Capturing Cambridge
  • search
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Photo by Adrian Powter, 2018

186 Gwydir Street, Gothic Terrace, David Parr House

The David Parr House

184 & 186 Gwydir Street

In 1886, 186 Gwydir Street was bought by David Parr, a working-class Victorian decorative artist who worked for the Cambridge firm of artworkmen, F R Leach & Sons. David Parr learnt his many skills there, painting houses and churches with designs created by some of the best architects and designers in the country, including George Frederick Bodley, William Morris and Charles Eamer Kempe.

Over 40 years, David Parr decorated his own terraced home in the style of the grand interiors he worked on every day. His house became a pattern book of the work of late 19th century masters, including William Morris, perfectly crafted and painted with care. In 1912, David Parr inscribed ‘If you do anything, do it well’ in his house, and his patterned, hand-painted walls are a testament to that maxim and to the values of the Arts & Crafts movement in general.

You can discover more about the David Parr House and book tours on their website.

Census

1881:

Charles H Hinkens, 30, carpenter, b Melbourn
Julia, 29, b Girton
Arthur, 18, brother, photographer, b Melbourn
Henry Richardson, 19, brother, baker, b Madingley


1887:

House bought by David Parr who worked for F R Leach and Sons


1891:

David D Parr, 37, painter, b Chesterton
Mary J, 30, b Cheshire
Mary E, 6, b Cambridge
David Douglas, 4, b Cheshire
Sarah E, 1, b Cambridge


1901:


1911:

David Parr, 57, house painter, b Chesterton
Mary Jane
David Douglas, house painter
Sarah Helen, 21, typist drapers


1913:

David Parr, painter


1939:

Mary J Parr, b 1860
Elsie M Mansfield, b 1915, drapers shop assistant


1962:

Alfred Palmer

Further Reading

A full building report on the David Parr House compiled by Sheila Cane for the Mill Road History Society is now available:

Contribute

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 capturingcambridge@museumofcambridge.org.uk.

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