Brett Volume 3: Chapter XXVII - St. Leonards 1842
- 1 Transcriber’s note
- 2 Chapter XXVII - St. Leonards 1842
- 2.1 Commissioners Meetings - Drowning of a Pleasure Party - Fatal Mishaps
- 2.2 Archery Meetings - New Venture in Journalism - Sale of Martello Towers
- 2.3 Obituaries & family connection of Edward Towner and Mrs. Ann Thorp
- 2.4 The London and Brighton Railway (Local Associations)
| This is a verbatim transcription of Brett’s work, which comprised both manuscript and typescript cuttings, and therefore reproduces Brett’s variations in style, capitalisation, punctuation and spelling. The only alterations made have been to the pagination and images whereby both page titles and images have been moved to the most appropriate paragraph as opposed to where they were pasted into the texts by the author. Where possible, personal names have been checked against census, parish records and the Central Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths. A number of footnotes have been inserted by the transcriber when this has been thought to be useful.
Generally the transcription follows the guidelines set out by the National Archives. Work is in hand to identify and annotate hand-written sections and other annotations within the transcriptions, the main difference being that hand-written sections are indicated by a Cursive font on screen. If any portions are
Readers should be aware that Brett’s narrative was written some forty to fifty years after these events (the typeset portions being perhaps 20 years earlier) and his memory has occasionally been found to be at fault by later historians.
Chapter XXVII - St. Leonards 1842
The town and parish officers
Arrangements for the fire-engine
Melancholy drowning of a pleasure party
A fishing boat run down
Fatal coach accident
Celebrating the visit of the Prince of Wales
Horticultural Society established
Progress of the Archery Society
A new venture in journalism,
First .coaches to meet the South-eastern Railway at Tunbridge Wells – Illness of Mr. Hollond
The political situation
Two Martello towers sold
Mismanagement of the London and Brighton Railway and absconding of two St.Leonards officials connected therewith.
Commissioners Meetings - Drowning of a Pleasure Party - Fatal Mishaps
I commence a fresh year and an additional chapter, as at some previous periods, with an enumeration of the town and parochial officials. As regards the St. Leonards Commissioners the task has not been altogether an easy one; for, as before intimated, the attendances of many of them were very irregular, the lists indifferently kept, and the meetings mostly closed against the press and the public. The Board of Commissioners for 1842 consisted of, or at least included, the following gentlemen:—Robt. Hollond (M P,), Fredk. North, Hugh Wm. Brown, Howard Elphinstone, J.C. W. Leslie (Incumbent), J. Harwood (M.D),}, Thos. Jekyll Rawson, J. A. Warre, Alfred Burton, Joseph Jeffries (Major), R. and C. Deudney, Thos, Adams and Thos. Brown.
The St. Leonards parish officers were Chas. Deudney and Edward Farncomb, surveyors of highways; Edward Farncomb and John Painter, overseers; Wm. Longley and John Painter, assessors and collectors; John Reed Harman and Richard Lamb, assessors for the outbounds; and John Phillips, vestry-clerk.
The officers for St. Mary Magdalen were Edward Waghorne and G. A. Murton, overseers; John Austin and Nelson Andrews, surveyors of highways; and William Noon and Newton Parks, assessors and collectors.
The work of both sets of parish officers during 1842 was almost entirely of a routine character, the only features worth recording being a resolution at one of the St. Leonards vestry meetings to deduct ten per cent. from the estimated value of all the houses; and at a meeting of the Magdalen ratepayers to vote a fivepenny rate fur lighting that part of the town not comprised within the St. Leonards Act. The parish meetings were usually held quarterly, those for St. Leonards at the New England Bank, and those for St. Mary Magdalen in rotation at the Conqueror, Saxon, Warrior's Gate, Horse-and-Groom, &c.
