Brett Volume 7: Chapter LXI - St. Leonards 1859

From Historical Hastings


Transcriber’s note

Volume 7 - Chapter LXI - St. Leonards 1859

The St.Leonards Commissioners
Vestry meetings
St.Leonards Mechanics' Institution
Archery meetings
Celestial & Atmospheric Phenomena
Remarkable Atmospheric changes
Coast defences
Accidents etc.,
Dr. Cumming's Lecture
The Old Town Clock
Miscellaneous Events
Imperial Politics.

[ 85 ]

The St. Leonards Commissioners[edit]

At the Commissioners’ meeting of March 25th, the committee reported that the fire-engine had been exercised and found to be in good order. It was suggested that the subject of the Fire Brigade be taken into consideration at every quarterly meeting.

Mitchell’s tender for ashes, £18, was again accepted.

Half a year’s interest, £272, less income tax, had been paid to the Royal Exchange Corporation.

Bills to be paid were £22 7s. for beaching to Hughes and Hunter, and £39 7s. 8d. for work to drains &c. by the same firm.

Fifty pounds to be paid to Mr. Decimus Burton, balance of cost of drain proposed to be put in by him, the total cost being £60.16s., and £10.2s.8d having been paid by the late Dr. Harwood, as per minutes of Sept. 30th,1850.

Brick footpath at back of 57 to 64 Marina to be repaired, and a new iron drain pipe at a cost of £16, to be put down opposite to 57 Marina.

York-stone pavement to be put down before No. 1 Mercatoria, and the owner to pay half the expense.

The out-let pipe, three feet west of the western extremity of the sea-wall to be repaired, the said pipe having been damaged by the “Perseverence” sloop on the 26th of February, and notice to be given to ship-owners of the existence of such pipe.

A Liberal Offer from Mr. Decimus Burton at the meeting on June 28th was to the effect that as the road and footpath on Maze Hill, leading to the North Lodge was in a bad state, he would contribute 50 guineas towards the expense of stoning the road and re-graveling the footpath. The offer was accepted, and a vote of thanks passed to Mr. Burton for so liberal an offer.

On account of Mr. Painter’s long service and advanced age, it was recommended that someone be appointed to assist him in his now increased duties. It was therefore resolved that Mr. Joseph Yarroll be appointed assistant-collector, and that Mr. Painter allow £10 per annum out of his commission; also that Yarroll enter into a bond of £200 and find four securities of £50 each. The said securities were offered by H.M. Wagner, Esq., Arthur Ogle, Esq., Mr. Newton Parks and W.B. Young.

Other Recommendations of the Committee were adopted as follows: That the rating of 1, St. Clement's Place be reduced from £30 to £25; that the salt-water well be lowered 5 feet and pump lengthened to correspond; that tradesmens trucks and baskets be removed from the front of South Colonnade; that the sea-wall be repaired at the cost of £5; that the [ 86 ]pavement near the East Archway be relaid; that brick pavement east of 48 Marina be repaired; that Mr. Young write to the Local Board of Health, stating that the expense incurred in laying down the sewer to Quarry-hill Road to meet the requirement of the Local Board in the drainage of property out of the Commissioners’ district amounted to £23.15s., and that the Commissioners would allow the Local Board to make use of the sewer on paying two-thirds of the expense and the Commissioners’ annual rate; that Mr. Gant’s offer be accepted to complete the map of St. Leonards for £7, in addition to making a tracing of the whole previously arranged for, altogether £10.

Withdrawal of Letter. Mr. Young reported that he had had an interview with the Clerk of the Local Board since his letter was sent, and was authorised to withdraw the letter.

At the September meeting the business transacted was to pay Mr. Willard £58 for ironmongery, and Hughes and Hunter £83 for paving at the Library and at Maze Hill; to pay £149.12s.6d. for one year’s gas; to order 100 yards of stone for Maze-hill road; and to order the parapet wall at Mount Pleasant to be reduced at an expense of £7.

Commissioners present at the December meeting were Sir Woodbine Parish, A. Burton, Esq., J.H. Cancellor, Esq., G.H.M. Wagner, Esq., Thos. Hunt, Esq., Arthur Burton, Esq. and Mr. John Carey.

Gully gratings were ordered to be put in by the owners of land about the Archery Ground to prevent water running from the local Board district into the town. Mr. A. Burton promised to put one down on his part of the ground, and Mr. Laing also promised to put one down on behalf of the local Board of Health.

Mr. Young’s salary was to be increased to £50 per. an., his services for the past 8 years having been so liberally and faithfully rendered for £30.

John Gammon was appointed parade-keeper in place of Henry Phillips, who was disabled by illness.

The half-yearly Improvement rate at a shilling, was ordered to be levied, as usual.

No more boulders to be taken from the sea-front by Mr. Rodda, not by anyone else, except by payment of 2/6d per waggon-load and 1s. per cart-load.

Sussex House, kept by Ballard, to be assessed at £180, and Sussex Place, also tenanted by Ballard, to be rated at £40.

Weststowe House Stables to be rated at £20 until the road had been taken and properly made by the Commissioners.

Dr. Toulmin’s house, 10 Undercliff, to be rated at £45.

Garden Ground attached to Upland Villas, nos. 1 to 5, to be rated at £4 each, and no. 6 at £10. Chas. Hall and Hy. French’s houses (19 and 23 East Ascent) to be assessed at £35 each. Waterworks Bill. The Clerk reported that according to the opinion of the Commissioners expressed at the meeting on the 5th of December he had returned “Dissentient” to the notice served on him by the promoters of a Bill in Parliament for taking powers within the St. Leonards Commissioners’ jurisdiction for the purpose of water works, and he now produced a printed copy of the Act by the promoters, by which it appeared that the parties named as constituting the company were John Banks, John Bishop, Charles Clark, Walter Pell Errington and George Medhurst. It was resolved that the Commissioners do ratify such return of “Dissent” and that Sir Woodbine Parish, Mr. Burton, Mr. Hunt, Mr. Cancellor and Mr. Carey be appointed a committee to recommend to the Commissioners what steps and when to take in reference to the proposed Bill, and that the Clerk be authorised to communicate with a Parliamentary Agent, and to instruct such agent to report from time to time the progress of the Bill, and advise with such agent thereon.

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Vestry Meetings – St. Leonards parish At the meeting of the 29th of March, the overseers nominated were John Peerless, William Hatchman, Emile Grosslob and John Starkie. The Assistant-overseer was William Payne. The Vestry Clerk was John Phillips. The assessors for the Boro’ part were Joseph Yarroll and John Carey; and for the County part, Richard Lamb and John Eldridge. The Surveyors of Highways were William Draper and William Payne. Resolved that the tender of John and Chas. Laing be accepted to map the parish at 4d. per acre, inbounds, and 5d., outbounds; and a duplicate of the maps at 2d. per acre. Eleven parishioners attended the meeting. A sixpenny rate for the Boro’ part was figured at the vestry meeting on April 9th, as the only business. A poor-rate for the whole parish at 6d., and a highway rate at 3d. was agreed upon at the October meeting. It was also Resolved that the surveyors take the West-hill extension under their management.

St. Mary Magdalen parish A poor-rate at 6d. was the only business transacted at the meeting of January 20th, by the two overseers (Messrs. John Henwood and J.B. Brett) and seven other persons. The meeting was held at the Warriors’ Gate inn, J.H. Job being chairman. The Vestry meeting on March 25th was held at the Albert Tavern, with Jos. Boston as chairman. The persons named for overseers were John Howell, Chas. Hollebone, Geo. Cuthbert, Wm Callaway and Robt. Hempsted. The assessors for property and income were J Yarroll and C. N. Levett. The Vestry clerk was W.P. Beecham, jun. A poor-rate at 6d.was agreed to at the meeting held at the Norman hotel on Aug. 11th, the parishioners present being the overseers (John Howell and Chas. Hollebone) and 5 other persons.

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The Mechanics’ Institution At the February quarterly meeting the committee was able to show a more encouraging report, there being 30 additional members, thus bringing the number up to 139. The cash balance due to the Treasurer was about the same, but the outstanding liabilities had been reduced from £15 to about £11. A reading had been given by the Rev. J. A. Hatchard, producing a profit of 47s/6, and a musical entertainment by Messrs. John Skinner, F. Thomson, Baldwin and others, yielding profit of £3 10s. 6d. The Rev. J. H. Blake had delivered a lecture on “Scenes in Foreign Lands” and Mr. Banks had delivered one on Electricity. At the May quarterly meeting the Report showed the Institution to be much the same, both in the number of members and the financial position. The Rev. J.A Hatchland had presented 24 volumes of valuable books, and J. Rock, jun. had presented Mr. Laing’s new map of the borough. The following lectures had also been gratuitously delivered: “Printed Books” by the Rev. W.T. Marsh; “The Rise and Progress of the British Navy” by Mr. Cheal; the “Literary History of the Bible” by the Rev. J. H. Blake; and “Public Speaking” by J. Inwards, Esq. The August General meeting showed the financial condition to be pretty much the same as at the preceding meeting, notwithstanding a diminished number of members, which was always the case during the summer. The number fewer in this instance was 13. At the Annual meeting on the 24th of November, the committee reported an increase of 6 members and a balance due to the Treasurer of £16 10s. After a period of two years, the annual soiree had been renewed, but the weather on that occasion was so extremely boisterous and rainy, that although about 150 persons were present, many others were thus prevented, and there was a loss of £2 13s.9d. To make good this loss, however, G. Scrivens, Esq. of Hastings gave a guinea, and Messrs. J.S. Cooper and R. Coleman of St. Leonards, contributed £1 each. In consequence of Mr. Nabbs relinquishing the charge of the premises, the committee had decided to let the upper part of the house, the rent of which, with some contemplated curtailment of expenses, it was thought would meet the mortgage interest of £6 per quarter. The Institution would retain the whole of the ground floor, a portion of which would serve for committees and classes, by means of folding doors. Alfred Burton, Esq., was re-elected president for the following year, and the vice-presidents elected were the Rev. A. Hatchard, G.H.M. Wagner, Esq., H. Selmes, Esq., J. Rock, jun., Esq., and Messrs. S. Putland, W.G. Stoneman, R.F. Davis, B. Bickle and W. Hatchman. Mr. T. B. Brett was re-elected treasurer. Mr. S. Putland, jun. and Mr J. Davis were elected secretaries; and Messrs. Gibson and Hatchman auditors.

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Archery Meetings The first meeting of the season was held on Her Majesty’s birthday anniversary and in the proverbial Queen’s weather. It was the 27th year of the Society, and the President, P.F. Robertson, Esq., presented some valuable prizes. The winners were Mdelle D. Szeliski, Mr. Norris and the Rev. W. Parish. At the second meeting prizes were awarded to Miss Brown and Mr. George Gipps. The date was June 25th. The Grand Annual Meeting, on the 17th August, was attended by about 500 persons. The competitors who secured prizes were Miss Bramley, Dr. Drozier, Miss Bartleet, Miss Trower, Mr. Burrard, Miss H. Willan and Mr. Maitland. At the meeting on Sept. 3rd, prizes were won by Miss Ellen Macgregor, Dr. Drozier, Miss Trower, Mr. Norris and Miss Wood. A bye meeting was held on the 10th of Sept., to shoot for prizes presented by Claude Norris, Esq. The winners were Miss Brown, Miss Parish and Miss Julia Brown. The last meeting of the season took place on the 1st of October, when prizes were carried off by Miss Brown, Mr. Norris, Miss Pennethorne and Miss Julia Brown.

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Horticultural Society The first exhibition of the year was held in the Subscription Garden, kindly lent, as usual, by Mr. Burton. Kluckner’s Band was in attendance, but the show was not considered to be quite on an average of excellence. The date was June 16th.

Celestial and Atmospheric Phenomena An auroral display was witnesses at about midnight of February 23rd, by several persons at Hastings, St. Leonards, Pevensey and other places. The position in the firmament was north-west. A Magnificent Aurora was observed on the 21st of April, at from 8.30 till a little after 9 p.m. It extended from N.E. to N.W. At the lower part appeared the crown of a white arch, from which shot upwards bright rays of red and yellow, intermingled with streaks of white. The changes were very rapid and almost dazzling. By 10 o’clock all traces of it were lost; but another display occurred a few evenings later, of a less brilliant character. Another Curious Phenomenon. On the morning of the 19th of April, Mr. Edward Holt observed at 20 minutes past seven an illuminated column in the north-east heavens, of an upright form and advancing towards the sun. At half past seven it had reached the centre of the solar orb, the upper end being above and the lower end below. It was then due east and presented the appearance of a shepherd’s crook. After passing the sun it divided, and took a south-eastern direction, increasing in size, until forming a double curved line, it disappeared at a quarter to eight. Mr. Holt called the attention of several persons to this phenomenon, who said they had never seen anything like it before. Remarkable Atmospheric Changes and disastrous results. For several days prior to the 28th of October the daily press teemed with notices of the extremely rapid changes in the barometer and thermometer, and the remarkably immediate succession of frost, snow, hail, rain, lightning and thunder. Our own atmospheric variations exhibited quite as diversified circumstances as any observed elsewhere. We had, within three days, the same succession of frost, lightning, thunder, rain, hail and snow, a waterspout and a whirlwind, more snow and rain, and a hurricane in rapid succession. The first marked change in the weather was noticed on Friday morning, Oct. 21st, when a cold, nipping north wind prevailed, and the thermometer during the night on Fairlight Down registered 24 degs (8 degrees of frost), and in the morning stood at 28 degrees from the maximum of the preceding morning. The day was beautifully bright, but on Saturday morning, with a change of wind, with a hoar and hard frost. Another bright day followed, succeeded by a thunderstorm of three hours’ duration. On Saturday night, some of the Hastings fishing-boats were in a position of extreme danger, as being in close proximity of a large water-spout. Sunday morning came with pelting showers of rain and snow, the latter accumulating in a thick layer during the afternoon. Monday morning brought another rime frost, followed by heavy rain, hail and snow, and, at 3 p.m., a whirlwind which, at Caroline Place and Denmark Place, scattered some pleasure skiffs in different directions, one of them being blown over a capstan. The boats belonging to Richard Nash, Henry Curtis, George Dunn and others, were all more or less damaged. The wind also took up a large pool of water on the sands and carried it completely away. Lightning and thunder occurred again in the afternoon, and the wind twice boxed the compass. It was said that no such extraordinary vagaries had been witnessed since 1836. The gale on Tuesday night increased from the S.E. to hurricane strength, and its equal, it was thought, had not been experienced for at least 17 years. The sea in all directions was in a seething commotion. With the flow of the tide the water rolled in with irresistible force, and some time before high-water, the waves dashed over the parades, beach-embankments and every other barrier. The western ends of Pelham street and Harold-place, were submerged after ten o’clock, the water reaching within twenty feet the roadway at York Buildings. The Queen’s Hotel works were also inundated, and for three hours the houses at Caroline place, Beach Cottages, Denmark place and East parade were unapproachable. George street and West street were flooded by the water pouring through the several inlets from the front, and an indescribably grant sight presented itself in the mountainous waves which fell against and upon the whole range of the parade walls from the western end of St. Leonards to the East parade at Hastings. Any personal approach thereto was extremely dangerous, the shingle and pieces of rock conveyed by the waves bidding defiance to such an attempt. On some parts of the parades and roads the beach accumulated to a height of two or three feet. The basements of the West-Marina houses were flooded, and at the Colonnade one or two supper tables were cleared of their contents. At the eastern end of the old town there was great excitement and bustle in getting the fishing-boats to the highest point possible from the sea, whilst gangs of labourers were engaged in removing every portable article to places of safety. A deplorable state of ruin presented itself on Wednesday morning. Boats had been blown over and stove in, the works for the new drain at East parade had been much damaged, the parade walls at Stratford-place and Eversfield-place were broken down, hoardings and fences blown over, and chimney-stacks displaced. The unsightly hoarding at the Convent was levelled to the ground, and the Ecclesbourne Coastguard station was no longer tenantable. The Pett Levels were inundated, and the families at 36 Martello Tower had to be taken away in carts. The sluice at Bopeep was also overrun, the embankment leading to 39 Tower broken down, and communication cut off. Also at Bopeep, the family living in a little cottage on the land side of the haven had to be taken off by means of a boat, and a loss sustained by the drowning of their pigs. Two vessels were wrecked eastward of Rye, and somewhere near Pevensey, the sea flooded the sluice stream in such a manner as to break down about 300 yards of the South-coast railway. But the greatest calamity of that memorable gale was the wreck of the Royal Charter at Bangor and the loss of more than 400 persons. A severe Gale and High-tide also visited Hastings and St. Leonards on the 23rd of January of the same year. It occurred, as many others have done on a Sunday. Many persons were blown down at St. Leonards, whilst at Hastings, the streets in the vicinity of East parade and the Fishmarket were impassable. Fishing-boats and ferry-boats were drawn up into the pathways and inlets, and the Jane, a dandy-rigged vessel, belonging to the Messrs. Kent of Hastings, was driven ashore at Romney. Other Maritime Casualties. Another of the Messrs. Kent’s vessels – a collier, named the “William”, having been detained several days by adverse winds, collided, on the 4th of February with the “Rock Scorpion” off St. Leonards, breaking her jibboom and tearing her mainsail. The Peseverence, also a collier, while getting off at St. Leonards, after discharging her cargo, broke her hawser, and was driven broadside onto the beach, but sustained comparatively slight damage. This was on the 30th of January, just a week after the severe gale. Four Men Drowned. On the 17th of January, five men having been sent off from the coastguard station at Pevensey with condemned stores to the tender Active, returned for the shore in broken water, and were drowned through the capsizing of the boat, all except one, who was heroically saved with great difficulty by Lieut. Mansel, who stripped and waded a quarter of a mile in the surf. The bodies of three of the men were afterwards recovered, and were interred in the churchyard at Little Common. The remains of the fourth man, some weeks later, were found by a shrimper at Hastings. The name of the unfortunate man was William Brickell and, curious to say he was born at the Hastings Coastguard station opposite to where the body was found, his father at the time of the accident being chief-boatman at the Bridport station in Dorsetshire. The Perseverence was another vessel which got stranded in St. Leonards in the same manner as the one above. This was a vessel belonging to the Messrs. Hoad, of Rye, and on the 26th of March, after discharging 50 tons of coal at the West Marina for Mr. John Austin, the wind freshened, and after heaving off the vessel, the hawser snapped, as in the previous case, and the rudder got unshipped. The sloop was then carried broadside on to the beach, and her arboard side broke away. About ten tons of coal still left in the hold washed along the beach. The crew were saved, but not their clothes. Coast Defences Great Activity was going on in the month of March in the mounting of 68 pounder guns, weighing 96 cwt. on the Martello Towers between St. Leonards and Galley Hill, and between Bexhill and Pevensey. Preliminary official enquiries were also being made in the matter of erecting a battery at St. Leonards, and one also on the lower hill at the back of Government House, the latter building being the site of a battery that existed in the 18th century. Sixty-eight Pounders, 27 in number, were conveyed by rail from Woolwich arsenal during the first week in March to Eastbourne, and 20 of the same calibre, with tackle and stores, to Newhaven. Shot and Shell, with other munitions of war, made up a heavy train in the first week in May, from Woolwich to Bopeep and Bulverhithe for defence of the coast. At a later date, detachments of garrison artillery were sent down to man the Towers from Dover to Hastings.

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Accidents and Fatalities A Coroner’s Inquest was held at the Infirmary on the 18th April on the body of Peter Rowland, a carter, who had been knocked down and run over in the London road by a runaway horse and cart, belonging to Mr. Edmund Strickland, and driven by his nephew, Samuel Waghorne, butcher, of Norman Road – Verdict “Accidental”. John Stephen Butler, a boy of 13, the son of a flyman, on the 19th of March, rode a horse sharply round the Eversfield corner into Warrior Square, when the horse slipped and the boy was thrown down, causing concussion of the brain, from which he died. (Hastings accidents are noticed in next chapter).

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Child Murders On the 1st of March, a well-dressed male child was the subject of a coroner’s inquest. It had been found by Edward Kenward, a labourer, in a well at 7 Cross street. Dr. A. H. Marks, who made a post-mortem examination, believed the child was about 3 months old, that it had been well clothed and fed, and that it had lain in the water ten or more days. The house was untenanted, and there was no trace of the murderer, although £50 was offered by the Secretary of State for any information that would lead to conviction. Another Inquest was held on the 28th of March, the subject in this case being also a male child, newly born, and discovered in a basket under a hedge in Deudney’s field by two boys who were searching for birds’ nests. A post-mortem by Mr. A. J. Wilson showed that the child was a full-grown infant, with the mark of a ligature round the neck. In this case also a verdict of murder by some person unknown was recorded, and £50 was offered by Government, but without result. There were reasons for supposing that both crimes had been committed by strangers.

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Lecture on the Apocalypse On the afternoon of the 16th of November, the Rev. Dr. Cumming delivered in the St. Leonards Assemby Room his promised lecture on the Apocalypse. As in his first lecture, reported in the St. Leonards Gazette, the room was filled to overflowing, one of the side- rooms, as well as the orchestra being put into requisition to accommodate such as were not able to obtain seats in the large room. The chair was occupied by Charles H. Frewen, Esq., who commenced the proceedings with a few introductory remarks. Dr. Cumming commenced his address with an allusion to some misrepresentations of the press touched upon in his previous lecture. These stated that he had predicted the end of the world in 1867, a statement which he said was not true. He believed, however, that great changes were at hand, and that the day would come when there would be read in the Times newspaper the startling phenomenon of the assembling of the Jews in Jerusalem. He believed also that the end of the Papacy was drawing nigh. The Pope was a good old bachelor, but his temporal and spiritual power was rapidly declining, and his days were numbered. Howsoever people might sneer and scoff at the subject, and whatsoever may be said as to the time and the end of the present dispensation, the lecturer contended that his duties to his God, to his country and to his family were not to be determined by these considerations. Whatever duties God had designed for him, those he would endeavour to fulfil, even were it the sweeping of a crossing. The reverend lecturer then proceeded to explain the meaning of the word Apocalypse, intimating to his audience that they must pardon him if for his purpose of diffusing information he assumed them to be unacquainted with its interpretation. It was a word, he observed often confounded with the word Apochrypha – a word of similar sound, but of the totally different meaning. The word apocalypse meant to make known what was not clear – a revelation – a something made manifest or revealed. It was plain that the last book, the revelation as it was called, meant something that instead of being inscrutable and that no man could penetrate, must be a revelation of that which was hidden, and that therefore possibly could be understood. It would be an unpardonable thing if he (the lecturer) were to find fault with another church – a church whose bishops were chosen from the best of all its ministers, yet he did regret that they had no lessons from the Apocalypse. The very preface of the book of Revelation invited them to read it, and he thought as a revelation it should not be shut out of the New Testament, which was the peoples’ book, but to be read as inspired by the Spirit of God. First of all, they read that John was banished to be isle of Patmos; and it was in his prison at Patmos that he saw those brilliant scenes and visions which were recorded for our advantage. The first of the Apocalypse was an address to the seven churches; and he did not know of anything more instructive than the lessons contained in that address – comforting one, warning another, strengthening a third, animating a fourth, each receiving a lesson appropriate to the circumstances in which the churches were placed, and having a more catholic bearing to the church in all ages. But when the apostle came to speak of the future, he made use of a series of hieroglyphics; for, if the future was just as plain as the past, responsibility would cease, exertions would be given up, and man would lose the most important animating motive by which he was strengthened and sustained. But whilst God had not made the future so plain as the past, He had, nevertheless not made it entirely impenetrable; for, if the future were impenetrable there would be nothing to cheer and stimulate us to look forward to be day when suns should set and rise no more. Of the truth of the Bible he needed no conviction; that which gave us history the most ancient was too clear and intelligible to permit him to doubt of its truth; but of that which related to the future there was not light enough given to render responsibility and effort altogether vain; and they must therefore not expect the same clearness as they would in regard to the past. There was much that was obscure – much that was difficult to understand. He would have them mark the thought how at the present time was being fulfilled the prophecy which said “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased”. The nearer they approached the culminating end the clearer would they see the things revealed. There were three classes of men – continued the lecturer – who believed in the Apocalypse; one who believed it to have been fulfilled in the days of Nero and Domitian, but of this there were very few; another, that the whole of the Apocalypse remained to be fulfilled, and that all the prophesies of that book would be crowded into the space of a few years at the close of the present dispensation; and others, like himself, who believed that a portion had been fulfilled and the remainder rapidly drawing to a consummation. This, he thought was being made clearer and clearer. It appeared to him that the Apocalypse was a prospective history written in symbols, but symbols that had keys to unlock or decipher them; and which gave us, not a perfect apprehension of all that was to transpire, but such a view as would convince us that Christ’s church was not the church of a mere nook, but a church of the wide, wide world; and that the mighty force brought to play against the battlements of the church of Christ should, at the end, fall powerless at its foundation – that Christ should be exalted King of kings and Lord of lords. [Applause]. The reverend lecturer then explained these symbols, 21 in number, as containing the whole prospective history of that which was to take place from John’s time until the new Jerusalem should come like the bride adorned for the bridegroom. They were divided into three classes, the seven seals, seven symbolic trumpets, and seven vials; and, as was demonstrated by the Rev. E. Elliott, these sets of symbols drew out from one another like a telescope; that was to say, the whole of the seven trumpets were included in the last of the seven seals, and the whole of the seven vials in the last of the seven trumpets. These symbols began with the description of seven horses of different colours. The first was described as a white horse, the rider of which had a bow and a crown, and he went forth conquering and to conquer; the second was a red horse, and power was given to him that sat thereon “to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another, and there was given to him a great sword”. From 185 to 220 civil wars raged and blood flowed in all directions. The next was a black horse, and was accompanied with a voice which said “a measure of wheat for a penny and three measures of barley for a penny”, indicating a state of famine; and the facts completely justified this explanation. The pale horse, whose rider was Death, followed, and was accompanied by Hell, which last word, he need not tell them, did not always mean a place of torment, but Hades, or, according to the Saxon term, a hole or grave. And power was given to them to kill the fourth part of the earth with sword and hunger. This described a state of plague, super added to the other calamities; and Mr. Elliott had shown with irresistible force by referring to an historian not prejudiced in favour of Christianity, but an infidel – Gibbon, that most wicked and unsanctified historian, that the facts answered to those symbols. The lecturer asked his hearers to read this historian and judge of these facts for themselves. The infidel writer thus unconsciously and unsuspectingly added his testimony to the truth of those prophesies in which he did not believe. After the seven seals there were the seven trumpets, which contained the prospective history of that total destruction and desolation of the Roman power. The study of these prophecies with the facts as recorded by history was most interesting and instructive and showed again how unconsciously the historian added his testimony to the fact that God’s word was truth. When Constantine embraced Christianity, its followers had no longer to remain in the dens and caves of the earth, and its ministers were no longer persecuted men. It at once leaped into the sunshine of royal favour. Its worship was conducted in the basilikas, beautiful churches and gorgeous cathedrals, and its ministers were raised to the dignity of princes. But the idolatry became so fearful that it was not wonderful that judgement came upon them. The lecturer said it might be his Scottish ignorance, but he had always had an impression that a church required no adornment with pictures and images. The only pictures he would place on the walls were texts of Scripture, and the only image he would have was the Word of God. He had shown in his former lecture the high probability that the first vial began to be poured out in 1792 or 1793, when the beast, the little horn came under the judgement of God – when the system that had so long been dominant and unopposed came to be gradually consumed, previous to its utter destruction at the advent of our blessed Lord. If they would read the account of the outpourings of the seven vials in the 16th chapter of the Apocalypse, and then the history of Allison, whose style, though not so brilliant as that of Macaulay (who sometimes sacrificed history to brilliant antitheses), nevertheless presented a striking and truthful panorama of events before them, they would see that in the narrative of events which had taken place since 1791, there was a striking account of the effects produced by each vial as it was poured out. They would feel as they were reading Allison that they were reading a fulfilment, exact and full, of each prediction and each symbol until they came down to those that were now within their own experience. They must recollect that each vial ran into the other; one was not exhausted when the other began. Let them take the sixth vial, which was poured out on the river Euphrates. What did that mean? It was on the banks of that river that the Turkish power started on its victorious march to Constantinople. The Euphrates was then Turkey in Europe, and the drying up of that river implied that the instant that judgement was pronounced, the Crescent would begin to wane. In 1821 or 1822, just when the 2,300 days of Daniel’s prophecy concerning the sacrifice expired and the extra 30 days added to the 1260 days of his last prophecy, they found that the Turkish power was undisturbed; it was in full possession of the sovereignty, and in the greatness of its power. No ,sooner was the vial poured out in 1821, than the Greek insurrection took place, the janaseries were destroyed, and province after province broke loose from the Turkish power. At the present moment, notwithstanding the support of the powers of France and England, the existence of the Turkish power was a question of months – not of years. The Western powers in tending the sick man, only made him more sick, and the question was now to be asked, Who should have his shoes and his house when he was dead? And the enquiry would come up Who was to have Palestine? They knew that the rightful owner were the Jews; it was theirs by promise, theirs by title; and the cries they had heard “Ireland for the Irish”, “France for the French” and, still later “Italy for the Italians”, would be changed into “Palestine for the Jews”. After showing more at length the deplorable condition of the Turkish power at this time, the lecturer contended that it was clearly identical with the river Euphrates, a view which, he said was corroborated by the text “to prepare the way for the Kings of the East”, by which, according to the interpretation of the best commentators, the Jews were clearly meant. It was under this vial that the three unclean spirits, like frogs, went out of the mouth of the dragon to deceive the nations of the earth, and to gather the people together for the last great war, as the word “polemos” should be properly rendered. Could they fail to have observed that some strange spirits had gone abroad? And it was worthwhile to mark that the ancient arms of France was not a tricolour or fleur de lis, but three frogs; and Mr. Elliott assumed that the three unclean spirits were in some way connected with the French propaganda, and with the part France was to play in the last great tragedy. And what was the state of France at the present moment. Let them look at the recent conflict in Italy, and without doing him an injustice or charging him with being unfaithful to his alliance, it was easy to see that the Emperor’s great programme was much the same as that of his uncle, and that he was striving to realise the “idée Napolienne”. What were the apprehensions arising in men’s minds? It was a time of solemn warning, but he believed that England’s star was not yet set. With all her sins and all her faults, she was worthy of our love. Whenever she was attacked there would be found some worthy successors of Nelson and of Collingwood, and England would rise more than ever triumphant from the conflict. Dr. Cumming then passed in review the pouring out of the other vials as having been fulfilled by the dethronement of the Pope in 1809, and the subsequent drying up of the Euphratees, which was followed by one calamity after another until in that quarter of the world the deaths exceeded the births. The Turkey-Moslem power was shown to be declining by the fact of there being 9,000,000 Christians to 3,000,000 Mahometans. The lecturer, continuing, said he did not prophesy, but he was of the opinion that the Mediterranean would become a French lake, and that Russia would possess herself of Turkey. But whatever happened, we ought not to neglect our duties, but to be in a state of preparation for the worst? All Europe seemed to be arousing and preparing for some at present unknown conflict; and all these signs seemed to show that the three unclean spirits had gone forth to deceive the Kings of the earth, and to gather them together to the last war of the almighty God. Then let them notice the context “Behold I come as a thief”. Our blessed Lord was to come unexpectedly whilst the world was proclaiming “all things continue as they were”. He (the lecturer) believed that the 7th vial was begun to be poured out in 1848. They read that “there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since men were on the earth, so mighty and so great”. And let any person read the account of the great convulsion of 1848, and he would ask them if any more fitting description could be given of those mighty movements than that of a great earthquake? They would find there had not been such a convulsion for many hundred years, and that its effects spread deeper and wider than that of 1793. They read that “the seventh vial was poured out into the air”. One of the vials was poured out upon the earth, another upon the sea, and a third upon the rivers, etc. But this in the air was suggestive of its universality; and, looking at the facts, they would find that during the last ten years they had the cholera in its most fearful form. He would say that the visitation in 1848 and 1849 of that horrible disease was not exceeded in force and fury by the worst epidemic of the middle ages. And since the great “earthquake” in 1848 there had been a series of vibrations and visitations, among which, in addition to the cholera, were the potato blight and the new disease known as diptheria. If they would look around they would see abundant evidence that the 7th vial was being poured out. The reverend gentleman next expressed his belief that our established churches would be destroyed; he did not wish it, but he believed it would be, and he intimated that the abolition of church rates and tithes, the throwing open of cathedrals and the extempore preaching of a Bishop in Exeter Hall might be regarded as a sign of the times. The Scotch Church had already broken up; and so far from being deplored, immense good had resulted from it. He regretted that the limits of a lecture prevented his entering more largely into an explanation of the Apocalypse, but as he had been invited to lecture in Hastings, he would there have an opportunity of stating his views more fully. Referring to the position of the Pope, Dr. Cumming observed that there were more curses on those who meddled with St. Peter’s patrimony – the Pope’s temporal power, than with his dogmas; and yet a great shock had been given by the French Emperor to the Pope’s temporalities, and the cardinals were seriously discussing the propriety of his Holiness taking up his See in Jerusalem, Rome being too hot for him. He believed that the French Emperor, so far as his own wishes were concerned, would willingly see the Pope at the bottom of the sea; but he was compelled to conciliate the priesthood of France. Before closing his lecture Dr. Cumming said that it was the opinion of some persons that there would be a tripartite division of the ten papal kingdoms, and that all Europe would be divided into three hostile camps. Tribulation would seem to be the mark of God’s people on earth, and those who were free from it might call in question their religion. We read that the Apostle saw a great multitude, which came out of great tribulation, and the lecturer believed that the great tribulation referred to had yet to be endured in these last days. Suppose then, he further observed, that the year 1859 was the beginning of great troubles, and that 1867 was to be a year of some grand change, it mattered not to what church we belonged if we were true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. His only fear was for them who were careless about their souls. When the thunder’s peal and the lightning’s flash warned that the time had arrived, those who were prepared would have it said of them “These are they who came out of great tribulation”. The reverend Doctor concluded his lecture with a brief appeal on behalf of the Protestant Home Missions and resumed his seat amidst a burst of applause. The money collected at the door amounted to £20, which, added to the previous collection, made nearly £36. Dr. Cumming’s lectures on prophecy were always well attended, as much, perhaps, for his quiet but fascinating style of oratory as for the particular topics themselves. One peculiarity of the present lecture was that the audience were more than ever numerous and attentive, and another peculiarity was one which arose from the first. The present writer, not expecting to find the large room and side-room crowded even before the lecturer commenced was unable to push his way to a table near the platform, and was constrained to ascend the stairs from the vestibule to the orchestra, to which other persons were also being admitted. There being no window in that gallery, the place was almost dark, and the front chairs even there being already occupied there seemed to be nothing for the disappointed reporter to do but to stand behind and listen or to pocket his note-book and walk away. To his surprise, however, in turning round with his face to the wall and his back to the lecturer (who was at the opposite end of the long room), every word was distinctly heard as though reflected by the said wall. In an instant the note-book was held against the wall, and notwithstanding that the place was in semi-darkness, a report was produced in the St. Leonards Gazette which rather astonished some of the persons who saw under what difficulties it was managed, Mr. Jacob, a St. Leonards organist, being among the number. Sitting as they did in front of the reporter, they did not realise the fact that he had discovered by accident acoustical properties peculiar to that part of the building.

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An Improved Clock To Mr. Aaron Sellman, of St. Leonards, was confided the work of giving to the old town-clock, in High Street, illuminated dials, and after the clock had been replaced there appeared in the Hastings News of May 13th, 1859, two effusions, to the authors of which apologies are here tendered for the present new versions. “A New Song to an Old Tune” “Hickory, dickory dock! Sellman has put up the clock; The faces are white and the figures are bright, Hickory, dickory dock! ____________________________________________ “Hickory, dickory dock! It’s now such a good looking clock; So people all say, as they pass on their way Hickory, dickory dock! ____________________________________________

“Hickory, dickory dock! We’re glad we’ve got back the old clock; With quite a new face it is back in its place; Hickory, dickory dock!” ____________________________________________

Another Ditty “Hurrah for our old friend, the Town Clock! That which to St. Leonards has been; All hail to our friend, the Town Clock! In High Street again to be seen. ____________________________________________

“Twas thought that it Sellman had sold, Or put the old thing up the spout; But now it no longer looks old; Its clapper too, clearly, speaks out. ____________________________________________

“Some thought we all were done brown- That the works had been sold for old brass; But back is the clock in the town, Quite plain to all persons who pass ____________________________________________

“We know that ourselves, when as boys, How loved we its jolly old face; For when it struck nine with a noise, To school we set of in a race ____________________________________________

Last week single “x” wrote a ditty, Now “Double x” ventures a stave To Sellman in praise more than pity, For clearly the man is no knave. ____________________________________________

We’ll know when to leave for excursion, Our schoolboys will see when to start; And dare I to make the assertion Our girls will know when to look smart. ____________________________________________

Yea! when to put on their best dresses, Their hats and their crinolines, too; And those who are proud of their tresses To coiffer or otherwise do. ____________________________________________

The opposite Mayor, Will Ginner, The clock, now it’s put in its place May view as he sits at his dinner, The figures in gold on its face. ____________________________________________

And view it will Glenister proudly, As out from the station he looks, Or hears the time struck from it loudly While conning his constables’ book ____________________________________________

The clock from within is now lighted And shows us the time, day and night: And surely we all are delighted The Council for once has done right. ____________________________________________

We hail our old friend in his place Now more than was hitherto famed; Though puts him his hands ‘fore his face He needs to be never ashamed. ____________________________________________

A Sellman has managed the trick Of turning the old into new: So “Double x” calls him a “Brick” And gives him the praise to him due ____________________________________________

(See page 109 for Town Council discussion on this matter)

A Rare Bird, Crex Pusilla, (the Little Crake) was captured near St. Leonards, on the 15th of April, and afterwards preserved by Mr. Robert Kent, naturalist, of 13 London road.

The Batchelors Ball, for the 29th year, took place in the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms on the 2nd of February, attended by 170 of the elite of the town and neighbourhood.

The Rite of Confirmation was, on the 9th of May, administered to 250 young persons at St. Mary Magdalen’s; and on the 10th, to 300 at St. Clement’s.

Gin at 4d per gallon. In the month of February, a cask of gin (106 gallons) was washed ashore at St. Leonards. From the brands and the low proof strength of the spirit, it was supposed to have been washed ashore from a vessel. It was afterwards offered for sale by auction at the Rye Custom House. No offer could be obtained for it for home consumption, and after a languid bidding it was knocked down to Mr. R. Kent at 4d per gallon for exportation. Similar casks had been washed ashore at Rottingdean and Rye.

The “Victoria and Albert” (royal steam yacht) passed St. Leonards and Hastings on the 31st of May, at a short distance off and remained in sight a considerable time, while conveying Princess Frederick William back to Prussia.

“Old Mike” (or Michael Hamilton) the well-known half-crazy, half-witty match-vendor and excruciating fifeist, died in the Hastings Union at the age of 58, but having more the appearance of a man of 78. The present writer knew the “Old Mike” when he itinerated from town to town with his mother, making the horrible screeching noise on an old fiddle as he afterwards did on a fife. Many curious anecdotes could be told of this begging but not dishonest wanderer.

Petitions: A petition from these towns against the Government Reform Bill was presented to the House of Commons by Mr. North on March 21st. A week later, both the Liberal and Conservative members (North and Robertson) presented petitions from the St. Leonards parochial school, the Hastings Mechanics’ Institution and the Croft-Chapel school against the Local Assessment Abolition Bill. On the 1st of April Mr. Robertson presented a petition from St. Leonards against the Bill for the Better Regulation of Endowed Schools. Also from Bodiam for the repeal of the Hop Duty.

A Reminder and Suggestion. A visitor reminded the public that the 14th of October would be the anniversary of the battle of Hastings, and suggested a meeting at Battle on that day to commemorate the birthday of King Harold.

Gunpowder Plot. On the 5th of November the usual torch-light procession in Hastings had its lights repeatedly blown out by the wind, but the St. Leonards was wisely postponed until Monday the 7th, when favoured with better weather the procession turned out in gorgeous array under the title of “Bonfire Boys”, with a band of music and a huge effigy of Commissioner Yeh.

Collections On Sept. 11th, at St. Leonards Church £30 was collected for the Sunday’s third service. On the 18th of November, the Bishop of Brisbane lectured in the St. Leonards Assembly Room, and obtained in collections and donations for the spiritual wants of his diocese. On the 27th of Nov., sermons preached in the St. Leonards Church realised £31 for the Jews Christianity Society. After the drowning of the four preventuremen at near Pevensey a collection for their widows and families was set on foot and realised £300.

Imperial Politics, locally viewed Referring to Mr. North’s speech at the Borough Election (see next chapter) Mr. Montgomery, of St. Leonards, with the signature of “S. Leonardensis”, wrote to the Hastings News as follows: “Our worthy member, as everyone knows who enjoys his acquaintance, is a very pleasant facetious person, who likes a sly joke occasionally (small blame to him say I), and I think he must have been indulging in the bent of his humour when he ventured to speak of the olden time when ministers would have been impeached for dissolving Parliament under such circumstances as we have just witnessed. Backed by the approving voice of the House of Peers, and of the property, education and respectability of the country, as contra-distinguished from mere numbers, with the full and hearty consent of the Sovereign, as well as in the conscientious discharge of a public duty, ministers who had accepted office under circumstances of peculiar difficulty, determined to dissolve a House of Commons that had been elected under the influence of their opponents on a sham issue, and which by the factious and temporary combination of discordant elements, had succeeded in bringing public business to a deadlock. Under these circumstances, I believe the dissolution to have been? perfectly conformable to constitutional law and practice, nor will I do the Queen the injustice to believe that any ministry, Whig or Tory, will ever be able to coerce her into aiding and abetting an unconstitutional act, much less one deserving impeachment. As to the defunct House of Commons itself, taken in the concrete, there certainly was no cry of wailing and lamentation in the land at its decease. Sir J. Pakington was too complimentary when he called it a china house made to be broken. It was very ordinary earthenware, and of the earth, earthy, in the full force of that expression. Could a Palmerstonian Parliament be otherwise? But let us assume for the moment that the late dissolution was a high crime and misdemeanour, deserving impeachment; then I say, on the strength of the logical axiom causa causae, causa causati, Lord John Russell and Lord Palmerston’s sayings were the cause of the dissolution – ergo, Lord John Russell and Lord Palmerston were the authors of the dissolution, D.E.D. With regard to the particular time of the dissolution on which Mr. North lays so much stress, the Ministry having declared the alternative of suicide or submission kindly suggested to them by those disinterested persons, Lord John Russel and Lord Palmerston, respectively, and the dissolution having been forced on by the act of the Opposition, it was obvious that there was no choice of times and seasons at their command; and, more than that, Mr. North knows as well as I do, that statesmen of all parties have ever held that, pending delicate and difficult negociations, it is for the public advantage that the executive should not be hampered and compromised by the indiscreet interference by friends or foes. Indeed, no one pretends that if Austria, France and Sardinia had gone to war during the recess, Parliament would have been called together in consequence. It is transparent therefore, that Mr. North’s real objection is not that there should be no Parliament sitting at this crisis, but that his own party should not be in power during the interval, whilst I, on the contrary, consider it a blessed thing for the country that our strenuous armaments have not been interrupted even for a day, and that we have had Pakington and Peel, vice Wood and xxxxxxx, even if it should be for a month. I see, with regret, that the elation of recent triumph has caused our worthy Member to o’erstep the usual modesty of his nature. He has come our regular bumptious, but I would remind him in all humility that there are two states of mind appropriate to two different conditions – one for him who buckles on his armour before the combat, and one for him who takes it off after the victory. In a country like this, which holds together as it were, by the two principles – credit and compromise – ‘war to the knife’ is a dangerous and unwise cry; that knife is a two-edged weapon, and may chance to cut the fingers of him who may attempt to use it…..I have reason to believe that ‘Froggy’ [a metaphor employed by Mr. North] will be supported by a noble band of independent members whose watchword is ‘Old England and fair-play, first, and party afterwards’” “May 18th 1859” “S. Leonardensis” (Other correspondence re Mr. North will be found in the next chapter)

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A Royal Visit Her Royal Highness, Princess Frederica of Hanover visited Mrs. Taylor, of 65 Eversfield Place, and afterwards went to look at 5 & 6 Breeds Place, where her father, the late King of Hanover, and her grandfather and grandmother (the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland) resided in 1832-3. She also went over the old Castle, the Ladies swimming bath and the Pier, and after expressing her pleasure at what she had seen, she drove through St. Leonards and took train at the West Marina station for London.

Police Memorial. On considering a memorial from 4 sergeants and 5 policemen for an increase in pay on account of long service and the Secretary of State’s disallowance of the hitherto pay for attending at court when off duty, the Council, of 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. a week; and the rest, as third 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 tonnage 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 at 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 renewed. Coun. Putland again advocated a permanent groyne to be gradually added to during 4 or 5 years, 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 the xxxough, he thought, in consequence of the disagreement of the “stone-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) 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 Stonebeach 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 very 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 engaged 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 bring no other means for the townspeople expressing their opinion. He, himself, thought the market should be further east. The recommendation was negative 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 negative 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 June 3rd, Coun. Bromley 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 £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 on 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 10½ feet, and the whole to be of an octagon shape. Coun. Tree moved the reception and the 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.

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The Town Clock. At the meeting on Feb. 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 has 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 not, 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” ensued. 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 with a side wind. Mr. Sellman’s tender was accepted, and the work was satisfactorily executed, as shown by the rhymed effusions of 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, had been wholly bent on doing his duty in that state of life to which it pleased God to call him. Whether on 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 sympathized – the loss of my gallant brother, Viscount Chewton – laid him permanently aside from the discharge of 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, 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” “George Waldegrave” 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 at 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 rate ought to be sufficient for such a growing town, with its increase assessments. The rate under the Hastings (Commissioners’) Improvement Act, at 3d. was also passed. A 4y 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 due 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 th 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 trespass 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 and damages £2. Mr. Langham appeared for the plaintiff, 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 the 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 expressed 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 trespassed on the property of the Corporation. He must find a verdict of 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, 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 see 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 east end of Mr. Wyatt’s garden wall, and another adjoining some cottages; and 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 been defeated at the Lewes Spring Assizes in his attempt to obstruct the right of way over the very ground in question, bethought him to get the Corporation to take over the same that he might turn it to his own advantage by offering the sides of such road for sale to builders and others. He denied Ald. Clement’s allegation that such was his intention, and, indeed, publicly contradicted the Alderman’s statement; but the latter was corroborated by Mr. Shirley, Mr. Harris (Mayor of Leicester), and Mr. Gurner, of London, to all of whom Mr. Wyatt, himself, had communicated what Mr. Clement had stated. Numbering of Robertson Street:- At the June meeting of the Town Council a letter was received from Mr. W.B. Young as follows:- “On behalf of Mr. Robertson, who is a lessee from the Crown of several houses in Robertson street, and who, since the lease to him, has granted sub-leases of the same, I respectfully call the attention of the Town Council to the serious inconvenience in point of titles that is likely to arise from the proposed alteration in the numbering of the houses in that street. The several houses are in such leases and sub-leases described and identified by their present numbers, and (confining my observations to the south side of the street) I believe I am right in saying that the houses are all regularly numbered with the exception of two houses known, respectively, since they have been built as No. 1A & No. 1B. I venture to hope that these exceptions, from which no practical inconvenience has arisen, may not be thought a sufficient reason for altering the numbers on the south side of the street, which accord with the present title as they stand, and which alteration, if carried out, it would take many years to rectify in point of title, besides putting the owners to expense where the alteration was not notorious to parties purchasing or otherwise dealing with the property.” [A similar objection had been urged by another lawyer (Mr. W. P. Beecham) although a comparatively subordinate one to the general argument against changing the designation of several hundreds of houses in St. Leonards to that of Hastings. Not only would it have been a long enduring source of inconvenience – to say nothing of expense to tradesmen in particular – but, as pointed out at the time, might have been used to invalidate titles and title-deeds.] As regards Robertson street, Mr. Young’s letter had its desired effect, and the original numbering has remained unaltered.

Floating Breakwater. At the September meeting, Captain Sleigh was permitted to explain his plan for a floating breakwater, which appeared to consist of large flat-bottomed caisons of such a shape as would allow the waves to gradually exhaust their force, and moored by means of anchors. He referred to some eulogistic opinions which had been passed on his plan at Lowestoff, and was, he said, the main instrument that enabled the large marine works to be carried out there. A floating harbour for boats could be made in a couple of months at an expense of only two or three thousand pounds, and would afford shelter for fifty vessels. The Mayor said he was willing to call a public meeting on the subject. See pages for lengthy correspondence on the scheme and rejection of the same.

Water and Water Works. At the Council meeting on the 1st of April was presented in the Local Board account an item of £26.15s for analyzing the water caused by derogatory statements emanating from Dr. Garrett, and Coun. Wingfield suggested that the bill should be sent to him for payment; but the suggestion only provoked a smile. Another item was a charge by Mr. Spiller of £48 for labour and assistance in erecting an engine pump. This bill created astonishment, amidst which Coun. Picknell said if he were not in the Council he would have been glad to have done the work for £20, and to have made £5 at that price. The Water Committee recommended a six-inch pipe to be laid in Havelock road, which was agreed to. It was also resolved to purchase at a cost of not more than £16, a Richmond’s improved patent engine counter, which would show at any hour the amount of work done by the engine, and would register up to ten millions.

Analysis of the Water. The Clerk observed that he had put upon the agenda a notice “To receive report of Dr. Taylor on his analyzing the Hastings water, and communications from the Mayor and President of the Privy Council thereon”. The Mayor remarked that there had been some further correspondence, since the book had been printed, which he would read to them: “Hastings, March 12th, 1859. “My Lord, I have the honour of enclosing a report from Dr. Taylor, of Guy’s Hospital, on the quality of the water supplied to the inhabitants of this borough. Dr. Taylor’s attention was particularly directed to the complaint of Dr. Garrett, who, in a letter of the 16th of last November, drew your lordship’s attention to the fact (as he alleged) that the water supplied to the inhabitants had a peculiar affinity for lead. Dr. Taylor’s report, I hope, will satisfy your lordship that Dr. Garrett was entirely mistaken in the matter. The Local Board of Health have carried out the investigation through the Medico-Chirurgical Society of East-Sussex, who have rendered most valuable and efficient service and have collected the experience of the members of their society practising here – twenty in number – who all declare that no case of lead poisoning has occurred within their knowledge. Several of the gentlemen giving this assurance have been in practice here many years. I regret it has been out of my power to send this information sooner, but if your lordship will glance at the enclosed pamphlet, I trust you will come to the conclusion that the Corporation, exercising the powers of a Local Board of Health have done everything necessary to clear up this important matter”. “I am, your lordship’s most obedient servant. W. Ginner, Mayor”. “Privy Council Office, March 17th, 1859. Sir, I am directed by the Lord President of the Council to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant, enclosing a report from Dr. Taylor, of Guy’s Hospital on the quality of the water supplied to the inhabitants of the borough of Hastings. The Lord President has read with great attention Dr. Taylor’s very lucid report, as well as the pamphlet which was also enclosed in your letter; and I am also instructed to convey to you and the other members of the Corporation the expression of his lordship’s appreciation of the zealous public spirit with which you have had instituted and brought to such a satisfactory issue your investigations of this important matter.” “I am, sir, your obedient servant C. Greville”. On the motion of Coun. Duke, the letters then read, and other documents referred to by the Clerk, were to be entered on the minutes. The Mayor remarked that although the investigation had cost a good deal, he thought it would have good results. Coun. Picknell complained that the Board should have been put to such an expense through the rash assertions of Dr. Garrett, and thought he ought to be called upon for the amount of costs. Coun. Winter had no doubt that the Council owed much of the success of the investigation to the East-Sussex Medico-Chirurgical Society, he therefore moved a vote of thanks, under seal, to those gentlemen for their assistance and lucid statements. Ald. Ross thought the investigation would materially assist the good name and prosperity of the town.

Boring for Water. At the meeting on the 6th of May, there was no report from the Water Committee, but it was stated that the boring had been sunk another 15 feet – 300 feet in all – and that 20,000 gallons per hour over previous supply had been obtained, or 80,000 gallons altogether.

Mr. Shirley’s Offer to the Board was that he would transfer his lease of the garden ground and water therein, of which there was a tenure of 17 years unexpired, by the Board paying the annual rent of £15, and taking the crops, buildings, fences, trees etc. at valuation. This was acceded to, and at the July meeting it was resolved that all the growing crops on the land should be sold by tender, up to the month of November. The said crops were mostly those of a kitchen garden, fruit trees etc., together with a fish-pond. Before Mr. Shirley leased it, the ground, together with the rest of the valley (now a portion of the Alexandra Park) had been cultivated for hops, beans, peas etc., and was familiarly known as “The Hop Gardens”. Lady Waldegrave offered to renew this (late Shirley’s) land in St. Andrews, if the Corporation would pay and rent increased from £15 to £24 per annum, but the offer was declined; and at the same meeting (Oct 7th) it was resolved that the offer of Mr. Webb, of the Hole Farm, to permit the Board to use a spring of water (known as Dr. McCabe’s Spring) at an annual rent of £15 be accepted.

The Shirley-ground water. After obtaining an under-lease of the land in St. Andrews parish, it was decided at the July meeting to convey the water therefrom, after filtering it, by means of a four-inch pipe through the railway culvert into the well at the works; the cost not to exceed £260, and to be charged to Permanent Works account.

Low Water. At the same meeting the Water Committee reported that the supply of water in all the reservoirs was very low, and that the tank in Mr. North’s field only yielded two hours supply, daily; consequently, the necessities of the town were chiefly supplied from the spring water near the Gas Works.

The East-well Water. Referring to this supply, Ald. Ross said there were thirty or forty fishing boats constantly requiring water, and they were often obliged to wait hours before they could obtain a sufficiency. He thought if the Board could run a heading into the cliff the supply might be increased. He had no doubt of obtaining Lady Waldegrave’s consent for such a benevolent purpose. – Referred to Water Committee.

The Halton Wells. Coun. Bromley drew attention to the Halton Wells, and asked whether something could not be done to increase the water in them, the then supply being also very low. This matter was also referred to the Water Committee.

Eversfield Waterworks. At the meeting on Sept. 2nd, Mr. T.C. Barlow, C. E., of London, sent in a lengthy report of his examination (to order) of the Eversfield Waterworks, as to their money value and of their amalgamation with the Local Board’s works. The Eversfield system comprised three reservoirs in the Shornden valley, all at different heights, varying from 73 feet to 189 feet above the datum line of Mr. Laing’s map of the town. The whole of the works were of the roughest and most temporary character, and would require a large outlay to make them efficient. Besides these, Mr. Clark had power to construct a new distributing reservoir, 230 feet above the datum level, and another in the Hollington valley at an altitude of 110 feet. 522 tenants were supplied from these works, and the lowest rental estimate exceeded £1200. The quantity of water might be increased. Mr. Barlow’s estimate, after deducting the sum required to make them efficient, and a further sum for redeeming the capital at the expiration of the lease, was £11,800. The local Board works comprised five collecting and storing reservoirs at altitudes of from 110 to 296 feet. Besides these there were ponds in St. Andrews parish, 37 feet above datum, and an Artesian well, not finished. The Halton tank was 295 feet; Ecclesbourne reservoir, 254 feet; Bourne stream, 200 feet; North’s tank, 140; basin at the Bridge, 110; St. Andrews pond, 37 feet. Mr. Barlow then pointed out what he thought was the best way of combining the different levels of the Local Board and the Eversfield works. And if the arrangements for the collecting all the available water south of the Fairlight and Beauport hills should prove insufficient, it should be sought to the north of that range. With that view he had examined the Brede spring, from where the railway intersected it to Sedlescomb, and was satisfied that an ample supply might be there obtained, attended by no engineering difficulties in being conveyed along the line of railway. The consideration of the report was adjourned to the next meeting. A Long Discussion on Mr. Barlow’s report took place? at the next meeting, which was made special for the purpose. The Water Committee reported that having inspected the several streams at Brede, Crowhurst, Catsfield, Robertsbridge, Etchingham and Bodiam, they recommended that Mr. Barlow be requested at an early date to inspect the streams at Crowhurst and Catsfield, and the Rover Rother, and to report fully thereon. It appeared that notwithstanding Mr. Barlow’s previously expressed opinion than plenty of water might be found at Brede, the Committee differed from him. Ald. Ticehurst said that if the Committee knew better than Mr. Barlow what was the use of paying him 5 guineas a day? He himself agreed with Mr. Barlow that there was water enough to supply Hastings in the Brede level. Coun. Picknell was surprized to see so small a stream at Brede, and said that after leaving Brede, the Committee went to Sedlescomb, Whatlington and Battle, thence to Crowhurst, where they found the stream was not a large one. They next went towards Mr. Wood’s farm, and adjoining the Marsh they found a large stream of water, which appeared to be very good until it turned into the main drain at Catsfield. But there was not enough to warrant the expense of bringing it into the borough. Coun. Wrenn, as also one of the inspecting committee, was of opinion that there was an ample supply of water both at Brede and at the junction of the streams at Crowhurst, at any rate for present wants, if not for ages to come. Coun. Winter said it was because he thought the supply of water was of such paramount importance that he rose to move that the report of the Committee be acted upon. He had arrived at the conclusion that Mr. Clark’s works could never afford anything like a sufficient supply for a large district, and that as it would cost so much to put them in a proper condition, they would be dear at a gift. He, however, must differ from Mr. Ticehurst with regard to the second part of the Committee’s report; for, he did not think there was so much discrepancy between the Committee and Mr. Barlow as Mr. Ticehurst seemed to imagine. Mr. Barlow had taken a journey to Brede to see if he could not discover a source from which to suggest some other means of supply than those of Mr. Clark’s. The Committee had visited some other places, but so far as he could learn, they had not seen anything to militate against Mr. Barlow’s opinion. There was, however, one fault which had prevailed in the borough for forty years - both under the old Commissioners and in the Council – that of doing things on too small a scale. It was necessary, in his idea, to get a supply not simply adequate to the wants of 20,000 persons, but for a population 100,000. It mattered little whether such supply was obtained at a distance of six or sixteen miles, but it should be at all times an abundant supply. The Committee thought they would like Mr. Barlow to see the Crowhurst and Bodiam streams, it being most prudent that before entering upon an important undertaking they should be well advised; and, considering that works of that kind frequently cost £20,000 or more, he did not think it was worth cavilling about the expense of five guineas a day. Coun. Vidler thought that Mr. Putland and two or three other persons with him, were quite as capable of measuring water as Mr. Barlow was. Ald. Ticehurst would move an amendment, not because he differed from Mr. Winter as to the necessity of a good supply, but because before they had Mr. Barlow down again, it would be better for a sub-committee to obtain more particulars. This amendment was carried by a large majority. Clark’s Offer not accepted. At the same special meeting it was resolved that Mr. Clark’s offer on the 3rd of June be not accepted, as it appeared that the addition of his works would be insufficient to meet the growing wants of the town. To Supply the West Ward. After electing the new Mayor on the 9th of November, Coun. Howell said that he trusted the Council would pardon his taking the unusual course of introducing other business than the routine usually followed on that recurrent occasion. Notice, he said, had been given of an application to Parliament for a Bill to supply the western part of the district with water, and unless the Council took advantage of the then present opportunity there would not be time to put themselves clearly before the public. The privilege of the local Board in supplying the western district was about to be attacked, and if the Board intended to oppose the application he thought they ought to manifest a bonă fide desire to undertake the duty of supplying that district. He had learnt that the rateable value was £34,403. He did not think that in the face of opposition they could calculate upon supplying the whole of that property, as some persons would still prefer Mr. Clark’s water, and it would be a question who could supply the greatest abundance of the best water at the lowest cost. But there would be the inducement that any profit that might arise would go towards lightening their rates. Taking the gross rental at 1/- in the pound, it would produce annually an amount which would warrant the laying out of £12,000 – a sum, he trusted, far beyond what they would ever want to go, and which would yield a large profit. They might also obtain sufficient water to assist the supply in the eastern part of the borough. The total rental of the district now supplied by the Board was only about £7,000 more than that of the district they had totally neglected. His impression was that the Council should take steps to rectify this oversight, and he would propose “That this Board deem it expedient to take steps to procure a sufficient supply of water for the western part of the borough, exclusive of the township of St. Leonards”. Ald. Ginner had pleasure in seconding the proposition, and was glad to find a man amongst their body who was strenuous in his notions about the water supply. He thought it was due to the West Ward, as well as to the east, that the former should be supplied from the mains of the local Board. Carried. Page 126

The Bodiam Stream. Mr. A. Cox, writing from Burwash, on the third of October to the editor of the Hastings News, said “Sir – Taking a great interest in all that concerns my native place, I read with much interest the local news so well reported in your paper. I saw the other day there was a meeting of the Town Council respecting the water supply. The Bodiam stream was mentioned as being under consideration. I am able to give you some reliable information respecting it. For the last –teen years I have had under my notice the two streams, Rother and Dudwell, one descending the high land of the forest ridge south of Mayfield and Crowborough, & the other the Brightling to Burwash Common. These unite at Etchingham and run to Bodiam, and would, I am of opinion, supply Hastings.During the last dry summer there has been much water in both. Of course the mills stop the supply for a time, but while they work there is an abundant stream, and the quality is good. Both streams are used --–wing by the farmer and a very clear and sparkling generally. Now, if you can get from Bodiam or Robertsbridge a communication with this body of water, you might use it without stint. Sometimes both these streams become rivers, and are turbid, so that it would be necessary to have works to filter the water; but my object now is to state that if you can get a communication with this water, there is enough for all”.

Rainfall and Water Supply. Mr. John Banks also sent a letter to the News, from which the following is extracted: “It is very well known that I have kept for a series of years past, an account of the rainfall for Hastings, and it is pretty generally known that of late the annual rainfall has been decreasing. I append it for the last ten years.

Inches Inches Inches Inches 1849 – 32.54 1852 – 42.74 1855 – 21.08 1858 – 17.42 1850 – 30.03 1853 – 28.30 1856 – 29.43 1859}- 14.01 1851 – 24.18 1854 – 21.87 1857 – 22.51 to Sept

“My object is principally to show that if advantage be taken of the natural capabilities of the immediate neighbourhood, the disastrous effects of a short rainfall may be obviated, at least so far as a supply of water to Hastings and St. Leonards is concerned. Without going far away, the watersheds of the neighbourhood, i.e. those that are wholly or in part of the Borough of Hastings, may be taken to be as follows:

1. Ecclesbourne Valley, approximate average } 600 acres 2. Valley N. E. of Hastings “ “ } 3. Priory Valley, with Bunger Hill and Old Roar “ 2000 “ 4. Magdalen & St. Leonards Valleys “ 300 “ 5. Hollington Valley “ } 11000 “ 6. Crowhurst Valley }

Now, if we take the average rainfall at 24 inches, and reject one-half for evaporation and for the requirements of vegetation we shall have remaining the following quantities:

Nos. 1 & 2 – 432,000 gallons per day No. 3 - 1140,000 “ No. 4 - 216,000 “ Nos. 5 & 6 - 7,920,00 “

Total - 10,008,000 “

So that proper storage room being provided at the proper levels, and with the present pumping power, I think, without doubt, that in average seasons these valleys would be capable of supplying the wants of the borough for many years to come. As, however, the question of how the natural capabilities of the neighbourhood may be rendered available for the supply of water to a growing population is in the hands of competent authorities. I leave this part of the question, promising on some future occasion to give the approximate acreage and daily average quantities of rain in the various valleys lying northward of the common watershed of those here enumerated”.

Brede and Bodiam Water. In a second communication to the News, Mr. Banks said he found by the Ordinance Map of Sussex that the Brede Valley contained 19,200 acres, and Bodiam Valley 50,500 acres, calculating westward from Bodiam Bridge. Persons who were curious in such matters (the writer continued) might form an opinion from the extracts given of the capabilities of both those valleys, and he would only suggest the advisability of gaging the respective streams and of analyzing the water, as it might happen that that which came from the Wealden contained more organic impurities than that which came from the Hastings Sands.

The Wealden and Hastings Sands. Mr. Banks’ further correspondence included the following: “The district to which my remarks will have reference is that lying between the North and South Downs; or, more properly speaking, enclosed by the Kent, Surrey and Sussex chalk hills, and which is generally known by the name of the Wealden formation. Passing from the South Downs over the Wealden to the North Downs, we have immediately underlying the chalk (which is the newest of the secondary strata) the gault and green sand, which crop out and form a narrow strip along the foot of the chalk hills. Next we pass over the weald clay, then the Hastings sands, which form as it were a backbone through the wealden. After crossing the Hastings sands, we again cross a portion of the weald clay, then the green sand and gault, and, arriving at the North Downs, find ourselves again on the chalk. This course may be roughly considered as we should find it, starting from the hills near Lewes by Cuckfield, through Tilgate Forest (the crest of the Hastings sands formation) by Crawley and Reigate on to the Surrey hills, forming the circumference of part of an irregular oval (the wealden) and terminating in abrupt of high cliffs at Dover and Beachey Head. The Hastings sands contain no large rivers. The Wealden, a newer formation, and the oolite, an older formation may both be called water-bearing strata; containing numerous springs and the sources of many rivers; the former, in particular, the Rother, the Stour, the Medway etc. Manifestly, therefore, to supply Hastings with water, three courses only are open. 1. To collect and store the rainfall in its more immediate neighbourhood; 2. To convery overland by engineering processes the water from one or more of the wealden rivers; or, 3. To bore down to an older stratum, and thus obtain the required article. This latter mode could be used in connection with either of the former, and the fact that the boring at the new Water-works has saved Hastings during the last dry weather, proves that it was a wise, though expensive, step. I believe, however, that the supply obtained from this source is mainly derived from the lower part of the Hastings sands or where that formation rests upon the Purbeck beds. If I am right in my conjecture the upper portion of the oolite down to the bottom of the Kimmeridge clay will have to be penetrated ere a much greater supply will be met with. Of this, however, I decline to speak positively, as my geological knowledge is too limited, though I venture to affirm that the clays of the Purbeck beds and of the oolite have been have been or will be met with in the boring in question, and at the bottom of these water will be found – not the clay of the wealden”. “John Banks, Bleak House, Oct 12th 1859”.

To Increase Water Supply. At the Council Meeting on the 7th of October, the Mayor (W. Ginner) said he had drawn some resolutions to lay before the Board, which he thought their present necessities should lead them seriously to consider. He had been a member of the town authorities for a quarter of a century, and a quarter of a century of a man’s working life was not spent without acquiring something. He could say with confidence that a considerable number of those years had been spent with a scarcity of water in the town. Many years back in the summer they were frequently obliged to shut up the public pumps, to the inconvenience of those who most felt the want of them, and they were also obliged to circumscribe the water through the pipes. At that time the necessity for a large supply was not great as now; the drainage was in a far inferior condition, and the local Acts then prohibited some matters which were now compulsory. And then, looking at the area from which we had to draw our supply of water, he thought they now only need to take into consideration that part of the district from which water could be obtained by its own gravitation. That he found only amounted to 2,900 acres; and he was surprised to find it was so small. The rainfall had also been given (by Mr. Banks) and a theoretical calculation of water supply when the average was what it ought to be. But they all knew that for some years past, it had failed to give anything like the quantity described. In the time of the Commissioners attempts were made to mend matters, and they formed a tank at the north-east of the town. The idea then was that the supply would be so large that they would never want another, and that it would be sufficient almost for ever. It was not long before they found they had made a great mistake, because when a spring was tapped and its flow increased it soon began to run itself dry. The Commissioners’ experience was very slight; and they built a smaller tank to catch the water at a lower level. They caught more water, but not enough. Next, the town authorities went to Ecclesbourne valley, and the same thing happened there. The greater facility that was given to the water to run away the quicker it was all drawn off. The spring at the back of the Gas Works was taken, and that was certainly the most powerful in the town; but even that had partially failed; and if the boring had not yielded a large quantity there would still have been a great deficiency. After all these trials he thought the time had come when they must try elsewhere to provide for their wants. From the geological formation and strata of the district he thought they had no chance of obtaining a reliable supply within their own area. It must be recollected that whenever they sank into the ground a little way below the sandstone strata they came upon the wealden formation, which was perfectly impervious to water. In a different or inland position that formation might have done them good service in collecting water from the rainfall, but here it would not retain it for this reason – the action of the tides had cut away the face of the cliff, and thus allowed the water to run away from the receptacles or chasms in the sandstone, the consequence of which was that all that had been stored by the provisions of nature was used up, and although they sank lower and lower, the water-shed of the whole country round was exhausted and the springs were dry. His Worship then proceeded and referred to the recent visit of Mr. Barlow, who, he said had come at the request of the Board and had received very narrow instructions. Mr. Barlow was merely to report on Mr. Clark’s works, and on the practicability of making them join with those of the Board. He was not satisfied with the supply they had at their command, and he therefore went beyond the range of their own hills to seeks a source for an enlarged supply; and it was his (the Mayor’s) opinion that the town would never get a better supply till they went beyond their own hills; but whether to Brede, Bodiam or Crowhurst, as the best source, he could not say. He thought, however, they must take an extensive view of the question. The town was increasing in population very fast, and property was proportionately increasing; and the object of the Board should be to progress with such increase. For his own part, he had seen no part like Bodiam River, where an unfailing supply of water could be obtained. He felt satisfied they could take any quantity out of that river without anybody missing it. There was a run sufficient to fill several large pipes. If they laid down an 18 inch pipe, probably they would not take away more than one-fifteenth part of the water there. That was the sort of thing that would become necessary. His Worship concurred in the rejection of Mr. Clark’s offer, and said it must be years, even with average rainfalls, before the earth would be restored to the condition which existed before the commencement of the dry seasons. The Mayor then read some extracts from a paper by Mr. Thos. Spencer, F.C.S., a gentleman who had spent forty years in studying the meteorological condition of the country, and whose opinion was that the available pure water (particularly in the south) was gradually decreasing in quantity, whilst the demand for it was gradually increasing. Also during the last 40 years the most reliable statistics showed a continuous decrease of rainfall. The Mayor was heartily applauded for his information, and he concluded with laying before the Board the following resolutions: “This Board having the experience of a short water supply in past years, and noting the rapidly increasing population of the borough, consider the gathering ground - from which only the rainfall can be conveyed for the use of the inhabitants by gravitation, owing to the situation of the town and the peculiar geological formation of the surrounding country – is insufficient in extent”. “That the Board, having surveyed the various streams of water which can be brought into the town, have come to the conclusion that the River Rother, at or near Bodiam Bridge, is the nearest source from which a plentiful and regular supply can be obtained in times of drought”. “Resolved, that in the opinion of this Board, the Town Clerk should at once write to the proprietor of the land on the west side of Bodiam Bridge to know if he will sell about ten acres for the purpose of forming filtering beds, reservoirs and a pumping establishment”.

Ald. Rock thanked the Mayor for bringing the water question before them in so able a manner. The town had already been indebted to him for its present increased supply, and it would be more greatly indebted to him if this plan could be carried out. He (Mr. Rock) had travelled over the district a good deal over the last four or five years, and had, from observation, formed the opinion that the River Rother was the only source to be depended on. The Brede stream was often dry, and the Crowhurst stream he had seen very low. He would, with his Worship’s permission, move that the Board adopt the resolutions now laid before them. Looking back 25 years and looking forward the same number of years, he did not think it would be safe to depend on any supply to be obtained within a less distance than 12 miles. He mentioned some particulars respecting the new waterworks at Glasgow where he had been visiting. There the supply was obtained from a lake 200 feet above the level of the sea at a distance of 31 miles, and which had required five miles of tunneling to bring it to the city. The engineering expenses £640,000; other expenses connected with the work £160,000; and the compensation paid to the old companies £800,000. They had now a supply of 50 million gallons per day, which was estimated to cost 10s per 100,000 gallons.

Coun. Putland thought it would not be advisable hastily to bind themselves to any scheme, because they might then, instead of forwarding their object, much retard it. His opinion was that there would soon be a change of seasons, and with an ordinary season he thought there was water enough without going so far as Bodiam for it. There were, too, some very serious obstacles and obstructions to be removed, if they should be compelled to go there. His own impression was that the Crowhurst brooks would supply all their wants for fifty years to come. Let them look round their own district; they had not yet tried any large streams. In any case they had the water from the neighbourhood which they now used, and which, of course, would not be thrown away. He would say “Don’t pass any resolution today, involving, as it would, their opinions as to going a great way for water. Examine the neighbouring district; get all the information possible; then have an engineering scheme and an estimate. If a general resolution could be passed so as to give them power to look round and enable them to put their ideas together, it would, in his opinion, be the best plan for the present.

Coun. Winter very cordially sympathised with the spirit of the resolutions, but was sorry he could not quite support them. The subject at present was partly in the hands of a committee, and he thought till they had reported, and till they had Mr. Barlow’s opinion as to the supply of water, they had better not take any definite step. His own opinion was that the Bodiam stream was the best source of supply, but he wished to have Mr. Barlow’s opinion to fortify his own. From the continuance of dry seasons it seemed to be of no use to depend upon storing water in the winter from their present sources. They must go farther and do whatever was to be done with a strong hand. He would suggest waiting till they had a report from the committee.

Ald. Ross could not let the opportunity pass without thanking the Mayor for the great pains he had taken in the matter, both now and heretofore. He was of the opinion they should confine their attention to Bodiam river, and that it was rather a pedlling way to go to work about the small streams. That had been done, and had produced a failure at Ecclesbourne.

Coun. Vidler thought that in the way they were going on, the water-works were not paying their expenses. For himself it did not matter, because he had a good supply of his own; but he would like to know if the water question would stand on its own bottom.

The Mayor expressed a wish that the resolution should be withdrawn. His chief object was to give publicity to the subject, and he trusted it would be considered by the public as well as themselves. If it were approved of, their hands would be strengthened; and if not, no doubt, they would soon hear of it.

Ald. Rock, in withdrawing the resolution, remarked that three or four considerable streams had been exhausted. The Bourne used to run with a very good force, but that was [nearly] exhausted; the Ecclesbourne stream had been exhausted; the Priory stream was nearly finished up; and the Old Roar stream had been used up; so that, in fact, all the streams in the neighbourhood had been used. ____________________________________

References & Notes

Transcribed by Jenny Pain