Brett Volume 8: Chapter LXIII - St. Leonards 1860
| This is a verbatim transcription of Brett’s work, which comprised both manuscript and typescript cuttings, and therefore reproduces Brett’s variations in style, capitalisation, punctuation and spelling. The only alterations made have been to the pagination and images whereby both page titles and images have been moved to the most appropriate paragraph as opposed to where they were pasted into the texts by the author. Where possible, personal names have been checked against census, parish records, contemporary newspaper reporting and the Central Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths. A number of footnotes have been inserted by the transcriber when this has been thought to be useful.
Generally the transcription follows the guidelines set out by the National Archives. Work is in hand to identify and annotate hand-written sections and other annotations within the transcriptions, the main difference being that hand-written sections are indicated by a Cursive font on screen. If any portions are
Town Council meetings (pg. 139)
Inquests and Particular deaths (pg. 169)
East Sussex Representation (pg. 176)
The Country & Borough Elections (pg. 182)
Hastings & Manchester Elections (pg. 187)
Defeat of the Peace-at-any-Price Party (pg. 187)
Parliamentary Prospects (pg. 188)
Election of a Speaker (pg. 188)
Speakers in Ancient Times (pg. 189)
A Trophy of the Russian Wars (pg. 164)
Meeting of a Brotherhood & Guestling (pg. 164) & (pg. 192)
Ancient Local Records (pg. 200)
Vestry Meetings (pg. 200)
Nose pulling case (pg. 201)
Failure of the Bank (pg. 202)
Holy Trinity Church (pg. 211)
Church Matters (pg. 213)
Testimonials etc. (pg. 214)
New bells for St Clements Church (pg. 214)
Public Schools (pg. 217)
Mechanics & Literary Institution (pg. 217)
The Fishery (pg. 219)
Collisions & Disasters (pg. 220)
Wrecks & Fatalities (pg. 220)
The Regatta (pg. 222)
Accidents (pg. 223)
Dinners, suppers, etc. (pg. 223)
The Mayor's dinner (pg. 224)
Press opinions (pg. 225)
Various items. (pg. 227)
[ * ]
Local History Vol VIII.
'Chapters 63 and 64 Date 1860' [ ii ]
Index to Vol 8, Local History
This table of contents is not alphabetical beyond the initial letter.
Archery meetings pages 6 & 7
Accidents and fatalities. 18 and 180 to 182
A “souvenir of Galley Hill. 12
Archaeological excursions (with 7 views) 183 to 188
Balls and Fashionable gatherings 7 and 151
Boundary perambulation 8
Beach dispute by claimants 19, 35, 36
Board work unfairly distributed 44
Building Plans 8
Bathing and Bathing machines 48
Borough a/cs criticised by the auditors 64
Benefit Societies (Vigorous Correspondence) 128 to 149
Burtonversus Robertson re the Crown land 200
Champion Galley Crew 176 to 178
Cemetery Chaplain’s salary (lively discussions) 49, 53 & 63
Cemetery fees revised 63
Church matters 9
Concerts 7 and 152
Consecration & Installation of Hon. & Rev. S. Waldegrave 201
Crown Lane 38
Crown-lands law-case (Burton & Robertson) 200
Council Meetings 48 to 81
Coal Meters 54
Destruction of Martello Tower 12
Dedication of streets 46
Death of Councillor Austin 64
District rates 46
Election of Mayor (E. Hayles, Esq.) 66
Explosions and bombardments 154 to 158
Flower-shows and Fêtes 8 and 153
Fatal falls of Cliff 13
Gas-odours or air-shafts, which? 53
Geological discovery 31
Gensing road 39
Groynes and wharfing 36
Inquests 182 & 183
Laundry-women’s strike 31 to 33
Lecture on Respiration 81
“ on Progress 82
“ on the Eye 83
“ on Spain 84 to 89
“ on the Pilgrim Fathers 90
“ on Cowper’s Poetical Works 91
“ on the Battle of Hastings 92 to 94
Loss of “The Endeavour” 15 & 16
Local Volunteers’ rise and progress (1794 & 1860) 158 to 176
Martello Tower bombarded 12
Mechanics’ Institution (St. Leonards) 4 to 6
Mechanics’ Institution (Hastings) 81 to 99
Metropolitan Sights 31
Memorial against hawking 62
New Wesleyan schoolroom 9
New church at Tivoli 9
New bells for St. Clement's church 154
Norman-road difficulty 10 & 11
Notes and Queries (with two views) 190 to 200
Omnibus, Hastings to Bopeep (1860) with view 34
Opinions and Personalities re Sleigh’s Harbour 121 to 128
Do. Friendly Societies 128 to 149
Particular Deaths 16 to 18, 179 & 180 and 189 & 190
Public Bands 9 and 152
Particular dinners 15 & 151
Particular marriages 178 & 179
Postal Question revived (an animated affair) 20 to 30 & 66 to 81
Professor Jacobs 33
Priory Conservatory 48
Philosophical Society 99 & 100
Proposed Workingmen’s Reading-room (much correspondence) 201 to 210
Regattas 8 and 177
Roads:- Gensing, 39; Bohemia, 40; Meadow, 40; Cemet=
=ery, 40; Norman, 40; Western, 38; Crown Lane, 38
Mount Pleasant, 42 & 43; Claremont, 43.
Roadal and other improvements 11
St. Leonards Commissioners 1 to 3
Summer gale 14
Sale and Gas Act 53
Sale of ashes 53
“Song of Roland” at the Battle of Hastings 96 to 98
Stonebeach contention 19, 35 & 36.
Town Council meetings & transactions 48 to 81
Volunteer movements (1794 and 1860) 158 to 176
Verulam place alterations (Town Council defied) 48
Water supply 55 to 62
Western Waterworks 30, 55, 56
Western-road arrangements with Mr. Moreing 38 & 39
St Leonards Commissioners.
Clark’s Water Works. At a special meeting of this body on the 14th of January, a letter was read by the clerk (Mr. W. B. Young) from Mr. Grouse, the Hastings Town Clerk, as follows:- “Dear Sir, Will you have the kindness to inform me what steps the Commissioners intend to take with respect to Charles Clark’s Bill for the Water Works company,and also whether in case they intend opposing it they will either deposit a memorial against standing orders, or join with the one which will be deposited by the Local Board? In the latter case the expense will fall on the Local Board, and not on the Commissioners. The reply was that the Commissioners would present a separate memorial against standing orders and that their clerk would take such steps, in conjunction with the Town Clerk or otherwise as he might think fit.
Tenders for Ashes were received from Elizabeth Smith, William Mitchell, John Howell and Moses Ades, that of the last-named (£31) being accepted.
Taking Beach. At the March quarterly meeting a complaint was received from the Town Clerk that beach had been taken from within the Corporation district to repair the Commissioners roads. This was met by a counter complaint that the local Board were in the habit of taking beach to repair their roads from the west end of St. Leonards. Mr. Putland also sent a complaint that the Commissioners took beach from the front of his land. Mr. Yarroll reported that Mr. Sellens’s team from Westfield had taken beach from before 110 Marina. The Commissioners passed a resolution that no proceeding be taken at present, as questions on stonebeach matters were likely soon to be settled.
The Western Water-works Bill was reported to have been withdrawn, for the opposing of which, £16 was the amount of Messrs Britt & Co’s charges.
Depreciation. At a special meeting on May 3rd, Mr. Stanton Noakes’s assessment of the Fountain Inn was reduced from £35 to £25, in consequence of depreciation of the property by the destruction of a stable in a fall of cliff.
A New Oven to be built under the parade at the South Colonnade was applied for by Mr. Vidler, confectioner, and was referred to Mr. Burton and the Surveyor for arrangement.
Rate Collecting. At the June meeting the sum of £27 11s 5d was ordered to be paid to Miss Painter as money due to her late father, and Mr. Yarroll appointed as rate collector in his place, at 3½ per cent on amount collected, and sureties to be found for £300.
Purchase of Ground. A letter was received from Mr. Growse, the[ 2 ]Town Clerk, asking if the Commissioners would contribute towards the purchase of a piece of land about 16 feet frontage adjoining Lavatoria. Such land, owned by Wellsted and Chandler was within the district of the Local Board and adjoined also the district of St. Leonards Commissioners. The Local Board had applied for power to take the land otherwise than by agreement under the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, but the Secretary of State had sent an Inspector to view the ground, and he was of opinion that it was a matter more for the St. Leonards Commissioners to take up than for the Local Board; at any rate, said the letter, the whole of the expense ought not to fall upon the latter. The price asked by the owners was £200, but the Local Board would not give anything like that sum. The letter further stated that if no arrangement could be made between the Commissioners and the Local Board, the land would probably be built upon, and only a narrow roadway left for carriages to and from the railway station. In reply to this application, the Commissioners resolved that they could not agree with the opinion of the Inspector, and though the land was out of their jurisdiction, they would undertake, if the land were purchased and left open, to raise £25 toward the expense. This offer was accepted at a meeting in September.
Assessments. It was decided at the same meeting that 83 & 84 Marina be rated at £135, when they were let and that Nos 85 to 88 Marina be rated at £125 each. Also Mr. Austin’s new house, 122 Marina be rated at £90, and that of the late Mr. Moore’s at £120.
A Fixed Salary The Albert Life Assurance Office having required that Yarroll have a fixed salary as a condition of their becoming guarantee for him, the cost of which guarantee would only be £1 per year, the Commissioners resolved to comply with the conditions.
Alteration of Road. Mr Holden’s application to alter the road in front of his house, 8 West Hill was granted, but he having afterwards exceeded the license given him, was ordered to put both the road and the fence in proper condition. – Another instance of “giving an inch and taking an ell”.
Boundary Stones. A letter dated July 9th was received from the Town Clerk, suggesting the fixing of about a dozen cast-iron boundary marks to denote the most important points between Hastings and St. Leonards, and asking if the Commissioners would bear half the expense? This was assented to. The half cost was £10 7s.
