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1 Milford Street

A nurse, a compositor, a paper hanger, a French polisher, grocers, and a builder's labourer

1 Milford Street is at one end of a terrace of 11 houses on the south side of the street, with a plaque reading Clara Terrace 1869. The terrace was built by property developer and coach builder John Burford, and he named it after his daughter. 1 Milford Street has a door on the street corner, and was a shop for much of its early history.

1871 census

Charles Newland, son, 18, printer’s compositor, b. Cambridge
John Newland, son, 16, paper hanger, b. Fen Ditton, Cambridgeshire
Florence Newland, daughter, 13, scholar, b. Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Alfred Newland, son, 11, scholar, b. Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Margaret Johnson, granddaughter, 1, b. Cambridge

The 1871 census gives no head of household. Their father Abraham Newland, 71, a former schoolmaster for Cambridge Union Workhouse, was estranged from the family after serving a year in prison for assaulting a young pupil (Cambridge Chronicle, 20 October 1866, page 8). He had been much respected in his early career; he and his first wife founded an infants’ school in King Street (Cambridge Independent Press, 4 April 1885, page 5).

The head of the family in 1871 was Matilda Newland, 51, Abraham’s second wife, and mother of the teenagers and grandmother of baby Margaret. When Abraham went to prison and the marriage failed, back in 1866, Matilda had taken on work as a monthly nurse to support her children.  On the night of the census, Matilda was in City Road, Cambridge, looking after newborn baby Francis Muncy.

The family must have seen some difficult years. Charles Newland was lucky enough to have his printing apprenticeship funded by Hobson’s Charity in 1867 (Cambridge Independent Press, 8 June 1867, page 8). However, in 1870, Alfred, then aged 11, was arrested for shoplifting (Cambridge Independent Press, 10 December 1870, page 8). His sentence was 12 strokes of the birch and 10 days in prison. By 1881 Matilda and all her children had left Cambridge to pursue their careers and raise families elsewhere.

1881 census

Henry Squires, head, 32, French polisher, b. Cambridge
Harriett Squires, wife, 33, b. Haslingfield, Cambridgeshire
Arthur Squires, son, 12, scholar, b. Cambridge
Herbert Squires, son, 11, scholar, b. Cambridge
Alice Squires, daughter, 9, scholar, b. Cambridge
Fred Squires, son, 8, scholar, b. Cambridge
Alfred Squires, son, 2, b. Cambridge

In 1879 Henry Squires signed a petition asking for sewers to be built in Milford Street.

By the mid-1880s, 1 Milford Street had become a baker’s shop, with a purpose-built bakehouse facing Sturton Street. The first baker at 1 Milford Street, listed in Spalding’s street directory of 1887, was John William Marlow. By 1891 the shop was run by John Patten. The Patten family also occupied 2 Milford Street, most likely using the front door of #2 as the main entrance to their home. In 1891 there was no census record for 2 Milford Street, and from 1901 the two houses were listed as a single dwelling.

For more information on the Patten family, see the Capturing Cambridge entry for 2 Milford Street.

In Kelly’s street directory for 1916, the shop was run by Sydney B Skilton. He died on 4 December 1918, ‘after a brief illness, at the early age of 29’ (Cambridge Independent Press, 13 December 1918, page 8).  He left a widow, Nora. Given the date, it is possible he died of Spanish flu.

Other proprietors’ names that appear in trade directories are Gerald V Aplin (1922), B G Reynolds (1927), R Burden (1935), S T Blacktop (1939), Donald McIntyre (1948, a wardrobe dealer), Mrs E B Simpkins (1953), S M Chapman (1960), E F Hignell (1962), and James Harrison (1964 to at least 1975). From the First World War to the 1950s – aside from its brief stint as a wardrobe shop under Donald McIntyre – the shop was usually a grocery and general store, but by the 1960s it had become a greengrocer’s shop. According to local lore, the shop’s bakehouse ceased baking in the 1950s.

1939 England and Wales register

Chas H Best, 29 December 1916, builder’s labourer
Joy Best, 11 December 1918, housewife
Peter Best, 26 June 1936, at school

The Best family most likely lived in the flat above the shop. In 1939 the shopkeepers, Samuel and Fanny Blacktop, were living next door at #2.


UK census records (1841 to 1911), General Register Office birth, marriage and death indexes (1837 onwards), the 1939 England and Wales Register, electoral registers, Kelly’s and Spalding’s street directories, and local newspapers available via


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