Brett Volume 9: Chapter LXVII - St. Leonards 1862
| This is a verbatim transcription of Brett’s work, which comprised both manuscript and typescript cuttings, and therefore reproduces Brett’s variations in style, capitalisation, punctuation and spelling. The only alterations made have been to the pagination and images whereby both page titles and images have been moved to the most appropriate paragraph as opposed to where they were pasted into the texts by the author. Where possible, personal names have been checked against census, parish records, contemporary newspaper reporting and the Central Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths. A number of footnotes have been inserted by the transcriber when this has been thought to be useful.
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Chapter LXVII - St. Leonards 1862
Pg. 158 St. Leonards Commissioners. At the first quarterly meeting in 1862 (March 25th) the only commissioners present were A. Burton, Esq. (chairman), G. H. M. Wagner, Esq., Sir Woodbine Parish, D. Burton, Esq. and Newton Parks. The business transacted was as follows:- A strong oak fence ordered to be put up from the end of the sea-wall to Putland’s ground, opposite the Fountain, with a locking-up bar-way. Garbage forbidden to be thrown down on the beach by the fishmongers above low-water mark. In reply to the memorial of West-Marina inhabitants for improvement in front of their houses, the Commissioners said all they could then do was to put up iron posts and rail instead of oak posts and rail as previously ordered. Tenders received for the drainage of Quarry hills were by Hy. Hughes, £32; G. H. Broadbridge, £25; and Solomon Stubberfield, £21. An application in a letter from Mr. Growse, the Hastings Town Clerk could only be complied with as a temporary measure, it being understood that the application extended solely to Mr. Hughes’s house then building. The Commissioners were averse to having additional drainage into their sewers, and were not at all satisfied with existing arrangements. – The accounts for 1861 were ordered to be advertised in Brett’s St. Leonards Gazette, Ransom’s Hastings News and Bacon’s Chronicle, on condition that the last named charge the same as the others.
Encroachment. A letter having been received from Messrs. Bickle and Stoneman relative to an encroachment at 21 Marina, it was resolved that without admitting that the site of the encroachment was private property, and without waiving their right to abate the encroachment at any time, the Commissioners were not disposed to interfere so long as no objectionable blind or other impediment be suspended or put over the west side of the site to the inconvenience of the public.
Repairing Groyne. – At the quarterly meeting on June 25th, Mr. Selden reported that the repairs to the Groyne on the east side of the Library would cost £47 and that such repairs would probably secure it for ten years. The work was then ordered to be done.
Hire of Room. Mr. Yarroll’s offer to furnish a room at his house in East Ascent for the Commissioners’ use, at a rental of £15 a year was accepted at the June quarterly meeting.
The Retaining Wall at the back of West Marina having been repaired by Messrs. How and Kenwood, the cost of the same (£30) was ordered to be paid. At the same meeting it was reported that
The Wooden Steps in front of 36 Marina, had been washed away by the late gale. It was therefore ordered that they be replaced with stone steps, using the stone lately taken down from East Ascent, and the steps be made to face westwards.
The Easternmost groyne at the Archway was also reported to have been damaged by the sea during the late gale. No order given.
Paving ordered to be put down N. & W. of Mr. John Carey’s (now Kennards) ware Pg. 159 house, occupied by Mr. John Kenwood, if the latter will do it for £16.
Election of Commissioners. At a town’s meeting on the 1st of September, Col. John Thomas Leslie, of 98 Marina, was elected in place of Robt. B. Brander, Esq. (disqualified); Chas. Richard Harford, Esq. was elected in the room of Mr. James Mann (deceased); Robt. Warner Wheeler, Esq. of 99 Marina, in lieu of the Rev. J. A. Hatchard (resigned); and Mr. Chas. Thos. How, in place of Arthur Burton, Esq. (disqualified).
Commissioners Present at the quarterly meeting on Sept. 29th, were Major Ogle, G. H. M. Wagner, C. H. Gausden, Col. Leslie, C. R. Harford, D. Burton & C. J. How.
Repairs to Groynes. – An order was passed at this meeting for £10 or £12 to be spent on No. 2 groyne, and £10 on No. 1, so as to make the latter last about two years longer.
Beating Carpets. At the same meeting it was resolved that any person found beating carpets on the beach would be fined £5.
The Surveyor’s Map of the Town, costing £15, was ordered to be placed in the Commissioners’ room at 21 East Ascent.
Re-numbering of Houses. At the same meeting (Sept. 29th) it was ordered that eleven be added to the numbers of houses, in the West Marina. This was westward of the Sussex hotel, those houses having been earlier built.
A Building Priviledge(sic). Also at the same meeting it was ordered that unless Messrs. Hughes and Kenwood, in building their houses at West Marina, limited the use of the road to ten feet, they would be proceeded against.
Thirty feet of chain, with a moveable centre-post, was ordered to be placed at the extreme west end of the parade, the same to be provided with a padlock, and the key to be kept by Mr. Newton Parks.
The Pathway in front of Miss Kinder’s house on the West Hill, to be paved, and Miss Kinder to pay half the expense. Also to ascertain if all the owners of property in that locality would consent to paving on similar terms.
Kenwood’s Paving. It was resolved that as Mr. Kenwood could not accept £16 as the half cost of paving round Warehouse rented by him from Mr. Carey at the corner of Lavatoria and Mercatoria, therefore £18 be paid to him.
Engine House. In reply to a letter from Supt. Glenister, asking what amount of rent the Commissioners would offer for the standing of the St. Leonards fire-engine in the engine-house to be erected at Mercatoria by the Local Board of Health, the Commissioners agreed to give £5 per year.
Pavement and Kerb to be put down in front of Rhodda’s house on the West Hill, half of the expense to be borne by the owner.
Members Present at the special meeting, Oct. 20th – Major Ogle, G. H. M. Wagner, C. R. Harford, Col. Leslie, Alfred Burton and John Carey.
New Lamps, 15 in number, to be placed as follows:- 3 at South Colonnade and Undercliff, 1 at West Ascent, 9 on the north side of the Marina, and 2 on the West Hill.
Pg. 160 Commissioners’ Yard. The following letter was received from Mr. A Burton:- “In reply to your letter asking if I have any ground available for a Commissioners’ Yard, I beg to say that there is unsold a small frontage belonging to the Burton Estate on the North side of the Caves road, eastward of that lately purchased by Mr. Gardiner, the price of which is £5 per foot. The depth is 80 feet, but of this only 60 feet is level ground, and if more is wanted, it will be necessary to remove the foot of the cliff and build a retaining wall.” The offer was not accepted; but at the next quarterly meeting, Mr. Burton’s offer to let his coal yard in Caves road at £10 per year was accepted.
Gully-gratings were ordered at the same meeting to be put down at Bickle and Stoneman’s shop (21 Marina), at Mrs. Harwood’s, and at Glos’ter Lodge. Also as a
Nuisance Removal, Jackson and Hogwood’s notice board was ordered to be removed from the front of 136 and 137 Marina.
Other Obstructions. Also ordered that boats, bathing machines and all other obstructions to be removed from the parade, except in stormy weather.
Removal of Beach to be prevented by the erection of a fence. This had already been done, and only required the sanction of the meeting.
West-hill Road. This the Commissioners consented to take over as soon as it should have been re-formed and channeled(sic).
The Undercliff Terrace was ordered to be re-paved with hard bricks.
A Donation of £5 5s. to the Fire Brigade for 1862 was ordered to be paid.
Salaries to be Paid. Mr. Young’s (the Commissioners’ Clerk’s) quarterly salary and disbursements, £14 19s. 19d.; Mr. Gant’s (the Surveyor’s), ditto, £7 3s.; Mr. Yarrol’s ditto and rent of room, £14, 5/- and £3.15.6.
Materials Sold. Lamp-posts, brackets, &c. sold to the Gas Company for £35 15s.
Tenders Received for a years ashes, from Mr. Wm. Mitchell £40; and from Mr. J. Kenwood, £95, or £110 for ashes and scavenging. The latter accepted.
Roads Committee requested to meet to consider about the cliff pathway offered by Decimus Burton, Esq., on the 28th of September, 1861.
Notice to be given to Mr. Starkey, that standing-room for the fire-engine in the Victoria Mews would not be wanted after Lady Day.
Vestry Meetings (St. Leonards)
At a parish meeting on the 28th of Feb., when only the two overseers were present, the following persons were elected constables:- Jeremiah Cruttenden, Richard Lamb, George Standen, - Hammond and Cloake.
Parish Officers Elected. At a meeting held at the Terminus hotel (Bopeep) on the 28th of March, Mr. R. Deudney proposed Mr. Elijah Marsh, as assistant-overseer in the room of Mr. Payne, who had resigned, and Mr. Hughes seconded. Mr. Groslobb proposed as an amendment that Mr. Richard Lamb be elected, Mr. Ward seconded. Mr Marsh was elected by 8 votes to 3, and being called in, said he was prepared with Pg. 161 the required bond of £100. The salary was to be £20 a year, as theretofore. Messrs. Payne, Peerless and Ballard were named for overseers; Thomas Holloway and Robert Aldridge were appointed assessors and collectors of income-tax; Messrs. Draper and Gausden were appointed surveyors of highways; and Mr. John Phillips was re-elected vestry-clerk. A poor-rate at 6d was figured for the borough part of the parish, and a highway rate at 4d. Also resolved that application be made for an additional poor-law guardian for the parish.
A Poor Rate at 1s. for the borough part of the parish, passed at the vestry meeting on the 10th of October, was the only business transacted.
Public Notices. At the meeting held on the 14th of November, a complaint was made that notices of parish meetings being placed only at the entrance of the church, the gates at which were usually locked except on Sundays, was a very inefficient arrangement; it was therefore resolved that in future such notices should be placed on the notice-board at the Assembly Rooms.
Vestry Meetings (St. Mary Magdalen Parish)
Election of Officers. At a meeting held at the Norman hotel on the 20th of March, Joseph Boston, William Callaway, Wm. Stoneman, M. G. Church and Chas. Cope, were named from whom to select overseers; A. Harwood and W. E. Skinner were elected assessors; and W. P. Beecham was elected vestry-clerk. The parishioners present were A. Sellman and W. Calaway(sic)(overseers) J. Morris, W. E. Hatchman, T. B. Brett, C. Cope and ten others.
Rearrangement of Rates. At the meeting on the 17th of April, the Clerk stated that a rate of 9d. in the £ would be necessary to meet the call of £1,300. It was, however, thought that three rates for the year would be better than two at 9d., and on the motion of Mr. How, this was agreed to.
Mr. Brisco’s Assessment. At the same meeting, Mr. Wastel Brisco, represented by Mr. de Medewe, objected to the assessment of his mansion and grounds at Bohemia as having been increased from £300 to £350. Explanations were offered by Mr. Boston, Mr. Putland, Mr. How and others to the effect that Mr. Brisco’s property was under-rated rather than under-rated(?); that there were over 19 acres of ground, including a garden, a stable, a beautiful riding-school and other buildings, in addition to the mansion, which was both a town and country residence; that it would probably let for £500; that houses in the front, with only the bare ground they stood on, were assessed at £200 to £250; that the Allegria, which would bear no comparison with Mr. Brisco’s property, let at £250; that Mr. Brisco had considerably enlarged and improved his estate; and that if he appealed against the assessment, the parish would defend it.
Additional Guardians. Also at this meeting (Ap. 17) the chairman introduced the question of additional guardians for the parishes of St. Mary-Magdalen, St. Leonards and Holy Trinity, remarking that in asking the Board to forward the application to the proper quarter, he had thought it to be a most reasonable request. But his motion was opposed by Messrs. Frewen and Harvey, and the decision was not to send the applications. – Mr. Putland then drew comparisons between the country parishes whose representatives op Pg. 162 posed the application and the parish of St. Mary Magdalen. The value of property was £5,000; in Guestling, £3,470; in Fairlight, £2,250; and in Pett, £2,5?, whilst in St. Mary Magdalen it was £36,000, or nearly one third of the whole Union. The amount paid by St. Clement’s for the half year was now £7,500, and All Saints £475 less; while in the western parishes there had been an increase of £250 in St Mary’s-in-the-Castle, £800 in Holy Trinity, £775 in St. Mary Magdalen, and £225 in St. Leonards. If the bill they were now considering should pass, the valuation of the whole Union would be placed in the hands of a committee, who, he believed would have full power to act without referring anything to the Board of Guardians. Hence they might run into any expense, and the parishes would have to bear it. He thought the Bill was a very sweeping one, and would be particularly prejudicial to this Union. – Mr. Beecham explained the object of the proposed bill to be chiefly to appoint a committee that might act independently of the overseers in many particulars, and that while it proided(sic) for a fair contribution of each parish towards the common charges, it took away all power from the rate-payers and gave it to the Guardians. In this explanation was seen an additional reason why the more populated and larger contributing parishes should be more equably represented on the Board of Guardians. It was proposed by Mr. How and seconded by Mr. Cope, that a petition against the proposed Act of Parliament should be prepared for signatures. The Bill was passed, however, and one of its provisions was that the guardians of every union should appoint an assessment committee to supervise the valuation lists of rateable property.
A Poor-rate at 6d. in the £ was passed at the meeting held at the British hotel on the 21st of August, and this was the only business. The vestry book was signed by ten parishioners as rate-payers.
An Assessment Committee, in accordance with the Union-Assessment-Committee Act of 1862, was appointed at the vestry-meeting held at the Horse and Groom inn on the 11th of December, such committee consisting S. Putland, sen., B. Bickle, T. B. Brett, W. E. Skinner, S. H. Willard, C. Hollebone, G. Cuthbert, J. Kenwood, A. Sellman and M. G. Church.
St. Leonards Mechanics Institution
At the first quarterly meeting of the year, the Committee’s report showed the number of life-members to be 35, and the subscribing members 116 – an increase of 13. The treasurer’s receipts (including a donation of £2 from Lord Harry Vane) to £23 13s., leaving a balance of 1/6 due to the treasurer. The outstanding liabilities had been reduced by £6 to £23. All the classes had been well-attended, the one for writing and arithmetic being superintended by Messrs. Wilson and Chandler, and the one for drawing by drawing-master Whittaker.
At the next quarterly meeting, on May 8th, the number of members Pg. 163 had declined, but only to the extent of six. The financial position was that that(sic) of 7s. 7d. due to the treasurer, and outstanding liabilities about the same as at the preceding quarter. The classes which had done good work, were discontinued for the summer, and votes of thanks were passed to the superintendents.
The autumn quarterly meeting was held on the 21st of August, and the proceedings were quite of a routine character. The senior secretary, (Mr. S. Putland, jun.) read the report, which showed the number of members to be only one less than at the preceding quarter, and the accounts of the treasurer (T. B. Brett) showed that the outstanding liabilities had been further reduced to £19.
Quite a lively interest was manifested at the annual meeting of this useful society which took place on the 13th of November. The number of members had increased by fourteen; the treasurer’s small adverse balance had been converted into a small favourable one; the library was in good order and had received an addition of new books; classes for writing, arithmetic, drawing and French were progressing; and the reading-room was open from 11 a.m. till 10 p.m. Mr. Stoneman, in moving the reception of the report, was pleased to find that the institution was still prospering, and that a valuable addition had been made to the library without increasing the then considerably reduced debt. The next business was to elect officers for the ensuing year, and in proposing for re-election their former president, A. Burton, Esq., Mr. Brett took occasion to intimate that although that gentleman did not take any prominently active part in the management of the institution, he had, in several ways rendered assistance, and the retention of his name on the roll, would, no doubt, be welcomed by the members. He also paid the annual subscription to the Society of Arts, which gave the institution certain advantages by its being in union therewith. Mr. Burton’s re-election was unanimous. The whole of the vice-presidents were also re-elected.
On the proposal to re-elect the treasurer, Mr. Brett reminded the meeting of his previously expressed unwillingness to stand in the way of any member who might be ambitious for the office, but at the same time so long as the members continued to repose confidence in him and he had time and ability to devote to the duties, he would not say nay to their solicitation. As one of the oldest members, he naturally felt an interest in the institution, but he also had what might be called a pecuniary interest, in common with the younger members. If, as he believed, the property was worth £500, and the number of members was 125, each member would be a shareholder to the extent of £4 15s. [Hear, hear!] The re-election of the treasurer was unanimous, as was also that of the secretaries, Messrs. Putland and J. Davis. A vote of thanks to the past officers, some general conversation followed, in which the condition of Pg. 164 the society was alluded to in congratulatory terms, and suggestions made for clearing off the remaining liabilities.
The St. Leonards-on-sea Schools
At a committee meeting of the managers of these schools on the 4th of February, 1862, the gentlemen present were the Rev. W. Tilson-Marsh the Rev. G. D. St. Quintin, the Rev. J Reid, F. W. Staines, Esq, and Messrs. Maggs and Peerless. Regret was severally expressed for the death of Capt. Hull, R.N., one of the earliest members. A petition was adopted to both houses of Parliament against the new Code by the Vice-president of the Privy Council.
Gymnastic apparatus having been applied for by the boys of the school, the Committee at their meeting on the 27th of May, granted the request on condition that the cost be limited to £5.
An Assistant Master for the Boys School at £30 salary, was ordered to be advertised for, at the meeting on July 29th. It was also resolved that a reward of 6d. per quarter be given to those who were not once absent.
Capitation Grant. At a meeting on the 18th of October, the Inspector’s Report (a favourable one) was read, and the capitation grants received, which latter were £25 8s. for 127 boys; £15 18s. for 106 girls; and £20 for 100 infants.
One of the most pleasant features of the festivities of Whit Monday was the humble, yet interesting procession formed by the children of the Wesleyan Sunday School, which perambulated the principal thoroughfares of St. Leonards, accompanied by teachers and friends. Their rendezvous was Mr. Deudney’s field, where right merrily did those little folk enjoy their lively games, and afterwards returned to the school-room, where to the number of nearly 300, they partook of a bountiful tea, amidst decorations composed of Nature’s own tapestry.