Not much more can be said for the business transactions of the St. Leonards Commissioners, the year’s proceedings as applying to that body being also of a rather quiet character. There was the usual excusing of rates among those who said they couldn't pay, and the customary summoning of those who felt they couldn’t pay. Then there was the permission given to James Oakley, of the Horse-and-Groom, to put up a sign-board (more properly a direction post) at the top of East Ascent, the same to be removed at any time, if so desired by the Commissioners. The arrangements with Mr. Jas. Mann for the fire-engine were cancelled, and the care of the same given over to Mr Geo, Nash, Mr. Chamberlin’s manager of the Victoria Mews. A stone crossing was ordered to be laid between 47 and 48 Marina, Mr. Towner’s estimate of £2 15s. and another tradesman’s tender of £4 being respectively accepted and rejected for the same. Notices were posted, warning against the committal of nuisances about the town, and the usual tinkering with drains was still persisted in, the want of money, as well as the lack of inclination, to say nothing of the large area as yet unoccupied by buildings—preventing an efficient system of drainage being entertained. And this want of means again reminds me that advertisements were still inserted in the newspapers, and that no response was received to the one which appeared in the London Times, asking for a loan at 4 per cent, sufficient for the transfer of all or a part of existing bonds.
It is noteworthy that although the protection of the foreshore property at Hastings was a matter of so much concern in 1842, the storms and high-running tides of that year were under the average. To generalize the character of the weather, I may say there was a cold, snowy January, a dry spring, a fine hot summer, an early harvest, and a moderate autumn. The sea during that year gave less trouble than usual to the St. Leonards Commissioners, although it was rather more than usually troublesome to the Hastings Commissioners.
There was, however, another and a sadder aspect of its maritime connections by which St. Leonards was thrown into a general and unexpected gloom. In the early morning of the 4th of May I had gone to Hastings on a commercial errand, and on my return to a spot opposite to the Infirmary, I observed a small pleasure-boat suddenly capsize and disappear. I afterwards learnt that the boat in question belonged to an experienced boatman of the name of Stevens, who, with his wife and son - the latter a pupil of the writer’s - was living at Undercliff terrace. There were three young men in, the boat with Stevens, all of them in the service of families residing in or visiting St. Leonards, and all of them doomed to a watery grave. Their names and ages were Charles Crumpton, 22; Archibald Johnson, 18; and Richard Pierce 17. It was said that they hailed a French fishing-boat in the roadstead, and that in all probability some French brandy was given to them by the mariners of Gaul; Stevens, from having gone to Flushing to buy liquors for the "Fair-traders" in his earlier years, being able to speak French sufficiently to make himself understood. Such an incident, however, might not have had anything to do with the upsetting of the boat,the cause being unascertainable in consequence of no one being left to tell. Crampton’s body was picked up on the following Sunday, Johnson’s on Sunday the 29th of May, and Pierce’s on Sunday the SthofJune. That of Johnson was washed ashore on Lydd beach, whilst that of Pierce was found near 31 Martello Tower, Winchelsea. It was a remarkable coincidence that each of the bodies was picked up on Sunday. They were all brought home to St. Leonards and respectably buried at the expense of their several employers. The Rev. Markham Mills (Curate of St Leonards church) was the officiating minister, and with the Rev. C. W. Leslie (Incumbent) succeeded in raising a sum of £100, A portion of which was given to the widow, and the remainder placed in the Bank for the future use of the son. A memorial stone in the St. Leonards grave-yard records the unhappy fate of the three young men who came to so untimely an end. The remains of poor Stevens were found some time after at Deal, and were interred at Icklesham, his mother’s native village; Mr. Stevens’s widow removed from St. Leonards to London that she might be near her daughters,but she did not long survive her affliction. The son was taken into the service of Sir Archibald Croft as page, from which situation he rose to that of a butler in the service of- I believe - Lord Calthorp, after which he, with his wife, had the management of an hotel in Grosvenor square. Here, however, his career was arrested, he having succumbed to a fatal malady at the comparatively early age of 28 or 29 years.
Another maritime disaster occurred on the 18th of November, when the fishing-boat Good Intent, of Hastings, was run down by H.M. steamship Rhadamanthus. The master, Edward Apps, was drowned, but the two youths, Coleman and Iggleden, were saved by means of a rope thrown from the steamer. A sum of £100 was afterwards received from the Government by Apps’s widow.
