Old Rectory Care Home, near Cambridge, June 2018

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HughieD

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1. The History
Can’t find too much history about this place. Like the title implies, it used to be the rectory to the adjacent All Saints church which dates from the 12th century. The rectory house had six hearths in the mid-17th century but by 1836 was said to be 'a mere hut and in ruins'. It was later completely rebuilt in yellow brick under a Welsh Slate roof, probably between 1855 and 1862. It was sold by the church in 1982 and a year later opened as a private residential home for old people in 1983. It’s hard to pin down when the place closed-down but it appears the home shut its doors some time around 2000, possibly because of new regulations surrounding care homes and the fact that rooms had to be on-suite. Hence the place has been left to decay for close on to two decades.

2. The Explore
This place attracted quite a lot of attention and reports during 2015. Since then the odd report has cropped up. I noticed it due to the record collection left behind by one of its former residence who had impeccable taste. The Sisters of Mercy bootleg “Enter the Sisters” caught my eye as it is quite rare and valuable. Sadly, the records have long since gone. That said, the place remains graff free and the metal faeries have missed this place too. Long may it continue. So, after the long drive I parked up and proceed to what is effectively a walk in. The place is overgrown but has the road at the front and is overlooked by a house on the left hand side. It’s a fascinating place. It’s got loads of stuff left behind but there’s also load of decay. Downstairs is all accessible apart from the floor has fallen through in the kitchen. There are two sets of stairs up to the first floor. One set is shot but the back set of stairs are OK. The front three rooms up-stairs aren’t for the fainted-hearted as the floors are a bit sketchy. As for the 2nd floor/attic – I gave that a miss. I have mixed feelings while in here. On one level it is very peaceful and photogenic. On another level given the number of personal possessions etc still here the place is tinged with sadness and your mind starts to wander and start wondering about all the old folks who called this place home. The place is too far gone to ever be saved so over the coming few years this place will quite literally fall in on itself. Big up to Rubex for the intel.

3. The Pictures

So, there are a few ‘structural’ issues at the front;

42996414951_5a6da7d16e_b.jpgimg8084 by HughieDW, on Flickr

28128167577_df7a9ecac7_b.jpgimg8085 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Round the back less so but it’s just overgrown:

42095022735_ae0e4cb6db_b.jpgimg7990 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42095020605_2ac1992a75_b.jpgimg7991 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the first hint of what this place used to be:

28128252827_07a00838b5_b.jpgimg7992 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Into the first room:

28128244207_c5b62885ac_b.jpgimg7997 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41186406270_faf66a598f_b.jpgimg7998 by HughieDW, on Flickr

28128240817_89221f0956_b.jpgimg7999 by HughieDW, on Flickr

I wonder what French Vanilla smells like after all these years?

29124465908_ac2ab836b2_b.jpgimg8005 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Another downstairs room and a mouldering dresser:

42095001125_266ecac7e4_b.jpgimg8013 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The main hall is pretty far gone:

28128231997_c4676273c1_b.jpgimg8012 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42996435941_0781eb8e1d_b.jpgimg8052 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the main entrance:

42946985292_b00e71df5d_b.jpgimg8054 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42946983812_8e236f46b7_b.jpgimg8055 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The kitchen floor has collapsed:

29124425078_d7a4830455_b.jpgimg8045 by HughieDW, on Flickr

28128235597_050e2e656b_b.jpgimg8009 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Next to the kitchen is the main bathroom:

42094967535_a44faa94e0_b.jpgimg8043 by HughieDW, on Flickr

29124462738_368c0ff67f_b.jpgimg8011 by HughieDW, on Flickr

This lovely bit of stained-glass remains intact:

42996454391_dfa20b2513_b.jpgimg8026 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The room of the keyboard:

42094963375_7c69ae2330_b.jpgimg8046 by HughieDW, on Flickr

28128228417_698dc48517_b.jpgimg8014 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And a dead bird:

42094992525_3028b64e50_b.jpgimg8019 by HughieDW, on Flickr

29124417228_f3dcd1821e_b.jpgimg8047 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The grey marble fireplace is rather nice:

41186390590_1c24eea51b_b.jpgimg8017 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41186389940_a96325f65d_b.jpgimg8018 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Miscellaneous documentation:

42996456721_146490d5ed_b.jpgimg8022 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Another room, another old wedding picture:

42996451281_2c0a4a43e8_b.jpgimg8030 by HughieDW, on Flickr

29124436288_62a679eb54_b.jpgimg8031 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And one final downstairs room:

41186376270_eb1701a65b_b.jpgimg8033 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Up-stairs but maybe not this way:

42946990102_42c9976e87_b.jpgimg8051 by HughieDW, on Flickr

First room on the 1st floor and here’s a lovely stand-alone bath:

28128185697_e2203f637d_b.jpgimg8071 by HughieDW, on Flickr

More accommodation:

42278136544_89beba780f_b.jpgimg8075 by HughieDW, on Flickr

28128176397_97c9278db1_b.jpgimg8076 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42996421001_002086f0f1_b.jpgimg8077 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Nice fireplaces still in-situ:

29124382338_c8d98fc96b_b.jpgimg8078 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Someone was a keen photographer who was keen on processing their own film:

28128168597_5fea26108e_b.jpgimg8081 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 
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mockingbird

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Very nicely detailed report, I loved it inside here a few years back, sad the place has been well trodden and walked over, you have documented it really well, cant believe the banisters been ripped apart, I remember upstairs rather dodgy, opened a door and half the floor went not the safest place and certainly isnt anymore!
 

Mikeymutt

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Nice set of the place hughie.nice to see it's all still there.shame about the stairs.we found false teeth in there.wonder if they are still there
 

prettyvacant71

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Great update HD! I had extreme problems with lens flare in most of them ground floor rooms so you had a much better day then me:encouragement: Think all that orange dust on that bath are the spores from dry rot, hence the third floor becoming the ground floor. I couldn't bring myself to go up to the top floor either, it creaked too much, when my foot went through a step I called it a day, and I don't need anymore knocks on the head. You have certainly shown it still has a lot to offer, lovely shots HD!
 

KPUrban_

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Last time I stepped on that floor I almost took the whole floor with it. The bedrooms over the other side are worth it, just need to jump over.
Brilliant Photos! Love how this place always changes.
 

HughieD

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Last time I stepped on that floor I almost took the whole floor with it. The bedrooms over the other side are worth it, just need to jump over.
Brilliant Photos! Love how this place always changes.

Cheers man. My days of jumping over have passed ;-)

Nearly forgot, just a few phone pix I forgot to post...

29262108178_6b36bfc829_b.jpgRampton 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41322945500_1349a92ab6_b.jpgRampton 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

28264638197_5172a6c99f_b.jpgRampton 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

29262202108_4db76f4133_b.jpgRampton 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

42278202804_ce07eedf89_b.jpgimg7996 by HughieDW, on Flickr

41186332610_08f731859e_b.jpgimg8079 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

Hayman

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I wonder what caused the crack in the brickwork in the exterior wall. Subsidence? Coal mining? Not much coal mining in Cambridgeshire.
 

Sarah Waldock

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I wonder what caused the crack in the brickwork in the exterior wall. Subsidence? Coal mining? Not much coal mining in Cambridgeshire.
probably built on a soil horizon of two different soils, the problem with East Anglian soil is the braided nature of glacial till left behind, and the likelihood that you can have half your building on clay and the other half on sand, and that's before you even get to the complications of being in fenland and the possibility of being partly on reclaimed but still deeply waterlogged soil. Most of the draining had been done by the time it was built, but some of the drains might have had an impact on the nature of soils under some buildings - not knowing the precise region, couldn't say. The weight of any building will cause it to settle, displacing water from the interstices around the particulate matter which makes up the soil, and this goes at a different rate depending on the size and nature of the particles. Ie, if one side goes faster than the other, one side settles faster than the other, and whoops, two halves of a house dancing at different speeds. Also it's of an era where some builders used glacial erratics as part of the foundations rather than try to move them, and as the erratics don't settle as fast, they act like a slow, blunt chisel as the house settles around them. I've watched with great interest while a house about 300 yards from where I live was subject to that, and the extremely clever reclaiming of it with underpinning. We know a lot more nowadays about soil profiling and shifting.
I used to be able to do the maths of it, but ....
 

