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18 Hooper Street

Railway workers, a boiler maker, a groom and a gardener

18 Hooper Street is in Leeds Terrace, which was built by 1881.


The first inhabitants were Elias and Jane Prime. Elias was a railway servant from Newton, Cambridgeshire, and Jane was from Thriplow.


By 1891 the house was occupied by boiler maker James Walsh, his wife Sarah, their 22 year-old daughter Minnie, and a lodger, 25 year-old Frank Ruffell, a telegraph linesman from Norwich. Curiously, ten years earlier the Walsh family had lived three doors along at no. 15. The two houses are identical in size, so perhaps the rent for no. 18 was lower.

Minnie later married a publican, Richard Quittenton. They ran a pub together in Deptford, London, and had several children.


In 1901 the inhabitants were Arthur and Ada Muncey and their very young sons Arthur and Lewis, along with Ada’s mother Sarah Enderby. Arthur worked as a groom.

Arthur Muncey came from a very large family in Haslingfield, and his father was a shepherd. In the 1880s and 1890s two of his elder brothers had worked as fossil or coprolite diggers.

By 1911, now with four sons, the Muncey family had moved around the corner to 53 Ainsworth Street.

1911 to the 1940s

By 1911 the house was occupied by Ephraim and Elizabeth Oakman and the five youngest of their eleven children. They had previously lived for many years at 14 Edward Street, a larger house, so perhaps they had downsized as the children grew up and moved out. Ephraim had worked as a maltster for a brewery, but now, aged 66, he was working as a gardener. Of their sons living in Hooper Street, Frank was a printer’s compositor and Percy and Sidney were shop assistants for a boot manufacturer. Their daughters Flossie and Winnie were in their teens.

Ephraim died two years later in 1913. Elizabeth stayed at the house until at least 1945, sometimes alone and sometimes with relatives. In 1930 she lived with Harry and Florence Thaxter – her daughter Flossie. In the 1939 register she is described as ‘infirm’, and lived with a carer, Annie Hill.


UK census records (1841 to 1911), General Register Office birth, marriage and death indexes (1837 onwards), the 1939 England and Wales Register, and electoral registers.


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