The History of Cross Lane Close

By Val Rees

Cross Lane Close was built on orchard ground between 1971 and 1982.

Photo:Cross Lane Close, January 2015

Cross Lane Close, January 2015

Originally only numbers  1 - 4 were scheduled to be built and would have been laid out in a crescent, with the old ‘Cross Lane path’ running behind numbers 3 and 4.  Later, on orchard land bought from Mrs Ruth Miller of Town Green Road, the Barrington based builders Mills & Douglas constructed Cross Lane Close as we see it today. 

Photo:The Close, shaded orange,  with Cross Lane path in red

The Close, shaded orange, with Cross Lane path in red

Photo:Plots 92, 93 & 119, the site of the Close in 1887. (The land coloured green is Chapel Orchard.)

Plots 92, 93 & 119, the site of the Close in 1887. (The land coloured green is Chapel Orchard.)

Numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 were completed and sold in 1976.  Numbers 13, 15, 17, 18 and 20 were completed and sold in 1977.

Numbers 13, 14 and 15 required piling due to a plug of blue gault clay which runs through the site. Number 16 was never built due the excessive costs incurred by piling so the builders sold the land to the purchasers of no.14. Number 19, for some unknown reason, was never built.

 A further piece of land was acquired in 1981 and two final houses, (numbers  8a and 10a) were built in 1982.

 Every home was left with at least one fruit tree from the old orchard.  Several large conifers were also dotted around, the largest being outside number 15 opposite the alleyway to the village shop: sadly all had been taken down by 2014.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'The History of Cross Lane Close' page
There has always been a lovely friendly atmosphere in the Close, as highlighted in this photograph of all the residents gathered for a BBQ to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29th April 2011.

 By 2015 only two of the original residents were still living in the Close.

 There have been two notable residents of Cross Lane Close

The first was John Eatwell who was living at number 20 in 1977.  He was an honorary fellow of Queens College,  Cambridge and of Harvard University, and economic advisor to the Labour Party.  He went on to become Lord Eatwell

The second was Dr Sheila Edmonds who lived at number 5.  She was a renowned mathematician and was Vice Principal of Newnham College from 1960 to 1981.   To quote her obituary in The Times 'she was one of the last of the old-style Cambridge dons who devoted their lives to teaching and to their colleges.' It is thought that she was a special advisor to Bletchley Park during WW2, helping with the recruitment of gifted undergraduates for what was later known as the Enigma Code breakers.   

Dr Edmonds died in 2002, but Newnham College, in conjunction with the University Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, to this day offers ‘Sheila Edmonds bursaries’ in her memory.






This page was added by Val Rees on 18/01/2015.

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