Girton Town Charity Welcomes Visit By HRH The Duke of Gloucester

June 24, 2024

A Cambridge charity has hosted a royal visit to its new award-winning almshouse development in the centre of Girton.


HRH The Duke of Gloucester, who is Vice Royal Patron of The Almshouse Association, was welcomed by Girton Town Charity trustees and residents to Dovehouse Court where he was shown around the Passivhaus-accredited almshouses, the first of its kind in the UK.


The Duke was greeted by His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire Julie Spence, Nick Phillips CEO of The Almshouse Association and Willie Hartley-Russell Chairman of The Almshouse Association and Ann Bonnett, Chair of Girton Twon Charity.


His Royal Highness was given a tour of one of the new almshouses by Ian Bramwell, Director of Mole Architects, who designed the development, before visiting a resident in her home.


After unveiling a plaque to commemorate the day, Ann Bonnett thanked The Duke for visiting and meeting the residents, staff and trustees of the charity. She said: “It has been a great pleasure to show you around our new almshouses so you could see at first hand these homes for the future.”


She then presented His Royal Highness with a signed copy of local photographer Martin Bond’s new book entitled ‘Cambridge: Town & Gown’.


Before leaving, His Royal Highness said: “I am delighted to have been able to come to Dovehouse Court today to see and hear about your ground-breaking development. It is very impressive that your charity, which has a 500-year history, is now looking to the future with these inspiring homes which have preserved the principles of traditional almshouse design with shared gardens and a community courtyard.”


Nick Phillips, CEO of The Almshouse Association added: “We are very honoured to receive HRH The Duke of Gloucester at one of our member charities, particularly to show off the first example of a new Passivhaus-certified almshouse development. The Duke seemed very interested in how the charity blended historic design with cutting edge environmental engineering.”


Earlier this year, Dovehouse Court was given the accolade of ‘Highly Commended’ in the Best New Building Over £2 Million category in the 2024 Greater Cambridge Design and Construction Awards, run by the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI), and held at Pembroke College.


Passivhaus is a leading international low-energy design standard, which offers a robust, proven and cost-effective method to help achieve carbon reduction targets. Key features centre around high levels of insulation, resulting in low energy costs and improved indoor air quality, all made possible by installing energy-efficient windows and doors, with stricter levels of airtightness, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery.