Mendicity House c 1962. The large windows above the shops are those of the former dormitories for vagrants.
152 (66) Old Manor House, Mendicity House, 154 (67), 156 (68) Newmarket Road
History of 152-156 Newmarket Road
Royal Commission Survey of Cambridge 1959: House, now three tenements … built early in the 18th century on a comparatively ambitious scale, consisting of a rectangular block to the road.
The following notes are taken from this report:
After the Napoleonic Wars vagrancy escalated. There was a particular problem in Cambridge as beggars stole from students. The Society for the Suppression of Mendicity or Anti-Mendicity Society was founded in 1819, seeking to repress begging by arrest and conviction. However, by 1838 the activities of this society had lapsed and a new society under the same name aimed to assist artisans or labourers journeying in search of work by supplying them with a meal and shelter for the night.
To this end in February 1848 the committee rented a portion of the Old Manor House in Barnwell, owned by a Cambridge broker called Thomas Parker. It was known as ‘Mendicity House’ and was run by a resident Constable and Matron. From 1848-54 Mendicity House received more than 12,000 travellers, an average of 40 per week.
See Enid Porter’s Vagrants
1851: Mendicity House
Robert Scholes, 59, master of Mendicity House, b Lincs
Sarah Hill, 40, matron of Mendicity House, b Lincs
George Henry, lodger, 40, labourer, b Ireland
Ellen Henry, lodger, 33, b Ireland
Mary Henry, lodger, 3, b Ireland
Thomas Jackson, lodger, labourer, 46, b Ireland
Johanna Jackson, lodger, 36, b Ireland
John Jackson, 4, lodger, b Ireland
William Robinson, lodger, 41, labourer, b Wales
Eliza Robinson, lodger, 27, b Wales
Catharine Jackson, lodger, 25, b Ireland
Mary Jackson, lodger, 2, b Ireland
Mary Coburn, lodger, 20, b Ireland
George Grace, lodger, 26, labourer, b Stanford
Thomas Turner, lodger, 25, labourer, b London
Thomas Jones, lodger, 20, labourer, b Lincs
George Green, lodger, 35, labourer, b Herts
David Gilroy, lodger, 22, sailor, b Scotland
Charles Miller, lodger, 23, stone mason, b Suffolk
William Forde, lodger, 24, stone mason, b Hampton
William Jones, lodger, 24, labourer, b Ireland
John Hinde, lodger, 21, labourer, b Ireland
John Lewellen, lodger, 27, carpenter, b Pembroke
George Cook, lodger, 48, b Thurdon
James Gordon, lodger, 57, b Bagbrook
Richard Cooper, lodger, 39, b Yorks
1855: agreement set up in which Reverend Sparkes Bellett Seaby rented the yard behind mendicity House for the use of a school or Sunday school.
(66) Mendicity House
Thomas Ralling, 44, general commission agent, b Essex
Mary Ann, 50, b London
Ann, mother, widow, 78, b Essex
Charles Haonach [?], lodger, 28, a smith, b Suffolk
William Belby, lodger, 28, labourer, b Essex
Joseph Gaven, lodger, 39, a smith, b Norfolk
Charles Flack, lodger, 25, a seaman, b Norfolk
Charles Lee, lodger, 28, labourer, b Bath
Thomas Walker, lodger, 25, labourer, b Norfolk
John Brown, lodger, 26, labourer, b Norfolk
(67) Fred Swannell Toller, 47, merchant corn and flour
(68) Ann Marten, 46, shopkeeper
(67) Betsy Toller, 40, corn dealer
(68) Isaac Thretipung [?] Cash, 26, shoe maker
1873: a map of this date recording land owned by Parker sold. Octavius Parker, grandson of Thomas, had died with considerable debts.
1878: Mendicity House and nearby poor cottages were sold to a company formed by locals called the Cambridge Improved Industrial Dwellings Company. Their aim was to replace the appalling and unsanitary housing currently available in Barnwell. Meanwhile the Anti-Mendicity Society was dissolved and reformed as the Cambridge Charity Organization (Anti-Mendicity Society) in 1879.
Within a year 15 dilapidated cottages had been demolished, 25 had been repaired and 25 were in the course of erection. New houses were built on the corner of East Road and Crispin Street; behind Mendicity House 11 cottages were built on a new road, Leeke Street.
(66) Isaac Cash, 39, boot and shoe maker
(67) Richard Miller, 51, college servant
(68) George Worsley, 26, cab driver
In April 1883 Josiah Chater records that he had been asked to take on the secretaryship of the Cambridge Improved Industrial Dwellings Co.
(66) Ebenezer Rouse, draper
(67) John Waller, retired farmer
(68) William H Moore, travelling cutler
(66 & 67) Ebenezer Rouse, draper shopkeeper
(68) [but erroneously recorded as 65]
William F Ward, lodging house keeper
(152 – 4) Ebenezer Rouse, draper and milliner
(156) Joseph Speechley, butcher
(152) Geoffrey Harris, butcher
(154) Harry H Sargent, tobacconist
(156) T Thurston, greengrocer