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60 Grange Road, Silbury

History of 60 Grange Road

Listed Building:

Silbury, 60 Grange Road was erected by William Sindall in 1906, a builder whose yards were located in Newnham, on one of five plots leased from St John’s College in 1899. The house was built to the designs of Amian Lister Champneys (1879-1951), architect and author. Amian Champneys was the son of the esteemed Victorian architect Basil Champneys (1842-1935), one of the pioneers of the ‘Queen Anne’ style, whose most notable designs include Rylands Library in Manchester (listed at Grade I) and Mansfield College in Oxford (listed at Grade II*). An alumnus of Trinity College, Cambridge, Basil Champneys designed a multitude of academic buildings in Cambridge, including a number of Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings for the newly-founded Newnham College between 1874 and 1913, and 48 Grange Road (c1880, listed at Grade II).

1906:

1939:

Ernest H Longland, b 1869, clerk in Holy Orders retired

Emily R, b 1872

Ethel L Daniels, b 1908, cook

Ivy K Peachey, b 1911, housemaid

Joan Sheldon, b 1921, housemaid

Gertrude E Parker, b 1904, civil servant typist

Nellie Adams, b 1911, civil servant shorthand typist

WWII:

This was used as a rest home for wounded servicemen. Eileen Rollo worked here as a nurse before she married biochemist Peter Mitchell who was awarded 1978 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The couple divorced in 1954.

1945:

Peter Mitchell acquired the lease of the house and the couple moved in. A number of flats were let out.

Extravagant parties were held in the garden. One of the most celebrated was in the spring of 1953. It was Peter’s idea: ‘Clergymen and Goddesses’. Eileen dressed as Psyche; Mitchell chose to appear as the Devil. Joseph Needham dressed as a Chinese priest in a huge blue robe.  (See Life on the Edge by Peter Varey, 2012)

1954: Peter Mitchell left Cambridge for Edinburgh

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