Trumpington Village Sign unveiled June 2010, designed by Sheila Betts.
Trumpington Local History Group

Building the Estate
Copyright © Trumpington Local History Group, 2014. Updated 3 July 2014.
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admin@trumpingtonlocalhistorygroup.org
Howard Slatter
April 2011

The roads and houses informally known as the Estate were built after the
War, but when and how? This history of the housing development is
based on a contribution given at the
On the Street Where You Live
meeting of the Local History Group on 31 March 2011. See also the
introduction to
The Estate.
Foster Road during
construction, c. 1946. Source:
Cambridgeshire Collection,
Cambridge Central Library.
Much of the early history of the Estate can be pieced together from the minute books of the
Borough of Cambridge Housing Committee (Cambridgeshire Archives). Trumpington and
Cherry Hinton only came into the Borough in 1934, and the first mention I have been able to
find of council housing in Trumpington was in 1936. On 9 July it was resolved that the Borough
Surveyor should be instructed to prepare lay-outs of the under-mentioned sites:

Bungalow Farm, Newmarket Road
Land opposite the Cement Works, Coldham's Lane
Land at the junction of Coldham's Lane and High Street, Cherry Hinton
Land at the rear of the Recreation Ground, Trumpington

In 1936, the Borough Surveyor was instructed to prepare a scheme for the development of
some 55 acres of land situate at the rear of the Recreation Ground in Trumpington, for the
erection of 280 houses, a Recreation Ground and land for allotments. It was resolved that the
Town Clerk should enquire of Messrs Bidwell & Sons as to whether the land, which belonged to
the Pemberton Trust, was for sale, and if so for how much.

Yes, the Pemberton trustees were willing to sell, but in February 1937 the Town Clerk reported
that they were not willing to do so at a price in accordance with the District Valuer's valuation.
The council resolved to make a Compulsory Purchase Order for the land. This was duly
approved by the Ministry of Health (MoH), which in those days was responsible for overseeing
all Local Authority housing.

In September 1938, the Town Clerk served formal notice upon the owners and occupiers of the
land of the intention of the Corporation to enter upon the land in October. The Pemberton
Trustees would receive £9150 in compensation.

January 1939 saw the Borough Surveyor submit plans for the siting of roads, sewers and surface
water drains, which were then approved by the MoH. The contract for this work was awarded
to Balls & Partners of Cuffley, Hertfordshire, and they prepared to start the work. But they
could not agree on the detail of the contract: Balls & Partners wanted to insert two clauses
covering the risks in case of war and the Council would not agree to this.

Then events overtook them all. War was declared on 3rd September, and immediately the MoH
issued Circular 1866, which prohibited the erection of further houses by Local Authorities unless
there were "exceptional circumstances which rendered the work of importance in the national
interest". In November 1939, the land was let to Mr Tebbitt, the farmer at Glebe Farm. January
1940 saw Balls & Partners settle with the Council for expenses incurred by them in transporting
certain plant to and from the site. They were that close to starting when war broke out.

Despite the war, there were still things to sort out. In January 1940, the conveyance was signed
between Mrs Viola Pemberton, the Pemberton Trustees and the Borough, transferring the land
to the Council. The Second Schedule attached to the conveyance bound the Council and their
successors "not to use the property herby conveyed for any other purpose than for Housing of
the Working Classes, Public Walks and Public Pleasure Grounds, and for the provision of
Allotments or Allotment Gardens". The Plan attached to the conveyance showed the land
involved, the layout of the roads and the existing rights of way together with their proposed
replacements. Note the existing Recreation Ground at the western edge of the site.
The Conveyance of the land from the Pemberton Trustees to the Council, January
1940: front page and the Second Schedule. Source: Antony Pemberton.
The Conveyance of the land from the Pemberton Trustees to the Council, January 1940: front page. Source: Antony Pemberton.
The Conveyance of the land from the Pemberton Trustees to the Council, January 1940: Second Schedule. Source: Antony Pemberton.
The Conveyance of the land from the Pemberton Trustees to the Council, January 1940: plan. Source: Cambridge City Council.
The Conveyance of the land from the Pemberton Trustees to the Council, January
1940: plan. Source: Cambridge City Council.
Although the War was far from over, in 1944 preparations were beginning to be made for
starting up house building once the end of the War did come. The new contract for what we
would nowadays call the infrastructure (roads, sewers, surface water drains) was awarded to
E.H. Burgess Ltd of London, for £19,000. The original 1939 plans for the house lay-out were
submitted to the MoH, with an intimation that they were being reconsidered in detail in the light
of recent developments in house construction.

In 1945 the new plans showed 360 houses and flats. These included the suggestions of the
Housing Committee and the various women's organisations in the Borough. By September 1945
the tender was accepted for the construction of 10% of these, the first 36 houses. These were
to be built by the Cambridge Building Trades Employers' Association for £34,840.

In February 1946, the tender was agreed for the second allocation of houses, with the same
builders, for £68,694. The Committee submitted suggestions for the names of the new roads to
the Council:

Anstee Way [sic]
Byron Square
Selby Road
Kelso Crescent
Paget Road

Things were gathering pace. In early 1946, an application was made for 62 steel-framed
prefabricated houses to be erected at Trumpington, at a price of £1314 each. There was a
government grant available to help with these, as they were more expensive than traditional
houses. Building was well underway for the first 36 houses and rents were fixed at 11/- per
week for a 2-bed house and 15/- for a 4-bed.

