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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.



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


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


David D Parr, head, 37, painter, b Chesterton
Mary J, wife, 30, b Cheshire
Mary E, daughter, 6, scholar, b Cambridge
David Douglas, son, 4, scholar, b Cheshire
Sarah E, daughter, 1, scholar, b Cambridge


Mary Jane Parr, 40, b Macclesfield Cheshire

Mary E Parr, 16, dressmaker, b Cambridge

Sarah H Parr, 11, b Cambridge


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


David Parr, painter


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


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:


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

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