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Emmanuel College Sports Pavilion, Including Groundsman's House and Stable, Cambridge

Description: Emmanuel College Sports Pavilion, Including Groundsman's House and Stable

Grade: II
Date Listed: 22 December 2014
Building ID: 1422595

OS Grid Reference: TL4352258697
OS Grid Coordinates: 543522, 258687
Latitude/Longitude: 52.2077, 0.0990

Locality: Cambridge
Local Authority: Cambridge City Council
County: Cambridgeshire
Postcode: CB3 9AD

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Listing Text


Sports pavilion with attached Groundsman’s house and stable, built for Emmanuel College in 1910 to the designs of Reginald Francis Wheatly and Edward Ford Duncanson.

Reason for Listing

The sports pavilion with attached Groundsman’s house and stable, built for Emmanuel College in 1910, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: it has a typically vernacular character allowing for an asymmetrical plan that is particularly appropriate for a building encompassing numerous functions which are all brought together into a coherent composition; * Interior: the principal interior space is a finely proportioned room in which the panelled walls, heavily moulded classical joinery, and network of ovolo-moulded ribs create a unified architectural ensemble of considerable quality; * Intactness: it retains many original fixtures and fittings, and although the stable has lost its doors and stalls, its former use remains legible, altogether representing a complete picture of how an Edwardian sports pavilion of this type functioned; * Rarity: there are no comparable listed examples of a pavilion with incorporated Groundsman’s house and stabling; * Context: it forms part of an exceptional suburban development in West Cambridge which encompasses the work of some of the most notable architects of the day.


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. Although economic necessity had forced the colleges to allow building on the land, they were determined to keep a strict control over the residential development which consisted almost entirely of high end middle class housing, interspersed with university playing fields and sports pavilions, without any community facilities such as churches or shops. There was no overall plan but the landowners ensured that it was restricted to an affluent market by issuing leases that specified numerous conditions, including minimum plot sizes, minimum house costs, specification of superior building materials, usually red brick and tiles, and had stringent dilapidation clauses to ensure that property values did not deteriorate. The majority of building leases in West Cambridge and Storey’s Way were taken up by individuals who commissioned either local or London-based architects, many of whom 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.The Sports Pavilion on Wilberforce Road was built in 1910 to the designs of Reginald Francis Wheatly (1879-1959) and Edward Ford Duncanson (1880-?) of 10 Grays Inn. Their plans for the pavilion, attached house and stable were drawn up between March and May 1910 and are preserved in Emmanuel College Archives. Little is known about the architects except that Wheatly is associated with one Grade II listed building – the late C19 Church of St Andrew in Redruth, Cornwall that was completed to his designs in 1937. The ten acre site between Madingley Road and the Coton Footpath was sold by St John’s College in 1907 to be laid out as the sports grounds for Emmanuel College. The first Groundsman, William John Masters Manning (1878-1954), had been appointed in 1908 and he resided in the attached Groundsman’s House as soon as it was built. The job description stated that the Groundsman would take charge of the ground – consisting of a cricket pitch, two football grounds, a hockey ground and about ten lawn tennis courts – in addition to umpiring at all cricket matches and supplying tea on the ground. His obituary in the 1953/4 College Magazine mentions that ‘in his work at the pavilion he was always loyally supported by his first wife’. Manning remained in his post until 1947, having become a College and a City institution for the excellence of his pitches, his sporting prowess and his considerable contribution to the sporting life of Cambridge. There have been some alterations to the pavilion buildings. Electricity was installed in 1933; one of the bedrooms was partitioned to allow a bathroom to be installed in 1952; and a dangerous balustrade which ran along part of the roof was removed in 1958. The door of the stable and those of the flanking storerooms have been replaced, and the stable fittings removed. Around the beginning of the C21 the south-west wing of the pavilion was extended on the south end to provide shower facilities.


