CFHS code : HT326

Parish : Holy Trinity

Inscription : In Loving Memory of JOSEPH COOKE b Feb 18 1813 d Sept 11 1890 also ELIZA COOKE his wife b Nov 22 1812 d Apr 25 1909

Monument : Stone cross (broken)/Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey



Joseph Cooke (18 February 1813 – 11 September 1890)

Joseph was born in Cottenham, and was the son of John and Ann.   He worked as a cabinet maker and was baptised as an adult on 13 November 1834 in Cambridge. He married Eliza Chesser on 3 October 1836 at St Clement’s Church and they had at least four children: Mary Ann (1837-1928), Elizabeth Eliza (1842-1925), George John (1844-1923) and Joseph Edwin (1852-1916).  The family lived at 61 & 62 King Street (at least 1841-1861) and Joseph employed three people in his business. By 1881 Joseph and Eliza were living at 8 Hobson Street with their housemaid Mary Ann Brown, and he was described as an upholsterer and alderman. He served as a Cambridge Guardian for over thirty five years, was Vice-Chairman for five years and  Chairman of the Board of Guardians for twelve years (1871-1883). In August 1883 he was presented with a ‘timepiece, a tankard, a cake basket and a salver as a mark of esteem for the manner in which he had performed his duties’. A collection had been held in the town and donations came from the Vice-Chancellor, heads of Colleges, the Mayor and councillors across the political divide who were all said to have held Joseph in high esteem. The presentation was made at the Guildhall by the Mayor and in his speech Joseph thanked Mr (Robert) Sayle who he said was the paid the greatest amount of rates in the town.  He said that ‘when he first went to the board, the rateable value of the town was £95,000, and now it was £148,000’.

Joseph died at Hobson Street having ‘been unwell for some time’. Three months prior to his death had had a severe illness, from which he had partially recovered. He spent a month at Great  Yarmouth in order to recover, where his health was said to have ‘considerably improved’. On his return to Cambridge he relapsed and died ‘quietly’ at eight o’clock one morning. His obituary said he was a staunch Conservative ‘and always worked hard for the success of his party’. It was said he was Alderman for Trinity Ward, a member of the Watch Committee, one of the governors of Hobson’s Charity, trustee of Wray’s Committee, governor of the Perse School, trustee of the Trinity parish estate and a Conservator of the Cam.

Eliza Cooke (née Chesser) (22 November 1812 – 25 April 1909)

Eliza married Joseph Cooke when she was 23 years old and after his death continued to live at 8 Hobson Street. She died at home aged 96 years old.

Joseph and Eliza’s grandson Edmund Lincoln Kett (son of daughter Elizabeth) is also buried at Mill Road Cemetery.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

[If you have any further information about this family, please contact us at]

Eliza Cooke; Joseph Cooke