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Kettle’s Yard was originally conceived with students in mind. In 1954 Jim Ede envisaged creating ‘a living place where works of art could be enjoyed… where young people could be at home unhampered by the greater austerity of the museum or public art gallery.’
In 1956 Jim and Helen came to Cambridge in search of a ‘stately home’. What they found instead were four tumbledown cottages nestling beneath the ancient church of St Peter. With the help of architect Roland Aldridge, Ede restored and substantially remodelled them.
Jim Ede kept ‘open house’ every afternoon of term, personally guiding his visitors around his home. In 1966 he gave the house and its contents to the University of Cambridge. In 1970, three years before the Edes retired to Edinburgh, the house was extended, and an exhibition gallery added, both to the design of the architects Sir Leslie Martin and David Owers.