Capturing Cambridge
  • search
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

234 – 238 High Street, Nelson’s Head, Lord Nelson, Cottenham

History of the Nelson's Head


See F Garrett, Cottenham’s Inns and Hostelries:

Fire broke out near this location on Saturday morning 29th April. Most inhabitants had gone to the market in Cambridge. The fire raged along both sides of the High Street and reached the Church where lead on the roof began to melt. About 100 houses plus farm buildings were destroyed.

1806 William Kimpton granted a liquor license at the Lord Nelson. It seems to have been called the Cross Keys previously where Francis Kimpton had held a license from 1784 – 1800. It was the terminus for the Cottenham High Flyer which ran from the Lord Nelson to the Dolphin Inn, Cambridge each day.

1848 William Kimpton died aged 70. His son William took over the oub.


See Francis Garrett, Cottenham Ablaze:

22.4.1852: fire was discovered in the middle of the afternoon which spread from the Nelson’s Head to Lambs Lane. Houses had been rebuilt of brick and slate after the 1850 fire but outbuildings and stacks were lost. there was serious damage to 10 hourse, 10 farms and a number of shops.

The fire had started in a straw stack in the yard and the Nelson’s Head premises were completely destroyed. The cause was thought to be an arsonist as the stack lay next to a footpath. The total damage was estimated as over £3,000.

Pub was rebuilt but possibly not the brewery.


Kimpton sold premises to Robert Ivatt (maltster) and John Badcock became licensee.


John Burgess licensee

1881 Nelson Head

John Burgess, 48, plumber glazier painter, b Wisbech

Mary, 40, b Beds

Thomas, 15, school teacher, b Norfolk

Ada M, 9, b Wisbech

Eliza Smith, 16, servant, b Histon


John Lingwood became licensee in 1881

1882 Alfred Bolton

1884 William Gibbs

1888 Samuel Gawthroup

1891 Lord Nelson

Samuel Gawthrop, 32, publican, b Histon

Emma, 35, b Cottenham

Mabel E, 10, b Cottenham

Frederick C, 8, b Milton

Herbert L, 7, b Milton

Grace E, 5, b Cottenham

Francis W, 2, b Cottenham

Henry J, 1 m, b Cottenham

Emma Moden, 18, servant, b Cherry Hinton

Richard Hardwick, boarder, 50, millwright, b Hull

1895 sold by auction for £500 to A F Tooth, Cambridge brewer.

1909 license refused and public house closed

1910 house bought by William Nelson Kimpton


Do you have any information about the people or places in this article? If so, then please let us know using the Contact page or by emailing

Dear Visitor,


Thank you for exploring historical Cambridgeshire! We hope you enjoy your visit.


Did you know that we are a small, independent Museum and that we rely on donations from people like you to survive?


If you love Capturing Cambridge, and you are able to, we’d appreciate your support today.


Every donation makes a world of difference.


Thank you,

The Museum of Cambridge