Roads Committee. At the same meeting it was resolved that a Roads Committee be formed. [ 3 ]New Commissioners. At a Town’s meeting on the 4th of December, Charles Henry Gausden was elected in the place of Newton Parks (disqualified), Rev. Jas. Reed Holden in the room of Rev. J. A Hatchard (disqualified), Newton Parks in the place of Daniel Smith (deceased) and Rev J. A Hatchard in the place of J. A Cancellor, (deceased).
Vestry Meetings (St Leonards)
At a St. Leonards parish meeting on the 14th of March, the assessors elected were Richard Lamb and Robert Eldridge. Constables nominated for appointment were Thomas Hammond, Bopeep; Richard Lamb, jun, St. Leonards Green; Charles Cloke (miller), Tivoli; Jas. Marchant (smith) St. Leonards Green; and George Standen (carpenter), Tivoli.
An order was passed for the removal of Sarah Stewart and 4 children to her maiden settlement at Etchingham.
At the next meeting (March 29) the overseers nominated were E. Grosslob and J. Starkey. Assistant Overseer, W. Payne. Assessors for inbounds Joseph Yarroll and John Carey. Surveyors of Highways, W. Payne & W. Draper. Vestry Clerk, John Phillips. Resolved that applications be made to the South Eastern Railway Company to place a box-gate in the fence on the footway north of the railway leading from Bopeep to Filsham, where it crosses the line; and in case of refusal, for steps to be taken to enfore(sic) the rights of such footway. Also ordered that the Assistant Overseer go into Norfolk to enquire about settlement of Mary Stewart and her family.
At a meeting on May 4th, after passing a poor-rate at 6d, the following assessments were agreed to: 83 & 84 Marina, £130 gross; Mount Villas No.1, £130 & No.2 £100; Park Cottage from £70 to be raised to £75; and Rose Mount, from £100 to £110.
New Road, At the St. Leonards vestry held on the 12th of October, after agreeing to a poor-rate at 6d and highway-rate at 2d., it was resolved that Mr. C. G. Evesrfield be asked to dedicate the new road over the West hill to the parish, the said new road leading from St. Leonards to Bopeep; and that if consent be obtained the road be put into a proper state of repair. It was further ordered that Mr. Laing, the Borough Surveyor, be paid for his mapping services.
Vestry Meetings (St. Mary Magdalen)
A poor-rate at 6d. was all the business transacted by eight or more parishioners who attended the meeting at the British hotel on the 8th of March, S. H. Willard being chairman.
The Overseers nominated at the meeting held at the Horse and Groom on the 24th of March, were G. Cuthbert, R. Hemsted, A. Sellman, S. H. Willard and Jos. Boston. Other officers appointed were[ 4 ]Joseph Yarroll and Valentine Levett, as assessors; and W. P. Beecham, jun., as Vestry clerk. Jno. Kenward was chairman.
The Assistant Overseer was the only subject for discussion at the meeting held on the 5th of April, at the Norman hotel, when it was resolved that he should provide securities of £300 before the 30th of April for the due performance of his duties.
The Required Bond. On the 11th of May a rather largely attended meeting was held at the Warriors Gate Inn, pursuant to due notice, to receive the report of the Overseers as to the Assistant-Overseers bond and to consider the position of the parish with respect to the vacancy caused by the death of Chas. Valentine Levett. It was shown that Mr. Ward had entered into the required bond with Messrs. Grosslob and W. P. Beecham as sureties. A lengthened and desultory discussion then followed upon the other subject named in the notice convening the meeting, many of those present erroneously imagining that the meeting had power to appoint the late Mr. Levett’s successor. Two applications were received, one from Mr. Yarrol, of East Ascent, and the other from Mr. Harwood of White-rock place. These, however, could not be entertained in a formal manner, and a committee was therefore formed to make enquiries.
Decrease of Land. The selling of land by Mr. Eversfield for building purposes having lessened the area of Mr. Deudney’s Gensing farm, the vestry meeting held at the Horse and Groom on the 6th of September, decreased his assessment on ten acres, and took off £25 from the gross rental of his farm buildings.
At the quarterly meeting on the 16th of February, the Report showed that the members had increased from 130 to 135; that the Rev. W. Tilson Marsh had expressed his intention of becoming a life-member; that the receipts, including a donation of £2 from Lord Harry Vane, M.P., amounted to £22 2s 7d, & the expenses to £39 6s 2d, leaving a balance due to the Treasurer of £17 3s 6d. The report also stated that Mr. J. C. Savery had given a lecture on “Coal Gas”. Mr Selway, “An Hour with the Miscroscope(sic) , illustrated with numerous drawings,” and the Rev J. A. Hatchard “A Reading of Poetry,” which last would benefit the Institution to the extent of £8. Thanks were voted to Mr. A. Burton for the loan of the Assembly Room, and to Mr. Decimus Burton for paying Mr. Selway’s travelling expenses from and to London.
At an Adjourned Quarterly Meeting, the Committee’s report state that the number of members was 132, and that notwithstanding some disappointments and drawbacks, the financial position had [ 5 ]greatly improved. The Rev. J. A. Hatchard had given another successful reading, and the two Readings had realised a profit of £12. This, with the Rev. Tilson Marsh’s £5 for life-membership and Mr. G. H. M. Wagner’s £5 for life-membership, together with the ordinary payments of members, brought up the Treasurer’s receipts to £40 8s 1d. This sum had met the quarter’s expenses, had cleared off £17, odd due to the Treasurer, and left a residue of 9d in hand. There were still outstanding liabilities of about £32, including £15 for alterations, which it was hoped would be gradually cleared off as rent became due. The disappointments had been in connection with lectures. Mrs. Balfour, through illness had been unable to give her two lectures, the advertising of which had caused a loss of £2. The Rev J. R. Cooper had given a lecture on “The Moral Influence of Science”, which, financially, did not meet the small expenses; and a promised lecture “On Spain” by F. North, Esq., M.P. was unavoidably postponed.
The next Quarterly Meeting was on the 9th of August, when the Committee reported a further falling off of members the then number being 117. The receipts had been £20 15s 4d, and the disbursements £20 6s 10d, thus leaving 8/5 in hand, whilst the outstanding liabilities had been reduced to £29. The overhead tenants (Messrs Sexty and Robinson) had vacated the rooms agreeably to notice, and the committee had appointed Mr. Walter Carey to take charge of the Institution in lieu of a person residing on the premises. The Rev. J. A Hatchard had attended the Annual Conference of the Society of Arts, as the Institution’s representative; and Messrs. Wrench and McGowan had consented to fill the Librarian’s office. Arthur Burton, Esq. had presented the Institution with 54 volumes of excellent books, including The Camden Societys Transactions, Hume’s History of England (8 vols) Hutton’s Mathematical Dictionary, Sir W. Jones’s Works (8 vols), Johnson’s Dictionary, Saunders’s Algebra, Marshall, on Landed Property, Perry’s French Revolutions, and a volume of plates illustrating Anson’s voyages. The Annual Meeting was held on the 15th of November, and from the Committee’s report it was apparent that though the prospect was not depressing, it was less encouraging than was desired. The subscribing members (114) were fewer by three than they were at the previous quarter. There was a balance due to the Treasurer, of £1 6s 9d and the outstanding liabilities amounted to about £30. The upper rooms having been vacant, no rent, of course, had been received. Walter Carey had resigned the charge of the Institution, and William Shaw (letter-carrier) and his wife had undertaken the same, with residence in a portion of the premises. The other rooms were now let to Mrs. Herbert. The officers elected for the ensuing year were [ 6 ]A. Burton, Esq., President; Rev. J. A. Hatchard, Rev W. Tilson Marsh, G. H. M. Wagner, Esq., H. Selmes, Esq., Mr. S. Putland, Mr. W. G. Stoneman, Mr. R. F. Davis, Mr. B. Bickle, and Mr. W. Hatchman, Vice-Presidents; Mr. T. B. Brett, Treasurer; and Messrs S. Putland, jun & J. Davis, Secretaries.
The Queen’s birthday – the opening day of the season – came with dense detached clouds , solar halos and a falling barometer, which gave rise to forebodings; but just as the hour for shooting approached, all doubts were dispelled, and a fine afternoon followed. There was an unusually large attendance, and the enjoyment appeared to be general. Prizes were won by Miss Burrard and Mr. Norris.
The next prize meeting was on Saturday, June 3rd, when the successful competitors were Miss Julia Brown and Mr. Norris.
The third general meeting was on Tuesday, July 24th, when the attendance was rather small. The prize-winners were Miss Brown, Miss Hayward and Mr. Claude Norris. Music was rehearsed by Klee’s German Band.
The Annual Grand Meeting in honour of the Duchess of Kent’s birthday, came off with great eclât in one of the finest although hottest days of the season. Nearly 600 persons were at one time within the beautifully shaded grounds, and a good band of music enlivened the scene. The prize-winners were Miss Julia Brown, Dr. Drosier, Miss Bartlett, Mr. Norris, Miss Fenton, Rev. H. McGill, and Mr. Hawley. The honorary stars for highest scores were awarded to Miss Julia Brown and Mr. Knapp.
Mr. Robertson’s Prizes The handsome prizes presented by P. F. Robertson Esq., were shot for on the 25th of August, and were won by Mrs. Burrard, Miss Emily MacGregor, Miss Wood, Miss Bartlett and Dr. Drosier.
Another Meeting, two days later, gave an opportunity for competing and winning of prizes by Miss Bartlett, Mr. Burrard and Miss Constance MacGregor.
Numerously Attended was the meeting on Sept. 8th, when the attention of the visitors appeared to be nearly divided between the doings of the “Merrie Archers” and the performance of Kluckner’s Band. Miss Julia Brown and Mr. Gipps were the prize winners.
The Seventh Meeting was postponed three times in consequence of unfavourable weather, and my records fail to tell the day in which it at length took place.
The Closing Meeting for the season was held on the sixth [ 7 ]of October, in the midst of weather that was in every way favourable. The picturesque toxopholites were numerous, and the company present was one of the largest that had been witnessed. The successful competitors were Miss Emily MacGregor, Mr. Francis, Miss Julia Brown and Mr. Claude Novis.
