Free School LaneExtension of workshop

After running the workshop single-handedly for two years, the University eventually agreed to provide James Stuart with assistance.

As the numbers of students rose, Stuart begged for more space, and in 1882 the University allotted him two cottages in Free School Lane, with a foundry in the garden of one of them. This was a cause of great concern to the Professor of Botany over whose plants the foundry tended to smoke!

Raising the roof

To provide more room, an extra storey was also added to the building that housed the herbarium and the Department of Mineralogy. True engineers, Stuart and his assistant Lyon evolved a scheme for jacking up the roof and inserting new walls beneath it. The whole thing was completed in seventeen days, during the Long Vacation, by the students and staff. Such was the accuracy of the calculations on how to proceed, that not a tile or a slate was broken - a useful exercise for the students in learning how 'ordinary building work is carried out'.

Photograph courtesy of The Cambridgeshire Collection, Cambridge Central Library.