Cambridge’s iconic former police station, Hobson House, offered for sale



East Anglian commercial property agent, Cheffins, has launched iconic building, Hobson House, to the open market.


Hobson House is a Grade II listed former police station, currently in office use. Situated on St Andrew’s Street, it is in the historic core of the city. Owned by a local charity, Hobson House offers a rare development opportunity in a central location.

Named after famous Cambridge carrier, Thomas Hobson, Hobson House occupies the site of the former Spinning House, a major part of Cambridge city’s history. The ‘Spinning House’ was founded by Thomas Hobson in 1628 and served the university and the town as a workhouse before it was turned into a prison and correctional facility. By 1852, the Spinning House was officially the University Vice-Chancellor’s prison and the buildings set back behind the building became the borough police station. By 1901 the building had been demolished and made way for what is now Hobson House, which served as a police and fire station.

In the late 1960s a new police station was built on Parkside and Hobson House was converted for office use. The original gaol and exercise yard for inmates still exists, as do a number of original features including the front elevation, stained glass windows, original staircase, panelled rooms and a drill hall roof structure.

The site area is around 0.32 acres and comprises a total building area of approximately 17,200 sq ft. The building has potential for a variety of uses including; residential, student residential, retail, restaurant, hotel and education use, subject to relevant planning. Hobson House is situated on St Andrew’s Street at the heart of the City Centre in a location which is predominantly commercial, with a mix of office, retail, hotel and restaurants.

The freehold of the building is owned by Cambridge United Charities (CUC), which was formed to manage the properties and money left to the people of Cambridge by several local philanthropists from the 17th Century until the present day. The current occupier, Cambridge City Council, is in the process of moving all services from Hobson House to the adjacent Mandela House on St Andrew’s Street.

Lorna Gordon, Associate at Cheffins comments: “Hobson House is one of Cambridge’s most iconic buildings, set on one of the best-served streets in the city and provides an incredibly rare development opportunity. The building’s illustrious history and unusual interior offers scope for innovative design and, subject to the necessary planning, has the potential for a number of alternative uses.”

Interested parties are invited to put forward proposals on the basis of a new ground lease for a term of 125 years for an initial capital premium plus a geared ground rent.

Initial expressions of interest are invited by 16th December 2016.

For more information, please contact: Lorna Gordon at Cheffins on 01223 213666,



Cheffins is Cambridgeshire’s leading firm of surveyors, valuers, property advisers and auctioneers. Established in 1825, the firm has 6 offices in Cambridge: Ely; Haverhill; Newmarket, Saffron Walden and Sutton. Cheffins’ professional services include residential sales; residential lettings; fine art auctions; commercial property; agriculture and rural business services; vintage and classic auctions; planning and development; property auctions and tractor and plant machinery.


For media information, please contact Sophie Richardson, PR Manager at Cheffins, t: 01223 214290,





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