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50 Ainsworth Street

A Railway Inspector and a Boot Maker

Orleans Terrace – number 50 is one of a terrace of six houses on the east side of Ainsworth Street, built in 1877.


Charles F Hines, 45, Railway Inspector, b. Bealings, Suffolk

Eliza Hines, 45, b. Bealings, Suffolk

Helena H Hines, 15, Mantle Maker, b. Cambridge

Ada R Hines, 13, Dress and Mantle Maker, b. Cambridge

Blanche J Hines, 10, Scholar, b. Cambridge

Charles A Hines, 7, Scholar, b. Cambridge

1891 – 1901

Head of Household in 1891 is John Bagstaff.  He’s aged 60 and a widowed boot and shoemaker originally from Norwich.  His wife, Lydia died in Norwich in 1871.  The family then moved to Cambridge, living in Cross Street during 1881.

His daughter Ellen, 36, is living with him.  She works as a plain sewer of shirts.  Ellen was also born in Norwich.

John’s Grandson, Charles Bagstaff aged 12, is also living with them.  It is possible that Charles is actually Ellen’s son as the 1911 Census says that she’s had two children.

Lodging with the family at number 50 in 1891 is Sarah Cobbold aged 83 from Burwell.

John died in October 1891.

Ellen stays at number 50 and appears on the 1901 Census as a 46-year-old dressmaker.  She has a two year old son called Bob Bagstaff.  She has taken in a couple of boarders, William Anderson, 34, a Corporation servant and Tom Taylor, 33, a tallyman. (The Victorian Occupations website states that a Tallyman is
‘someone who sold goods that were paid for in instalments’)

Ellen has moved to number 12 Ainsworth Street by 1911.

1911 – 1921

Head of household in 1911 is Frederick George Darler, a 24 year old baker.  He is married to Ethel May (nee Gentle) and they have an eight month old son named Reginald George.

The 1921 census records that Frederick is a Baker and Confectioner for F. C. Darler, Baker Grocer & Confectioner of 20 Occupation Road.  Frederick and Ethel now have a four year old son called Owen Stanley.

1939 – 1973

Addenbrooke’s Hospital is collecting silver paper, and there is a section in newpaper that lists everyone who has gifted silver paper that week. In The Politics of Hospital Provision in Early Twentieth-Century Britain, Brian M Doyle (writing about the 1920s and 30s) “Mass collection campaigns were also instituted, especially for eggs and silver paper, bringing in a wide range of volunteers, mobilizing supporters … and facilitating support from women and children.”  He continues “Equally important in terms of civic mobilisation, although of considerably less value financially, was the collection of silver paper which took off in the mid-1920s. This activity was well-suited to mass involvement – it was ubiquitous, cost nothing and lent itself to communal efforts”

“Silver Paper – Tony and Margaret Townley, 50 Ainsworth Street” Cambridge Daily News 31 May 1939

1939 Register: Edward Townley, a kitchen porter (heavy work) and Daisy N. Townley, housewife.  There are two closed records that must be silver paper donators Tony and Margaret.  Edward is recorded as being an ARP Warden.

“Golden Boxing Day Party – a letter from the Prime Minister Mr. Edward Heath, is among the many congratulations that Mr. and Mrs. Edward Townley, of 50 Ainsworth Street, Cambridge, have received for their golden wedding anniversary.

Edward and Daisy Nellie Townley celebrated with a family party on Boxing Day.  Their son, Anthony, and daughter, Margaret, both of whom live in Cambridge, were there.

Mr. and Mrs. Townley first met when Mrs. Townley, now aged 73, was working in a fruit shop opposite the Round Church during the First World War.

Mr. Townley is now aged 73.  Before he retired, he worked for 50 years as a university servant.  Mrs. Townley did a lot of work for the Conservative party and until 10 years ago, she was a cashier at the Dorothy.” Cambridge Daily News 27 December 1972

December 26, 1947 was my silver wedding day.  I had a son in the Army and a daughter aged 11.  I took her to the Victoria Cinema to hear the wedding service of our Princess and Prince Philip which we both enjoyed very much.

We had just heard my daughter had passed for the High School ad on our way home we called into a large shop to look at school uniforms.

We didn’t have enough coupons to get the whole lot and a kindly old gentleman saw the disappointment on my child’s face and offered his own coupons which he didn’t want.

I wonder if the same thing would happen today.  Self first, it seems, no time for other folks.  I have some good friends who have been grand to me, but they are like myself, elderly and very grateful for what they get.

I think the times have changed for the worse since 1947.

The lack of kindness, politeness,; the greed for money which is not used properly and the couldn’t-care-less feeling.

The motto, England expects everyone to do the duty, just does not exist any more.  The less they do the less they want to do – still expect their pay.  Let’s build a new Britain with people who love their country.

D.N. TOWNLEY, 50 Ainsworth Street, Cambridge” Cambridge Daily News 17 January 1973

Source – 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 & 1921 Census, England & Wales Marriages 1837-2005, England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007, National Burial Index For England & Wales, Victorian Occupations,


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