Balls and Fashionable Assemblies
The popular and annual reunion known as the Batchelor's Ball took place in the Assembly Rooms on the 25th of January when the entire building, prettily decorated, was placed at the service of the 220 invitees who were present, including nearly all the names of rank and fashion, within the two towns and neighbourhood, Cootes and Tinney's London Band was engaged.
The Adelaide Lodge M. M. held their annual ball in the Lodge room, Warriors Gate, on the 6th of February, and about 120 spent a pleasant time together, the disciples of Terpsichore, footing it gaily till day-dawn of the following morning.
The Annual Tradesmen's Ball, for the benefit of the Infirmary took place at the Assembly Rooms on Friday, the 29th of December. The number present was only about 70, a much less number than usual, and the Infirmary funds could therefore, have been but very slightly - if at all - enriched.
The Hastings balls, &c. are recorded in the next chapter.
The St. Leonards Amateur Union, conducted by Mr. F. Thomson and the Hastings Amateur Glee and Madrigal Society (conducted by E. Moore), gave a united concert to a crowded audience at the Music Hall, on the 31st of January, which realised about £25 for the Infirmary and Dispensary.
For raising and engaging the National Schoolroom, the same St. Leonards Amateurs gave an admired concert in the Assembly Rooms, the first half of the programme consisting of Christy Minstrel solos and choruses, in which the brothers J. and W. Skinner and A. Beck, received rapturous and well merited encores.
To aid the families of the Drowned Fishermen was the object of another concert given by Mr. F. Thomson's St. Leonards Musical Union on the third of July, in which Mr. J. Skinner was recalled, "Onward Roaming" was redemanded and the flute solo by Mr. Funnel and violin solo by Master J. Barnett, were greatly applauded.
Another Concert (for charitable purposes) was given in the Assembly Rooms on the 4th of December by the St. Leonards Amateur Union, conducted by Mr. F. Thomson. The pieces selected for [ 8 ]rehearsal were of no mean order, and the execution of them was a complete success. The soloists were the Messrs J. & W. Skinner, A. Beck, W. S. Tinley, A. Wrenn, F. Towner and H. Brett, Jun. The last named (since, many years a successful journalist in New Zealand) vocalised an organophone horn part to one of the pieces which met with an enthusiastic reception and encore.
(For Hastings concerts see next chapter)
The Hastings and St. Leonards Horticultural Society naturally held their bi-annual exhibitions alternately in each town, and the interest taken in them both by visitors and well-to-do residents appeared to be of a more practical character than has been of late years . The Subscription (now the Public) Gardens, usually lent for the occasion by Mr. Burton, were always visited with a keen enjoyment, and it was there that this year’s autumnal show was held on the 20th of September. The weather was favourable, the music was enlivening, the exhibits were admirable, and the arrangements satisfactory.
This affair was originally intended to form part of the united Hastings and St. Leonards Regatta, but the Postal question having been unwisely revived, an antagonism between the two towns was again renewed, and a meeting of the sub-committee was held at the British hotel on the 6th of September, with G. Gipps, Esq. in the chair, when it was resolved to hold a separate St. Leonards Regatta on the 19th. Nearly £70 had been received or promised, and further subscriptions were invited to be paid into the Libraries or to Mr. How, of 44 Marina, or Mr. Brett, of Norman Road. The day arrived, but, as was the case at Hastings, the regatta had to be postpomed in consequence of rough weather. It was attempted on the following day, but after the third race was again abandoned. It was, however, renewed on the next day, notwithstanding that the aqueous and windy conditions were but so slightly improved as to make it a hazardous affair. Thanks to the exertions of the committee and the good seamanship of the competing crews, the protracted aquatic amusements were at length brought to a close.
On the 19th of June the Hastings Council and the St. [Notes 1]Commissioners perambulated the boundaries between the Local Board [ 9 ]district and the township of St. Leonards. They commenced at the Archway and appropriately terminated their trudge at the Terminus Hotel, at Bopeep. The perambulators were accompanied by umbrella weather all through the route, and were not sorry to partake of the refreshments provided for them at the Terminus (now the Bopeep) Hotel.
Said the St. Leonards Gazette, of Sept. 1st. – “Public Bands, two in number, are now alternately playing the promenades of both towns, agreeably to the arrangements of the committees and pleasurably to visitors who are rapidly taking up their abode in our queen of watering places.”
Chapel-of-Ease (Church in London Road)
In the early part of the year this new episcopal chapel was undergoing considerable alteration, including a new aisle and increased seat accommodation; and on Sunday the 9th of September the church was re-opened, when services were conducted by the Revs. W. W. Hume, J. S. Ruddach and C. L. Vaughan. The attendance, both morning and evening was such that although the sittings had been increased to about 500, there was not sufficient accommodation. On the Wednesday following, the parishioners assembled to select their seats, and every one was at once secured.
The Congregational Church.
On the 26th of August the annual sermons were preached for liquidating the debt on this place of worship, the result of which was a collection of £73. One half of the previously existing debt having been promised by members, there remained but £227 to be extraneously sought for.
New Church at the Tivoli
On the 21st of September the first stone was laid of the new Church of St. Matthew at the Tivoli, in the parish of St. Leonards, and on land belongong to the Rev. J. Cumberlege, at whose expense also it was to be erected. The design, by Mr. Voysey, of St. Leonards, showed that the structure would be of rather small dimensions. The length was to be 55 feet, width 27 feet, and height 29 feet. The number of sittings would be nearly 300. The Revs. W. Tilson Marsh, W. W. Hume, T. Vores and J. Cumberlege took part in the service, and the stone was laid by the Countess Waldegrave, her ladyship’s 6th or 7th operation of that sort.
New Wesleyan Schoolroom
On the 28th of March was laid the foundation stone of a school-room in connection with the St. Leonards Wesleyan Chapel in Norman(sic) [ 10 ] Norman road. The site was the unoccupied part of the burial ground in the rear of the Chapel. The building was to be forty feet long and 30 feet wide, and to have accommodation for 200 children. Mr. Pocock, of Knightsbridge was the architect, and about £300 was to be the cost. The building was planned for an entrance from Shepherd street as well as from the chapel. The ceremony of stone-laying was supplemented by a tea-meeting. About £14 was collected on that occasion, which made something like £40 already in hand towards the £300. As time went on other amounts were collected and at the end of the year there remained to be obtained £50 to clear off the debt. On New Year’s Day, 1861, nearly 150 persons partook of tea for the first time in the new rooom(sic) which was gaily decorated, and a very pleasant evening was spent, during which there was some excellent singing.
A Norman-Road Difficulty.
In the month of April, whilst the Directors of the South-Coast Railway had consented to throw open a path at Bopeep to which they imagined the public had no legal right, the executors of the late John Wellsted, conjointly with his surviving partner, so far closed a portion of Norman road as to render it impossible for two vehicles to pass each other. Abutting the top of that road was a plot of ground of sufficient dimensions for a moderate size house, and which extended more than half way across the main thoroughfare. Ths piece of ground had been offered for sale, and it was thought the Local Board of Health would purchase it for the purpose of keeping the road open to the public. As, however, the estimated value of the ground by the opposite party exhibited a disparity of figures in the proportion of about one to three, the negotiations were not successful. It was intimated that if the Local Board did not have the ground for what they considered to be a reasonable price, they would obtain it by other legal means. As if to try this question and bring it to an early issue, the pickaxe, saw and hammer were put into requisition at an early hour on the morning of the 27th of April, and in a few hours the ground was completely enclosed with strong posts and rails, much to the annoyance of several drivers of vehicles and to the astonishment of passers-by. All sorts of questions were naturally asked as to the purpose of such erection and as great a variety of replies were given by the “Knowing ones”, but the most generally accepted intimation was that of “a cattle pound”. Later in the day the spot was visited by some members of the Town Council and the Inspector of Nuisances. It was judged that the old combatants, “Right” and “Might” would soon be again pitted against each other, with a result unsatisfactory to at least [ 11 ]one of the parties having a direct interest therein. The Town Council had before then given notice to Messrs Job and Parks that the Board would proceed to acquire the land under the Local Government Act of 1858, and in reply to that notice, Mr. Henry Chandler had offered to take £200 for the said land, to avoid further litigation.
At a later meeting of the Council a Government Inspector’s report was received, in which the opinion was expressed that sanction should not be given to put into force the provisions of the Act [Lands Clauses Consolidation Act of 1845] until it is shown that the said land is not already dedicated as a part of the highway. After the receipt of that report , Mr. Beecham, as solicitor to Wellsted’s executors, was asked that the claimants should show the reasons why the property should not be considered to be already dedicated to the public? In answer to that question Mr. Beecham produced a conveyance of the land in 1846, in which Messrs. Wellsted and Chandler had 16 feet frontage. The Government Inspector having also stated in conversation that it was a question to be taken up by the St. Leonards Commissioners, Mr. Putland at the Council meeting, stated that the said Commissioners had no power to purchase the land, as it was in the district of the Local Board. It was then resolved, on the motion of Mr. Howell, that the executors of Mr. Wellsted be asked the lowest price they would take, and the St. Leonards Commissioners be also asked if they would contribute anything towards the purchase? To the first question the reply was £200, a sum previously named; and to the second question was that although the Commissioners could not endorse the Government Inspector’s opinion as applying to them, they would nevertheless guarantee £25 towards the purchase. It was resolved by the Council to offer £150 as the maximum price, and that to include the Commissioners’ £25. This sum was, however, declined, and at a later meeting of the Council (as will be seen in the next chapter an additional £25 was offered and accepted, making the Commissioners offer altogether £175.
Roadal and other Improvements
The above described purchase of land was, of course, for the purpose of improving the thoroughfare, and there were at the same time negotiations being carried on between the Local Board and other land-owners for similar purposes. These are detailed in the Council meetings in the next chapter; but there were also private speculations of a like tendency to improvement simultaneously in operation. For the extension of buildings in the direction of the Warrior-square Railway Station, Messrs Putland and Son were constructing a roadway from the Western road to the summit of the railway tunnel and extending towards the Wheatsheaf Inn in Bohemia road. The land was laid-out in building plots, and thirty or forty residences [ 12 ]of a superior construction in the villa style it was believed would be erected thereon at no very remote period. These roads are now known as St. Johns and Chapel Park roads.
