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Vicarage Terrace

Vicarage Terrace

History of Vicarage Terrace

Vicarage Terrace – OS map 1925



Rev. F Hawtrey, St Matthew’s Vicarage

(22) Miss Gates

Mrs Wisbey

(24) George Lofts, labourer

(26) David Dear, labourer

(28) George Miles, labourer

(30) Robert Asplen, labourer



(1) Arthur Henry Lowlings, labourer

(2) William Langley, gardener

(3) Thomas Humm, plasterer

(4) Charles Gillingham, labourer

(5) James Batham, labourer

(6) Sidney S Palmer, printer

(7) Charles Unwin, mill hand

(8) Henry Savage, college servant

(9) John Chapman

(10)  John Asbey, coalheaver

(11) Elijah Tarrant, painter

(12) Ernest Cornwell, college servant

(13) William Gates, hotel porter

(14) Mrs Green

(15) Charles Aldridge, labourer

(16) Alfred Watson, labourer

(17) William Loynes, dealer

(18) Mrs Wyer

(19) Thomas Overhill, bootmaker

(21) Andrew Thomas n Prevett, bookbinder

(23) Frederick Loynes

(25) Mrs Gooch, greengrocer

(27) A Peck

(29) Frederick Graves

(31) John Robert Bagstaff, labourer



Cyril Leonard Dear, b 1916, builder’s labourer


William Langley, b 1895, college butler

Lily, b 1893

William, b 1921, bricklayer’s apprentice


Charles Frederick Clark, b 1896, fruit salesman

Daisy, b 1898

Peggy, b 1923, factory hand

Barbara P, b 1925

Gladys, b 1927

Hetty Rosen, b 1930


Alfred Watts, b 1898, journeying coalman

Mabel, b 1891


Thomas A Beresford, b 1907, river foreman

Alice V, b 1908

Michael T, b 1938




Sidney S Palmer, b 1886, printer’s labourer

Emma, b 1888


Charles T Unwin, b 1886, college servant

Sophia K, b 1883

Harold B, b 1910, brush factory machinist

Arthur, b 1915, van salesman

Olive, b 1919, typist


Leonard S Palmer,  b 1909, carpenter and joiner

Doris, b 1906

Molly, b 1930

Leonard, b 1935

Kite Marks 2023: … five-year-old Lenny Palmer, one of the fatalities of the bombing who was one of my mother’s playmates in 1940. Lenny lived at 8 Vicarage Terrace with his parents Leonard and Doris and younger sister Molly (all casualties). My mother remembers the Palmers owning or managing a sweet shop which, as she recalls, was situated at the top of Vicarage Terrace where it meets St Matthew’s Street, on the right-hand side of the road opposite the wall of St Matthew’s Church.


Edith Hutchins, b 1893, domestic cleaner


Eric Kingston, b 1908, builders labourer (ARP service full time)

Rosina J, b 1915





Alfred Hinson, b 1891, tailor trouser maker

May F, b 1894

Maud Dorothy, b 1913, radio coil winder

Stanley A, b 1915, screw machine tool fitter


May Langford, b 1890

Edward C, b 1891

Reginald, b 1916



Elizabeth Quarterman, b 1860



Clara Blinco, b 1878

James Hobbs, b 1878


Martha Hatchman, b 1890

Joyce, b 1922, sewing machinist knitting factory


John Northfield, b 1868, general labourer

Elizabeth A, b 1874




Alfred F Watson, b 1882, public works labourer

Annie, b 1885

Sydney A, b 1908





Minnie L Darling, b 1984



Arthur G Fordham, b 1901, journeyman baker

Ellen R, b 1908


Derek, b 1936




Arthur Fordham, b 1891, general labourer

Lily, b 1905

Ruby, b 1912


Susan Prevett, b 1854, old age pensioner

Susan, b 1880, incapacitated

George Fenton, b 1892, iron moulder

Gertrude Fenton, b 1893





Alice Loynes, b 1850

Sydney Clements, b 1890

Florence Clements, b 1896

Edith Loynes, b 1894, incapacitated


Annie Dear, b 1907

Harry, b 1905, builders labourer

David, b 1936

Frederick Darling, b 1882, horse keeper


Fred Ding, b 1890, coal hoister

Alice Ding, b 1892, college help

Vera Carter, b 1917, shop assistant


John Peacock, b 1866, farm labourer

Albert Shepherd, b 1886, farm labourer


Bernard W Lester, b 1916, warehouseman


Sidney G Willis, b 1916, wireless inspector

Mabel, b 1914, radio transformer


Mary Winter, b 1913, worker food and jam factory


Dorothy Pattinson, b 1909



William W Stokes, b 1879, incapacitated

Helen E, b 1879

Dorothy, b 1908, machine operator

Mary J, b 1910, worker food preserving factory


Charles A Finkel, 1888, general labourer (ARP)

Florence, b 1892



Vicarage Terrace was hit in a German bombing raid in June 1940. It was the most serious bombing incident so far in the war and the first time that an enemy aircraft had been shot down at night over the UK. This was largely due to the clear conditions as well as accurate use of searchlights to illuminate German bombers for the RAF.

Nos 1-6 Vicarage Terrace were demolished and nos. 7-10 were seriously damaged.  A large crater marked the site on nos. 3 to 5. It was likely that two 50kg HE bombs were used. Many windows in St Matthew’s church were smashed by the blast; the eight foot high wall around the vicarage collapsed. There was serious damage to gas, water and sewage mains.

