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56 Ainsworth Street

56 Ainsworth Street

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

1881 census

Thomas Yaxley, head, 73, carpenter & joiner, b. Walsingham, Norfolk
Ann Yaxley, wife, 77, b. North Bassam, Norfolk
Frederick J Harvey, grandson, 25, railway clerk, b. East Rudham, Norfolk

Thomas and Ann Yaxley previously lived on Gwydir Street.

Their son Thomas was also a carpenter. He lived in Stansted Mountfitchet before moving to Cambridge with his wife Lucy and their family, where they appear on the 1881 census at 78 Sturton Street. When Thomas senior died in 1882, Thomas junior and his family moved into 56 Ainsworth Street.

1891 census

Thomas Yaxley, head, 44, carpenter, b. West Rudham, Norfolk
Lucy Yaxley, wife, 41, b. Stanstead, Essex
Alfred Yaxley, son, 19, assistant in shop, b. Cambridge
George Yaxley, son, 15, milk seller, b. Cambridge
Ann Yaxley, daughter, 13, b. Cambridge
Amy Yaxley, daughter, 10, scholar, b. Cambridge
John Yaxley, son, 7, scholar, b. Cambridge
Charles Yaxley, son, 8 months, b. Cambridge

Thomas Yaxley featured in a curious news story from 1889 (Cambridge Daily News, 16 Mar 1889):

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.

Little Charles Yaxley was also in the news a few years later (Cambridge Daily News, 28 Apr 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 Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where he is now lying as an in-patient.

1901 census

Thomas Yaxley, head, 52, carpenter, b. West Rudham, Norfolk
Lucy Yaxley, wife, 50, b. Stanstead, Essex
Charles Yaxley, son, 10, b. Cambridge

1911 census

Thomas Yaxley, head, 68, carpenter for builder, b. West Rudham, Norfolk
Lucy Yaxley, wife, 60, b. Stanstead, Essex
Charles Yaxley, son, 20, cleaner GER, b. Cambridge

Thomas and Lucy Yaxley had been married 40 years, and had seven children of which one had died. Lucy died in 1911, Charles in 1930 and Thomas in 1931.

1921 census

Alfred Watts, head, 52, bricklayer’s labourer, Bennett & Son, b. Cambridge
Florence Watts, wife, 47, home duties, b. Cambridge
Lloyd Watts, son, 11, b. Cambridge
Sophia Watts, daughter, 7, b. Cambridge

Alfred Watts worked for builders J R Bennett & Son, of 111A Catharine Street.

The Watts family moved here from 44 Ainsworth Street. The following news story shows that they had moved to no. 56 by 1914 (Cambridge Independent Press, 25 Sep 1914).

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 …

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 1911 census for 44 Ainsworth Street tells us that the Watts family had four children by that year. Their fifth child, Sophia, was born in 1914. Sadly their son William John, born in 1905, died suddenly in 1916.

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

The Watts family’s fourth child was given the name Lloyd George Buckmaster Watts –  Lloyd for short!  He was living here at the time of his marriage to Nellie Ethel Pullen on 14 September 1939.  He gave his occupation as a lorry driver for the Royal Engineers.

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

Sources: 1871–1921 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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