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Maid's Causeway nos. 27 - 33

29 Maids’ Causeway (2 Brunswick Place)

History of 29 Maids' Causeway

Title page, Richard Hopkins Leach journal May-Aug 1814

Richard Leach 1814 Journal, pages 18 – 19.

Richard Hopkins Leach, 1848, painted by son Barnet

1841 Maids Causeway

Richard Leach, 45, painter,

Barnet, 15

Frederick, 4,

Ellen, 7,

John, 4,

Richard Hopkins Leach was born in 1794 to a family of Cambridge college servant; his grandfathers were cooks at Trinity and Trinity Hall. His parents ran pubs including the Pickerel in Magdalene Street. In 1812 he was apprenticed to an engraver in Vauxhall, London, and fell in love with the boss’s daughter, Isabella Mc Lean.

Richard Hopkins Leach (A171.89)

The Museum of Cambridge has handwritten transcriptions of the 1814 Diary of his walk to Cornwall, as well as of his letter of proposal of marriage to Isabella. See here for sample pages.

In 1814 he walked to Cornwall and kept a diary and sketch book. In 1817 he returned from the West Country to Cambridge and set up in business as a painter and decorator in 1818. In 1820 he married Isabella. The suggestion that he bought a house on the site of The Zebra public house is incorrect; this is the house he bought. Of the 13 children hey had, only four survived to adulthood; the others seem to have died of cholera. As regards their surviving sons:

Barnett became a painter and engraver who worked with his father on the illustrations for a book on Cambridge colleges,

Frederick Richard founded a decorating business and worked with William Morris,

John became an engraver in wood and stone who worked at Lichfield Cathedral.

Richard H Leach biography p1

Richard H Leach family biog. 1

Richard H Leach family biog (2)

These notes were prepared by Noreen Hackett (née Leach) and sent to the Museum in 1993. A large number of letters, journals and diaries, as well as family paintings are still held descendants.


Richard Hopkins Leach, 56, master painter, b Cambridge

Isabella, 56, b London

Barnett, 27, painter, b Cambridge

Frederick, 14, b Cambridge

John, 11, b Cambridge

In 1861 Isabella was a widow living at 1 Newmarket Road

The museum biography of Richard leach notes the following works:

A painting of Trinity first boat ordered by the college boat club in 1845

An 1848 family portrait owned by the leach family

Several scenes of Cambridge life such as cricket matches and militia parades on Parker’s Piece. See also Garret Hostel Bridge.

R H Leach, Parker’s Piece c.1848

R H Leach, Castle Hill c.1840


Pub signs include:

The Pike and Eel on the Cam

The Chequers in Ely.

The Old  Castle Hotel, Cambridge

Castle Hotel pub sign by Richard Hopkins Leach ©Museum of Cambridge

The Man Loaded with Mischief

The Man Loaded With Mischief pub sign by Richard Hopkins Leach ©Museum of Cambridge

The Hopbine and Barley Ear

Hopbine and Barley Ear pub sign © Museum of Cambridge

The John Gilpin

[photo needed]

Leach painted these signs in the 1830s and 1840s; board was supplied by the landlord and he was paid 15 shillings.

Richard Leach died suddenly on 31st August 1851; an account of this is in a diary kept by his son Frederick.

Richard H Leach – contemporary report of his death in 1851

For further correspondence about Leach family.


Richard Wicks, 71, gardener, b Norfolk

Sarah, 71, b Cherry Hinton


William Ridley


William Ridley, painter


Miss Lilian Maria Ridley, a teacher in Runcorn, died of influenza at the end of October 1918.

Elizabeth Mary Ridley, age 29, died from influenza 11.11.1918


Miss A E Bush, corsetiere



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