Capturing Cambridge
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William Lawrence Bragg

3 West Road

History of 3 West Road

The house was lived in during the 1930s by Mrs Wollaston, the widow of Sandy Wollaston who was shot dead in his rooms at King’s College by an undergraduate in a triple murder suicide in 1930.

1938: The Bragg family moved to 3 West Road. Alice Bragg describes in detail their life in West Road in ‘Crystal Clear’ p.373f. The arrangements within the house for the duration of the war are interesting. Two maids and the gardener were called up … the house gave accommodation to a mixed bag of people, including a girl student from Bedford College, a pregnant bus conductress, a friend’s child with pneumonia, and a professor from London. The Bragg family were lucky that, despite rationing, they received regular food parcels from friends in America. Housed in its cellar was some of the glass from the windows of King’s College chapel.

Alice Bragg had already been involved with Lady Reading in national recruitment to the WVS. She continued her WVS role in Cambridge.



William Laurence Bragg, physicist and crystallographer Nobel Prize 1915

Alice Grace Jenny Bragg, b 1899 [WVS organiser for Cambridge and then Mayor of Cambridge. She was later on several government commissions].

Lady Alice Bragg

Margaret A Bragg, b 1931


James A McGoughan, b 1932

Hilda M Leaper, b 1909, children’s nurse

Beatrice B Watts, b 1911, children’s nurse

Nellie Norfield, b 1889, cook

Elizabeth F Thorpe, b 1903, housemaid

There is a detailed description of family life at 3 West Road in Crystal Clear: the autobiographies of Sir Lawrence and Lady Bragg pub. OUP 2015.

Crystal Clear (excerpt)

The Bragg family decided not to evacuate their children out of Cambridge during the war.



Gonville and Caius College hostel


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