Building » Cambridge – St Vincent de Paul

Cambridge – St Vincent de Paul

Ditton Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8SP

A prefabricated hut clad in corrugated iron, erected as a hospital ward during the First World War and subsequently demolished and re-erected three times, to serve first as a church hall and then twice as a church. The building is of local architectural and historical interest.

The building was erected during the First World War as a temporary ward at the First Eastern General Hospital on Newmarket Road, Cambridge. At the end of the war, a number of prefabricated war-surplus buildings were being disposed of, and Baron Anatole Von Hügel, a major local Catholic benefactor, purchased the building for £250. In 1920 it was moved to the garden of the church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs where, renamed Houghton Hall (after the martyr St John Houghton), it provided a clubroom for the Catholic working men’s club and a hall for parish organisations. In 1939, after a new parish hall and school buildings were erected at OLEM, the hall was relocated to High Street, Chesterton where it served as the first church of St Laurence. Following the opening of a new St Laurence’s church (qv) on Milton Road in 1958, the old building was moved over the river and re-erected on Ditton Lane, to serve as the church of St Vincent de Paul. In the 1980s it was repaired and re-arranged internally under the direction of the architect Julian Limentani. At the time of writing further repairs have been carried out recently by volunteers. The church is served from OLEM.


A pre-fabricated building, rectangular on plan with shallow pitched roof, the external walls and roof clad in corrugated iron. A small projecting porch on the front gable end is flanked by simple rectangular windows. The side walls each have four small buttress-like projections which are the uprights of the main frame, with a window set hard against each buttress. All the windows have external timber shutters. The gable end away from the road has a small lean-to, possibly housing a sacristy. The interior was not inspected, but a newspaper photograph shows a timber-boarded interior with A-frame roof, the altar placed in the centre of one of the long sides.

Heritage Details

Architect: None

Original Date: 1914

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed