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Water Street, 1930 (photo J H Bullock) (Cambridgeshire Collection)

21 (22) Water Street

History of (22) Water Street

For the early history of this site, see 23 Water Street.

This is the approximate location of the murder committed 4th March 1910 of James Henry Hancock. Hancock was a 54 year old labourer had had lived with Eliza Marshall for 14 years. She was also known as Eliza Chapman and lived estranged from her husband. The account of the murder is told by Alison Bruce in her book Cambridgeshire Murders. Eliza and James had always had a tempestuous relationship and she had at one stage complained to the police about him.

See Cambridge Independent Press 3.6.1910 for account of the trial.

On the 4th March they were to deliver a load of coke by cart to Cottenham. They met at the Gas Works at 7am. Hancock then seems to have decided to sell the coke in Cambridge; Eliza disagreed and said that she would get her brother Alfred Doggett to go to Cottenham with her instead. Alfred is described in contemporary accounts as living in  Red Barn Cottages; in 1901 he was living next door at 75 High Chesterton.

When Alfred came round to his sister’s house there was a violent argument and it was alleged that Hancock knifed Doggett. He ran across the road but collapsed and died.

Hancock did not try to escape; he was found by an Edwin Phillips who worked for the University and was then arrested by Constable Lander. The following day he made a further statement to Constable Evans. He claimed he had intended to kill Eliza instead.

He was tried on 28th May; he claimed he had no recollection of the fight. Despite the efforts of his council, Grafton Pryor and his solicitor George A Wootten, the judge, Justice Phillimore, found him guilty and passed the death sentence. He was executed on 14 June 1910 by Henry Pierrepoint.

1901 (22)

Eliza Chapman

1911 (22)

Eliza Marshall (Eliza Chapman), wife, 58, married 36 years, no children, greengrocer, b Chesterton

1913 (22)

Mrs Eliza Chapman

1939 (21)

Thomas Sharpe, b 1909, butcher shop worker

Ellen E, b 1911


Vanishing Cambridgeshire, Mike Petty, says  that ‘the stables were destroyed by fire in the early 1950s; the site was cleared and is now occupied by council flats.’

1962 (21)

Tom Sharpe


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