Suburban Arts and Crafts garden laid out in 1913 to the designs of M. H. Baillie Scott.
Reasons for Designation
The garden of 48 Storey’s Way, laid out in 1913 to the designs of M. H. Baillie Scott, is included on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Designer: it is by one of the most accomplished and prolific designers of the Arts and Crafts Movement whose work is well represented on the List;
* Design interest: it is a highly significant work that embodies Baillie Scott’s fundamental ideas about garden design and a unified approach to planning. The design of the garden is carefully integrated with that of the house to create an open and dynamic relationship between the inside and outside space, and demonstrates the serious thought he gave to small, everyday gardens that involved a realistic amount of maintenance for their owners;
* Intactness: the layout has remained in almost its complete original state and retains nearly all the features seen in early photographs;
* Rarity: it is not only a rare and important survival of a suburban Arts and Crafts garden but is the only known example of a garden of this scale by Baillie Scott to have survived in anything like its original condition;
* Group value: the garden and house form an ensemble of exceptional importance as one of the best examples of Baillie Scott’s seminal and influential work. The garden has considerable group value with the house which is listed at Grade II* and is part of an important cluster of five listed Baillie Scott houses in Storey’s Way;
* Context: the garden 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.
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 and around Cambridge (nine of which are listed at Grade II), 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. His 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 garden design. He included watercolour perspectives and garden plans to suit every size of plot, giving particular attention to small gardens, and persuading his readers to follow nature for artistic purposes as well as to reduce labour-intensive gardening. He defined the basic functions of the garden as being ‘to grow fruit and vegetable for the family and also to provide outdoor apartments for the use of the family in fine weather.’ He saw the garden as an extension of the house, and this unified approach to planning was illustrated by this imaginary scheme for ‘Trevista’ which bears a remarkable similarity to 48 Storey’s Way. In 1919 Baillie Scott 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, but he is only associated with one registered garden, Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire (Grade II), which was laid out by the owner using and adapting Baillie Scott’s plans in 1937.
Some of the features in the garden of 48 Storey’s Way depicted in House and Gardens (1933) have since been removed, namely the box balls lining the path between the lawns, and the rose beds, along with the brick bird bath at their centre. A greenhouse and three timber sheds have been erected, one of which was formerly used as an aviary. The garden has been restored and replanted as part of the sympathetic restoration of the house in 1990-91. 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.
Suburban Arts and Crafts garden laid out in 1913 to the designs of M. H. Baillie Scott.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
48 Storey’s Way lies on the northern boundary of the West Cambridge suburb. The garden is situated on the south side of the L-shaped Storey’s Way. It is on level ground and occupies an area of approximately half an acre. The long, narrow rectangular plot is aligned north-east, south-west and is approximately 23m in width and 91m in length. The house is set back from the road by approximately 14m, its long rectangular plan spanning the width of the garden plot. The garden is bounded on the short north-east side by a low white paling fence (not the original), and on the short south-west side by mature trees. The long north-west and south-east sides are bounded by a short section of brick wall against the garden rooms, followed by a fence of vertical planks against the pergolas. This fence continues to form the boundary along the south-east side, whilst the south-west side is bounded by mature trees.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The garden is approached from the north-east through the paling boundary fence which contains three gates.
The Grade II* listed 48 Storey’s Way is an Arts and Crafts house of two and a half storeys and approximately five bays. It is constructed of brick covered in whitewashed roughcast render and has a dramatic sweeping roofscape which is clad in plain clay tiles of variegated hues. The windows are horizontal casements with leaded lights and the doors have studded panels and long iron strap hinges.
The garden forms a series of six outdoor ‘apartments’, as Baillie Scott called them, which change in character. They are laid out on a system of cross axes which provide vistas along the length and width of the garden. The three main axes begin at the paling fence to the front garden which has three gates: the central one is aligned with the cross passage in the house through to the end of the garden; the axis on the right is aligned with the door to the service area which leads to the ‘garden room’ (as it is called on the original plan) and pergola and thence to the end; and that on the left with the door to the bicycle store which leads through the study to the corresponding ‘garden room’ and pergola. There are subtle changes in the level of the ‘apartments’ through the use of two steps laid in brick stretchers; and most of the paths are edged in narrow brick.
The three main axes are marked in the front garden by two privet hedges, and the garden is further divided into four unequal grassed rectangles by stone paths edged in cobblestones and narrow brick. The central vertical path has borders of roses, peonies and lavender. There are four tall yew trees at the angles where the paths cross, and a pair of box balls on either side of the shorter horizontal paths which also have wooden gates.
In the main part of the garden, extending from the outer bays on the south-west garden front are two covered sections of the pergolas, or ‘garden rooms’. These have square section timber shafts on brick and stone bases with a brick floor laid in herringbone edged in stretchers. The garden rooms continue seamlessly into five-bay pergolas which have rough hewn poles and a brick floor laid in basketweave edged in cobblestones with two brick steps at the end flanked by low brick square piers. These have moulded stone square caps and a frieze with an elongated embattled pattern. The path on the north-west side continues along the length of the garden, and is laid in gravel and edged in narrow brick.
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 in the same style as those just described. The central path between the lawns is of gravel, as is the cross path at the end. The lawns are separated by a yew hedge from the former rose garden which is now lawned over but retains its square form. It has a wide grass path on the central axis and narrower brick paths with steps on the cross axis which meet in the middle. Each path is flanked by a pair of box balls and surrounded by flower borders.
A yew hedge separates the rose garden from the wild garden. This has a central grass path, either side of which are miniature spring meadows planted with anemone blande, narcissi, magnolia, lilac and wild geraniums. Further to the south-west, the next cross axis is formed by a nut walk of hazelnut trees, at the centre of which is a slightly sunken oval vinery with slender poles (which replaced the original rotten oak) resting on a brick plinth which has openings on each of the four sides.
The next ‘apartment’ is the vegetable garden, the entrance to which is marked by two brick steps flanked by low brick piers, leading to a central gravel path edged in narrow brick and low box hedges. In the early C21 a grid has been laid out in the two beds using salvaged bricks. Two steps lead up to the orchard which is divided from the vegetable garden by a gravel path and flower bed, and the recent addition of espaliers. The orchard retains some of the original fruit trees, including apple trees.