Brett Volume 9: Chapter LXV - St. Leonards 1861
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Chapter LXV - St Leonards 1861
Commissioners' Meetings (pg. 1)
Archery Meetings – Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows
Accidents at St.Leonards (fatal and otherwise)
Desperate Leaping and Wonderful Escape
Atmospheric Changes (the lowest recorded temperatures)
Storms and floods
Concerts and Musical Entertainments
Sudden deaths and Inquests – Death of Mr. Boykett Breeds
Death and Interment of the Prince Consort
Prince Albert's Death
Predictions touching the death of Prince Albert
Funeral Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Crosse on Prince Albert
Sudden death of the Town Crier
Fire Engines and Fire Brigade
Some curious Occurrences
Trial of The Victoria Life-Boat
Invalid Gentlewomen's Home
St Mary Magdalen Church
Maritime Disaster (A schooner sunk)
The Postal Movement
Post Office Associations
Royal Visitors and Passengers
Robberies and Larcenies
St.Leonards Mechanics' Institution
St. Leonards Temperance Hall & Working Men's Reading Room
School Treats and Workmen's Treats
School Committee's reply to Mr. Hatchard
School Committee's Reply to Mr. Hatchard's charges
St.Leonards National Schools
The Water Supply & Eversfield Works
The Eversfield Waterworks.
[ 1 ]
St. Leonards, 1861
At the quarterly meeting on the 25th of March, there were present Messrs. A Burton (chairman), Hunt, Platt, Parks, Gausden and Carey.
Tenders An offer was accepted from Wm. Mitchell to water the roads at 1/3 per hour; he to keep a correct a/c of the number of bugden fulls that were used.____Tenders for drainage were received from G. H. Broadbridge, £140; William Smith, £109 9s; Carey and Avery, £95;and Hy. Hughes, jun, £68 12s.The last named tender being less than half the highest was, unhesitatingly accepted.
Not again to be employed After being told not to collect any more hard blue stone for the Commissioners, Edward Gould, still collected it and sold it to Hughes and Hunter. It was therefore resolved that Gould be not employed again.
Bills to be paid Were Thos. Skinner's £7 15s. for housing two water carts; and Mr. Williard's £4 3s. 8d. for iron outlets.
Resignation A letter was received from the Rev. J. A. Hatchard, in which he declined to act any longer as a Commissioner.
Waterworks Bill The Clerk reported that he had obtained from Mr. Clarke and his Parliamentary agent an undertaking that the Hastings Western Waterworks Bill would exclude its operations from the Commissioners' district.
Paving Resolved that the pavement at Mrs. Harwood's house, 1 West Ascent, be widened and relaid with flag-stones, Mrs. H. bearing half the expense.
At the next quarterly meeting, on June 24th, the Commissioners present were Messrs. A. Burton (chairman) Wagner, Parks, Southall and Carey.
A Plan of the town as ordered on June 6/59 was produced by the surveyor.
Retaining Wall Resolved to pay half the cost of a retaining wall at the back of 57 Marina, if Messrs. How and Kenwood would pay the other half.
"Kettle Nets" The Clerk was requested to write to the Admiralty respecting these nets, which were placed below low-water mark to the detriment of sea bathing.
[ 2 ]
The St. Leonards Commisssioners.
Garden Ground The Clerk reported that he had been in communication with Messrs. Rogers and Jull respecting the garden ground at the east side of 15 Marina and expected to hear further. This was a piece of ground that, years before, had been walled in from the public footpath in consequence of noise and annoyance to 15 Marina, and no protest having been made for 20 years was now wanted to build a Commissioners' office.
Commissioners' Rate The usual improvement rate at one shilling was agreed to.
Crouch's wages - were to be raised from 13/6 to 15/7 for which advance he was to work half an hour longer each day.
Plan of Building The Clerk produced an acknowledgement from Frances Edward Smedley, Esq. of the receipt of communication re the ground on east side of 15 Marina, with plan attached.
At the quarterly meeting held on the 28th of September, the Commissioners present were Messrs. A. Burton (chairman), Wagner, Gausden, Carey, and Sir Woodbine Parish.
Generous Offer A pathway from the west of St. Leonards Church up to West-hill road was offered by Mr. Decimus Burton and accepted with thanks by the Commissioners. This pathway (since improved) was a great convenience.
Mr Gant, in a letter, expressed his readiness to comply with the Commissioners' wish that he should reside in the town - a wish strengthened by damage caused by the late storm - but calling attention to the fact that his salary was reduced on account of the financial position of the Commission, and that he acquiesced therein at the time also because of his early association with the town.
Fire Brigade The offer of Supt. Glenister of a section of the volunteer Fire Brigade was accepted, and a promise was made of subscribing to the fund. £35 was ordered to be paid to Shaw and Mason for new hose to the engine.
Drainage The Commissioners refused to pay any part of the cost of draining Mr. Rodda's new house on the West Hill.
Applications declined Mrs. Henley of 4 West Ascent, having applied for compensation for damage done to her house by the storm in June, last, was informed that the Commissioners had no fund for such a purpose. - Mrs. Harwood also applied to be compensated for the damage done to 1 West Ascent by the floods in June. The Commissioners declined to entertain it.
St. Leonards Commissioners - Vestry Meetings
A Tender of £22 from Mr. Tutt was accepted for the repairs of the steps at East Ascent.
Bathing Mr. A. Burton, as proprietor of most of the bathing machines, applied for rules and orders to be made, pursuant to section 82 of the St. Leonards Improvement Act.
The December Meeting was attended by Sir Woodbine Parish, Alfred Burton, Esq. (chairman), G. H. M. Wager, Esq. - Hunt, Esq. and Mr. C. H. Gausden. The business transacted was as follows:- A foot-pavement under North Lodge was to be laid; gulley-gratings were to be put in on the west side of Maze Hill and south side of East Ascent; groynes on the east side of the Victoria Library were to be repaired by Mr. Selden; articles for the fire-engine applied for by Mr. Glenister were to be ordered; a york-stone pavement was to be put down at from 123 to 126 Marina; and the same kind of pavement, 6 feet wide, was to be laid in front of West-hill terrace, half of the expense to be paid by the owners of the houses. Rate-book at 6/- for the half year as usual.
Vestry Meetings (St. Leonards)
At the first parish meeting of the year - Feb. 22nd - threr were but three persons present and the only business transacted was the election of constables in the persons of ____Hammond and Jesse Cruttenden, of Bopeep; Rich'd Lamb, of St. Leonards Green; and C. Cloake and George Standen of Tivoli.
At the Easter vestry, March 26th, Messrs. Peerless, Hatchman, Grosslob and Starkey were named for overseers; William Payne was elected assistant overseer. J. Phillips was re-elected vestry clerk; and Messrs. Draper and Peerless, surveyors. A poor rate for the borough part of the parish was figured at 6d. and a highway rate at 3d.
At a meeting on Oct. 18th, a poor rte at 6d was passed and the resignation of W. Payne as assistant overseer, was accepted.
Vestry Meetings (St. Mary Magdalen)
At the Easter vestry, held at the Warriors' Gate inn on the 27th of March, with Robert Hempsted presiding, Wm. Callaway, Aaron Sellman, Wm. Ranger, Jos. Boston and Wm. Stone were nominated for overseers; Jos. Yarroll and W. E. Skinner were elected assessors of Property and Income tax; and W. Pain Beecham was elected vestry-clerk.
The making of a rate was postponed. There were twelve signatures to the vestry-book, including those of Ainslie Harwood, T. B. Brett, Chas. Hollebone, Wm. Stoneman and Stephen Putland, jun.
At the adjourned meeting on April 4th, a poor rate at 6d. was agreed upon.
[ 4 ]
At the same adjourned meeting, an assessment committee was elected, consisting of Joseph Boston, Aaron Sellman, Ainslie Harwood, Stephen Putland, sen., Thos. Brandon Brett, Geo. Cuthbert, Stephen Howland Willard, William Callaway, John Kenwood, John Peerless, Robert Hempsted, W. E. Skinner and Henry Hughes, jun. Of that "baker's dozen", two only (Brett and Sellman) have survived a post-period of 39 years.
The next meeting was held at the Albert Inn, with Joseph Boston as chairman. There were eight parishioners present to pass a poor-rate at 6d. The date of the meeting was Oct. 10th.
Archery Prize Meetings
According to annual custom, her Majesty's birthday was celebrated on the 24th of May by a meeting of the Queen's Royal St. Leonards Archers to shoot for prizes. The day came with the proverbial Queen's Weather and the attendance was good. The fortunate competitors were Mr. G. Norris and Miss. Julia Brown.
The second meeting was held on the 23rd of June and was less numerously attended. The prizes were awarded to Miss Julia Brown, Mr. Frances, Miss Faulkner and Mr. Norris.
The annual Grand Meeting on the 17th of August was not quite so numerously attended as on previous occasions, but the shooting was said to have been better than ever before known. The winners of prizes (fully detailed in Brett's Gazette) were Miss Julia Brown, Miss Bramley, Mr. G. Gipps, Rev. J. Simpson, Mr. G. Norris, Dr. Drozier, Capt. Dawes, Miss. Birch, Miss Cancellor, Rev. G. Hawley, Miss Campbell and Lieut.-Col. Mackay. The prizes were distributed by the president, P. F. Robertson, Esq.
The next fashionable gathering was on the 24th of August, at which the prize winners were Miss. Julia Brown, Dr. Drozier, Miss Pennethorne and Miss Mackay.
Mr. P. F. Robertson's handsome prizes were shot for on the 7th of September, and the fortunate competitors were Mrs. Thompson, Miss Rose Pennethorne, Miss Birch, Dr. Drozier, Capt. Dawes, and Mr. G. Gipps.
At the 6th prize-meeting, which was held on the 14th of September, during rather unfavourable weather and with a smaller company than usual, the prize winners were Miss. Julia Brown, Dr. Drozier and the Rev. J. M. Crosker.
The next general meeting was on Saturday Sept. 21st, but a heavy storm of rain soon caused the order to be given to "cease firing" until Monday; nor was the said Monday at all nice for the shooters or a good assembly of visitors. The competition was completed, however,[ 5 ]and the ladies and gentlemen who carried off the prizes were Miss Mackay, Miss Julia Brown, Miss Pigow, Miss Birch, Mr. G. Gipps, Dr. Drozier, and the Rev. J. N. Croker. Two of the prizes were given by Dr. Drozier and the Rev. J. N. Croker.
The last assembly for the season was on the 5th of October, a day that was in every way suitable both for a good attendance and excellent shooting. The winners were Miss
Brown, Miss Jane Brown, Miss Butt, Miss Grace Mackay, Mr. G. Gipps, and Miss Julia Brown. The scores and other details were fully reported at the times of the several meetings in the St. Leonards Gazette and other local journals.
Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows
Election of Surgeon - This branch of the Manchester Unity named after Queen Adelaide in consequence of her residence at St. Leonards - held a special meeting on the 28th of January to elect a fresh medical officer to take the place of Dr. Marks, who had removed, with his family, to Ireland. There were five candidates for choice - namely, Mr. Penhall, who obtained 72 votes; Mr. Roger Duke, 71; Mr. J. G. Savery, 42; Mr. R.J. Wilson, 41; and Dr. Turner, 11. The mode of voting was by ballot, but notwithstanding that every precaution was apparently taken against the possibility of error, it was found that there were four more votes than voters. The meeting was consequently adjourned for a fortnight, when another ballot was taken, which resulted in the election of Mr. Penhall.
The Annual Soiree of the same lodge was held at the Warrior's Gate Inn on the 11th of February, when about 100 partook of tea, and afterwards danced in right good time and temper to the strains of Mr. Barnett's band till the night was far advanced.
The Annual Festival, which, for several years, had been held on the anniversary of the society in November, was this year held on the general gala day of Whit-Monday. It was, however, somewhat exceptional to the other societies in the fact that it was the only benefit club in St. Leonards; it perambulated a different district to that of the others; had the greatest number of annual subscribers; was led in procession by an excellent military band, and had a smartness and completeness in his regalia not observed in the perambulation of kindred societies. The dinner was provided at the "Warrior's Gate"; the chairman was H. Selmes, Esq., supported by J. Gibbs, Esq.; and the vice-chairman was J. Penhall, Esq. A full report appeared at the time in Brett's St. Leonards and Hastings Gazette
The Annual Soirée on the 11th of Feb. was attended by about 100, who after tea, danced merrily to the strains of Barnett's Band, till the night was far advanced[Notes 1]. [ 6 ]An accident occurred on the 26th of February in front of the Saxon hotel, by which John Jones was killed, and two other men - Henry Towner and George Reeves - were slightly injured (See Inquests).
A Triplet of Equine Accidents. During the last three or four days of January no fewer than three youths were carried to the Infirmary suffering injuries by horses. Charles Huggins, carter to Mr. Parks, of St. Leonards, while turning the corner at Warrior's Gate with a cart load of bricks, was knocked down by a van, and one wheel of the laden cart passed over his right wrist and right leg near the ankle. After being carried to the Infirmary it was discovered to the surprise of all that no bones were broken. The two other accidents arose through horses slipping down whilst being exercised. Alfred Goodsell sustained a broken leg and lacerated face, and John Lansdell suffered from a serious contusion of the ankle and other injuries.