The Council did not favour the original list of road names, so the committee resubmitted this
list, which was then approved:

Anstey Way
Byron Square
Foster Road
Paget Close
Paget Road

By April 1946, work had started on the second allocation, and the contract was awarded to R.
Thompson for the third allocation of 98 houses, for £104,000. Costain Ltd of London would
erect the fourth allocation of steel-framed houses; the cost would include an extra £2000 for
additional footings on account of the nature of the subsoil. In May 1946, building was in full
flow; the first 11 of the first allocation were handed over, and those houses were being
completed at the rate of approximately three per week. Eighteen bases were now complete for
the steel framed houses.

So where were all these houses to go? I have produced a series of sketch plans showing the
locations of each allocation or "phase".
The 5 phases of house building on the Estate, 1946-48. Plan by Howard Slatter.
The 5 phases of house building on
the Estate, 1946-48. Plan by
Howard Slatter.
First allocation, distinguished by unpainted brickwork and hipped roofs: 42-44 Foster Road ,
81-87 Foster Road.
Phase 1 of house building on the Estate, 1946. Plan by Howard Slatter.
42-44 Foster Road, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
81-87 Foster Road, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
Phase 1 of house building on the Estate,
1946. Plan by Howard Slatter.

42-44 and 81-87 Foster Road, March
2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
Steel Framed houses, set back further from the roads, possibly to allow space to lay down the
prefabricated sections during erection: 41-42 Byron Square , 153-155 Foster Road , 57-58
Byron Square.
Phase 4 of house building on the Estate, 1946-47. Plan by Howard Slatter.
41-42 Byron Square, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
153-155 Foster Road, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
57-58 Byron Square, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
Phase 4 of house building on the Estate,
1946-47. Plan by Howard Slatter.

41-42 Byron Square, 153-155 Foster
Road and 57-58 Byron Square, March
2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
The Council must have been finding it difficult to fill the 4-bedroom houses, because in July
1946 they reduced the rents to 13/-. The Electoral Register of October 1946 shows that most of
the first allocation of houses, all in Foster Road, were by then occupied.

Contracts for the fifth allocation (48 houses and 32 1-bed flats for older persons) were awarded
to Thompsons and Sindalls (houses, at £1200 each) and to Rattee & Kett and Coulsons (flats,
at £700 each).

I have only found one photograph of building work. It shows even-numbered houses in Foster
Road, with the first allocation numbers 42 to 64 and 70 to 76 complete, and second allocation
34 to 40 in the foreground still being built. Note the gap still remaining for numbers 66 and 68.
This was probably taken in late 1946.
Foster Road during construction, c. 1946. Source: Cambridgeshire Collection, Cambridge Central Library.
Foster Road during construction, c. 1946. Source: Cambridgeshire
Collection, Cambridge Central Library.
Second allocation: 10-20 Foster Road and 66-68 Foster Road (this pair of houses is unique in
that they were not painted white, unlike all others on the estate except the first 36).
Phase 2 of house building on the Estate, 1946-47. Plan by Howard Slatter.
10-20 Foster Road, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
66-68 Foster Road, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
Phase 2 of house building on the Estate,
1946-47. Plan by Howard Slatter.

10-20 and 66-68 Foster Road, March
2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
Third allocation: 63-66 Byron Square and 89-91 Paget Road.
63-66 Byron Square, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
89-91 Paget Road, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
Phase 3 of house building on the Estate,
1947-48. Plan by Howard Slatter.

63-66 Byron Square and 89-91 Paget
Road, March 2011. Photo: Howard
Slatter.
The next electoral register was for October 1947 and the plan shows which houses were by
then occupied (all the first and second allocations and the steel framed houses, as well as a few
of the third allocation on the south side of Byron Square).
The plan of the Estate as it was in 1947. Plan by Howard Slatter.
The plan of the Estate as it was in 1947.
Plan by Howard Slatter.

The east and south sides of Byron
Square from the playing field, May
2011. Photos: Andrew Roberts.
During 1948 the building of the final allocation was completed, and by the electoral register of
October all the houses and flats were occupied.

Fifth allocation (48 houses in blue, 32 flats round Paget Close in orange): 35-40 Byron Square
and Paget Close flats.
Phase 5 of house building on the Estate, 1947-48. Plan by Howard Slatter.
35-40 Byron Square, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
Paget Close flats, March 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
Phase 5 of house building on the Estate,
1947-48. Plan by Howard Slatter.

35-40 Byron Square and Paget Close
flats, March 2011. Photo: Howard
Slatter.
View from the eastern end of Anstey Way soon after all the work was completed and the same
view in 2011.
Paget Road in the 1940s. Source: Brenda Bass.
Paget Road in 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
Paget Road in the 1940s. Source: Brenda Bass.
Paget Road in 2011. Photo: Howard Slatter.
The east side of Byron Square from the playing field, May 2011. Photo: Andrew Roberts.
The south side of Byron Square from the playing field, May 2011. Photo: Andrew Roberts.