The Silverhill School. The annual treat to the Silverhill Sunday school children was given on the afternoon of the 22nd of July in a field kindly lent for the occasion by G. Clement, Esq., who, with others, occupied them in a series of games, whilst the ladies interested in their behalf, were preparing for them a bountiful repast, and to which the “happy family”, to the number of 160 sat down, the girls being accommodated with seats, and the boys finding “ample room and verge enough” upon the summer grass.
The National Schools, of St. Leonards-on-sea had their annual treat on the 22nd of August, when 170 boys and a similar number of girls marched through the principal thoroughfares to the Assembly Rooms, where they partook of a substantial meal, after which they proceeded to St. Leonards Green, there to spend the remainder of the day in cricket and other games suited to Pg. 165 their respective ages. The utmost pleasure seemed to animate the joyous party from the youngest to the oldest. The Infant School children had their treat in the schoolroom on the following day.
Address of Condolence.
The following address was sent to Her Majesty on the occasion of the death of Prince Albert:-
“To Her Most Sacred Majesty, Queen Victoria. May it please your Majesty, We, the undersigned inhabitants and visitors of the town of St. Leonards-on-sea, desire to approach your Majesty in this time of sorrow with the expression of our deepest sympathy.
“The whole nation mourns with you; and in this town, in which your Majesty resided for time in your earlier years, there is a peculiar community of sympathetic feeling in your Majesty’s grief.
“It has pleased Almighty God to take unto Himself the Prince, who was an ornament to the land of his adoption, and whose exalted character and genius rendered him, in no ordinary degree, a blessing to this country.
“May it please the God of all consolation to comfort your heart, and to draw forth in the Royal Family such an emulation of the virtues of the departed Prince, their illustrious father, as may render them a source of constant happiness to your Majesty and a noble example to the inhabitants of the whole British Empire.
"We are, with deep respect, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects.”
The address was signed by the Incumbent and 200 other persons.
Accidents. – (St. Leonards)
On the 18th of March a pony took fright, at Eversfield place, and ran towards Claremont at a rapid pace. Its career was stopped by the contact of the vehicle it was drawing with a house in Trinity street. The gentleman in charge was thrown out, but was not seriously hurt. The cart, however was smashed and the pony was greatly injured.
On the 24th of April, some ladies were being conveyed in a hired carriage to Hollington, when the fore part of the vehicle separated from the other portion. Fortunately the ladies were less injured than alarmed.
On the following afternoon, a youth named Upton, while at work on a new building, at St. Leonards, fell a distance of 30 feet, and was very much bruised and shaken.
On the 19th of June, while being driven between Bexhill and St. Leonards, a carriage belonging to Mr. Glyde had its shafts broken, and its occupants, who were much alarmed, were driven to their destination in another carriage, sent to their relief.
On the day next following, as a butcher’s cart belonging to Mr. Talbott, was being Pg. 166 driven to St. Leonards with a load of meat, the horse started off without controul(sic), and collided with a basket carriage belonging to Mr. Avery, inflicting thereupon considerable damage, and injuring the horse. The cart was turned completely over, and the meat, together with the driver, deposited underneath; but, strange to say, Mr. Talbott and his horse and cart escaped unhurt.
An accident of a serious nature occurred on the 13th of August to Mr. Rose Hilder, a St. Leonards flyman. He had just driven his carriage on to the stand when one of the fore wheels locked against the spring of the drag-chain and capsized the driver, head foremost on to the iron railing of the parade. The pony immediately set off towards Hastings, leaving its driver behind in a state of profuse bleeding. The injured man was first taken into Mr. Hempsted’s shop, thence to Mr. Penhall’s, at Eversfield place, afterwards to the Infirmary, and finally to Mr. Savery’s, at York buildings. There, at last, a surgeon was found, in Mr. Savery, himself, who dressed the unfortunate man’s wounds, and had him taken to his home in a precarious and even dangerous condition.
It was a period of numerous accidents in both towns. At St. Leonards, in addition to the case of poor Hilder, a carter of the name of Horace Quaife, while endeavouring to stop a runaway horse, was thrown down and so greatly injured as to necessitate his being taken to the Infirmary, where he died. Another accident was that to Mr. Spark’s of Mercatoria, who fell from a window of a house on the Marina, and was greatly injured. Mr. Sparks was afterwards a crippled invalid for many years before his death.
Horse accidents would make up a considerable catalogue of casualties during a year, yet are they thought but little of in comparison with railway accidents. At about this time they were more than usually frequent in and about the two towns, one of them, as above stated, causing death. The next to be noticed was on the 28th of August, when two ladies and two gentlemen, unattended by a riding-master, were proceeding along the Grand parade, and when just at the corner of London road, one of the ladies fell from her horse and was so injured that for a considerable time her life was despaired of. She was taken into Mr. Hempsted’s chemist’s shop, where physicians and surgeons were quickly in attendance doing all they could for the relief of the unfortunate lady, with her bleading(sic) head and lacerated face. For nearly two hours the sufferer lay in a semi-unconscious state, during which time her groans evoked the greatest sympathy on her behalf. At length, however, she was conveyed in a carriage to Hastings, where, with her family, she had been sojourning as a visitor.
A Fatal Accident occurred on the 17th of October, to an unmarried labourer, named Mark Ransom. During a high wind he was precipitated from the scaffolding of a new building at Upper Maze Hill, and when picked up it was found that his head was bent under him, and covered with some planks that had fallen at the same time. He was taken to his home at Bohemia terrace where he died three days later. His remains were interred on the following Sunday in Pg. 167 the Hollington churchyard. The funeral was attended by the members of the Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows, they having assembled to pay a last tribute of respect to their departed “brother”.
Another Accident at St. Leonards occurred on Sunday, the 19th of October, by which Mrs. MacEnteer, of Marine House, Hastings, met with serious injuries. The said lady, with two other females, was returning from St. Mary Magdalen church in a four-wheeled carriage, when, in consequence of the driver not putting on the drag, the horse started off at a quick pace down the steep road, and the carriage was overturned and broken. Mrs. MacEnteer was thrown out beneath the carriage, becoming unconscious and bleeding profusely from a wound in the head. She was taken to her home, where it was found that she had sustained a concussion of the brain, severe bruises on the body and a fracture of the right arm.
A Third Accident, within a few days, in which poor humanity was made to suffer, was that of Oct. 21st, when a carpenter of the name of Hopkins had scarcely commenced his daily toil ere he had to be conveyed to the Infirmary with a broken limb. He was endeavouring to pull a piece of timber out from a pile of the same material, when the superincumbent mass toppled over and fractured one of his legs.
Archery Prize Meetings.
The picturesque grounds of the Queen’s St. Leonards Archers were made the scene of a spirited competition for prizes on her Majesty’s birthday, that being the usual opening of the season. Both the shooting ground and the walks were in excellent condition, and what with a fashionable and rather numerous company, a good band and delightful weather, the toxophilites and their visitors must have enjoyed the opportunity thus afforded for several hours’ pleasurable relaxation. The prizes offered for competition were a small dial and compass for the ladies, and an ebony ink-tray for gentlemen. The former was won by Miss Julia Brown, and the latter by Mr. Norris.
The second of the series of prize competitions was eventuated on Saturday, June 21st. The sport had a goodly number of eye-witnesses, considering the much greater attraction of the Exhibition in “England’s great Metropolis”. The prizes were awarded as follows:- To Miss Julia Brown, for a score of 226, a silver brooch, with archery device; to Mrs. Smyth (221), a bouquet; to Mr. Norris (227), a handsome volume of illustrated poems; and to Mr. Gipps (218), a bouquet.
The Grand Annual Meeting, which was to have been held in celebration of the Duchess of Kent’s birthday, was postponed till the following Monday in consequence of unsuitable weather. Postponements are not generally favourable to public fêtes, and the rule probably held good in this instance; for, notwithstanding that a goodly number of persons visited the scene, there was a considerable falling off from the general averages of attendance. Pg. 168 The day, though not brilliant, was dry and pleasant, which added to the combined attractions of beautiful grounds, charming music, spirited shooting and a gay company, rendered the affair an enjoyable one. About thirty ladies and gentlemen took part in the shooting, and at the close it was found that some of them had made very high scores, but suffered large deductions for previously won prizes. Mr. Burrard? received the first prize for gentlemen, an embossed silver cup; Mrs. Col. Smyth, the 1st prize for ladies – a gold strap bracelet; Miss Julia the second prize – a gold brooch, set with brilliants; and Col. Smyth, a gilt plated inkstand. The Royal Victoria Challenge prizes were awarded to Mr. Norris, Miss Brown, Mrs. Smyth and Col. Smyth. Miss Pennethorne obtained the Subscribers’ prize. The Visitors’ prize was taken by the Rev. A. Cooper; and the prizes for the most central hits were obtained by Miss Whish and Mr. Norris.
A Bye Meeting was held on Saturday, Aug 23rd, which was successful in all its phases, the company being large, the shooting good, the music cheering, and the weather superb. The prizes competed for were presented by P. F. Robertson, Esq., and were awarded to the winners as follows:- First prize to Miss Mackay, who was loudly cheered, she having made the highest score even after great reduction as a winner of previous prizes; second prize to Col. Smyth; subscribers’ prizes to the Misses Pennethorne; and the prizes for the best gold to Miss Emma MacGregor and Miss Bramley. The bouquets for the highest gross scores were gained by Miss Julia Brown and Mr Claude Norris. The donor of the prizes was greeted at the close with three hearty cheers, as well for his presidency of the society as for his usual liberality.
Balls and Fashionable Parties.
The Annual Christmas Ball (postponed from the 26th of December, in consequence of the demise of the Prince Consort) took place at the Assembly Rooms on the night of January 9th. As usual, the company was of a fashionable character, but much less numerous than on most previous occasions, the total number not exceeding 70.
A Ball and Supper were given on New Year’s Eve by T. Brassey, Esq., at Beauport to a fashionable company numbering upwards of 100. Coote and Tinney’s London Band was in attendance and the amusements were continued till the early morning. Mr. and Mrs. Brassey also entertained a numerous circle of friends throughout the week.
The Annual Christmas Ball of 1862. Under this designation the terpsichorean amusements came off at the Assembly Rooms on the 29th of December, with great eclât. The ball-room was tastefully arranged, and the whole affair was calculated to afford the fullest enjoyment to the 130 persons who were present.
The Battle Abbey Painting.
The Dowager Lady Webster, a resident at Warrior square, St. Leonards, but formerly proprietess(sic) of Battle Abbey, munificently presented to the Hastings Pg. 169 corporation a large and valuable painting of the Battle of Hastings. This painting represents the death of Harold, but is one which for many years decorated the large hall of the Abbey. It is said to have cost the late Sir Godfrey Webster the sum of £2,000; and, as a memento, as well as a work of art, the painting had been coveted by many persons. Whilst, however, offers of purchase by other corporations were not entertained, her ladyship placed the memento of that grand struggle which resulted in an entirely new dynasty, in the safe keeping of our borough authorities to have and to hold the same for ever.
“Wars of the Gods”
By “G. G.” in the St. Leonards Gazette, of March 22nd. For the subject of these lines see special Council meeting, re harbour question, January 24th.
Great Gausden rose, with calm and placid mien,
With knowing visage, and a wink, I ween;
A minor God, if minor he can be
Whose head and shoulders reach to six foot three.
So lofty that his very Worship vowed
He only wished his head were in a cloud.
But though our Gausden breathed a higher air,
He, yet is, minor till he pass the chair.
He scanned his forces, who, in set array,
Had come forewarned to witness fun that day.
For Gausden had upon th’ agenda put
In mystic lingo what should now come out.
How calmly and how dignified he spoke!
And gave the Town Clerk such a gentle poke –
“Read, sir, if you please, my resolution
On which I plan a certain execution.”
[Gausden aside] “How like a dying duck,
The Town Clerk looks!” Come summon up your pluck!”
[The Town Clerk reads] and as the Clerk then read,
He wondered what was in great Gausden’s head.
“These are the amendments of the Council’s scheme,
But what the deuce they mean it does not seem.
The orders only do relate to tolls
For granting beach whereon the sea-wave rolls,
And landing-places, junctions and what not;
[Which Gausden whispers ‘All shall go to pot!]
Connections ‘twixt the harbour and the Land,
And piers and strips, and duties, and the strand;
Chickens unhatched, and money coming in
To major gods, with lots of surplus tin,
Wise resolutions, passed at Council meets;
Pg. 170 [Of which, quoth G., I hold the winding sheets.]
Again, great Gausden rose, with this remark –
“Now then, my pals, begins the jolly lark!
The manner, sir, in which I introduce
This matter, sir, to check the fast and loose –
If my conceptions rightly do opine –
Will make the magnates of the Council whine.
Your votes illegal I proceed to prove;”
His Worshipful the May’r began to move,
Which Gausden saw, and with a firm resolve
A deeper cut his Worship did involve.
“I say – and while I say it don’t presume
The May’r or clerk or others to impugn;
Forthwith I speak upon a business
Of which the nature you begin to guess.
Your weighty meetings in a stern compact
Are regulated by an ancient Act
Municipal, of eighteen-forty-two,
Which hath its guidance both for me and you;
And from the spirit of that Act, sir, now,
Your votes illegal I proceed to show.”
Some cried hear, hear! And some sang out chair, chair!
But Gausden’s head was lost in upper air.
Then he proceeded matters to discuss
Which quickly caused a most confounded fuss.
“Your public meetings only serve to show
How to the burgesses you give the go;
You blind the people as to what is right,
But I will undeceive them, sir, to-night.
You overpass the int’rest of the town,
And kick this Council, backside, up and down.”
Chair, chair! and Question, question! rang out now;
The gods were moved ‘twas certain that a row
Was on the tapis, for the yellow lines
Began to show themselves amidst the blues.
“Thus saith the Act, no member with himself
Shall make a contract, looking unto pelf[a].
No Councillor shall ever make a grant
Unto himself; the Act declares he sha’nt.
I plainly tell your Worshipful, the Mayor,
That Act is not repealed; so, sir, beware!”
“Pray, Mr. Moorgame* in whose law we trust [*Growse, town clerk]
Pg. 171 May or may not, and must he not, or must
A member purchase land or heredits –
Grant loans of money, picking up the bits?
Construeth this enactment to extend
To one man ever lending to a friend.
If that the friend shall hap himself to be
A jolly Councillor, as you or me?”
The Town Clerk said, “the Act is not repeated” –
A precious flaw which Gausden had revealed.
So on the latter run, while now and then
His backers tittered. – Merry, merry men!
Then calmly as he rose, so he resumed
His soft-hair cushion, while some others fumed.
But, somewhat quickly popped he on his hat
Forgot to make a motion; down he sat.
Uneasy stood the Mayor in his gown
And wriggled much beneath the civic crown;
The room was hot, his Worship hotter, still,
Choked in the throat by Gausden’s bitter pill.
Brief were his words – such words a thund’ring threat,
Replete with pathos, dignity and heat.
“By Jove! thought he, I am not now a colt,
But lose our harbour? Never! I will bolt –
Cut Majesty – cut office – cut and run –
Rather than see our harbour question done.”
Whereat his lieges rent the very air
With thund’ring plaudits to their valient(sic) Mayor.
The idea was stale – the words not those of Ross –
“My Kingdom, yes my kingdom for a Hoss!”
Then up sprung Howell, bursting with excess;
Pitched into Gausden (verbally you guess);
With trowel high upheld, the chamber rang,
With godlike fury and unmanly slang;
Heaping his hot bricks on Gausden’s head,
(Yet ‘twas apparent Howell was afraid).
“I scorn thy protests! side-winds I deride!
Thy legal quibbles ne’er will I abide!
And this I say [aside and only say,
Pg. 172 For tackling Gausden isn’t a child’s play]
When next that gentleman shall court the town,
The populace, not I, shall knock him down.”
Next, biting Winter – “Will the worthy Mayor,
Supposing Gausden’s law be provéd clear,
Inform the court respective of the votes,
So nicely dotted in the Council’s notes,
Be worthless or be valid, here or there? –
I humbly plead an answer from the chair.”
Confusion worse confounded now ensued,
The pot was boiling and the caldron brewed.
Then Ginner spake, - unawed by stern rebuff,
Spake wisely to the point, and spake enough.-
Spake oily?, as became a major god,
And scorned reproaches, spurned the Mayor’s rod.
No alderman is he, nor worth his soup,
Who shrinks from duty when the minors whoop –
“Your great majority was only two,
And this, our Gausden says, will never do;
Deduct the four – th’ illegal four, I mean
And your majority is nowhere seen.”
“Speak to the question!” quoth the angry Mayor,
“I bow, said Ginner, “to your Worship’s chair.”
The question was, regardless quite of pelf[a].
Eleven settled, each one self to self,
To lease and release, puff the harbour up,
And home returning, on their oyster sup.
“I cannot, will not, dare not ever shrink,
And duty stern forbids me, sir, to blink
This serious question; for, it clearly seems,
These gents proposed to back illegal schemes.
While Ginner lives and Ginner’s shdows(sic) grows,
With one eye open he will ever doze.
I move, your Worship, that a note be made,
And sent forthwith unto the Board of Trade,
Sealed with our seal, and humbly begging grace
For all our peccadilloes taken place.
And thanks to Gausden; also to our clerk
Who left these poor eleven in the dark.
Pg. 173 The Clerk aroused, most quickly up he jumps,
Yet nothing answers to Will Ginner’s pumps.
Quoth he “by name and also nature, sir,
I am your Worship’s own solicitor;
Which every title doth itself imply
I ne’er explain unless you ask me why.
This cunning Gausden hath his counsel kept,
Close as a weasel, while your Worship slept.”
Another Alderman – we will not name,
But only say, oh, fie, oh, fie! for shame! –
Condemned the ladies and their lords as well,
Who tell to ladies what they should not tell.
Yet, one more alderman, and I have done –
A gallant man, of Mars a worthy son,
Wrapt in his cloak – his martial cloak around –
At duty’s call, both now and ever found, -
Expressed regrets, which some there did not feel
That May’r and Council were not more genteel;
(and so say I, and so say other folk),
He justly gave a Corporation poke;
Worthy of fish, of turtle worthy too.
