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Vine Cottage, 27 Abbey Walk

A coal dealer, a furniture porter, and a railway worker

Abbey Walk was once a much longer street, the main part stretching from Strawberry Cottage all the way to the mini-roundabout that now forms the end of York Street. It was demolished in the 1960s and turfed over to create the eastern part of St Matthew’s Piece. The northern end of York Street – originally straight, not curved – was also demolished.

The east/west part of the present road connecting to York Street was called Fuller’s Walk in the 1881 census. It then had just two cottages, numbered 1 and 2. In the 1891 census they were included in Abbey Walk and referred to already as Vine Cottage and Strawberry Cottage.

1881 census for 1 Fuller’s Walk

Geo Sharman, head, 30, general labourer on Great Eastern railway
Harriett Sharman, wife, 29, b. Ely, Cambridgeshire
Robert Sharman, brother, unmarried, 23, bricklayer
Geo Day, lodger, unmarried, 25, general labourer on Great Eastern railway
John H Cross, visitor, seaman, Ely, Cambridgeshire

1891 census for Vine Cottage, Abbey Walk

George H Sharman, head, 40, coal dealer, b. Cambridge
Harriett Sharman, wife, 40, b. Cambridge
Kathleen Sharman, daughter, 13, scholar, b. Cambridge
Harry Jones, lodger, 21, 1870, b. Cambridge

George Hezekiah Sharman (or Shearman) was from Little Downham near Ely. He and his wife Harriet (née Cross) had moved into Cambridge by 1871, when they were living on East Road. George died in Cambridge in 1893, aged only 43.

1901 census for Vine Cottage, Abbey Walk

Harriet Sharman, head, widow, 48, b. Ely, Cambridgeshire
Leonard W Poush [Bush], boarder, 67, bricklayer, b. Hingham [Ingham], Norfolk

1911 census for 27 Abbey Walk

William Woodcock, head, 39, furniture porter, b. Ditton, Cambridgeshire
Harriett Woodcock, wife, 34, b. Cambridge
Harold Woodcock, son, 12, school, b. Cambridge
Percy Woodcock, son, 10, school, b.  Cambridge
Elsie Woodcock, daughter, 9, school, b. Cambridge
Lily Woodcock, daughter, 7, school, b. Cambridge
Sidney Woodcock, son, 6, school, b. Cambridge
John Argent, father, 62, widower, carter, b. Carlton, Suffolk
Beatrice Argent, sister, 22, factory hand at jam factory, b. Cambridge
Married 14 years, 6 children of which 1 died

William Woodcock and his wife Harriet (née Argent) were both from the local neighbourhood; William grew up in Blossom Street and Harriet in York Street. In later years their son Sidney became a chemical laboratory assistant for Cambridge University.

1939 England and Wales register

Arthur W Morgan, 25 Jan 1889, married, relayer LNER (railway)
Alice M Morgan, 28 Jul 1887, married, unpaid domestic duties
Kenneth A Morgan, 22 Aug 1922, single, butcher’s assistant
Vera F Morgan [future married name Baggaley], 4 Oct 1925, single, at school
Jack Morris, 9 Nov 1927, single, at school

Arthur and Alice Morgan were still living at 27 Abbey Walk in 1966.


UK census records (1841 to 1911), General Register Office birth, marriage and death indexes (1837 onwards), the 1939 England and Wales Register, and electoral registers.


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