Sports pavilion with attached Groundsman’s House and separate stable, built for Emmanuel College in 1910 to the designs of Reginald Francis Wheatly and Edward Ford Duncanson.MATERIALS: brick covered in roughcast render painted in cream and pale pink with roof coverings of red plain tiles and bonnet tiles.PLAN: the pavilion faces north-west over the sports ground and has two angled wings containing changing facilities, one extending eastwards and the other south-westwards. A third range extends south-eastwards from the rear of the pavilion which has a small room for catering that links up to the L-shaped Groundsman’s House. On the south side of the south-west wing is a stable with a rectangular plan. EXTERIOR: the complex roofscape of steep, sweeping pitches gives the building a picturesque character which is tempered by some Classical elements. The main north-west range has a hipped roof with louvred gablets and small gabled parapets at each corner, and is surmounted by a decorative copper cupola which has a polygonal base with a raised chevron pattern and a polygonal bell-shaped roof with a weathervane supported by a wooden balustrade. This range has a central triple-leaf, multi-pane glazed door, flanked by similar two-leaf doors, either side of which is a tall twelve-pane fixed window, all with wooden glazing bars. Attached to the front of the range is a flat-roofed loggia with a moulded and dentilled cornice supported by Tuscan columns. The moulded cornice is continued on the flat-roofed angled wings which are lit by top-opening, cross casements with slanting sills. The east wing has a loggia of three round arches with moulded impost bands and three regularly spaced voussoirs of tiles laid on edge (painted cream). It has two windows and a new door to the small shower extension on the end which has been designed in the same style and materials. The south-west wing is divided into five window bays by attached square piers, the recessed windows having pronounced sloping tiled sills. The end wall of the wing is lit by two windows, and the rear elevation by two windows at either end. The narrow single-storey range linking the pavilion to the house has a pitched roof that continues as a hipped pentice on the rear (west) side of the house, and has a particularly tall red brick ridge stack with raised vertical brick strips around the top. The L-shaped, two-storey house has a pitched roof which sweeps downwards to ground-floor level over the entrance hall on the east (front) side. The roof has plain narrow bargeboards and a moulded wooden cornice that is returned onto the gable ends to form kneelers which have four raised corner bands below. There is a short ridge stack with four tapered tile pots on the north-south aligned roof, and a tall (rebuilt) stack rising from the south slope of the east-west aligned roof, both with vertical brick strips. The east frontage has, on the left, a gabled canopy with a pierced segmental arch supported by shaped brackets over the door with vertical planks and top glazing. There is a three-light straight-headed dormer in the angle of the roof above. The projecting gabled bay to the right is lit on the ground floor by a six-light casement window with wooden glazing bars and mullions and transoms, with a lintel in the form of a hipped pentice. The first-floor window above is similar but smaller. The right return is lit by two ground-floor cross windows and a small two-light window above. The south gable end is dominated by a flat-roofed canted bay window, and has a six-light window above. INTERIOR: in contrast to the rather homely vernacular elevations, the interior of the main north-west range is in a handsome Wrenaissance style. It is a large single space which has canted ends with built-in storage benches, a parquet floor, heavy moulded cornice and a decorative canted ceiling with ovolo-moulded ribs, painted white (as is all the internal joinery). The mid-height panelling has vertical panels and a moulded cornice. The wall opposite the entrance door has a segmental arched recess, flanked by panelled piers, with a heavy moulded cornice supported by paired consoles. The fireplace within the recess retains the original fuel stove set in a semi-circular arched surround of decoratively laid brick with a wooden moulded mantelshelf. This is flanked by four-panelled doors set in moulded doorframes, one leading to the catering room linking up with the house, which retains built-in storage, and the other to a cupboard. The canted ends of the room have arched openings with a moulded segmental arch supported by consoles in the same style as that over the fireplace. These lead through to the changing rooms, one of which retains its original built-in storage benches and rows of clothes hooks, and modern shower facilities. In contrast, the house has simple fixtures, fittings and joinery, including four-panelled doors with brass knob handles and lock cases, and a dogleg stair with closed string, stick balusters and square capped newel posts. The hall and two reception rooms have parquet floors, and one reception room has a moulded picture rail and simple fireplace surround with dentilled cornice, and the other a coved ceiling cornice and service bell and indicator board with ‘front door’ and ‘back door’. The first floor has three bedrooms, two of which retain simple wooden fireplace surrounds with cast-iron grates, and one a built-in cupboard with panelled doors. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the detached stable has a double-height central bay with a very steeply pitched roof which sweeps down over the flanking single-storey tile-hung storage bays that are recessed on the west frontage. The large opening to the stable has lost its original door, and the doors and windows to the store rooms have been replaced. The gable head projects over the hay loft hatch and is supported by wooden brackets. The rear (east) side has a series of wooden brackets, presumably for holding grass-cutting equipment as they are protected by a pentice roof. There is a bottom-opening window just above this roof. Internally, the stable retains the floor of the hay loft with an opening for access but none of the internal stable fittings survive.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.