May Rock and Rifles flourish! So, adieu!
“G.G.: St. Leonards, 1862"
From the last week in July to the end of the season two bands were engaged to play on the parades, Herr Klee’s at St. Leonards, and Herr Kluckner’s at Hastings.
On Thursday, October 9th, the overseers or overseer (for, it was said, one overseer was too late to come in even at the end), the ex-overseers and the assistant overseer, together with a posse of youngsters perambulated the bounds of St. Mary Magdalen parish, and there seemed to be no bounds to the alacrity with which some of the “young hounds” scented and hunted up the boundary marks.
Some half a dozen old and middle-aged champions of St. Leonards set out for Whatlington on Tuesday, October 7th, on a shooting excursion, and with the valuable services of a Skye terrier as pioneer, and a nondescript omnibus to convey them to the scene of action. They succeeded in killing or (as some malicious people said) buying two rabbits, each with four legs, a couple of ears and a whole skin.
Pg. 174 Bonfire Boys.
The “Gunpowder Plot” anniversary was, this year (1862) celebrated in St. Leonards with greater pomp than usual. Whether this was caused by a desire to exhibit sympathy for Garibaldi as opposed to the Pope, or merely to keep up a long-observed custom was not openly stated; but, perhaps, the two ideas actuated the Bonfire Boys in making a display which entirely eclipsed any similar exhibition of previous years. Exactly at six oclock a large procession of 80 persons debouched from behind Stanhope place, bearing torches, flags, banners and other pseudo-regalia, and headed by a strong band of fifes and drums. The processionists were dressed in almost every conceivable variety of military costume, in which the Garibaldian predominated, and which notwithstanding the motley character, appeared to present a certain kind of uniformity. In the midst of these was a huge effigy, eleven feet high, and drawn upon wheels. The perambulation of the thoroughfares occupied four hours, during which time many hundreds of persons congregated along the route to witness the sight. At ten o’clock the effigy was burnt in front of the Marina, after which the party broke up. It is worthy of record that the utmost order prevailed, and that not a single discharge of fireworks was attempted during the whole of the procession.
Churches and Chapels
A beautiful screen, the handiwork of the Misses Brown, was raffled for, in the month of March, at a sum of £17 10s. which amount added to the receipts of last year’s bazaar for the Holy Trinity and Whatlington churches, augmented the total to £716.
The Wesleyan Chapel. In the week ending on March 15th, two meetings were held in the schoolroom attached to the chapel in Norman road, which were numerously attended, the object of which was to take into consideration the proposed enlargement and improvement of the chapel. At the first meeting about 60 persons sat down to tea and enjoyed the usual socialities of such gatherings; and at the second, a still larger attendance was observed. Addresses were delivered by W. W. Pocock, Esq., of London, the Rev. T. Harding, W. R. Jones & G. T. Hill, Mr. S. Putland, sen., and Mr. J. O. Davis. The contemplated improvements were estimated to cost about £600, and subscriptions to the amount of £200 had already been promised.
Christ Church. Divine service was performed in Christ Church, London road, on Wednesday, 8th of October, ostensibly as a public opening of the new organ. The instrument, however, was not used, the time after its erection having proved too short for its thorough adjustment. There was, nevertheless a full choral service with harmonium and about forty singers. A collection was made for the organ fund.
The New Organ at Christ Church, built by Mr. Hartley, of St. Leonards, was used for the first time in the services on the 12th of October, and was Pg. 175 found to realize all that its builder and the public had been led to expect of it. There was a full choral service in the evening, with Mr. Funnell as organist, the effect of which was somewhat imposing, and which brought out the tone and volume of the organ in the most satisfactory manner. With a view to economise space it had been found necessary to resort to some peculiarities of construction, and which appeared to answer their purpose remarkably well. Its compass was 4½ octaves, with 2½ octaves of German pedals and four “compositions”. The stops, seven in number, were open diapasons dulcima, flute-harmonic (very sweet) principal and fifteenth.
Incidental Associations. The local builder of the said organ, also constructed a plain harmonium for the present writer, which, for more than thirty years was played by young and old without its mechanism requiring to be tuned or repaired. The organ builder was a son of the late Mrs. Hartley, who, in the same year (1862) had been obliged to resign her office as matron of the Infirmary, which office she had held for twenty years, and the Committee being desirous of shewing their appreciation of her long and faithful services, and of her unremitting kindness to the patients, determined to present her with a testimonial in the shape of a purse of money. The cause of Mrs. Hartley’s resignation was defective vision.
Lost and Found.
In the month of April, the Superintendent of the police, with one or two of his men, was actively engaged in pursuit of a supposed thief. Information was dispatched to the police authorities of London, Brighton and other places of the loss of a bag of money imagined to have been stolen from the residence of a visiting family on the Marina at St. Leonards, and which, amounting to £56, had been given to the housekeeper for the purpose of paying the tradesmen’s bills. No trace however, of the missing money could be obtained until a few days had elapsed, when the house having been taken charge of by another person, the new occupant, in the course of her duties, had occasion to remove the bed whereon the housekeeper had slept, when, to her great surprise, she discovered the missing bag of money between the bed and the matress(sic). The discovery was immediately telegraphed to the owner, and the excitement resulting from carelessness or an unretentive memory subsided, whilst the supposed thief turned out to be a myth.
Another Loss of Money (and with it a loss of reason). On Sunday, the 13th of April, a crowd of persons was observed on the St. Leonards parade watching the movement of a man, who, having thrown himself from a boat, a short distance from the shore, was cooly(sic) taking a bath when the temperature of the Pg. 176 air was but a few degrees above freezing. Shortly afterwards, the same man having been rowed ashore by his companions was seen walking up the beach in a manner which suggested that the liquid within and without were not of the same character. On the following morning, an unexpected visitor in a state of partial nudity made his appearance at Hollington and created quite a consternation. His torn garments and lacerated face and hands too plainly indicated that he had been pursuing a reckless course among the briars and thickets, and that he was some unfortunate being dispossessed of reason. Information having been conveyed to one of the county constabulary near the place, that officer immediately went in pursuit of the fugitive, and on questioning him as to his intentions was told that he was going to get married at a church in Shoreditch where a jew preached. The officer supplied some additional clothing to the poor imbecile and conveyed him to Hastings, where he ascertained that the man had occupied apartments much to the alarm of the owners, and that he was proprietor of a large business in London. The police-officer accompanied him thither, where he also learnt that he left home with £40 or £50 in his pocket, not any of which he was then possessed of.
Special Dinners, &c.
T. Brassey, jun., Esq., the occupant of Beauport, was invited to a public dinner given in his honour by friends at Birkenhead, on the 14th of January, in connection with the late election.
F. North, Esq. M.P. entertained the Mayor and Corporation at dinner at Hastings Lodge, on the 7th of January. Much regret was felt in consequence of the esteemed host being prevented by illness from joining the party. In his absence, the honours of the table devolved upon the Rt. Hon. Thos. E. Headlam, Judge-Advocate General, then on a visit at Hastings Lodge.
A Hop-Sweepstake dinner, at the Terminus Hotel, St. Leonards, was partaken of on February 13th by some 40 or 50 persons, all of whom, it was said spent the evening in an enjoyable manner.
Band-Master Lindridge was invited to a sort of testimonial supper on the 14th of April, by the members of the Cinque-ports Artillery Band, in acknowledgement of his services in raising the band to its then state of efficiency. Sergt.-Major Polhill occupied the chair, and the catering of Host Rubie, of the Royal Standard, was greatly appreciated.
The Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows, to the number of about 200, celebrated their 23rd anniversary, with a three hours’ perambulation of St. Leonards and as far eastward as Robertson terrace, in full regalia, with two bands of music, and, as usual, with a dinner at the Warriors Gate, served up by Host Lamb.
The chair was occupied by John Gibbs, Esq., and the vice-chair by George Gipps, Esq. (The other Whit-Monday Club dinners are noticed in the next chapter.)
Pg. 177 Another Lost and Found.
Quite as mysteriously perplexing and involving quite as much grief and joy as the event described on page 175, was the occurrence here recorded. It was indeed, an exciting scene that on the 21st of February, was witnessed at the St. Leonards station of the South-Eastern Railway caused by the loss and recovery of a purse containing about £10. This amount of money was the all of a journeyman tailor of the name of Cole or Coll, who had sold off his furniture, and who, that morning was betaking himself and his family to his native town in Devonshire. On arriving at Battle, Mrs. Cole was horrified to find that the money which she believed to have been about her person, had disappeared, and a respectable fellow-traveller was accused of stealing it. The accusation was indignantly repudiated by the suspected female; and as to travel so long a journey without money was not to be thought of, there appeared to be no alternative but to return to St. Leonards, and the next down train was made available for that purpose. On getting back to the station, the husband, who was suffering from pulmonary disease, and the little wife, by no means strong, were both apparently bewildered at what to them was a terrible loss. The station-master, Mr. Descon, and his assistants, deeply sympathising with the desponding couple, commenced a diligent search, which fortunately resulted in the finding of the lost treasure between the up-rails and the wall of the platform, where it had, doubtless fallen when its owner was getting in the train. The sudden change of feeling from intense grief to joy and gratitude can hardly be described, and must therefore be left to the reader’s imagination.
Christys Minstrels gave three performances on the 30th of April and the 1st of May to large and delighted audiences. They were eleven in number, and their performances fully bore out the following announcement which appeared in the St. Leonards Gazette:-
“Christy’s Minstrels still retain
All the fame they first did gain;
And, no wonder, for ‘tis true
Imitators not a few,
Have gone over England’s land
With a much inferior band;
Thus the ‘Minstrels’, none the less,
Hold their prestige and success.
They can dance and they can sing ,
They can do ‘most ‘ebery ting’;
They can play grand overture,
Pleasing all most ‘sartin’ sure
Massa Wilson doth enlist you
With his ‘Willie, we have miss’d you’,
While of music’s rarest dish ,
None can serve like Steele and Nish.
Massa Moore’s ‘sensation song’
Makes you laugh both loud and long;
Then, as Rainsford, who so well
Sings the darkies ‘Toll the Bell’?
Dandy pumps or knicker-bocker,
Who can dance like Massa Grocker? –
Only one, that’s Massa Howard –
Praises, plaudits, on him showered!
Melville’s ‘Silver Moonlight winds’
Pleases e’er fastidious minds,
Pg. 178 Whilst the ‘Burlesque à la Swiss’
No one dares to think amiss.
Christian as the ‘Tyrolean’,
Sings both sweet and herculean;
Thus, together or apart,
Shake the cobwebs from the heart;
For there ne’er was ‘companee’
So provocative of glee.
But ‘tis needless thus to tell
What the world doth know so well;
Therefore all we have to say
Is to name the ‘happy day’ –
Day, we say, but days we mean,
When these Minstrels may be seen.
These are shown on our front page;
Look! and then your seats engage.”
How far the foregoing doggerel helped to give the popular Chrysty’s(sic) their crowded audiences it is not possible to say; but it happened that the sale of the Gazette of that week was more than usually brisk, and that Mr. Love, the Hall-keeper being unable to purchase a copy at the booksellers, was desired to give a shilling for one if that would procure it. Let the latter circumstance, then, be the excuse for here quoting the said doggerel. The said Minstrels came again, and gave a morning and an evening performance on the 7th of July, the pre-announcement of the same by the Gazette being as follows:-
“These facetious factotums, fully as ever faithful to their far-famed facinations(sic) as the foremost fabricators of fun and frolic, do fearlessly inform the fair and free of this fashionable fellowship of their fancy to face such folk, in a few days forthcoming, when with unfailing fidelity these famous fiddlers, and fun-makers will furnish further felicity by their fund of fact and fiction.”
“London Sights” was the theme of a reading at the Norman-road Temperance Hall on the 31st of July, the said reading being intended for the information of such members of the association as were then raising a fund for the purpose of visiting the metropolis and the Exhibition. Mr. T. B. Brett was the reader; Commander Morrison, R. J. (author of Zadkiel’s Almanac) was chairman; and his daughter, Miss Morrison, presided at the piano.
The Harp Recital of Mr. Aptommas (his second performance in St. Leonards) on the 27th of November, was one which afforded the utmost pleasure to a numerous and fashionable audience at the Assembly Rooms. The harpist was assisted by Fräulein Mehlhorn, a German lady, whose operatic singing was also much applauded.
These hounds met at Beauport on the 5th of February, where the liberal proprietor of the mansion entertained the ladies and gentlemen of the hunt with a dejeuner a la fourchette. The day was favourable for the sport, and a three hours’ chase of a fox over many miles of ground, through rivers and even into the sea, afforded all the pleasure that the most sanguine could desire.
Pg. 179 The East Sussex Hunt for the winter season of 1862 was inaugurated on the 4th of November at Windmill Hill, and was attended by a number of persons from St. Leonards. Two foxes were unearthed, and caught without affording much sport.
The Second Meet was on the 7th of November, at St. Leonards Green, and was one of the gayest and best attended of any that had been witnessed. There were nearly 50 vehicles, more than a hundred male and female equestrians, and, probably two hundred pedestrians; thus making a gay phalanx of about 500 persons. After a search of an hour’s duration a fox turned up, but gave its pursuers into Hollington. Here it was scented by the hounds with varying success for a considerable time, after which a shout was raised that Reynard had again got away and gone over the hill towards Crowhurst Park. An exciting scene then presented itself, the hunters and huntresses, dogs, men and boys concentrating on a particular, and thence hieing with all speed in the direction indicated by those who had seen the cunning animal ascend the slopes. Ultimately, he again got to earth, and the only thing to be done was to find another fox. At about 5 o’clock one was started from Monkham wood, in pursuit of which a splendid run across the flat and away over Pebsham to Sidley, where Master Reynard gave his pursuers the double, and got away into the wood again after an exciting chase of half an hour.
Fires at St. Leonards.
On the 27th of July a fire broke out in a brick-making shed, belonging to Mr. J. Howell, in the London road, St. Leonards. It was discovered by Mr. Descon the station-master and a night watchman of some drainage works, both of whom, with some other persons proceeded to the spot and put out the fire with water.
Bickle and Stoneman’s drapery establishment, 21 Marina, was accidentally set on fire on the 1st of October, and in such a blazing mass were the goods in the window as to threaten the destruction of the shop and entire building. Three sections of the Fire Brigade were quickly on the scene; but, fortunately, there was abundance of assistance at hand, and the fire was got under before the arrival of the engines. A loss, however, of about £180 was the result.
The Volunteer Fire Brigade were exercised at St. Leonards on the evening of Feb. 18th. The churches of St. Mary Magdalen and St. Leonards, and the Sussex hotel kept by Mr. Ballard, were made special objects of the firemen’s attention, and it hardly need be said that those fabrics appeared next morning well-cleansed exteriors. The brigade were liberally refreshed by Alfred Burton Esq. and Mr. Ballard.
Pg. 180 The Effects of a Storm. During a gale on Wednesday, the 5th of March, the pressure of the shop front of Mr. Hempsted’s at Grand parade was so great that one of the squares of glass was forced into fragments , and with a detonation that astounded those who heard it. Near the same time (about 10 p.m.) the inmates of a house on the Marina were alarmed by the crash of a skylight at the rear of the building, and the destruction of some glass and earthenware in one of the upper rooms. The cause was afterwards discovered to be the dislodgement of some of the compo’ ridge by the force of wind, and which together with a loose plank, was precipitated with great violence over the roof and on to the frame-work of glass as described.
A Proposed Harbour.
The deadlock of the partly built harbour in the first year of the 20th century while the writing of this History is still in progress, should invest the discussions on a proposed harbour in 1862 with a halo of interest, and which discussions might have been useful to all parties concerned had they been before them ere the present harbour project had had its first conception. In addition, therefore to what has already appeared on the harbour question in the preceding chapter, considerable space will be given in the present volume to that strongly debated topic in the year now under review. Brett’s St. Leonards Gazette, of Jan. 25th, 1862, had the following remarks:-
Several times during the last score of years or so, the question of a harbour or pier has been mooted in Hastings and for Hastings, and every time the subject has fallen to the ground, without the response that was necessary to success. The obstacles, pecuniary and other have been generally considered of an insurmountable character, and thus, after a little “ventilation”, the several schemes have been abandoned. The last of these – not two years since – was that of a floating breakwater, which being heralded forth with promises of great results for little money, and as the offspring of great scientific and engineering pretensions, appeared calculated to eclipse all previous speculations of its class, and to secure for the borough of Hastings such unprecedented advantages as should at once place its inhabitants in the van of wealth and civilization. It was, indeed, a pleasant prospect, most beautiful to behold; but, alas! this elisium has never been realized, and instead of basking in the golden sheen of prosperity, we have been left to wallow in the slough of despond.
Softly, thou hard-natured pen of steel! Remember that all things must die so that all things may live, and that the loss of one friend may be the gain of two. Had the Breakwater floated, as in our then immature judgement we desired it should, the still brighter vision which Pg. 181 now allures, and even dazzles by its splendour would not have come to the surface, but might have remained for ever in the dark corners of the “House that Jack Built.”
Banter apart, however, the project now in hand for a pier and harbour, though very desirable in some respects, is, we trow, not likely to find favour in influential quarters, nor to meet with that support which if it is to be carried to a successful issue is imperatively required. And for this there are many cogent reasons. In the first place, the scheme does not emanate from the inhabitants themselves, and there is a strong and not unnatural suspicion that a “job” is to be made out of it. Then, there is a very general impression that visitors having a dislike to harbours and their associations will cease to patronize the town as heretofore, giving the preference to Eastbourne or some other place along the coast where foreign and British tars less do congregate. In the third place, the owners of property are for the most part apprehensive of a general deterioration of that property, which, presently, it may be, is their chief or only source of income, and, again, the prospect of a harbour with enormous liabilities and failing revenues one day becoming the property of the borough by some injudicious act of the Town Council, inclines a very large section of the inhabitants to offer no encouragement to the present scheme. These and many other objections have been and will continue to be urged as reasons for opposing the construction of a harbour within the limits of the borough, whether such construction be undertaken by private enterprise or by those in whose hands is the municipal government of the place.
