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27 City Road

History of 27 City Road


Frederick Leach, joiner and cabinet maker

In 2023 MA wrote:

My mother’s family grew up here in the years during and after The Great War, where James Neaves – her father – earned several medals for his brave conduct in the trenches. He had married Ethel Unwin – a domestic maid, and sister of the late FT Unwin: author of the PIMBO & JENNY book series – around 1910. It was at 27 City Road that they started a family. First came Douglas (who went on to serve most nobly in World War Two: captured by Japanese forces in Thailand in 1941 and forced to labour on the infamous Burma Railway; witnessed the Hiroshima atomic event from a local cave, where the prisoners had been marched for summary execution by drowning – when the bomb went off their captors ran away!), then Pat, Hilda, Joan, and finally Barbara (my mother) in 1928.

Barbara worked on the telephone switchboards, where she quickly found herself in a managerial position. In a few years she was able to save up enough money buy the house, for £350 (she was offered the house next-door for an additional £150, which she could have afforded, but didn’t want to be greedy!!!). By this time Doug and her sisters had all married and moved away.

James Neaves died around 1963. Sometime around 1964 John Allen (my father) moved in, and the trouble started.

I was born in 1966, at Mill Road Maternity Hospital, and my brother, Shaun, came along in ’68. We all five lived together at number 27.

In 1977 Ethel died, aged 85. John moved away in 1982. My mother sold the house in 1985, for £35,000, and we moved to Littleport.

In 1939 Douglas was living at 71 Argyle Street.


James Neaves


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