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 Sepia photograph of unknown group at Emmanual College Cambridge



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Ramsey and Muspratt - The Premises at 20 St Andrews Street, Cambridge

Ramsey and Muspratt started their operation at 20 St Andrews Street Cambridge in 1932. Their surviving diaries suggest the firm first opened their studio doors on Tuesday 23 February that year. We do not know how much space the firm occupied, but they were on one or more of the upper floors, a dyer's shop and a sweet shop taking up the ground floor. Access to the studio would have been through a narrow entrance to the left of the two shop fronts - not an attractive entrance likely to draw in casual passing foot traffic. Jesus College were the owners of the property. Unfortunately no records have survived in the Jesus College Archive of Ramsey and Muspratt at these premises. Correspondence from 1931 and 1932 between the College's solicitors and Johnson Brothers (Dyers) Ltd Bootle Dye Works Liverpool, suggests that the head lease on the parts of 20 St Andrews Street other than the two ground floor shops ended in October 1934, so it seems likely that Ramsey and Muspratt had a short and therefore inexpensive lease on their rooms.

The postcard below, with a close-up section beneath, is from a 1925 glass plate negative by Edward Mott in the Cambridgeshire Collection ( B.And.K25. 3965 - negative MNH 46.8 - reproduced with their permission). The "Dyers" sign on the left hand side of the road in the distance relates to the firm on the ground floor of 20 St Andrews Streeet, the building where Ramsey and Muspratt started their business.

St Andrews Street Cambridge 1925

20 St Andrews Street, cambridge 1925

In 1908 there was a valuation of 20 St Andrews Street by J.Carter Jonas and Sons. The premises were then let on lease to Mr A.G.Almond for 40 years from 10 Oct 1894. The valuer described the property as follows: "The premises have a frontage of about 26 feet to St Andrews Street and consist of 2 lock-up shops in front with a house over and architect's office and yard at the back. The shops comprise two lock up shops fronting St Andrews Street with cellar under and are known as 20 and 20A St Andrews Street. they are each the same size, about 18 ft 6 inches x 9 ft and are sublet to Messrs Johnson Bros Dyers, York and Messrs Gainsborough, Milliners of London. The house approached by passage at the side is in the occupation of Miss Palmer, who resides there and uses the same as a preparatory school for children. The accommodation consists of ground floor entrance from side passage, back sitting room and staircase, first floor lobby, large room in the front over the shops and room at the back. Second floor lobby, closet and lavatory, 2 rooms in front and one room at the back. In the small yard at the back is a detached kitchen with scullery and offices. The offices which are situated at the back of the above premises and are approached from the side passage are in the occupancy of Messrs MacAlister and Skipper, architects, and consist of three private offices with studio above of poor construction being plaster built and slated and lean-to timber and slated building in yard fitted up as a drawing office". The estimated total annual value of the premises was put at £180. (Jesus College Archives, Correspondence File on 20 St Andrews St Cambridge. We are most grateful to the College Archivist, Robert Athol for his assistance in searching for traces of Ramsey and Muspratt in the College Archives).

Jesus College Archives have later plans of the property. In 1962 it was as shown below. The two shops were still present, but by this time the rest of the property had become 10 offices and an architect's studio. The plan below probably represents the layout when Ramsey and Muspratt operated there. The areas of the plan shaded in pink represent the part of the premises previously let to Miss Palmer, mentioned above.

1962 plan of 20 St Andrews Street Cambridge

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This page was last modified: 19 January 2018, 12:13

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