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Elterholm, 12 and 12A Madingley Road

A Grade II Listed Building in Castle, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.2123 / 52°12'44"N

Longitude: 0.1075 / 0°6'26"E

OS Eastings: 544086

OS Northings: 259212

OS Grid: TL440592

Mapcode National: GBR L78.9Z1

Mapcode Global: VHHK2.TN5F

Entry Name: Elterholm, 12 and 12A Madingley Road

Listing Date: 22 December 2014

Last Amended: 5 October 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1422165

Location: 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

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Two-storey house with attic storey, built 1888, designed by W C Marshall. Attached fruit store to the north, built 1896, designed by Prince and Sons. Detached laboratory to the east, built 1911, designed by Harry Redfern.


Two-storey house with attic storey, built 1888, designed by W C Marshall. Attached fruit store to the north, built 1896, designed by Prince and Sons. Detached laboratory to the east, built 1911, designed by Harry Redfern.

MATERIALS: Elterholm, or 12 Madingley Road, is constructed in red brick laid in stretcher bond, with decorative applied timbering to the first floor and attic storey gables and a plain tiled roof covering.

The attached fruit store is also built in brick, with full height applied timbering over a red brick plinth course, and a plain tiled roof.

12A was constructed of red brick laid in stretcher bond, painted white, with half-timbering applied to the first floor of the south-east corner. Red tiles are hung to the east and west gables over the first floor. Plain tiled roof covering.

PLAN: Elterholm is roughly L-shaped in plan, and is of two storeys with an attic storey to the west end.

The fruit store is rectangular in plan, and is linked to the north elevation of the house by a corridor at first floor level.

12A stands detached approximately 5 metres to the east of Elterholm. It is rectangular in plan, and has a two storey elevation.

EXTERIOR:Elterholm was constructed in the Tudor Revival Style in 1888, with two-storeys and an attic storey. The house has a hipped roof, and is gabled to the east, with two gables on the north elevation, and three gables on the south elevation, two of which are jettied. The house has four red brick chimney stacks. Each elevation is constructed of red brick laid in stretcher bond, with half-timbering applied to the first floor and attic storey. The two jettied gables on the south elevation each feature an attractive curved eaves cornice and carved finials to their apex. The largest of the two gables displays an elegant sweeping roofline which is emphasised by a dentilled timber band and quatrefoil half-timbering beneath. The former main entrance to the house is located at the east end of the north elevation, and takes the form a rectangular-plan single-storey porch, which may have been added later as it doesn’t appear on the original plans, and is constructed of red brick laid in English bond (as opposed to stretcher bond). The porch has a lean-to roof, and a raised and fielded timber door flanked to each side by a three-light casement window over a red brick plinth. The former service entrance on the north elevation of the west block comprises a camber-headed door surround containing a replacement door with a three-pane overlight. The south elevation has three doors: a plain timber door opening from the east bay of the ground floor to the garden; a double-leaf glazed door opening from the west bay of the ground floor to the garden (replacing an earlier window); and a glazed door opening to a balcony on the first floor. At the west end of the house, each of the four slopes of the roof feature a three-light casement dormer window. The house has casement windows throughout, with latticed windows to the first floor of the west elevation, and to each attic window. The windows to the south elevation (with the exception of the attic window) consist of leaded casement windows under swivel windows.

The attached building to the north, formerly a fruit store, is two storeys in height, and is linked to the service stair of the house by a passage over a camber-headed arch. It appears that the passage was originally aesthetic, and only became a functional bridge in the late C20, when the first floor of the fruit store was converted to student accommodation. Both the fruit store and linking passage have a pitched roof with a plain tile roof covering. The fruit store and the linking passage are articulated with monochromatic applied half-timbering, a curved eaves cornice and a low red brick plinth course. The trace of an external stair survives on the north elevation, which is accessed by three stone steps at the north-west corner of the store. The ground floor of the fruit store is accessed by an original double-leaf timber door on the west elevation. The east elevation has a ten-light casement window on the ground floor, and a five-light casement window to the first floor, both with replacement glazing. The west elevation has a five-light casement window at first floor level, which does not appear on the original drawings, and was probably inserted in the late C20, when the store was converted to accommodation. A two-light fixed window to the west elevation of the first floor passage has attractive latticed glazing to compliment the windows of the house, and was probably inserted in the late C20.

