History of 186 Gwydir Street

See History of Gwydir Street and Buildings in Gwydir Street.

David Parr, painter, lived in 186 Gwydir St in 1904 (see Spalding's Directory)

He was still there in 1913 (see Spalding's Directory).

In 1887, No 186 was bought by David Parr, a working-class Victorian 'artist-painter' who worked for the Cambridge decorative arts company F R Leach & Sons, known for their work locally on Queens' Old Hall, Jesus College Chapel, All Saints' Church and nationally with architects and designers Bodley, Kempe and William Morris. Over 40 years, David Parr decorated his home in the style of the grand interiors of the Victorian Gothic Revival churches and Arts & Crafts houses he worked on every day. His intricately patterned, hand-painted walls survive throughout much of the house.

The David Parr House Charity has renovated and conserve the housed, and provides public access to it. See the David Parr House website for more details.

The David Parr House is the only listed building in Gwydir Street (although several graves in the cemetery are listed). It is grade II.

David Parr House

From Capturing Cambridge:


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

A full building report on the David Parr House compiled by Sheila Cane for the Mill Road History Society is now available:
Building Report on 186 Gwydir Street

Main index - Buildings and houses in Gwydir Street.