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4 Milford Street

A railway labourer, a laundress, a cellarman, a bricklayer, and a worker in a mineral water factory

4 Milford Street is in 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.

1871 census

Thomas Roe, head, 22, railway labourer, b. Fenny Compton, Warwickshire
Lydia Roe, wife, 22, b. Cambridge
Herbert K Roe, wife’s son, 2, b. Cambridge
Elizabeth Roe, mother, 42, laundress, b. Fenny Compton, Warwickshire
Allen Watson, lodger, 23, railway labourer, b. Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Harriet Watson, wife, 23, b. Cambridge

Thomas Roe’s father Robert was a railway engine driver born in Windsor. He had found work in Warwickshire, where he met his wife Elizabeth, and then moved the family to Cambridge by 1861.  Thomas and his family subsequently moved to Stratford in Essex for work on the railways.

In 1879 the house was occupied by Walter Douglas, a cellarman; in that year he signed a petition asking for sewers to be built in Milford Street.

1881 census

Thomas Twinn, head, 44, bricklayer’s labourer, b. West Wratting, Cambridgeshire
Liza Twinn, wife, 47, b. West Wratting, Cambridgeshire
Frederick Twinn, son, 20, bricklayer’s labourer, b. West Wratting, Cambridgeshire
Alfred Twinn, son, 14, scholar, b. West Wratting, Cambridgeshire
Alice Twinn, daughter, 12, scholar, b. Swavesey, Cambridgeshire
Florence Twinn, daughter, 9, scholar, b. Westley, Cambridgeshire

1891 census

Alfred T Orders, head, 28, porter in mineral water factory, b. Cambridge
Ellen M Orders, wife, 26, b. Cambridge

Ellen Orders had been brought up at 11 Milford Street. Her parents Edward and Esther White, along with their younger children, still lived there in 1891.

Alfred Orders’ mother Harriet was a laundress who had three children – Clara, Alfred and Ashley – but never married. With the help of a supportive family she was able to bring up all the children herself. In 1861 she was living in Covent Garden with Clara and baby Alfred, her widowed mother Elizabeth (also a laundress), and two nieces. In 1871 she was lodging in Norfolk Terrace along with Alfred and Ashley, while Clara lived with a cousin along the street. By 1881 she was living with Alfred and Ashley in Adam and Eve Street, and she gave her marital status as widowed. Her daughter Clara, a college laundress, was also an unmarried mother, and in the 1911 census she too gave her marital status as widowed. Clara’s son Richard worked for a bookshop.

1901 census

Alfred T Orders, head, 38, boiler minder for water factory, b. Cambridge
Ellen M Orders, wife, 35, b. Cambridge
Harry W White, boarder, 28, college servant for club, b. Cambridge
George H Smith, boarder, 18, joiner and carpenter, b. Linton, Cambridgeshire
Alice Stonebridge, visitor, 27, domestic cook, b. Madingley, Cambridgeshire

1911 census

Alfred Thomas Orders, head, 48, mineral water trade bottler, b. Cambridge
Ellen Mary Ann Orders, wife, 46, b. Cambridge
Edward White, boarder, 73, signalman on railway, b. Linton, Cambridgeshire
Esther White, wife, pensioned, 72, b. Great Wratting, Suffolk
Alfred and Ellen Orders: married 21 years
Edward and Esther White: married 50 years

Ellen’s parents Edward and Esther White had lived at 11 Milford Street for more than 20 years, but by 1901 they had moved away to Barton Mills in Suffolk, where they had lodgings at the railway station. By 1911 they had moved in with Ellen and Alfred.

1939 England and Wales register

Alfred T Orders, 11 July 1860, widower, OAP retired


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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