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55 Ainsworth Street

Ex-Landlady, now Boys House Matron

Number 55 is one of a terrace of four houses on the west side of Ainsworth Street.


The Ripley family live here in 1881.  John Frederick is a Brewer, son of a Shoemaker.  He maried Charlotte Exall Stoakley in November 1864, they have seven children.  The eldest is Mary (15), a dressmaker. Frederick, Ada, Mildred and Arthur are all Scholars.  Frank is 4 and Florence is 2.

The final member of the household is 73-year-old Elizabeth Ripley from East Dereham in Norfolk, confusingly listed as John’s mother-in-law.  Checking an earlier Census shows her as being both Charlotte’s mother AND John’s step mother!


Head of Household is Ann Horn, a widowed 54-year old originally from Over.  Ann is Matron of Boys House.

The 1871 Census shows her living with her husband Henry and six of their children at “The Free Press” on Prospect Row where Henry Horn was the Publican.  By 1881 she’s a widowed Butcher, living on Mill Street with six of her children.

In 1891 her son George is 13 and at School.  There are four young boys boarding with her.

Albert E Bachelor is a 14-year-old office boy, Ernest Challis, 15, and Albert Brook, 14, are both errnad boys.  All the boys were born in Cambridge.

In 1901 she is working at the Vicarage in Sporle-with-Palgrave, Swaffham. She’s the Domestic Housekeeper and there are eight schoolboys living there. 1911 sees her back in Cambridge, living in Flower Street on her own. She died in 1931.


George Elborn, 32, Bread Baker, b. Cambridge

Alice Elborn, 33, b. Orwell


Horace William Pleasants, 30, bakers vanman, b. Melford, Suffolk
Esther Pleasants, 32, b. Thurlow, Suffolk
Evelyn Pleasants, 4, b. Cambridge
Leslie Pleasants, 1, b. Cambridge
Susannah (illegible), 56, widow, mother-in-law, private means,

Horace and Esther are 5 years married and have 2 children. This family has moved to 52 Ainsworth Street by 1921.


Richard Neeves, 33, born Cambridge, College Servant at Clare College
Lillian Elizabeth Neeves (nee Cambridge), 35, born Cambridge, College Servant at Clare College
Mary Ann Cambridge, 59, Lillian’s mother, widow, born Oakington, College Servant at Jesus College
Sidney George Neeves, 8, born Cambridge, school child
Ivy Rose Neeves, 5, born Cambridge, school child

Electoral registers record this family at 55 Ainsworth Street from 1918 until 1928.

When he was 18, Richard joined the Rifle Brigade.  His Service Record shows that he was born in St. Matthew’s and was working as a labourer.  Richard was fair with grey eyes and light brown hair.  He had a mole on the left side of his neck at the back,  and on his right shoulder.  There were chickenpox scars on his chest.

Richard was discharged in 1905 as “not likely to become an efficient soldier”, he had an “Indifferent Physeque”.

Sources: UK census records (18716- 1921),  England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007, Cambridgeshire, England, Electoral Registers, Burgess Rolls and Poll Books, 1722-1966, British Army Service Records,


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