CFHS code : HT143

Parish : Holy Trinity

Inscription : headstone In tender and loving memory of EMILY JANE the beloved wife of PHILIP HENRY ALLIN d April 7 1924 aged 72 also of PHILIP HENRY ALLIN d August 28 1930 aged 74 also ADA EMILY CRANFIELD daughter d March 10 1983 aged 99

Monument : Headstone/Kerb stones/Flowerholder

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

The monument in December 2021.


This headstone and kerbstones are located in the south east corner of the parish area of Holy Trinity 10 rows from the east wall 4 monuments south of the south path just as it bends to the north.
All is in very good order but may easily get covered by bramble.


EMILY JANE the beloved wife of PHILIP HENRY ALLIN  
Who entered into rest April 7 1924 aged 72 years
“I’ll praise my maker white I’ve breath”

Also of PHILIP HENRY ALLIN who died August 28 1930 aged 74 years
“In death they are not divided”

Also ADA EMILY CRANFIELD daughter died March 10 1983 aged 99 years

Emily Jane Allin (née Varnham) (1 January 1852 – 7 April 1924)

Emily was born in London, grew up in Harpenden and was the daughter of Samuel and Matilda (née Jenkinson) Varnham. Samuel was a straw hat blocker/machinist, Matilda worked as an artificial florist and aged 19 Emily was working as a straw hat sewer. She married Philip Allin on 8 October 1879 in St. Albans and the couple had seven children: Henry Philip (1880-1951), Herbert Samuel (1882-1956), Ada Emily (1884-1983), Sidney William (1887-1968), Edgar John (1888-1965), Grace Ann (1892-1971) and one further child who died as an infant.   By the time Sidney was born in 1887 the family were living in at 39 Burleigh Street in Cambridge.  Philip worked as an ironmonger (1891) , but later was a plumber/sanitary engineer.  They moved to live at 51 Burleigh Street (1901),  Park House, 16 Parkside (1911) and Sutcombe, 20 Newton Road (1924)

Philip Henry Allin (12 March 1856 – 28 August 1930)

Philip was born in the village of Sutcombe, Devon (5 miles north of Holsworthy) and was the illegitimate son of Ann Allin.  He grew up with his grandparents, Samuel and Fanny Allin and by the age of 15 was working for farmer Caleb Bromwell as a farm labourer (1871).  Philip was a tin plate worker when he married Emily in 1879, and when he moved to Cambridge was an ironmonger, glass and china dealer.  His first business went into bankruptcy in April 1887 and he then founded a plumbing company P.H. Allin and Sons, which he ran with three of his sons (Herbert, Sidney and Edgar).

In May 1902 William Welsh ‘a stranger to the town’ was charged with stealing 9 broom heads from Philip. William said ‘the brooms were doing no good there. They were covered with dust. I would pinch anything when I want beer’.  He was additionally charged with assaulting a police officer and was sentenced to one month’s hard labour.

Philip Allin was a prolific letter writer to local newspapers, and his name often appeared in newspapers of the time.  In July 1903 he wrote at length to the Cambridge Daily News to complain that they had all but named him in relation to an outbreak of smallpox.  Philip had caught small pox and wished to put it on record that he had taken doctor’s advice and ‘removed’ himself to a smallpox hospital. ‘Every care possible was taken to prevent others being affected by it. All my family were vaccinated and the whole of the premises were disinfected by the medical authority’s employees. Not one of my family, nor yet any of my workmen have in any way been affected. I challenge you, Sir, to point to a single case that can be traced to me or my family or my workmen’.  He went on to detail claims that several cases had been ‘hushed up’ in order not to spread panic during May Week. The editor added a footer to his letter saying ‘we commend Mr. Allin’s letter to the notice of the Medical Officer of Health and the Sanitary Committee. If Mr Allin’s statements are true they constitute a still graver charge against the authorities than has been made hitherto’.

In November 1903 he wrote to criticise the council tendering process for iron fencing. The contract was not given to any of the Cambridge companies which had submitted a tender, and Philip wrote ‘Our tender on the whole job would have saved the ratepayers over £30, but perhaps we do not live in the right part of the town. We live near Barnwell, and …..if the ratepayers do not take this matter up then all we wish to say is that it serves them right for all they have to pay’.  The following October he did win the tender for fencing of the river bank – his price of 8s, 9d per yard run was the lowest price submitted and the Borough Surveyor recommended that he be awarded the contact by the Paving, Drainage and Lighting Committee.

