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Spice Gate 2006. Courtesy of the Suzy Oakes Collection

14 Mill Road

George Richard Boundy ran an ironmonger’s at 14 Mill Road from 1930 to 1937


Harry Leavis, 39, pianoforte dealer, b Cambridge


(14a) & (14b) vacant

His granddaughter, Janet (born 1929), visited a number of times with her parents, and these details are based on her recollections.

The shop was double-fronted, with a long counter at the right, with wooden drawers behind the counter. He sold all sorts, including things like screws which were all loose. He used to sell a lot of washing lines; being near the railway people’s lines would get too dirty to use so they would need to buy a new one! (In those days, they were just rope, not plastic-covered and wipeable, of course.) He wore brown overalls with detachable buttons (so they didn’t get squashed in the mangle when washed). He had an assistant, called Miss Cross. She thinks it was his shop (rather than his being a manager), but does not know for sure, nor does she know what the shop was called.

The living accommodation was accessed through a front door to the left of the shop: there was a corridor through to the back where there was a dining room big enough to have armchairs by the fire, and where they spent most of the time, and beyond that a door to the kitchen which had a door out to the garden. The dining room had a bay window, and the fireplace was opposite. The corridor was also accessible via a door from the shop.

The shop had a glazed door out to the garden. In this picture the back door of the shop is behind Janet, and alongside is the bay window of the dining room.

At the end of the garden was what grandfather used to call his “warehouse”. Presumably there was access from the back alley for deliveries. These photos show a building with pitched roof, door and covered windows, which may be this “warehouse”. Janet remembers a beautiful fuschia bush, which can also be seen in these photos; she is also shown with her parents Cora and Phil Boundy.

To reach the upstairs accommodation there were stairs leading up from the corridor; just ahead was the bathroom, then a turn back up a few more steps to the parlour, although the family did not use it much. This room was at the front, and from the outside there is a bay window visible to this day. At the back of the first floor, there were a couple of bedrooms: the one above the kitchen was her grandparents’ bedroom. There was also a small room in which she slept in a cot when very young; later she slept in the attic room, which to this day has a dormer window at the front.

The following photos taken in the back garden show glimpses over the wall of a similar layout in the upstairs next door at number 12. Janet is with her mother, Cora, and paternal grandmother, Mary Ann (“Polly”) Boundy.

George Richard Boundy was also a church warden at one of the churches in Cambridge, possibly St. Mary’s.

Before running the shop in Mill Road, he had been running an ironmongery in Abergavenny; we do not know what prompted him to move to Cambridge. We have found there was another Boundy family already in the area — a George Boundy, who was a milkman in Coronation Street — but we are not aware of any family connection. This photo of George Richard Boundy was taken, we think, a couple of years before he moved to Cambridge:

When he retired in 1937, George Richard Boundy and his wife moved away to Devon.

Notes by S. Scott. Photos courtesy of S. Scott.

1962 H W Butcher, confectioner

In the 1970s, 14 Mill Road was a shop called The Chocolate Box. In the 2000s it became Spice Gate.

Courtesy of the Cambridgeshire Archives, CB/2/SE/4/3/1026Q.2


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