Grove Lodge and outbuilding to south


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Trumpington Street, Cambridge


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Statutory Address:
Trumpington Street, Cambridge

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cambridge (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Villa built in 1798 probably by William Custance, extended in the second half of the C19.

Reasons for Designation

Grove Lodge, a villa built in 1798 probably by William Custance and extended in the second half of the C19, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it has well-proportioned elevations with a tetrastyle Ionic portico and apsidal end bays that impart an architectural elegance entirely characteristic of good quality domestic work of the Georgian period; * internally, it retains fixtures and fittings of a high standard, including panelled doors and window shutters, and moulded plasterwork enriched with classical detailing, altogether representing a late C18 villa of some refinement.

Group value:

* it has strong group value with the Grade I listed Fitzwilliam Museum and many other surrounding listed buildings.


Grove Lodge was built in 1798 for Christopher Pemberton who took a 40-year building lease of the site from Peterhouse in 1795. According to Colvin’s Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, William Custance ‘probably designed and built villas named Pemberton’s Grove Lodge and The Grove’. Custance was a builder and surveyor in Cambridge before moving to London where he also became a land agent. In 1798 he published a plan of Cambridge based on that of Loggan (1688) which he brought up to date. Grove Lodge is shown on this map, with a footprint equating to the present east block, in the centre of a large garden with a meandering drive leading to the east front and through to the service yard with detached outbuildings to the south and west. The floor plan of the villa consisted of a narrow central hall flanked by reception rooms with a staircase at the rear of the hall with two further rooms either side. The apsidal bays were probably single-storey as a subtle change in the brickwork at first-floor level indicates that they may have been built up at a later date.

A plan of 1828 shows that the drive was moved southwards and a stable yard was built to the west. The outbuilding to the south is no longer depicted. By the next plan of 1840, the Lodge has a large, approximately square extension at the rear. This is also shown on the 1852 plan which labels the outbuilding to the south-west (first depicted on the 1828 plan) as ‘offices’. In 1875 Grove Lodge was again extended to the rear, almost doubling the size of the first extension. The entrance was moved from the east portico to the south side of the house. This involved creating a new entrance hall out of the south-west reception room, and slightly moving the position of the staircase which may have been replaced or remodelled.

In 1914 Grove Lodge was acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum (Grade I) from Peterhouse for £12,000. It was then occupied by a sitting tenant until the late 1930s and used by Cambridge University during World War Two. The Fitzwilliam Museum took over the building in about 1948 and since then the ground floor and outbuilding to the south-west has been used as offices and the first floor as a flat for the Director. The stable yard to the west was demolished in the early 1960s to make way for William Roberts’ extension to the Museum. In 1958 Roberts designed a curved corridor linking the Lodge to the Museum but this was replaced in 1975 as part of his 1970s extension.


Villa built in 1798 probably by William Custance, extended in the second half of the C19.

MATERIALS: gault brick laid in Flemish bond with brick dressings and slate-covered roofs.

PLAN: the building faces east and is set back from Trumpington Street in its own grounds. The original late C18 east block has a rectangular plan with apsidal bays on each end and there is a large Victorian extension at the rear.

The external corridor (rebuilt in 1975) that links the east side of Grove Lodge to the 1970s extension of the Fitzwilliam Museum is excluded from the listing.

EXTERIOR: the east block of Grove Lodge is in a simple neo-Classical design, typical of the late Georgian period. It is of two storeys and five bays under a pitched roof with tall brick chimney stacks. The middle three bays project slightly and are pedimented, the horizontal and raking cornice-members being of stone. Occupying the same width as the projection and on a stylobate of three steps is a single-storey tetrastyle Ionic portico with an entablature of wood, painted white, and a flat roof. In the back wall is a round-headed doorway in the middle bay, now blocked, with a fanlight with radiating and scrolled metal glazing bars and an original door hung in two leaves each of four fielded panels. This is flanked by rectangular windows with flat brick arches in round-headed wall recesses. At first-floor sill-level is a stone platband, and the overhanging eaves are plain. The fenestration consists of six-over-six pane sash windows with thin glazing bars. The apsidal bays on each end contain three windows on the ground floor, and one window above, flanked by wall recesses simulating windows. The north return-wall of a single-bay is lit by a ground-floor window, whilst the south return-wall is dominated by a single-storey entrance porch, either added or relocated in 1875, with an architrave and dentilled cornice supported by columns with Ionic capitals. The door is hung in two leaves each of three fielded panels with a rectangular overlight. To the right is a one-over-one pane sash window, and above the door a three-over-six light sash with a segmental arch upper section is set within a segmental brick arch wall recess.

