The Hinxton estate, with its Hall and parkland lies on the banks of the River Cam, which also flows through the old university city of Cambridge, nine miles to the north. The link is fitting, as the first recorded owner of the estate in 1506, was the College of Michaelhouse in Cambridge.
A family home was first built on the site by John Bromwell Jones in 1748, and the central three-storey block of the existing Hall is from this period. At this time, Hinxton Hall was an integral part of the village, lying at the southernmost end of its high street - the road that ran from Cambridge to Saffron Walden in the south. Opposite the house were some fine stables, a well-tended kitchen-garden and an orchard, all of which survive today, albeit in altered form.
By 1860, the Hinxton estate incorporated around 13 acres of parkland and the Hall was a country home that its residents, the Green family, could be proud of. However by the turn of the last century the Greens had vacated the estate and in 1920 it passed into the hands of the Robinson family. It was under the Robinson family tenure that the Hall was used for billeting American soldiers, stationed at the local Duxford airbase during the Second World War. The airbase is now part of the Imperial War Museum.
Finally in 1953, the Hall and grounds were sold to Tube Investments plc, which erected research laboratories in the grounds and converted the Hall into office space. In the late 1980s, the company closed its laboratories and the site was purchased by Capital and Counties plc who had ambitious plans for a business park - a venture that never got off the ground.
At this time, John Sulston (Founding Director of the Sanger Centre) and Wellcome Trust staff were looking for temporary accommodation for the new sequencing centre. Hinxton was an ideal choice, and so late in 1992 the Wellcome Trust became the new 'landlord' of Hinxton. Since then the Trust has been fortunate enough to purchase some 1400 acres surrounding the Hall from the Robinson family, thus increasing the Trust's investment in the area.
Click here to read more about the history of the Hinxton Hall Estate