Mrs. Hale (wife of Dr. Hale, of St. Leonards) was greatly shaken and a young lady bruised and contused over the right eye by being thrown out of an overthrown carriage at the east end of George street, to which spot it had rapidly descended at the will of a frightened and galloping horse all the way from the Hare-and-hounds at Ore. The driver was also much injured by his head being forced through a square of plate glass.
A Fatal Burn - A melancholy accident occurred at a house in Lavatoria on the 21st of May, which resulted in the death of an interesting child, four years of age. The accident was of such a nature as to suggest the propriety of placing a fire-guard in all cases where children are left in room by themselves (See Inquests)
Desperate Leaping and Wonderful Escape
A Madman's Freak - On the afternoon of the 29th of August, while some gentlemen were engaged on some parochial business in a private room at the back of the British Hotel, East Ascent, a loud crash was heard close to the window. This was followed by another and another crash, whereupon Messrs. Beecham and Sellman, rushed out of the house to institute a search for the cause, and soon discovered that a man had thrown himself over a wall to a great depth below. The result of this search and enquiry was the finding of a man [ 7 ]with no other clothes than his shirt on, standing in the kitchen of 14 Undercliff in a trembling condition and supporting himself with his hands on a table. To have thus found him breathing the "breath of life" and apparently, without a broken bone, was an event little short of a miracle. The man who had thus produced such a consternation was a shoemaker named Laker, respectably connected and a native of Ashford. He seemed at times to have been afflicted with intellectual aberation(sic) and was known to have been medically treated for that or some other ailment which he professed to have had. On the evening preceding the occurrence, Mr. Barrett, shoemaker at 2 St. Clement's place (with whom Laker worked and lodged) noticed something peculiar in his manner, and in the course of some conversation discovered that the poor man was dwelling upon the delusion of an attempt being made to send him to an asylum. He, however, became more composed and was got to bed. In the mean time, medical advice was obtained, but nothing of a decisive character was determined on. The next phase of this affair was the one described at the commencement of this narrative. Getting quietly out of bed, he appeared to have climed(sic) up to a window placed above the half-landing of the stairs, and to have thrown himself over the sash on to the roof of a scullery, about 20 feet below the window, breaking through the roof and carrying away a rafter or two by his weight. Then running across the yard, he sprang to the top of a wall, 7 or 8 feet high with the agility of a cat. Crouching on the wall but for a moment, he again precipitated himself to a depth of 20 or 30 feet, alighting on the roof of a building below the cliff. From this he made another perilous descent to a still lower building, breaking in the slated roof and falling, it was supposed, backwards into the yards. Thence he walked or crawled into the kitchen where he was found. On being questioned by Mr. Sellman as to his motive for committing so rash an act, he replied that he would sooner do anything than be taken to an asylum. Whilst this was going on, Mr. Beecham, as one who had exposed himself to such imminent peril, obtained the medical assistance of Mr. Wilson. The poor man was very much cut about, but beyond that, he did not appear to have sustained any serious injury. The distance comprised in the three leaps was measured and found to be 61 feet. The escape from destruction or broken limbs was marvellous.
Pg.8 Atmospheric Changes – The lowest recorded temperature. Frost and Thaw. After an intense frost, a thaw, with rain, set in at the commencement of the year and in the low lands near St. Leonards, as well as the Priory valley at Hastings, breaking up a portion of the Hastings and Ashford railway, and causing several landslips from the cliffs at West Marina. The preceding cold. In the Hastings News of January 4th, appeared the following communication from Mr. J. C. Savery, of 27 Marina:- “Sir, - Until last week the probability of the temperature in England descending ten degrees below zero was looked upon as very slight. In some old tables there was a notice of a similar depression, but it had occurred in the days of imperfect instruments, and was viewed as the result of such imperfection. But Christmas Day, 1860 saw the mercury descend still lower, and will be remembered by the present generation as the coldest day of which we have any record. As it will, doubtless, interest many of your readers to compare the different points of cold which have been recorded in The Times, I have arranged some in the order of intensity of cold, and from this it will be seen that the area of greater cold was in the north Midland counties, but its influence extended over the whole of England, somewhat diminishing in intensity as it approached the southern coast. I also send you a comparison of the readings at Beeston, Scarboro’ and Torquay, with three stations of our society, and it will be perceived that we have escaped, as usual, from the great depression of other places; in fact, the cold has not been so great here as was recorded in February, 1855. The Beeston readings may be taken as the type of the Midland temperature. The thermometer at Torquay was uniformly lower than here until the 24th, when it suddenly rose to 32 degrees – two lower than our Fairlight station, and on the 22nd it was eight degrees colder than our more favoured locality. The causes of this immunity from extremes of cold I will endeavour to explain, but as I fear I have already almost exceeded your limits, I must defer it to a future period. The intense frost threw a great many mechanics and labourers out of employment, and the distress among workmen was never much more severe; indeed, for a time, the suffering was such that before a special system of relief could be organised, several workmen canvassed St Leonards, and St. Mary Magdalen, as well as parishes in the old town, for subscriptions. Afterwards, about £50 of the balance of a former relief fund, together with £30 or £40 of fresh subscriptions, were distributed among the poor in bread and other necessities. The breaking up of the frost put an end to the appeals for charitable contributions. Remarkable Temperatures. On the 26th of April, under the supposed influence of Jupiter, the day was fine and balmy, with a thermometric reading of 62 degrees, realising the forecast in Bretts’ St. Leonards Gazette, “Now Jove and Luna bid us say, prospectively a moderate day”; but on the morrow what a change! The thermometer then fell from the said 62 to 35 degrees, with rain and snow, together with a biting wind, as though it were midwinter; thus coincidently(sic) with the forecast – “But now again doth Saturn rule, and make the air both moist and cool; with somewhat breezy atmosphere; in some parts rain, in some parts rain – in some parts clear.
Storms and Floods A Fearful Storm of lightning, thunder, hail and rain visited St. Leonards and Hastings on the 27th of June, thus realising the prediction, Mars and Herschel, Sol and Saturn, form a thund’ry, rainy pattern.” At Quarry Hill, St. Leonards, about forty feet of wall forming the boundary of Aylesbury House, just below the Archery Gardens, was thrown down. Walls were also overthrown at 5 Norman Road, and at Maze Hill. The roads were greatly cut up by the rush of water, and all the low levels were flooded to a considerable depth. The basement floors of the houses in and near Warrior square were invaded by the unusual torrent, which could Pg.10 not escape to the sea, in consequence of the tide being nearly at the full. The railways at the Gensing and Bopeep stations were also under water. At Hastings, about 60 feet of the north-west boundary wall of the grounds of Halton House was washed down, the flower-beds destroyed and other damage wrought. Also, about forty feet of the east boundary wall of All Saints burial ground was thrown down (as some persons believed by lightning) by which damage was done to the tombstones. At the Cemetery, too, nearly, or quite 200 feet of the wall forming the roadside boundary, was washed down at three different places. Cyclonic Storms – The Hastings News, of Sept. 27th, informed its readers that “since last Friday the predominant meteorological characteristics have been continuous strong winds and occasional gales from the south-west and west, with heavy and frequent falls of rain. Sunday was a thoroughly wet day. Wednesday, too, during several hours, there were heavy storms of rain, causing the water to run down our hill-sides in torrents and doing damage to a considerable extent. The fishing-boats have been obliged to remain wound up in idleness, and the luggers in the North Sea have been compelled to seek shelter in port.” How far this condition was foretold may be judged by the following forecast of the St. Leonards Gazette for the 22nd to the 26th of September, during which time the planet Mercury formed no fewer than six angulations with the other stellar orbs:- “Now Merc’ry’s swift, disturbing planet - A potent force displays, For rains and burly winds, we scan it, On this and three else days.” Another Storm raged along the coast on Sunday November 10th, rising from a strong gale at 1 a.m., to a perfect hurricane at 7 a.m., thus making it dangerous to walk along the streets. Many persons were either forced off their feet or propelled against their will along the streets and avenues at their utmost speed, admidst(sic) the falling of slates and chimney-pot. It was from the latter that a person residing at the Mechanics’ Institute in the Norman road, had a hair-breadth escape. The Colonnade, Warrior square and the west end of Robertson street were particularly dangerous to pedestrians, and a(sic) the last named place a horse and carriage were brought to a dead halt by the force of the gale. Some damage was done at Kentish place, and at the new hotel, and in the Priory meadow a circus was blown down. Several fishing-boats in hastening for the shore got into collision, and vessels, owned by Mr. Parks and other local men, were reported to be missing or damaged. The weather forecast Pg.11 in the St Leonards Gazette for that date, Nov 10th, was “Now chief among the rising stars Are Merc’ry, Jupiter and Mars, Whose sextile aspects seem to say, Expect a windy sort of day.” Extraordinary Floods. The frequent heavy rains which accompanied and followed the gale of Sunday, assisted by a great rain-storm on Wednesday, caused immense floods in the valleys and low grounds in and about the locality. The floods in the Priory Brooks, were such as to be from 4 to 6 inches deep in the Railway Cottages, and from 13 to 16 inches above the pavement at Meadow Cottages (where now is the General Post-office and adjoining property, in Queens road. It also extended in a vast sheet of water from the York hotel on the south to the Gas-works and the Local Board Ash-yard in the north. The weather forecast was again pretty well in agreement with the actual occurrence – “See Mercury still his onward rush performs, Engend’ring thus some wet or wintry storms.” A New Comet appeared somewhat suddenly on Sunday evening, June 30th, when it attracted general observation by its meteor-like at near 10 o’clock. It traveled rapidly in a N.E. direction, and its fan-like tail shed a long ray of light over the clouds. It was observed for several evenings afterwards, and some astronomers (Mr. Chambers, of Uckfield among the number) believed it to be the one that appeared in 1556. Balls and Evening Parties Following closely on the Christmas Ball there were soirees-dansantes, and evening parties in rapid succession, among which were a ball on Monday night at Mrs. Braham’s, 80 Marina, the guests numbering nearly 100. On Wednesday night, Jan. 2nd, nearly 150 of the elite of the neighbourhood responded to the invitation of A. Burton, Esq. at the Assembly Rooms, where dancing was kept up till the night was considerably advanced. On the following night, a large party assembled at the residence of the Misses Mackay, 6 Upland Views. The Annual Bachelors’ Ball (fully reported in Brett’s Gazette) came off on the evening of the 11th of January at the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms, with the usual eclât. The rooms were superbly decorated, the company numbered nearly 240, the music was Tinney’s London band, and the refreshments were supplied by Mr. C. Vickery. A Ball and Supper was given on the last night of the year by T. Brassey, Jun., Esq., at Beauport to a fashionable company, numbering upwards of 100. (For Hastings balls see next chapter) Pg.12 Concerts and Musical Entertainment A Grand Concert was given in the St Leonards Assembly Rooms on Saturday, Jan 26th, by Mr. W. H. Acraman and Herr Carl Deichmann to a large and fashionable audience. The other executants were Madame Baur (vocalist), Signor Piatti (violoncellist), and Mr. Harold Thomas (conductor). Amateur Musical Union. In the same rooms, on the 29th of January an entertainment was given by this harmonious body for the benefit of the St. Leonards Mechanics’ Institution. As it embraced a feature of novelty, the following description is an extract from the Hastings News:- “The entertainment was very successfully carried out. It presented the novel feature of an interspersed medley or lecture arranged and recited by Mr. T. Brett, - an attraction which we have never previously noticed in an amateur performance. The reader also introduced an organophonic imitation of musical instruments, which the audience called upon him to repeat. The vocalists were under the direction of Mr. F. Thomson. Each of the part songs and glees was very nicely rendered, and the conductor’s own part-song received an encore. Mr. J. Skinner sang ‘Songs of the Greenwood’ (Robin Hood) in a superior manner, and in both that an(sic) ‘In Dreams I see my mother dear’ (Chrysty’s) he was warmly and deservedly encored. Messrs. W. and H. Walter also each gave solos to the satisfaction of the audience. Altogether the entertainment passed off most satisfactorially(sic).” The St. Leonards Gazette also paragraphed this musical and novel entertainment thus:- “Judging from the fact that seven pieces were encored, the company must have been satisfied with the performance. Our own connection with the affair must excuse us from entering into a criticism of the same, and we therefore confine ourselves to the ‘narrative of events’ in the order of the programme, adding, however, that the Mechanics’ Institution was pecuniarly(sic) benefited.” A Juvenile Concert was given on the 21st of March by the pupils of the Boys British School, under the excellent training of Mr. King, who, in addition to the toils of