From the narrative of fatal mishaps on the sea, I turn to some prominent misfortunes on land.
On the 21st of January, a little girl, four years of age, named Sarah Edmunds, was burnt to death at the "New England Bank," a wayside inn at Bopeep. She was staying with Mr. and Mrs. Payne, her uncle and aunt, and got to the fire unobserved.
On Tuesday, September 28th, one of the Hastings coaches which had only a few months previously commenced the new communication between Hastings and the railway at Tunbridge Wells, suddenly upset as it was turning the corner at the Saxon Hotel on its outward journey. It was a frightful crash, resulting in personal injuries to several of the passengers, the dislocation of one of Mr. Bates’s (the coachman’s) shoulders, and the death of Levi Osborne, the coach-porter. It is probable that the accident was due to the intractibility of one of more of the horses; for, on the preceding day the same horses, with the same coach, the same coachman and the same porter, their arrival at the coach-office in George street, started off up High street, round the top of the town, down All Saints’ street, through the Fishmarket, and by Pelham place to York buildings, where they were stopped by Mr. Kirby’s coachman courageously running and seizing the reins. The most remarkable thing about this runaway race through the principal thoroughfares was that no collisions occurred, and not the slighest damage was done. Little did the people contemplate the fatal and otherwise serious disaster of the following morning.
On Sunday, November 12th, the remains of a young man, 23 years of age, were followed to the St. Leonards grave-yard by his relatives and a number of his friends connected with building trades. His name was Samuel Homan, nephew of Benjamin Homan, one of the principal contractors of St. Leonards. His death was sudden, but, as was shown at an inquest presided over by Mr. J. G. Shorter, it arose from natural causes.
On the 22nd of September, Mr. James Belsey, a shoemaker by trade, but on that day a special constable at the Races, fractured one of his legs while running from the race-course over the hill at Bopeep.
A much more serious accident occurred in the preceding month (August 23rd), and although the locality in which it happened was nearer Hastings than St. Leonards, it may be described here without any impropriety. Several men in the employ of Mr. Crisford, miller, were gathering in a crop of oats, when the horses attached to a waggon galloped off at full speed. Henry Marchant, in the attempt to stop them, was knocked down and immediately killed by the waggon-wheels passing over his head. Two other men, Samuel and William Banister, were also seriously injured. One of them sustained a broken collar-bone and painful bruises, and the other a tractured leg and a dislocated ankle. Marchant left a widow and nine children unprovided for.
Having recorded the principal accidents and disasters on land and sea during 1842, I now proceed to give some account of the amusements and philanthropic movements on the same two divisions of the locality. And, as while I am writing, something over a thousand pounds has already been collected for decorations and illuminations to celebrate the visit of the Prince of Wales to Hastings and St. Leonards on the 26th of June, 1882, it will be appropriate that I first describe what was done in both towns to celebrate the christening of his Royal Highness in 1842. During the first week in January a meeting was held by some of the leading inhabitants of St. Leonards. and a plan arranged for distributing shilling tickets to poor families, according to their number, the same to be spent on anything but beer or spirits ; and on the 10th of January, a meeting of the Hastings people was held in the Town Hall, to devise the ways and means for a similar object. The Rev. T. Vores - the then newly appointed perpetual curate of St. Mary’s-in-the-Castle - expressed a hope at the latter meeting that a good subscription would be made, seeing that Hastings was in ancient times closely connected with the obtaining of the principality of Wales. It had been shown in History that the ships of the Port of Hastings materially assisted Edward I. in obtaining the possession of Wales. The amount raised eastward of the Infirmary for Hastings was £187, which on the day of the Chnstening (Jan, 25) was distributed in the form of coals and money, there being of the former 1 cwt. to each family, and of the latter 6d. to each member of a family. The amount collected westward of the Infirmary for the parishes of St. Leonards and St. Mary Magdalen was £130, which, as before stated, was distributed in shilling tickets to each member of a family. The numbers receiving the commemorative gift were, in Hastings, 1,018 heads of families and 4,050 members; whilst those in St. Leonards were 1,100 in all, That there should have been in these two fashionable towns, out of a population but slightly exceeding 11,000, Pg.253 no fewer than 6,160 persons who were regarded as fit recipients of this boon, pourtrays, but a sorry picture of their condition. It seems, indeed, to have corresponded rather closely with the widespread distress in the, northern districts at that time.
