with long iron strap hinges and iron latch which leads into what was originally the bicycle store which also gave direct access to the study. This is followed by a single, a three-light, and then a five-light casement, and the first floor above has a hipped dormer with exposed rafter feet which lights the corridor. The roughly central front door is set in a hollow chamfered door surround under the eaves against the inner stair gable. It has three vertical studded panels with moulded muntins, a rail carved in a grape and vine design, long iron strap hinges and an iron latch. The gabled stair projection has a two-light first-floor casement and a small light in an exposed brick surround set low off the ground. There is a similar small stair light to the left return. The taller asymmetrical gabled bay has a two-light and three-light casement on the ground and first floors and a two-light casement above. The roof on this north corner extends over the single-storey lobby, with coal store and former outside W.C., which provides covered access to the kitchen and to the garden, all openings having painted plank and batten doors with iron latches.

The near symmetrical garden front has a central door of three vertical studded panels with moulded muntins, long iron strap hinges and an iron latch, in a moulded timber doorframe with a slightly cambered head. This is flanked by canted bays with flat leaded roofs and casements above a rendered plinth. To the left is a three-light mullion and transom window to the kitchen, and to the right is a small fixed light to the inglenook and a four-light mullion and transom window to the study, followed by a door of two vertical planks to the study set under the covered section of the pergola (or ‘garden room’ as it is called on the original plan). The first-floor casements are set under the eaves and slightly offset above the ground-floor openings. The two-light central window is flanked by six-light windows above the canted bays and four-light outer casements. There is a pair of hipped two-light dormers above. The north-west gable end has an entrance to the kitchen on the right, and irregularly positioned windows: two two-light casements on the ground floor, a single and two-light casement above, and a single-light window in the attic.

INTERIOR: this represents Arts and Crafts design of the first order in which carefully chosen materials have been finely worked to bring out their innate qualities. Thus, the plaster on the walls and ceilings has a slightly rough texture rather than presenting a bland smoothness; and the structural timber has been roughly finished with an adze to suggest, as Baillie Scott wrote, ‘in a far-off way the beauty of the woodland’, whilst the joinery has a smoother finish. The floors are laid in planks of varying width with the exception of the flag-stoned hall passage. The doors to principal rooms are of eight panels with iron or timber latches, whilst those to the service end are vertically boarded with long iron hinges. All the windows have square section mullions and transoms, those on the ground floor also with polished sills, and all have ornate iron latches and stays, some replaced, copying original models.

The transverse hall passage has a ceiling of exposed joists, a panelled dado of lapped panels under a flat shallow cornice, and internal windows to the former larder etc set in a timber framed partition. The sitting room or ‘hall’ has a ceiling of exposed chamfered beams and joists and overlooks the garden on one side, and on the other has an alcove supported on braced posts looking over the entrance front. The inglenook fireplace has a tall curved metal hood (copying an original model from another house), a new grate, and a shallow bracketed shelf above the bressummer. There is a settle on the right hand side. A pair of doors leads into the dining room, each of eight panels with timber latches, which fold back against the timber framed partition to create a large open space. The dining room has a four-centred arch stone chimneypiece set in a fully panelled wall with two inset panelled doors with snakehead hinges. The delicate modelled plasterwork ceiling and frieze, by J. C. Pocock, has raised moulded ribs forming a geometric eight-petalled flower, embellished by Tudor roses. The study, accessed via a discreet opening in the sitting room, has a ceiling of exposed beams and joists, and two framed alcoves: one overlooks the front garden and leads to the bicycle store; the other on the end wall leads through to the garden room. The brick fireplace has a simple chamfered opening.

The timber framed open well stair has square newel posts with distinctive facetted cushioned finials, turned balusters supporting a deep moulded handrail, and a panelled dado. The top of the flight takes the form of a three-light gallery with wooden tracery with foliated cusps salvaged from a medieval church. The first-floor corridor runs the length of the house, with a small central raised landing, off which the garden-facing bedrooms are accessed. These have small brick fireplaces with a cambered arch and slate hearth, some with hob grates, probably also salvaged; and some rooms have built-in cupboards. Rising from the room on the south end is a steep narrow stair that divides into two to provide access to the interconnecting attic rooms. There is another closed-in straight flight at the other end of the corridor. In the kitchen, the alcove for the range remains, flanked by a large built-in cupboard on the right, and a door to the servery on the left. The service bell and indicator board is in situ, and the larder has a red-tiled floor.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the two covered sections of the pergolas, or ‘garden rooms’, extend from the outer bays on the south-west garden front. These have square section timber shafts on brick and stone bases with a floor laid in herringbone brick edged in stretchers. The garden rooms extend seamlessly into the five-bay pergolas which have rough hewn poles and a floor laid in basketweave brick edged in cobblestone.

The two lawns located between the pergolas are bordered along their south-west side by rill-shaped brick plant boxes terminating on the inner edge in low square brick piers with moulded stone square caps and a frieze with an elongated embattled pattern.

Towards the end of the plot between the wild garden and vegetable garden is an oval pergola, designed as a vinery, on a brick plinth with slender poles which replaced the rotten original structure.


Cambridge is situated on the southern edge of the Fens at the highest navigable point of the River Cam. The original Celtic settlement had grown up on the north bank but the Romans established the small town of Durovigutum at the strategically important junction of four major roads. The Saxon occupation spread to the south of the river, and the Normans reaffirmed the strategic importance of the site by building a castle which led to the expansion of the settlement. Cambridge soon became a prosperous town in which several religious houses were established, and these attracted sufficient students for Henry III to recognise the town as a seat of learning in 1231. Most of the fifteen colleges in existence before the Reformation had evolved from the cloistered world of monastic scholarship. Additional colleges and university buildings have continued to be established up to the present day and much new housing was built during the inter-war period and post-war period.