conductorship, favoured the large assembly with some specimens of his own vocal powers. Many of the choruses were rendered with a precision that could hardly have been looked-for. As an additional feature six young members of the Rifle band played the “Grand Review March”, Mr. Funnell (their leader) and Miss Harman accompanying. An Amateur Concert. – On the evening of Tuesday, the 2nd of April, in the National Schoolrooms of St. Mary Magdalen, a musical treat was given to the working classes by a party of ten or a dozen ladies and gentlemen of great musical ability. The entertainment was mainly of a vocal character, consisting of solos, duets, part-songs, &c. and intended as a wind-up to the winter series of lectures that had Pg.13 been given for the working people of the district, under the direction of the Rev. W. W. Hume. There were 350 persons present, and the calls for repetition were so numerous as to prolong the time beyond what was intended. The Musical Union Again. Under the patronage of an aristocratic circle, another concert was given by this band of well-trained amateurs in the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms on the 20th of April, to a numerous and fashionable audience. The simple fact of there being seven pieces demanded to be sung a second time should be evidence of the gratification experienced by those who were present. The vocalists were Messrs. Dean (of the Chichester Cathedral) John Skinner, James Giles, jun., - Thomson, Alfred Wrenn, W. S. Tinley, H. Walter, H. Brett, jun. (since the principal New Zealand journalist) and H. Phillips. The accompanyist(sic) and conductor was Mr. F. Thomson. Another Amateur Concert – this time for the Invalid Gentlewomens Home – was given in the St. Mary Magdalen Schoolrooms by a number of ladies and gentlemen, assisted by some of the church choir. A programme of sacred music, including selections from Stabat Mater, was sung in a most satisfactory manner. Miss Coventry presided at the piano and harmonium with an ability that might have been envied by many professionals. The status of the audience may be gathered from the fact that upwards of forty carriages were in waiting at the close of the proceedings. No charge was made for admission, but the collection at the doors amounted to more than £42. (For Hastings concerts see next chapter) Particular Dinners. At the Sussex Hotel, on the 7th of February, nearly 50 persons sat down to a sumptuous dinner prepared by Mr. Ballard, to celebrate the licensing and opening the premises formerly known as the “Sussex House” for a first-class Hotel. The tables were spread in the large room then recently attached and fitted up as an assembly room, and upon those tables were displayed a galaxy of ornamentation incidental to feasts of an elaborate menu, as well as the more substantial viands and tempting delicacies enumerated in the bill of fare. P. Goepel, Esq., occupied the chair at the head of the table, supported by the Hon. Capt. Howard-Thurnwood, Esq.; Guedella, Esq., Mr. P. Descou, & others. Several toasts and sentiments were given during the evening, interspersed with glees, songs, &c., by the St. Leonards Amateur Musical Union. Solos (vocal) were given by Mr. W. Glenister, H. Brett, jun., H. Walter, J. Skinner, W. Payne and W. Walker. The toast of “The Press” was responded to by T. B. Brett and J. Bates. (For Hastings special dinners see next chapter) Pg.14 Sudden Deaths and Inquests Harriett, the wife of William Michael Bayley, of Harold Mews, died suddenly on the 31st of January, at the age of 54 years. She was a woman of industrious habits, and her husband, generally known as “Judge Bayley” was driver of a donkey chaise. She had not been in good health for some time but under medical treatment had improved, and on the day preceding her death, was more than usually cheerful. On the following morning while in the act of lighting the fire, she exclaimed “Oh, dear, I have got those dreadful pains again!” Without further utterance she fell to the ground, a corpse. Her death was ascribed to suffusion of blood on the brain. Sudden Death of Mr. Chapman. The melancholy tidings of her husband’s death were received by Mrs. Chapman, of Gensing road, who, with her child, and her brother’s family, residing close by, were naturally much grieved at the event. The deceased had been many years an able seaman and diver in her Majesty’s ships, and the account of his death is given in the following sadly interesting letter:- “Beyrout, Jan 17th, 1861. The late James Chapman died at Rhodes on the morning of Dec. 11th, of apoplexy. When the crew were first called up at 4 in the morning, for the usual avocations, he was up among the rest, but he must have felt unwell and gone down again; for, at half-past six, when the time came for each seaman to lash up, and take away his hammock, poor Chapman was found dead in his. He was buried, the next day, on shore, in a burial-ground long promised by the Porte to Protestants, but never until then delivered over; and as the plot of ground lies just under the Consul’s window, I have little doubt of its respected by the Mussulman population. It will be a consolation to his poor widow to know that her husband was a pattern among England’s incomparable seamen, and that I and all his shipmates here will certainly always feel the gap that his absence makes, at least, as long as the Racoon remains in commission. Every man came forward with his shilling, and every boy with sixpence to erect a plain but very respectable marble tablet at his grave; and as the money collected was more than sufficient for the purpose, the remainder was to be expended in walling in the ground.” The Duchess of Kent, having been a resident at St. Leonards during the winter of 1834-5, her death, in 1865, was much regretted, and her interment at Windsor on the 1st of April was observed with every mark of respect. Most of the tradesmen exhibited the usual token of mourning by keeping their shops partially closed. The Royal Standard belonging to the Queen’s Royal Pg.15 St. Leonards Archers was floated at half mast near the Victoria Hotel, and church bells tolled at intervals to mark the melancholy occasion. Similar tokens were displayed at Hastings. All the coastguard stations, under the command of Capt. Gough, exhibited their ensigns at half mast. The Death of Mr. Boykett Breeds by drowning on the 27th of July, caused both amazement and sorrow throughout the borough, and plunged into the greatest grief his family and connections. At the inquest which was held at 36 Tower, Pett Level, George H. Bignell, a coast-guard said he saw the body wash ashore and gave information at the Tower. John Gallehawk, to whom the boy’s discovery was made known, went to the lifeless body, and with assistance of other persons, removed it on to the beach. They found in the pockets of the deceased, 6d in a purse, some keys, a card-case, and a piece of cord, the last named about six feet long, with a slip noose. Mrs. Berry, wife of a gunner, at 38 Tower, on being told by the boy Bignell that a man was drowning, ran to the spot and found him being washed by the waves and apparently struggling and gasping his last breath. She ran into the water as high as her knees, caught hold of one hand and tried to pull him out, but had not sufficient strength, but held on to him until help arrived. Robert Guy, a commissioned boatman, had previously seen a person answering the description sitting on the beach. Thomas Baker, a shrimper, had seen Mr. Breeds in the morning walking along the beach near Fairlight station. Mr. A. Breeds last saw his father on that Saturday morning when he came from the farm to the business offices in George street. He missed him suddenly. He did not appear to be depressed. He (witness) went afterwards to the warehouse and found the lower part shut, got in by means of a ladder, but found nothing to excite suspicion. On Sunday morning the following was found in his desk. “I cannot exist. My mind is gone. God bless you all. B. Breeds.” Mr. Mark Breach, who had been Mr. Breeds’s neighbour for 20 years, had noticed that for two months past deceased had been very strange in his manner. – Verdict: “Died by his own hand while in a state of temporary insanity.” The deceased’s age was stated to be 67. He was a son of Mark Boykett and Elizabeth Breeds, and was born in 1794. He had been a very energetic man of business, as a shipping merchant, timber, beer and coal merchant, a great lime-burner at the Priory, a farmer, coach proprietor, &c. He had lost many thousand pounds over his Priory and Bohemia possessions in lawsuits, but was supposed to be doing – not a lucrative, but a fairly good business in a differ Pg.16 ent way than formerly at the time of his death. His widow (née Harriet Carswell), survived until 1882, when she died, greatly respected, at 83 years of age. At the time of the lamentable occurrence, the Hastings News had a sympathetic and appropriate article, and as the sentiments therein expressed are equally applicable to similar cases described in the pages of “Local History” and notably to the valuable life, melancholy death and unique correspondence (at page 116, Vol 2, “Historico-Biographies”) of Mr. Thomas Smith, the said article of the News is here reproduced. “Under a Cloud” “To those who have passed the greater part of their life in our town, and who have grown up by the side of many whose faces have become so familiar as to be dissociated with almost every thought of their youth and every memory of their native place, the absence of such familiar faces strikes with a chilling and saddening influence. The place from which old friends are dying out scarcely seem the place it once was, and the survivor – especially if he be himself waxing in years – has a feeling sometimes creeping over him as of being away from home. The air grows chilly, strange faces flit about him, the living links of the chain that binds him to the past are becoming broken, the breath of Autumn is scattering the summer leaves, and ‘pale concluding Winter’ gives painful tokens of his quick approach. Feelings like these come over us when one after another of our old townsmen is struck down by Death. We become conscious of a sense of loneliness and half conscious of a sense of dread. Every death of those long known to us brings our own fate nearer, and limits the prospective boundaries of our own life. The most thoughtless are compelled to pause awhile in their folly, and think; whilst the wise and thoughtful are made by such events both wiser and sadder men. Sentiments like these are common to us all, even when Death crosses our path in the ordinary way; but they become intensified under circumstances of a more painful character. Such circumstances have cast a gloom over our town this week. Mr. Boykett Breeds, whose name has been associated with the trade and history of Hastings for nearly half a century has brought his life to a sudden termination in a mournful way. Apparently in his accustomed health, with little or nothing in his previous demeanour to awaken suspicions or fears of his family , our lamented townsman has Pg.17 cut short his life by an unexpected deed of self destruction. The mind so long upon the strain – like a bow too often bent – gave way at last, and for a dangerous moment lost its balance and its trust in God. The shock has been severely felt, and sorrow for the departed has mingled universally with sympathy for the bereaved. How little do the strongest of us know how near in the hurry and pressure of our worldly care, we may often be to the verge over which reason totters in despair, and to that mental paralysis which courts oblivion! The partition which divides this world from the next is thinner than we sometimes think, and a moment’s forgetfulness of Providence may one day give us, if unwatchful of our danger, too sad a proof of this. Men of business and men of mental toil of any kind, should be warned. The strongest mind too incessantly worked may fail, and that, perhaps, when its failure is least expected ... Nature, overtaxed, will have her revenge if defrauded of her due... With the brain ceaselessly on the rack, the nervous energies strained to the utmost, and the mind engrossed by some leading idea, no man can be reckoned safe from the possibility of mental derangement. And even if this derangement be but temporary, it may, unhappily, last too long. Whilst we grieve for the dead, and weep with the bereaved, let us, who proudly think we stand, take heed lest we also fall.” Death of Mrs. Beauvois. Another sudden death, but from a different cause, was that of the wife of Mr. Joseph La Beauvois, of the British hotel, St. Leonards, on the 8th of September. The deceased lady had been previously suffering from an internal malady, which induced her to seek the advice of Dr. Adey. The result of this was improved health and ability to pursue her usual avocation. She retired to rest on the night preceding her death at about 11 o’clock, but shortly after, complained of thirst and indisposition. Dr. Adey was again called in. The disease assumed an apoplectic form, and before three? o’clock, the last spark of vitality was extinguished. Another Apoplectic Death was that of Richard Nicholls, Esq. a retired merchant, and a gentleman greatly esteemed for his urbanity, sound judgement and thorough business habits. He had been residing at St. Leonards a considerable period, and although in his 78th year, had enjoyed moderately good health. But on the 27th of September, at a little before six o’clock, in the presence of his son, he fell a lifeless corpse. Dr. Adey who examined the body, believed that death was caused by apoplexy. Pg.18 Another Sudden Death. On the 17th of September, a gentleman visitor, named Thomas Hatwell, 38 years of age, whilst walking with his sister, was seized with a fit of coughing, which was followed by a rush of blood. Surgeon Penhall, who was passing at the time, ordered his removal into a house, where he died immediately on being laid on the floor. There was no struggle. Deceased had been suffering three years from consumption. Death of Matilda Hilder. A lodging-house keeper, of that name, 53 years of age, and unmarried, residing at 35 George street, had sometimes complained of pains in her head, and on the 10th of Oct. fell from a chair in which she was sitting. On being lifted up, Surgeon Underwood was called in, but death had taken place, resulting, as was afterwards found from a deceased heart. At the inquest evidence was given of the deceased’s temperate habits, and the deputy-coroner (J. P. Shorter, stated that she had lived as a servant in his father’s and grandfather’s families 22 years. Still Another Sudden Death. Two days after the above recorded death, Ann Simmons, a widow, from Fairlight, aged about 55, partook of some ale at the Hastings Arms, and afterwards complained of pain. She, however, proceeded to the White Rock with some clean linen for her daughter, where she fell down in