For our own part, we are neither sanguine of those immense advantages and benefits portrayed by its promotors and advocates as likely to accrue from the institution of a harbour, nor dolefully apprehensive of ruinous detriment to the locality as depicted by some of its opponents. We believe that a good harbour is such can be constructed would confer important benefits on certain classes and certain portions of the borough, and that a corresponding amount of evil would accrue to other portions of the community. The advantages and disadvantages might be pretty evenly balanced, but a great revolution – social, moral and pecuniary – would be wrought thereby. The small property of the old part of Hastings, would, we believe, be enhanced in value, whilst the best property in the same and contiguous districts would be depreciated. On the one hand there would be additional employment for certain kinds of labourers, a greater demand for seamen’s lodgings, a greater consumption of beer and “bacca”, an additional supply of “unfortunates”, and an augmentation of the police force. On the Pg. 182 other hand, certain kinds of commodities would be more easily obtained; fishermen would pursue their calling with greater regularity or security, and a shelter from storms would be afforded to our colliers and other small or medium size craft that crowd the “narrow pathway” bounding our shores.
As regards visitors, we believe they would still be numerous, be there harbour or no harbour. the natural attractions and good name of the place will all secure a goodly number of the health-seeking community; but they will take care to reside as far away from the harbour as may be convenient, and thus, while the now valuable property in and about the more modern parts of Hastings becomes comparatively deserted, St. Leonards – and particulary(sic) that part north of the town will be more than ever occupied by the wealthy and well-to-do.`
We believe that by far the largest number of persons residing in the western part of the borough are decidedly opposed to the formation of a harbour at Hastings; but if the effect of a harbour be as we have described, it will be Hastings more than St. Leonards that will regret it. – (See public meeting, next chapter)
Three inquests were held in St. Leonards by R. Growse, Esq., within two days – one on the body of a new-born child, one on Charles Blake and the third on Alfred Waters.
A Male Infant was found on the night of the 16th of January, in consequence of the barking of a dog, close to a gate leading to the back entrances of 13 to 11 Magdalen road. It was wrapped in a parcel and was proved to have been born alive but without medical assistance. It had a mark round its neck, and there were other indications of unnatural treatment. After a long investigation, a verdict was found of “Wilful murder against some person unknown”, and a recommendation that the Secretary of State be asked to offer a reward for the apprehension of the murderer.
Charles Blake, a grocer’s assistant, at Mrs. Stubberfield’s, 11 London road, was the subject of the second inquest. He had been there employed about 3½ years, and on the 17th of January, when the senior-assistant (Mr. S. P. Diprose) and Mrs. Stubberfield’s son returned to the shop from the dinner table, they found Blake lying behind the counter apparently dead, the discharge of firearms having been previously heard. Neighbours were called in and a surgeon was sent for. He still breathed, but nothing could be done to save life. He was of a nervous and somewhat excitable temperament. Seeing that he looked very gloomy on resuming work in the morning, Mr. Diprose, on asking him some questions, received the reply that he believed Mrs. Stubberfield had commenced a lawsuit against him, and sooner than such should be he would Pg. 183 rather commit twenty suicides. A discharged pistol was found by his side, when he was discovered on the floor, and Mr. Sellman stated that the produced weapon had been purchased from him by the deceased. Verdict – “Death by suicide while temporarily insane”.
Alfred Waters, a tailor, at Undercliff terrace, was the subject of the next inquest, he having been drowned while skating. He had gone with some other young men on Sunday, the 19th of January, to the Buckhole(sic) reservoir, and was there seen to skate across the centre of the frozen pond and fall forward, where the ice was only about an inch thick and the water ten feet deep. He sank immediately, but held on to the frozen surface for a few minutes, during which time, branches of trees and clothes prop were thrown towards him, but without avail. His body was afterwards got out and taken to the Wheatsheaf inn, where the inquest was held, and a verdict given of “Accidental Death”.
The strange coincidence of four occurrences within four days, resulting in four deaths, all at St. Leonards and all requiring investigation by a coroner’s jury, was recorded in the St. Leonards Gazette of January 25th. The fourth case to be here briefly described was that of
Signor Riccardi. This gentleman attempted self destruction on the 17th of January (same day on which Charles Blake destroyed himself), and having afterwards died, an inquest was held at the Norman hotel. From the evidence there taken it appeared that deceased was a teacher of singing that he had lodged at Miss Kitt’s, 10 St. Margaret’s terrace about a fortnight; that he complained of having a cold, and sent for Mr. Savery, who advised him to keep in bed, and he did so. At two o’clock on the morning of the 17th, a loud knocking was heard, and Miss Kitt called up Major Wirgman, another lodger, who went into Riccardi’s room, and was told by the unfortunate man that he had a pain in his head and that a great blow had happened to him that night. Dr. Turner was sent for, to whom Ricardi(sic) said he was very ill and was going to die. The doctor stayed with the patient half an hour, and gave him an opium pill in a little brandy. At six o’clock on the same morning, Major Wirgman, having been called up again, went into Riccardi’s room, where he found the bed empty, two large pools of blood on the sheets, and the deceased lying against the wall. Dr. Turner was again sent for, who found the deceased on the floor, with his throat cut from ear to ear, two or three punctured wounds on the left side of his chest, and a wound on the abdomen. The wounds were dressed by Dr. Turner and Mr. Savery, and the patient rallied until the 22nd, when he died. The verdict of the jury was “Suicide while in a state of temporary insanity”.
Pg. 184 Lectures at St. Leonards.
A Musical Lecture was given in the Workingmen’s Institute on March 16th to a crowded audience by Mr. Smithard, who entertained the company with an amusing address, interspersed with temperance melodies. Mr F. Thompons assisted with gruitous(sic) services at the piano.
Another Musical Lecture came off at the same place on the evening of April 3rd, and a similar one on the following evening. The hall was filled on each occasion, and Mr. Smithard was again the entertainer. His facinating(sic) style in favour of temperance appeared to be as convincing as it was amusing. W. Janson, Esq, and the Rev. Tilson-Marsh severally occupied the chair.
“Workmen, What they Are and Might Become” was the title of a lecture delivered at the Norman-road Temperance Hall on the 23rd of June, by Mr. Allen. The Rev. P. W. Ray, of Greensted, presided, and his opening address was so hearty as to evoke frequent applause. The lecturer handled his subject with great ability, and much enthusiasm was evinced.
“Alcohol and its Effects on the Organism of Man” was the burden of a lecture delivered at the Workingmen’s Institute, Norman-road, on the 11th of September, by Mr. T. A. Augustus Land, of Hastings. Mr. Carl Burg officiated as Chairman, and the lecturer’s remarks were of a lucid and forcible character.
Two Lectures by Mr. G. E. Lomax, one of the “great guns” of the Temperance party were given in the Workingmen’s Institute on the 23rd and 24th of September, to a rather small audience on each occasion. The subject of the first lecture was “Are Intoxicating Drinks the good creatures of God or the bad creatures of Man’s Invention?” – a subject that in the hands of so popular lecture(sic) as Mr. Lomax might have been reasonably supposed capable of attracting a “full house”. But such it did not, nor was it treated of in a manner as to confirm the good opinion that a previous hearing of Mr. Lomax had engendered. The subject of the second lecture was “That the Liquor Traffic is offensive to God, injurious to Man, and a Curse to any people, whether enslaved or free”. In this, as in the first lecture, “great expectations” were not realized. It might have been the limited attendance that induced the lecturer to adopt a talkative and rambling style in lieu of the logical requirements of a properly prepared lecture each with such pretentious and portentious a heading. There was, however, no lack of “stage effect”, nor was there wanting a plenitude of small talk and large talk – domatic(sic), bombastic, despotic and egotistic – that nearly eleven o’clock, displeased some and delighted others.
“The Blessing of Temperance” formed the topic of a lecture delivered at Hollington on the 21st of October by Mr. F. Beck, formerly of Hastings, but then of Portsmouth. It was a lecture with a more modest title than those of Mr. Lomax, and far more rational in treatment, one of its effects being to induce four persons to take the pledge.
Pg. 185 Prophecy and its Approaching Fulfilment. To a crowded audience on each occasion, the Rev. Dr. Cumming delivered two lectures on the 18th and 19th of November in the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms. The title of the lectures was as here stated, and the chairman at both lectures was the Rev. W. N. Tilson-Marsh. So impressively eloquent was Dr. Cumming at all times as to be listened to with almost breathless attention, and so it was in the present case. He commenced by saying there was a important distinction which should never be forgotten in the exposition of prophecy. When he spoke of the truths of Christianity, he did so with the greatest of dogmatism, but when he spoke about things which were difficult of comprehension, then he must speak with the reserve which one ought to have in talking in talking(sic) of things on which good men frequently differed. He knew that unless a man were born again he could not see God; but he only thought that the first vial was poured out in 1792, that the second vial was poured out in 1848, and that we were now on the eve of stupendous events verging on the close of the present dispensation. In his first position he knew he was right, but in his second conclusion he might be wrong. All that he had to do was to submit to them as Christian and rational people that they would compare God in history with God in prophecy. Alluding to some of the newspaper reports concerning him, the lecturer combatted the notion that he was a prophet, and had prophesied the end of the world in 1867. If he were a prophet he would produce his credentials, but that he could not do; he therefore denied that he was a prophet. He only attempted to interpret prophecy. The misapprehension had arisen from the silly resort of worldly people who did not like to hear that the world should be changed. The New Testament taught that we knew not at what day and hour the Son of Man would appear. That to the world was a mystery, and if one spoke of it the cry was raised “Does he not speak in parables?” And yet he would appeal to everyone who read his Bible if that Bible did not teach us to look to the magnificent future, and thus bring back hope and joy to the troubled spirit? There were certain things in unfulfilled prophecy which were hard to understand, but there were also some of which there could be no mistake. It was absolutely certain that this earth would not be annihilated, but that it would be changed and purified by fire, as stated in the third chapter of Peter, wherein we look for a new heaven and a new earth; not another earth. The present earth had the remains of a beauty which no one could fail to prize, but it also had the evidences of a shock, that every aching frame and every grey hair pointed to as actual and historical. All that was was(sic) wanted was not extinction, but substitution; and so we looked for a reparation in the “new heaven and new earth; wherein dwelleth righteousness” . . . It was not a question of doubt that our earth was to undergo a baptism of fire, just as it had under its baptism of water. . . But then his audience might say “What an awful Pg. 186 thing!” To whom? – not to the Christians, but to him who was not a Christian an awful foreboding was all that could be thought of for him. There was not a Christian in that who if the last fire were to overcome the globe on the morrow would suffer the least injury. St. Paul had told them that neither “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities nor powers, &c., should be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. What an awful thing that any should be destined to suffering. That was the only thing to him that had been a difficulty – that when this world was re-formed there would be a place of misery and woe. He had tried to prove it untrue from the Bible, but he could not. His creed was based, not upon what the best men of the day said – not upon what the wisest thought – not upon that which the world generally received – but upon what God had said in His own blessed Word. What a pity it was that Professor Maurice and his coadjutors in those wild and fanciful “Essays”, and the unfortunate Bishop of Colenso – who, poor man, seemed to have been wool-gathering in every other place but his own diocese – should try to show that the state of punishment was not so bad as was sometimes thought. His (the lecturer’s) course would be to not to extenuate the sufferings of the lost, but to tell every human being that there was no reason out of himself why he should ever be sent to the place of torment. There were prisons in London, and there were, doubtless, bridewells in St. Leonards , but they need not go into them. So there was a hell, but that need not affect them individually. . . Salvation was for all who came to God through Christ. . . . . The reverend lecturer cited several authorities – and among them the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland and a Russian Prince – to show that we were on the verge of most stupendous events; that in the impending changes the Papacy would be swept away; and that a period of four or five years from 1862 would suffice for the accomplishment of those great events . . . . In treating of the resurrection said what a blessed thought it was that every dead believer from Adam and, from Abraham to Sarah (the place of whose dust was lately visited by the Prince of Wales, under the oaks of Mamre), down to the infant just dropped from the mother’s bosom in to the lap of God, should instantly the Lord appeared come forth into a renewed body, leaving in the grave only sin, decay, and whatever the Devil introduced six thousand years ago! The Devil would have all these as a present to himself, and the body would come forth from the grave disintegrated from all that was mortal . . . . People had been taught in books, such as the Essays and Reviews, that the resurrection was figurative. The writers were ministers of the Church of England, yet, if there were one doctrine in that church ritual strongly enforced, is was as to the reality of the future resurrection . . . To a God who was omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, all things were possible that the Bible had said were impossible; hence, it was neither im Pg. 187 possible nor improbable that the dead in Christ should rise again. – The reverend gentleman next referred to the indications of the present dispensation drawing to a close, among which he enumerated several important events in the life of Pius IX during the last two years, and quoted from the Tablet (Roman Catholic paper) to show that anti-Christ did not mean opposed to Christ, but in the place of Christ. It would never be understood what the Papacy was till it was seen as a system which dislodged distinctive truths, and put in their place destructive errors. The present condition of the Pope had been made a parellel(sic) to the crucifixion. The French Emperor said “Behold the man:” England shouted “Away with him, crucify him;” Sweden said “He is deserving of death;” Austria uttered “What evil hath he done?” Sardinia shrieked “We will not have this man to reign over us;” Prussia said “We find no fault in him;” Spain said “I am innocent of the blood of this just man;” the French Empress softly whispered to her husband “Have you nothing to do with this just man, for I have suffered much in a dream concerning him;” and the sovereigns under Papal sway chorused “Surely, he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” And the Pope said to them all “Sit you here while I go and pray.” Now, what shocking blasphemy was this! No man can look at the Romish system without seeing that its vitality had declined almost to a thread, and the hour as well as the power of its terrible retribution was shortly to come. – The state of the Turkish Empire was instanced as further evidence of the approach of stupendous events. Ever since the vial fell on it the Euphatean(sic) waters had been steadily drying up. In 1821, when she was in danger, the Greeks revolted, and they were in full revolt now. The Greeks in the whole Turkish dominion were threatening to march and join their countrymen. Could it be wondered at? There were nine millions of Christians of one sort and another under the government of the Sultan and only two millions of Mahommedans. The instance the “sick man” died there were two great candidates for his slippers, and the great war of the Apocalypse would then be brought about. The Emperor of Russia wanted one slipper – Constantinople, and the French Emperor wanted the other slipper – Palestine, knowing that it was the high road to India. Great complications would arise out of the rival claims, and direful wars might result. The nation itself was in utter decay. The Mahommetans(sic) were becoming depopulated wherever they might be, the deaths everywhere being more numerous than the births. The decay had been so rapid and so exhaustive as to indicate its speedy end . . . . Why did the Jews covet the being buried in their own land? It was the logical result of the of their present feeling to be restored to Palestine; and when that phenomenon was presented, it would be Pg. 188 the signals – most striking and impressive – that He is at our doors who was the light that lightens the Gentiles. – Dr. Cumming instanced other signs of the coming change, and expressed his belief that England was destined to perform an important part. He spoke of the “great war” predicted in the XIX chapter of the Apocalypse, and asked if it were a right supposition that the last vial was poured out in 1848, whether the wars of the last 12 years – greater and more numerous than in any previous half century – did not entirely answer to the prophecy. And still every nation was making ready for war, although no one knew for what war. But whenever it came it would be most terrific. The lecturer concluded by exhorting his audience to the simple truths of the Bible, and to be proof against other delusions that might come to “deceive the very elect.”
The Second Lecture
The Rev. W. N. Tilson-Marsh, as chairman, remarked that the fulfilment of prophecy gathered importance as the years drew on to the time of the end. He would ask the audience to direct their attention to the prophecies of Daniel, because of the perspicuity which marked them and which rendered them more intelligible than the prophetic portions of the book of Revelations. In Daniel there was spread out a sort of map from that time till the second coming of our Lord. In one portion of the book he had spoken of four Gentile Kingdoms which were to sway the peoples, and he had marked out these in the primary kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar, who was the head with the Babylonian empire. Then followed the mixed or inferior Mede and Persian empire, upon which was raised the Grecian empire, after which succeeded the Roman empire. The four great powers were to span the interval between the extremes of the period granted to the seer of old to foreknow and the period of the coming of the kingdom of God. Whenever the last of these four great powers terminated we might be sure that we were approximating the coming of our Lord, and when we saw the Church of Rome gradually losing her power, it was known the time could not be very far distant. Supposing it should be in our own day (we ought not to fix dates with certainty), he would ask whether it would not be better to receive it, rather than be overcome in confusion at the last moment, and to be on our watch towers; especially remembering that our Lord’s words were “Ye know not the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh.”