In 1903 the company was employing 18 employees and Philip organised an annual outing to Lowestoft.  They left on the 6.45am train and ‘on arrival they took a drive in wagonettes round the town and on to the Oulton Broads. Upon returning they had a sumptuous dinner at the Continental Café ….then the visitors enjoyed a two hours’ sail, followed by a stroll upon the pier and a visit to the Belle Vue Gardens and Sparrow’s Nest. A capital tea was served at 5 o’clock, and the party returned by the ordinary train which reached Cambridge at about 12 o’clock’.

Advert from June 1919

In September 1908 P.H. Allin & Sons was dissolved and the stock was auctioned in two lots.  The second sale inlcuded: Remington typewriters, lawn mower, bells, gas brackets and fittings, globes, shades, lamps, bird cases, sewing machines, fishing rods and tackle’. The choice to dissolve the company might have been related to eldest son Henry Philip being declared bankrupt in November 1907. Henry had  set up as a property developer and his case was heard in the London courts, having liabilities of £5,725 with more than 100 creditors.  A new company was formed (also called P.H. Allin & Sons, electrical engineers) which also operated from  Burleigh Street, Green Street and later 12 Bridge Street.  The company specialised in electric lighting, bells, telephones, motors, heating and metal filament lights’ and also sold cars.

Philip was a leading member of the Sons of Temperance Friendly Society, and member of the Band of Hope which ran from the Hobson Street Wesleyan chapel.  In 1902 he was the Secretary of the Band of Hope and reported at the A.G.M that they had 158 members. He spoke at many temperance and Methodist/free church events – including the 1904 Willingham Temperance  Fete. Philip was also a prominent member of the passive resistance movement and was opposed to the 1902 Education Act (otherwise known as the Balfour Act).  In this act funding for schools was moved to a more uniform basis.   Previously some schools were run by local school boards, and some were run by churches (either Church of England or Catholic).  The 1902 Act established local education authorities (LEAs) who were in charge of paying school teachers and ensuring they were sufficiently qualified.  They paid the teachers in church schools, with churches providing and maintaining the school buildings and providing religious instruction.  Members of the Baptist and Methodist Churches ran a campaign of passive resistance for many years after the introduction of the Act, whereby they withheld the educational element from their taxes. They objected to their taxes being used to educate children in a religion different to their own, and were also unhappy at loosing previous involvement on the now abolished school boards. Philip appeared in court several times for non-payment of  tax.

He married for a second time in 1929 to widow Cecilia Eleanor Ridge (née Allin)(1876-1947) but the marriage was short lived as he died the following year at the Evelyn Nursing Home.

Ada Emily Cranfield (née Allin)  (9 March 1884 – 10 March 1983)

Ada was born in Harpenden, and grew up in Cambridge. She married watch maker Alexander (Alex) Cranfield (1885-1948) in 1911 and are believed to have had just one son: Alexander Gordon Mcdonald (1915-1984) . In April 1911 the couple were living with her parents at Park House. Alex rented a house and shop at Hills Road, with his father-in-law Philip acting as guarantor. In October 1914 Philip Allin was taken to court by the landlord for £20, which was owed by Alex Cranfield. Philip had objected to the charge, but the court found against him and he was asked to pay the £20 plus costs. Ada lived at 20 Newton Road from at least 1925-1930, Flat 1, Green Street (1931/32) and then at Grove Lodge, Huntingdon Road (1935-).  In 1939 she was living by herself, and was documented as being the manageress of an electrical goods  shop (believed to have been at 13 Bridge Street). Meanwhile Alex Cranfield was lodging in King’s Lynn and working as a tool maker, both were documented as being married, but appear to have lived separate lives. Ada died at 40 George Street a day after her 99th birthday.

Emily and Philip’s grand-daughter Elsie Grace Allin (1904-1931) is also buried at Mill Road Cemetery.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Emily Jane Allin; Philip Henry Allin; Ada Emily Cranfield