History of 23/25 Gwydir Street

Return to Buildings and houses in Gwydir Street.

The house numbers 23 and 25 Gwydir Street no longer exist.

In the Spalding directory of 1904, Philip Banyard, a builder, lived in 23 Gwydir St and Zacchaeus Peel lived in 23 Gwydir St.

In the Spalding directory of 1913, Philip Banyard was still at number 23 and David Leach, hosier's assistant, was at number 25.

In the Kelly directory of 1916, Harry Edmund Ambrose, a builder, is at number 23. There is nothing for number 25 (this directory doesn't mention every house).

Co-operative Women's Guild Magazines 2-5 circa 1985 was printed by Cambridge Free Press Workers' Co-op, Unit 6, 25 Gwydir Street, Cambridge.

Jo Burns emailed me in 2017.

My nana and her mother lived at no:23 gwydir street from around 1930. My nana was called Jean Florence Thurston and her mother was called Ethel Thurston. I know the house they lived in was a 10 roomed house that housed quite a few American soldiers. My nana told us that the house belonged to someone who worked within a bank and my nana's mother rented the house from him, until he sold it, something to do with the building behind. I have a photo of my nana and grandad standing on the doorstep of what I've been told was 23 Gwydir Street. My grandad was Ivan Basil Davies and he originally grew up in Vicarage Terrace.

Albert Biggs emailed me in 2009. He lived at 29 Gwydir Street, where he was born in 1925.

One of your correspondents mentioned the factory that was behind nos 25 to probably no 35. When I first lived there (1925-1950) the factory was Ambroses and they were manufacturing joiners producing all kinds of items for house constuction. In those days the machinery was powered by a single stroke engine powered by town gas and the thump thump thump of the engine was part of daily life. The power was conveyed to the various machines by belt and pulley. Some time at the beginning of the war the factory was taken over by the Simplex company which manufactured items for the dairy trade such as milking machines.

From Cambridge News, 25 April 1963

"... another group of men will only be there for a matter of months, having moved in just before Christmas and due to move out again in the early summer. These are the men who work in the Post Office's temporary parcels office which was set up on the former premises of the Simplex Dairy Equipment Co Ltd, to ease the situation while building extensions are being made at the Mill Road Sorting Office. The Simplex buildings have been acquired by the City Corporation and will eventually be used for the rehousing of displaced business tenants in Cambridge. Incoming parecels for delivery in the Cambridge Area amount to something like 3,000 a day, while taking the parcel traffic as a whole, the temporary office in Gwydir Street deals with something like 40,000 items a week."

Leon emailed me in 2012.

I worked at Pye Spares Division for a few months in 1973. Mostly sorting Crystals for their radios located around the globe. Directly opposite the premises was a Cafe / Pub which we would religiously frequent on Friday lunchtimes; down the road not too far away another Pub .. The Dun Cow. A pint of Bitter at lunchtime was just 13 pence. The mature female staff would be predatory after only a few ales. Pye Spares Division was well known for its flirting 'lonely wives' and the place to be for a fling.. Women out numbered the few male workers. I remember the guy in charge was an ex Commander RN Sub Mariner. A strange mix of staff at that place, myself incl, 19 years of age ex RAF and happy to receive the extra attention!

The pub would be the Alexandra Arms. I'm not sure about the Dun Cow. There used to be the Durham Ox on Mill Road.

Satellite photo of Gwydir Enterprise Centre

When I first moved to Gwydir Street in 1979, the site was owned by Pye, a major Cambridge employer making radios, televisions and other electrical goods. They had premises all over Cambridge. It's now called the Gwydir Enterprise Centre, with over a dozen different organisations using the units for light industrial use and offices. There is a short road to the site, which is often used for turning vehicles as it is right by the bollards. The area which used to be numbers 23 and 25 Gwydir Street is only part of the site. It extends behind the houses on both sides and juts into the cemetery. See satellite photo from Google maps above. There is also an entrance into the cemetery from this area.

From Capturing Cambridge:


Sarah Palmer, head, widow, 56, annuitant, b Northants
Annie Noble, niece, 17, pupil teacher, b Northants

Thomas C Carter, head, 29, booksellers assistant, born Cambridge
Elizabeth A, wife, 27, b Northants
Sarah Palmer, aunt, widow, 66, living on her own means, b Northants

Philip Banyard, 52, builder, b Cherry Hinton
Ellen J
George P, 21, builders draughtsman, b Cambridge
Maud M J, 27, builders clerk, b Cambridge
James B, father, widower, 80, railway plate layer retired, b Cherry Hinton
Ida F Carrick, 14, b Kent
Susan Manning, 20, servant, b Quy

CDN 7.3.1902
: Philip Banyard was charged with leaving a hoarding up in Sidney Street for too long. His defence was that he had been waiting for a delivery of plate glass for the Prince of Wales Hotel. The magistrates agreed to withdraw the charge as long as the hoarding was removed at once.

CIP 26/8/1910
: Fire broke out at premises of Harry Edmund Ambrose, builder, Gwydir Street. First notice by Harry Thomas North at 33 Gwydir Street. Herbert Plumb, landlord of Prince of Wales, smashed the glass of the alarm post in Gwydir Street to summon the fire brigade. The Norths, father and son, put the fire out.

Philip Banyard, 62, general building contractor, b Cherry Hinton
Ellen Jane, 48, b Kent
Maud Mary Jane, 37, clerk, b Cambridge

H E Ambrose, builder
Philip Banyard, builder

See entry on death of Maynard Frank Nunn in 1916, apprentice with Mr Ambrose.

CIP 9.6.1916
: Conditional Exemption: H E Ambrose was granted conditional exemption on behalf of Frederick Wright, 5 Vinery Road.

Harry Edmond Ambrose, builder

1953: Electoral Roll
Ivan Davies

Simplex Dairy Equipment

From Capturing Cambridge:


Ephriam [sic] Oakman, head, 35, malster, b Foxton
Elizabeth, wife, 29, b Harston
James, son, 9, b Harston
Kate, daughter, 6, scholar, b Harston
Henry, son, 3, b Cambridge
Alice, daughter, 1, b Cambridge
James Grant, cousin, 9, scholar, b Harlingfield [?Haslingfield}

Sarah Bullis, head, widow, 47, born Cambridge
Robert, son, 25, plasterer, b London
Harry, son, 15, plasterer’s apprentice, born Cambridge

Zaccheus Peel, 55, bricklayer’s labourer, b Willingham
Caroline, 52, b Cambridge
George E, 27, picture packer, b Cambridge
Elizabeth, 22, servant, b Cambridge
Charlotte E, 16, servant, b Cambridge
Arthur H, 15, errand boy, b Cambridge
Albert, 13, errand boy, b Cambridge

Elizabeth Peel gave evidence as reported in the CIP 18.4.1902
in the case of Alexander McClellan Frew of 4 Mill Road, summoned by his wife for persistant cruelty.

Arthur Male Lee, 48, law clerk, b Cambridge
Elizabeth, 52, b Cambridge
Horace Arthur Male, 19, grocers assistant, b Cambridge
Claude George John, 18, grocer’s assistant, b Cambridge

David Leach, hosier’s assistant

Kenneth Featherstone

Main index - Buildings and houses in Gwydir Street.