Dr. Cumming commenced his second lecture by referring to some points in his first address, remarking that it was one thing to assume to be a prophet, and another to try to find out what was meant in prophecy. In treating more directly upon the subject of prophecy, the reverend doctor instanced the fulfilment of some striking predictions in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. The distress and perplexity of nations Pg. 189 was undoubtedly universal in the present day. This distress and perplexity and the down treading of Jerusalem were to be accompanied by signs in the heavens. “And immediately after the tribulation of those days shall be the sun darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heavens, and the powers shall be shaken”. &c. Now the words of these predictions falling from the lips of Him who lived as never man lived and spake as never man spake, were so plain that it was impossible to mistake their meaning. There was nothing inconsistent with astronomical science in believing that the sun, the moon and the stars would show preternatural aspects when they shared in the great day of the Lord. Dr. Cumming then adverted to the prophecies of Christ concerning Elijah, which he believed had not yet been fulfilled. In references to other passages of the Saviour’s predictions, the lecturer pointed out that the preaching of the Gospel and the circulation of the Scriptures in the language of nearly every country on the globe seemed to fulfil the language of the predictions; and if these things were accomplished, we were on the eve of the present economy; and in that period, however short or long it might be , that preceded the wind up of this era, “Then shall the end come”. He also contended that the word “generation” did not mean 40 years, but the nationality of the Jews. The next passage dwelt on was that of Daniel, “Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased;” and he argued that in the increase of locomotion by means of railways and in the use of the electric telegraph, as well as in the vast extension of knowledge, among the poorer classes by means of cheap newspapers, the passage was amply fulfilled. The subject of prophetical dates was next introduced. There would be found scattered through the prophecies the expressions seven times 2,300 days; seventy weeks; time, times and half a time; forty-two months; 1,260 days, 1290 days, 1,335 days; an hour, a day, a month, a year, &c. The most important of these would be found in Daniel. Having by various texts shown that a prophetic day was synonymous with a year, chronologically, and that there was good authority for estimating a time at 360 years, he next argued that the prophetic books were unfolded to John in that beautiful panorama opened to him in the Isle of Patmos. Daniel had selected 1,260 as the ending of the duration of the great and incorporated apostacy. The prophet said in the fourth empire there was to spring up a little horn in which were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things, and before this little horn three other horns or powers were to fall. By various indications the doctor showed the passage to be expressly applicable to the Pope. He also instanced several events connected with the French Revolution – the first Napoleon’s wars and his imprisonment of the Pope, the confiscation of church property in 1836 in Pg. 190 Spain and Portugal, the flight of Pio Nono in disguise in 1848, the conduct of the Pope since his return in restoring the Jesuits, in establishing the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, and in his answer of non possumus . . . From 1792 the judgement had been sitting, and the spirit of the Lord had been consuming it. The decadence was so great that ten thousand priests had recently implored the Pope to give up the temporal power in order to save the Papacy. – The next text taken by the lecturer had reference to the period of 2,300 days mentioned by Daniel, at the end of which the great eastern empire should be shattered; and having shewn that this period expired, according to the date mentioned, in 1822, he adduced further reason to show that the “forty-five” years must be added to that date, and thus bring down the period to 1867, as the time of the commencement of the Millenium. He quoted several authorities to show that our Lord was not born in the 4004th year from the creation, but in 4132 a m., and thus he argued there was a remarkable coincidence between all the dates he had named, afterward detailing the evidence which led to the conclusion that the prophecies respecting the Jews would be fulfilled at the same period as the other events pointed to – namely, 1867. The reverend gentleman concluded his lecture with much eloquence in the application of the subject for the guidance of his audience. – The collection after the lectures amounted to about £17, on behalf of the Mission to Roman Catholics by the Protestant Reformation Society. At the time of (1900) of reproducing this curtailed report of Dt. Cummings lectures at St. Leonards, much might be said by way of comment, and reference might be made to the great historical events of the thirty-three years since the year 1867, when the worthy doctor calculated the Millenium would commence; but the historian prefers to leave his readers to form their own judgement on the reverend gentleman’s addresses at St. Leonards, and also on his earlier interpretations of prophecy at Hastings, an abreviated(sic) report of which will be found in the next chapter.
Lamps and Letter Boxes.
At the commencement of the year, in addition to the recently erected lamps in front of Grand parade and Eversfield place, which greatly improved those places, another convenience appeared in the erection of pillar boxes for the reception of letters – one at Eversfield place and one at White-rock places. Also in October of the same year, 16 additional lamps were placed (by the St. Leonards Commissioners) on the pavement side of the Marina and Undercliff, thus effecting a long desired improvement in those localities, and corresponding with those previously placed by the Board of Health on the eastward side of the Archway.
Six acres and six perches of land in the Priory Meadow adjoining the Gas Works, were sold by auction on Monday the 24th of March, for £5,520, the purchaser being Pg. 191 George Clement, Esq. for himself and others. This land, under the appellation of “The Great Brook Estate” was advertised to be again sold by auction on the 25th of August, for the erection of private residences, and business premises. The building plan was said to be so arranged as to combine sites for all classes of houses, varying from 30 to 15 feet frontages, and of various depths, all opening upon roads 36 feet wide and forming in the centre a square. The property was declared to be free from manorial rights and being in a parish [St. Andrew’s] where the local rates were almost nominal. Purchasers might have the freehold conveyed to them or take a lease at a rent equal to 5 per cent. on the purchase money redeemable within ten years. A space was to be reserved for a church. It was further stated that the great demand for small houses in Hastings, where it was impossible to find room for the increasing population made this an eligible opportunity to supply the required accommodation. The estate was divided into 182 lots, all of which were disposed of on the said 25th of August for building purposes, at the Havelock hotel. The competition was brisk, and the sum realized by the sale amounted to £10,494, being nearly double the sum for which the estate had been previously purchased by Mr. Clement. The writer remembers taking tea with Mr. and Mrs. Clement after the first purchase had been effected, when the said purchase was one of the topics of conversation. Said a gentleman, who was also present at the tea-table, “When I heard that you had given over five thousand pounds for that bit of land, I said fools and their money are soon parted.” Mr. Clement retorted by asking “What will you bet me that I don’t clear a thousand pounds by it? The gentleman expressed his doubts, but wisely, as it turned out, declined to bet. Not only was there nearly £5,000 profit cleared by the sale of the land in plots for building, but some of the plots quickly found purchasers again at a profit, and the formation of St. Andrew’s square was almost immediately commenced. The reference in the announcement of the sale to the great want of small houses in Hastings, was thoroughly justified by facts. Numerous letters and urgent appeals appeared in the St. Leonards Gazette on this great want of small tenements, and, as a foot note to one very long communication, the journal here named had the following remark:- “Our correspondent’s vivid picture of a social evil is ‘an o’er true tale’, corroborative of the statements we have more than once felt it our duty to make [See pages 132 to 134]. We were credibly informed, a few weeks since, that at least a dozen families were homeless, and we are assured that at the present time there is one small house in St. Leonards in which thirty human beings are huddled together. Is this wholesome? Is it decent? Our Health of Towns Act is ineffectual under such conditions, and it is clear that the only remedy is to be found in the carrying out of our correspondent’s suggestion.” The present writer had cause to believe that Mr. Clement (taking his cue from the editorials and correspondence of the Gazette and the News) persuaded himself that in the Pg. 192 purchase of the priory-brooks land and again disposing of it in building plots, he would, perhaps, while enriching himself, be conferring a benefit on such of the community as were urgently in want of comparatively small houses. That the plots, on the whole, realized a larger amount of money than was expected, was due to the eagerness of competitors to avail themselves of the convenient conditions of purchase. But Mr. Clement’s idea of providing the means for the erection of smal(sic) houses, while securing to himself a fair interest on capital, was more fully developed in the erection of a long range of cottage property at Silverhill, the neuclus(sic) of what is now quite a town. Apropos of this latter speculation, a paragraph appears in “The Life-sketch of Mr. Clement”, chapters 33 to 37, Vol. 1, of Historico-Biography of Local Worthies, as follows:- “So far as I can make it, out, Mr. Clement contributed not less than £600 to the erection of the Silverhill Presbyterian Church, in addition to an annual subscription towards the support of the ministry and schools. In the mean time, by building operations and other means, Mr. Clement had been instrumental in attracting to the Silverhill district a community that might have formed the denizens of no inconsiderable town. Acting on the hint thrown out in two or three articles which appeared in Brett’s St. Leonards Gazette during 1861, on the great need of small tenements – from which articles also was originated the “Cottage Building Society” – Mr. Clement, with his usual keen perception, had plans prepared for a number of small houses on a portion of the Silverhill estate, and called on the present writer with a copy of the same, explaining in what manner he was prepared to sell the cottage plots, with garden ground, to mechanics and others of moderate incomes, and also upon what terms and to what extent he would lend money to assist them to build. Suffice it to say that the scheme, once started, soon grew in dimensions, and so continued until the allotted space was covered by more than a hundred houses. Then followed another, and still another series of building speculations by other people, until at the present time , there are almost unbroken lines of houses, shops, and villas between Silverhill, Bohemia and Hastings, on the one hand, and betwen(sic) the two first named places and St. Leonards on the other. But before this was accomplished, Mr. Clement disposed of a certain portion of his estate which lay on the line of road to Battle, and then another village sprang up at Hollington (equal to some small towns) under the name of Silverdale. It may be explained that Silverdale and the contiguous properties were built on that part of the Silverhill estate lying on the west side of the Battle road, and on the outbounds of St. Mary-in-the-Castle, between St. Leonards and Hollington. This new district – the result of Mr. Clement’s enterprise – when formed, was mainly inhabited by persons who could not find what they wanted either in St. Leonards or Hastings.”
Pg. 193 What has been said about Mr. Clement’s purchase of land on the Brook estate for the erection of small and medium size houses, would have appeared in the next chapter under the head of Hastings but for its association with the same gentleman’s efforts to supply a pressing want in the opportunity and encouragement he gave to the building of small houses at Silverhill and Silverdale, the spur to which emanated mainly from the representations of the St. Leonards Gazette, whose proprietor was on visiting friendship with Mr. Clement. Thus, in an indirect sense, at least, St. Leonards was instrumental in securing accommodation for the industrial population of both towns, which had been an increasing necessity. This last remark is an incidental reminder that many useful, as well as pleasurable institutions had their origin with the St. Leonards people, among which may be mentioned, the annual “Christmas” and “Batchelors” balls, the Royal Queen’s St. Leonards Archers, the Hastings and St. Leonards Infirmary, the St. Leonards Mechanics’ Institution, the Gentleman’s Club, the Life-boat, the Humane Society, the Invalid Gentlewomens Home, the St. Leonards Workingmens Institute and Temperance Hall, the Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows, the Servants’ Home, the Convalescent Home for Poor Children, and other Convalescent homes, the Albert House Industrial Invalid Kitchen, the first “Bonfire Boys”, with regalia and music (in place of the hideous and groaning Guy Fawkes procession, and the Cottage Building Society. It is the last named that has now to be noticed. The St. Leonards Gazette of November 29th had the following editorial:-
It will, doubtless, be in the recollection of many of our readers that in the autumn of 1861, there appeared in the columns of the Gazette an interesting series of letters, under the head of “Small Tenements”, complaining of the great want of cottage accommodation in this neighborhood, and asking for, or suggesting a remedy. In those letters there was an unmistakeable evidence of earnestness which if we had had any doubt of the existing evil, must have convinced us of the fact that the complaint was well founded. Impressed with the conviction that the question was one of public importance, we deemed it our duty to “ventilate” the same, and to that end published some two or three articles thereon. Our contemporary, the Hastings News, followed suit, assisting very materially – as it ever does – the cause of humanity and social progress by its fearless exposure of the evil, and its generous advocacy of popular rights. At that point our duty in the matter, as journalists might be said to have culminated; but the argumentum ad populum brought us a letter from “One who had been in the ranks” of working men, suggesting, in a spirit of candour and moderation, that working men had it in their power to help themselves, if they would but put their shoulders to the wheel. The writer – a man of considerable influence – further stated his belief in the readiness of the upper classes to lend a helping hand if they once saw that those who stood so much in Pg. 194 need of house accommodation were really in earnest. The same writer urged that a meeting should be called, whereby each man might have an opportunity of making known his requirements. At length, in the month of June last, a notice was circulated that a meeting would take place to consider the question. That and later meetings were held, in which the question was discussed in its several phases, the result of which was the establishing of the Hastings and St. Leonards Co-operative Building Company.
Absolute necessity has called this company into being; it can barely be called an innovation; and its success, if properly managed, is all but assured. It does not profess antagonism to other Building Societies of the locality, which have, doubtless, conferred benefits upon the class for which they were chiefly intended; but it aims at doing for the mechanic, the artizan and the labourer what the pre-existing societies have done for the trading and professional communities. The prospectus sets forth as its primary object, “the building of cottages, so as to obviate the evils of overcrowded dwellings”. This, of itself ought to be sufficient to recommend the scheme to the public, seeing that the overcrowded state of the dwellings in our back streets and alleys is a cancer that feeds on the very vitals of society. But it has also another aim – namely, “to elevate the working classes of these towns by encouraging them to invest a part of their earnings”.
Now, to place before the working classes and those of small income the inducements of frugality, and to teach them to lay by ever so small a portion of their earnings, is to make them less dependent on others and less likely to become the inmates of a poor-house or a prison. But, perhaps, the most important of the objects professedly aimed at is that which is contained in the third clause – namely, “to enable the occupier of one of the Company’s cottages to become the owner of his dwelling by paying a reasonable rent for a period of about fourteen years”. The manner in which this is proposed to be done appeared to us, at first sight, somewhat singular, and we must confess to having had some slight misgiving of its practicability; but on perusing the rules, we came to the conclusion that the company would be in a position to carry out its objects to the fullest extent. The scale of rents adopted would of themselves be low enough, without the redemption, but with it they become doubly advantageous. It is evident that large dividends are not sought to be obtained, and that a low rental is the chief feature in the calculation.
Among the Bye-laws there is one which commends itself in an especial manner to shareholders whose precarious incomes might sometimes disenable them sometimes to meet even the small weekly payments required of them. The provision is that a shareholder’s weekly payments, may, under certain conditions, be suspended for a limited period without jeopardising his claim or subjecting him to obnoxious fines. Altogether, it appears to us that the rules are liberally as well as equitably framed, one instance of Pg. 195 which occurs in the balloting and drawing for allotments.
So far, the efforts on behalf of this scheme – patiently and unremittingly pursued during four months – are attended with felicitous results, inasmuch as the promoters are chiefly composed of working men, for whose especial behoof the project took its rise. This confirms the view we entertained at the outset, when we stated our belief that working men who had already shewn a good deal of clever management in their trades unions, and benefit societies, would prove themselves equal to an emergency of this kind.
It may be that we have said enough to induce such as are interested in the amelioration of the working classes to further inform themselves of this enterprise; and the course we would recommend is to obtain the full prospectus and articles of association. We conclude these few remarks with a hope that a work so well begun will result in complete success.
The capital of the Company was set at £10,000, in 1,000 shares of £10 each; the deposit 2/6 per share, and the remaining £9 17s. 6d to be paid in weekly sums of 1/3 per share. The temporary office was at 1 Norman road, east; the solicitor was Mr. W. Savery, St. Leonards; the treasurer was George Scrivens, Esq., Hastings; the secretary was Mr. Charles Burg, St. Leonards; the auditors were Thomas Brandon Brett, of St. Leonards, and John Banks, of Hastings; and the directors were Messrs. John Kenwood, Stephen Peter Miller, Edward Vinall Dawes, Henry Bex and John Drayton, (all of St. Leonards). Thos. Thorne, jun., Benjamin Sargent, George Sharp, Thos Virden and Richard Hargrave (all of Hastings). The scale of rents for cottages held by shareholders were for £100 purchase money, 3/10 per week; £150, 5/9 per week; £200, 7/8 per week; and so on in proportion.
In a few weeks after the above was written the Company appeared to have received a large amount of approval, it being stated that as many as 250 shares had already been taken up. Among those early shareholders were at least three or four of the working staff of the St. Leonards Gazette.
The “Victoria Life-Boat
The Hastings Lifeboat – the establishment of which originated with a St. Leonards committee, consisting of the Rev. W. W. Hume, G. H. M. Wagner, Esq., and other gentlemen – was again launched on the 23rd of May, and put through her quarterly movement by her coastguard crew during a strong wind, when her behaviour (to quote a mariner’s statement) was splendid. She was taken off again on the 20th of October, under the superintendence of Capt. Ward and Captain Robertson, of the Royal Navy. The trial was unimportant, but what was, at least, gratifying, was that her services were not required during the gales that afterwards occurred.
Marriage Postponed. “There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip”, says the adage; and so thought the gossips of St. Leonards on the morning of April 3rd, Pg. 196 when it became known that a gentleman and lady had been compelled to retire from the hymeneal altar with the nuptials unperformed. The cause of the disappointment – for who can doubt that it was one? – appears not to have arisen from any want of punctuality on the part of the clergyman, nor from the non-attendance of the parties, either principal or accessory; nor, so far as we have been able to learn, had the banns been forbidden, or the jeweller neglected to supply the golden token wherewith to ratify the bond. We believe that the tailor and the dressmaker had both performed their part of the preparation in due time, and we know that the bridal cake had been sent home, and that the traveling habiliments of the affianced lady were awaiting their fair proprietress at the railway station. What then could have happened to mar a consummation so devoutly to be wished? Let not the cynic – remembering the failure of previous negotiations – attempt to suggest an answer that savors(sic) at all of faint-heartedness. Love is a fickle boy, we know; but, in the present instance he appears to have been even too faithful. He had twanged his bow and shot home his arrows with such unerring precision as to take captive not only the heart but the head, also, of the youthful (?) bridegroom, so that when the latter was politely requested to produce the legal document known as the license, our love-stricken hero was found to have forgotten it. Oh! what a bewilderment! what heart-burnings! what sorrowing reflections! Could nothing be done in this trying emergency? Yes, and ‘twas worth a trial. The telegraph wires were set in motion and a legal gentleman was despatched to Lewes to rectify the informality. But it was all too late for that day. The marriage shop takes precedence of all early-closing establishments, and as the business could not be effected within the prescribed limits the parties were compelled to retire, minus the ceremony which was to have made the two principals man and wife. Malicious people said it was a sell, but that could not have been, seeing that the “bill of sale” had not arrived. We rather think it was quite as much a sell on the following morning, when a crowd of persons, taking their cue from some mysterious whisper, assembled at the church two hours before it was intended to renew the attempt to perform the sacred rite. “Our births and marriages column” (says the St. Leonards Gazette) “will tell the rest”.
Miss E. L. MacGregor’s Marriage.
