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69 Gwydir Street

History of 69 Gwydir Street

1881 draper’s shop

Joseph Start, head, 35, draper, b Cambridge

Elizabeth, wife, 37, b Cambridge

Frederick, son, 13, scholar, b Cambridge

Rose, daughter, 12, scholar, b Cambridge

Fanny, daughter, 9, scholar, b Cambridge


Ellen Willson, head, 35, widow, shopkeeper, b Westwick

Mary E, daughter, 9, b Cambridge

Mary A Feakes, sister, 38, b Cambridge

Ellen M Seekings, boarder, 15, b Cambridge

Thomas M Clarke, lodger, 21, railway clerk, b Sussex

CIP 7.2.1891: ALLEGED SHOPLIFTING. Anne Maria Lea (25), a married woman, of 18, Great Eastern Street, was charged with stealing a woollen petticoat valued at 3s. 3d., the property of Mary Ann Feakes and Ellen Wilson, from their shop in Gwvdir Street, on Friday evening.—Mary Ann Feakes a single woman, partner with Ellen Wilson, stated that the previous evening Mrs Tuck came to the shop, and asked to look at some goods. Whilst witness was serving her. she noticed that the prisoner, who came in directly after Mrs Tuck, was doing something against the door. The two woman went out and she went to the door and missed something, but did not know what. She ran down the street, and charged them with stealing something, but they both denied having done so. Witness asked them to come back to the shop, which they did, where she saw the petticoat (produced), which she identified as her property, under the prisoner’s mantle. She took it away, and the prisoner said she had paid for it. Witness then went for a policeman, leaving he women behind. When she returned the prisoner had left, but before the constable arrived she came back and apologized for having taken the petticoat. The prisoner left the basket (produced) in the shop. She did not know that she had ever seen the prisoner in the shop before. Detective Clarke stated that when went home about 10.30 on the previous night, he saw the prisoner at his house. She admitted that she had taken the article, but not knowing what it was all about he went to the shop of the prosecutrix, who asked him to put it off until the morning, which he consented to do. On the following day, in accordance with Miss Feakes’ request, he went to the prisoner’s house to arrest the prisoner, but she was not there. He then proceeded to Mrs. Tuck’s where he found her. The basket left at the shop contained two new brushes, a pair of images, and a piece of print. Each of the women claimed one of the brushes, and the prisoner said Mrs. Tuck gave her the images. Mrs. Tuck also claimed the print. He asked for a remand, in order to produce fresh evidence. —The Bench remanded the prisoner until next Tuesday, bail being allowed. —Agnes Frances Tuck, who was present in Court, was then arrested by Detective Clarke, and charged with theft.— This case was also adjourned till Tuesday, the prisoner being bound over in her own recognizances of £5 to appear. 

The two women, Anne Maria Lea and Agnes Tuck, were eventually sentenced to 14 days imprisonment with hard labour on each charge; in all six weeks.


Herbert A Bunn, 19, licensed hawker, b Norfolk

Ellen Willson, 44, general shopkeeper, b Oakington

Mary E, 19, b shop assistant, b Cambridge


Henry Edward Mathews, 46, Commercial Traveller Sweeper, b London

Florence Mathews, 22, dressmaker, b London

Sarah Ann, 47, b Somerset

Ethel Mathews, 20, milliner, b London


Walter William Meadows, general shop


Charles Victor Smith

1962 – 1972 Eileen Devonport née Nightingale lived at this address. She recalled in the CEN 19.2.2003:

“There was no back entrance so when the coalman came he had to carry the sacks of coal right through the house to the back coal room. More than once I locked myself out and had to go round my neighbours’ and climb over the cemetery wall, which ran along the bottom of the gardens, and climb back over again into my own garden. I remember Mr Mills and Mr Cockell’s grocery shops, and sometimes if I needed quite a lot of shopping I would leave a list with Mr Cockell who would bring it down to me. Although it was the sixties I didn’t have a washing machine or a fridge, so in the summer the back windowsill was used to keep milk etc cool, and the washing was done by hand. Our rent was £2 a week in 1962 and rose to £4 a week in 1972. Both my children were born whilst at Gwydir Street and they often talk about how they had a bath in a tin bath in front of the fire. I remember having to boil umpteen kettles and saucepans of water to fill it. But once a week I would take them to the Baths (at the Bath House) where a Mrs Canham, who also lived in Gwydir Street, used to hand out the towels and soap, and I can remember having to call out “It’s too hot” or “It’s too cold.”


Gordon J Nightingale


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