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4 Adams Road

In 2007 the College Archive received an interesting file on the origins and early years of 4 Adams Road from a Mr Melville, a relative of former owners of the house (Archive ref. RCRF 3/6a). The house was built in 1908 by Francis Shillington Scales (1866-1927, a pioneer in x-ray techniques) on land leased by St John’s College. Shillington Scales had the house designed by Arnold Mitchell, architect, of 17 Hanover Square, London. Mitchell’s colour elevation of the ‘Garden Front’ (June 1908) shows that, even though the top floor was removed and rebuilt when Robinson College bought the house in 1988, it has barely changed at all, with the exception of the stunning wisteria which is blooming there at the time of writing. The file also includes two beautifully detailed pencil drawings, dated 1919, of the house interior, by E Joyce Shillington Scales (daughter of Francis, b. 1897). The house had a close connection with the study of economics for a long time. During World War II, some London School of Economics students were evacuated to 4 Adams Road. It was then owned by the Reddaway family from 1946-88: Brian Reddaway (1913-2002, Cambridge economist) lived there with his family for many years. Photographs of the above documents will be shown here if permission can be obtained. The author’s photograph (2020) shows the garden front of the house almost exactly as drawn by Mitchell over 110 years ago. [Some information also drawn from archive ref. RCRF 3/6: Commander George Coupe, 'The College Houses on the Robinson site', compiled 1998.]