Tuesday 04 February 2020

History, Architecture and Timber Windows in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Known for its famous university, there is evidence of a settlement in the area of Cambridge dating from the Bronze Age.

However, it wasn’t until the Roman era when the first town was built in Cambridge, as a crossing point for the river Cam, and the area started to become a trading centre.

In Anglo Saxon times, there were settlements on Castle Hill and close to St Bene’t’s Church, the oldest standing building in Cambridge.

During the Viking period the town centre switched from Castle Hill on the left bank of the river to the area now known as the Quayside on the right bank.

Cambridge benefited from good trade links to the Continent and a market developed and prospered in the town.

The first town charter was granted by Henry I in the early 12th Century and in 1209 Cambridge University was founded after some Oxford University students moved to Cambridge. The oldest college, Peterhouse, was founded in 1284.

In 1382, the town charter was revised to reduce certain liberties that the town previously had due to their participation in the Peasants’ Revolt. This included transferring the supervision of baking and brewing from the town to the university.

King’s College Chapel was built in phases between 1446 and 1515 and its history intertwined with the Wars of the Roses. The chapel is still used in worship today and is a popular tourist site.

Between 1600 and 1800 both the town and university experienced a decline. However, during the 19th Century, Cambridge grew rapidly as a result of improved agricultural production leading to increased trade in the town. In 1845, the railway reached Cambridge connecting the town to London.

The boundaries of Cambridge were extended in 1912 and then again in 1935 to include Chesterton, Cherry Hinton, and Trumpington.

During World War II the town became a military centre, playing an important part of the defence for the East coast. Over 7,000 Londoners were evacuated to the town, which largely escaped German bombing. A few years after the war, in 1951, Cambridge was granted city status.

The Senate House

The Senate House was built between 1722 and 1730, with the West end being completed in 1768. The building was designed by James Gibbs. It is made from Portland Stone and has multiple timber sash windows, including bespoke arched windows.

The neo-classical building is Grade I listed and was previously used for housing and as a meeting place for the University. However, today it is predominately used for degree ceremonies of the University of Cambridge.

In 2010, the Senate House was the site of a protest against an increase in tuition fees.

The building and grounds are not normally open to the public, apart from selected tours of the University buildings.

Emmanuel College

Founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, Emmanuel College was built on a site originally occupied by a Dominican friary until the Dissolution of the Monasteries and some sections of the friary buildings remain today.

Under Mildmay’s instruction, the chapel of the Dominican Friary was converted to be the dining hall, with the friars’ dining hall becoming a puritan chapel.

In 1677 a new chapel was built for the college by Sir Christopher Wren. The puritan chapel in turn became the college library until 1930, when this then moved to a new location. The front of new chapel was altered between 1769 and 1775 by James Essex to be in the neo-classical style.

With the expansion of the college in the 19th Century, New Court was built in 1824. As was popular in the 1820s, the buildings around New Court contain multiple 6 over 6 and 6 over 9 sash windows.

The North Court, located off Emmanuel Street and Drummer Street, opened in 1914 and is today a Grade II listed building. It was designed by Leonard Stokes, developing on from his earlier work at the London Colney convent, and has several casement windows.

Timber Windows in Cambridge (CB1)

With its rich heritage, Cambridge is home to 17 conservation areas and has over 1,500 listed buildings and structures, all helping to preserve the character of the area.

This means that traditional timber sash windows can still be can be found on multiple buildings across Cambridge.

At The Sash Window Workshop we have extensive experience replacing timber windows and doors in period properties and, where necessary, we can comply with conservation area and listed building requirements.

All our replacement timber windows and doors are designed to preserve the character of your home, while being as energy efficient as possible.

To obtain a free, no obligation quotation, contact us on: 01344 868 668.

Emmanuel College Cambridge
Above image by Diliff, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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