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No. 90 Ainsworth Street: Adelaide Cottage. Built in 1870.

90 Ainsworth Street

Adelaide Cottage 1870. An intriguing family link to Australia; and the stories of Henry Jackson and Adelaide Pryor

Number 90 is one of four mid terrace houses on the east side of Ainsworth Street.


Eliza Undrill, Head, 36, London Camberwell, London, Middlesex
Arthur Gee, Boarder, 14, Scholar, Cambridgeshire
Alfred Gee, Boarder, 12, Scholar, Cambridgeshire
Henry Gee, Boarder, 9, Scholar, Cambridgeshire


In the census of 1891 it has the Head of this household at 90 Ainsworth Street as Henry Jackson, aged 51, described as a Tailor and Mary Jackson, as his Wife, aged 48 described as Nurse, with an additional note in another pen saying ‘Sick’. It is possible she worked locally in one of the council institutions such as the Workhouse employing nurses at Ditchburn Place or the Infectious Diseases Hospital down Mill Road. Or possibly Mary Jackson worked at a school sanatorium run by the Lees school, which was located around the corner on Hooper Street.

On the 1891 census it states both Mr and Mrs Jackson were born in Cambridge. With them in the house in 1891 are two other relatives: Albert and Adelaide Pryor. Albert Pryor is described as the Jackson’s nephew; he was born in late 1890 in Cambridge, so was still not even one year old, written down as ‘6 months’ when the census was taken.

In 1901, Albert, now 10, has been adopted by the Jacksons, who are now in their 60s, and is living there with the Jackson’s 38 year old daughter, Clara, who works as a tailor.


Before we tell the story of Adelaide, and the naming of the house, it is important to look at the story of her Uncle. Henry Jackson was born in 1839 in Cambridge; he spent the first 15 or so years of his life in a house on Honey Hill in the St. Peter parish, in the slums between Northampton Street, Pound Hill, St. Peter’s Street and Castle Hill. In 1841, there are 14 people living in the house alongside four year old Henry!

There are nine members of the Jackson family: both Henry’s parents, his 4 brothers, elder sister (who likely leaves between 1841 and 1851), and what appears to be his 20 year old uncle. There is also 40 year old John Russell, Edward and Elizabeth Baker, and John and Susanna Hart, with their 14 year old son Joseph. With this many people in what can be presumed to be a very small house, it is likely that the Hart family and the Baker family would have had their own rooms, while the Jackson family shared the remaining space, having to make do with very little space at what would likely be high rent, in proportion to the father’s pay.

In contrast to their cramped house, there are only between four and two people living in the neighbouring houses, including a sailor living next door. By the 1851 census he was 12, still living with his family, and sadly his father had passed away, leaving him with his widowed mother, his eldest brother and his eldest brothers wife, four more brothers, one sister and a cousin. In 1860 Henry Jackson marries Mary Chambers Topping, when he is 21 and she would have been 18.

In 1861, we find him on James Terrace, in the parish of St. Andrew the Less, living solely with his wife Mary, and he is 22, and she is 19.  In 1891, however, they are living in Mary’s widowed mothers house, on Jesus Terrace. By 1891 he was in No. 90 Ainsworth Street but prior to this, in 1881, he lived relatively nearby on Norfolk Street, and on the night of the census the only people with him were his daughter Clara and his niece Adelaide Pryor.

Henry is still living in No. 90 between 1901 and 1911, having adopted his nephew Albert Harry Pryor.  Albert is also still living at No. 90 in 1911, and going by the name of Harry.

Henry died in 1914.


Adelaide Pryor has a very complicated history. She is listed in the 1891 census as the Jackson’s niece, born in South Australia in 1866, now aged 25, assisting in their house. With the young age of her supposed brother at the time,  ( listed as nephew rather than as her son) one could speculate that Adelaide is a single mum and tha Albert is in fact Adelaide’s son. If we go back to the 1881 census, Adelaide is living on Norfolk Street, with Henry Jackson and his daughter Clara, and Adelaide remains listed as the niece. In 1871, however, Adelaide is living on Jesus Terrace with Harry and Emily Hills, she is described as their step-daughter, and this is the same street Henry Jackson can be found on in the 1871 census. She is still listed as having been born in 1866 in Australia.

If we go forward in time, Adelaide is not present on the 1901 census at No. 90 Ainsworth Street, but her brother still is. Sadly, Adelaide is now listed on the 1901 census in the Cambridgeshire County Asylum, now the Fulbourn hospital, as A.P. In 1911 she is also registered at the asylum, and in 1935 she dies, aged 67, and is likely buried in a communal unmarked grave in Mill Road Cemetery. Therefore it is likely the case that Adelaide was suffering some sort of mental health problem, and had been living with relatives as she grew up, but they now placed her in an asylum. However, on the 1910 land tax records, 90 Ainsworth Street is listed as owned by Miss A. Pryor, with her address registered at 156 Chesterton Road. 156 Chesterton Road was an empty plot in 1903, and is the site of new build student accommodation. It was not uncommon for people to be labelled as ‘insane’ in order for their assets to be passed on to others, and there is a possibility that Adelaide was labelled as insane in order for somebody to get hold of 90 Ainsworth Street.

Source: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891,1901, 1911 census, Cambridgeshire Burials records, National Burial Index For England & Wales


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