This article is a continuation of a review from Godmanchester Town Directories commenced in the previous issue of "The Bridge'.
As against butchers, boot repairers, blacksmiths and other traders, chimney sweeps are rare birds, the first to get a mention being Thomas Webb St Anns Lane, in 1864. There does not seem to be another until William Worledge in 1894. In 1890, Worledge was listed as a plumber and glazier so it could be that chimney sweep's duties were carried out by other tradesmen as a sideline.
As might be expected, unusual trades and occupations are not frequent. William Flanders, dyer and scourer (Post Street, 1830) has already been mentioned. In 1839 we have Charles Dickinson Langley, portrait painter, presumably a reasonable business to pursue in the days before photography. It would be interesting to know if any of his portraits survive today. Langley's name does not occur again but, in 1876, a different World is conjured up with the name of Arthur Maddison, photographer, of Post Street.
Thomas Dust, marine store dealer and furniture broker (Causeway in 1845, West Street in 1864, East Street in 1876) serves to remind us of Godmanchester's river trade. In 1855 comes our only named ratcatcher, Joseph Bettles of London Street, and another reminder of a past age appears in the shape of Joseph Tasker, toll collector, Godmanchester Road. The tolls were let out on an annual basis and, in the 1851 Census, a woman, Mary Pamplin is shown as the collector. In 1855, also, Robert King of East Street carried on the useful trade of Castrator.
As we come forward in time, changing customs can be traced. 1876 yields us Richard Barber, bookbinder, in East Street and, in 1890, we had our very own carriage builder, William Brokenshire, in Post Street. He had previously carried on the same business in Ingram Street, Huntingdon. In 1898 we find McKay G Mills & Co, horseclothing manufacturers at 'Albert Works". Does any reader know where Albert Works was? 1906 sees the first mention of a midwife, Mrs Lucilla Crozier, and 1914 the first district nurse, Miss E Marshland.
In 1885 Godmanchester Reading Rooms (Samuel Harwood, Secretary) and Godmanchester Working Men's Club (Richard Little, Secretary) both show up. In 1898, the Ouse Navigation Engineer's Office was here. 1914 brings the first mention of a Police Station (Charles Hazell, Constable) and the same year, the first quoted telephone number. Rather extraordinarily, this belonged to the Unionist Associations of Ireland (Midland and Eastern Agency, Lewis B Meredith, Agent). After the Great War, we find Godmanchester Allotment Association (G F Cook, Secretary) in 1928 and, in the same year the Godmanchester Hall Cinema (Wm. O Peek, Proprietor). Many living people must recollect that - where was the Cinema Hall? And we might raise an eyebrow slightly and speculate what Josef Zonprillo, hairdresser and masseur was up to in our quiet little town in 1924.
Postal facilities are interesting. In 1847, letters were received at the Post Office at 7.00am and despatched at 9.00pm, thus giving ample time to reply to a letter the same evening. In 1876, a second arrival and despatch were added and in 1885, Sunday collections were instituted. From 1890, postal business brisked up, and there were then four despatches. By 1903, the box in Post Street was cleared no less than eight times daily, from 5.10am to 11.45pm, and twice on Sundays. What luxury! The Post Office thought better of that 5.10am collection by 1910 but continued to provide seven daily clearances down to 1914.