Archery Meetings - New Venture in Journalism - Sale of Martello Towers
On the 11th of January was first established an institution which was destined to experience many vicissitudes, namely the Hastings and St. Leonards Horticultural Society. It started well, with every prospect of a long and healthy existence, but ere it reached what might be considered the prime of life it had to contend with many infirmities, eventually to die and to be again resuscitated. It was proposed to hold three exhibitions each year, the same to take place alternately in each town. The several shows during the earlier years were in the Swan Assembly-room, the Pelham Arcade and the St. Leonards Assembly-rooms; and at later periods in Wellington-square Gardens, the Castle Gardens, the St. Leonards Subscription Gardens, the Archery Grounds, the Warrior-square Gardens, and the Pier.
The original. committee consisted of thirteen gentlemen, of whom at the time of writing, not one living, They were Lieut. Col. Elliott, a retired officer; Rev. C. W Leslie, incumbent of St. Leonards; W. Scrivens, Esq., banker ; A, Burton, Esq., of St. Leonards; Mr. F. Ticehurst, surgeon; Rev. C. V. Summer, secretary, pro tem; and Messrs. T. Brown, wine-merchant ; W. Chamberlin, hotel-keeper; J. Brown, plumber; G. Voysey, architect; J. Buchanan, nurseryman; and W. Wood, gardener. The first show was a very successful one; it was held in the Pelham Arcade, and was visited by about 400 persons, among whom, as taking a prominent interest, were Lady Ashburnham, Mrs. Milward and Mrs. Shadwell. The second show, also very successful, was held on the 7th of September in the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms, there being among the exhibits some novel designs and models.
From the Horticultural Society, established in 1842, I turn almost instinctively to the Archery Society, then in its ninth year of existence. It commenced its season's prize-competitions as usual on the 24th of May in honour of her Majesty’s birth-day, and continued them until September 6th. I think I have before stated that in addition to the Queen’s early patronage of the Society, her royal consort, Prince Albert, placed his name on the roll of patrons in 1840. In 1842 a silver cup, valued at ten guineas was provided as a prize to be competed for by the gentlemen members at the Grand Annual Meetings on the 17th of August, and on the first occasion, its possession was secured by the Rev. E. Meyrick, who was followed by the Rev. J. R Roper as the second prize winner. At the sixth meeting for that year, held on the 6th of September, Miss Mackey and the Rey. J. R. Roper carried off the Society’s prizes, whilst the latter also won the circassian dagger presented by the president, the Hon, Joseph Planta. With the donor’s consent, Mr. Roper gave the said prize to the Society, to be exhibited, among other trophies, on the walls of the Archery Lodge. As usual, the Annual Grand Meeting was supplemented by a dinner and a ball at the Assembly-rooms.
The same rooms were also the scene of much gaiety on the occasion of a ball on the 20th of September, when among the company were the Borough Members and their wives - Mr. and Mrs. Planta and Mr. and Mrs. Hollond. Mr. Hart provided an excellent band on that occasion, and the playing of Mr. Laurent on the cornopean[Notes 1] - then but a recently invented instrument - was greatly admired. The comparatively thin attendance at this ball was, however, spoken of with a feeling of disappointment, the complaint being that after the liberal attendance of the St. Leonards people at the Hastings Race-ball on the previous Friday, the cordial friendliness then shown had not been reciprocated. This was no uncommon occurrence, and the "situation" has remained with but slight modifications for fifty years. The people who are connected with the St. Leonards Assembly-rooms and the newer Concert Hall - two of the handsomest rooms in the borough - can attest the fact that whilst the inhabitants of the West largely support the amusements and public ventures of the East, the people of the East do not in an equal degree support similar institutions and efforts of the West.
