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Old Rectory, Harlton

History of the Old Rectory, Harlton

Listed Building

House, former rectory, built 1843.

In 1928 Gwen Raverat moved here with her children. It was the location for much of her best work in illustration.

During WWII, with both her daughters married, she took up work as a factory hand at the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company. She let the Old Rectory, furnished, and in 1941 moved into a rented room near her cousin Frances Cornford’s house, Conduit Head, off the Madingley Road.

She was then offered a position as a draughtsman in the Naval Intelligence Division’s office installed temporarily at the Scott Polar Institute in Lensfield Road.

After the war she returned to the Old Rectory until the Old Granary was vacated. Then the Old Rectory was sold at auction and Gwen moved to her new home.

AF sent this note in 2023:

The Old Rectory at Harlton was bought by my parents shortly after the war:  l think for about £5,000. The vendor was “The Reverend J.H.R. Clapton”, although he didn’t live in it:  it was tenanted by Gwen Raverat, a granddaughter of Charles Darwin, who however “moved out at last”, leaving every room most unsuitably painted in dark reds and greens. It is mentioned in Frances Spalding’s biography of Gwen Raverat, and there are photographs in my biographies of William Glenvil Hall and John Hall. Alison Fenton.


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