History – St Vincent de Paul

St Vincent de Paul, Ditton

The present building started life as part of the First Eastern General Hospital on Newmarket Road.  At the end of WWI, a number of prefabricated war-surplus buildings were being disbanded. A benefactor, Baron Anatole Von Hügel, paid the cost –said to be £250 – and it was moved to the Rectory garden (now St. Alban’s School) in 1920, and named Houghton Hall.  It served the Parish there until 1936.  In 1939, it was re-erected in High Street, Chesterton and named St. Laurence’s.  Following the opening of a new St. Laurence’s Church on Milton Road in 1958, the ‘tin tabernacle’ was moved over the river and re-erected on Ditton Lane.  For many years it was in a very precarious condition, until Mgr. Anthony Philpot invited the then Parish Architect to provide a design for re-ordering. “The result was a dramatic and wonderful transformation.  By turning everything round ninety degrees a quite different ambience for worship was created, and … it signalled a significant revival in that community’s life” (Modern Times,1960 – 1990,  by Mgr Anthony Rogers in: Catholics In Cambridge, edited by Nicholas Rogers, 2003).