Capturing Cambridge
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Cuthbert Williams, 7 Alexandra Street

Alexandra Street

History of Alexandra Street

Alexandra Street used to run south east from Petty Cury and meet the junction of St Tibb’s Row and Post Office Terrace.


Josiah Chater describes in detail in his diary how the move of the Y.M.C.A. from St Edward’s Passage to Alexandra Street took place. It was decided to buy a piece of the Red Hart Inn estate behind Petty Cury. Its sale was advertised on behalf of Corpus Christi College. However, they then decided to try and buy off Richard Miller, the wine merchant, a freehold site nearby, on the corner of St Tibbs Row, the site of the old Brazen George Inn. By the end of November a price of £1,110 had been agreed and five guarantors found; by the end of December £1,400 had been raised in promises. Numerous fundraising events were organised – tea parties, lectures and excursions. In May 1869 a Rose Show was held in the garden of G E Foster’s house in Brooklands Avenue.

One controversial event was a lecture given by “Professor Huxley, [Thomas Henry Huxley] an Atheist’ on science. Josiah received a letter of complaint from the Church of England Young Men’s Society; the lecture went ahead and raised £14 18s 8d.

The was a ceremony to mark the laying of the foundations stones on 31st March 1870. On 1st January 1871 Josiah wrote: After dinner went to our New Rooms in Alexandra Street. We had a splendid meeting – an opening address to the young men by Neville Goodman. About 300 were present.

See Enid Porter’s Article: The YMCA



(2) Cambridge Reform Building Company

Josiah Chater was appointed secretary of the company when it was formed in 1877 with the purpose of purchase or rental of lands in Cambridge; in particular they were to carry out a contract for the purchase of land in Green Street.

This office was given up quickly because it was too small and moved to 5 Alexandra Street. This proprrty was occupied by J Chater and Sons until the mid 1960s.




Noah Castle, 51, custodian, b Herts

Hannah, 48, b Herts

Sarah Clarke, mother in law, widow, 85, former cook, b Essex

Jane Brown, 22, servant, b Beds

(2) Tram Office

Mary A Salman, widow, 55, college servant, b Cambridge

Emma M A Salmon, 27, home help, b Linton

Frederick William, 23, college servant, b Cambridge

Henry, 20, counting house assistant, b Cambridge

Frank Upton, lodger, 24, undergraduate, b Notts

George Upton, visitor, 18, civil service clerk, b Notts

(3) printing Office locked up at night

(4) solicitor’s office locked up at night





(16) uninhabited

(15) uninhabited


Henry Langford, 45, commission agent, b Cambridge

Elizabeth, 51, b Cambridge

Harry, 24, miller’s labourer, b Cambridge

Mabel, 21, parlour maid, b Cambridge

Daisy, 17, bookbinder, b Cambridge

Joshua, 13, b Cambridge


Lydia Gates, 48, lodging house keeper, b Trumpington

William Charles Anable, 22, poulterer, b Bourn

(12) :

Harriett M Harvey, widow, 48, lodging house keeper, b Cambridge

Frederick E E, 24, student, b Cambridge

Alice M, dressmaker, 22, b Cambridge

Lily C Clements, 20, servant, b Cambridge

(11): Mary Ann Harvey, 39, lodging house keeper, b Waterbeach

(9) – (3): uninhabited


Alice Maud O’Brien, 26 ladies hairdresser, b Leeds

Mary Mulliner, 15, hairdesser apprentice, b Cambridge


Herbert G Grounds, 39, custodian YMCA, b Cambridge

Beatrice A, 32, b London

Lily E, 12, b Chesterton

Dorothy M, 6, b Chesterton

Ernest William Gee, boarder, 18, sorting telegraph clerk. b London


Y.M.C.A. Alexandra Street

24.10.1902: The members of the Cambridge Y.M.C.A. celebrated their jubilee with a soiree in their rooms in Alexandra Street. 50 years ago the Church of England Young Men’s Society and the Sunday School Teachers’ Institute amalgamated, forming the Association. It settled in Rose Crescent. In 1853 it moved to larger premises at 5, Sidney Street, moving to Hobson Place in 1858 and then St Edward’s Passage. In 1870 the first stone was laid of their present building; it was completed a year later. To call the soiree a success is scarcely adequate; the visitors never had a dull moment from the time they entered the door until the National Anthem brought the evening to a close. (Cam. News)


1908: National Telephone Company exchange moved here from 12 Market Hill.



West Side, from south

(1) YMCA

YMCA c. 1925

Alexandra Hall

Post Office Telephone Service

(4) C J Smart, solicitor

(5) –

J Chater accountants

A B Chater, secretary Steam Laundry

Betram Chater, secretary First Cambs. Peers Economic Building Society

Miss Bishop, shorthand and typewriting offices

(6) Webb & Co, general printers

(7) Harry Slater, accountant

(7) R W Clarke, rent and debt collector

(7a) Alexandra Toilet Saloon

George Albert Wootten, solicitor

East Side, from north

Eastman’s butchers, side entrance

(8) Frederick Dale, brewer, wine and spirit merchant, Brewery, Gwydir Street

(9) Alexandra Chambers

(10) Jonathan Palmer, printer

(11) Miss M Harvey, University lodging house keeper

Messrs Chalk, auctioneers and estate agents

(12) Indian Tea Stores

C & P Hudson’s Breweries

Mrs L H Harvey, lodging house keeper

(13) Harry Colman, coachman

J Gillings, tailor

Mail Cart Entrance to Post Office

(14) Mrs M A Eaden, University lodging house keeper

Cambridge & District Bill Posting Co.

G W Goody, general shipping office

(15) Frank Searle, tailor and robe maker



There were premises numbered 1 – 7a on the west side, 8 – 15 on the east side.

8 Alexandra Street



Nos. 2 and 5 with adjoining property demolished.



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