a senseless state, and in that condition was conveyed to her home, where she died the same evening. She had been subject to fits, which it was believed would at some time cause her death. Sudden Death of a Magistrate. On Sunday, the 22nd of December, Mr. George Jackson, on his way home at High Wickham, after attending the afternoon service at All Saints Church, was seized with an apoplectic fit, which terminated in death a few hours afterwards. The deceased was an old and much respected inhabitant. For about thirty years – 1810 to 1840, he was one of the firm of George and Arthur Jackson, drapers, at 71 and 72 George Street. On retiring from business he was made a magistrate, and filled, also, several parochial offices, among which was that of chur(sic) warden. Death of Prince Albert. The unlooked-for death of the Prince Consort on Saturday the 14th of December, was an event that cast a gloom throughout the borough of a more general character than was the wont even on the occasion of a local demise. It was late on Sunday afternoon before anything like general credence was given to the news brought down by persons traveling by the London Pg.19 trains. Doubts were, unhappily, dispelled by the receipt of official and private telegrams announcing the sad intelligence. There was an unusual unanimity of feeling of sorrow expressed; and, throughout the following week, the shops, almost without an exception, were partially closed as had been sometimes the case on the death of a greatly revered benefactor of our own locality. Also the flags at the coastguard stations, the Volunteer Depôt those belonging to private persons, were raised to only half mast, and all public meeting and amusements for the week that had been advertised, including the dinner to Capt. Lucas-Shadwell, were postponed. The St. Leonards Gazette on the following Saturday had the following article on the national bereavement:- “Never within the memory of living man was there sorrow so great and gloom so universal as that which has befallen our beloved Queen and her people through the death of the Prince Consort. By this sad event her Majesty has suffered the greatest earthly bereavement and the country has sustained an irreparable loss – a loss so deeply felt that even strong men have bowed down with intense grief, and the nation at large has evinced the utmost solicitude for the royal widow. The only parallel we know of is the melancholy death of the Princess Charlotte and her child in 1817, when the nation was similarly plunged into sudden sorrow [as described in an earlier volume of Local History], and when, as now, there was locally and generally but one feeling of intense regret. In this country, men usually attain eminence either as statesmen or warriors; but the late Prince Albert was not a statesman, nor did he ever enter the battle-field. He had, however, in other and more peaceful spheres – by his support of the arts and sciences, by his furthering the cause of popular education and every scheme calculated for the promotion and advancement of human happiness; by the manner in which he had contributed to the success of the great International Exhibition of 1851; by his exertions in connection with the intended exhibition of 1862; by his honourable abstinence from all political partisanships, under every change, every trial, and every temptation; by giving on every occasion good and constitutional advice to her Majesty; and last, though not least, by being one of the best of husbands and fathers, and a good exemplary member of society – won for himself a renown and reputation that had endeared him to all classes in the country. Our beloved Queen has lost an excellent husband, endeared to her by upwards of twenty years of affectionate attention; his family have lost a father, kind adviser and friend; and society one of its most exemplary members. During a period of over twenty years in this country the lamented prince Pg.20 avoided all connection with politics without sacrifice of his dignity or concealment of his opinions on the social duties of life. As the Consort of the Queen, peculiar perils beset him, and any error in this respect might have subjected him to the charge of ambition or meddlesomeness on the one hand, or of insensibility or indifference on the other; but from these and other dangers his heart and his intellect both aided in preserving him, and he gained the respect and general approbation of the people. Scandal never but once breathed upon his name, and even then more softly than is her wont. Thus he fulfilled the duties of a gentleman and good citizen in such manner as to be an exemplar to all around and beneath him, and to make the most illustrous(sic) home in the country the most happy in all relations of life. But he has shared the common fate of all, and the Angel of Death has loosed his shaft upon the good and great Prince Albert. Sudden and sorrowful as has been this event, it cannot be said to have been an entirely unlooked for visitation. The royal sufferer, during his illness had himself a presentiment of his death, and the calm and dignified composure of our bereaved Sovereign under the most trying event of her life would seem to indicate her reliance on the inscrutable will of the Almighty, and her belief that His fiat had gone forth for other and holier purpose than that which falls within the scope of mortal men. Be this as it may, those of our readers who place faith in astrological deductions, will feel interested in a few curious facts and quotations which we are about to lay before them, and which may serve as another illustration of there being more in Heaven and Earth than is dreamt of in man’s philosophy. Singularly enough as we write these words, having Zadkiel’s Almanack before us, two persons are in serious conversation within our hearing upon the many fulfilled predictions during the last fourteen years of the renowned author of that annual publication. But, to our task! At page 41 of the said almanack for 1861, Zadkiel says – “The stationary position of Saturn in the third degree of Virgo will be very evil for all persons born on the 26th of August [Prince Albert’s birthday] and among the sufferers I regret to see the worthy Prince Consort”. At page 23 the author says, “And in Old England the square of the moon to Mars in the Royal horoscope brings national troubles; wailing in high places!” Again, at page 23, we read – “The great conjunction of last month [Jupiter and Saturn in Virgo] fell just on the ascending degree of Prince Alfred, and will raise him into an important position ere long. I know, but do not choose to say all that it will effect; let the student examine certain Royal horoscopes, for the wise shall Pg.21 understand.” In speaking of the Prince of Wales says “1861 is evil for the father of the native,” Again, at page 41, he says the baneful old Saturn is creeping up the eastern horizon in Virgo.” Yes, and during the illness of the royal patient, the same harbinger of misfortune continued in the zodiacal sign Virgo, and on the very day of his death it formed a malignant square with the sun and a trine angulation with the moon. Now, if the reader will carefully note this circumstance in connection with the several extracts above given, and will bear in mind that Zadkiel’s hieroglyphic for 1861 exhibits a figure of the union jack reversed, he will, we think, have but little difficulty in arriving at a conclusion that to one philosophic mind at least was the fiat of Heaven made known, as touching this national bereavement. But should there still be a lingering doubt, let the reader turn to the Almanack of 1862, published two months prior to the melancholy event, and he will find that from the first page to the last, not a word occurs to indicate the existence of the Prince Consort, and that the same ominous silence is rendered still more significant by the figure of Brittania weeping. Yes! Britain weeps, and our beloved Sovereign weeps for a great and irreparable loss. The tears of a sorrowing people are hers. The dismal tolling of St. Paul’s great bell and the other death-bells throughout the country, has been the faint symbol of a sympathy too deep for words or signs, and if any consolation can avail our Royal Mistress thus suffering from the greatest misfortune that can befal(sic) a woman she must feel more than ever how deeply rooted she stands in the affection of her subjects. The Nation’s Woe. Under this heading a second article appeared in the St. Leonards Gazette of December 28th, as follows:- England has been smitten with the rod of affliction, and is destined, we fear, to witness the new year dawning upon her in mood and manner the reverse of happy. She has already passed through an exceptionally gloomy Christmas, and one that the nation might desire not to see its parallel for many years to come. The mistletoe and the holly have been draped with black and the joy and jollity that were wont to cheer our hearts on former occasions are sobered and saddened by the reflection of the great calamity that has befallen the nation in the loss of the ever-to-be-regretted Prince Consort. All classes, from the peasant to the peer, are animated by a common feeling of affectionate regard for the departed, and evince a sincere regret at the sudden Pg.22 close of his valuable career. For more than twenty years his name has been everyday before the public, engaged as it were in a kind of routine employment of utility and devotion, and for twenty more years it might have been reasonably expected that he would continue in the same path of exalted usefulness. But it was otherwise decreed; and to this decree he himself bowed with humble submission. Philosopher, as he was, he seems to have been aware of his approaching end and “the only man” to quote the words of the Times – who had within him the presentiment of what was to happen. The last preceding sentence, however, appears to be true only in a modified sense; for, as our last week’s article on the same theme exhibited incontestible(sic) evidence, the melancholy event had, more than a year previously been foretold. But even then, we did not repeat all that had been predicted of the “nation’s woe”, and if we again allude to it, it is not merely with the desire to promulgate astrological doctrines, but rather to give our readers an opportunity of judging whether or not there is truth in a science which many persons treat with ridicule, but which, nevertheless, is daily gaining an accession of adherents. For ourselves, we are not ashamed to confess that although at one time ranking among its greatest opponents, the many truths we have been permitted to record during twenty years investigation of the science, has given us a strong bias in its favour. Zadkiel’s speculations touching the demise of the Prince Consort were dilated upon in our last week’s impression; but, to show further how coming events cast their shadows before, we now extract the following predictions from Orion’s Almanack for 1861. At page 51 we read – “Passing to a more melancholy theme, we notice, with regret, the approaching transit to the place the sun occupied in the zodiac on the day the Prince Consort was born.... These positions will cause troubles and national losses; and, I fear, domestic affliction will be experienced.” The moon in opposition to Uranus brings us a noted funeral.” Future generations will read with affright, the history of the events of this year.” We earnestly pray that the All-wise Ruler of the universe may, in his goodness avert the evils impending over us.” There is a time for all things says the Preacher – a time to laugh and a time to weep. Surely and sorely has the weeping time come upon England. A sad new year awaits us (says the Times); the reign of trouble (says Zakiel(sic)). We behold (says Simmonite, “the orb of day just issuing from an eclipse, as though he had mourned for the most awful event of the year he was just closing.” Yea! even the sky would appear to have put itself into mourning; for, from the death of the Prince to the hour of his interment there was an atmospheric gloom as impenetrable and all-pervading as that which reigned paramount in every human breast. It is Pg.23 not for mortals to question the great and mysterious designs of an allwise and ever-ruling Providence, but rather to confide in His mercy and goodness, and bow with humble submission to the Divine will. Funeral Solemnities The unanimous token of respect paid to the memory of the late Prince Consort on the day of the funeral, Monday, Dec. 23rd was such as not to be easily effaced from the memory of those who took part in the local solemnities. Agreeably to the expressed wish of the Mayor, the shops of both towns were closed till two o’clock in the afternoon, and a solemn assembly of men, civil and military, with the insignia of mourning, marched in procession to the church of the Holy Trinity in the following order:- The Mace (covered with crepe) and Macebearers. The Mayor, with robes in mourning, supported on his right by the Town Clerk and on his left by the Clerk of the Peace. The clergy of the borough in their black gowns, walking three abreast. Borough and County Magistrates. The Town Council and borough officials, walking four abreast. Major Harcourt and Lieut. Rock. Artillery Band. Rifle Band – Herr Kluckner’s. Rifle Drum and Fife Band. Artillery Volunteers. Marine Artillery Volunteers. Rifle Volunteers. Volunteer Fire Brigade. Borough Police. The church being insufficient to accommodate the vast number of people who joined the solemn throng, it was arranged to admit only by ticket, the central seats being exclusively set apart for the officials. Special lessons for the occasion were read by the Rev. G. D. St. Quintin, and the service for morning prayer was conducted by the Rev. T. Vores. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Crosse, whose text was selected from Job l, XXI. The words said the preacher were at the beginning of the service for the burial of the dead, and they were also, perhaps, from the earliest pages of revelation. They had been enlarged on, but never improved, and they were still the manual of Christian mourners. They neither speculated on the cause of bereavement nor calculated its result. In three short sentences they defined our knowledge and expressed our sentiments of him who was dear to us. The Lord gave him, the Lord hath taken him away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” On that occasion he would indulge no vain regrets, and draw no gloomy horoscope, but keep himself within the limits of the Patriarch’s thoughts, of which it was written “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Years ago, but within the memory of some persons present, the nation was Pg.24 suddenly deprived of the hopes of its policy and the darling of its affections, by the death of the Princess Charlotte. She enjoyed the highest domestic happiness. Placed on the summit of society, to her every eye was turned, every hope was centored(sic), and nothing was wanted to increase her felicity and ours, but perpetuity. The wished-for hour came, but the mother and child died. With them died the hopes of the nation, and forebodings as gloomy as those of the present sad hour spread a dark pall over the land. In this hour, then, let it be remembered that if that Princess had not been taken from England, our present gracious Sovereign’s benignant reign would have occupied no space in our records. The great Prince, under whose loss we bow would have been a stranger to England. The virtues of which we are now deprived would never have been ours in this Prince had they not first ceased to be ours in another. Thus we are instructed by God that though others might be near to us, none are necessary to us but Himself; and we were constrained somewhat into that submissive and relying spirit which breathed, in the words of the text, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” It would have to be told in future times, how that our youthful student – the younger son of a German Prince – was by the choice of our Queen, raised as Prince Consort to be the right hand of the greatest sovereign of the world. He (the preacher) remembered well the radiancy with which youth, beauty and popular acclamation invested their earlier career. If, in the midst of those plaudits there were any who cherished a spirit of jealousy, not only watching the approaching of a foreign ascendancy, but looking for a factious opposition to domestic polocy(sic), or for the outbreaks of the passions of youth, they have been happily disappointed. Never had England been more free from undue influence from abroad; never had a Prince more respectfully regarded the prerogatives of a people; and never, perhaps, had a husband kept more honourably his plighted troth. The untried youth had lived twenty years before the eyes of all men, neither elated nor subdued. Placed suddenly upon the most giddy eminence, yet he had made no false steps. He had united, with excellence, studies almost incompatible, and had done it under circumstances most unfavourable. He had economised with beneficence, and elevated without extravagance; and while other princes had ruined their country by their taste, he, by his, had enriched ours. In that more domestic capacity into which our sympathies ventured but did not intrude, he was the loving consort of her whom we all loved, and helped to bear the burden of her mighty charges. He never failed nor flagged, and he rarely ever left her side, unless to do a work for her and us. The grief of a great Queen and a great nation now bore witness beyond gainsaying to his public and his private worth. He was Pg.25 great enough to escape some popularity; but we now discovered that we had lost one of the first of England’s princes. On his leaden coffin we were informed it was engraved that he was most illustrious and exalted, and for once the style of heraldry was within the truth. That was our loss – “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away.” He spoke in the presence of those who bore the Queen’s authority in this ancient and noted town and of those who wore her uniform. We were told that even in the first hours of her bereavement our royal widow felt that she must not weep, but work. The head of the army at once began to act in the same spirit, and our chief administrator of Justice had said that he felt the Queen would be best pleased by having duty gone on with. In this crisis of our state when so sagacious a counsellor was taken away, and when the unknown answer of peace or war was even now crossing the ocean to our shores; when our Queen demands all our duty and devotion to enable her to keep right the mighty bark of this empire, it behoved those who bore charge for her in church and state to act singly and sincerely for the country’s good as in her sight and God’s. It behoved the gallant men whom we already honour as England’s choicest sons to train themselves with patience and with chivalry to take cause for the widow Victoria. It behoved us all to do the same. If we were in a weeping mood, our manhood need not be ashamed to weep for her; if we were Christian men, we should pray for her; and if we were worthy to be Englishmen then in whatever station of duty we were placed, for her sake we should worthily do that duty. And now that he had invoked their loyalty, he would take his last look down into the vault of the royal dead. At that sight he was inclined to say to himself “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”, and the only fault he could find in that text was that the word vanity did not occur often enough. They would now take leave of the dark asylum, where rows of crimson and purple covered coffins made known the emptiness of human dignity. They would bring their thoughts to a brighter land, where everything loudly proclaimed the importance of human duties faithfully performed. They were not unmindful that that house was Heaven’s Gate, and that as they entered they put aside the apparatus of earthly rule to pass into refulgent brightness. There reigns Christ the Prince of Princes, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. By Him they received their reward. If they trusted with devout confidence the Prince they had lost was in holy rest – a rest won for him by Christ. If the memory of his virtues was dear to us, we must also remember that all true graces come from Christ, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit were matured and ripened. There would be some in readiness to give up their Pg.26 lives for their Queen if that were needed. Christ was a King, who gave up his life for all his people. If the Prince who, that day, returned to dust, could come to us again, it would be to witness that which we already know by surest testimony, that Christ is the Resurrection and the Life, and that whomsoever believeth on Him shall never die. If the solemn event was to do its true work with us, it would do this, while it made us anxious to fulfil loyally the duties of our station here, and attach every heart in close loyalty to Christ, that Prince whom the Lord has so mercifully given, and whom he would never take away from his people. And in that confidence we would say “Blessed be the name of the Lord”. At the conclusion of the service the procession was re-formed and proceeded to the Rock-a-Nore battery, the band playing the “Dead March” in Saul, and where from the two guns belonging to the Artillery Volunteers, 60 rounds of blank cartridges were fired at intervals of one minute. The report of these guns was heard at St. Leonards with astounding effect, and mournfully responded to by the knell at the church of St. Mary Magdalen, where a special service was also held. Additional services were held at St. Leonards, St. Mary-in-the-Castle, and at some of the Dissenting chapels. The St. Clement’s bells rang a muffled peal in the evening; and altogether, perhaps a more solemn and mournful day was never witnessed in these towns. Sudden Death of the Town-Crier. On the 4th of July, Mr. James Cox, parish clerk, town crier, cooper and bill-sticker, went from his home in High street to St. Leonards and Silverhill, to post some bills and after returning to his house, complained of being tired. He sat down to do some writing, and was obliged to give it up on account of pain in his hand. A spasmodic attack followed, for which a medical practitioner was sent for, who prescribed a remedy. He laid down on the bed, and his daughter went down stairs to receive the medicine that had been sent for, but on returning to her father found him dead. He had been for some time past subject to spasmodic attacks and pains in the head, but had declined to have medical advice. At an inquest held on the following day, the verdict announced was “died from natural causes”. The “Postman” of the Gazette in his musings among the tombs in the now closed burial-ground at the rear of Cavendish place (See Rhymed Reminiscences of Hastings) gives particulars of three generations of the Cox family, but of the James Cox now under notice it may be said, that he filled the office of crier for the borough during a period of 43 years, thus commencing his duties before St. Leonards was figuratively and actually dreamt of by its founder. He was remarkable in his earlier days for strength of limb and voice, Pg.27 and the latter, for many years also was mellifluous as from under the St Clement’s pulpit it announced the invocation “Let us sing to the praise and glory of God. Mr. Cox was the oldest officer of the Corporation, and his remains were followed to the Halton churchyard by some of the minor officials and by all the police-force off duty under the direction of Superintendent Glenister. His father preceded him as clerk of St. Clement’s Church, being appointed to that office in 1793, by the Rev. Thomas Fuller. James Cox, father and son, were descended from a very old Hastings family, an ancestor being John Cox, who was the Hastings Mayor in 1665. See pedigree and other particulars of the family, page 167, Vol. 2 Premier Cinque Ports. Suicidal Death. The evidence given at an inquest held on the 3rd of January, was to the effect that Myers Woolf , a traveling jeweller had lodged at the Hastings Arms since the 15th of December, had lived rather irregularly, had talked affectionately of his wife and family on the day before his death, saying it was the twentieth anniversary of his marriage, had drank 13 or 14 glasses of rum and ale during the day, but did not appear drunk, had gone to bed rather earlier than usual, and found next morning dead through having taken poison. Death of Mr. Jinks. At an inquest held on the 11th of May, on the body of John Jinks, keeper of the Silverhill toll gate, the following evidence was elicited:- The deceased, who was 40 years of age, and married, had been unwell for some days, but feeling better on the morning of the day in which his death afterwards occurred, went to the Silverhill spring for two pails of water. Finding that there was no water at the spring (which had been cleared out on the preceding day) the deceased, it was supposed, went to a pond to dip for water, and, according to the testimony of surgeon Penhale, who made a post-mortem examination, must have fallen into the water dead, most likely from an apoplectic fit. Death of a Burnt Child. On the morning of the 21st of May, Charles Colbran, a child of four years, was left, with a younger child, of two years, in a room at 16 Lavatoria, St. Leonards, whilst the mother proceeded to her daily occupation at a laundry. By some unknown means the child’s clothes caught fire, and a neighbour hearing screams ran in and extinguished the flames, but so terribly burnt was the little fellow that he died next morning. A Fisherman Drowned. On the 20th of May, Robert Breeds, a fisherman, 63 years of age, was employed by George Page, master of the fishing-boat “Crystal Palace”, to go off to assist in clearing an anchor, as the boat, lying in the roadstead, was seen to be drifting. During the operation, Breeds, who was a good swimmer, fell overboard, and although every effort was made to rescue him alive, he died before he could be got ashore. Pg.28 Death of Mr. Pocock. Another sudden death occurred on Saturday, May 25th at Hollington, near St. Leonards, touching which a judicial inquiry resulted in a verdict of “Death from natural causes”. The deceased in this instance was Mr. William Pocock, a respected inhabitant of the parish residing at Wilton Farm, and aged 74 years. Being in his usual health, he partook of dinner and went out on the farm. He returned at about 4 o’clock and laid down on his bed to, as was his practice in warm weather. In about twenty minutes he was discovered to be breathing with difficulty, and in another five minutes life was extinct. Another Sudden Death. On the same day that Mr. Pocock died, the coroner for the Rape of Hastings, held an inquest on the body of Mrs. Sargent, the wife of a labourer at Beckley. She had been seized with sudden illness and died in a few minutes. She was a woman of delicate constitution and had had 17 confinements. Suicide of Mr. Barnes. On the 12th of August, the lifeless body of Mr. Edward Barnes, foreman of Mr. Hughes’s brickyard, at Bopeep, was found hanging in a hut. The deceased, who lived at Spittleman’s Down, was the father of a large family, two of whom were cripples, and their mother was frequently ill. Deceased had been mentally depressed, and had once before attempted to commit suicide. Death of Mr. Vickery. The George-street inhabitants and others were grievously surprised on the morning of the 26th of August to learn that Mr. Charles Vickery, a well-known cook and confectioner had suddenly died during the night. Deceased was 47 years of age, and was perfectly well on the preceding day. He had had no medical attendance for six years and had not complained of any illness. Miss A. M. Lock, who, as shopwoman, had lived with Mr. and Mrs. Vickery for 5 years, was called up at 5 a.m. to go for Mr. Underwood, a surgeon, in the same street, as it was Mr. Vickery was dying. That gentleman was in attendance in less than five minutes, but found the patient had just ceased breathing. An after post mortem revealed the cause of death to be the rupture of a blood-vessel on the brain. References to Mr. Vickery as a tradesman, first at St. Leonards, and afterwards at 16 and 50b George street, Hastings, will be found in Brett’s rhymed Reminiscences of Hastings.
The following lines, on the above occasion are supposed to have been writen(sic) by the late W. Glenister, Superintendent of Police. “In the midst of life we are in death; Each sigh we breathe may be our latest breath; Each glance we take may be our last; And that which is may soon be past; Time! Time no more, but now Eternity; Death! Death, yet life! the spirit free, Seek higher realms, more genial skies, And upward, onward yet it flies To meet it. Judge, to hear the word Pronounced by our redeeming Lord, That makes us his or drives us from our God. “
Pg.29 Suicide at Guestling. The body of Mr. Henry Eaton, a sub-postmaster, 51 years of age, and well known at Hastings, was found in Snepp’s pond, near the White Hart inn, on the 25th of September. At an inquest held by Mr. Kell, coroner for the Rape of Hastings it was stated that the deceased had been in a low state of mind, had said that at Christmas he should not be alive, that people did not know what he suffered, that his brother died in a lunatic asylum, and that Mr. (surgeon) Ticehurst who had been consulted , held a private belief that Eaton would become insane. There were several other deaths which necessitated the holding of coroner’s inquests, the record of which in this History is not desirable. But the foregoing instances, together with those described under the heading of “Accidents and Fatalities” are sufficient to show that the year 1861 was remarkable for its number of sudden deaths.
Public Entertainments Biology. During the last week in February and the first week in March, lectures and practical illustrations on Biology were given in Hastings and St. Leonards by Messrs. Sheldon Chadwick and J. H. Powell. Much satisfaction was manifested by the audiences at the complete success of the “operations”, a number of persons being called on to the platform and made to do the bidding of their biological commanders, to the no small amusement of the company. Metropolitan Sights, or A Week in London. Of this entertainment, the Hastings and St. Leonards News had the following remarks:- Mr. T. B. Brett’s fourth reading on this subject took place in the St. Leonards Mechanics’ Institution on Tuesday evening [Feb. 26th], and we must confess to having listened to it with more than ordinary pleasure. The ground traversed by the lecturer included the western portion of the Strand, Leicester square, St. James’s Park to Vauxhall Bridge, returning aqua as well as via Father Thames to “our lodgings in Cheapside.” The general character of the reading [and musical illustrations] was not quite so funny as the first, but much more utilitarian, and therefore much more likely to fulfil Mr. Brett’s design of being “useful to those who wish to spend a holiday in the Metropolis”. Commencing his day’s pleasures in “Commercial” London, Mr. Brett ably acted as cicerone to his hearers in visiting the following places, a short account of each of which was given, with historical and biographical sketches of persons and events of passing objects worthy of note:- Exeter Hall, with a sketch of Canon Dale’s lecture on “Underground London” (in which were noticed the Metropolitan Subterranean Railway, Thames Tunnel, Fleet Sewer, &c.). Thatched House Tavern; Franklin’s residence in Craven street; Covent Garden Market; and St. Paul’s (Covent Garden) Church; Lowther Arcade; Hungerford Market; Charing-Cross Hospital (built by Decimus Burton, of St. Leonards and London); Trafalgar Pg.30 square, with its combined attractions of fountains, monuments, public buildings, public baths and wash-houses – similar institutions to which Mr. Brett had a desire should be established in Hastings. Then skipping away to the Punch-renowned Leicester square, with its “Great Globe”, Burford’s Panorama, and the newly decorated Alhambra – the introduction of “drink” into which was strongly condemned, Mr. Brett conducted his “followers” to Her Majestys Theatre (Italian Opera), and via club-house and courtly London, to St. James’s and the Green Parks, noticing Carlton terrace and Carlton House, St. James’s and Buckingham Palaces, Admiralty, Horse-Guards, Treasury, and other public buildings; Whitehall, Westminster Abbey (at considerable length, with a glimpse of the printing-press which Caxton first set up there); the two Houses of Parliament, with their splendid river-front and giant towers; Westminster Hall, St. Stephens, and away over Vauxhall bridge to Vauxhall Gardens. The trip home on the river enabled our Metropolitan Guide to discourse of Lambeth Palace, Whitehall Gardens, Hungerford, Waterloo, Blackfriars and Southwark bridges, and “the celebrated central taxation depôt”, Somerset House. The reading concluded amid loud applause, with some appropriate advice to intending visitants to London – especially in view of the coming Exhibition of ’62 – as to the benefits and advantages which they might obtain by previous consultation of maps and books in planning out the objects to be seen, and by which their days or weeks might be spent to far greater profit than could be the case if such information was sought on the spot; the lecturer observing that Londoners themselves were not well-informed on this subject – in proof of which he related a circumstance to show that he had himself seen more in one week than another person who had been living in London a quarter of a century. – Much credit is due to Mr. Brett for the information conveyed in these readings. “The Cabinet of Curiosities” was produced by Mr. W. S. Woodin at the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms on the 21st and 22nd of August with thorough success, the room on both occasions being inconveniently crammed, and many persons turned away. Grand Entertainment at Beauport. – This elegant mansion – once the seat of Sir Charles Lamb, Bart., having come into possession of Mr (now Lord) Brassey, very extensive alterations and improvement were effected during a period of about nine months, and when completed, Mr. and Mrs. Brassey sent invitations to nearly 400 ladies and gentlemen of Hastings, St. Leonards, Battle and other places, and these assembled in the mansion and on the beautiful grounds as an inaugural event, on Friday, July 12th. The company continued to arrive from about three to five o’clock, during which time a special train brought 100 persons from London. The whole of the splendid suite of rooms were Pg.31 thrown open on the ground floor for the inspection of the company, and the tables in the dining room presented a magnificent and tempting display. From these tables luncheon was partaken of at from four to five o’clock, after which, the spacious drawing-room became the resort of a brilliant company. This room, which was of great length and extended over the whole width of the house had a splendid appearance. The ceiling was beautifully carved and gilded, the floor was composed of polished oak, and the walls were adorned with costly paintings. The band of the 4th Cinque Ports Artillery (of which corps Mr. Brassey was lieutenant) played on the lawn during the afternoon, and Coote and Tinney’s London band played for the dancing in the evening. An Organophonic and Ventriloquial Entertainment was given in the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms on Sept. 4th, by Mr. Alexander, Mdlle Berlinde, Mynheer Van Foot, and Mr. Hoffman. The audience was a small one. (For other entertainment see next chapter) Fancy Fair A Grand Bazaar and Exhibition of Fine Arts was held at the Music Hall, Hastings, of which the Rev. J. A. Hatchard, of St. Leonards, was the originator, and an energetic worker. Its purpose was for the completion of of the Holy Trinity Church, at Hastings, and the restoration of the church at Whatlington. The weather was beautifully fine, and the event was inaugurated by the ringing of the St. Clement’s new set of bells, as well as by the hoisting of bunting on public flag-staffs. In the hall itself was a gorgeous display of fancifully and usefully prepared articles, tastefully arranged on a dozen stalls, the attendants at which were the Dowager Lady Ashburnham, Lady Hancock, Mrs. Frewen, Lady Ashburnham, Mrs. Hatchard, Miss Sayer, Lady Grey de Ruthyn, Mrs. Gough, Mrs. Gardiner, Miss Holford, Miss Ashburnham, Miss Morgan, Mrs. Tilson-Marsh, and Miss Robertson. These ladies were assisted by Miss Boger, the Misses Grenside, the Misses Herschell, the Misses Macgregor, the Misses Balley, Miss Flower, Miss Seacombe, the Misses Taylor, Mrs. Seacombe, Miss Oxenden, Miss Pennington, Miss Street, Miss Hewett, Miss Phillips and the Misses Frewen. The ante-room was set apart for refreshments, and an upper room was occupied as a picture gallery, where were displayed a large collection of valuable paintings and other works of art. Kluckner’s band played selections of music and the whole affair was in every way successful. The first day’s receipts were £244 2s. 7d; the second day’s nearly £170; the third day’s £115; and the fourth day’s, over £55. The total of receipts was over £680. An additional £60 was handed to Mr. Hatchard as the honorary secretary, the donors specifying to which church it was to be applied. Of the entire sum £440 was handed over to the Rev. Dr. Crosse for Holy Trinity, and the balance, after settling the a/cs. was to go to Whatlington. Pg.32 Fire Engines and Fire Brigade A Morning Exercise. Considerable commotion was caused on Saturday morning, June 15th, shortly after six o’clock by the appearance of the new fire-engine from the Town Hall, and the older engine from the Castle-hill station, accompanied by the Fire Brigade under the command of Supt. Glenister. Arrived at the end of Eversfield place, it was evident that St. Leonards had been chosen as the ground for the first quarterly practice. The hose and engines were connected with the hydrants at Warrior square, and the large engine threw a stream of water completely over the roof of No. 1 in the said square. Experiments were also tried with the Castle engine and with the hydrants alone. The pressure from the latter ejected a large stream to the height of the third floor. Other districts were afterwards visited and similar results obtained. Fire Brigade Formation. A meeting of about fifty persons took place at the Town Hall on Wednesday, July 3rd, to form a volunteer Fire Brigade, for which the Hastings News had previously agitated. Mr. W. Ransom was voted to the chair. Supt. Glenister gave a clear outline of the duties of a fire brigade and suggested a method of obtaining the ways and means of supporting one. It was resolved that Supt. Glenister present to the Town Council the names of those willing to serve; that Mr. W. Ransom act as treasurer pro tem.; that Mr. Shorter be secretary; that Fire Insurance offices be applied to for subscriptions; and that a committee be appointed to prepare a code of rules. A Fire at Melbourne Place. On Sunday, the 9th of June, a fire was discovered in a coal-shed and stable in Western road, then known as Melbourne place. The St. Leonards engine was soon on the spot, followed, not long after by the Hastings engines; but, for the want of water, the premises were consumed, and loss sustained of £80 or £90. See “Fires and Firemen” in another volume for impromptu doggerel on this event, as well as for accounts of other fires, and the doings of the Fire Brigade for a period of over 30 years. Fire at 37 Marina. The kitchen flue caught fire on the 19th of July in consequence of an accumulation of soot in a “flat” which to ordinary means was inaccessible. The soot having burned for two hours heated the walls near the place to such an extent as to set on fire the wainscoating and floor in a bedroom of the adjoining house. The St. Leonards and one of the Hastings engines were soon on the spot, and the fire was extinguished, with but slight damage. Tivoli Fair “The Glorious First of June” was rendered inglorious by an attempt to perpetuate that by no means classic institution ycleped Tivoli Fair, the closing scenes of which on the early morning of Sunday, exhibited (so we are told) more that the usual amount of blackguardism. Pg.33 Some Curious Occurrences A Horse Going to Sea. – At the sea-side and at low water it is no uncommon sight for a horse to be undergoing certain evolutions at the bidding of his trainer. One of these scenes was witnessed at each recession of the tide for several mornings during the month of April in front of Warrior square, and except for a rather novel circumstance which on one occasion sprang out of it the occurrence would, perhaps, not have attracted any particular attention. It appeared on a Monday morning (April 22nd) that Dobbin was performing his usual girations(sic) at the end of a string which was held by the trainer who had taken up his position in the centre of a circle that Dobbin was industriously tracking out, when, all of a sudden, the latter, either from giddiness, playfulness or wilfulness, exhibited a determination to put an end to his circus performances. Now came the tug of war. Dobbin pulled and trainer pulled, and Dobbin pulled again, when, lo! happy release! the horse snorted and snickered, and threw up its head in proud defiance as he scampered and cantered away to the sea. Then there arose a shout from the shore - “A horse, a horse, a horse in the water!” and sure enough there; for, Dobbin was taking a cooling bath to his heart’s content, and swimming, apparently, as far as possible out of the reach of his taskmaster. But the animal was not long permitted to enjoy his break, he being expeditiously brought back to land by some watermen, who had to put off in a boat for the purpose. Another Water Freak. As if impatient of the restraint it had lately endured, the water so plentifully supplied to the western part of the borough by the Local Board, took an opportunity to “run riot” on Sunday the 26th of May, when all good people were at church. The said water having burst its iron-bound conduit, flowed copiously beneath the road near the Warriors’ Gate Inn, until overcoming all extraneous resistance, it belched forth a mighty torrent, carrying with it a quantity of earth, stones – and, in short – everything that offered an impediment to its progress. Its vagaries were at length put a stop to, and the road was temporarily repaired. On Monday the fractured pipe was replaced by a new one, and all was made “taut” again; but, meanwhile, a waggon got upon an unsafe part of the road, its wheels sank in up to the nave, and the driver, in mute astonishment, appeared ready to call upon Jupiter to help him out of his difficulty. “A friend in need is a friend indeed”, and so, doubtless, thought the waggoner, when Mr. Councillor Putland and some other good souls, with levers and other appliances, effected a deliverance of the team and sent man and horses on their way rejoicing. “Pills and Powders” The first instalment of ammunition, consisting of 32 barrels of powder and a quantity of shot and shell arrived at St. Leonards on Saturday June 9th and was conveyed to the battery at 39 Tower, where gun drill was to be carried on. Pg.34 More Water Pranks. On Sunday the 23rd June, the denizens of that part of St. Leonards contiguous to the Archway were startled from their propriety by a noise resembling that of many waters in commotion. What can it be? Where can it be? were questions hurriedly asked by those whose auricular powers, for the nonce, were more active than their faculty of vision. But a little running “to and fro” led to the discovery of the wonderment. In the parallelogram formed by the Market Terrace, Grand parade, Marina and the road leading through the Archway, one beheld a stupendous column of water towering to an altitude level with the house tops, and throwing jets in playful mimicry of an artistically arranged fountain. This, as it continued to play, ‘mid the rays of an unclouded sun, had a very novel and picturesque effect, the only drawback to the interesting sight being the reflection that for upwards of half an hour there was a frightful waste of water. Not a little amusement was created by the several ineffectual attempts of a “blue jacket” to reinsert a plug which by the intense pressure of the lively fluid had been driven from its place, thus to leave an egress for the upheaving torrent. After a time , however, and with considerable exertion, the manager of the waterworks succeeded in turning off the impetuous fluid, to break out, as it afterwards proved, at another place. Really, these water pranks were as troublsome(sic) as they were amusing, and occurring as they did, on Sunday, deserved no better wish than that their vagaries could be effectually presented. A Novel Rabbit Hunt. A curious adventure took place on the morning of Thursday the 8th of August which caused some little excitement. Several loads of timber had been deposited on the St. Leonards parade, the night before, for the purpose of erecting the “grand stand” for the regatta. On the morning here named as the workmen were removing some portion of the timber, out sprang a wild rabbit, and away went the workmen in pursuit. The affrighted animal soon found itself overmatched, and gave in to its pursuers, when the finishing stroke to its career was dealt out to it with a heavy, if not a liberal, hand. Horticultural Show. The autumn show of the Hastings and St. Leonards Horticultural Society was held on the 11th of September in the St. Leonards Subscription Gardens, lent, as usual, by Mr. Burton for the purpose, and notwithstanding that the productions were of a meagre character, the exhibition was well attended, the charming grounds being by themselves always an attraction. It was regretable(sic) that in a fashionable locality, with excellent gardens and nurseries around, the annual display of fruits, flowers and vegetables should continue to be so much inferior to those of other places. Pg.35 Trial of the Victoria Lifeboat A Plucky Launch. On the afternoon of Thursday, the 8th of August, the lifeboat Victoria was drawn by horses to the sea-front opposite to the Saxon hotel, St. Leonards, where with its crew of coastguards and Brinley, the coxswain, it put to sea for practice. The launch was superintended by Capt. Gough and the Rev. W. W. Hume, and after some difficulty in combatting the “surging billows”, was successfully got off. It was at first believed by such persons as were versed in nautical tactics that it would be impossible to get “her Majesty fairly afloat without the aid of a rope made fast at sea, and this belief was strengthened by the fact that on her first encounter with the huge waves she was driven back broadside on to the beach, one or two of her oars with which she was being propelled snapping asunder like match-wood. Nothing daunted, however, the crew disembarked, and proceeded to remount the boat upon its carriage for another attempt. All things being again adjusted, a favourable opportunity was seized, and the Victoria was rowed off in gallant style. On getting some distance to sea, the sail was hoisted, and then, as though on some errand of mercy, the bonny bark dashed through the waves to the delight of some hundreds of persons who had congregated on the shore. She was ultimately safely beached, and the trial (in a rough sea) was pronounced to be the best that had taken place. Improvement and Recreation Society Roast Beef and Plum Pudding. The Rev. W. W. Hume, who greatly exerted himself in getting the Life-boat, also established the St. Leonards Recreation and Improvement Society, and, not the least important was that among the other societies which celebrated their anniversaries on Whit Monday. The society was chiefly composed of boys and youths, taken, as it were, from the haunts of vice and trained to habits of industry, frugality, athletic exercises and mental refinement. Reports of this and other meetings of the society are given in Vol. 3, Historico-Biographies, and it will be only here stated that the society met in the Alfred-street reading room, where, after satisfying their corporealities with roast-beef and plum-pudding, the members were good-humouredly addressed by Mr. Hume and other gentlemen. Invalid Gentlewomen’s Home On the 28th of May an Amateur sacred concert, arranged by the Messrs. Coventry, was given in the Magdalen Schoolrooms on the 28th of May which realised £42 in aid of the Invalid Ladies Home, which was then in course of erection. Afterwards, a grand bazaar was held, under distinguished patronage, at Knightsbridge, for the joint purpose of assisting the St. Leonards “Home” and a similar institution at Torquay. This resulted in about £500 for each. Ano Pg.36 ther bazaar was held on the 10th, 11th and 12th of December – this time in the new building itself, which was then in a condition to be opened for the reception for 70 or 80 invalid ladies of limited means, who for the payment of a guinea per week would be provided with careful nursing and skilful medical attendance. Full reports were given at the time, and it is only necessary here to state that the receipts totalled about £610, thus leaving a debt of £2,000 still remaining on the building. The St. Leonards Regatta In consequence of frequent delays and postponements of the preceding year’s regattas – some through unfavourable weather and some through a want of agreement by the joint committee of both towns, there was afterwards a tacit understanding that in all future aquatic sports it would be better for each town to make its own arrangement. Preliminary Meeting. At the British hotel on the 11th of June, a meeting was held, and a committee formed of the following gentlemen:- G. Gipps, Esq. (chairman) C. Savery, Esq. Mr. C. T. How (treasurer), Messrs. Ballard, Chester, Beauvois, Hughes, Kenwood, Mann, Descoe, Payne, Thurnwood Goepel, Skinner, Wise and Deering. A second meeting was held at the same place, a week later, whilst two meetings had also been held by the committee of the Hastings regatta. Thus, except in little acts of courtesy and a friendly feeling professedly existent between the two committees of management, the two regattas were to be as distinctly independent as though effected at places far distant from each other. The periods selected were the 25th of July and the 12th of August, St. Leonards taking precedence of time. A Postponement. “It is a remarkable thing”, said an acquaintance on the 24th of July, “that if tomorrow prove to be a day like the present, how unfortunate you Hastings and St. Leonards people are in your choice of days on which to hold your regattas. Year after year the same disappointment occurs, and it appears that all the weather-wisdom of a maritime town is insufficient to guide you in your selection of suitable periods. Even the oracle of the St. Leonards Gazette – pardon the allusion! – who has, I suppose, been consulted on such occasions, seems to have been unable to foresee the meteorological requisites for those events.” A verbal response to the foregoing remarks was all that was necessary to convince our enquiring friend that, with one exception, the weather on all the regatta days for some years past, had been precisely that which the “oracle” had anticipated. It happened that the stormy character of the 24th, extended to the morning of the 25th, and left the committee no alternative to a postponement of the regatta to another day. “We sincerely hope (said the St. Leonards Gazette), Pg.37 that that will be favourable, but we confess to some misgivings on the subject. We like not the geometrical angles of Sol and Saturn, and Venus and Herschel, which follow so closely upon the heels of the new moon. If our surmise prove illusory so much the better; but if, as we calculate, copious condensation succeeds extensive evaporation and a rainy period sets in, we could counsel the promoters both of the St. Leonards regatta and the Hastings regatta to seize the first favorable(sic) opportunity that may subsequently offer rather than defer the racing to any definite day.” The wet and windy weather of the 24th appears to have prompted “X” to send to the Hastings News the following “Dialogue” “Between Davy Jones and Boreas on Wednesday morning, 24th of July, in reference to the St. Leonards Regatta.” The said dialogue was copied from the Hastings News into the St. Leonards Gazette, with apologies for corrections and revisions, as follows:- Davey Jones “Now, blow-up, old Boreas, for glorious Aquata! Tomorrow, you know comes St. Leonards Regatta; Betwixt you and me, one regatta’s enough; So wake up, old boy, and just give us a puff.