12A was built as a laboratory, and was converted to accommodation in the late C20. The former laboratory stands approximately 5 metres to the east of Elterholm, and was constructed in the Arts and Crafts style. It is two storeys in height, constructed of red brick painted white, with red clay tiles hung to the first floor of the east and west gables. The roof is pitched over the first floor, and the south slope sweeps down to above ground floor height to cover an arcaded passage leading east to the entrance. The south slope has one dormer window and one half-dormer window, each containing a four-light casement window with leaded lights. The half-dormer is half-timbered to compliment the Tudor Revival style of the neighbouring house and fruit store. The arcaded passage has four arches over a plinth wall to its south wall, and a blind arch, two blind windows and a glazed window to its north wall. The entrance on the east wall of the arcaded passage comprises a plain timber-battened door with two cast-iron strap hinges, and a plain sidelight. The west elevation bears two four-light casement windows to the first floor, and a double-leaf timber door to the ground floor, probably introduced in the late C20 as it does not correspond with the original plans for the laboratory. The north elevation has four large four-over-four casement windows to the first floor and ground floors. A flat section of roof over the first floor windows was formerly constructed of cast plate glass, and was probably replaced in the late C20 when the building was converted to residential use. The east elevation has two two-light casement windows to the ground floor and first floor.

INTERIOR: Elterholm was converted from private residential use to student accommodation in the late C20, but has retained the majority of its original floor plan and numerous original internal decorative features including the primary and service stairs, wood panelling, fireplaces, built-in cupboards, cornices and skirting. Some original raised and fielded timber panelled doors and door surrounds survive throughout the house, and the windows retain original window furniture, including ornate casement fasteners and stays.

The house has two entrances from the north elevation: the entrance at the east end was the primary entrance for visitors, and the door to the west end gave access to the service area and service stair. The primary entrance at the east end leads south through a small porch to a moulded-brick door surround containing a replacement half-glazed timber door. From the porch, the visitor entered a large hall to the south, which in turn opened west into the drawing room. The hall was subdivided into a corridor and a bedroom (Bedroom 1) in the late C20, and access to the drawing room was blocked off. Bedroom 1 retains original square timber panelling on its west wall, with fluted timber pilasters either side of a flat-arched opening to the former drawing room to the west (now Bedroom 2). From the entrance porch, a round-headed arch gives access to a well-lit stair hall to the west, which retains square coffered timber panelling beneath the closed-string of the stair and to the walls. The panelling opposite the stairs has most probably been relocated from elsewhere in the house, as the joinery does not perfectly match the rest of the stair hall. The elegant staircase on the north wall comprises hand-carved beaded balusters, banisters, beaded newel posts and ball finials, and appears unaltered. Above the stair, each window has raised and fielded timber panelling to its reveal and plinth. It appears that the position of the window on the east wall may have been altered, due to the trace of a former opening approximately 1.5m below the current window. The stair hall also features an original free-standing bench on the ground floor, executed in a similar style to the timber panelling. To the south of the stair hall are a former drawing room and dining room, which were converted to bedrooms in the late C20 (Bedrooms 2 and 3 respectively). Both rooms are accessed from a late C20 corridor to the south of the kitchen passage, and Bedroom 3 (former dining room) retains an original fire surround and grate on its east wall. To the west of the stair hall, plain inbuilt timber cupboards and a service hatch were installed in the early C20, allowing service between the former kitchen in the south-west corner (now a sitting room), and the former back-kitchen to the north. The former back-kitchen, larder and coal stores in the north-west corner now form a modern kitchen and dining area, and no original features of note survive in these rooms. To the east of the service passage, the former pantry was converted to a shower room in the late C20.

