Cavendish: a description from 1865
Cavendish as it was. (written in June 1st 1865)
During the past few years our pretty little village has been completely altered and improved in external appearance and if a lad who left Cavendish 50 years ago were to return he would hardly recognise it as the place he knew in his boyhood.
We possess a wide street and most houses are of neat and unique form though occasionally we meet here and there a house reminding us of the barbarous taste of our forefathers.
The village itself is closely built and compact extending half a mile in length, and at its Clare end you come upon extensive and beautiful village green where the “arabs” disport themselves.
The population is 1300 souls with a number of professional gentlemen both in divinity, law and physics, we have butchers, grocers, drapers, provision and leather shops etc etc, we have extensive maltings, a factory and a good straw plait market every Friday.
The railway passes through the village and is expected to be open next month, the gates at Pentlow bridge are completed and the ballast engine passes the whole length to Haverhill
Religious requirements of the inhabitants are well attended to with a commodious church and a pretty rectory and a kind and earnest clergyman to point the way to heaven, likewise we have recently erected a handsome chapel.
Near the railway station there in course of construction is a substantial new hotel on the Pentlow road.
Cavendish fair bids to be one of the most progressive villages in East Anglia.
(We puzzle over the description of the 'substantial new hotel on the Pentlow Road'. This can only refer to the old Railway Arms pub, now sadly just a private house. It was built just before the railway opened, in 1864 by Mr Thomas Skelton, as a speculation. It was placed on the corner of Lower road and Pentlow Street on the site of a previous building. It certainly had hopes, when it was first built, of being a grand Railway Hotel, and once did a good trade as a public house from the many trippers who visited Cavendish by train at the weekends, and from the farmers who loaded their produce at the station during the week. It was never, as far as I know, ever referred to as a hotel.
"The house on the right hand side, where the Railway Arms stands, Thomas Skilton lived. He was a big man and gardened a little field. It was called Towne Field. It was by the side of Water Lane and went up to the house that stands by the path that goes up by the fields" (J Braybrooke
The rather grand house next to it, Railway House, was built by the proprietor of the Mat Factory, Mr Churchward. He actually merely extended on an existing house, clearly marked in previous maps, and still there as a wing.)