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296 High Street, Cottenham

296 High Street, Hemsel House, Cottenham

History of 296 High Street


From Francis Garrett, Cottenham Ablaze:

21.5.1827 fire broke out at the house of Jospeh Collins but with the swift action of the inhabitants and a lot of water the flames were put out.


See Francis Garrett, Cottenham Ablaze:

1.4.1855: fire destroyed the house and farm at 296, buildings at 294 and other buildings as far as The Green.

The Cambridge Chronicle 7.4.1855 reported:

Once again fire at Cottenham. In a year or two more, if things go on at this rate, not a timber of the old town will be left standing, but we shall have a sound substantial and handsome collection of houses built for the most part out of the profits of insurance companies. Once a year at least, the fire god makes a point of holding a high revel at Cottenham and that generally in the month of April.’

It was Joseph Collins yard here that caught fire at about 11pm. he lost his thatched home and the fire spread to Charles Collins next door.

Then the fire destroyed James Grave’s farm, Everitt the shoemaker’s, and Sheldrick’s, the brazier and tinman,

The buildings of Christmas and Gautrey were lost as well as damage to Rowell, the grocer.  By then the proximity of water from Green pond enabled the fire to be brought under control.

It was generally thought to be the work of an arsonist.

Frank Cross of Hemsel House, was the only Cottenham man who went to the Klondyke Gold Rush in the late 1890s. He returned but it is unknown how much gold he found.



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