Destruction of a Martello Tower.
The Armstrong-gun practice upon a doomed tower near Eastbourne on Tuesday the 7th of August was a source of attraction, not only to the Hastings and St. Leonards volunteers, but also to a vast concourse of lookers-on from these and other towns.The precision with which some forty rounds of 40lb., 80lb., and 100lb. shot and shell were delivered upon this small roundabout piece of fortification was the theme of admiration of all who witnessed it. Nor was there less surprise at the extraordinary and unlooked for resistance offered by the work of a past generation to the terrific powers of modern engines of destruction thus brought to bear upon it. Two days later, the operations were resumed, the object being to demolish the sea-face of the tower, said to be ten feet thick. The penetrating power of the huge bullets and the blasting effect of the shells soon began to tell visibly upon the already weakened tower; yet it was atonishing(sic) to see with what tenacity the old walls held together. At length, however, after volley-firing had been resorted to, the remainder of the centre pillar was destroyed and the sea face was rent in several places. As one who rambled among the ruins at the close of the operations, was the present writer, who brought away as a souvenir an eighty-pound conical shot, carrying it several miles across the marsh to meet the train at Pevensey. See pages 155 to 157 for bombardment of Tower near Bexhill.
“A Souvenir of Galley Hill.”
The word souvenir used above reminds one of the same word employed, a few weeks after by “B. T.” in the St. Leonards Gazette, at the head of the following lines.
A pleasant goal for ride or walk
We found it; and I find it still
A pleasant theme for after talk,
The tow’r crowned headland, Galley Hill.
For those fast friends in time of need,
Kind sympathy and prompt Good Will,
Best solace for the invalid,
Escorted me to Galley Hill.
The west wind breathed a welcome bland,
As led by Hatch’s noted skill,
My pony (from the Holy Land)
Toiled patiently up Galley Hill.
And here, methought, how sweet to stay
Remote from drug, exempt from pill,
To wile(sic) the heavy hours away,
Inhaling strength on Galley Hill
Supremely indolent, and yet –
A thought to disenchant and chill! –
How shall the convalescent get
His Times at ten, on Galley Hill
Abiding place it may not be!
With that I turned and gazed my fill
Of that fair span of land and sea
Within the ken of Galley Hill.
All rural sights and sounds, save one,
(The songster’s friend, the murmuring rill)
Up gathered, seemed an open boon
For eye and ear on Galley Hill
All peace, as on that day befel,
No moaning gust, no sea-bird shrill,
No hollow laugh of languid swell,
Broke the repose of Galley Hill.
Blithe exile from the gay parade,
Where Time oft seems so hard to kill,
I felt ‘twere shame to be afraid
To cope with on the Galley Hill
Last, marking, as the evening wore,
The eastward star-high Fairlight mill,
And the soft curve of lowly shore
The foam-girt foot of Galley Hill.
And round our homeward slow return
The hues of sunset deepened, till
Arrested Fancy might discern
A glory upon Galley Hill.
So back, ere yet, the splendour waned,
Not dreaming we of change or ill,
Alas! that very night it rained,
Like – midsummer on Galley Hill.
“St. Leonards, Sept. 21, 1860”
Falls of Cliff. (fatal or otherwise)
At a little after midnight of Tuesday, Jan. 24th, many tons of cliff fell from a height of about 100 feet upon a stable and coach-house at the back of the Fountain Inn, at West Marina, crushing in a portion of the building, and immediately killing a man named John Barker, a native of Bexhill, and one who had previously subsisted by collecting rags and bones, and doing odd jobs. He had been in the habit of sleeping in barns, stables, brick-kilns, or any other place where he could find refuge. A pony and two dogs were recovered unhurt. Damage to property about £70.
Another Landslip. The St. Leonards Gazette, of Dec. 29th, had the following:- “On Monday last, as a workman was excavating the cliff at the western part of St. Leonards for the purpose of getting sand, a portion of the superadjacent mass came down with a crash close to where he was standing; and , but for his dexterity in getting away, might have killed him on the spot. He escaped, however, as by a miracle, with only a few scratches. It was within a few feet of the spot where John Barker lost his life at the back of the Fountain. We have often dwelt on the dangerous nature of the cliff at that part of the town, and have wondered why steps were not taken to remove the overhanging and protruding of loose earth which threatened , sooner or later to precipitate themselves to the base. The Inn above named and adjoining houses appear specially liable to spoilation, and we would advise their owners either to remove the danger themselves or to apply to the authorities to get it removed ere it be too late.”
More Falls of Cliff. In the following week the same journal stated that “During the rapid thaw which set in on Sunday and Monday, and thus quickly after our note of warning, several tons of earth became detached from the cliff at the western part of St. Leonards, and fell [ 14 ]in crumbling masses to the base of the said cliff abutting the road. At several points between the Caves and the Railway Terminus Inn there are traces of an “avalanche” but in every instance, it is our pleasure to say, out of the range of buildings in that locality. It is fortunate that, not long since, a portion of the cliff was cut down in the rear of the buildings known as the Marina Inn and Caves Cottages, or we should have trembled for their safety.”
“Early on Wednesday morning (says the Hastings News) there was a heavy fall of snow in this district. The London nightmail on Thursday morning arrived two hours late, and the Dover mail was obliged to be brought in by the first train from Rye. Throughout the northern counties snow fell to a considerable depth on Tuesday night.” Tuesday was the 18th of December, and the weather forecast for that day (published several days in advance) was “Fair and mild for time of year; night brings wintry atmosphere.” On the following day, Wednesday, the forecast was “Sol and Saturn now in trine; still more cold and still less fine.” And on Thursday, when the mails were impeded, the forecast was “Saturn now doth stand at ease; bidding ground and water freeze; where not that, a chilly blow; with, methinks, a fall of snow.” The forecasts were published in the St. Leonards Gazette.
A Summer Gale.
On Saturday the 2nd of June, a tempestuous gale visited the south coast, and caused destruction of property on land and loss of life at sea. Although in our own immediate district the loss of property was comparatively small, no fewer than ten of the Hastings fishermen found a watery grave along the coast. Of these, Edward Pomphrey and his son, White, Sutton, Mann, Britt and Spice, whilst attempting to get into Newhaven harbour, in the fishing lugger Endeavour, were drowned. Two others, Gallop and White, were submerged whilst making a similar attempt, and the tenth, (Sutton) was lost near Brighton. There had been a succession of gales quite ununusal(sic) for that time of year for nearly a week, but coincidentally, nevertheless, with untoward astronomical indications. On that particular Saturday the planet Mercury was in conjunction with Herschel and Jupiter, whilst the Moon was in quartile aspect to Saturn, and trine position with Jupiter and Venus. During that stormy week, as shown by the Board of Trade returns, there were no fewer than 143 wrecks, and on the particular Saturday here noticed 51 more were added to the lamentable wreck-roll. “As we were going to press, remarked the St. Leonards Gazette, of June 9th, a public meeting, convened by the Mayor, was being held for organising relief for the [ 15 ]widows and families of the Hastings fishermen who were drowned. Some lines on this melancholy event were written at the time by H. R. Kent, 12 years of age, and son of Robert Kent, of Hastings, and are here reproduced, with apologies for slight verbal alterations by the eiditor(sic) of Brett’s Gazette:-
“’Twas summer’s eve, in month of June,
Not far from Beachy Head.
A fishing-boat, with hardy crew,
Was sailed by Uncle Ned.
He’d toiled the seas for many a year;
Had many dangers passed;
And little thought as thus he sailed,
This voy’ge would be his last.
He’d sailed the coast, from north to south,
Full many a season oe’r;
Nor thought he as that day he sailed
He’d Beachy round no more.
The sun was sinking in the west,
Just at the close of day;
When Pomphrey’s boat, Endeavour named,
Was speeding on her way.
The day had been both clear and bright,
But now was overcast;
With backing wind to sou’-sou’-west
And merc’ry falling fast.
And soon huge clouds began to rise
In dark and threat’ning form;
Which those who sailed the seas well knew
Betokened coming storm.
“My lads,” said Ned, “you see those clouds
In yonder western sky;
I like them not – They mischief show -
I fear the storm is nigh.
See all our gear secure and close,
Our hatchway snug and tight;
The wind now freshens, and I see
A coming dirty night.”
“See how”, said Ned, “the sea-birds fly,”
(Whilst anxiously looked he);
“So shorten sail – prepare for gale,
And steer for open sea.”
“Why steer for open sea”, said one,
“When there’s a harbour near?”
“I’ve weathered many a storm ,” said Ned,
And think we need not fear.
“Our craft is sound from stem to stern,
Before and aft the mast;
And if that Providence so wills
We’ll still live-out the blast.”
The wind with fearful force increased,
The clouds flew quickly by;
The sea became one sheet of foam,
The waves ran mountains high.
For many an hour the lugger braved
Her combat with the storm
Whilst all the time the sea-waves rolled
In grandly awful form.
But came there soon one mighty sea
Which struck the boat amain
And sank her in the ocean’s trough,
Never to rise again.
Yes! Sank the boat with her brave crew,
Into the storm-tossed deep,
Where billows roar they’ll hear no more,
But ‘neath the waters sleep.
Yea! sleep, that “long, cold sleep of death”
Which hear we good men say
From which none wake until is heard
The call of Judgement Day.
Fate willed that Ned should not rest there;
A fisher’s friendly hand
His body in the deep blue sea
Both found and brought to land.
That he might lie in native earth
With those he used to love,
His body there to rest; his soul
To flee to realms above.
In All Saints ground poor Edward lies,
Within the silent tomb
One victim of that fatal gale,
On second day of June.
There many were who shed a tear
When tolled the funeral bell,
Yet with that tear devoutly wished
Ned’s soul in heaven would dwell.”
What was done for the families of the poor men who were drowned in that terrible summer gale will be found in the next chapter, under “Hastings”.
