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We are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Please note the house will be temporarily closed for 4 weeks from 14 March 2024

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Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

We are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Please note the house will be temporarily closed for 4 weeks from 14 March 2024

Stories

Recycling, Repairing and Reusing at Kettle's Yard

Find out more about how sustainability is part of the ethos of Kettle’s Yard and its creators.

Recycling, repairing and reusing were a big part of the ethos of Jim and Helen Ede whilst they lived at Kettle’s Yard. All around the house you will see evidence of this. Here are a few of our favourite moments and the stories behind them.

Photo by Paul Allitt
Photo: Ed Park / APFEL

This cider screw, part of a cider press, was found at a possessions sale in Tangier, marked for £1. Jim and Helen Ede bought it and repurposed it as a plinth.

The plinth for this Henri Gaudier-Brzeska sculpture is a piece of wood found by Jim Ede washed up on a beach on the Scilly Isles. It was “part of a wreck around 1910 of wood brought from Canada.” It took Jim 2 years to bring it back to Cambridge.

Photo by Paul Allitt

The spiral staircase treads came from a large Cambridge house, ‘Rance’s Folly’, which was being demolished. “We had to build a semi-circular tower to contain these stairs. I little knew where they would lead.”

This metal shelf, found amongst the plants in the bridge, was also taken from Rance’s Folly before it was demolished. It came from the main staircase there.

Photo by Jasper Fry

This vase ‘The Heron‘ by William Staite Murray was said to have been broken by David Jones while visiting Ede’s home in London, and it was subsequently mended in gold by Staite Murray himself, adopting a traditional Japanese technique ‘Kintsugi’.

This object was given to Jim by a friend, John Catto, in 1975. When Catto first saw it, it was a burnt branch on a lightning-struck willow by the banks of the river Cam. Having noticed its human-like appearance, he cut it off and darkened the new wood revealed, otherwise leaving it as it still is.

All around Kettle’s Yard, you can find cracked and repaired glass and china, such as this large goblet in the lower extension. “Glass and china play their part in Kettle’s Yard; there is hardly a room without, even cracked things…”

On the mantelpiece in Jim’s sitting room, you can find this bowl of potpourri, which is actually a jelly mould, once again showing how the Edes reused and repurposed objects.