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26 Hooper Street

A printer, a policeman, a laundress and a college servant

26 Hooper Street is one of a terrace of five houses on the south side of Hooper Street.

1881 census

Frederick Burton, 27, printer’s compositor, b. Cambridge
Sarah Burton, 24, b. Cambridge
Ernest James Burton, 1, b. Cambridge
Edith Maud Burton, 2 months, b. Cambridge

1891 census

William Jones, 37, police constable, b. Drayton, Berkshire
Jane Jones, 48, b. Chesterton, Cambridgeshire
Rose Jones, 13, b. Cambridge
Herbert Jones, 11, b. Cambridge
Ellen Jones, 7, b. Cambridge
Edith Jones, 5, b. Cambridge
George Jones, 3, b. Cambridge

1901 census

Mary Ann Fretwell, head, widow, 49, laundress, b. Norwich
May Madeline Fretwell, 19, dressmaker, b. Cambridge
Ethel Fretwell, 16, b. Cambridge
Elizabeth Fretwell, 13, b. Cambridge
Frederick Toller, boarder, 46, woodman, b. Hardwick, Cambridgeshire

1911 census

Madeline Mary Ann Fretwell, widow, 60, b. Norwich
Ethel Edith Elizabeth Fretwell, 26, laundress, b. Cambridge
Lizzie Grace Ester Fretwell, 23, b. Cambridge

Madeline Mary Ann Fretwell was a widow by 1901, but there is no census record in which her husband Samuel was living at home with the family. He was a stonemason; in 1881 he was living and working in Stanstead Abbots, Hertfordshire, and in 1891 he was in St Albans.

The reason may not be hard to work out. The Cambridge Independent Press of 6 August 1887 reported that Samuel, while drunk, had beaten and kicked his wife and pushed and kicked their 8 year-old daughter Alice. He then locked his wife and daughters out of the house for two hours. In court, Madeline testified that her husband frequently ill-treated her, and that on this occasion he had threatened to ‘do for her’ if she came home. A neighbour corroborated her account of long-standing ill-treatment. Samuel Fretwell was fined £1 and costs, and bound over to keep the peace for six months.

Alice Fretwell had married and left home by 1901. Madeline Mary Ann supported the family by taking in laundry, for which she advertised in local newspapers (Cambridge Daily News, 15 November 1899):

1921 census

Percy Harry Pratt, boarder, 21, grocer’s clerk, Henry & Co, 39 Fitzroy St, b. Grantchester
Thomas William Dickerson, boarder, 61, house painter, Cambridge Corporation, b. Fen Ditton
Jane Waters, head, widow, 39, home duties, b. Cambridge

1939 England and Wales register

In 1939 the inhabitants were Cecil and Louisa Parnwell and their young son Brian. Cecil was a college servant. Cecil and Louisa were still living at the address in 1966.


UK census records (1841 to 1921), General Register Office birth, marriage and death indexes (1837 onwards), the 1939 England and Wales Register, electoral registers, and local newspapers available via


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