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119 Bath Road (formerly Prospect House/Cottage)
In 1841 Prospect Cottage was the home of bricklayer Thomas Clarke and his family. Ten years later the occupier of Prospect Cottage was Charles Cary, a Norfolk born boot and shoe maker. In 1850 he had married Penelope, one of the daughters of Thomas Clarke.
By 1851 the census lists both Prospect House and Prospect Cottage so it is difficult to know exactly which is the present building. The 1855 map shows two properties but only one is named (Prospect Cottage).
During the next 30 years Prospect Cottage was the home to tailors and dressmakers. Amongst them was John Sparkes and Mary Lawrence.
The 1881 census lists Prospect Cottage as the home of dressmaker Harriet Mantell. Harriet was a spinster born in Bradlow, Herefordshire who died at the age of 50 in 1902.
Prospect House next door was the home of Thomas Spencer, watchmaker, where he had lived since at least 1861. Thomas was married to Annie Mantle in 1855. In 1861 Thomas employed an apprentice and in due course his son Alfred became his apprentice. Annie was also born in Bradlow, Herefordshire and a connection between the two ladies is being sought. Thomas Spencer died in 1887 at the age of 53.
By 1891 there was just one property listed - Prospect House. Still the home of Annie Spencer and her family - her nephew, Frederick Charles Mantell , an apprentice watchmaker, was also living with the family.
By 1901 Prospect House was the home of Ralph Rogers described in the census of that year as a manservant. He worked for Mr E. Scott-Skirving of Cheltenham College and lived here with his wife and four young children. In 1911 they emigrated to Canada.
By 1920 this was the home of Mr and Mrs Tucker and their Fine Art Gallery. Mr Ernest J Tucker was described as a photographic artist and Mrs Tucker was known as the Lady Photographer. They also had a picture framing business.
In the late 1920s the studio became Prospect Cafe. Owned initially by a Mr Green it was bought by Mr Leslie Charles Townsend, a baker formerly employed by the well known George's Bakery at their Weston-Super-Mare branch. Mr and Mrs Townsend ran the cafe and converted the front of the shop into a bakers shop. The living quarters were at the side of the property and the bakery itself at the rear. The property stretched back nearly reaching Commercial Street. Townsends supplied cakes to Cheltenham College for many events there including the annual cricket festival. Mr Townsend’s speciality cakes were much sought after.
In 1971 the First Church of Christ, Scientist purchased 119 Bath Road and after refurbishment opened 27th March 1972 as the Christian Science Reading Room. At the end of 1981 the living accommodation was separated from the retail premises and sold. Whilst this work was going on the Reading Rooms were temporarily housed in Bayshill Road, returning to Bath Road in January 1982.
The rear of 119 was divided into two workshops. From 1979 monumental sculptor Philip Boulton occupied one of them and French Polisher R K Goodhall the other. In 2007 Mr Goodhall retired and Mr Boulton moved on.
Researcher: Marilyn West
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