Hayman

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probably built on a soil horizon of two different soils, the problem with East Anglian soil is the braided nature of glacial till left behind, and the likelihood that you can have half your building on clay and the other half on sand, and that's before you even get to the complications of being in fenland and the possibility of being partly on reclaimed but still deeply waterlogged soil. Most of the draining had been done by the time it was built, but some of the drains might have had an impact on the nature of soils under some buildings - not knowing the precise region, couldn't say. The weight of any building will cause it to settle, displacing water from the interstices around the particulate matter which makes up the soil, and this goes at a different rate depending on the size and nature of the particles. Ie, if one side goes faster than the other, one side settles faster than the other, and whoops, two halves of a house dancing at different speeds. Also it's of an era where some builders used glacial erratics as part of the foundations rather than try to move them, and as the erratics don't settle as fast, they act like a slow, blunt chisel as the house settles around them. I've watched with great interest while a house about 300 yards from where I live was subject to that, and the extremely clever reclaiming of it with underpinning. We know a lot more nowadays about soil profiling and shifting.
I used to be able to do the maths of it, but ....
Thanks, Sarah, for the detailed, geological explanation. The general flatness of all of East Anglia (not just Norfolk, as Noel Coward is known for noting!) may make it easy for building construction but, as you have shown, it has its drawbacks. I would not have associated the area with glaciers, but Wikipedia mentions "[Glacial erratics] can be transported by ice rafting" - rock material embedded in ice (icebergs, etc) can be transported long distances before the ice melts and the material is released. Who says Derelict Places is not educational?! I had a friend in Surrey whose fairly newly-built house needed extensive underpinning.
 

Sarah Waldock

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Thanks, Sarah, for the detailed, geological explanation. The general flatness of all of East Anglia (not just Norfolk, as Noel Coward is known for noting!) may make it easy for building construction but, as you have shown, it has its drawbacks. I would not have associated the area with glaciers, but Wikipedia mentions "[Glacial erratics] can be transported by ice rafting" - rock material embedded in ice (icebergs, etc) can be transported long distances before the ice melts and the material is released. Who says Derelict Places is not educational?! I had a friend in Surrey whose fairly newly-built house needed extensive underpinning.
if you drive out to Bawdsey, you go up and down over a veritable corduroy sort of road, which is the eskers and kames, deposited by the meltwater of the interglacial and glacial period know everywhere but America as 'Ipswichian' because Ipswich was the greatest reach of the ice. I was able, as a snotty, Hermione Granger-like 17 year old schoolgirl able to point out to the planners that if they felled my favourite conker tree on the woodland on Spring Road and built there, not further back, they would find the flats falling down because of the sand over clay. they hadn't even driven cores! It is NOT known as Spring Road for nothing... and when they got rid of the old reservoir, they had to build the houses there on rafts. I'm still waiting for Mitre Close at back of Alexandra Park to slide down hill, being built on sand over thixotropic mud [which is why the Victorians never built on Alexandra Park and why they were unable to drive an inner ring road through Ipswich in the 70s.]
I have to confess, though that one reason I took a deep interest in Geology at school was to use for world building for Dungeons and Dragons...
 

Hayman

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if you drive out to Bawdsey, you go up and down over a veritable corduroy sort of road, which is the eskers and kames, deposited by the meltwater of the interglacial and glacial period know everywhere but America as 'Ipswichian' because Ipswich was the greatest reach of the ice. I was able, as a snotty, Hermione Granger-like 17 year old schoolgirl able to point out to the planners that if they felled my favourite conker tree on the woodland on Spring Road and built there, not further back, they would find the flats falling down because of the sand over clay. they hadn't even driven cores! It is NOT known as Spring Road for nothing... and when they got rid of the old reservoir, they had to build the houses there on rafts. I'm still waiting for Mitre Close at back of Alexandra Park to slide down hill, being built on sand over thixotropic mud [which is why the Victorians never built on Alexandra Park and why they were unable to drive an inner ring road through Ipswich in the 70s.]
I have to confess, though that one reason I took a deep interest in Geology at school was to use for world building for Dungeons and Dragons...
 

Hayman

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Thanks again, Sarah. 'Corduroy road' reminds me of driving on sandy outback roads in Australia and dirt bush roads in Africa. The effect of motor traffic was to build up ribs of sand, etc across the road, making it feel as if one is driving over transverse logs (another type of corduroy road). The best way to tackle them was to drive fast enough so that the wheels did not drop into the hollows. Great fun. Such roads would be graded at intervals, to smooth out the ribs. Yes, I heard of houses being built on rafts - but not rafts made of logs!
 

Sarah Waldock

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Yes, Hayman, I did think as I was writing it of 'coduroy roads', which I've had on my mind when including a bit of 17th century military engineering in one of my recent novels, but I wasn't sure how better to put it. It's not folded as the long hills are fairly even - much like overgrown ripples on a beach or lines of dunes in the desert, though of a flatter profile, having been worn down by 11,500 odd years of erosion. Heh, it's rekindled my interest in geomorphology, I might have to go see what recent books there are on the subject, since G.H. Dury 'The Face of the Earth' which was, if not cutting edge when I was at school still one of the better books. Being published 1959 it included the then newish studies of continental drift, and the effect of the weight of ice on the earth's crust.
Yup, I'm getting on in years.
 

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