The first floor landing has large bedrooms to the south, and a door to the west of the landing grants access to smaller bedrooms and the former service area for this floor. To the south-east of the landing, Bedroom 4 (formerly a study) has been sub-divided to include a WC at the north end, and the bedroom contains a plain fireplace, most likely replaced in the late C20. To the south of the landing, Bedroom 5 (marked on the original plans as ‘Mrs Thornley’s Room’) has a replacement fireplace and a blocked door opening to Bedroom 6 to the west. Bedroom 5 contains an original half-glazed door, which opens east to the balcony. Bedroom 6, to the south-west of the stair hall, retains a plain but attractive carved timber fire surround, and is most likely original. Bedroom 7 in the south-west corner retains a picture rail and an original fireplace with attractive glazed tiles and a canted stone hearth. To the west of the stair hall, the former bath room does not contain any of its original furniture or fittings, and was converted to shower rooms in the late C20.
In the north-east corner of the former service block, a simple but well-crafted service stair gives access from the ground floor to the first floor and attic. The attic contains a former lumber room in the north-west corner (now a store cupboard), and bedrooms 10, 12 and 13 (to the east and west of the corridor) each contain original plain fireplaces. Bedroom 11 contains a large timber cupboard on its north wall, and it is likely that this cupboard is original to the house and has been relocated from another room. The corridors of the former service area have original integrated raised and fielded timber panelled cupboards, and half-glazing, sidelights and overlights to the doors.

The attached former fruit store to the north retains its original layout on the ground floor (now in use as a boiler room and store room), with exposed yellow brick walls. The first floor of the store was formerly accessed by an external stair on the north elevation (removed in the late C20), and is now accessed from the service stair of the house, through a passage over the connecting arch.

12A Madingley Road, built in 1911 as a laboratory, was converted to residential accommodation in the late C20. The original interior was designed to have a large open-plan tank room on the ground floor flanked by chambers to the west end, and a large open-plan laboratory on the first floor, with an assistant’s laboratory in the north-east corner, a dark room in the north-west corner and a store room in the south-west corner. The interior now contains two bedrooms, a bathroom and a storage room on the ground floor, and a kitchen, open-plan living room and bedroom on the first floor. The original stair survives, and although plain, shows quality craftsmanship in its execution. It is composed of square-plan newel posts and balusters, with a carved handrail over raised and fielded timber panelling and a cupboard. Internally, the house retains plain timber battened doors and raised and fielded timber-panelled doors throughout. Some of the windows retain original window furniture, including ornate casement fasteners and stays. With the exception of the above, no other interior features of special architectural or historic interest survive.


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 Barton Road, 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, 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. St John’s, for instance, specified one-acre plots with a minimum house cost of £1500 on its Grange Road estate, and half-acre plots with a house cost of at least £1000 on Madingley Road. To put this in context, in 1906 the sum of £1000 was considered well above the price of a substantial suburban villa.

The great majority of building leases 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 and Edwardian age, notably M H Baillie Scott who designed nine houses in west Cambridge, E S Prior, J J Stephenson, and Ernest Newton. Most of these houses were designed to accommodate at least two live-in servants, as shown by the census returns, and some had stables; although by 1910 there were requests either to convert these to garages or to build ‘motor houses’, as they were then known.

Madingley Road runs west from Queen’s Road, and contains a small number of mid-C18 houses. Following the enclosure of St Giles Parish in 1805, much land to the north and south of Madingley Road was in the possession of and agricultural use by St John’s College. An observatory was built north of Madingley Road in 1822, and was the first major University building to be built outside the town. Following the granting of permission to resident fellows to marry in 1882, large family homes were built in close succession along the eastern end of Madingley Road close to the colleges. The 1886 Ordnance Survey map shows orchards and nurseries to the north-east end of Madingley Road, accessed by lanes. When 12 Madingley Road was built in 1888, two of these pre-existing lanes were utilised to grant access from the south-east and south-west.