Other Particular Deaths
A Supposed Murder. The body of a bricklayer named William Sands, who had worked for Hughes and Hunter, and had lodged at the Nag’s Head, St. Leonards, was found on the sea shore near Rye harbour, with a number of incised wounds about the head and face. It was proved by several witnesses that the unfortunate man had previously gone from St. Leonards to Hastings, and from Hastings to Rye. It was also shown at the inquest and adjourned inquest that Supt. Jeffery had exhausted every resource to unravel the tangled mystery of death, but had not succeeded. It was reported in Rye that a coastguardman had seen a man and two women drop something heavy at the edge of the harbour channel on the Tuesday night preceding the morning when the body was found. The adjourned inquest was held on the 4th of February, and the verdict arrived at was that the deceased had been wilfully murdered by some person or persons unknown. The deceased had a son, 13 years of age, lodging with him at St. Leonards. He came, it appeared, to St. Leonards from Maidston(sic), from which latter town it was learnt that he was an intemperate man; that he had another son in the Cocksheath Union, and that he had two daughters, one in service at Maidstone and one in London.
Singular Deaths. “In our obituary” says the St. Leonards Gazette, of May 5th, 1860, “is recorded the deaths of two infant children belonging to Mr. John Bray, of Sussex place, St. Leonards. These children – a boy and a girl, were born at the same time, and consequently, were twins. The girl, during her existence of a year and eight months, was subject to occasional fits, some of them of several hours duration, but the male child grew up apparently strong and healthy; yet, strange as it may seem, the former was seized with a fit of much less violence than many she had previously endured, but which nevertheless, carried her off in a very short time. This, though a source of grief to the parents, was felt to be less loss than [ 17 ]if the stronger child had been taken from them; yet, was their consolation – if such a term be applicable – of the briefest kind; for, at exactly the same minute on the following morning, they were deprived of the other child in a precisely similar manner. The fact of these children being born so nearly together and with the same symptoms may be regarded as an extraordinary coincidence, yet the curious in such matters would not ascribe it to chance. Some years ago it was stated in the Tyne Pilot that the wife of a sailor named Fifty, at North Shields had two daughters at one birth. More recently these daughters were married within three days of each other, each to a sailor, commenced housekeeping within three doors of each other, and presented their husbands with twin daughters.
Death of a Town Councillor. At his residence, 15 Marina, St. Leonards, the death of Mr. John Austin took place on the 4th of May. Mr. Austin was a retired builder, the owner of considerable property, and a representative of the West Ward in the Hastings Town Council. He had been out of health for a considerable time, but professed to be pleased to have a little gossip with the present writer whenever the state of his ailment did not prevent self-exertion enough to reach the latter’s premises. The two were members of the Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows, and though Mr. Austin was of a genial disposition, it was believed that the mutual friendship sprang from the persevering efforts of one of the party to improve the financial position of the Lodge. Mr. Austin’s remains were conveyed to the Borough Cemetery, attended by seven carriages, containing friends, executors and members of the Town Council.
Manslaughter. On the 11th of October an inquest was held at the Town Hall to ascertain by what means Mr. John Holder, of St. Leonards – a carpenter and volunteer – came by his death. The enquiry lasted a long time, and was adjourned till the following Monday for additional evidence. The leading circumstances appeared to be that on the evening of the 9th of October, the deceased was at the Warriors Gate Inn, apparently elated with his success at the Rifle shooting on the previous day. From thence he went in company of three persons, Walter, Wix and Geering, to the Horse and Groom, where they had two pots of beer and appeared to be on friendly terms. In leaving to go home Wix held out his hand, saying at the same time, “Good night, brother chip.” Deceased said “No, I shall not shake hands with a stranger.” After this, high words followed, and each party, in a state of intoxication wanted to fight the other, but were for some time restrained by Waters, who stated that he was sober. At last deceased struck Wix, the latter returned the blow, the deceased falling to the ground and remained for some time insensible. At length consciousness returned and on being asked where he lived replied, “Anywhere you like.” He was then laid in one of the porches of Lavatoria square. After Waters had assisted Wix home to his own house, he returned with a constable to where Holder had been placed, but [ 18 ]found he was not there. Afterwards, at about one o’clock in the morning, Holder was found knocking at a door in North street. The occupier looked out of the window and called “police” several times. As deceased would not desist, the occupier went down stairs and pushed him away. A constable came and the intruder was given in charge. Supported by the constable he went to the lockup. There he was placed on a bed and covered up with two rugs. He was visited by the sergeant every half hour, and found to be asleep and snoring till nearly 9 o’clock, by which time he had fallen off the bed, and whilst breathing heavily was also bleeding from the mouth. Surgeon Underwood was sent for, who found the sufferer in a state of insensibility from compression of the brain. He died at about two in the afternoon. At the conclusion of the adjourned inquest, the jury returned a verdict of “Manslaughter” against Weeks(sic), who was then bound over, himself in £100, and two sureties of £50 each to appear at the Assizes.
(Other particular Deaths & Inquests in next chapter)
Accidents and fatalities
A valuable horse, belonging to Mr. Hoad, riding-master, while endeavouring to pass a milk-cart, on the evening of Jan. 19th, at Eversfield place, was accidently forced by its rider against the shaft, and died on the spot, the unfortunate animal having been pierced to the heart.
Reuben Tolhurst of Bexhill, was working with other plate-layers at Bopeep, St. Leonards, on the 3rd of May, when the 10.10 down-train came upon him almost unawares, and while endeavouring to get clear of it he lost his balance, and was struck with terrific force and killed.
A Broken Arm, near the wrist, resulted to a youth named Foord, on the 15th of May in consequence of a fall from one of the new houses then being erected on the Marina.
Broken Ribs, perforated lungs and other serious injuries resulted to Mr. Thomas Lewns, a carpenter, on the 22nd of May, by a fall of 40 feet from a house that was being built near the Magdalen church, St. Leonards. His employers were Messrs. Carey and Avery, and his residence Shepherd street. He was conveyed to the Infirmary, & it was at the time thought that his many injuries would prove fatal. His ultimate recovery, under the skill of Mr. Ticehurst, was regarded almost as a miracle.
Premature Slaughter. On the 2nd of August, a bullock, belonging to Mr. Boorman, a butcher, in Norman road, strayed upon the South Coast Railway, and was knocked over the embankment at Bulverhithe. The poor beast there writhed in agony for a considerable time, but was ultimately put out of its misery by premature slaughter.
A Lady hurt and others alarmed. On Saturday, Oct. 6th, at Grand parade, a gentleman and three ladies were thrown out of a carriage [ 19 ]in consequence of the horse having shied and run against Messrs. Alderton and Shrewsbury’s van, which was unloading at the time.
Another Injured Horse. On Tuesday, Oct. 9th a pony ran away with a carriage at Eversfield place, and inflicted serious injury on a horse belongong to Messrs. Burfield by running the shaft into its breast.
(See next chapter for Hastings accidents)
Thomas Tutt, jun. having applied to the Town Council for the hire of a piece of stone-beach, west of Bopeep, and the Council being disposed to grant the application, on Mr. Ross’s representation that the said stone-beach belonged to the Corporation, a letter from C. H. Frewen, Esq. was immediately published (January 16th, 1860) wherein the writer denied the right of the Corporation to consider the stone-beach westward of Bopeep as their property; and in the event of the Corporation wishing to try the legality of their assumed title, they were promised an opportunity at the next assizes. Mr. Frewen also intimated that should Mr. Tutt or anyone else erect a shed on that ground, it would very soon be taken down.
Alderman Ross replied to Mr. Frewen’s letter as follows:- “Sir, It is quite true that I believe the Stonebeach within the borough belongs to the Corporation, and that they have for many years neglected their rights conferred upon them by Charters, and more fully confirmed by that of Elizabeth. We can prove paying a rental for it for more than 300 years, and the last payment was made in due course in 1859. I can only say this, that if you can show a better right to the Stonebeach, of course you will have it, and if the Corporation claim is good, why, they will have it. I know nothing of law, and can only judge by reading our charters and records, which, in my humble judgement speak volumes in our favour, as well as Counsel’s Opinion. You may be right and me wrong. I cannot say. The law, I presume, will alone decide the question. May I suggest that any further communication you may have to make on the subject may be made to the Town Clerk, as I am only one of the Corporation.”
“C. H. Frewen, Esq., Coghurst Hall.”
The Council, however, decided to let the said piece of stone-beach to Mr. Tutt, who erected a boat-building shop thereon. But on Tuesday, the 19th of June, when the Hastings and the St. Leonards ruling powers were amicably perambulating the divisional boundaries, Mr. Tutt’s shop was brought to sudden destruction by means of a strong chain and a team of six horses.
(See Town Council meetings, next chapter, for other details) [ 20 ]
Revival of the Postal Question.