The development of the former medieval West Fields began around 1870. This land, covering approximately 200 acres, was owned primarily by the colleges, notably St John’s, which had always strongly resisted any building west of the Backs (the stretch of land which runs along the back of the riverside colleges). It was the loss of college revenue from the agricultural depression that led to their decision to lease the land in building plots. Three new institutions were established – Newnham College in 1875, Ridley Hall in 1877, and Selwyn Hostel (now College) in 1879 – and suburban houses in various styles from Queen Anne to Arts and Crafts and neo-Georgian were built piecemeal over almost half a century. The demand for such large family homes was partly fuelled by a new statute passed in 1882 that finally allowed dons to marry without having to give up their fellowships. The main arteries of development were West Road, Madingley Road and Grange Road which forms the central spine road running north-south through the suburb.

A plan for an estate of about 35 acres on the northern boundary of West Cambridge was laid out in the early C20 for the Trustees of Storey’s Charity, which had been allotted an L-shaped plot of land in the 1805 Enclosure Award. Storey’s Way, the main roadway of the new estate, was constructed in 1911 and 74 freehold plots were offered for sale, varying from a quarter of an acre to an acre. The Trustees were determined to keep a strict control over the residential development and imposed numerous restrictions in the leases, including minimum building costs of £800 on smaller plots and £1000 on larger plots. To put this in context, in 1906 the sum of £1000 was considered well above the price of a substantial suburban villa. The majority of building leases in West Cambridge and Storey’s Way were taken up by individuals who commissioned many architects who are now considered to be amongst the finest of the late Victorian/ Edwardian age, notably M. H. Baillie Scott who designed nine houses in west Cambridge, E. S. Prior, J. J. Stephenson, and Ernest Newton.

48 Storey’s Way was built in 1913 for H. A. Roberts, Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, and Secretary to the Cambridge University Appointment Board. The house and garden were designed by Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott (1865-1945), an eminent Arts and Crafts architect who designed thirteen houses in Cambridge (nine of which are listed), mostly for academics who appreciated his ability to create artistic, yet practical houses for various budgets. Baillie Scott was the eldest son of a minor but wealthy Scottish aristocrat and attended the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester before deciding to pursue an architectural career. He was articled to Major Charles E. Davis of Bath and in 1889 moved to the Isle of Man where he established a successful domestic practice. In his own house, the heavily half-timbered Red House in Douglas (1892-93), he used a new way of planning – in which the large hall, or ‘house place’ as he called it, was separated from the drawing and dining rooms by folding screens – thus allowing a fluid, adaptable living space that became a hallmark of his work.

Baillie Scott’s designs received extensive coverage in The Studio from 1895, resulting in commissions from clients all over England as well as the Continent. In 1901 he moved his practice to Bedford, the home of the Pyghtle Works, for whom he designed furniture, and he soon took on Arthur Edgar Beresford as his assistant. Baillie Scott’s fame spread even wider after the publication of Houses and Gardens (1906) in which he illustrated his work and explained his ideas on house planning and design, focussing on the importance of function and drawing out the character of materials. In 1919 he re-established his practice in London, now in partnership with Beresford, and in 1933 they produced an updated Houses and Gardens with photographs and plans, including those of 48 Storey’s Way. Baillie Scott is well represented on the statutory List which contains around sixty of his buildings, almost all houses, including five at Grade II*, and the Grade I listed Blackwell (1899) at Windermere, Cumbria, his finest surviving work in England and a masterpiece of the Arts and Crafts movement.

48 Storey’s Way has been subject to some alterations. The wall between the kitchen and scullery has been removed to form one room, and a door has been created between the former scullery and the larder. The house was sympathetically restored in 1990-91 by William Fawcett and Diane Haigh, Architects. This involved re-tiling the roof incorporating as many of the original tiles as possible and using salvaged tiles from an Arts and Crafts house in Letchworth Garden City. In the sitting-room inglenook the fireplace had long since been removed, and the current metal hood was copied from one in another Baillie Scott house, and the grate added. On the first floor, the bedroom at the south end of the house has been converted into a bathroom, and the back-to-back cupboards between this and the adjacent bedroom have been knocked through, preserving the doors. The trellis on the garden elevation has been replaced like-for-like, and the pergolas and vineries have been rebuilt to match the originals which had rotted.

Reasons for Listing

48 Storey’s Way, built in 1913 to the designs of M. H. Baillie Scott, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architect: Baillie Scott is one of the most accomplished and prolific architects of the Arts and Crafts Movement and has around sixty listed buildings to his name;
* Architectural interest: it is one of Baillie Scott’s most accomplished works, comparable in interest to his highly graded pieces, and is masterly in its composition, plan form, detailing and craftsmanship;
* Planning: the plan form represents the culmination of the architect’s ideas about layout and function, providing a fluid living space and a distinctive spatial quality in which views and vistas are created along the axes;
* Interior: this is meticulously detailed and beautifully crafted;
* Materials: high quality building materials are used throughout, their essential nature drawn out by thoughtful handling;
* Intactness: the decorative elements and joinery have survived with a high level of intactness, as has the original plan form which has been subject to only minor modification in the service area;
* Context: the house forms part of an exceptional suburban development in West Cambridge which encompasses the work of some of the most notable architects of the day;
* Group value: it has group value with the garden which is being recommended for registration, and is one of an important cluster of five listed Baillie Scott houses in Storey’s Way.

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