Who was Harvey Goodwin?

The first fourteen years of my life we lived in a downstairs flat, and then we moved to a semi-detached house which had belonged to old, very old friends of my dad. We moved into 22, Harvey Goodwin Avenue in Cambridge. The reason I mention the number is that many years later, when visiting Elsden cousins who lived near King’s Lynne, we visited the old church directly opposite their house in a small village. The reason we visited was because there were Elsdens buried in the graveyard and commemorated in the church. I went to sign the visitor’s book, and the line above where I was writing had a familiar address, Harvey Goodwin Avenue, and even more coincidentally a familiar number, 22! What is the chance of that?

Harvey Goodwin Avenue ran from Hale Avenue which branched off Stretton Avenue (which later joined back onto Harvey Goodwin Avenue) and Victoria Road. On the corner of Harvey Goodwin and Victoria Road was St Luke’s Church, and at the Hal Avenue end was the Harvey Goodwin Home for children; apparently when we lived nearby it was a nursery, but I remember it being for older and maybe sickly children, but I think I may have remembered wrongly – here’s a link to its history:


Who was Harvey Goodwin? I thought the name might be a double barrelled name, but no, that was his name. Harvey Goodwin was born on October 9th, 1818 in King’s Lynn and was a Cambridge academic and bishop of Carlisle from 1869 until his death at the age of seventy-three in November 1891. His father was Charles Goodwin and his mother Frances Sawyer, and he named one of his daughters after her. He married Ellen, and a daughter, Ellen King was named after her too. Harvey went up to Cambridge University to study mathematics, and went on to lecture in it at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge.  However in 1844 he became a vicar in locum charge of St Giles’s, which  wasn’t far from St Luke’s at the end of Harvey Goodwin Avenue (which didn’t exist then) and which I cycled past nearly every day on my way to school. In 1847 Harvey was instrumental in establishing an industrial which later became the Harvey Goodwin Home – which of course I remember – not him founding the school, but its later name!

In 1848 he moved to the church of St Edward King and Martyr in Peas Hill, just near the market square. (King Edward of England was born in 962, became king in 975 and was murdered in 978, and became known as Edward the Martyr.) The years later he became the dean of Ely Cathedral and oversaw much of the restoration of that beautiful building and also served on two royal commissions, so he was obviously a person of some importance! In 1869 the Prime Minister, William Gladstone offered him the Bishopric of Carlisle which he accepted and which he held until his death in 1891.

Harvey was obviously a busy man and worked hard for others and was resected; he was also a family man, married to Ellen King in 1845 when he was vicar of St Giles, with whom he had seven children, Catherine, Ellen King, Frances and Mary, George, Harvey and Leslie.

My featured image is of some wonderful brickwork in King’s Lyne.



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