Capturing Cambridge
  • search
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Cherry Hinton Hall in the 1960s.

Cherry Hinton Hall

History of Cherry Hinton Hall

Cherry Hinton Hall

Royal Commission Survey of Cambridge 1959: It was built for John Okes and the title to the property begins with the purchase of the plots of land in 1834. Scratched on the roof lead is the date 1839, to which the house would approximate on stylistic grounds. Late in the same century a billiard room was added on the W. Since 1948 it has been converted into a day nursery and clinic. … Cherry Hinton Hall is a large and rather bald building of the first half of the 19th century in the late Tudor style.

See also:


Charles Balls, widower, 70, J P Dep Lieutenant & cashier savings bank, born Cambridge

Mary, daughter, 40, born Cambridge

Flora A, 39, born Cambridge

Eliza G, 32, born Cambridge

Emily M. 30, born Cambridge

Grace M Rowley, gr daughter, 11, born Histon

Margaret Hopkins, sister in law, 81, born Cambridge

Asenath Brasher, servant, 25, born Cambs

Ellen Skip. servant, 19, born Herts

Annie Ryder, servant, 17, born Essex


Robert John Moffatt, 46, banker general manager, born London

Eliza, 41, born London

Sophia Knowles, sister in law, 46, born London

Ann Beard, servant, 42, born Cambridge

Ellen Turner, servant, 17, born Cambridge

Charles Peachy, page boy, 16, born Cambridge




(Cherry Hinton Hall Cambridge)

William Phene Neal, 50, solicitor employer in City of London, born Middlesex

Eleanor Visa, 49, born Cambs

Francis Charlotta Skinner, 30, visitor, trained nurse, born Warwicks

George Melville Dodwell, 27, visitor, merchant and shipping, born Shanghai

Lizzie Overton, servant, 26, cook, born Norfolk

Eve Barker, servant, 25, parlour maid, born Norfolk

May Rayner, servant, 26, house maid, born Norfolk

Horace Wellingham Buckingham, servant, 22, labourer in garden, born Norfolk

Sir William Phene Neal circa 1900

Sir William Phene Neal circa 1900

Sir William Phene Neal (1860-1942) was a businessman and became Mayor of London between 1930 and 1931. He published ‘Food Supply of the Nation’ in 1924.

Dan Jackson wrote about Cherry Hinton Hall in his 1987 article in the Cambridge News from which these notes are taken.

John Okes returned from India to take up a post as surgeon at Addenbrooke’s in the early 1830s. He bought various parcels of land around Cherry Hinton and then built a mansion with twelve feet high rooms together with bakehouse, dairy, wine and coal cellars, stabling and coach house. In the grounds were hardwood and ornamental plantations, fernery, ornamental fish ponds and a willow osiery.

After his death, Okes’s son Thomas sold the estate to the Cambridge University and Town Waterworks in 1871 for £5,400. The ponds and weirs in Cherry Hinton Hall were improved by Charles Balls, a director of the water company. The estate finally ended up in the ownership of Cambridge City Council in 1937.

During the Second World War the hall was used for various purposes including the training of firemen.

In 2016 Pamela Knights who was living in Mowbray Road at the time of WWII recalls how the hall was used as a home for unwanted evacuees:

1940 24th September: two very large bombs fell in the grounds which were not discovered for some time. One of the craters was 50ft across and 8ft deep and produced a splendid crop of mushrooms. (See  Bowyer Air Raid! pub 1986)

In 1947 the house opened as a nursery school with Miss Littlehales from Buckinghamshire as headmistress. As reported by the Cambridge News in 1964,  there were 40 full-time and 40 part-time children every day and a long waiting list. On the first floor of the building was a maternity and child welfare clinic.

Since 1965 the park at Cherry Hinton Hall has been the venue of the Cambridge Folk Festival. Notes on its history can be found here:

Sources: Cambridge News (Cambridgeshire Collection)

Sketching Cambridge by Michael Large


Do you have any information about the people or places in this article? If so, then please let us know using the Contact page or by emailing

Dear Visitor,


Thank you for exploring historical Cambridgeshire! We hope you enjoy your visit.


Did you know that we are a small, independent Museum and that we rely on donations from people like you to survive?


If you love Capturing Cambridge, and you are able to, we’d appreciate your support today.


Every donation makes a world of difference.


Thank you,

The Museum of Cambridge