History of 15 Gwydir Street

See History of Gwydir Street and Buildings in Gwydir Street.

Joseph Redfarn, a butcher, lived in 15 Gwydir St in 1892 (see Kelly directory) and 1904 (see Spaldings directory). Here is a picture of his butcher's shop, sent by a descendant of his (he was her 2 x great uncle). However, this shop is not the one he had in Gwydir Street. You can see the road sign for Mill Street, which is on the opposite side of Mill Road. He moved here from Gwydir Street around 1904, probably as his business prospered. This is closer to Mill Road (a busy shopping street) and wealthier houses. Joseph Redfarn's father was also a butcher who lived in Mill Street. He exhibited his meat at Crystal Palace.

Arthur G Abbs, a butcher, lived in 15 Gwydir St in 1916 (see Kelly directory).

Donald Halls emailed me in 2017.

"During the war years there was a Fire station at 15, Gwdir Street, a larger double fronted house. I think originally it was a Taxi Co, the name Walman strikes a chord. I was a part time messenger at that fire station. The house had a side gate leading to a yard with 2 very large garages. A very large pipe was installed in the gutter about 6 inches in diameter, which ran all the way to the river. It was put there to supply fire fighting water for emergencies."

From Mike Petty's column "Memories" (6 March 2003) in the Cambridge Evening News:

Mick White-Robinson used to lived at number 15 in the 1950s; it was at one time a butcher's shop and he's been told it used to house circus animals when they came to Cambridge; he also knows who was responsible for the hole in the Dale's Brewery Clock. Terry Barnes from Bar Hill saw his father, H. W. (Bunny) Barnes among the bananas with Cyril Perry. He writes: 'My father started worked with E. Pordage and Co in the stables in Union Road when he left school at the age of 12 years, sweeping the yard; and he stayed with the company until he retired at 65, apart from six years war service. There were very few people in the fruit and vegetable trade who knew him as H. W. Barnes, but ask anybody who Bunny was and everyone knew who you were talking about.

Ralph White-Robinson emailed me in 2008.

I lived at no. 15 from about 1952 to 1959, having been born in Mill Road in 1951 and lived firstly in Young Street with my family, Francis, my dad, Joan, my mum, and my brothers and sisters, Maureen, Michael, Elizabeth and Simon. I fitted in between Elizabeth and Simon. My parents both worked for the Simplex Dairy Company which was based between the back of the houses on Gwydir Street and the cemetery. Dad not only worked for Simplex as a foreman, but was also the site caretaker, which is why we lived at no 15, because the back gate used to go straight into the site. Mum used to work at Pye's, but I think she was at the Newmarket Road site, certainly during the war she was. Simplex was not a dairy, it was a manufacturer of dairy farm machinery like milking machines, cattle crushes, grain silos etc. It was run by a family called Bond-Smith, who I believe lived in Shelford, I think they were eventually taken over by GEC. The company eventually moved to Sawston, which is when we also moved so Dad could continue work.

Dad used to play the piano in the pub on the corner of Milford Street and Gwydir Street, the Alexandra Arms. I know he used to get quite a lot of drinks bought for him and quite often rolled in drunk at night. Dad used to be night watchman at Simplex and I remember him saying it was quite spooky checking round the back of the yard by the cemetery, and our dog, an alsation, would often not go with him.

From Capturing Cambridge:


1881: Butcher’s shop
Walter Cross, head, 35, butcher, b Broughton Hunts
Georgeanna, wife, 31, b Hunts
Arthur W, son, 3, b Cambridge
Rosa F, daughter, 1, b Cambridge
Agnes, sister, 30, b Broughton
Annie Taylor, sister in law, 21, attendant on the insane, b Hunts

Joseph Redfarn, head, 38, butcher, b Cambridge
Emma, wife, 41, b Cambridge
Alice, daughter,19, b Cambridge
Joseph, son, 16, butcher’s assistant, b Cambridge
Frederick, son, 14, scholar, b Cambridge
Kate Palmer, niece, 7, scholar, b London
Albert Page, 18, apprentice butcher, b West Wickham

CIP 9.12.1892:
CROSS SUMMONS: Joseph Redfarn 18 butcher of Gwydir Street was summoned for assaulting Elijah Odell a hawker of Gwydir Street on the 5th instant. There was a cross summons for assault. Mr Lyon appeared for Redfarn. Both cases were dismissed.

CIP 30.12.1898
: RUNAWAYS: A horse attached to a cart belonging to and driven by Mr Joseph Redfarn, butcher, Gwydir-street, was on Friday proceeding down Gwydir-street, when it took fright and ran into a wall, breaking one of the shafts. Fortunately Mr. Redfarn was not injured.

Joseph Redfarn, 48, butcher, b Cambridge
Emma, 51, b Cambridge
Kate Palmer, 17, bookkeeper, b Middlesex
Obed Page, 24, journeyman butcher, b Babraham
See 18 Mawson Road

Arthur Geoffrey Abbs, 39, butcher, b Chesterton
Alice Eliza, 38, b Melbourn
Geoffrey Frank, 4, b London

A G Abbs, butcher

1936, Blue Book
ad mentioning 15 Gwydir St
Albert Edward Page jun., butcher

Ralph White-Robinson lived with his parents at this address in the 1950s. His parents worked for Simplex Dairy Equipment. See above.

1962: vacant

Continental Delicatessen, shop

Main index - Buildings and houses in Gwydir Street.