One of those events which in all stations of life is ever invested with a halo of special interest occurred at St. Leonards on the 29th of April when the pretty and accomplished Miss Emily Louisa MacGregor was led to the hymeneal altar by Augustus Arthur Currie, Esq., Captain in the Bengal Army. The fair betrothed was the seventh daughter of the late James MacGregor, Esq. (M.P. for Sandwich), and of Mrs. MacGregor, a resident at 9 Warrior square. The bridal party of nearly 40 persons were conveyed in ten carriages to the church of St. Mary Magdalen, where the nuptial rites were performed by the Rev. W. W. Hume, assisted by the Rev. G. W. Pennethorne, the latter a brother-in-law of the bride. Omitting Pg. 197 the customary description of the ladies dresses and some other details, suffice it to say that the bridesmaids – nine in number – were the Misses MacGregor (3 sisters) the Misses Taylor, Miss Isabella Currie, Miss Bryden, Miss Robertson and Miss Field. The bridegroom received the amiable bride from the hands of P. F. Robertson, Esq., cousin to the lady. The interesting event caused quite a sensation in the neighborhood and a large concourse of persons assembled at the church to witness the ceremonial. The musical service was performed by the choir under the direction of Miss Emma Hume, who presided at the organ. The morning was brilliantly fine, and at the conclusion of the solemnities, fully one half of the bridal party returned to Mrs. MacGregor’s residence on foot, leaving the carriages to follow, empty. A splendid dejeuner was provided, at which there were upwards of 40 to partake. The happy pair took their departure for the Isle of Wight at 3 o’clock, and after spending their honeymoon returned to St. Leonards for a short time, prveiously(sic) to setting out for India.
Marriage of Miss Ruddach. On the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 25th, the nuptials of a lady and gentleman of good repute were celebrated at the church of St. Mary Magdalen in presence of a numerous circle of friends and a large assemblage of other persons. The principals in the marriage thus consummated were Miss Susan Dora Ruddach (4th daughter of the late Capt. Robert Steuart Ruddach) and the Rev. William Ponsford, Chaplain to her Majesty’s forces at Woolwich. The bridal party were conveyed to church in 8 carriages, two of which were occupied by the six lady-attendants of the bride – namely, the Misses Alice and Martha Ruddach, Miss Hume, Miss Faulkner, Miss Golden and Miss Fraser. The vows were exchanged in the presence of the Rev. James Steuart Ruddach (brother of the bride) and the Rev. W. W. Hume, by whom the marriage was conducted . The party returned to the bride’s residence in Villa road, where the guests, to the number of 26 partook of an elegantly prepared breakfast. Later in the day Mr. and Mrs. Ponsford set out for Tunbridge Wells, en route for Paris, and at a still later period a large party assembled and kept up the festivities until night had far advanced.
A Novel Traveller.
On Sunday evening, October 26th, as the up-train from Hastings drew up to the station at St. Leonards, it was discovered to contain an outside passenger, better known for his handsome exterior and the proud bearing of his race than for his extensive travels. Not to keep the reader in suspense, he will at once be put in possession of the fact that this distinguished traveler was no other than Mr. Peacok(sic) who being as it were fired with the idea of becoming a bird of passage, had triumphantly selected the top of a first class carriage for his purpose. It was found, however, that he had violated the rules of the company by traveling without a ticket; and his career was soon
arrested by a sturdy railway porter seizing him perforce and carrying him into the station. The train was again set in motion, Pg. 198 and soon it came out that Mr. Peacock was totally unable to give a satisfactory account of himself. But, Mr. Wise, the St. Leonards station-master, knowing something of his antecedents, sent him in charge of a messenger to Hastings, when it was found that he had got away from his owner, Mr. Kennett, of the Hastings station, who promised that for the future his Peacockship should be kept in close confinement.
Petitions to Parliament
Petitions against the “Revised Code” were, in the month of February presented to Parliament from the Managers of the St. Leonards National schools. The objections to the measure as embodied in the petition are summarized thus:-
It would effect a diminution of public aid to the schools, and would be a hardship to certified teachers; uncertainty and unfairness in the distribution of grants; deterioration of teaching; additional liabilities, which the managers could not be expected to undertake; the drawing of a sharp line of demarcation between religious and secular instruction, to the great detriment of the former; a severe pressure upon such schools as are at present the most difficult to support; an inferior arrangement for the instruction of pupil teachers; and changes of a large and sweeping character which would amount to a complete subversion of the existing system.
The Permissive Bill. In the House of Commons on the night of Monday, the 12th of May, F. North, Esq., M.P. for Hastings, presented a petition from inhabitants of St. Leonards, in favour of a permissive law which would empower a majority of not less than two-thirds of a parish or town to prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors within their boundaries.
Testimonials and Presentations.
The Rev. W. N. Tilson-Marsh was presented with a handsome quarto Bible in the last week of February, on the cover of which was the following tribute of respect:- “Presented to the Rev. W. N. Tilson-Marsh, the respected incumbent of St. Leonards, in consideration of his faithful ministrations, by a few young members of his congregation.“ The worthy recipient recorded his acknowledgement thus:- “The Rev. W. N. Tilson-Marsh begs to return his sincere thanks to the younger members of his congregation, who have most kindly presented him with a handsome quarto Bible for the reading of the lessons, in token of their recognition of the value of the Gospel of Christ, our Saviour as preached in the St. Leonards Church – a recognition which he most highly estimates – together with their assurance to him that his labours in the parish are not in vain. By such an assurance the hands of the ministers of Christ, our Lord, are upheld. – Marina, St. Leonards, Feb. 25, 1862.”
J. Gibbs Esq. was the recipient of a testimonial, on the 16th of July, Pg. 199 from the Marine Artillery connected with the 4th Cinque Ports Volunteers. Mr. Gibbs had been their captain and in command of a battery, and as this gentleman had been made acquainted with the intention to present him with a testimonial, he with his usual liberality provided a substantial meat tea on the occasion, and otherwise arranged for a few hours relaxation. Tea being over, the volunteers to the number of about thirty adjourned to the lawn at Mr. Gibbs residence in Maze hill to indulge in a “smoke” and where was also stationed Herr Kluckner’s excellent band. At dusk the whole party returned to the house, when Sergt-Major Picknell presented the testimonial. Mr. Gibbs expressed himself as extremely grateful for the kindness thus shown him, and remarked that however proud he might have been when first elected to hold a commission in the regiment, that moment of his life was an even prouder one. His election as an untried man suggested the hope that he might be in some way useful, and the presence of those whom he had had the honour to command did that evening serve to show that the hope was not altogether unfounded. There were two principles on which he had endeavoured to regulate his conduct while in command – one which induced him to look upon volunteers as banded together for the purpose of becoming soldiers, who might one day be called upon to render an act of service to their country, and for which they could only become qualified by a strict attention to dicipline(sic); the other, that they voluntarily gave their time and means to the attainment of those objects, and which entitled them to peculiar consideration at the hands of their leaders [applause]. He was always of opinion that it was better to lead men than to drive them. Referring to the cause of his resignation, Mr. Gibbs expressed regret at the occurrence, but remarked that he had no choice in the matter, having – to speak freely – been forced out of the regiment because he could not yield obedience to illegal orders, nor accept unmerited censure and reprimands which should, in justice, have been levelled at others. In conclusion, he again thanked them warmly for the compliment they had paid him. It would be his study to preserve the testimonial, and he was sure that his children would regard it with pride when he was no more. Mr. Gibbs then drank “prosperity to the 4th Cinque Ports, and especially to No. 3 Battery”. – A toast for the lady hostess being proposed by Sergt. Major Picknell, and responded to heartily, Mrs Gibbs expressed herself deeply gratified by the kind feelings evinced towards herself, but still more so by which the gentlemen of No. 3 Battery had testified their appreciation of her husband’s services. It was a thought which did honour to the head and heart of those who had devised and carried it out, and she thanked them all warmly for having so truly appreciated and understood her husband. – The remainder of the evening was spent in cheerful conversation and singing of patriotic songs.
Pg. 200 The Revs. W. W. Hume and J. A. G. Colpoys were the recipients, respectively, of an elegantly bound Bible, on the evening of September 19th as mentoes(sic) of the Christian services rendered by those gentlemen in their ministrations at Christ Church, prior to the permanent acceptance of the duties by the Rev. C. L. Vaughan. The presentation was preceded by a tea-meeting, at which the above-named clergymen were present. Mr. Vaughan, as Chairman of the meeting, said he felt it to be a very important occasion both in respect to the past and the future of Christ Church. They had come to a crises(sic) in the history of that congregation, the future of which was dark, for they knew not what was in store for them [There was an uneasy feeling at the time among many of the worshippers who knew of Mr. Vaughan’s high-church tendencies, that the form of ministrations was about to be changed, and several of them had already left the church]. If he understood aright the object of the meeting was to testify to those who had chiefly ministered among them their sense of the benefits received in such ministrations. From the past, then, they might take comfort for the future. The reverend gentleman then called for the testimonials, and in response, Messrs. Beagley and Tree produced the two handsome Bibles. In handing the books to the recipients, Mr. Vaughan further remarked that he thought he might claim from the number then in attendance a proof of the good that had been done, and he would venture to hope that they might not be separated, but that as near neighbours they might mutually assist each other. The Rev. J. A. G. Colpoys thanked the meeting very heartily for their kindness for presenting him with the Bible. He was the more grateful because he came amongst them as a stranger and sojourner; and though he retained the same description, he desired simply to be employed in God’s good work. When the opportunity was given him to preach in Christ Church, he gladly availed himself of it, and he felt thankful that his ministrations had been acceptable. He felt encouraged by the presentation, and he hoped that as long as it pleased God to detain him in the town – for his detention was caused by sad circumstances of domestic affliction – he would be willing and thankful to minister among the people as their appointed clergyman might desire. – The Rev. W. W. Hume also returned thanks, and said he could not call himself a stranger, as the preceding day was the anniversary of the consecration of that church. Ten years ago that church was opened, and he had been going in and out among them ever since. He thanked his hearers for this fresh mark of respect. No one could be more sensible than himself of his own shortcomings in the ministration of that Word which he had endeavoured to preach to them. Mr. Hume in his later remarks, related some instances of his own experiences and those of other clergymen to show that the effect of preaching was not from power of the instrument merely, but from the greater power of God in using that instrument, for Paul might water, &c., but God gave the increase. He hoped they gave him that beautiful book not because he was a preacher, but because they were hearers. He also hoped that he did not receive the testimonial as a parting gift, but that whilst God gave Pg. 201 the increase. His prayers for the audience and their children should be that in all their times of trial, and at the moment when they passed the shadow of death, the promises of Scripture might give them aid and comfort; and that when they had entered an eternal world, they might find in their own realized happiness the truth of all that God had therein spoken. Many of them would spend their days without riches, but they would remember that there was a word in that book which would make them rich indeed. Mr. Hume again thanked them for the kindness thus manifested towards him, and invoked God’s blessing upon them, desiring them to look to Jesus Christ, their only Saviour.
At the time of writing (July, 1900) the Wesleyan Chapel in Norman Road, erected in 1836, has been totally destroyed by fire, but its attached schoolroom, built at a more recent date, has been preserved. This circumstance may lend additional interest to the fact that on New Year’s day, 1862, the annual tea-meeting in connection with the Sunday Schools was held in the new room attached to the chapel, and upon that occasion a stall of useful and fancy articles was exhibited, the object of which, in humble imitation of more pretentious allurements, was to raise, if possible, something towards clearing off the debt upon the building. The room was opened at two o’clock, and in a short time the stall was surrounded by eager purchasers, whose payments amounted to about £20, the same to be handed over to the building fund. It then only required a small additional sum to entirely free the building from incumbrance. At 5 o’clock, the tea commenced, and not one vacant seat was to be found; so that, probably, there were 200 or more sitting round the tables.
The National School Children of St. Leonards-on-sea, to the number of 469, were inspected on Monday, August 18th, by Mr. R. L. Roe, the Government Inspector of Schools, and a very favourable report was given as the result of such Inspection. For the same schools a sermon was preached in the St. Leonards Church on Sunday the 27th of April, and a sum of £21 was collected.
An annual meeting was held in the Norman-road Temperance Hall on the 16th of May, and such was the enthusiasm then and there displayed and the number of persons then and there present as to leave no room to doubt that the cause was making wonderful strides of progression. About 250 persons first sat down to tea in a room that was profusely decorated with garlands, festoons, banners and mottoes; and the utmost delight appeared to pervade the whole assembly. After tea, a second meeting took place, at which there could not have been far short of 400 persons, the entire floor of the building and its approaches being densely crowded. The Rev. W. W. Hume, who presided, explained the object of the meeting, and eloquently descanted on the duties of working men and the necessity that existed to put a stop to the terrible evils of drunk Pg. 202 enness. The reverend chairman’s opening address was listened to with much attention and was concluded amidst a warm response of approval. The Rev. Maguire, the chief speaker of the evening, addressed the meeting at great length, in the course of which he expressed his delight at being in the midst of so large and so enthusiastic a meeting. His address throughout was very instructive and was listened to with profound attention, the audience frequently testifying their approval by loud plaudits. At the conclusion of Mr. Maguire’s eloquent address, the chairman called upon Mr. Higginbottom to say a few words. This gentleman – 74 years of age – said he had been an abstainer for 54 years, and after detailing his experience of teetotalism, observed that altho’ during the last 30 years he, as a medical practitioner, might have lost six or seven thousand pounds by banishing alcohol and intoxicants from his practice, instead of regretting, rejoiced that he had done so. Some other gentlemen addressed the meeting, and at the close, twelve persons signed the pledge. As a non-abstainer Mr. Hume’s position in being placed in the chair was somewhat anomolus(sic) an explanation will be found in the following further remarks in his opening address:- It was, he said the first anniversary of the opening of that room, and from what he had heard, those who established it had met with considerable success in their efforts to diminish the sin of drunkenness. But he was rather surprised that they should have asked him to take the chair on the occasion, because as he did not like to sail under false colours, he must admit that he was not a professed teetotaller. Yet, though he had never taken the pledge, he had for a long time been convinced of the importance of any attempt to suppress the vice of a drunkard. He often thought of the song he had heard boys sing in the streets “What would I do with the drunkard? Why, put him in a stye and feed him on grains!” [Laughter]. It was better surely to feed him on grains than upon that which was extracted from them. Mr. Hume then reverted to the dignified position in which man had been placed as exhibited in his power over the inferior creatures, and the low and degraded state to which he brought himself by his own folly and evil deeds. Drunkenness was a sin which drowned the power of reason and rendered a man equal to any crime. Mr. Hume pictured to his hearers the career of a young man courting and winning the affections of a young woman to whom he was afterwards honourably united, and with whom he lived in happiness until drink came, which made the once happy home an abode of so much wretchedness that it were a libel to call it home. When he returned to his family his wife dreaded to see him, and his children were obliged to crouch down to get away from his cursing and perhaps blows. In conclusion, the worthy chairman maintained that they were doing good at all times when by any means they reformed a drunkard. He would himself do anything he could to induce a man to give up the sin [Great applause].
Licensing Day. After the old licenses had been renewed to such applicants as were present, no fewer than ten applications for new licenses were read by the Pg. 203 Magistrates’ Clerk. The applicants opposed each other as usual, but the most telling opposition they had to meet was the following memorial signed by nearly 300 inhabitants of St. Leonards:-
“To the Worshipful the Mayor and the Magistrates of the Borough of Hastings, the Memorial of the undersigned inhabitants of the Town of St. Leonards respectfully sheweth
“That there are at present in the said town of St. Leonards no less than sixteen public-houses licensed by your honourable Bench and fourteen houses licensed by the Board of Inland Revenue for the sale of beer, making a total of thirty houses licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquors – a number altogether out of proportion to the places for the sale of good and unintoxicating beverages.
“Your memorialists respectfully submit that it has been abundantly proved before Parliamentary Committees and in other ways that the degrading vice of drunkenness may be measured in extent to the number of places existing for the sale of strong drink, and in the opinion of your memorialists to increase the number of such places would be to injure the morals and means of the humbler classes, to increase the work of the police and the relieving officer, and to augment the public burdens in the form of rates and taxes.
“Your memorialists further submit that there is a universal dissatisfaction existing as to the present condition of the licensing system, and the probability of a comprehensive change during the next session of Parliament; and your memorialists pray you will consider whether it would be wise to increase the present number of licensed houses before it is seen what steps will be taken by Parliament in the matter.
“Your memorialists also submit that by granting spirit licenses to beershop keepers, a kind of premium for opening such houses is held out, beer licenses being often obtained in the hope that spirit licenses can afterwards be easily procured.
“In conclusion, your memorialists earnestly, but respectfully implore your Worships to refuse all applications for new licenses this year.
“And your memorialists will ever pray, &c.”
Mr. Langham, on behalf of the applicants for new licenses, objected to the memorial being entertained, as it emanated from a society that had no local standing. To such objection it was urged that the memorial expressed the opinion and wishes of 296 inhabitants and ratepayers, and not exclusively the Temperance Society. The magistrates retired to consider the matter, and on their return it was announced that the licenses of the Queen’s hotel and the Railway inn only would be granted – the landlord of the latter receiving an intimation that he must be careful, or the license would not be renewed next year. Thus, the memorialists had cause to believe that their efforts and representations had been very effective.
Pg. 204 A Teetotallers Trip to London took place on the 11th of August, when from 70 to 80 persons marched from the Norman-road Temperance Hall and joined an excursion train of the South-Eastern Company. They appeared to be well provided with such comforts as would cheer but not inebriate, and their minds having been prepared for the “Sights of London by previous “Readings” to which they had listened, it soon became manifest that they had resolved to profit by their visit. There was but one drawback to their happiness, and that was by trusting too much to the slow movements of a Thames steamboat, about twenty of the party got back from the Exhibition to London Bridge in time to be too late for the train.
The Band of Hope, consisting of 70 boys, celebrated its inauguration on the 18th of August by a festive meeting in the St. Leonards Temperance Hall and by rural sports on St. Leonards Green. The muster took place at two o’clock, and the juveniles being formed in marching order, proceeded, with banners flying through the principal streets to the hill, calling on their way at the residence of their kind patrons, Mr. and Mrs. Mirlees, where they sang some temperance melodies, to the delight of all present. At the conclusion of the out-door sports, the party was marched back again to the Hall and were regaled with an excellent tea. The funds of this young society were contributed to by Lord Harry Vane, Mr. Lucas Shadwell and other well-wishers.
A Temperance Meeting of a somewhat novel character was held in the Norman-road rooms on the evening of the 26th of November. The platform was occupied by about twenty young teetotallers, and Mr. John Smith, a veteran abstainer and much respected working man ably filled the chair. Several appropriate addresses were delivered, among which those of Messrs. Macdonald, Hayward, Cripps, W. Streeter and B. Crittenden were especially worthy of notice. Mr. Charles Cope, jun., excelled in some chemical experiments, whilst Messrs. Farcey, Fuggle, Hayward and Upfield, with Master Tichbon, further enlivened the meeting by their vocal and instrumental contributions. The audience were so greatly pleased with the entertainment as to ask for an adjournment to the following Wednesday.