A new venture in journalism appeared this year by the publication of the Illustrated News. The present writer was at that time a bookseller in Norman road, and amongst several customers whom he obtained for the new paper was the late architect, Mr. Walter Inskipp who expressed great pleasure on receipt of the first copy, but was of opinion that it could not be carried on for any great length of time, in consequence of the immense outlay that would be required in the production of the engravings. Mr. Inskipp's brother James was an artist in water-colours, and could, no doubt, fairly estimate the probable expenditure in the getting-up of such a paper. It is needless to say that the opinion as to failure was falsified and that even with its many competitors at the present time and the wonderful improvements since 1842 that have been made, the Illustrated News, if not the very best, is certainly one of the best of its class.
Among the minor events of the year, was the despatch of the first coaches to meet the railway at Tunbridge Wells, thus neutralising or diverting to a large extent the anticipated traffic on the new road to Staplehurst, via Sedlecomb, Hawkhurst and Cranbrook. These coaches commenced running on the 23rd of May.
Another event was the bankruptcy of Mr. Edlin of the St. Leonards (now the Victoria) Hotel, who underwent a long examination at Brighton on the 23rd of May, such examination not being sufficiently satisfactory for him to get his discharge.
On the 30th of July, Mr. Hollond, the Liberal Member of Parliament was seriously ill, in consequence of which he paired with a Conservative for the remainder of the Session. He arrived however, at his St. Leonards residence with restored health, on the 24th of September, when Mrs. Hollond issued invitations to a ball. Mr. Hollond was a rich man, as was Mr. (now Lord) Brassey, of later years; and although both were Liberal in word and deed, they were not of that extreme type of Radicalism, which some of their supporters desired. It was this, probably, that at the time of the former's representation of the borough induced a correspondent of the Sussex Advertiser' to write thus:-
It was the fashion 12 years ago when the Reform question was agitated in the boro' for its friends to meet at stated periods to discuss the various claims by which it was conceived the cause might be most efficiently supported and exigencies more readily provided for. To this prudent but energetic cause may be fairly attributed the great advantage then achieved - a triumph as honourable to the Reformers of these towns as it was beneficial as a good example to other boroughs by displaying to them in deep and lasting colours what effect could be produced by men who had firmness and perseverance for their motive. Justly proud may those Reformers be of their youthful triumphs in having influenced the patron of the boro' to return two members to Parliament who voted for the Reform Bill, and to make nearly 300 freemen, taken from all classes of the inhabitants, even before the Reform Bill was passed. Having Pg.254 won these trophies, it would be most mortifying should Reformers now tarnish them by their luke-warmness and indifference to those patriotic principles which once cheered and invigorated their exertions!
At this time one of the so-called Reformers was Mr. William Henry Honess, who as a cabinet maker, upholsterer &c. had an establishment at 43 Marina, as well as at Hastings. He was an auctioneer, and received instruction to sell on the 1st of February, the materials of 41 Martello Tower, at Bulverhithe, consisting of oak flooring, stone coping and 600,000 bricks. Also, on the following day, the whole of the materials of West Langley Fort. The materials used in these towers were mainly supplied in 1806 by Messrs. Farncomb and Breeds, who it has been said, cleared over £20,000 by their contract. Many of the bricks were made at Bopeep, where thousands of the same article continue to be made.
Obituaries & family connection of Edward Towner and Mrs. Ann Thorp
It having been my practice hitherto to give an obituary sketch of such old inhabitants as have died concurrently with the progress of this History, it will be in keeping with that practice if I now add to the already announced deaths a few details as applying to two or three old persons who have recently passed away.