Said the St. Leonards Gazette of September 15th “Having, as it were but just recovered from the mischievous effects of the old party feud revived a few years ago by certain of our East-end rulers, we had hoped that the spirit of antagonism and bitterness then called forth was allayed for ever, and that the united efforts for the benefit of both towns lately manifested in the Volunteer movements, the regatta, the bands, &c. would be a lasting guarantee of social goodwill. But a consummation so devoutly to be wished, it appears is not to be. The old wound has been opened by those who first inflicted it, and will, no fear, require more than the ordinary amount of skill in the healing art to restore it to its normal condition. Most of our readers are probably aware that at the last meeting of the Town Council a resolution was passed for a committee of that august body to wait upon the Postmaster General to confer with him for an alteration of the present postal arrangements. There are also many persons who remember how strenuously we opposed aforetime the sought for changes; how, by fair and unrefuted argument we showed the impropriety of the movement; and how the result, in all its phases, was exactly as we shadowed forth. We are very unwilling to be again dragged into the arena of conflicting interests, but as the battle has to be re-fought, we should be unworthy of the cause we then espoused did we now shrink from the advocacy of what we believe to be the claims of truth and justice. It is a sorrowful thing that men in a public capacity should assert and re-assert for party purposes or private ends that which they know – if they know anything – is not true. Such has been done by some of the Aldermen of our Council Board, and it behoves us, as journalists, to deal plainly with those mis-statements, whether they be made in ignorance or in malice. At the meeting referred to above Mr. Ald. Ginner is reported to have said that there was no town except Hastings that had two post-offices; that it was a disgrace to the place; that the number of mis-directed letters, three years ago, was between ten and twelve thousand, and had gone increasing to a fearful extent; that people were expecting letters in the morning and did not get them till the afternoon. Mr. Alderman Clement also said that he was, every week, getting letters delayed till Wednesday morning which should come to hand on Tuesday morning. Now, we tell Mr. Ginner (what he already knows) that Hastings and St. Leonards have one general post-office each; that they are sources of great convenience and no disgrace to the place; that the number of mis-directed letters is not between ten and twelve thousand a year; and that the actual number – now [ 21 ]comparatively small – is not “increasing at a fearful rate”, but decreasing at a gradual rate. We further undertake to tell Mr. Ginner that which if he does not already know, he ought to – namely, that the public do not have the inconvenience of waiting till the afternoon for letters which ought to reach them in the morning; but that a provision is made by the post-office authorities for a simultaneous delivery of letters, whether rightly or wrongly addressed. This is shown even by the statement of Alderman Rock, which, unintentionally proves too much. “I might say” observed the speaker just named “that my letters reach me at Fairlight early in the morning, and that they are directed sometimes Hastings, sometimes St. Leonards, and sometimes Fairlight.” What is there, then, to prevent Alderman Clement getting his letters equally early, and what becomes of the assertion of Alderman Ginner that mis-directed morning letters are delayed till the afternoon? The truth is that whatever inconvenience there might have been years ago, in consequence of letters getting into the wrong bag, the evil has long since been remedied by an exchange being made previously to the time of delivery. We suppose, however, that no exposition of their shameless assertions will convince these gentlemen that they are not the real guardians of the public and that the St. Leonards people are only contending for their rights when they strive to retain the present postal arrangements as those that are entirely adapted to their requirements.
We can assure those gentlemen who are so anxious to remove an evil which does not exist, that their proposed abolition of the St. Leonards post-office will find no favour in this part of the borough, and that, to a man, we shall resolutely oppose it”
A Memorial, numerously signed by both residents and visitors, to the Postmaster-General, was prepared with great avidity at the time when the above article was written, praying that no alteration be made in the postal arrangements as proposed by the Town Council.
The Hastings News, of the following Friday put forth its sentiments thus:- “Greek will soon meet Greek on the great Postal and Boundary controversy. The tug of war threatens to be severe; for both parties are hard at work – arranging for deputations and preparing memorials. The present effort of the Town Council is founded on the fact that, with two head post offices in one borough mistakes are constantly occurring, as the postal bundaries between Hastings and St. Leonards are very artificially marked. The denial of this fact is one of the most barefaced pieces of blundering into which the [ 22 ]sanguine temperaments of zealous partizans ever fell. The postmasters may goodnaturedly do their best to mitigate the evil; but the evil still exists; and by no amount of sophistry can the statement be disproved that great inconvenience is daily occurring, through the delay necessarily arising from St. Leonards being addressed to Hastings and vice versâ. With a central office for the borough, this confusion and delay could not happen. All the letters would come into one office, and they would at once be properly sorted for their respective destinations. The excessive sensitiveness of our west-end friends should not be recklessly outraged; but it is asking too much to demand that out of regard to it, such an anomaly as the present system should be continued. We are glad to find that the child’s play of painting up names and daubing them out is not to be acted over again. We never thought highly of the wisdom which led to that abrupt plan of re-naming the west part of Hastings during the former dispute; still less did we admire the big-boyism which was encouraged in contravention of the orders of the Local Board. If the former was ill-judged, the latter was considerably worse than undignified. We rejoice, then in the promise that this comedy will not be re-acted. The contest, we hope, is this time between gentlemen, who can differ without losing their temper, and not between Local Board painters and midnight guys.”
The Gazette Again. Following up the discussion, the St. Leonards Gazette in its next issue, put forth the following rejoinder:- “The present effort of the Town Council” remarks a contemporary, “is founded on the fact that with two head post-offices in one borough, mistakes are constantly occurring”, and “the denial of this fact is one of the most barefaced pieces of blundering into which the sanguine temperaments of zealous partizans ever fell.” In taking up this question we should have thought the News – for that is the contemporary allu&ded to – would have given us something more definite than these vague generalities as to what mistakes are constantly occurring, by whom they are made, and what amount of inconvenience arises from it, by whom the inconvenience is felt, who are the complaining parties, and some other particulars. We should also have thought that the said journal would have enlightened us who are the zealous partizans possessed of “sanguine temperaments”, and guilty of “the most barefaced blundering”. In the absence of such information we are inclined to speculate upon the probability of the above quotations having reference to some remarks we felt called upon to make in our last week’s impression. If our surmise be correct, then we must challenge the News to disprove what we have promulgated, and to establish by fair argument and reliable [ 23 ]statistics the untenableness of the position we have assumed. Until this is done, we shall reiterate as often as may be needful our last week’s refutation of certain statements made at a recent meeting of the Town Council. It may suit the purpose of certain parties with ulterior designs to foist upon the public erroneous representations in which a comparatively small amount of inconvenience is magnified into large proportions, and to propose as a remedy that which they well know must be attended by a tenfold – nay, a hundred-fold greater inconvenience to such as would be affected by the change. What sane man, for instance, will believe Mr. Alderman Ginner’s assertion that in the event of the St. Leonards post-office being abolished the people in that district would receive their letters as early as they do now? Is it not apparent to the most ordinary intellect that the mails which now arrive at St. Leonards first, by being carried through to Hastings and conveyed back again must necessarily be delayed half an hour; and is it not equally clear that the letter-boxes at St. Leonards must, in such case, be closed considerably earlier than at present? It follows, then, as an unavoidable result, that without a general post office, the present facilities for epistolary correspondence at St. Leonards must be abridged to a considerable extent, and that, too, without any equivalent compensation in other ways. We do not believe, however, that the postal authorities have any intention of acceding to the unjust demands of our neighbours; and, as corroborative of this view of the case, we may mention that an order from head quarters to put on an additional letter-carrier at St. Leonards has this week been put into force. We will not pursue the subject any further at present, but conclude with a suggestion that as our Hastings friends are desirous of trying the effect of one post-office only for two towns, and that as the St. Leonards people are equally desirous of not having their own post-office abolished, let the experiment be made by having the amalgamated offices in the latter town. From what we hear, we judge it not improbable that in the event of a change, this plan will be adopted by the postal authorities. We shall then see who are the losers”
The Hastings News, in the week which followed the above second article in the St. Leonards Gazette assured its readers that “A contemporary for whom we have respect, has fallen into the mistake of supposing that our last week’s notice of the controversy was occasioned by his observations. We beg to assure him that we do not know what he said about the matter; and only saw his subsequent remarks through having our atten[ 24 ]tion called expressively to them.”
“Let Well Alone” was the signature to a letter which appeared in the same number of the Hastings News, and written by a gentleman of independent means whose residence was in Warrior square. The following is extracted therefrom:- “With respect to the post-office question itself, the well-conditioned portion of the community, both east and west, had seen and lamented the evil effects of the previous agitation, and deeply regret the re-opening of the controversy. Granting, for the moment, that the agitators had a reasonable cause of complaint, and that the mis-direction of a few letters were a real instead of a sham grievance, the arguments in favour of the status quo would still greatly preponderate. The following are a few of the considerations which suggest themselves. In the first place there is a usage or prescription of some thirty years in favour of the present arrangements, and long usage, we know, in many cases, overrides the law itself. Secondly, the claim of the West-enders to a separate Post Office is now stronger than ever, and is becoming still stronger daily [Witness in later years its three or more general offices and a sorting office, in addition to pillar-boxes, wall-boxes, &c]. Thirdly, they value this privilege very highly, and have unmistakeably expressed their desire to retain it, and their determination to resist its withdrawal to the utmost. Fourthly, as the Westenders are among the best supporters and customers of the east end their wishes in a matter in which they are the parties chiefly concerned, are surely entitled to some consideration; and it would be rather a silly thing for ‘the wise men of the east’ to jeopardize a good business at the bidding of a vain and restless busybody who has, I am told, himself no interests of this kind in connection with the west end. This is what is called being made a cat’s-paw. Fifthly, this is the first instance on record of a Town Council having petitioned the higher authorities to deprive a portion of their own constituents of a privilege or advantage which they possess and value; the more unusual the privilege, the more it should be prized. Lastly, considering the previous decisions of the Post Office authorities on this very question, this move is in effect an insulting attempt to stultify the previous proceedings of that department and to convict them of stolidity or corruption. Surely, on a dispassionate review of all the circumstances, we can only come to one conclusion, namely, that no public body acting under a sense of their responsibility, and having the slightest pretensions to good taste, good feeling or good sense, would attempt by the action of a tyrannous majority to force down the reluctant throats of their fellow townsmen a measure which they deem to be at once meddling and uncalled for – offensive and insulting.” [ 25 ]Another Letter from St. Leonards appeared in the Hastings News of Nov 23rd, of which the following is a copy:- “Sir, - As you are generally accurate in your statement of facts, there is, no doubt some good reason for your giving the number of missent letters annually at 16.000, instead of 12,000, as stated in the ‘Memorial’. But put them at which number you will, I do not think much of a case can be made out of it. There are now several deliveries a day, and the inconvenience of a few hours delay is in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred not worth consideration. In really urgent cases of life or death, most people now have recourse to the cheap telegram. Add, that by far the most numerous sufferers – namely the west-enders, whose letters are mis-directed “Hastings” are content to suffer; they are indeed as bad as that base ‘knife-grinder’, the British people whom all the eloquence of Mr. Bright cannot lash into a becoming sense of the cruel wrongs they are daily enduring. But were the case of missent letters as strong as it is weak, it surely ought not to prevail against the express wishes of so large a portion of the population and a prescription of so many years standing. It is currently reported, however, that the Post Office is not the real question. ‘Verbum sap’ as Punch says. If so, nothing can be more absurd than the movement. Suppose Mr. A. B. is ordered by his physicians to go to St. Leonards – not Hastings. He looks at a house, say, in Eversfield place, and is then told it is Hastings. The result would be that he either would go beyond the Archway and take a house which does not contribute to the rates of Hastings, or go off to Torquay or Bournemouth, and be lost to the place altogether. I do not allude to the general arguments against any change which have been ably stated, nor should I have called attention to the subject at this time of day but for the fallacy of these statistics of mis-sent letters, as if they really involved 12,000 cases of inconvenience or serious delay. In conclusion, I may add that as far as my personal convenience is concerned, my views are quite disinterested, for I happen to be so located that the proposed site for a common Post Office would suit me perfectly well; but I have always considered this agitation as a piece of selfish, meddling impertinence, and as such I feel called upon to resist it by word and deed. I am, your obedient servant, “Lucanus An Appulus Anceps” “St. Leonards-on-sea, till further orders” “21st November, 1860”
The Editor of The News explained that the fortnights official return gave the number of 660, which is at the rate of 17,160 for 52 weeks. This was the Editor’s mode of reckoning, but if he had known that the total number of letters of all kinds in one fortnight was no criteria for other fortnights of the year – the letters passing throught the post-office at some periods of the year being [ 26 ]from one to two thirds fewer than at others; and if he had also known of the disreputable stratagem of misdirecting a number of circulars which passed as letters, as did the present writer, he would have been less assured of the accuracy of his calculation. This will be more fully explained in the next chapter, where the statements at the Town Council meeting will be annotated.