12 Madingley Road, also known as Elterholm, was granted approval by the Cambridge Improvement Commissioners in July 1887, and was erected north of Madingley Road in 1888, on land leased from St John’s College. Elterholm was designed by William Cecil Marshall (1849-1921) for Thomas Thornley, a fellow and lecturer of history at Trinity Hall, who married in 1885. Marshall was educated at Trinity College Cambridge, and was articled to John Middleton of Cheltenham in 1873. He worked under Basil Champneys and Thomas Graham Jackson before commencing independent practice in Queen Square in London in 1876. Alumni Cantabrigienses states that Marshall was a designer of many tennis courts, including two courts at the Queen’s Club, as well as an extension to the Cambridge University Real Tennis Club in 1890 (listed at Grade II). The young architect was also an accomplished tennis player, finishing as runner-up to Spencer Gore in the first Wimbledon tennis final in 1877. Marshall undertook a number of commissions for Cambridge University, mostly on the Downing and New Museums sites, and his best-known residential commission in Cambridge is probably Leckhampton House (built 1881).

Thornley commissioned the addition of a fruit store to the north elevation of the house in 1896, and the extension was designed by local builders Prince and Son of Burleigh Street, Cambridge. The fruit store comprised two rooms on each of the ground and first floors, and the first floor was accessed by an external stair on the north elevation of the store (removed by the late C20). The store was clad with monochromatic half-timbering, complimenting the design of the adjoining Tudor-style house, which was linked by an enclosed bridge at first floor level. While the linking bridge now grants access to a first floor bedroom, the original drawings suggest that the bridge was not intended to be functional and may have been merely aesthetic. Both the house and attached fruit store are present on the 1903 OS map.

Thornley commissioned Grayson and Ould to construct St Margarets (10 Madingley Road) to the south of Elterholm in 1900, after which 12 Madingley Road was occupied by Edward Jeremiah Bles and his wife until c1960. Bles was a zoologist associated with King’s College Cambridge and was Director of the Marine Biological Association (1892-1894). He commissioned the construction of a detached laboratory to the north-east of Elterholm in 1911, and the building was designed by Harry Redfern (1861-1950), a notable designer of laboratories and houses for colleges in Cambridge and Oxford. Redfern later became chief architect for the State Management Districts of the Home Office from 1915 to 1945, building fourteen public houses in Carlisle to cater for the large number of workers attracted there by the new munitions factories at Gretna Green. A number of these public houses are listed at Grade II. The original plans for 12A Madingley Road show the layout and proposed uses for each of the laboratory rooms, and the arcaded entrance passage is annotated as ‘Cloister’. The laboratory building appears on the third edition OS map of 1923.

Elterholm, its adjoining fruit store and the detached laboratory (12A) were converted to graduate student accommodation by St John’s College in the late C20.

Reasons for Listing

Elterholm or 12 Madingley Road, built 1888, designed by W C Marshall, its attached fruit store, built 1896, designed by Prince and Sons, and 12A Madingley Road, a detached laboratory, built 1911, designed by Harry Redfern, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architect: for the design of the house and laboratory by W C Marshall and Harry Redfern respectively, both accomplished architects, whose buildings are represented on the List;
* Architectural interest: for the high quality craftsmanship and materials employed in the construction of the Tudor Revival style house (1888), its attached fruit store (1896), and the associated Arts and Crafts style laboratory (1911);
* Interior: for the survival of the original plan form in Elterholm, as well as a high proportion of internal fixtures, fittings and joinery, including an elegant staircase, fire surrounds and refined panelling;
* Historic interest: Historic interest: for its association with distinguished Cambridge academics, as a home commissioned by Thomas Thornley, a fellow and lecturer of history at Trinity Hall, and a purpose-built laboratory commissioned by Edward Jeremiah Bles, a zoologist associated with King’s College;
* Context: as 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: for their group value with the nearby Grade II listed 3 Madingley Road, 6 Madingley Road, and Westminster and Cheshunt College, and with the Grade II* Registered gardens of St John’s College to the south-east.

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