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56 Ainsworth Street

Two Generations of Carpenters

Orleans Terrace – number 56 is one of a terrace of six houses on the east side of Ainsworth Street, built in 1877.

1881 – 1911

The Yaxley family, orginally from Norfolk, live in this property for many years.

In 1881, 73-year-old carpenter and joiner Thomas Yaxley and his wife Ann (77) are living here with their Grandson Frederick Harvey.  Frederick is 25 and a Railway Clerk. Thomas and Ann previously lived on Gwydir Street.

Thomas died in 1882.

By 1891 Thomas and Ann’s son, also called Thomas and a carpenter like his father, has moved into number 56 with his wife Lucy and their family.

Thomas and Lucy married on 11th February 1869 in Stansted Mountfitchett. They lived in Stansted before moving to Cambridge where they appear on the 1881 Census at 78 Sturton Street.

They have six children living with them at this point (the 1911 Census records that they have seven children in total and six have survived).  Alfred is 19 and an assistant in a shop, George is 15 and a milk seller, Ann is 13 and has no occupation recorded although she isn’t a scholar.

Amy is 10, John is 7 and Charles is just 8 months old.  Amy and John are both still at school.  All of the children were born in Cambridge.

A Man Shot by an Undergraduate – Strange Affair
On Friday afternoon, while Mr. Yaxley, of 56 Ainsworth Street, was going down Trinity Street between three and four o’clock, a student shot at him with a pistol or air gun. The bullet, which was about the size of a pea, passed though his hat and caused a slight scalp wound. The affair us at present a mystery. An apprehension was made, and we hear that the interference of the police was not asked for.
Cambridge Daily News – 16 March 1889

From The News of April, 1895
On Tuesday last, a little boy of five, named Charles Yaxley, living at 56 Ainsworth Street, collided with an adult foot passenger when turning from Milford Street into Gwydir Street and was knocked down, his right thigh being broken. The lad was conveyed to Addnebrooke’s Hospital, where he is now lying as an in-patient.”
Cambridge Daily News 28 April 1995

By 1901 Thomas and Lucy’s children have mostly left home, with the exception of Charles who is only 10.  By 1911 Charles is working on the railway as a cleaner.

Lucy died in 1911, Charles in 1930 and Thomas in 1931.

1914 – 1939

The Watts family have moved here from 44 Ainsworth Street.

Lord Kitchener’s Army – Recruiting Falling Off
Recruiting for Lord Kitchener’s Army has slackened during the week, owing probably to the altered standards of height and chest measurements, and only 21 men have been accepted for general service and seven for the Special Reserve…
Alfred Frederick Watts (46), labourer, 56 Ainsworth Street
Cambridge Independent Press 25 September 1914

Alfred previously served with the Suffolk Regiment as a young man.  He left in 1901 when his period of Service ended after nearly eleven years with the Army.  He served in the East Indies and South Africa.  He is described as having hazel eyes and brown hair, with an anchor and letters F.B. tattooed on his left forearm.

“The funeral took place at Mill Road on Tuesday afternoon of John Watts, the 10 year old son of Sergt. and Mrs. Watts, 56 Ainsworth Street, who died suddenly on Friday evening. The boy was at school on the previous day.”
Cambridge Daily News 27 January 1916

In 1921 Alfred Watts is 52, and employed as a bricklayer by Bennett & Son, Mill Road (enumerator has added 111A Catharine Street to the address of Bennett & Son).  His wife Florence Jane is 47.

Their son Lloyd is  11 and a school child (his marriage record shows that his full name is ‘Lloyd George Buckmaster Watts’), daughter Sophia is 7 and also attends school.  All the family were born in Cambridge.

Lloyd was living here at the time of his marriage to Nellie Ethel Pullen on the 14th September 1939.  He gives his occupation as a lorry driver for the Royal Engineers.

The 1939 Register was taken on the 29th September 1939.  Florence, now widowed and working as a Charwoman, is living here alone.  The Electoral Register shows here living here until 1950.

Sources – 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911 & 1921 Census, 1939 Register, Essex Marriages And Banns 1537-1935, Norfolk, England, Transcripts of Church of England Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers, 1600-1935, England & Wales Deaths 1838-2007, Norfolk Bishop’s Transcripts Baptisms, Norfolk, England, Transcripts of Church of England Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers, 1600-1935, England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007, 1939 Register, British Army WW1 Pension Records, Forces War Records, Cambridgeshire, Electoral Registers, Burgess Rolls and Poll Books (1722-1966), Cambridgeshire Marriages,


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