Tuesday, April 20, 2021

No. 385 - No Gaynes

Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; Gaynes Hall is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019

  • Grade II* listed Georgian mansion in Cambridgeshire for sale for £2.65 million in spite of being in far from perfect condition and next door to a prison housing 1,220 convicted sex offenders.
  • The estate was owned by the aristocratic Duberly family from 1798 until 1940. An earlier house on the house had been home to Oliver Cromwell’s namesake and uncle.
  • It was requisitioned in the Second World War by the Special Operations Executive. Hitler was so annoyed by the operations at Gaynes Hall that he supposedly nicknamed the place “the hornet’s nest.”
  • After the war, the hall became a borstal and after that closed, part of the estate became HM Prison Littlehey – famous for housing PR ‘guru’ Max Clifford, victim of a miscarriage of justice Stephen Downing and Australian cricketer Alex Hepburn.
  • More recently, the estate came to public attention after being discovered to be the centre of operations for drug lords. £250,000 of cannabis were seized there in 2019.

In June 2019, once ritzy Gaynes Hall at Perry, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire came to public attention when a drugs baron who’d turned part of the building into a cannabis farm was jailed. For his troubles, Nebir Tahiraj was relieved of £250,000 of drugs and ‘gained’ a sentence of 13 months.

 

Grade II* listed and built circa 1800 for Sir James Duberly (1758 – 1832), the gault brick house was originally plaster rendered. Of three storeys plus cellars and seven bays, the 20,795 square foot building is currently being marketed by agents Wilson Peacock for £2.65 million – up from £2.2 million back in 2019.

 

Gaynes Hall (also known as ‘Gaines Hall’ occasionally) stands in 16 acres of grounds including lakes and a moat and comes with a three bedroom cottage “requiring full modernisation and refurbishment.” It was home to the Duberly family until 1940 when it was requisitioned by Special Operations Executives (SOE) on the instructions of Winston Churchill.

 

Supposedly, according to the local Parish Council’s website, Hitler was so exasperated by the activities at Gaynes Park that he referenced the house “the hornet’s nest.” It was known locally during this period as a “spy school” and its master, Wing Commander Thomas Odett, was nicknamed ‘The White Rabbit’ on the basis that “he was always popping up in unexpected places.”

 

After the war, the mansion became the governor’s residence and administrative offices of the newly created Her Majesty’s Borstal Gaynes Hall and remained in that use until 1983 when the borstal closed. Her Majesty’s Prison Littlehey, which is best known as the place of death of the public relations ‘guru’ paedophile Max Clifford, was subsequently opened next door and residents of Perry get to hear its sirens periodically if a prisoner escapes or there is a disturbance.

 

In 1985, AIM Cambridge (later AIM Technology) leased the hall and from the Ministry of Defence and converted it into offices. When their business failed, the building became empty and in 1990, Gaynes Hall was sold again. In the years since, it has been in mixed use.

 

No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
In need of some attention – Gaynes Hall has variously been used as a grand residence by aristocracy, requisitioned for use by Special Services Executives (SOE), served as an administrative office and governor’s house for a borstal and been converted to offices. It is currently configured in ‘mixed-use’ format and includes 20,975 square foot of accommodation.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
An aristocratic drug farm – Nebir Tahiraj was imprisoned in 2019 after having turned part of Gaynes Hall into a cannabis farm. He was caught with over £250,000 of drugs on the premises after neighbours complained about the noxious smell.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
Proximity to a prison – An aerial view of Her Majesty’s Prison Littlehey. Gaynes Hall is situated just to the west.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
Rapists next door – Convicted rapist and ex-cricketer cricketer Alex Hepburn, Stephen Downing (whose conviction for murder was overturned in 2002 after he had served 27 years in prison) and paedophile Max Clifford (who died in the prison) are connected by having been imprisoned at the Category C male prison HM Prison Littlehey. It has a capacity for 1,200 male prisoners – who all have been convicted of sexual offences.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
A once grand gentleman’s residence – Gaynes Hall in an image taken circa 1913. An earlier house on the site was leased for 21 years by Sir Oliver Cromwell (1566 – 1655), the uncle and namesake of the lord protector, from 1599.

The Names & Numbers – Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom

 

December 2019 – Listed for sale by Wilson Peacock Country Homes at the increased price of £2.65 million ($3.35 million, €2.96 million or درهم12.32 million).

 

14th June 2019 – 35-yeard old Nebir Tahiraj found guilty at Cambridge Crown Court of “being concerned in the production of cannabis” in his flat at Gaynes Hall and jailed for 13 months. When police raided the property, they “found more than 200 plants at varying stages of growth, growing equipment and two large bags of cannabis ready to be sold” worth circa £250,000 ($316,000, €279,000 or درهم1.2 million). He attempted to claim “he was being exploited and kept at the flat against his will,” but the National Crime Agency (NCA) discovered he had been willingly involved.

 

Mid 2019 – For Sale for £2.2 million ($2.8 million, €2.5 million or درهم10.2 million) through Michael Graham.

 

March 2019 – Fleet Assist announce they will be moving their business from Gaynes Hall to Ermine Business Park in Huntingdon.

 

2002 – Purchased by the Malik family (according to Wikipedia).

 

1994 – 2002 – Owned by the McCallion family (according to Wikipedia).

 

1985 – Converted to offices and used by firms including AIM Cambridge (AIM Technology) and Fleet Assist in the years subsequently. Part-let as apartments and by the room also for residential use.

 

1945 – 1983 – Used as the governor’s residence and administrative officers of the Her Majesty’s Borstal Gaynes Hall. ‘Boys’ who were detained there have recounted their experiences on this fascinating Facebook page; it plainly was not an especially pleasant place.

 

1940 – Requisitioned for use by Special Operations Executive (SOE). Gaynes Hall – under the codename ‘Station 61’ – became the headquarters for Air Liason Officers and used as a ‘hotel’ for them prior to their being dropped into occupied Europe.

 

1798 – 1940 – Owned by the Duberly family. The present house was constructed for them circa 1800 to the designs of architect George Byfield (circa 1756 – 1813).

 

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No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
No Gaynes – £2.65 million for Gaynes Hall, Perry, Great Staughton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 0ST, United Kingdom through agents Wilson Peacock – Cambridgeshire mansion used by Special Operations Executives in the Second World War and as a borstal subsequently for sale; it is next to the prison that housed Max Clifford and was briefly a cannabis farm in 2019.
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Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Wrecking ball urgently required!!!!!!!!! What a dump!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Next to a bunch of nonces too!!!!!!!!!!! And I googled and saw a waterworks too………. Who’d pay nearly £3 million smackers for this!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then you’d have to spend millions more on renovations!!!!!!!!!!!! STOOOOOOOOOPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Who would want to pay £3 million to live next to a prison and a waterworks? Ridiculous! And a wreck to boot that has been a drug farm. The estate agent is plainly on crack.

  3. i lived here during the sixties, i was a young teenager, as far as i know no one has ever discovered the secrets of this house and land as i did. you would not believe what lies underground, that in itself is worth millions

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