After all the snow and freezing weather, it was great to make a visit to Kettle’s Yard Cambridge & then onto Kings Lynn.
Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge re-opened in early February after completely reconfiguring the modern art display areas.
Though west of the centre of Cambridge this complex of buildings is very accessible and, with a busy Coffee Shop, is clearly popular even on a chilly March day. The centre of the attraction for casual visitors is the original home of Jim & Helen Ede.
Born in Wales as Harold Stanley Ede, Jim Ede was a soldier in the 1st World War. – invalided out to recuperate in Cambridge. He was an artist in the making at the Slade – but never seemed to make to leap into commercial acceptance.
The leap he did make was as curator of British art in what eventually morphed into the Tate Modern. While there he made the core of his art collection. Many today might question his method of accumulation as detrimental to his employer – much as modern historians have pounced on Howard Carter’s relationship with authorities – both are forms of presentism.
After the Tate Jim and Helen Ede (who married in 1921) were based for 20 years in Morocco, where they seem to have acquired the minimalist style of interior house design – especially whitewashed walls. The Edes established themselves in Cambridge renovating houses on what then was the edge of town, setting up what might be termed a ‘salon’. The house was donated to Cambridge University in 1966, when they moved to Edinburgh.
I made an entry into the reception for a free, but timed – and ideally pre-booked, visit to the home and a very helpful introduction by Ms L Hindmarsh to the home itself, it’s clear that the staff are very engaged in their role. The home is simple, with a serene atmosphere backed up with a relaxing aroma of age and wood.
The home, is on 3 floors was a repurposed row of 4 terraced houses. If offers a curated vision of the house left by the Edes in the mid-20thc and is quite different to the grander museums associated with Cambridge.
Then it was off to King’s Lynn, with its grander church – the Minster. This has had a remarkable history from its foundation almost 1,000 years ago.
Subsidence seems to have been a continual problem along with the destruction during the Reformation, so little remains of its early years. Remarkably this now sleepy town of King’s Lynn was England’s principal port in the early Middle Ages, a result of the international trade federation the Hanseatic League around the Baltic and North seas.
The switch in Britain’s focus to the wider world lead to the rise of Britain’s west and south coast ports such as Liverpool and Bristol and the slow slump of importance for King’s Lynn. We travelled to Walsingham from King’s Lynn.