Through the years the numbers given to this building have been changed by the various owners, making the occupants more than a little difficult to place in the building. At one time part of the Museum building was known as Number 28 and at another time part was known as Number 31.
In William Cowper’s day the building was divided into two separate houses. Number 29 was probably the number given to what is now the Museum building. Number 30 is always understood to be Cowper’s House. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the building was further divided into tenements.
After Cowper left Orchard Side to go to Weston Underwood, he knew that a shoemaker and an alehouse keeper were keen to occupy the property but it is not certain who acquired it. In the 1850’s, a school, possibly the Lace School of Ann Brittain, occupied Number 30, as advertised in 1844. The evidence of a door inserted into one of the ground floor windows gives proof of its later use as business premises, with access from the Market Place. At some time part of the premises was used by a dressmaker, Mrs Sarah Sleath, whose husband was a glazier. She ran her business there in the l880’s. By 1890 the Misses Daniells had their Millinery and Dressmaking establishment there and they also advertised themselves as Mantle Makers. The 1891 lists Emily G Daniells and her sisters Edith and Kate living at No 31 Market place.
To mark the centenary of Cowper’s death in 1900, the then owner, Mr Collingridge, gave the house to the town to be used as a Museum. Mr Thomas Wright was appointed as the Secretary of the Museum. The Museum was originally only in the two ground floor rooms. Four tenants occupied the rest of the premises, one of whom was the father of Thomas Wright, and another, William Samuel Wright, was a painter and photographer. The 1891 Census lists George Coles a farm labourer living there.
The 1910 Inland Revenue Survey records Cowper Trustees as the owners and William Wright, Sophia Andrews and Eliza Wooding as tenants. The 1911 Census lists William Samuel Wright, Curator of the Cowper Museum, and his wife Anne , also Harry Webb Corn Miller and Eliza Wooding Widowed.
The 1936 Register of Electors lists Robert Gordon and Helen Kathleen Whiting living in Number 29. The 1951 Register of Electors lists Thomas T and Kathleen E Radmore residing in No 28, also again Robert Gordon and Helen Kathleen Whiting plus Gordon P and Joan Helen Whiting in No 29.
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