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Thompson and Gamble, builders of the Cradock Drive housing development

Who were Thompson and Gamble?
Thompson and Gamble were a well-known building partnership in Quorn, and a direct descendent of the firm still exists in Quorn today, in the form of G Gamble & Sons (Quorn) Ltd, funeral directors. The original partnership was created by John Thompson and George Gamble in the early 1900s, both of whom had been in the building trade previously.

John Thompson was born in 1855 and was 23 years older than George. John and his first wife, Elizabeth lived on Station Road in Quorn, before moving to Albion Villa (now 57 Loughborough Road). George Gamble was born in 1878. He was part of the Gamble family who had started Quorn Baptist Sunday School in the late 1700s, and although he spent much of his childhood in Warwickshire, the family are found living back in Quorn (Nursery Lane), in 1891. In 1903 George married Olive Pearce and the couple moved into Myrtle Cottages (now 1 Nursery Lane). Around this time John Thompson and George Gamble formed their business partnership.

Significant developers in Quorn
1910 tax records show that Thompson and Gamble owned both land and properties all over Quorn, but the development they are most well known for, is that on the west side of the village, consisting of Spinney Drive, Cradock Drive, Elms Drive, Beacon Avenue and the bottom of Warwick Avenue. This land became available after John Davys Cradock died in 1921 and his Quorn Court estate was broken up. The area of the new development was sold by Corbett Cradock in 1924 to Edward Thomas Allcock of Loughborough, architect and surveyor, and sold on to Thompson and Gamble on 15th January 1927. The first houses were built on Spinney Drive that year, and the last ones on Beacon Avenue in the mid 1930s. All the houses built as part of the main development were fully or partially rendered, as was the new fashion. The plan below was taken from the deeds for what is now 14 Cradock Drive, when Thompson and Gamble sold the house to newly weds Charles Edwin and Hermia Druscilla Lay. They lived there until the 1960s, when no. 14 became home to Sam and Sheila Cottle.

Many houses were added to this area in later years, especially on Cradock Drive. These newer houses had cavity walls and normal brickwork.

The end of the partnership
The partnership of Thompson and Gamble was dissolved on 31st December 1931, and John Thompson died a few months later in April 1932. George carried on the business using the name of Thompson and Gamble until after WW2. This is confirmed by the business card (below) and poster for air raid shelters in Artefact 482.

The business card dates from the 1930s. Note that the address is given as 22 Mansfield Street, this was renumbered between 1938 and 1939 and no. 22 became no. 34. George and Olive had seven children, but sadly the first four died as babies. They then had two sons and a daughter; Aubrey, Ronald and Eileen. The two boys eventually joined the business and on 22nd April 1947, the name changed to G. Gamble and Sons Ltd.

George continued to live at 34 Mansfield Street after the business moved to 101a Meeting Street. He remarried after Olive died in 1940, and his second wife Lily continued to live in the house after George himself died in 1956.

In the 1960s the firm was bought by John Maltby. Ron Gamble died in 1963 and Aubrey in 1974.

The move to funerals
As a partnership Thompson and Gamble started as builders, but builders had to do joinery work and before funerals became so regulated, it was local joiners who made coffins. Many joiners also became undertakers and this is what happened with Gambles. An advert from the early 1950s includes the term undertakers, although this did not form a major part of the business until the latter part of the last century. Today Gambles are exclusively funeral directors.

 view larger image
 Submitted on: 2020-05-18
 Submitted by: Card - Kev Porter, plan - Paul Barlow, research by Sue Templeman
 Artefact ID: 2390
 Artefact URL: www.quornmuseum.com/display.php?id=2390
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own (new browser tab).

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