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22 Hooper Street

Fancy drapery, toys and hardware

22 Hooper Street is a former shop at the corner of Ainsworth Street, at the end of Leeds Terrace. It was built in the 1870s.

1881 census

Edward Baker, 41, truck lifter on railway, b. Chrishall, Essex
Susan Baker, 39, b. Haydon, Essex
Charles E. Baker, 15, printing machine hand, b. Cambridge
William H. Baker, 13, scholar, b. Cambridge
Samuel Baker, 12, scholar, b. Cambridge
Edward G. Baker, 10, scholar, b. Cambridge
Kate Baker, 9, scholar, b. Cambridge
Charlotte Baker, 7, scholar, b. Cambridge
Florie Baker, 5, scholar, b. Cambridge
Ellen A. Baker, 3, b. Cambridge
Ada Baker, 8 months, b. Cambridge

The first residents were Edward and Susan Baker and their nine children. In total they had twelve children; the two eldest had left home by 1881 and one more daughter was born in 1883. Like all the houses in Leeds Terrace, number 22 had just three bedrooms and two living rooms.

1891 census

Elisha Johnson, 38, railway guard, b. Ely, Cambridgeshire
Hannah Johnson, 32, b. Ely, Cambridgeshire
William Johnson, 11, scholar, b. Ely, Cambridgeshire
Herbert Johnson, 10, scholar, b. Cambridge
George Johnson, 6, scholar, b. Cambridge
Lilly Johnson, 4, scholar, b. Cambridge
Ada Johnson, 1, scholar, b. Cambridge

The Johnson family later moved to March, where Elisha worked as a level crossing keeper – a job that provided a cottage, ideal for a growing family.

1901 census

Sarah Scarr, 44, seamstress shop, b. Cambridge
Eleanor Mary Love, boarder, 33, dressmaker, b. Cambridge

1911 census

Sarah Scarr, 54, shop keeper, fancy drapery toys and hardware, b. Cambridge

Sarah was born in 1856, the youngest child and only daughter of Samuel, a barber, and his wife Hannah. Her eldest brother Samuel, a joiner, lost his wife to smallpox, and Sarah took on the role of surrogate mother to her young nieces Eleanor and Charlotte. She lived with Samuel’s family for many years and never married.

By 1901 she was running a drapery and dressmaking shop at 22 Hooper Street, with Eleanor as her co-worker. She is listed as ‘Miss Sarah Scarr, draper’ in trade directories.

Her shop was in some respects a continuation of the family business. Her brother Samuel (who died in 1899) had run a joinery and stationery shop in Norwich Street for many years, together with Sarah, Eleanor and Charlotte, all contributing their various skills. The Cambridge Independent Press of 21 March 1885 reported that a group of teenage boys stole writing paper, notebooks and pencils from Samuel’s shop, having ostensibly entered the shop to buy peg tops, i.e. wooden spinning tops.

The large window at 22 Hooper Street facing Ainsworth Street may have been installed for Sarah’s shop. The house was built as a dwelling house in the 1870s by Thomas Holder, who lived along the street at no. 14. After his widow’s death in 1900 the entire terrace was sold. Land Registry documents from 1910 indicate that the freehold was bought up by Mrs E. Smith and Miss Sarah Scarr. Mrs E. Smith was Sarah’s niece Eleanor, who in 1906 married Sidney James Smith, son of Abram Smith who founded the bakery at 80 Kingston Street, another corner shop with dual-aspect windows.

Sarah died in 1926 and was buried in Mill Road Cemetery.

1939 England and Wales register

In 1939 the residents were Florence Wright (widow, retired) and Elsie Wright (married, housewife), along with a child. With currently available records, it is not clear how they were related (mother/daughter-in-law?), or whether there is a connection to John Wright who lived at the coal wharf opposite.

Sources

UK census records (1841 to 1911), General Register Office birth, marriage and death indexes (1837 onwards), the 1939 England and Wales Register, Kelly’s Directory of Cambridgeshire (1916), local newspapers available via www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk, and Friends of Mill Road Cemetery.

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