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette 18/6/1940


It is learned authoritatively that …. took part in the raid on the The East Coast during the night, in which … and at least 14 injured. 

It is believed that enemy’s … aerodromes on the East Coast. Damage … slight. 

Seven raiders were brought down … Counties, one in the sea off the East … in the sea off the South-East …. accounted for five of the planes but … almost certain destroyed, and probably brought down by A.A. fire. 

The main damage was done in a town in Cambridgeshire, a salvo of bombs fallng in a street where most of the casualties occurred. 

This is the first time that any German bomber has been shot down over the British Isles during night hours. 

Last night was described as a night in a hundred. It was brilliant, and our fighter airmen would like to think they would be operating always under similar conditions. 

Dead and injured in the row of houses on which bombs fell in a working class district of an East Anglian town [Cambridge] are as follow: 

Killed: Heather Dear (5 months) [no.1], Mr Langley [no.2], Sam Langley (19) [no.2],  Gladys Clarke (11) [no.3], Mr and Mrs T Beresford [no.5], and their son Michael (2) [no.5], Molly Palmer (9) [no.8], and Leonard Palmer (6) [no.8], the latter dying in hospital. 

Injured: Mrs Kate Clarke (42) [no.3] shock,  Charles F F Clarke (43) [no.3] fracture of the leg, Peggy Clarke (19) [no.3] multiple abrasions (all these at the same address); Mrs Kathleen Dear (22) [no.1] mother of the dead baby,  shock: Sidney S. Palmer (54) [no.6] cut head: Mrs Emma Palmer, (51) [no.6], multiple injuries (these two live at the same address: Lilly Itzcovitch (11)[no.?], an evacuee, cut head and arm: Mrs Mabel Watts [no.4], multiple injuries: Mrs Doris Palmer (34) [no.8] injuries to feet: and Mrs Lily Langley (47) [no.2] shock. 

Mrs Dear’s husband is due to join the Army to-morrow. 

The majority of the enemy aircraft brought down were Heinkel IIIs. They crashed in East Anglia and Kent.

Jack Overhill wrote in his diary for 19th June:

Last night the siren went off about 11.30. About 12.30 I was awakened by a terrific crash. I called the children down into our bedroom. They got in the bed with Jess. I dressed and lay on the couch that is in our bedroom. Then we heard gunfire. The crash turned out to be a bomb. (I heard at the bathing sheds tonight that there were two bombs, as they had discovered two craters on some houses in Vicarage Terrace, killing nine people and injuring a lot more.) The gunfire was from a Spitfire that went up from Duxford and brought down the machine that dropped the bombs. Lots of people say they saw it brought down. I wasn’t one of them. Jess and I went and had a look at the damage done this morning. Nine houses were just a pile of rubble. They were digging for the bodies. The houses in the next street were stripped of their chimney pots and damaged so that the people had to get out of them (I was told this while we were looking on). I heard from my brother Fred that later in the day the parson was there praying over the rubble.

Michael Bowyer writes about the incident from first hand ex[erience in ‘Air Raid’ (1986) p52. He had sheltered with his family in the Brunswick school air raid shelter when someone ran in shouting ‘They’ve got Vicarage Terrace.’ he write:

Recently an interesting aspect of the incident has revealed itself. A young boy living at the ‘Dog and Pheasant‘ close to Vicarage Terrace, has recalled how his family were awaiting the start of Mum’s birthday, 19 June, when the bombs fell… at precisely two minutes to midnight. While the adults did their best at the ghastly scene he ran to Gwydir Street to summon help. Total disbelief greeted him and a refusal, he claimed to make a report of the incident from the word of a mere child. Not so easily thwarted, he telephoned the police from their call box on the side of the Beaconsfield Hall. According to official accounts, Vicarage Terrace was bombed at 00:15. Strange, because the large oak clock on our mantelpiece recorded the event at midnight, and it kept fairly good time.

Cambridge Mass Observation Diarist:

June 20. Postman brought news that a bomb had been dropped on Cambridge. Busman told us seven people killed in a row of houses down just off East Road. My Uncle who was out on duty as a Special saw one German plane shot down in flames. Many villagers saw it also. The newspaperman reports it came at Balsham cross-roads. My aunt to Cambridge afternoon to see show my friend got on who lives alone near where the bomb dropped. She found her white and shaken and dreading another raid. Sent off another parcel.

June 21. A cousin arrived from Balsham to tell us how she had seen the German plane caught in the searchlights, had seen the tracer bullets set it alight and then had seen it come down a couple of fields from her house. She also saw one of the crew jump in his parachute. To Working Party in Village Hall afternoon. Of course the raid was the topic of conversations. It seemed everybody threw caution to the winds and went out to watch the fight. Even Red Cross workers, who it seems to me, should have known better had their heads out of windows, watching. In the evening to First Aid Class practising tourniquets in the light of the raid on Cambridge when one man had both legs blown off.

[Extract recorded 17th September 2019 by Simon King at the Mass Observation Archives held at The Keep, University of Sussex, Falmer, with kind permission of Kirsty Pattrick, Special Collections Archivist]

For more information:

The Secret History of the Blitz, Joshua Levine 2015

Memories of Vicarage Terrace

Vicarage Terrace – 1950 OS map

The houses no. 1-8 approx are missing in this 1950 map.

Vicarage Terrace bombing, source unknown

Vicarage Terrace bombing, source unknown

This would become the site of the Cherry Trees Day Centre.


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