Yea, puff out a blast from those stunning old bellows, And send to my locker those boat-racing fellows; Now blow up, my hearty – the rest leave to me; I’ll swamp all I can at St. Leonards-on-sea.
That wicked committee no peace shall enjoy, If only friend Pluvius and you, my old boy, Will rumple my bosom and cause me to swell, No more they’ll conspire at the British Hotel.
Tomorrow, all day, if you’ll keep up a grumble, I’ll show them my teeth, and I’ll rear and I’ll tumble; I’ll get ‘half seas over’ – exhibit my might, And put the whole ‘biling’ in terrible fright.
A parcel of land-sharks a-meeting, d’ye see? And bidding defiance to Old Hastings and me, And planning regattas they know nought about, We must and we will put them all to the rout.”
Boreas. Davey Jones having mistaken Notus for Boreas, the latter replies thus:- “Stay, stay, Mister Davey! You foolishly pratt! ‘Tis not in my nature their plans to frustrate. My duty, it is, your own wrath to assuage, And curb, if I can, your unprovoked rage.
You swagger as though all the world was your own, And yet ‘tis but little you do when alone; Pg.38 But assisted by ‘Foul-weather-Jack’ from the south, You show your white teeth and you foam at the mouth.
Don’t think that I’ll help you; it don’t suit my whim; You care not who sinketh, so long as you swim; Sou’-westers and zephyrs may come to your aid, But Boreas never, until he is made.
The Hastings regattas I’ve sometimes befriended – Then why with St. Leonards should I be offended? I’ll willingly help the brave men who have rowed, But to help Davey Jones, if I do I’ll be blowed!” Another Postponement. – The next day appointed was the 8th of August, a fortnight later than the one originally fixed upon, and which the committee fervently, but vainly hoped would have proved more auspicious. Up to that time all seemed to be of good promise, but at sun-rise on the selected day, the committee discovered that they were again doomed to disappointment. The attraction of the sun and moon (the latter near her perigee) and the mal-influence of the planetary configuarations(sic) which were pointed out in two numbers of Brett’s Gazette were too surely realised, and the event was for a second time deferred. The committee now no longer doubted that by following the example repeatedly set before them by their Hastings friends of fortnight postponements, they had committed an error. Success at Last. It was now resolved that the regatta should be held on the first favourable day, and that happened to be on the following Saturday. The committee regretted the necessity of holding it on so busy a day; but, apart from that circumstance, the racing, the weather, the attendance, the animated scenes on the water, the excellent accommodation of the grand stand, and the general arrangements were all that could be desired. Land Slips During the rapid thaw which set in at the very threshold of the year, several tons of earth became detached from the cliff at the western part of St. Leonards, and fell in crumbling masses to the base of the said cliff abutting the road. At several points between the caves and the Terminus hotel at Bopeep there were traces of an “avalanche”, but, fortunately, out of the range of houses in that locality. It was well that not long previously much of the cliff was cut down in the rear of the buildings known as the Marina Inn and Cave Cottages, or they might have been damaged, as they were at two or three later periods, one of which was Feb. 24th 1876, and another was Nov. 27th, 1880. Pg.39 Lectures “Coal” was the theme on which Mr. J. C. Savery lectured to the Recreation and Improvement Society, on the 10th of January. He explained the formation of coal from wood and other fibrous vegetation, and exhibited numerous fossil specimens in which the originals might be traced. Among these were the marestail plant, the club moss and some specimens of the 150 varieties of ferns. Before concluding, the lecturer exhibited some pictorial representation of coal mines, shewing the manner of working them, and the value of the Sir Humphrey Davy lamp in preventing explosions. “The Alps and their Slopes” formed the topic of a lecture delivered in the rooms of the St. Leonards Mechanics’ Institution on the 15th of January by F. North, Esq., M.P., who had recently visited those regions, and for that reason had chosen them for a lecture. Definitions and geographical positions were then explained, followed by the geological features and attractive scenery of the glaciers. Mont Blanc, he observed, was 15,000 feet above the level of the sea, or thirty times the height of Fairlight. Mr. North sketched out the physical and pictorial character of the Alps, and entered at some length into cause and effect of the moving rivers of ice. “Water” was the subject of a lecture delivered at the Mechanics’ Institution by Dr. C. H. Stone, on the 22nd of January. The lecturer remarked that when we looked at the vast extent of water which surrounded the earth, and remembered that the sea in some places was from seven to nine miles deep, we were almost tempted to think that if we had a little less water and a little more land it would be better for us, but assuming that 500,000,000 of human beings on the earth, besides inferior animals and plants, all having to be supplied with that very necessary element, it was not difficult to see the beautiful provision which gave us just sufficient for our needs. The Doctor submitted an analysis of the components parts of water, consisting of oxygen and hydrogen gases, the former as necessary to human life, and the latter as an explosive element often fatal to human life in the coal mines. Many chemical experiments were afterwards performed in a successfully interesting manner, and very hearty applause was accorded to the worthy Doctor at the close. Pneumatics was the title of a lecture delivered by Mr. Butler on the 24th of January to the Improvement and Recreation Society. It was illustrated with a series of pleasing experiments purposely adapted to the capacity of young and non-philosophic perons(sic), of whom the audience was chiefly composed, and which adaptation could not well fail of the desired impression. A Second Lecture on the same science was delivered by the same gentleman a week later, and with equal success, the various experiments and explanations resulting in manifestations of pleasure. A Lecture on “Heat” was ably and instructively delivered, by J. C. Savery, Esq., to the members and friends of the Mechanics’ Institution on the 5th of February. The lecture was illustrated by a series of diagrams and experiments, and the Pg.40 lecturer was warmly applauded for the intelligent and familiar manner in which the subject was treated. He showed that heat affected material bodies in many wonderful ways, producing vast results by the most insidious means. It was the most powerful agent subservient to man. It drove his engines, blasted his rocks, melted his iron, preserved his life, and ministered in a thousand ways to his comfort and happiness. The lecturer then proceeded to explain some important features in connection with the sun as the primary source of heat from without, and as being seven times that of our most powerful furnaces, to which was added the heat derived from the so-called fixed stars. Glancing at the sources of heat from within, Mr. Savery remarked that far back in the lapse of time, the globe sped forth from the hands of its Maker a ball of liquid fire, gradually cooling down as it flew onward through space, until in course of time life was found on its surface. Even now we were living on a cooled surface of a globe of fire, it being calculated that at 40 miles below our feet there was a fluid mass of red-hot metal. This showed how easily the exact words of scripture could be fulfilled when “the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and all that is therein shall be burnt up.” Having disposed of the natural sources of heat, Mr. Savery next referred to its artificial production, dividing it into two classes, mechanical and chemical, and here he illustrated his remarks with numerous experiments, using for his purpose potassium, phophorus(sic) and other substances. Closely connected with his theme was animal heat, in which it was stated that man was supposed to generate as much heat in the recesses of his frame in 24 hours as was equal to 50 ounces of charcoal, &c., &c., &c. “Ancient Rome” was the heading of a lecture given at the Mechanics’ Institution on the 12th of February , by Mr. Drayson, previously of Canterbury, but then of St. Leonards. The period embraced by the lecture was from the birth of Romulus to the first Punic war. The lecturer was quite a young man, engaged in mechanical pursuits, but who, having his evenings unemployed, meritoriously set himself to work for a lecture that he might respond to the desire of the committee for some of the young members of the institution to help on the work of mutual improvement. “Frictional Electricity” was ably dealt with in a lecture which Mr. J. Banks delivered at the Mechanics’ Institution on the 19th of February. He was however disappointed by the failure of some of his experimental illustrations, the moist condition of the atmosphere rendering his labours abortive. Two nights later, with the same lecture delivered in the Alfred-street Reading-room, Mr. Banks was altogether successful in manipulating a brilliant series of experiments. Mr. Banks’s lectures were always of an entertaining and instructive character, and the one here noticed was not exceptional in that notable feature. Pg.41 ”Metropolitan Sights” Agreeably to announcement, Mr. Brett delivered his fifth lecture on this subject to the members of the Mechanics’ Institution on Tuesday, the 26th of March. The lecture was interspersed with musical illustrations (both vocal and instrumental) which, together with sundry poetic readings, annecdotes(sic) and sketches of character, rendered the affair one of an amusing description. Not that the lecturer neglected to place before his audience those more solid and utilitarian features which have characterised his previous lectures; but by taking his hearers, as it were, to visit the “thousand and one” sights of London in a systematic manner, and in the way in which they present themselves to an enquiring mind, - expatiating on their virtues and denouncing their vices, - his object appeared to be fully realized; and, thus, notwithstanding that his audience was detained half an hour beyond the usual time, there were no signs of weariness or impatience exhibited. The entertainment – for such we are wont to call it – elicited frequent applause, and at its conclusion a vote of thanks was accompanied by an expressed wish that an unavoidably omitted portion would be given on a future evening. This concluded what might be called the winter session of lectures at St. Leonards. Those at Hastings for the same period are enumerated in the next chapter. Magdalen Church Tower. The tower and belfry of the St. Mary Magdalen church was completed on the 23rd of August, and the elegant edifice which had remained several years in an unfinished state, appeared for the first time more in conformity with the architect’s design. At the time of its erection, for the want of sufficient funds, the harmony and beauty of the church were marred by the non-construction of the spire. An attempt was at length made to remedy the defect by raising the required amount of money, and a contract was entered into with Messrs. Hughes and Hunter, of St. Leonards, to supply the necessary materials and handicraft for the superstructure. There were, however, substantial reasons for deviating somewhat from the original design, and instead of a spire of about 70 feet in height, the temporary roof was removed from the partly built tower, and thirty feet of additional masonry was placed thereon. This was done in such a manner as not to preclude the carrying out the original plan should it at any future time be deemed desirable. The additions included a belfry, four windows, with elegant traceries, space for a clock, a neat parapet, surmounted at the north-west corner by an additional turret, finished buttresses, steeple, gilt vane, &c. All things considered, the work was a credit both to the architect, Mr. F. Marrable, and the contractor, Mr. H. Hughes, which latter, after the dissolution of the firm of Hughes and Hunter, completed the undertaking in the most satisfactory manner. Pg.42 Noteworthy Marriages The Countess of Rothes and the Hon George Waldegrave. The bridegroom in this marriage solemnity, was at the time Captain of the 1st Cinque Ports Rifles Volunteers, and was afterwards twice elected to represent the borough of Hastings in Parliament. His marriage with the Countess of Rothes was solemnised on the 22nd of January at All Souls Church, Langham place, London, in the presence of a large party of relatives and friends of both families. The church bells in Hastings rang merry peals on the auspicious event, and the non-commissioned officers of the Rifles were all remembered by name, each having cards and a large slice of cake sent to him. Equally large pieces were also received by the sergeants for distribution among the men of their respective sections. These cakes were supplied from the confectionery establishment of Mr. Vickery, of Hastings. Miss F. M. Papillon and S. Ashton, Esq. Crowhurst Park was again a scene of festivity on the 31st of October, when was performed the marriage of Miss Frances M. Papillon, second daughter of Thomas Papillon, Esq., to Samuel Ashton, Esq., youngest son of the late S. Ashton Esq. of Pole Bank, Cheshire. The bridesmaids were ten in number – namely the five sisters of the bride and the Misses Oxenden, Nesbitt, Hardinge, Mossop and Potter. The marriage took place at Crowhurst Church, the officiating minister being the Rev. Montague Oxenden, rector of Eastwell, uncle of the bride. There was a numerous assemblage of relations and friends. An elegant dejeûner(sic) was prepared at the Hall for a numerous party, and at four o’clock the bridegroom set out for the Continent. The festivities closed with a dinner and evening party. Maritime Disaster Sinking of a schooner. Great excitement was caused at St. Leonards on the morning of Saturday, June 29th, by the report that a vessel had been struck by lightning and had gone down with all hands on board. On hastening to the beach to ascertain if the report was true, the present writer beheld, at about eight miles distant, and pointing upwards in an oblique direction, the upper portions of a schooner’s masts and sails. At the same time a boat was putting off from the coastguard station at Bopeep, and another from a brigantine that was sailing within a few miles of the shore. These, with other boats that afterwards put off, were rowed with all possible expedition to the submerged vessel. It was found that the vessel