Brett Volume 7: Chapter LXII - Hastings 1859
| 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, contemporary newspaper reporting 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.
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Volume 7 - Chapter LXII - Hastings 1859
Town Council meetings
Rainfall & Water Supply
Town Council (water supply)
Surveyor's Application to take other work
The Borough Election
"Hastings News" on the election
The new Ministry
The Mechanics' Institution – Lectures
Accidents & Fatalities
Death of Earl Waldegrave
Hoffman's Organophonic Band
Consecration of Church & Burial Ground
The Lifeboat – Maritime Casualties
The Great Eastern Steam-ship – Rifle Competition – Testimonials
Disputed Right of Way
The Climate of Fairlight
"What Influence can the Planets have?"
The Wreck of the “Royal Charter”
The Great Eastern in the Gale
The Volunteer Artillery Corps Established
Formation of the Artillery Volunteers
The Year's Retrospect 1859.
[ 107 ]
Town Council Meetings
Police Memorial. On considering a memorial from 4 sergeants and 5 policemen for an increase of pay on account of long service and the Secretarys of State's disallowance of the hitherto pay for attending at court when off duty, the Council, on the 4th of February, resolved that six constables receive an addition of 2/- (22s a week, as first class; some others as second class, 20s; and the rest, as 3rd class, 18s. per week. Councillors Vidler and Harvey thought the men were well paid, and that as there were plenty of men ready to take their place, they should be asked to resign. The advance, however was agreed to by 9 to 7.
Communication from Fishermen. At the same Council meeting, the following was received:-
(1) Resolved that it is with extreme regret that having seen that the Council have resolved to make a further encroachment on our rights and privileges by extending the parade wall, and thereby to prevent our using that part of the Stade at a time when we want more room instead of less, when the property and townage has doubled within the last 25 years.
(2). That it is the opinion of this meeting that this encroachment be resisted by every means in our power, seeing that the Corporation have taken from us, or rather robbed us of our rights of the Priory ground, and have leased and sold it, and applied the money for the use of the town.
(3). That the Town Council be requested to take away the wall lately built by them on the stade from the east end of the Battery-wall and that they put down another capstan there (as formerly) for the use of the fishermen and others, it being the best and most sheltered part for landing and packing of fish, and also near the railway office."
Ald Ross said the beach or stade never belonged to the fishermen, although they imagined that it did and that the Corporation had no power over it. The charter of Queen Elizabeth clearly granted all stonebeach to the Corporation, and not to the fishermen. The Mayor would remind the fishermen that they could not have put up groynes themselves for the protection of the stade.
A Tender (the only one) for the wall complained of by the fishermen was received at the same meeting and accepted from Mr. Grisbrook, the amount of the tender being £135. At the April meeting, the Stonebeach Committee recommended the erection of an iron railing at the east end of the East-parade adjoining the new wall and the removal of the parapet, but the former only was agreed upon.
Groynes. At the November meeting, the Stonebeach Committee having reported that during the late gales, the encroachment of the sea on the East groyne had been such as to leave only three feet of ground for the protection of Corporation property, gave rise to a conversational discussion, in which all the old objections were revived and old theories re[ 108 ]newed. Coun. Putland again advocated a permanent groyne to be gradually added to during 4 or 5 tears, so that it might protect the whole front of the town, the commencement to cost about £250. Ald. Rock also favoured the plan, such having previously fallen through he through(sic), he thought, in consequence of the disagreement of the "stone-groyne men" and the "wooden-groyne men." He thought the structure should be of both materials. Coun. Winter's opinion was that the whole frontage of the town depended upon that groyne. The question was settled at the December meeting by a resolution to heighten the said east (or Rock-a-Nore) groyne four feet by means of timbers braced to the piles along the level portion and new piles and timbers elevated 7 feet above the existing level, at an estimated cost of £150.
Site for a Fishmarket. The Stone-beach Committee reported that as soon as the sea-wall was completed (see page 107) to the Custom-house (now the Lifeboat house), the vacant space between the wall and the roadway would be a convenient spot for a fishmarket to be built, whereupon the Clerk read a long memorial from 17 occupiers of lodging-houses at East Parade and 31 owners of property in George street, Pelham place and Marine parade, praying the Council to desist from carrying out such a suggestion to the detriment of that part of the town. Councillor Bromley sarcastically enquired if any of the memorialists lived at Bopeep? the fears expressed were the most groundless he had ever heard of. Such a market was the best thing that could be devised, and he should support it. Ald. Rock and Ald. Ross would support the scheme, the latter remarking that it appeared strange that they should have two antagonistic memorialists - the fishermen against building the wall, and the occupiers of houses against the erection of a fishmarket. [These gentlemen omitted to state that the fishing-boats and rope-shops were being more and more pushed along under the East Cliff, and that the proposed fishmarket, though an improvement in itself, would be nearer to the lodging-houses, and would to some extent take away from them a view of the sea. Also its considerable distance from the landing of fish would be an inconvenience to many persons employed in the fishery]. Coun. John Reeves objected to the proposed site, remarking that in no other town was there a fishmarket so close to the resort of visitors. Coun. Putland regretted the remarks against the memorialists, there being no other means for the townspeople expressing their opinion. He, himself, thought the market should be further east. The recommendation was negatived by ten to seven. Coun. Bromley, being determined if possible, to carry his point, moved that the Surveyor prepare plans for the proposed market. This was also negatived by the same disparity. The plan, however, was afterwards prepared by the Surveyor (Mr. Laing) at an estimated cost of £300; and in discussing it on Jun. 3rd, Coun. Bromley [ 109 ]declared it would be a disgrace to the town to erect a building at less than double the estimated cost. Coun. Winter believed it would cost nearer a thousand than either £300 or £600. Coun. Picknell thought they ought to get a building for a great deal less than £300; and Coun. Vidler said they were going to spend £300 upon a thing that wouldn't be worth £20. The motion for the £300 market was carried by 10 to 3. [What a change from a previous decision, and what a display of intelligence in a ruling body!] At the next meeting, the Committee reported that they had adopted Mr. Laing's plan for the new fishmarket on the site agreed upon at the last meeting, to be built with cast-iron columns and wood and slate roof. It would contain seven stalls, each with a frontage of 10 1/2 feet, and the whole to be of an octagon shape. Coun. Tree moved the reception and adoption of the report, and Coun. Putland moved that the subject be deferred or referred back to the Committee, and argued at some length against the eligibility of the site, and the haste that was then being evinced. Ald. Clement remarked that they had been talking and planning, and meeting and measuring for the past five years, and he thought the best thing now to be done was to have a small market first, and if that paid, could afterwards have a larger one. Coun. Vidler would vote for the present plan because it was the cheapest, but he would rather not have any. Coun. Picknell was in favour of delay. Ald. Ross was sick of the matter, and hoped it would now be done with. Eleven voted for receiving the report, and six against. The plan was consequently adopted. But even this did not settle the matter, the site of the fishmarket being afterwards changed from the one in front of the Cutter inn to one where the said market now exists, in front of the Queens Head Inn.
The Town Clock - At the meeting on February 4th, Councillor Duke complained of the Road Committee's action in revoking the decision of the Council with respect to the repairs and illumination of the town clock. Notice had been issued for tenders, and only one had been received - that of Mr. Sellman, of St. Leonards, the amount being £57. But the Committee had determined not to accept it. He (Coun. Duke would, however, move the acceptance of the said tender. Thereupon, a good deal of what may be called wrangling ensued, in which not a little of the old spirit of "East and West" endured. One side quoted the opinion of some of the watchmakers that the works were worn out, and that no substantial repairs could be effected. The other side contended that the specification provided for all new parts that were required. Coun. Vidler stated that he had been to some of the watchmakers on the matter, which drew forth a cutting reproof from Coun. Harvey. Coun. Winter charged the Committee with attempting to get over the matter by a side wind. Mr. Sell[ 110 ]man's tender was accepted, and the work was satisfactorily executed as shown by the rhymed effusions on page 102.Waldegrave Thanks. At the Council meeting on Nov. 4th, the following letter was read:
"Hastings, 3rd of November, 1859
My dear Mr. Mayor.
I am desired by the Countess of Waldegrave to express to you in her name and in that of the other members of my father's family, the sincere gratification which they have derived from the testimony borne to his worth by the spontaneous attendance of yourself and the Town Council at his funeral yesterday. My father was a man who, from his youth up, had been wholly bent on doing his duty in that state of life, to which it pleased God to call him. Whether at sea or on shore, he was always the upright, unflinching, untiring servant of his fellow men, his Sovereign and his Saviour. Nor did the truly honourable ambition to be useful in his generation forsake him when in 1846, he found a resting-place for his declining years within the precincts of your borough. He continued to work for others until the failure of his health, consequent upon that bereavement in which the authorities and other inhabitants of Hastings so largely, shared and so deeply sympathised - the loss of my gallant brother, Viscount Chewton laid him permanently aside from all active duty. The full appreciation of his character and services on your part, my dear Mr. Mayor, and on that of the Town Council and of his brother - County Magistrates, will ever be remembered with grateful though melancholy satisfaction by his widow and his surviving children. May I request you, my dear Mr. Mayor, to communicate the contents of this letter to the Town Council and to those Borough and County Magistrates who were present yesterday.
And believe me to be your very faithful servant"
Coun. Winter proposed that the communication be entered on the minutes as a document worthy of permanent preservation. Ald. Rock in seconding the proposition, said it would show that the Council had paid due respect to the late noble peer.
inspection of Gas Meters. At the same November meeting it was resolved to adopt the Act for the Inspection of gas meters, as in the case of weights and measures. Coun. Putland, who made the motion, said he did so with pleasure because he had always thought it a one-sided affair for gas companies to have all the power.
Borough and District Rates. At the Council meeting on March 11th, a borough-rate of 4d. was agreed to, Coun. Vidler, the professed economist, strongly objecting to Coun. Bromley's desire for a threepenny rate. At the July meeting a general district rate at 7d. was also passed. Coun. Putland argued that as a rule, a sixpenny [ 111 ]rate ought to be sufficient for sch a growing town, with its increased assessments. The rate under the Hastings (Commissioners') Improvement Act, at 3d. was also passed. A (illegible text) rate under the same Act was agreed to at the December meeting.
The Burial Board and Cemetery. At the February meeting the Burial Board resolved to charge 5/- a year for keeping up planted graves. At the July meeting several bills recommended to be paid by the Burial Board, and also the interest de on bonds were ordered for payment. At the meeting on the 1st of April, an inspection of the Cemetery having been suggested, Coun. Vidler hoped a good tea would be provided on the occasion. Coun. Putland would rather it should be deferred for a month, as he was about to be engaged to form a new road thither which would save a mile of ground. It would not matter, said Vidler, for if it shortened the road, it would not shorten the price. See opposite.
All Saints Burial Ground. The Town Council at their meeting on June 3rd, resolved that the borough seal be attached to a petition to the Secretary of State to allow burials in the quarter acre of unoccupied space of All Saints, instead of that comparatively new part being closed. At the meeting on Oct. 7th, Coun. Harvey thanked the Council for affixing the Corporation seal to the petition, on behalf of the parishioners of All Saints, and announced that the Secretary of State had allowed the burial ground to remain unclosed until Aug. 1st, 1866.
Taking Beach. At the April meeting, Mrs. Bridget Barton having been warned that she would be prosecuted for tresspass(sic) if she continued to take beach without leave, applied for permission to do so at a charge of 2d. per load. Most of the members condemned the existing charge of 1/- per cart-load and 2/6 per wagon-load as being excessive, and argued that inhabitants ought to be at liberty to take the beach free within a certain distance. Mrs. Barton and her son were afterwards sued by the Corporation at the County Court for tresspass(sic) and damages £2. Mr. Langham appeared for the plaintiffs, and while opening the case, said he had in court the charter granted by Queen Elizabeth by which the whole of the stonebeach was expressly granted to the Corporation. The judge asked the defendants why they had not employed a solicitor to defend them? The reply was, they had thought it to be necessary, and that they had no proof that the Council had authority to charge for the beach. They were reminded by the judge that they had committed themselves by asking for leave and offering to pay 2d. per load. Mrs. Barton said she did that to prevent the Pierwarden's continued annoyance. His Honour again exressed his opinion that in so important a question it was a great pity the defendants had not employed some professional man. The question was whether they had wilfully tresspassed(sic) on the property of the Corporation. He must find [ 112 ]a verdict for 20s. damages, and costs of witnesses allowed.
Rock-a-Nore Road. The Clerk reported to the Council at their October monthly meeting that although the Rock-a-Nore road belonged to the Council it had never been dedicated.
Other Roads. At the same meeting, the Roads Committee recommended the non-purchase of land at the east end of Lavatoria square (now a part of Norman road at £300 offered by Messrs. Parks and Job, as executors of Mr. Wellsted, and being of opinion that the land should not be built upon, also recommended that proceedings be taken under the 75th section of the Local Government Act or under the Land Clauses Consolidation Act. The recommendation was adopted, but not acted upon, as a compromise (as shewn in the preceding chapter) having been effected, and the town thus saved - judging from the York Hotel suit and other similar proceedings - from heavy legal awards and costs. Mount-Pleasant Road, though not so named at the time was also brought under the notice of the Council, Mr. Wyatt having offered to give up his interest in the road leading from the Ore Lane (now Elphinstone road) past his house to the "Fighting Cocks" (Halton), on condition that the Board make the roadway 40 feet wide, alter the line of fence and make a roadway from the end of St. Mary's terrace to form a junction with the same road. Ald. Clement said he had been informed that the adjoining land was in the hands of Mr. Marsh to be sold in building-plots, and he did not see why the Board should make roads for Mr. Wyatt's advantage. Coun. Winter did not consider the road as belonging to Mr. Wyatt. The Mayor (W. Ginner) thought the offer was worthy of some attention; and Coun. Putland thought some advantage might be derived from a further consideration of the offer; whereupon Coun. Harvey moved that a committee of the whole house be formed for further discussion. At a previous meeting it was ordered that a new box-gate be placed at the end of Mr. Wyatt's garden wall, and another adjoining some cottages; also that Mr. Wyatt in future be charged coal duty. At a later meeting (Dec. 2nd), Mr. Wyatt, in the interim having restricted the making of the road to 35 feet, and imposed other conditions, it was resolved "That the Board are of the opinion they cannot legally expend the public money in forming a new road from St. Mary's terrace, and that as Mr. Wyatt declines to give up the road past his house unless the Board make such new road, the offer made by him cannot be entertained. But the Board will agree, should Mr. Wyatt make the new road himself, to take the existing road from Ore Lane to Priory road in its present state, and also make and dedicate the proposed road from St. Mary's terrace when the same is formed, and put it in a proper state of repair." This, as judged from after events and the present populous and important character of that district, was a wise decision. Mr. Wyatt having