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Plaque behind Grafton Centre – Cambridge Refuge 1841

Fascinating plaque re 1841 Refuge

This plaque is on the wall behind the Grafton centre. The wall borders Stanton House. The  plaque reads ‘This Wall and the ground on which it stands belong wholly to The Cambridge Refuge July 1841. This stone was replaced March 1881.’

I was curious what Refuge it related to and asked if anyone on the Facebook group Cambridge in the Good Old days had any ideas. Terry Frost found a comment on gwydir.demon.co.uk/jo/walks/plaques.htm. It seems the Cambridge Refuge was set up to look after prostitutes until they went into service as maids, etc.

Claire A. Peirce added that there was a tenement building where Stanton House now stands, which was the old refuge. She went on: ‘As a child, I remember American army families being temporarily housed there after the war whilst waiting to return home. There were other nationalities housed there also. Gradually the number of rooms left empty increased, leaving the children resident in Christchurch Street with a wonderful play space in which we built dens and formed “gangs”. There were courtyards which became overgrown and long echoing corridors to run down.’

Many thanks to Terry, Claire and all others who contributed to this interesting thread.

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