And still another letter appeared in the same number of the News, the contents of which are here re-produced:- “Sir, - Statements being industriously circulated as to the number of mis-directed letters sent through the Post Offices of Hastings and St. Leonards, apparently with the view of misleading the public and inducing them to suppose that the large number of letters in question are delayed in their delivery in consequence of such mis-direction, it is but fair to state that in 1854 this case was fully gone into by the Post Office authorities... Since then, however, a further arrangement has been made, viz, the immediate transmission from one office to the other such mis-directed letters in good time to include them in the regular deliveries for which they are intended. This has completely fulfilled the object with regard to the principal portion of the correspondence, which is that received by the early morning mail, no delay whatever taking place in this delivery; and it is obvious that by a similar arrangement, if thought necessary, provision might as easily be made with regard to the mis-directed letters of the afternoon mails. It seems hardly necessary to state that in by far the greater number of cases the mis-direction alluded to arises from letters for St. Leonards being addressed ‘St. Leonards, Hastings [Yes, all or nearly all], instead of ‘St. Leonards-on-sea,’ only; in consequence of which they are put in the bags for Hastings. But who are the parties – if any – to complain of this? Assuredly not the people of Hastings, who do not suffer by it. Then, why do they moot the question and stir up the feeling between the inhabitants of the two towns – which should be united by mutually good offices – and induce the Postmaster General to suppose that good would result from a change in the postal arrangements for St. Leonards with which the inhabitants of that district have, on every occasion, expressed their satisfaction? They want, they say, one Central General Office for the two places. What would be the consequence of the General Office being placed in a central situation, but to remove it to where there is the least amount of population, and so give rise to inconvenience and discontent to both towns, the population of which is massed at the extremes, not in the centre? The branch offices which would, perhaps, be left there, would be required to be closed at least an hour earlier than at present, as is the case in other places, similarly situated, to allow of the transmission, sorting and making up the bags. Surely the people [ 27 ]of Hastings ought to see the inconvenience of any such change in the present arrangements. I am, sir, very truly yours. J.G.”
“St. Leonards-on-Sea, Nov. 21st, 1860.
“Discontented” was the next correspondent of the News on the Postal Question, and his letter was intended as a counterblast to the previous one by J. G.; but so inapplicable were his assumed “facts” to the case in dispute that anyone with the least acquaintance with the general rules of the Post Office must have seen at once the weakness of that writer’s advocacy of change. His letter to the News was, however, quickly met by
Another from J. G. to the same journal as follows:-
“Sir, - Lest your discontented correspondent should imagine, with that modesty which, it would appear, is one of his characteristics, that he has virtually settled the postal question by his startling array of facts, I beg once more a little space in your columns. He evidently looks upon his letter as a crushing reply to the few remarks I ventured to trouble you with last week. I do not think, however, on examination that his somewhat laboured effusion will effect the mischief he anticipates. I would observe at the outset that ‘Discontented’ has been wholly oblivious of the arguments adduced in my former letter as to the desirableness of retaining the two existing offices. The fact that with respect to the great bulk of the correspondence, viz. that received by the morning mail no delay whatsoever takes place in the delivery; the satisfaction with the existing arrangements repeatedly expressed by those whose interests are involved; the peace of the borough and the mutual goodwill which ought to exist between the two towns; the inconvenient situation of the wished-for central office, and the evils consequent therefrom, are passed over entirely. And now I will examine his ‘facts’. The first in order is that about twelve months since six letters were posted in different places addressed to well-known persons in the two towns, those names in the St. Leonards delivery being addressed Hastings, and those in the Hastings delivery being directed to St. Leonards, &c. Is there not something very suspicious in the fact that the whole of those names in the St. Leonards delivery were addressed Hastings, those in the Hastings delivery being directed St. Leonards? It would hardly seem possible that six letters could at the same time be posted in different places, thus wrongly addressed to well-known persons by accident. And I am strengthened in this view of Discontented’s first fact by knowing that within the last few weeks over a hundred circulars passed by the same post through the St. Leonards office thus addressed. Of course, I am to believe that this was by accident, and not to assist in swelling the numbers in the recent return of mis-directed letters! Your correspondent travels a long way back for his second ‘fact’. The tradesman he alludes to, he says has been in business about ten years; the letter in question followed him from a neighbouring [ 28 ]town from which he had removed. Strong presumptive testimony is thus afforded of the small amount of inconvenience caused by the existing arrangements, by our friend being necessitated to produce as a grievance such a stale example as this ten-year old ‘fact’. And now for ‘fact’ No 3 – the case of the gentleman at Eversfield place. If the letter referred to in this instance had been addressed to the particular house in which the gentleman was staying, it could not have failed to reach him; as - though your correspondent would seem to ignore the fact – there is a postman specially for that part of St. Leonards situated east of the Archway. It is evidently impossible, with arrangements ever so complete, and with officials ever so acute, to ferret out individuals staying perhaps only for a week or ten days in a place unless the address is clear and precise. So little inconvenience is felt, but rather so great are the advantages resulting from the present constitution of things that the inhabitants of Eversfield place are not the least of those who are strenuous advocates for our postal arrangements to remain as they are – and this, too, in the face of the extreme probability that in the event of their being one central office it will be either in Eversfield place itself or its immediate neighbourhood. As there does not seem to be anything more in Discontented’s letter deserving of notice I will dismiss both it and himself by expressing an opinion that if no more serious objections can be instanced than those he has advanced, far better would it be for our friend of the east to let the postal question alone. What would a change effect beyond flattering the overweening vanity of some few individuals invested with a little brief authority, but to curtail existing privileges, diminish general convenience and engender lasting discontent and illwill throughout the locality? But before closing my letter, I would ask why is it that recourse is had to such objectionable practices as that of wilfully mis directing a host of circulars for the purpose of swelling the returns asked for by the authorities in London? Again, why do the deputation appointed at a former Council meeting delay their solicited interview with the Postmaster General? We are not in the dark as to the reason of this delay. It is pretty generally understood in the west end that they are afraid of venturing into the presence of his lordship, constituted as the deputation is at present. An attempt, it is said, is to be made at the next Council meeting to get rid of Mr. Gausden, because he would represent matters as they really are. Is this fair play? What stronger testimony can we have of the conscious hollowness of the cry of the discontented minority? Your readers will appreciate [ 29 ]the worth of the present movement and the unworthy manoeuvers now being put into practice to accomplish the end in view.”
“I am very truly yours, J. G.”
“St. Leonards-on-sea, Dec. 3rd, 1860.”
That J. G. was perfectly right in his statement that an attempt was to be made at the next Council meeting to get Mr. Gausden out of the deputation is shown by the following extract from
The St. Leonards Gazette. This journal, of the 8th of December, said “Those of our readers who are familiar with the present agitation on the part of a few members of the Hastings Town Council to deprive St. Leonards of its Post Office, will remember that a committee was appointed as a deputation to wait on the Postmaster-General to confer with him on the subject. The Committee having neglected to to execute their mission in consequence of there being one member opposed to the views of the others, an attempt was made at the meeting of the Council held yesterday afternoon to remove this obnoxious gentleman from his appointed post by a motion to rescind the order of September last. In making this motion, Alderman Ginner – who, on this occasion had been the prime mover throughout, sought to justify his conduct by saying that he never knew hope planters when they intended to wait on the Chancellor of the Echecquer(sic), send to Canterbury or Maidstone for someone to go with them who was opposed to their view; and, for the same reason, he had objected to Mr. Gausden. That Ald. Ginner, of all men, should have given such an infelicitous illustration to his motion was incomprehensible. The two cases were not at all similar in their bearings. Mr. Gausden was a member of the Corporation as representative of the West Ward, which would be most affected by the change, and he was also one of the four appointed as the deputation. The motion to rescind the previous order having found a ready seconder – as was to be expected – in Ald. Ross, Coun. Gausden proceeded to lay such a statement before the meeting as, while it laid bare the unworthy attempts of Messrs. Ginner, Ross and Bromley to get him off the committee, told with crushing effect against the promoters of the agitation. It was, he remarked, a serious question, and one that involved the independent voice of the Council. He would ask if such treatment as he described was due to him, and whether Aldermen Ginner and Ross considered the character of an Englishman was such as to permit him to bear it? Mr. Gausden then went into details respecting the recent official return of missent letters and other matters connected with the postal question, in which he proved by facts and figures the misrepresentations of Mr. Ginner and the truth of all that has been put forth in the St. Leonards Gazette. By an analysis of the 17,000 letters said to have been delayed, it was shown that 9,000 suffered no delay whatsoever, and that of [ 30 ]the remainder from which any inconvenience was likely to arise, only three occurred daily as affected St. Leonards, whilst Hastings was affected to the merely nominal extent of five letters in a fortnight. Mr. Gausden also showed that Government derived an income of £2,000 a year from the St. Leonards office, and that the expenses were not more than £280. The advantages of the existing arrangements were then contrasted with those of Brighton, where there was only one general post office, and where, in some of the districts letters had to be posted three hours before the departure of the mail, and in nearer and more favoured districts, one hour before such departure. Taking all these things into consideration, Mr. Gausden contended that to deprive St. Leonards of its post office, instead of lessening any small inconvenience, would be to increase it ten or twenty times. The proximity of the Council meeting to the time of our going to press prevents us reporting it at greater length. Suffice it to say that the motion was negatived by a considerable majority.” This motion which was intended to exclude Councillor Gausden from the deputation and to shut out the West Ward from having a voice in the matter, although proposed and seconded by East Ward Liberals was regarded as being so wanting in fairness and righteousness that Mr. Howell, an East Ward Liberal, Mr. Winter, an East Ward Liberal, and other East Ward Liberals, voted against it.
