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3 St Mary’s Passage

History of 3 St Mary's Passage

Listed Building

3 St Mary’s Passage, a C17 timber-framed building adapted in the late C19 as the showroom of F R Leach & Sons, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: Architectural interest:

* it is a notable building in the neo-Jacobean style, demonstrating the free combination of vernacular features, such as the gabled dormer and pargetting, with the classically inspired door hood and paired pilasters, that is so typical of C17 architecture;

* its off-centre oriel balances the ornate segmental door hood, creating a harmonious composition that is embellished with beautifully detailed pargetting and subtle strapwork on the pilasters;

* the remarkable presence it achieves for a narrow-fronted building towered over by its much taller neighbours is testament to its fine architectural quality.

Historic interest:

* it is associated with F R Leach & Sons, the firm of highly talented painters and craftsmen who carried out schemes that adorned many prestigious buildings in Cambridge and throughout the country;

* the work of these largely overlooked artisans has been overshadowed by the renown of figures such as Morris and Bodley, whose designs they brought to life, so the survival and protection of F R Leach’s showroom is an important step in recognising their achievement.


The Darwins asked Leach to advise on the redecoration of Newnham Grange in 1886. Maud wrote: Mr Leach is a man who has a great deal of taste and people send all over England for him to do their houses. M E Keynes wrote in ‘A House By The River,’ This was Frederick William Leach, whose ‘Art Warehouse’ was at 3 St Mary’ Passage. He was indeed a man of taste, having worked previously with William Morris who often recommended him to his clients.

The Darwins finally moved into the renovated house on Friday 29th May 1886.




F R Leach, 3 St Mary’s Passage


Frederick R Leach, art workmen, painting, glazing, joinery

F R Leach

F R Leach and Sons

F R Leach and Sons


Hilton Gallery, antique & fine arts

2-3 St Mary’s Passage




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