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4 Ainsworth Street

Boer War, World War 1 Soldiers and a Locomotive Tragedy

Number 4 is one of a terrace of three houses on the east side of Ainsworth Street.


The residents are general labourer, James Doggett, his wife Emma (nee Westnutt) and large family. The eldest child is 18-year-old shoeing smith apprentice, Arthur George. The other children are Ada, Charles William, Sarah Jane, Frederick Henry, Florence May, Eliza and Maud. The family also has a lodger, Benjamin Langley, a 46-year-old Maltster.

Emma died October 1st, 1898 and is buried in St Andrew Churchyard in Chesterton. Her son, George Arthur, is memorialised on her gravestone “died of enteric fever at Ladysmith, South Africa Jan 5 1900, aged 27”. He was a shoeing smith, Sergeant, in the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers and died during the Boer War.  It goes on to say “also James Doggett died Sept 27th 1935 aged 87 years”.

Charles joined the 3rd (King’s Own) Hussars in 1897 and served with them for 16 years, including time in India and serving in the Boer War 1899 – 1902. During World War 1 he was with the 2nd Suffolk Regiment.

Frederick joined the Suffolk Regiment in November 1899. In 1901 he’s stationed on Alderney.

1897 – 1903

Inhabitants are now Sidney James Melton, a Carpenter and joiner from Rougham in Suffolk. He’s married to Sarah from Waterbeach and they have four children with them in 1901. Gertrude (Mary Gertrude Mabel), Albert Sidney, Elsie and Ada. They lived at no. 15 in 1891.

On the 1911 Census they’re living at 48 Gwydir Street.  It records that they had eleven children, seven of whom are still alive.

In 1916 he joined the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners. He had been in the trade for 35 years.

Sidney and Sarah are buried in Mill Road Cemetery with two of their sons who were born after they moved to Gwydir Street.

1911 onwards

James Mayle Phillips, a locomotive engine driver, lives here with his wife Jessie Louise (nee Franklin), their two children, Vera Jessie and Stanley Thomas James, his widowed father Thomas and his cousin Ada.

In 1921 James is still driving railway engines.  He works for Great Eastern Railway and is based out of Cambridge Station.  Vera is now 18 and works as a clerk for Kerridge Junior Builders on Sturton Street.  Stanley is still a full time school boy.

Thomas is still living with them and is now 73 and is a retired time keeper for G.E.R.

Jessie Phillips (nee Franklin) and her sisters. Jessie is standing at the back on the right. Used with permission of her descendants.

On Thursday 11th November 1926, James is driving an express train from Liverpool Street. When the train reached Broxbourne Station “He had got down from the footplate and was attending to his engine when another train coming from the opposite direction knocked him down, killing him instantly.” He is buried in Mill Road Cemetery.

Stanley lives at no.4 until he marries Olive Whitfield in 1937 and they move to Fallowfield. He’s a tailor’s salesman.

By 1939 Jessie is living here with her daughter Vera, who is still working as a builder’s clerk.  Presumably still with Kerridge.

Jessie dies in 1944, still living at number 4, and is buried at St Clements Church.

Vera appears on electoral rolls and in Kelly’s Directories until 1967, still living in 4 Ainsworth Street. She passed away in 1983.

Sources: UK census records (1881 to 1921), General Register Office birth, marriage and death indexes (1837 onwards), the 1939 England and Wales Register, British Army Service Records 1914-1920, British Army Pension Records 1914-1920,, British Trade Union Membership Registers, England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995, Kelly’s Directory of Cambridgeshire (1967), Sheffield Daily Telegraph 12 November 1926 and Cambridgeshire, England, Electoral Registers, Burgess Rolls and Poll Books (1914-1966), Mill Road Cemetery,


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