Between 1957 and 1973 Kettle's Yard was the home of H. S. ‘Jim’ Ede (1895–1990) and Helen Schlapp (1894–1977). In 1922 Ede joined the staff of the Tate Gallery and liked to think of himself above all as a 'friend of artists'. Among the artists he befriended and whose work he acquired were Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Joan Miró, Alfred Wallis and Christopher Wood. This collection later formed the foundation of Kettle’s Yard, the cottages in Cambridge which he converted and where he carefully displayed furniture, glass, ceramics and natural objects in each room, with the aim of creating a harmonic and balanced whole. Once in Cambridge, Ede became interested in new artists such as William Congdon, William Scott, Italo Valenti and Elisabeth Vellacott. In 1966 Kettle's Yard was given to the University of Cambridge. The Edes continued to live there until 1973, when they retired to Edinburgh.
Each afternoon throughout the year, with the exception of Mondays, visitors may ring the bell and ask to look around.