History of 5 Gwydir Street

See History of Gwydir Street and Buildings in Gwydir Street.

Mrs. Alice Nunn, dressmaker, lived in 5 Gwydir St in 1904 (see Spalding's Directory)

George James Benstead, tailor, lived there in 1913 (see Spalding's Directory).

An article from the Cambridge News Nov 1st, 2010:

Our most loyal reader is celebrating his 95th year of reading the Cambridge News. Hubert 'Ben' Benstead began reading the paper, then the Cambridge Daily News, in 1915 aged 5 – leafing through the sports pages after his father had finished with the news. He signed up for deliveries as a young man and continues to take the paper to this day. Mr Benstead, who turns 100 today said: "I've probably only missed about 50 editions since then. When I first started reading it we didn't even have the wireless. It was the only place to get information. People used to wait for the 3.30pm edition so they could get the 2.30pm racing results from the paper boys on St Andrew's Street. I remember the first time I heard a wireless. I visited my cousin in Burleigh Street and he had built his own radio – they didn't sell them back then. I heard the bells of Big Ben and thought it was amazing. Things were very different then. There were hardly any motor vehicles. We used to go 'motor spotting' at Station Road, which was the only place you'd see them. I remember them digging the swimming pool by hand on Jesus Green in 1922. They used to run river water through it then. I swam in the first school swimming championship there in 1923 too. I didn't do any good in it, but I was there."

Mr Benstead, who was born in Gwydir Street in 1910, later trained as an apprentice electrician, working at the Festival Theatre in Newmarket Road. Now living in Victoria Road, he said: "The owner Terence Gray was a very wealthy man and was interested in stage lighting. We had all the big acts of the 1930s, as well as theatre and ballet companies, one of which was led by Margot Fonteyn. I went on to work for the university and ended up at the Cavendish Laboratory. It was the era of Crick and Watson and I used to speak to them every day. They weren't stuck up at all and they used to ask me to set up various things for them. They were obviously hugely intelligent, but a bit clueless when it came to the electrical stuff. I've lived in Cambridge all my life, but it hasn't been boring. I've met some interesting people and seen some fascinating things."

Mr Benstead can also claim to be the oldest Cambridge City FC fan. He was a founder member of its supporters' club in the days when crowds at Milton Road were regularly more than 5,000. He is also a paid-up member of the '99 rowing club, where he began rowing and coaching in 1927. He was married to Ivy Kent for 67 years until her death in 2000, and has three children and 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Mr Benstead, who enjoys playing cards and, until recently metalwork, celebrated his birthday with family on Saturday and he is having a special afternoon tea today.

In 1913, there was a Benstead living at 5 Gwydir St, 17a Gwydir St and 40 Gwydir St. I'm not sure where the splendid Hubert Benstead was born!

See a memory in number 3.

From Capturing Cambridge:


Allen Marfleet, head, 24, carpenter, b West Wratting
Sophia, wife, 20, b Cambridge
Walter, son, 9 mos, b Cambridge

Ann Harding, wife, 48, b Swaffham Bulbeck
Effie, daughter, 22, dressmaker, b Swaffham Bulbeck
Whinnie, daughter, 19, b Swaffham Bulbeck
George, son, 15, errand boy, b Swaffham Bulbeck
Amelia, daughter, 11, scholar, b Swaffham Bulbeck

Alice A Nunn, 47, dressmaker, b Cambridge
Richard, 20, surveyor’s clerk, b Surry

George James Benstead, 40, tailor, b Cambridge
Minnie A, 33, b Linton
Frederick E, 11, b Cambridge
Frank A, 8,8, b Cambridge
Harold W, 2, b Cambridge
Herbert G, 5 mos, b Cambridge

George James Benstead, tailor

CIP 5.2.1915 : New Company Inspected At Cambridge: Acting Sergeant Major G J Benstead, Gwydir Street.

Frederick Poulter

Frederick Poulter

(From Jo Edkins: The Mr and Mrs Poulter were there when we moved in next door. Our house was being done up while we continued to live in rented accomodation in Glisson Road. The building work meant that there was no power, so Mrs Poulter used to bring round cups of tea for us while we were rewiring the house and painting it. They went to a wedding of a grandchild, and when I asked how it went, Mrs Poulter said "It was a hotel with lovely grounds, but everyone stayed inside listening to a pop concert run by that nice young man." That was Live Aid! I wondered if she had heard Bob Geldolf swearing on live TV, but I suspect that she would still think that he was a nice young man!)

Main index - Buildings and houses in Gwydir Street.