(For same subject at Council meetings, see next chapter)
The Western Waterworks.
At the commencement of the year it was proposed to change Mr. Clark’s Eversfield Waterworks in to that of a company to be called the Hastings and St. Leonards Water Works Company. The names of the provisional directors were Charles Clark, of Shornden (engineer), Walter Pell, gentleman, of Carlisle parade, George Medhurst, hotel-keeper, of Carlisle parade, John Banks, accountant, Bleak House, and John Bishop, gentleman, West Hill. The secretary was William Hall, of Shornden.
“Filled to overflowing“. A large quantity of surface water deposited by the heavy rains of Sunday, May 13th, having found its way into a large reservoir connected with the Eversfield Waterworks, effected a breach in the embankment, and descended impetuously into the gardens below. The estimated loss of water was ten million gallons. The damage sustained at the works themselves was slight, but it was thought the lessee would be called upon to pay heavily for the injury done to the Local Board Works in the parish of St. Andrew.
Much more concerning Mr. Clark and his Eversfield Water Works will be found in the next chapter, under the head of “Town Council Meetings”.
[ 31 ]Geological Discovery. In excavating the ground at the Tivoli for building purposes (afterwards called Silverlands) in the autumn of 1860, a large collection of bones were got out, some of them of an immense size, clearly indicating that these fossil remains were those of two members of the Iguanadon family. The discovery was prosecuted diligently, and ultimately the bones were sent to London in a number of long cases.
“An Hour with the Microscope“ was the title of a lecture delivered by Mr. W. Selway, of London. The weather was extremely boisterous, but those who ventured to leave a comfortable fireside to buffet a strong sou’-wester, were amply repaid by what Mr. Selway had to tell them.
A Lecture on Henry 8th was delivered in the Wesleyan Schoolroom on the 12th of December by the Rev. R. Jones. The lecturer first treated of History in a general way, and then entered into the manners and customs of the age. Following that was an account of the warlike contests between England, Scotland and France, the Pope’s domination and the power wrested from his hands.
“Metropolitan Sights, or A Week in London” was what the Treasurer of the Mechanics’ Institution (T. B. Brett) commenced a series of readings and lectures on Tuesday, December 11th. Of this reading, the Hastings News said “Notwithstanding the unfavourable weather there was a good attendance. Among the many objects noticed were London Bridge, the Monument, St. Pauls Cathedral, the Mansion House, the Bank of England, Royal Exchange, Guildhall, various noted churches, the halls of the City Companies and many other places of interest.The whole was given in a discursive and pleasing manner, and Mr. Brett was frequently applauded.
A strike among the toilers of the feminine gender is rather a novelty, but such a novelty occurred on the 3rd of October, and the people of St. Leonards were witnesses thereto. The fair dames of frothy waters and the smoothers of crinoline thought fit to tell the “Missus” and all others who might feel concerned, a bit of their mind, which was something after this fashion:- “For years and years we washed and ironed, and ironed and washed from 6 in the morning till 9 at night, not so much to enrich the “missus” as to enable her to take work at starving prices. We shan’t do it any longer.” This determination having been agreed upon by some forty or fifty of these over-worked and justly complaining women, the Crier was dispatched on an errand of mercy, to proclaim to the world that the public washers and ironers of St. Leonards intended only to work to the end of the week on existing conditions, and that if at such period their [ 32 ]demand to work from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., instead of to 9 p.m. as theretofore be not complied with, they would cease work altogether. Friday came, and with it the tug of war. A general strike took place, which caused quite a commotion throughout the town. Bands of resolute females of all ages hurried from house to house, repeating their demand, and sternly refusing any compromise that was offered by some of the employers. The battle was to be decided on the following Monday, the result of which is shown by the following article copied from theSt. Leonards Gazette:- “The strike among the laundry maids and matrons which we recorded last week appears, for the most part to have been amicably arranged – a circumstance which has led to a general resumption of labour. We rejoice that an event which at one time threatened infelicitous results, has been brought to so speedy and satisfactory a termination. There can be but one opinion with unprejudiced persons as to the necessity of shortening the long hours of toil to which these females have for years past been subjected; nor ought there to be less unanimity of feeling entertained of the generous sympathy which has prompted the employers to yield to the demands of the employed so readily and so honourably. Theirs it was to resist what many of them considered to be an innovation, and to hold out to the last against an attempted abrogation of a system sanctioned by long usage, and subject to which certain contracts had been undertaken. This ready acquiescence on the part of the employers shows that whatever sacrifices they are called on to make in the adoption of the short time movement, they at least do it generously; and, probably, with the conviction that the concession is just one. No one who has paid attention to the subject can fail to perceive that the protracted hours of labour as applied to this class of persons are detrimental to health; and that the victims of this incessant toil, and their families as well, are deprived of comforts which the weekly earnings would otherwise procure. Look at the haggard countenances and shrunken frames of those who stand at the wash-tub from six in the morning till nine at night, and say if they do not depict a weary life of drudgery and an absence of all domestic comfort! True, there are some whose rotundity bears the impress of a somewhat easier life; but how is it purchased? Too generally, we fear, by an over-indulgence in stimulating potions, vulgarly described as ‘taking their drops according to their troubles’. What wonder, then, that the work room teems with other impurities than those arising from the several processes employed in the routine of laundry [ 33 ]work? Bad conduct and bad language, according to the letter of a correspondent in this day’s issue, are too often manifested, tending to the annoyance of the employer and to the disgrace of the employed. But what shall we say of the steady and well-conducted woman whose first sense of duty is to faithfully serve their employer, and whose next care is for the welfare of her family? We have seen such a woman late in the evening, enter a grocer’s store, turning down her gown-sleeves and asking to be served with a few provisions for the next day’s consumption. Ay! and we have seen such a woman rush into a draper’s shop just at closing time desiring to purchase a few yards of calico ‘to make the boy a shirt’ or a remnant of print ‘to make the girl a pinafore’, before she (the mother) went to bed. Thus remaining up half the night in household duties, what wonder is it that the poor creature, jaded at night and unrested in the morning, is unable, though straining her powers to the utmost, to accomplish what her employer would demand as a good day’s work? Ye exquisites of the counter who glibly recount the ills that flesh is heir to, and clamour for a remission of labour, have you ever bestowed a thought on the more irksome and more protracted labour of those who provide you with clean linen? And has it ever occurred to you that your want of success in the early-closing scheme is mainly due to an exclusive and selfish principle with which the movement has been invested? Shop early! say you. But how is it possible for such persons as we have described to do your bidding? It seems to us – and we have many times said so – that the movement began at the wrong end. It is impossible in our present article to do more than notice a few of the most prominent features in connection with the laundry-women’s strike, and we will therefore bring our remarks to a close by exhorting those on whose behalf we have made them, to put the two hours per day which they have gained to a good and profitable use, and to do all in their power to prove by increased interest or activity that the loss to employers is less than they imagine.”
The Late Professor Jacobs.
Of this ventriloquist, conjuror, and impromptu composer and singer of songs from any sort and number of words given him by the audience , I could say much, it having been my privilege to supply the musical accessories for several years on the occasion of his visits to Hastings and St. Leonards. I will, however, leave the [ 34 ]Hastings News to speak of him thus:- “Professor Jacob’s entertainment was a very successful affair. Attending the entertainment professionally, and wearied physically and mentally, we entered the room, feeling at the moment that the Professor and his tricks were a decided bore. It is but fair to confess that we soon realised the truth of one of Mr. Jacob’s introductory remarks, that two hours laughter is better than three bottles of medicine. The Wizard Temple was splendidly fitted up; many of the tricks were new; the magician’s power of pleasing, great; and the oddities of his Goblin Sprightly such as could not fail to excite the cachinations of any auditory. The finger dance was greatly admired, and not less so the grand transformation of Sprightly into the magic goose. The improvisitorial song on the Great Estern(sic) , Post Office, Crutches for Lame Ducks, Humbug, &c. took immensely... The Professor and his coadjutor Sprightly were frequently and warmly applauded.”
A Three-horse Omnibus commenced running in August from the Swan hotel, Hastings, to the Bopeep railway station, St Leonards (as in annexed view) several times a day. The fare was 6d. the whole distance or 4d. to and from Warrior square.
References & Notes
- Brett most likely omitted the word 'Leonards' here - Editor
Transcriber: Sally Morris
- Could be Barnes v Robertson - Transcriber
- Trine = an astronomical term meaning relating to, or being the favourable astrological aspect of two celestial bodies 120˚ apart. - Transcriber
- Amain = with full force, at full speed, suddenly, hastily exceedingly - Transcriber
- ‘Lucanus An Appulus Anceps’ is apparently from Horace, who was born on the borders of Lucania and Apulia. Anceps literally means ‘two-headed, uncertain, unfixed’, reflecting the writer’s position between Hastings and St. Leonards -Transcriber