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Downing Arch from Saxon Street

1 Downing Arch (Archway), Lensfield Road

History of 1 Downing Arch, Lensfield Road

Downing Arch (Lensfield Road side)

1901 Downing Archway

John Hodson, widower, 62, living on own means, b Lancs

Bessie W, 20, b Cambridge


Emma Jackson, 61, college bedmaker, b Suffolk

1913 Mrs Jackson


The diarist Jack Overhill lived in Saxon Street during World War Two opposite the Archway. On 27th September he wrote:

When I arrived at Lensfield Road corner last night on the way home there was a big crowd opposite Downing Archway (facing our house in Saxon Street) and I thought there had been an accident. I hurried home to see if the family was all right and as nobody was in hurried up the archway – to meet Jess coming down with Jim (Jock was in the house). A Hurricane had crashed in an alley between two houses in Lensfield Road [the garden of 5 Bene’t Place], knocking part of a wall down as it fell in a garden. I heard all about it from Jack, first on the scene with Webb, a window-cleaner round here (he of stirrup pump fame!) and an airman, who telephoned for the ambulance. The Hurricane got in a spin, partly straightened out over Sheep’s Green (so Ted Clee the custodian at the Sheds told me), and crashed. Jack said they couldn’t get anywhere near to assist the pilot and they could not see him because of the flames from the wreckage. The ammunition exploded and I told Jack that it was dangerous to go near;… As I type I can see part of the wrecked plane on a lorry at the top of the archway. A soldier guarding it keeps shooing children, souvenir hunting , away — the distance ii crashed is barely 50 yards away from the house. I was told the incident happened at 10 minutes to 5.00.


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