I like reading books that are set in my local area and enjoy the author’s description of a place I know well. I came across this in The United Cambridge Hospitals 16th Annual Report for 1966-1967:
“Visitors to Cambridge who have read E M Forster’s novel ‘The Longest Journey’ will find that Addenbrooke’s Hospital is no longer ‘girt like any Venetian Palace with a mantling canal’
The railings along the front of the Hospital had begun to lean over the pavement due to the gradual collapse of the retaining wall and there was consequently a danger that the wall itself would collapse completely causing the pavement to cave in. With the agreement of the Trustees of Hobson’s Conduit Trust The Board agreed that the moat should be filled and the whole area grassed over. The original railing as well as the gates which are known to be over 100 years old have been repaired and painted”.
The iron railings and gates were built in about 1806 after a legacy from Joseph Merrill who was a Bookseller of Cambridge. He left in his will of 28 Sep 1805 £200 for ‘general use’ and £300 ‘for the purpose of erecting iron railings in of the hospital’