The first to be noticed is Mr. Edward Towner, whose death occurred on the 16th inst. at 40 Gensing road, originally 10 Gensing terrace. The deceased was one of 13 children of the late Thomas Towner, who with a portion of his family came from Seaford on the 29th of May, 1828 —two months after the commencement of St. Leonards town - and located himself in Duley’s cottage at the eastern end of the Rope-walk, now the site of the Queen's Hotel. The said Thomas Towner was a builder, and one of his first contracts in this neighborhood(sic) was to convert the cabinet-making workshops of Mr. W. H. Honiss (where now stands the Holy Trinity Church) into the "Blacksmith’s Arms" public-house. After that, Mr. Towner and his elder sons were engaged in the construction of property at St. Leonards, including the Assembly-rooms, the lower portion of East Ascent, the central portion of Mercatoria, and the north-west corner of Lavatoria; and as soon as the last-named houses were ready for habitation, Mr. Towner occupied one of them, and brought, the remainder of his family from Seaford. It may be mentioned, in passing, that the name of Towner - like that of Woolgar - is a very old one at Seaford, and that the work of reconstruction or conversion which Mr. Thomas Towner was entrusted with in the parish of Holy Trinity, Hastings, was for a member of that well-known and numerous family of Woolgar, of Seaford. Mr Towner continued ax a builder at St. Leonards, and his name has been mentioned in this History in connection with the first National school-house, Adelaide place, the sea-walls, &c, The elder Towner lost his wife when she was 60 years of age, she having died on the 17th of January, 1843. She was interred in the St. Leonards burial-ground, and was followed by her husband in 1846, who died on May 29th - the 18th anniversary of his removal from Seaford to Hastings. Edward Towner, the subject of the present obituary notice, at first worked with his father, but he afterwards followed the calling of a painter; and, for upwards of 40 years, was in the successive employ of Mr. Charles Neve and his son.
He was also one of the choir of St. Leonards (old) church from the time of its erection until some ten or twelve years past. He died at the age of 66, which was just his father’s age at death, and has left a widow, two sons and a daughter to lament his loss. Of his twelve brothers and sisters there are still four survivors, namely, one brother and three sisters, two of whom are over 70 years of age. It is thus shown that though the deceased was not the senior inhabitant, he was one of those who first settled in the town.
Of greater longevity but of shorter existence as an inhabitant of St. Leonards was the late Mrs. Ann Thorp, who died at Warrior-square terrace on the 19th of June, in her 85th year. She was the widow of Mr. John Thorp, who had been butler to Charles Lutwidge, Esq. of 2 Wellington square, Hastings for over thirty years, and who, after his master’s death relinquished the service - to the family’s regret - to assist his wife in a lodging-house at 20 Grand Parade. He had bespoke the offer of the house from Mr. Tree before its erection was completed, and he eventually became its purchaser. There he and his wife continued to reside until August, 1864, when Mr Thorp died, at the age of 70 years, and was interred at the Borough Cemetery. He was much respected by those who knew him for his quiet demeanour, plodding industry and obliging disposition. His only son was several years an assistant at the Victoria Library, and afterwards followed the business of a photographer. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Thorp, assisted by her niece, remained at 20 Grand parade, keeping on the same as a first-class lodging-house for some years longer; but with waxing infirmity and waning chances of success, she removed to West-hill terrace, where her energies and responsibilities seemed to hold out a promise of being, lightened. Finally, the good woman removed to Warrior-square terrace, where, as before stated, she departed this life in her 85th year. She had been a resident in St. Leonards for about 35 years.
Having mentioned that Mrs. Thorp’s husband was butler to Mr. Lutwidge at 2 Wellington square for over thirty years, the circumstance brings another association to the front, namely, that at No. 3, next door to Mr. Lutwidges’s, was a very old resident in the person of Mrs. Druce, of whom it was said that she had dealt with one milkman for a period of 43 years. This lady (Judith, relict of John Druce, Esq.) died in 1863 at the advanced age of 87, and the milkman (Mr. David Murdoch) by whom she had been satisfactorily served for so many years, has recently gone over to the silent majority. At the age of 78, and at his residence, 58 Elphinstone road (formerly 5 Franklin terrace), Mr. Murdock finished his earthly career on the 19th of June last, leaving behind him a widow and two sons, He was known and respected as a man of industrious and quiet habits, notwithstanding that he commenced his existence in anything but quiet times, A volume of local history might be written in association with the life of dairyman David Murdoch, but this is not the place for an indulgence of that sort; and the following biographic outline, with its few surroundings, will fulfil the present intention.
