The Sennitt family were well-known Cambridge butchers, poulterers and fishmongers – many people will remember F O Sennitt’s shop in Peas Hill selling wet fish, pheasants, partridges, pigeons and rabbits in the 1950s and 1960s. The Sennitt memorial records the deaths of eight family members whose lives spanned 1841 to 1966.
Sennitt the butcher
The Sennitts were a farming family based in Stretham, near Ely. By 1883, George Henry Sennitt senior (1841 – 1893) had opened a butcher’s shop in the centre of Cambridge at 7 Peas Hill (then called Union Street), near the corner with Bene’t Street. From the mid-1880s, he also had a slaughterhouse in Covent Garden, off Mill Road (located just past No 19, on part of the Cambridge Econometrics site). By 1891, he had opened a second butcher’s shop at 178 Mill Road, Romsey Town (near the corner of Stockwell Street, next to the Baptist church).
After his death in 1893, his wife Sarah Sennitt (née Langford) (1841 – 1921) ran the Union Street shop, and his son, George Henry junior (1866 – 1919), now styled ‘butcher and sausage maker’, ran the Mill Road shop together with his wife Susan Sennitt (née Riseley) (1862 – 1933) and son George Low Sennitt (1890-1980). At George Henry junior’s death in 1919, his son, Alfred Langford Sennitt (1874 – 1961) took over the Mill Road shop, and by 1939 had opened a third shop at 125 Milton Road. The Peas Hill butchery had changed hands by 1934; the Milton Road shop became a Dewhurst’s after the Second World War; 178 Mill Road had changed hands by 1964.
The Covent Garden slaughterhouse, with its cobbled yard and different-sized animal stalls, continued until after 1940, probably until R J Slingsby took over the site as a builder’s yard in about 1950. Older residents still remember bullocks being herded for slaughter from Mill Road, their hooves ‘slipping and sliding’ on the tarmac.
The ‘Edward Sennitt’ memorialised on this grave was Edward Langford Low Sennitt (1901 – 1966), son of George Henry junior, that family being resident at 178 Mill Road. George Henry junior and his wife Susan had nine children, three of whom had died in infancy.
Sennitt the fishmonger and poulterer
From 1896, Frederick Oliver Sennitt (whose relationship to George Henry’s branch of the family is unclear, and whose death is not recorded on the gravestone) had a fishmongery and poultry shop at 2 (or 3) Peas Hill. In 1911, Frederick was living at Westhurst, Milton Road, with his wife Anna Mary (née Legge), of Ely. They were married in 1899, and by 1911 had had four children, three of whom had survived: Kathleen Pearl (8), Stuart Osland (4), and Freda Mary (3) (none of whose deaths are recorded on the gravestone). Stuart Osland joined the firm and eventually (after war service as a pilot) took it over. With his retirement in 1972, the business was bought by Macfisheries, who were losing their Petty Cury shop in the Lion Yard redevelopment.
Parish : St Edward
Cambridge Evening News
Spalding Street Directories
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 and 1916-2005
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 and 1916-2005
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915 and 1916-2005
England census record
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929
UK, Soldiers died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Cambridge Evening News
Spalding street directories
England census reports
By Ian Bent and Emma Easterbrook with thanks to Judy Lester