To the right of the porch, the south elevation of the late C19 extension has a double-height square bay window lit on each floor by large one-over-one pane sashes with margin lights, and narrow sashes on the return-walls. Following this, to the right, is a plainer elevation denoting the service block. This has a stone platband at first-floor sill level which continues around the other walls, and is lit by three six-over-six pane sashes on both floors, those on the first floor being shorter, under flat brick arches. The rear (west) elevation is lit by a single window on each floor of the same dimensions, and has a door of four flush panels with a rectangular overlight under a flat brick arch. The north elevation of the Victorian extension is lit by the same windows as already described. It has, from the right, two window bays followed by a slightly projecting double-height bay lit by a first-floor window. The ground floor has been opened up to facilitate a flat-roofed glazed corridor on a brick plinth which links up to the 1970s extension of the Fitzwilliam Museum. This corridor is excluded from the listing. To the right, in the corner between the rear extension and the east block, there is a single-storey, flat-roofed section (depicted on the 1888 Ordnance Survey map), partly rebuilt in modern brick. INTERIOR: the principal area of interest is the late C18 east block which consists of two apsidal reception rooms with a rear staircase flanked by two further rooms. The wall between the north apsidal room and the original central entrance hall has been removed, its original position marked by a panelled beam supported by an enriched, cavello-moulded console. This room has a cornice with bead moulding and a white marble fireplace with inlaid panels of mottled green and red marble and a frieze with a husk garland, not original to the house. In the south apsidal room, the ceiling cornice is enriched with acanthus and bay leaf, and the timber fireplace, painted white, (also not original to the house) has a fluted frieze and central panel with a husk garland. In both rooms, the panelled shutters, low dado, and six-panel doors with sunken panels survive. The south-west room, extended in 1875 to create an entrance hall by the removal of much of the partition wall with the stair-hall, has a panelled dado and a cornice with bead enrichment. It contains a reset timber fireplace, painted white, with a pulvinated frieze enriched with bay leaf. The cantilevered staircase has cut strings, slender square balusters, without newels, and a moulded handrail, curved at the landing. It is supported by a fluted bracket which is of a later date.

On the first floor, the landing has a cornice of bead and acanthus enrichment. A round-arch opening with a roll moulding leads to a lobby between the two apsidal rooms, and there are narrower openings on either side. The apsidal rooms retain a moulded cornice, skirting boards with a hollow moulding, panelled window shutters, and six-panel doors in moulded frames. The north room contains an original white marble fireplace with fluted lintel and rosettes at the angles; and the south room has a timber fireplace, painted white, with a fluted lintel and festoons in the corners, and round arched inset (not original to the house).

The Victorian extension has been subject to alterations. It retains some original fixtures, fittings and joinery, including some four- or six-panel doors, fireplaces, and the servants’ straight flight stair with stick balusters and moulded newel post. The room in the east, lit by the double-height bay window, has a moulded cornice and picture rail, and a fireplace surround of dark grey and yellow marble with a mantelshelf supported by consoles. The large room towards the west end retains a wide, keyed timber fireplace surround, now blocked, which was probably the opening for the kitchen range. On the first floor the west room retains a small timber fireplace surround with a cast-iron, segmental arch inset. The cellar floor is partly stone-flagged and retains brick and slate storage shelves. The scarred remains of the earlier principal staircase are evident in the brickwork.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the outbuilding to the south, labelled as ‘offices’ on the 1852 plan, is constructed of gault brick with brick dressings. The two-storey, single-bay east end has a hipped M-shaped roof clad in plain red clay tiles, whilst the single-storey, two-bay west end has a slate roof covering, both with a dentilled brick cornice and chimney stacks. The entrance on the north side of the east end has a neo-Classical style doorcase with flanking square pilasters and a dentilled cornice. The entrance on the north side of the west end has a flat canopy with panelled soffit, supported by brackets with a double curve and drop finials. The fenestration mostly consists of large sash windows, some tripartite, under segmental brick arches. The interior has been remodelled and retains very little of the original joinery and fittings other than a timber fireplace surround, painted white, with a round-arch inset. In the cellar there is a wide plank and batten door.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Pevsner, Nikolaus (Author), Bradley, Simon (Author), The Buildings of England: Cambridgeshire, (2013)
RCHME, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Cambridge , (1959)
Fitzwilliam Museum and Grove Lodge, University of Cambridge: A Chronology of Building Campaigns 1795-2004 (Julian Harrap Architects)
Fitzwilliam Museum Conservation Management Plan (Cambridge Architectural Practice, second draft, 2007)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 07 May 2004
Reference: IOE01/12116/14
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Peter Tree. Source Historic England Archive
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