The father of deceased (Mr. Archibald Murdoch ) was an artilleryman, and left Scotland for India in company with the father of the late Alderman Ross, both being afterwards engaged in the storming of Seringapatam. Both were invalided home, after long servitude under Sir David Baird, and both obtained appointments at Hastings. Mr. Ross was made master-gunner of the Hastings Fort and town, and Mr. Murdoch was appointed a similar Post at Bulverhithe Tower. This was about the year 1801 and from that period until 1814, during the Napoleonic wars, they had a good many harassing duties to perform; the almost ubiquity of the French privateers in the English Channel compelling them to be continually upon the qui vive, and not unfrequently calling for a voice of warning from the mouth-pieces of the coast defences. After the Peace ratifications a reduction was made in the strength of the "establishments," and Archibald Murdock became second-gunner under Thomas Ross at Hastings. The families resided together at Government House until the said house was leased to Lady Claremont, when Mr. Ross took up his quarters, first in the gun-rooms and next in a cottage of his own adjoining, whilst Murdock and his family removed to a cottage at the western end of the Rope Walk, near to what is now the site of Carlisle parade. There it was that gunner Archibald Murdock resided until about the year 1824, when he died, and was buried in the ground of the Croft Chapel, whither his eldest son Archibald followed him in the year 1836 or '7. But it was during the family residence at Bulverhithe in 1803 or ‘4 that occurred the birth of the second son, David, the subject of this notice. When he had grown to man’s estate, both he and his younger brother James, became milkmen, and obtained their supplies from the Gensing and Pebsham dairies. In 1850 or thereabout, David hired a portion of the Brook Estate, and kept his own cows.
Here he carried on his business until about 1863, when the land was purchased by Messrs. Clement and Mills, and re-sold by them for building purposes. Mr. Murdoch then retired from active business pursuits, after disposing of his stock to Mr. Hopper. He was twice married, his first wife having preceded him to her last rest by 31 years. On a monumental stone in the cemetery of St. Mary's-in-the-Castle is the inscription "Sacred to the memory of Arabella Eliza, wife of David Murdoch, who died November 14, 1851, aged 54 years." Mr. Murdoch, in addition to his second wife and two sons, who survive him had three brothers and four sisters. Two of the latter (Rachel and Jane) preceded him in death, and two others, Alice and Mary, (Mrs. Darby and Mrs. Marchant) are in Australia. Two of his brothers (Archibald and John) also died before him, while James, his younger brother, still survives to conduct the milk trade which he commenced before the town of St. Leonards was begun.
The London and Brighton Railway (Local Associations)
At this time (1842), the London and Brighton Railway, before the company's undertaking of a branch to St. Leonards and Hastings was charged with being badly managed. At one of the half yearly meetings, Mr. Troup, of Warrior square was one who accused the Company with mis-management, but he then figured ingloriously, in consequence of not having paid up the amount of his shares. Yet, although this generally restless and fault-finding critic was the only one who dissented from an otherwise unanimous approval of the Report there must have been something wrong in the management, or the following paragraph would not have appeared in the Brighton Guardian-
In our columns, we reprint from the Railway Times a report of the half yearly meeting of the proprietors of the unfortunate London and Brighton Railway undertaking. The shareholders are now beginning to smart for the reckless conduct which throughout their career has been pursued by those who have had the management of their affairs, and show a disposition to introduce an extensive reform. The best thing that can be done will be to call in a new broom in Angel Court and sweep out the whole lot. A more melancholy aspect than the affairs of this ill-fated company present, it is difficult to imagine!
In the mismanagement - if such it was - of the London and Brighton Railway, the St. Leonards people of that period had cause to regret that two of their number (one the secretary of the Company and the other in some other capacity), felt it necessary to leave their homes and their country for some abiding place abroad, where they ultimately finished their existence.
- An instrument in the brass/bugle family - see Birmingham Conservatoire - Editor