A Lecture on the Overland Route, as a variation from the usual course of temperance entertainments, was delivered in the same rooms on the 4th of December, by Mr. F. R. Flint. The lecture was illustrated with views of Southampton, Gibralta(sic), Malta, Alexandria, Cairo, Suez, Ceylon, Madras and Calcutta, by means of the oxy-hydrogen or lime light.
Saturday Evening Entertainments. These were inaugurated on the 13th of December, and continued afterwards to be very successful, the Temperance Hall being usally(sic) crowded, mostly, but not entirely, with members of the Workingmen’s Institute and their friends.
The year’s Later Meetings. Between the last named date and the end of the year there were four meetings in the Temperance Hall of a special character – namely a concert, a tea meeting, and two nights’ demonstration Pg. 205 of the Band of Hope members. The concert was on Saturday night. Mr. Wise and his pupils constituted the instrumental band, Mr. Funnell and Mr. C. Cope, jun. were the instrumental soloists; and Mr. Funnell and Brett were
the vocalists. The solo performances were re-demanded, and the whole affair passed off satisfactorily. The tea meeting was not so largely attended as on previous occasions, but a very agreeable evening was spent, the after proceeding consisting of addresses and singing. The Band of Hope demonstration was quite a novel affair, and as thoroughly attended as it was successfully executed. The hall, indeed, was so crowded in every part, both on the Monday and the Tuesday evenings as to necessitate the refusal of admission to a considerable number of persons. The principal feature of attraction was a monster Christmas tree, exhibiting a superabundant production, and illuminated with 50 gas jets. There were also ten smaller trees, which with the profuse decorations given by W. D. Lucas-Shadwell, Esq., and the floral and other embellishments generously supplied by a number of ladies, formed a coup d’oeil at once novel and attractive. The first evening’s entertainment consisted of music (Herr Kluckner’s Band), singing and recitations by the Band of Hope boys, who numbered about 70, while the audience numbered 350. The second evening was employed in singing and music, an address by Mr. Beagley, the passing of votes of thanks to the several parties who had assisted in the work, and to the stripping of the trees by lottery. Each person present had a share therein, in addition to which, on both evenings, prizes were awarded to the best boys, Master Philip H. Tree gaining the first prize (an elegant alabaster inkstand, the gift of Miss Pennington). The whole affair passed off with great eclat.
A Visible Comet.
The Comet, which was traveling the northern heavens was observed at St. Leonards on the night of Friday, August 15th, without the aid of a telescope, and again on the evenings of Monday and Tuesday, August 18th and 19th. It was calculated to remain visible for another month, but its apparent magnitude was much below that of 1861. According to the cycloid system of Astronomy, discovered by Lieut. Morrison, this comet would appear to belong to our own solar system.
Tonic Sol-fa Rehearsal.
Among the several efforts that were being made in St. Leonards to elevate the masses in social status there was, perhaps, none more encouraging than the venture of Thomas Warr, of Brighton, who in the period of little more than three months had gratuitously trained a band of 70 young persons in the art of singing. The efficacy of his plan was well tested on the 2nd of September, when a most enjoyable concert was Pg. 206 given under the less pretentious title of “Rehearsal”. It was held in the Temperance Hall, and notwithstanding that additional accommodation had been provided, there were persons who were unable to obtain a seat. Those, however, who were fortunate enough to be present were evidently pleased with the performance, every piece being greeted with unstinted applause and four of them repeated by request. The programme consisted of about twenty selections, the first part sacred and the second part secular; the usual interval being employed by Mr. Warr in giving a terse but lucid exposition of Mr. Curwin’s sol-fa method, under which the local class had been trained. In this explanation the key-relationship, the measuring of time &c. were illustrated vocally by the conductor and by means of a “modulator” exhibited to the audience. The simplicity and truth of the system were further tested by the audience being initiated in first principles, and, subsequently by the performers themselves being required to sing at sight a piece of which they had no knowledge and which for the first time was placed before them. In the course of his remarks Mr. Warr observed that 47,000 persons were then being taught the new notation, and that such was the care bestowed on the selection of music that even the secular pieces always had a moral and elevating tendency. Its enobling influence had been the means of snatching many a one from debasing pursuits. He did not consider himself a professional teacher, but such as had been given to him he again gave to others that he might gladden their homes by inculcating a knowledge and love of music. He thanked the members of his class for the attention they had paid to their studies, and enumerated those whose proficiency entitled them to the Elementary Certificate.
The above described rehearsal was, in its true sense, an excellent concert by St. Leonards amateurs, together with a few persons from Hastings who had joined Mr. Warr’s class. There was also another band of vocalists in St. Leonards known by the title of the
St. Leonards Amateur Musical Union. On the 15th of February this well-trained association gave a concert in the Music Hall in aid of the Infirmary and Dispensary. There was a fashionable and numerous attendance, and the simple fact of there being five pieces encored may be taken as evidence of the gratification experienced by the audience. Mr. F. Thomson efficiently performed the duties of accompanyist and conductor, whilst the vocalists were Messrs. J. Skinner, J. Giles, jun., W. S. Tinley, H. Walter, E. Morfee, H. Phillips and H. Brett, jun. (for 38 years since a journalist and vocalist in New Zealand). These were assisted by Mr. Dean, of the Chichester Cathedral Choir. The programme was well selected and consisted of 22 pieces, among which were five of Hatton’s much admired part-songs, three of Pg. 207 Wallace’s favourites, two of Christy’s Minstrels, and other pieces of merit. The concert opened with Hatton’s “Happiest Land”, followed by Macfarren’s “Guiding Star”, the latter being sung in good style by Mr. Skinner. Then came Hatton’s “Beware”, after which Mr. Dean was deservedly applauded for his rendering of Wallace’s “Good Night, Beloved.” Following this was the part-song “Onward Roming(sic)” and “The Friars of “Orders Grey”, the latter as a barritone(sic) solo by Mr. Phillips. “The Polka Serenade (as sung by the Swedish
Minstrels) was a spirited song, with voice accompaniments, in which there was a solo given by Mr. Dean in a charming manner, and the performance was lustily encored. “Little Bennie” was sung by Mr. Tinley in a soft and pleasing manner, followed by “Ripe Strawberries”. Mr. H. Brett jun. gained an enthusiastic encore for “The Bell Ringer,” and the first part of the concert closed with the “Drum March”, a descriptive battle song, the solo by Mr. Dean. The second part commenced with “The Village Blacksmith”, followed by “The Stout British Ship” the latter by Mr. Walter. “April Showers” was called for a second time, as was also “Peggy Dear”, a solo and chorus descriptive of a sleigh ride, in which Mr. Skinner created a sensation by singing the solo in a musical but jaunty style, accompanied by the crack of a whip and the jingling of bells. A pretty duet was given by Mr. Dean and Mr. H. Brett, jun., and the performance was varied by a cornet solo played by Mr. C. Hayes, Band Sergeant of the Artillery Volunteers. Thomson’s part-song “Yo ho!” with organophonic imitations by H. Brett, jun., was warmly applauded, as was also “The Soldier’s Love”, a favourite part-song of the Orpheus Glee Union’s. Mr. J. Skinner having again appeared to advantage in a Christy Minstrel’s song (for which he had obtained permission), this excellent concert was appropriately concluded with “The Minstrel’s Good Night” and the National Anthem.
A Repetition or nearly so, of the concert above described, was given in the George-hotel Assembly Room at Battle on the 14th of February, to a numerous audience, who were by no means chary of a need of praise to our local amateurs. So well pleased were they with the entire performance that several of them expressed a wish for another opportunity of listening to the vocal abilities of the St. Leonards Musical Union.
An Appreciative Letter appeared in the St. Leonards Gazette of Feb. 22nd as follows:- “Sir, - On Thursday last I attended a concert given in aid of the Infirmary and Dispensary, and I was highly gratified at the efficient manner in which it was carried out. I have been to most of the local concerts given during the last four or five years, and in my humble opinion, considering the small number of performers, it was the best local concert we have had. I think great praise is due to these gentlemen, (more particularly to Mr. Dean in coming so far) for giving such a concert, and I Pg. 208 should be pleased to pay for the use of the Hall if those gentlemen would kindly come forward and repeat the concert, provided the funds were given in aid of the Infirmary and Dispensary, or to the Hastings and St. Leonards Mechanics’ Institutions. I am certain there would be a crowded Attendance; for, I think most of those who were present last Thursday would come again and bring their friends.
Hastings Feb. 17, 1862 Yours, &c. Musical”
The Rifle Band Concert, most of the executants of which were of both towns, took place at the Music Hall on Monday, March 3rd, and with considerable eclât. The vocalists were assisted by Miss Emily Smith, of Lewes, Miss Anne Walker, of the London Concerts, Mr. Walker, of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Mr. Dean, of Chichester Cathedral. The programme comprised four instrumental pieces for the Band, two marches for the Drum and Fife Band, six vocal solos, two duets and seven part-songs. Miss Smith was loudly encored for “The Irish Emigrant, and the St, Leonards Musical Union was complimented in the same manner for “The Soldiers’ Glee”, (composed by Mr. Thompson for the occasion), as well as in the two other pieces allotted to them. Mr. and Miss Walker’s duets were rendered in true professional style, and “The Hearts of Oak” was effectively sung by Mr. Glenister. The Hastings Madrigal Society and the two bands performed their parts in a creditable manner, and, but for the length of the programme, other pieces than those which were twice given would probably have been made subservient to the demand. Mr. Funnell, (conductor of the Rifle Band) performed the accompaniments for the Madrigal Society, and Mr. Thompson officiated in a similar capacity for the rest of the vocalization
The St. Leonards Gazette of the 18th of January, remarked – “In the very midst of excitement arising out of the misconduct of a dissenting minister, three other events of a startling and melancholy nature have transpired to increase the agitation of the public mind”. These were two suicides and a child murder (See pages 182 & 183); and in the same journal of that date and of the following week, full details were given of the terrible colliery accident at Hartley in Northumberland, which occurred on the 16 of January, and by which upwards of 200 human beings lost their lives. Also on the 18th a colliery explosion occurred at the Blackheath colliery, near Dudley, which caused the death of three miners and several horses.
A third colliery accident took place on the 18th of February, near Mold, in Flintshire, where 16 miners were drowned; and on the following day, 47 lives were lost at the Gethin Mine, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. Later in the year (Nov. 22) at Walker, near Newcastle, 15 lives were lost by an explosion, which brought to memory all the horrors of the Hartley catastrophe: and Pg. 209 still more so the colliery explosion at Edmund’s Main, near Barnsley, on the 8th of December, when 60 miners lost their lives. It was thus a year of fearful colliery accidents, and one that too truly realised, both the prediction in Raphael’s Prophetic Messenger, and the hieroglyphic in Orion’s British Almanack. One of the most prominent features of the latter was the representation of a coal-pit accident and a number of dead bodies drawn up from the same. Reflecting upon the first of these dire calamities, the St. Leonards Gazette, of February 8th had the following article under the headin(sic) of
“The Nation’s Woe and the Nation’s Benevolence.”
Saddened by the reflection of the great calamity that had befallen the nation in the loss of the beloved Prince Consort, we ventured on some gloomy forebodings that England was destined to witness the present year dawning upon her in mood and manner the reverse of happy. It was no mere sentiment that we sought at that time to give expression to, but a deep-rooted feeling that England would be smitten still more with the rod of affliction. And with that feeling was associated the belief that, if called upon to exercise its benevolence, the nation at large, and our own locality in particular, would not be lacking therein; that even in the depth of our sorrow the flood-gates of charity would remain open, and that the fountain of sympathy with distressed humanity would flow as freely as ever. Recent events prove that our surmises were correct in all respects; for, no sooner was it known that the country’s help was needed for the bereaved and distressed survivors at Hartley than, with praiseworthy alacrity that help was forthcoming. We alluded, last week, to the part which Hastings and St. Leonards took in the matter, and to the fact that the prompt and united energies of a few benevolent persons had resulted in a collection of £440 [afterwards augmented to £461]. The person thus acting as as collectors did so in a sort of private capacity, but as will be seen by the proceeding of the Town Council at their last meeting, the plan was not only sanctioned by the Mayor and his colleagues, but that a need of praise was also accorded the collectors for their energetic action. How different was the conduct of the Mayor of Yarmouth, who, as our readers are aware, refused to assist in the raising of a national fund for the bereaved families at Hartley, upon the ground that such funds were misapplied, the recipients of the relief enriched, and the wealthy owners of the coal mines saved from an expense which they alone ought to bear when such calamities occurred. Happily for the sufferers and for the honour of England such sordid and contemptible sentiments are rarely met with, and when they are, their effect is comparitively(sic) harmless. At any rate they have proved so in this instance, for it appears from careful estimates made by competent persons that nearly £50,000 will be raised for the sufferers by the terrible Pg. 210 catastrophe at New Hartley; thus proving that the floodgates of benevolence have been opened, and that the rich and poor do sympathise alike in a practical form with the widowed and fatherless who weep in those lonely cottages. The flow of human feeling is fast and genuine. The commotions on the surface and rising from beneath speedily become levelled by the onward rush of life; and well it is that so it is! Each age and year should bear its own burthens. The social heart of a given period would break were it doomed to bear the pressure of calamities that have occurred in the past as well as the present. In like manner if the burden of such a calamity as the one referred to were to fall upon one individual or one district, as the Mayor of Yarmouth would have it be, it would be an unbearable responsibility on the one hand, and on the other the sufferers would continue to suffer, and the helpless remain unhelped “Many can help the one, but the one cannot help the many”, is a world-wide maxim; and it is a merciful design that we are so formed to mutually assist each other, and thus, as it were, to rapidly recover from the shock of great evils, while we obliviate in some degree the sorrows of the past. But we cannot allow the future to come in with the rush of strange events without bearing our testimony to the noble manner in which the public have responded to the cry of the bereaved and sorrowing poor at Hartley. It is quite refreshing to notice the kind and generous impulse springing from the hearts of different classes in reference to this calamity. The means requisite for the support and comfort of the surviving sufferers are provided; and had it been necessary, much more would have been forthcoming. We take it as good omen when the whole mass of people are so soon stirred to deeds of benevolence. The “Good Samaritan” lives in the nation, and beneath many a rough exterior there resides a tender heart. The prevalence of such humanity links our countrymen, together in bonds of holy brotherhood, and exhibits, in a very strong light, the gentle influence of the Christian religion, even when its doctrine is not fully understood. In this we see a ground of hope for the future; for the nearer we approach in our sympathies for each other in the character of a great family, the more secure will our national peace and prosperity become. We cannot conclude without expressing a hope that some steps may be taken to form a national fund to meet such calamities in future, for we know too well that they are frequently occurring, and although every catastrophe does not leave such a fearful death-toll behind it yet they form a terrible total. Something may surely be done now that this disaster is fresh in the public memory, and we trust those who are competent to the task will prove equal to the carrying out the suggestion. Doubtless, if such a fund could be properly managed, it would be warmly supported; and we further suggest, as a beginning that if any surplus remains of the Hartley relief fund, it be appropriated as a neuclus(sic) of a fund devoted to this purpose.
Pg. 211 The Albert Memorial Proposal
A Mayor’s meeting was held at the Market Hall in George street on the 12th of February to consider what steps should be taken in connection with a proposed memorial to the late Prince Consort. The place of meeting was thought by many persons not to have been wisely selected, and as having the effect of the non-attendance of wealthy and influential inhabitants of the borough; more particularly those of the western districts. A report of the meeting will be found in the next chapter, under the heading of Hastings, but it may be here stated that there was a want of unanimity among the speakers as to whether a proposed collection of funds should be for a local or a national object. Lord Harry Vane (M.P. for Hastings) said the intention was to take the Queen’s pleasure as soon as a certain amount had been raised, and that £40,000 had been already received at the Mansion House. Mr. Winter was in favour of a local memorial, Mr. Howell would be sorry if Hastings were unrepresented in a national one; Mr. Putland was in favour of both; and Mr. Meadows, as well as Mr. Howell, regretted that at such a meeting there should be such an absence of wealthy and influential people. These were a few ideas then and there expressed, but a more ample description of the movement was to be found in the following editorial copied from the St. Leonards Gazette of March 1st.
