Capturing Cambridge
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14 Magdalene Street

History of 14 Magdalene Street

1959 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments Survey of Cambridge: Nos. 13, 14 and No.1 Northampton Street forming the corner block, of two storeys with cellars and attics, has timber-framed walls and tiled roofs. It consists of two 16th cent. ranges nearly at right angles to one another, all of one build, though now divided, and later than the adjoining range. In the 17th cent. the attics were reconstructed.

13-14 Magdalene and 1 Northampton Street


Frank Alphonso Webster was born on 6 September 1888 to parents Robert Henry and Silvester (née Farey); Robert was a painter and house decorator.  In the 1891 Census he is living with his parents at 8 Downing Street, Cambridge.  By the 1901 Census, aged 12, he and his family have moved to 1 Victoria Street, Cambridge.  Ten years later he is recorded as being a pastry cook, but still living with his family at 1 Victoria House, 1 Victoria Street, Cambridge.  In 1913, Frank’s name is listed under W N Coulson & Co, bakers and confectioners, at 14 Magdalene Street, Cambridge.  William Neal Coulson appears in the 1901 Census at this address but by the 1911 Census had moved to Victoria Road and retired as a baker and confectioner; there is no entry in this latter Census for 14 Magdalene Street.

Frank enlists on 10 December 1915 at the Suffolk Regiment depot in Bury St Edmund; he states his occupation at a Master Baker, living at 14 Magdalene Street, Cambridge.  He is obviously in a reserved occupation (in a 1916 directory he is listed as a baker at 14 Magdalene Street, Cambridge although the temporary exemption is withdrawn in December 1916) as he is then mobilised on 26 February 1917 to the 3rd Bn, Bedfordshire Regiment (Private, no 3778) giving his address as 14 Magdalene Street, Cambridge. He is sent to France, via Calais in May 1917 but is moved between the 2nd Bn and 8th Bn until in February 1918 he is posted to the 4th Bn, Bedfordshire Regiment.  His parents were notified that on 24 March 1918 he was posted missing but then it is reported at the end of April 1918 that he was a prisoner of war.  Records indicated he was captured on 23 March 1918 at Bus (probably during the German Operation MICHAEL, the Battle of St Quentin) and was taken to the Münster II prisoner of war camp.  In late August 1918 he is transferred from the Münster III prisoner of war camp to the Senne prisoner of war camp.  He is discharged in Mar 1919 having previously stated in February 1919 that he was going to continue in his business as a baker and confectioner.  He writes subsequently, stating he does not need a disability allowance, to the Army Record Office, Warley on headed paper with the previous occupant of 14 Magdalene Street’s name:

He acknowledges receipt of the British War and Victory medals in February 1921.

He is recorded as living at 14 Magdalene Street, Cambridge between 1920 and 1935.  By 1928 his parents, Robert Henry and Silvester, had moved in with Frank at 14 Magdalene Street until Silvester’s death at the end of 1934 and Robert Henry’s on 15 July 1935. In the 1939 Register Frank is still living there giving his occupation as Confectionery Sweets and Baker Retail shop keeper; he is single. He dies on 31 January 1955 aged 66 at 14 Magdalene Street from carbon monoxide poisoning having taken his own life; an inquest was held the day after his death. He is buried in Cambridge Cemetery on 4 February 1955.  When Probate was granted in July 1955 to his brother Robert Russell Webster and his nephew Stanley Dennis Thrussell, his address was given as 14 Magdalene Street, Cambridge; he left £2319 10s 6d.



Cottage Cake Shop, bakers


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