Capturing Cambridge
  • search
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Edgar Douglas Adrian

St Chad’s, 48 Grange Road

History of St Chad's

Listed building

c.1880 probably by Basil Champneys. Converted to student residences late 1940s. Red brick laid in English bond; machine tile roof Principal facade to south. 2 storeys and doffiler attic in 4-window range.


Red Cross Hospital

The artist Mary Greene of Harston, whose drawing classes we had attended as children with such profit and enjoyment (see Period Piece) had a much younger sister, Helen, who was well-known in Cambridge both for her Swedish gymnastic classes and for her excellent massage. In those days massage consisted mostly of rubbing, with the addition of remedial exercises, especially if, like Helen, the masseuse had also been trained as a gymnast. Early in 1915, the Red Cross opened a small convalescent home for wounded soldiers at St Chad’s, a house in Grange Road near the Open Air Hospital, as it was still familiarly known. Helen Green was put in charge of the massage. She soon found herself in such urgent need of help that she began training some educated Cambridge women to act as her assistants. One or two of the younger members like myself had once attended her gymnastic classes. After I joined the other trainees in the spring of 1915 we numbered about seven. ( from M E Keynes, A House By The River, p191)

Miss Greene stepped down after a year but Signe Lavèn continued the training of assistant masseuses at St Chad’s.


Edgar Douglas Adrian, b 1889, university professor 1932 Nobel Prize winner

Hester A, b 1899, (WVS)

Richard, b 1927

Juliet E Spinney, b 1914, private secretary

Elizabeth Wheal, b 1894, cook

Lily Sargent, b 1905, parlourmaid



Ronald J F Tye, b 1930

After completing a medical degree in 1915, Edgar Adrian did clinical work at St Bartholomew’s Hospital London during World War I, treating soldiers with nerve damage and nervous disorders such as shell shock. Adrian returned to Cambridge as a lecturer and in 1925 began research on the human sensory organs by electrical methods.

In 1981 the site was development by St Catherine’s College.


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