Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Uplands Mansion - Cambridge

<Click on the photos for full size>

In a quiet Cambridgeshire village there once stood two magnificent houses called Whitefields and Uplands

Recent history

The local folklore is as follows (Or what you can gather from several variations of it)

Both houses were owned by a local self made millionaire named as Mr Ratte, who as half of a sucessful local company called "Ratte & Kett" made a fortune in the Cambridge electronics and computing industry.

The story has it that one night after a furious row with his Wife, Mr Ratte decided to burn both of the houses to the ground, the stories differ slightly here, one says that Mr Ratte blocked his extremely long drive with cars to stop the fire brigade from putting out the fire while another version claims that the fire brigade couldn't get up the drive due to low hanging trees, either way the fire engines had to slowly make their way across a field and by the time they arrived Whitefileds was totally destroyed and Uplands wasn't far behind.
The remains of the Whitefields mansion was demolished and bulldozed into the swimming pool which just leaves the remains of Uplands to be seen today

The Past

Uplands was built in 1893 by the Physiologist W.H. Gaskell. 

Gaskell was educated at Trinity College Cambridge, receiving his BA in 1869. His key discoveries included the sequence of cardiac contraction, and autonomic control of the heart. He also made progress in mapping the nervous system
He was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1882 and in 1889 he won the Royal Medal for his research and in 1908 he wrote "The Origin of the Vertebrates"
Gaskell died at Uplands in 1914

The Future

Planning permission has been granted to demolish Uplands and build a 99 room 5 star hotel complete with 18 hole golf course.

These artists and architects drawings are taken from the planning permission


  1. Well the above story of the fire isn't entirely true, Uplands burnt down in December 1990, was owned by Keith Farrer, Whitefields burnt down a few years later, totally different incidents, now owned by St.Johns College.

  2. Thanks for that fella, I do many locations around the UK and if it's not in my locale then I get my history via Google

  3. This is great to see! I had the fortune to fall through what remained of the second floor when I was a teenager growing up in that area. It was my first taste of urban exploring, albeit it a painful one and I treasure it dearly. I'm surprised to see it online as I never thought it had much history. The story we knew back then is that they were burnt down as attempted insurance fraud, a genuine urban myth it seems. Nice to see it documented anyhow. Happy exploring!

  4. Rattee & kett in Cambridge was a firm of ornamental stonemasons, nothing to do with IT & tech as far as I know - they were purchased by Mowlem in the 1990s & later shut down.

  5. The property was still standing in 1985 and was inhabited by a family for residential use. I used to visit them as a 10 year old at the time.
    Leading up to the house from the road, was a 9 hole par 3 golf course. To the right of the house, on the front lawn was an outdoor pool. Next to it was a rather grand greenhouse. To tbe left of the house and down a slope, through some trees, was a grass tennis court.