Return to Correspondence

Correspondence 2020

9 February 2020

I am wondering if you can offer me some help in gaining some information about a structure at a property on Ashley Road, Newmarket. There is a very large Air Raid Shelter sited between to properties in the front gardens opposite Side Hill Stud Farm. I am keen to find out the history of the structure and looking forward to owning a piece of British History. It’s not everyone who gets to own their own Air Raid Shelter. I hope this is something you can assist me with of point me in the right direction. I hope to hear from you in due course.

Kind regards Mark Saunders

Tony replied that he always thought the Anderson shelters were in the back gardens (often explored as a child in that area). Never realised there was one in the front garden and seems to be shared with neighbours. Currently unable to help further but will add to “look out for” list.

24 April 2020

Steve Rehling, Curator Imperial War Museum (WW2 and mid 20th century)

I would like to ask where I could find out the date on which the 2000 Guineas was run in 1945? The reason for asking is that The Imperial War Museums (IWM) sound archive contains an interview with an Able Seaman, who attended the races on on that day. In his recollection, this was on VE Day. Based upon a Getty Archive photo I have seen, I believe it was in fact the following day, Friday 9th May.

Tony replied “Thanks to Find my Past online copies of newspapers it turns out that Steve’s surmise was correct The 2,000 in 1945 was on 9th May, won by Court Martial (Cliff Richards) from even money favourite Dante (Bill Nevett). Dante sustained an eye injury. It was the 1,000 on 8th, won by SunStream (Harry Wragg)…easy when you know where to look!

17 May 2020

Richard Ransome:- Many years ago (45+ years) I started studying the Napoleonic wars and have continued ever since, A fair while ago I seem to remember reading somewhere that the late journalist and author Robert Rodrigo was the descendant of a French army drummer boy, who was captured in Spain during the Peninsular war at or after the siege of Cluiadad Rodrigo (hence the surname)…May I ask; have any of your members come across any information about this “story”?

Also, another “story” I came across was that the very first word of the Victory at Waterloo “landed” in Newmarket quite literally! Lord Rothschild was at his home in Palace Street when a pigeon arrived from one of his informers based in Belgium (Brussels?) with a message attached telling of the allied victory that was won on Sunday 18th June 1815, this allowed him to get word to his London office by the Monday / Tuesday and make a killing on the stock exchange? Wellington’s despatch didn’t reach London until around 21st June.
If you can help I would be most grateful, Richard

webmaster:- The Rothschild Archive records the following:
“The most famous incident occurred on the night of 19 June 1815, when a courier arrived at New Court bearing the news of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo, a full 48 hours before the government’s own riders brought the news to Downing Street. Whilst it is true that the Rothschilds had an extensive communications network, and did use carrier pigeons, there is no evidence for the news of the English victory at Waterloo having been brought by pigeon. No original contemporary account or documentation concerning how the news of the victory at Waterloo in 1815 reached New Court survives in the collections of the Rothschild Archive London”.

3 June 2020

David Gowlett:- I was wondering if you could help me. I own a 1905 Fowler Agricultural Steam Engine (see image) that was bought by the Stetchworth Estate Newmarket. The engine worked for the estate from 1905 until 1947. In 1947 it was bought by my grandfather. All its working life was in or around Newmarket. It travelled as far as Ely, Haverhill, and Bury St Edmunds for the estate.

Do you have any photos of this engine? or information regarding this engine or others in Newmarket. I have one photo of my engine taken in 1910, when it was having some work done by a firm in Exning. I would also be interested in any other photos of steam rollers, traction engines/wagons in the local area. My family were road rolling contractors (Taylor Bros Wimbish) based in Wimbish, Essex, but worked quite frequently for Suffolk council.

If you wish for any further information from me, please don’t hesitate to contact me, I live locally in Newmarket….Yours Sincerely…David Gowlett

Presumably it was Webbs of Exning that worked on this engine. All the steam engine fans that I knew are no longer with us, but perhaps readers can help David. He especially seeks old photos of Ada….please use as contact for David

21 June 2020

Bob Wigmore…This is a bit of a long shot I have been doing my family tree and I’ve been trying to find my grandad Thomas Alfred Lancaster who I have just found out he died back in 1963. I have now found out he was 1 of 9 children, so I have found his brother Joseph who was married to Grace Eleanor Marshall and had one child Trevor G Lancaster DOB 12/04/1928 who was married to June R Game in 1951, the address I have for Trevor is 5 Rosebery Way, Newmarket CB8 0DA and was wondering firstly is Trevor still alive and who is Mary Lancaster who lives at the same address up until I think 2008. Any help would be very grateful and much appreciated. All this is really to find out if Thomas Alfred Lancaster is really my grandad….many thanks.