From the moment that a national memorial to the late Prince Consort was proposed it became a matter of earnest discussion what form it should assume. Some voices were given in favour of a monument which should at once perpetuate the Prince’s memory and serve some useful purpose in the country to whose happiness his life had been dedicated. Others proposed statues, obelisks and other works of art. Some were for a national tribute and some for local mementos. And amongst the conflict of ideas it is not to be wondered that at the recent meeting at Hastings, when the subject was brought under discussion, no definite understanding was arrived at, except that the memorial should be of a local character. At the Hastings meeting a committee was formed to collect subscriptions; and now, after dividing the borough into districts and the committee into corresponding sections, an active canvass has commenced to raise a fund for carrying out the object. How far the labours of the committee are likely to be successful we have not at this moment the means of knowing; but sufficient has transpired to assure us that there does not exist a unanimity of feeling sufficient to justify an overgood augury. People want to know upon what object the money is to be expended; and all that the collectors can say with any certainty is, that when the subscriptions have been got in, a meeting of subscribers will be convened to decide the question. The most prevalent idea, however, is to erect a clock-tower at the end of Robertson street. But against this, numerous arguments are advanced with which are associated the following schemes:- The removal Pg. 212 and enlargement of the Infirmary; a new building for the Ragged School; public baths and wash houses; an ornamental clock at the Archway; and a statue at Warrior square. But the voice of the Queen herself has now been heard, and perhaps those of her people who have spoken in a contrary sense will henceforth be silent – not, however, in sullen submission to authority, but in ready and cheerful acquiescence. That the form of the monument should be settled speedily and definitely was most desirable. Anything like a struggle between various interests striving to make a profit out of the nation’s sympathy would have shocked her Majesty’s feelings, whilst something of the kind would have been almost inevitable if the matter had not been finally set at rest by the official declaration of her Majesty’s wishes. This declaration has been made in a peculiarly affecting manner, two letters having been received by the Lord Mayor of London as chairman of the Albert Memorial committee. These letters very beautifully exhibited the deep affection which her Majesty entertained for her illustrious Consort and the reverence and devotion in which she holds his memory. In the first one the Queen expresses her gratitude for the sympathy the nation has displayed with her in her affliction; and then, going to the point of the communication, she suggests that the Albert Memorial should consist of an obelisk on the site of the 1851 Exhibition in Hyde Park. At the base of the obelisk there would be room for the display of groups of statuary “each of which might be entrusted to a separate artist”. This is the Queen’s idea which she desires to be worked out by the assistance of a committee appointed to confer with her. This is the substance of the first letter in which her Majesty speaks as Queen. In the second one it is as wife she speaks; and in that capacity she asks “to join with the nation in the expression of a nation’s gratitude to one to whom it owes so much”. In a matter of this sort the Queen’s will becomes our will as soon as it is known; not only because she is our Queen, and claims our obedience by virtue of a principle which, in the present crisis of human affairs we have learned to value more highly and cling to more tenaciously than ever, but because we are all anxious this Albert Memorial should serve a double purpose; that it should keep green in our hearts the memory of the Prince, and mitigate in some degree the overwhelming sorrow of the Queen. It is of but slight mitigation at most that such sorrow is capable, but inasmuch as it would have been aggravated if the people of England had failed to appreciate Prince Albert’s worth, it must be softened in some measure by their eagerness to raise any monument to him which the Queen may think best.
The above unbiased and fairly written article having evoked a criticism as absurd as it was malicious, a second article on the subject appeared in the Gazette, a week later as follows:-
Pg. 213 The remarks in our last week’s impression on this subject [The Albert Memorial], we learn, orally and by written communication, have been identified with the active measures said to have been taken by some of our west-end gentry, and “hence the spirit of opposition in which those remarks were penned”. It is only fair to ourselves that we refute the imputation of being connected with “a party bent on thwarting the efforts of a committee in their laudable object” of collecting funds for a memorial to the memory of a great and good man. The remarks in the Gazette were made quite independently of party influence or party bias, and entirely upon which we conceived to be the merits of the question. We saw that a diversity of ideas prevailed as to what form and shape the memorial ought to assume; we knew that many persons would refuse to contribute to the fund unless their own pet scheme had a chance of being adopted; we rembered(sic) that the public meeting was comparatively unattended by the wealthy and influential portion of the inhabitants; and we learnt from the Queen’s letters that her Majesty had set her heart upon the erection of at least one memorial of a really national character, and that any controversy or dispute respecting it would be “inexpressibly painful” to her. These were the considerations upon which we based our approval and recommendation of a national in lieu of a local memorial; and even now we see no reason to retract or alter a single word contained in those remarks. They were made in perfectly good faith and under a generous impulse which suggested to us the advocacy of that which we deemed the most likely to allay local jealousies and deputations, and at the same time exhibit our loyalty in seconding the efforts of the London committee to carry out the wishes of our excellent Queen.
Something has been said about an “anonymous circular” and “private exhortations from house to house in certain districts to thwart the efforts of the committee”. We have no reason to doubt the truthfulness of this, although the circular and its author are unknown to us, and the “private exhortation” is a circumstance equally without the pale of our knowledge. But whatsoever may have been done in the manner described, it is just possible – nay, probable that the inhabitants in the eastern part of the borough will have cause to be thankful that the opposition has given them a spur to raise the greater portion of the money among themselves, and thus enable them at the forthcoming meeting of subscribers to outvote those who may be opposed to the clock-tower proposed to be erected in that part of the borough. We are far from believing that all opposition is baneful; and if we especially take that view in this case, the idea is strengthened by the expressed determination of the committee not to allow their plans to be defeated, and by the increased subscriptions of those who are in favour of the project thus contended for.
There are, however, just two circumstances connected with the question Pg. 214 that must have greatly tended to originate the opposition complained of, and to which a brief allusion may not be out of place. It is well known that a numerously signed memorial against the proposed construction of a harbour at Hastings was treated with ridicule by those who convened the Memorial meeting, only a short time previously; and we therefore need not wonder that when the latter took place in a public building the most remote from St. Leonards, and one which could not have contained even a moiety of those who were interested in the question, there should be found absent such as had been the subject of ridicule, and such as would have had a longer journey to take than their inclination led them to care for. Also the meeting was not thoroughly and judiciously advertised, and as a consequence, many, perhaps, who might have taken a part thereat were uninformed of such meeting until it was too late to put off other engagements. We can well understand the animus which still exists in some quarters in reference to this journal and the reason why, out of the great number of advertisements emanating from the Corporate body, not one ever reaches our office. To say that this want of recognition of a journal, which has existed already not fewer than eight years gives us no concern would be to assert what is not true; but this by the way! What we have now to deal with is that if this journal has upwards of a thousand readers and a majority of those readers took to its columns in vain for public announcements which appear elsewhere, merely because they and their favourite newspaper have an existence out of the limits of the old town although still in the borough, let there be no complaint that meetings held in the extreme east are not properly attended by those who are living in the extreme west.
And here, for the information of those who do not know us as we know ourselves, let us observe that we never, on any occasion, advocate a question or a principle upon mere party representation or party influence, albeit that it has been more than once asserted that “we must do as our party tells us” “Free as the air we breathe!” is our motto, and we challenge proof of any deviation from the freedom thus professed. There is no man nor body of men so eloquently persuasive or so wealthily influential as to compel us to swerve from our political, religious and civil independence; and if we write on any theme affecting the interests of our own borough or the country at large, we do so at all times from the conviction that our arguments are supported by facts or that the course we advise is the one in our own unbiased judgement most calculated to effect that which is right. If it be the Boundary question, we treat it as a boundary question, piling up, as we once did, a mass of facts that cannot be demolished; and if it be the harbour question, involving problematic results, we Pg. 215 deal with it considerately on its merits and demerits, neither running into extremes of advocacy like the Chronicle, nor of ultra depreciation like the Observer. But in all cases we persist in maintaining an unfettered independence of thought, speech and action. And as a means to this end we continue to stand aloof from many associations which might benefit us pecuniarily, but which might tend to impede the free exercise of our judgement.
We learn that the sums collected and promised on behalf of the local memorial amount to upwards of £300. This, we suppose, would be pretty well enough for the Hastings Clock Tower; and if it be possible and desirable that a similar amount be collected for a memento in St. Leonards – at one time the dwelling place of her Majesty – we do not see that any cogent reason can be urged against it.
A splendid meteor was observed at St. Leonards on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 27th, darting across the heavens from about E.N.E. to W.S.W., and exploding at a point almost directly under the moon. The explosion was accompanied with an audible detonation. The moon had also a strikingly singular appearance, the luminous portion representing two crescents, one seeming to intersect the other.
On the afternoon of Thursday, April 3rd, her ex-Majesty Marie Amelie[b](sic), and his Royal Highness the Duc de Nemours, arrived at St. Leonards from Dorking. The royal visitors were attended by the Baroness Wangenhem?, Mdlle Muser, Gen. Count Dumas, Mons. Abbe Segule, Dr. de Mussey, &c. Carriages were in waiting to take the whole party from the Warrior square station to the Victoria hotel. They remained for eight days, and then travelled back to Dorking en route for Claremont.
The Crown Prince of Prussia passed through Hastings and St. Leonards on Sunday afternoon, June 29th from Dover to Portsmouth, en route for Osborne, for the purpose of attending Princess Alice’s wedding’
The Duke and Duchess de Monpensier and suite arrived per South-Eastern railway on July 18th, and after lunching at the Victoria Hotel, took a drive through the borough. The Duke expressed his admiration of the improvements that had been effected, and was understood to have arranged for another visit of the ex-Royal Family, then at Tunbridge Wells, where they had been visited by the Prince of Wales.
Our Royal Visitors. It is gratifying to know (says the St. Leonards Gazette, of August 16th) that the several members of the royal families of France, Spain and Russia, who came amongst us last week, are sufficiently pleased with St. Leonards as to be induced to prolong their stay beyond the period first thought of. Pg. 216 The Duke and Duchess of Monpensier are still sojourning at the Victoria Hotel, the ex-Queen of Spain and suite at 88 and 89 Marina, and the Grand Duke Michael and his lady at Warrior House. Between the two former there have been frequent interchanges of visits and there have been also other royal movements, some of which are here chronicled. On Saturday last the Duke of Monpensier and his daughters proceeded to London and returned to St. Leonards in the evening. On Tuesday, their Royal Highnesses the Count de Paris and the Duke de Chartre arrived from Tunbridge Wells, and after paying a visit to the Duke de Monpensier, returned per South-Eastern railway. On the same day H. M. the ex-Queen of Spain dined with her royal son-in-law at the Victoria hotel. On Wednesday the mid-day train brought to St. Leonards the ex-Queen of the French and other members of the House of Orleans, who were received at the South-Eastern Company’s station by the Duke de Monpensier, Mons. Latour, and A. Beattie, Esq., the resident railway director. The royal party consisted, in addition to the ex-Queen, of the Duke de Nemours, the Prince and Princess de Joinville, the Prince Francoise d’Orleans, Count d’Eu, the Duke d’Alencon, the Count and Countess de Montesque, Gen. Count Dumas, Mme. Mϋser and Col. Jose Ceriano. A dejeuner was prepared at the residence of the ex-Queen of Spain, where a portion of the royal visitors were entertained, the other portion taking breakfast with the Duke de Monpensier. Some of the party returned to Tunbridge Wells on the same day, and Queen Christianna(sic) entertained a large party in the evening at dinner. Another interchange of visits occurred on Friday when the Duke and Duchess de Monpensier and their children joined the 9.10 train to Tunbridge Wells to take breakfast with Queen Amelie. The ex-Queen of Spain also left by the 2.30 train to join the royal party at luncheon. Both parties returned to St. Leonards in the evening. On Saturday Aug. 16th, the Duke and Duchess de Monpensier and a numerous suite visited Battle Abbey, where they were hospitably entertained by Lord and Lady Harry Vane. Returning to St. Leonards, they joined her Majesty Queen Christiana of Spain, and a numerous circle at dinner. Two days later the Duke and Duchess de Monpensier proceeded to London per Brighton and South Coast railway, and returned in the evening by the South Eastern line. On the following Friday (Aug. 22nd) His Royal Highness and attendants took train to Etchingham station for the purpose of exploring the antiquities of Bodiam Castle. The ex-queen of Spain was visited on Monday by the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Prince Phillipe, and the Princess Clotilde, who had arrived by the South-Eastern line on the same day. Her Majesty and numerous suite have since taken their departure to London.
Their Royal Highnesses the Grand Duke and Duchess Michael of Russia were conveyed to the Victoria station in the beautiful saloon carriage of the London Brighton and South Coast Company, and returned in the evening by the same company’s express train. The date was August 16th. The same party took tickets at the St. Leonards tation(sic) for London on the 24th and again returned in the evening to their Pg. 217 residence in Warrior Square. The Grand Duke and Duchess with their numerous retinue, left St. Leonards for Dover on the 14th of September, by a special train of the South-Eastern railway. Every attention was shown the royal party, as a matter of course by the St. Leonards and Hastings station-masters (Messrs. Descon and Kennett) and a feeling of satisfaction was evinced by those on whom such attention was bestowed. A souvenir, in the form of a brooch, set with jewels, was generously presented to Mrs. Wise, wife of the station-master at the West Marina station, as an acknowledgement of sundry attentions shown by her to the Duke and Duchess during their journeying to and fro on the South-Coast line.
The Princess Mary visited Hastings and St. Leonards on Friday, October 24th, taking up her temporary residence with Mrs. Taylor (sister to Lady Cathcart), 65 Eversfield Place. Her Royal Highness drove along the front to St. Leonards, making a few purchases at some of the shops, and expressing herself greatly pleased with her first visit to these towns. The station at which H. R. H. alighted was that of the London, Brighton and South-Coast, where Mr. Wise the station-master had the honour of receiving her. Her Royal Highness inspected the Invalid Gentlewomen’s Home, and also visited some shops in Hastings. Messrs. Ashton & Co’s and Mr. Mann’s being among others.
Re James Troupe. The chief litigant of the Warrior-square estate (whose career in St. Leonards has been frequently noticed in this history) and whose case required many years to adjust, appears at the Insolvent Debtors Court on Tuesday, May 22nd, to know what sum the Court would order to be paid to him. The Court directed £850 to be so paid, and the Registrar said a rule might be drawn up discharging the rule to annul the vesting order, and thus ordering the payment of the money.
A Rowing Club Established.
During the first week in September a Rowing-Club was established in St. Leonards, consisting of 30 members to start with, each of whom was to contribute 3d. per week, such contribution to be handed to the secretary at fortnightly meetings. There was to be a limited number of tickets issued at half a guinea, thus to enable gentlemen to hold shares in the boats and to have the use of them under certain conditions. The Club was also to be open to receive voluntary contributions towards the purchase of galleys, &c. The managing committee was to consist of Messrs. Hempsted (treasurer), Hy. Roberts (secretary) C. Wratten (captain), Hy Smith C. Philpott, W. Bennett, S. B. Chester, C. Chapman, and J. Hutchings.
The Rocket Apparatus.
This invention for saving lives from stranded vessels was experimented with on the 30th of June, near 39 Tower at Bopeep, when the practice was judged to be in every way satis Pg. 218 factory. The proceedings were watched with apparent interest by a considerable number of persons. Capt. Gough was in command.
A St. Leonards Cadet Corps.
Now that (in 1900) a Boy’s Brigade has been established in St. Leonards it is the more appropriate to notice the formation of a Cadet Corps in 1862, the year still under review. It was in the month of June that it became known that the formation of such a corps had been suggested by a gentleman, as a means of taking from the streets many of the lads who having nothing to engage them in their spare hours, found for themselves such amusements as did not redound to their own credit nor to the comfort of good society. It was thought also, that if drilled and disciplined by a competent instructor they might become candidates for vacancies that would of necessity occur in the ranks of our valuable corps of Rifle or Artillery Volunteers. It took a few weeks to practically put the idea into operation, but it was eventually accomplished and on the 7th of October this new Cadet Corps assembled in the Magdalen Schoolroom for a preliminary inspection. Mr. Descou, the Rev. W. W. Hume and other promoters of the movement, were present, and three days later, the first drill meeting took place in the Alfred-street Reading-room. On the 14th of October the Corps met for the 3rd time and went through their drill in such a manner as to elicit the warm approval of their instructor. They were nearly 100 in number, and the favour with which the formation of the Corps was viewed by the boys themselves had in it a promise that could not well be overrated. Certain it was that they evinced an alacrity and a perception in their exercises that for so short a time quite surprised those who saw them. A fife band in connection with the corps was being formed under the superintendence of Mr. Funnell, and when they had all donned their uniform, it was anticipated that this new attraction would be one of no ordinary interest. Among those who witnessed the drill were the promoters – Mr. Descou and the Rev. W. W. Hume; also Master-Gunner Coleman, Sergt.-Major Murray and Sergt.-Major Picknell.
On Wednesday, the 31st of July, a party of the St. Leonards resident gentry was observed setting out from the Marina for an afternoon’s recreation at Herstmonceux Castle. The company consisted of nearly 40 persons, among whom were C. R. Harford, Esq., Col. Shakespear, the Misses Taylor, Capt. Gough, the Rev. B. C. Barnes, the Rev – Richards, the Misses Stonestreet, &c, &c. On arrival at the Castle, the company seated themselves on the ground a la gisie?, and partook of refreshments in an enjoyable manner. The wines were said to have been provided by Mr. Harford and Col. Shakespear, and pronounced to be of unusually good quality. The remainder of the day was spent in a manner calculated Pg. 219 to afford the utmost pleasure to the whole of the party.
Another Fashionable Pic-nic party from St. Leonards on the 8th of August, the place of rendezvous being this time, Bodiam Castle. The party was again composed of about 40 persons, among whom were noticed Col. and the Misses Shakespear, Mr. Harford, Capt. Gough, the Misses Harford, the Misses Taylor. Mr. Fuller, Mr. V. Crake, the Rev. B. C. Barnes, &c. Unfortunately, the weather, though fine at St. Leonards, was too much of a pluvial character a few miles in land, to admit of perfect enjoyment within the Castle walls, and so, with a purpose to ensconce themselves in a drier atmosphere, the ruralists deemed it prudent to adjourn to a barn, where they quickly surrounded a spread of viands rich and rare. A “weeping sky” in the neighbourhood of Bodiam is by no means an unusual occurrence, if it be true, as we were once assured that the old Castle gets “christened 300 times a year”; but how far such a statement was likely to console those temporary Bodiamites who on that occasion forsook the bland air of St. Leonards for an archaeological ramble is not here attempted to decide.
Another Party was “organised” on the following Monday, and the weather proving more favourable, the pleasures of the day were said to have been complete.
On the same afternoon a gipsy fête held at Phillips’s farm, in connection with the band of the 2nd Sussex Artillery Volunteers, and which proved to be a successful affair both as to the pecuniary interest of the band and the enjoyment of the company.
A Fourth party of “Gipsy” Folk was got together on the 14th of August, consisting of the teachers of the St. Leonards Wesleyan Sunday School. The party numbered about twenty, who, having met at the School room, in Shepherd street, there entered into “particulars” as to the probability of more genial weather looming in the distance. Presently, a “clearing-up shower” made its appearance, followed by Sol’s cheering radience(sic), and off trudged the party with blythe hearts to the Old Roar, where they partook of tea, and, after partaking of some out-of-door amusements, bent their steps homeward, singing songs of gladness.
- pelf – money, particularly when gained in a dishonest or dishonourable way - Transcriber
- Marie-Amelia (or Amelie) 1782-1866 was queen to Louis-Phillippe I, & the last queen in France - see French Royalty - Transcriber
Transcribed by Sally Morris