History of 148 Gwydir Street

See History of Gwydir Street and Buildings in Gwydir Street.

G.E. Bigg, printer, lived in 148 Gwydir St in 1904 (see Spaldings directory).

In 1913 (see Spaldings directory), G.Edwin Bigg is described as general printer Sturton Town Printing Works

In 1916 (see Kelly's Directory of Cambridegshire) says George Bigg, printer, lives here.

Presumably, these are all the same person.

An email (2007) from Don Halls:

"My brother-in-law, Norman Bigg was born in Gwydir St at 148. His father was a printer and was also the Sunday School Supt at Eden Chapel. Mr Bigg senior was a very religious man and his greatest volume of printing work was religious tracts."

"I well remember almost opposite Hooper Street was a confectionery shop with the wonderful name of HOPPIT. When I was a child, the curate of St Mathews, The Rev Tribe, used to take me for rides on his motor bike and when passing this store would always speed up and as he said 'hoppit'."

"We lived in Vicarage Terrace, and we would walk through the cemetery to go to the Playhouse. This is a vivid memory for me, as I did it with my mother who died in 1933. She used to point out a gravestone to the Memory of a stage coach driver who had driven the Telegraph Stage from Cambridge to London for 60 years. It's right along side the path near the Norfolk Street gate."

Gravestone of coach driver Gravestone of coach driver

"My Uncle, Harvey Halls lived in Milford Street at Clyde House. I mention this as Uncle Harvey was a large property owner in that part of Cambridge and used to rent out several houses for very small rents."

And in 2017 Don Halls added:

"I have done some research concerning 148 Gwydir Street. Apparently after the Bigg family sold the house it became, of all things, a Kingdom Hall for The Jehovahs Witnesses."

An email (2007) from Richard Bigg

"My father Walter (Wally) Bigg was born at 148 along with his two brothers, Stanley and Norman, and two sisters Edith and Dorothy. I never knew my grandfather George Edwin Bigg who died young in November 1930. Stanley took on the printing business from his father using a number of machines in a brick building at the bottom of the 148 garden. I remember being fascinated by the 'type' being set up in a frame letter by letter then the frame being inserted in a machine which inked the typeface and pressed sheets of paper against it in rapid succession. Later I remember Stanley had a 'Line-O-Type' machine installed, which was state of the art at that time, and avoided the laborious task of setting up individual letters in the frame. The family would all gather at 'Nanna Biggs' at Christmas. All lived locally and on subsequent days around Christmas would meet again at different members houses. Picking of the pears was an annual event. There was a huge tree (25-30ft) in the garden of 148 which was loaded with pears each year. They were Pitmarston Duchess variety as I remember, large fruit weighing up to 1lb each. When ripe, they would fall from the tree and splatter on the path like bombs. Nanna was always afraid of them hitting her. Dad and Stan would climb the tree (I was too young to be allowed) and lower the pears in baskets for distribution round the family. Nanna died in December 1952 (when I was doing National Service) and I guess that's when the house was sold. I don't know what happened to the printing business."

From Capturing Cambridge:


William A Brinley, head, 37, bank clerk, b Devon
Julia, wife, 33, b USA
Albert C, son, 8, b Canada
Henry L, son, 7, b Canada
Dolores B, daughter, 5, b Canada
Julia S C, daughter, 3, b Canada
Louisa Webb, 18, servant, b Six Mile Bottom
Lola Dowdell, sister in law, 25, wife of captain H M Army, b USA

John W Bigg, head, 62, retired farmer, b Suffolk
Mary, wife, 56, b Cottenham
George E, son, 18, printers compositor, b Suffolk
Clara E, daughter, 16, dressmaker, b Suffolk
Spencer W, son, 15, college servant, b Suffolk

Mary Bigg, 68, living on own means, b Cottenham
George E, 28, printer, b Suffolk
Emily E Custance, 34, servant, b London

George Edwin Bigg, 38, master printer, b Suffolk
Mary Emily, 35, b Norfolk
Edith Mary, 7, b Cambridge
Doris Emily, 6, b Cambridge
Walter, 3, b Cambridge
Norman William, 5 mos, b Cambridge
For more about the Bigg family.

E Edwin Bigg, general printer Sturton Town Printing Works

May E Bigg, b 1875, printing works proprietress

Kenneth J Featherstone

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