This is outside the remit of our Local History Society; family history can lead to quite a bit of expense to be accurate. However if anyone does recognise the Lancaster family in Newmarket/Stetchworth, please contact and I can arrange contact with Bob

30 June 2020

Andrea Clifford….I wonder if someone could help me, please. I’ve hit a brick wall on family research for the last 20 years. I’m wondering if there is a gravestone for my GGGGrandmother Susanna Clifford nee Claus who died on 15 February 1850 at the age of 36. On the death cert cause of death is Visit from God!

She had 9 children, one of which was Frederick Clifford (my gg Grandfather) who was born in ShagBag Heath, Wood Ditton on 3rd December 1849. They seem to have moved in and out of London for quite a few years…….Thank you for any help or advice you can give me….Kindest regards…Andrea Clifford

As with the previous correspondent, we cannot help too much in family history matters. I can actually point out that the cemetery records only start in 1858 when it first opened,so Andrea’s ancestor is not there.

Luckily I do have the register for All Saints and confirm that Susan Clifford was buried in All Saints in 19th February 1850, aged 36. There are very few surviving stones in All Saints churchyard. Perhaps someone could take a look for Andrea, just in case…We can pass on any results to Andrea via

The only Clifford in the Town Cemetery is James CLIFFORD, stablelad aged 19 buried 5 July 1863 Old Ground L:1275, which has no headstone….TP

4 August 2020

Subject: Fred Archer Way. I have information on Fred Archer but was wondering if you could tell me who named the above road and when please. I look forward to hearing from you…. Kind regards ….Pam Morris

Fred Archer Way came about with the re development of the old Rookery area in the early 1970s. The new shopping precinct was opened early 1975 so I reckon the new road was in use by 1973/1974.

As to the name, the Council over the years, showing remarkable lack of imagination, had a vast number of horses, jockeys, trainers and owner’s names ready for use. It is difficult to find many streets in the town that are not named in connection with horse racing. It must have been that Fred Archer’s name had reached the top of the pile.

As a matter of interest, some of us are actively seeking the origins of the few names that are apparently nothing to do with horse racing. In that respect, Doris Street is far more interesting than Fred Archer Way. ..webmaster

15th October 2020

Subject WW1 and WW2 air crashes locally
I am interested in finding out about several air accidents that have happened at Royal Air Force Newmarket Heath, and Snailwell. I am looking between 1914-1945 I have visited the website and ordered the book. But I wish to get further into the detail. Any help or assistance greatly appreciated. Chris Fagg

I have pointed Chris to which has details of some WW2 crashes where the crew are buried here. Otherwise, I doubt we hold any other records

10 November 2020

David Moscow….Subject: Evacuees….During this period of the Pandemic I have had time to reflect on my early life through the Second World War and am wondering whether your local history society might be able to answer a question I have.

In the first wave of evacuations, I was sent to Newmarket. I still have a most vivid memory of being pushed in my pushchair (I was three and half years old) by my mother and the lady I was evacuated with along the High Street when I saw a German plane coming towards us low straight down the High Street, machine guns firing.

My mother and the lady shouted and dashed us into the post office for safety, which, if I recall correctly was an old Victorian building with high ceiling and windows, spacious hall and the long counter straight opposite the door. I was shocked and frightened, but I don’t recall bombs being dropped that day.

As I was three and a half years old, my mother was with me for some of the time in Newmarket, possibly the whole time (I don’t recall). The lady of the house was very kind to us, and she used to call me Tuppney (from two pence piece, because I was so small). At some later time, we were sent back to London, before I was re-evacuated to a village in the Fens in Cambridgeshire where I stayed happily till the end of the war.

I should love to find out the name of that lovely lady in Newmarket who took care of us, and if possible, the address, as I shall plan a visit and stay at the Jockey Club when life gets back to normal. I have no idea if records were kept of who took in the evacuees, so I don’t know if you can help me, but I look forward to your reply.

Another for the members. Records were no doubt lost years ago.

11th November 2020

Subject: Hermit House

I am hoping you will be able to assist me with some research… Currently, I am researching a jockey from the end of the nineteenth century with the intention of writing a biography. On the 1881 census he is recorded as part of the team of the famous American owner Pierre Lorillard IV who based a string of horses in Newmarket for a few years.

The problem I have is establishing the whereabouts of Hermit House as recorded in the census. Has this been incorrectly recorded and should have been Hermit Cottage which stood on All Saints Road, or was it a completely different dwelling? Your help would be greatly appreciated…Many thanks and kind regards…Stuart Grimes

Further correspondece….I think you are right about it being a lodging house of sorts, but I think also that it was rented long term by famous American businessman Pierre Lorillard IV when he set up for a campaign in English racing at the end of the 1870s. There also appears to have been dwelling either side with the address The Terrace which is where the jockey I am researching, George Barbee, was staying. Stuart Grimes

There was certainly a lodging house, Hermit Cottage at that time. Norwich born in 1850, George Joseph Barbee was an apprentice to Tom Jennings, moved to USA in 1872, winning the inaugural Preakness Stakes in 1873.