had not been struck by the electric fluid as was first supposed, but that it had foundered during a terrific squall of wind, lightning, thunder and rain. So sudden and violent was the storm that the ship, reeling but for an instant, plunged headlong and sank to the depth of about six fathoms. The captain and two of his men took to the small boat, while the rest of the crew – three in number – were picked up by a fishing-smack and carried, it Pg.43 was thought to Dover. The first-name three had taken the precaution to throw off their clothes ere they left the vessel, and it was, perhaps fortunate for them that they did so, as they had proceeded but a short distance from the sunken vessel when their frail boat was swamped, and its occupants were obliged to swim back to the ship and there cling to the unsubmerged portion until assistance arrived. Having afterwards been saved by the boat which put off from the brigantine the poor fellows were conveyed in a state of nudity to that vessel and were humanely supplied with some articles of clothing, after which they were brought ashore. The questions put to the distressed sailors by a gentleman who acted as interpreter, elicited the following:- The lost vessel was a new one, of 120 tons burthen, laden with coal from Sunderland and bound for a French port to which she belonged. It was uninsured, and the captain held shares to the amount of £1000, all the capital he possessed, and which, with his clothes and other articles he had thus been deprived of. It was otherwise fortunate that the event occurred in the day time and that assistance was promptly rendered, or, like the vessel itself, the crew might have sunk to the bottom of the sea. The Vessel Raised. The schooner Louise – that being her name – was raised or weighed on the 7th of August, by a Hastings vessel and one from Ramsgate, but after being towed a mile to the eastward, in a strong wind, she again sank. Weighed Again was the French schooner Louise, and this time successfully, so that after two months immersion, she was able to be brought to within a short distance of the Marine parade, at Hastings, on the 22nd of Hastings(sic), where she became an object of interest. Re-launched. Mr. C. T. How, of St. Leonards, having purchased the French schooner, Louise, and placed her in the hands of Messrs. Kent to be repaired and refitted, that work was accomplished , and on Saturday, the 23rd of November, she was launched from the Hastings stade in presence of a great number of persons, and sailed away for Wales. Wreck of the “Midge” On Friday, Sept. 13th, as the schooner “Midge”, belonging to Mr. S. Putland, of St. Leonards was being hauled off, after discharging a freight of coals, the hawser snapped asunder, and the vessel returned to the beach, broadside on. Fears were entertained that the stranded vessel would be washed over the contiguous groyne and become a wreck, but with judicious management such a catastrophe was averted, at least for a time. Yet, even then the waves broke over her with such terrific force as to render her position anything but safe. On the recession of the tide most of her rigging and loose gear was re Pg.44 moved, and all was done that under such circumstance was possible, to prevent further damage. Unable, however, to withstand the fury of the waves on her weather-beaten sides at the flow of the tide on Saturday evening, she first washed over the groyne to the eastward, tearing away a portion of it, and then fell to pieces, her dislocated timbers being washed along shore. The vessel being uninsured, the loss was that of the owner’s. The Schooner “London”, owned by Mr. Newton Parks, of St. Leonards, collided with another vessel, off Yarmouth, during severe weather, on the night of November 22nd, and was so much damaged that she was obliged to be towed into port by a steamer. Several fishing boats, also, during the storm were driven on to the Dutch coast and wrecked. The stormy night in this case was between the two days for which the weather-forecasts of the St. Leonards Gazette were “Towards night the stellar powers denote brisk wind and Showers”, and “Now - again, high wind or rain.” The Postal Movement On Wednesday, the 9th of January, the long delayed deputation from the Town Council, consisting of Messrs Hayles, Ginner, Ross, and Gausden (all Liberals) waited on the (Liberal) Postmaster-General, and had an interview of about three quarters of an hour. During that time the question of amalgamating the two post-offices was discussed; but, as might have been expected, no decision was arrived at by his lordship. The general impression appeared to be that if one central office for the two towns should be arranged for, the borough would have to build or otherwise provide it at its own expense. The Change at last. It had been said that in a letter to the Mayor, Mr. Newman, of the General Post Office, had intimated that there would be one central office for both towns, situate in or near Robertson street, and to be called the Hastings and St. Leonards General Post Office. Such an arrangement, although supposed to be a concession to those who so long a time had agitated for the abolition of the St. Leonards office, was not viewed by such abolitionists with tokens of appreciation. Why, they asked, should St. Leonards be coupled with Hastings in the title of such an office; seeing that the contention all along had been that the property eastward of the Archway was in Hastings? But objectionable as it might be, even this proposed arrangement was not to be carried out. A few alterations were made in the existing post-office at Wellington place, and on and after the 16th of June, the St. Leonards letter-carriers, as well as those of Hastings were to be despatched from that office, where Pg.45 all the mails for both towns were to be received. A vehicle for the conveyance of letter-bags, &c from one office to another. Mr. Woods, the old and faithful servant, was to retire from his duties as postmaster, and Mr. Temple, a younger man, was to succeed him. St. Leonards was to make up its London sack as it always had done, and to retain its money-order office, with some other minor matters, still undisturbed. In all respects St. Leonards was to continue to have its general post-office, except that its London mails would be taken through to Hastings, and then after being sorted, would be delivered by the St. Leonards postmen from the eastern part of the borough instead of from the western. This arrangement gave to the dwellers in Verulam place and Eversfield place the advantage of receiving their letters a little earlier than formerly, but caused considerable disatisfaction(sic) among tradesmen in some other parts of the town whose correspondence reached them at a later time than it had theretofore done. One of the persons who felt the inconvenience of the change was the editor and proprietor of the St. Leonards Gazette, who having been previously for three years a clerk in the Hastings post-office, had no hesitation in predicting that so cumbrous a system as was then adopted had upon the face of it a promise of dissolution rather than of permanency. But the advocates of a change, though greatly disappointed that such change when it came was not of that seeping? character for which they had striven, endeavoured to console themselves with the belief that whilst neither town would be much benefited, neither would suffer much harm. As proof, however, of some of the inconveniences arising from the change, a letter which appeared in the St. Leonards Gazette of June 22nd, is here reproduced:- “Postal Dis-arrangements” “Sir, - In your paper of last week you tell us that a vehicle is provided for the conveyance of letters, &c. from one post-office to the other, and you give us to understand that no inconvenience will result from the alterations. Now, in the first place, I cannot learn from other sources that there is any vehicle provided for the stated purpose, save that of the postman’s back, nor, in the second place, that we have the same convenience now as existed before the present absurd alterations. Two cases affecting myself have occurred, this week, sufficient to show the delay and inconvenience to which the people of St. Leonards are likely to be subjected. On Tuesday morning I left home for London at a quarter past eight, concluding in my own mind that as the postman usually leaves my letters fully a quarter of an hour before that time I had none on that particular morning to come. Judge my vexation when, on my return home at night, a letter of much importance, and one that Pg.46 might have saved me the journey spoken of, was placed in my hands, with the assurance that it was delivered at my house about half an hour after I left home. The next case is this – A letter coming from a friend whose residence is not more than a quarter of a mile from my own, (and both less than that distance from the St. Leonards post-office) was posted at St. Leonards, and instead of being delivered as formerly from that office, it was taken to Hastings, and did not reach me till the following morning. These are the first fruits of a change in our postal regulations, which was as uncalled for as it will prove to be mischievous.” “I am, &c. Loco.” More Post Office Grievances. The following is a short extract from a letter which appeared in the Hastings News, of April 12th:- “The and good management of the Post Office authorities is something quite peculiar to themselves. We have hardly received the assurance of the tardy reformation of a long-standing grievance before another arises.... Notice has just been given that the mail-cart with letters for East-Kent has been taken off, and I, for one, supposed that some increased facilities had been found by which the old fashioned mail-cart was superseded by an improved arrangement. But, instead of this, a letter which a fortnight ago, if posted at the chief office here by 4 a.m., have been delivered at Margate with the London letters at breakfast time, is not delivered till 6 in the evening, the whole of our correspondence with East-Kent, suffering in a similar manner.... If this is the new man’s doing, let’s have another man, who will better study the requirements of one who, though a Hastinger, is also “A Man of Kent” Who would not be a Postman? Under this interrogative the St. Leonards Gazette, of June the 22nd had the following remarks:- “The alterations recently effected in postal matters have entailed upon the St. Leonards letter-carriers an additional trudge of about 15 miles per diem. How comfortable! How delightful! Only think, ye pedestrians how charming it must be during the present sultry weather, or even by and by, in frost and snow and rain and blow, to be privileged to walk six times to Hastings and six times back to St. Leonards in the course of a day, and to have the further privilege to knock and ring at every man’s door throughout the last-named town. Only think, ye philanthropic sons of England and ye kind-hearted daughters of humanity of the efforts that are now made to transfer the loads and labours of the poor beasts of burden to the backs of intelligent man, - ‘the noblest work of God’. Time was when a horse might be driven 28 miles on alternative days in suitable weather; but now it would be cruel to impose such a condition, and so, the two-footed animal is permitted to perform the distance instead, the only modification being that the 28 miles must Pg.47 be traversed every day, perhaps on account of the creature’s superior intelligence and powers of endurance. Some squeamish people might call this slavery, but ‘tis possible that they know but little of humanity, and of History, the latter of which tells us that since the year 1772, it has been determined that “Slaves cannot breathe in England; They touch our country, and their shackles fall.” Whether the foregoing remarks had any influence of the action of the postal authorities, there was nothing in the way of acknowledgement to show, but it was not long afterwards that a basket-carriage was employed for at least the morning delivery, to convey the St. Leonards postmen to certain points on the front line, and there set them down to commence their work. In the mean time, the following letter appeared in the Hastings News:- “Sir, - Will you permit me to say that it seems rather ‘early days’ to write so confidently as you do in your last issue of the recent changes in the postal service of this part of the borough. For myself I can only say that under the former régime I used to get my first delivery of letters about half an hour before eight in the morning, and consequently, before I had to start for London on the days that I go there. Now I get them at times ranging between eight and half past eight; and with respect to the afternoon delivery, which I used to receive at about half-past one or a quarter to two. It now usually reaches me at about three. Possibly at first matters are less settled than they may be after a time; and all I ask is, that while we are suffering from later deliveries, you should not write as if we had experienced no inconvenience from the change, nor conclude that you can gather ‘an illustration’ of the proverbial saying you quote, till you have ascertained more fully the results of the recent alteration by the testimony of your numerous readers in this part of the borough.” I am, Sir, your obedient servant, “A Resident at St. Leonards
A New Mail. The removal of the long-established East-Coast Mail-cart justly complained of, was remedied on the 1st of August by the making up a bag at the Hastings post-office for the 7.10 p.m. train to Ashford, which conveyed correspondence to all the principal towns of East Kent, every day except Sunday. More Deficiencies. Another result of the recent postal changes was the doing away with of the branch-office at White-rock place, whereby much inconvenience was felt by the inhabitants of that locality as well as by those of Claremont, Carlisle parade, Verulam place and Eversfield place. The closing of this branch office resulted in a district of a mile and a half of the most valuable property in the Pg.48 borough having no places for the depositing of letters nearer than the general office at Welling(sic) place and the London road at St. Leonards. People in both towns now very pertinently asked – Where was the benefit derived by a postal change which a few sanguine but mistaken members of the Town Council had so energetically advocated for several years, despite the equally determined protest of all those who would be most affected by the change? As proof of how necessary it was to retain the post office at St. Leonards, as a general office for the convenience of a rapidly growing part of the borough, there are now, at the time of writing and have been for some years, within the St. Leonards postal delivery not fewer than three principal offices, besides pillar-boxes, and a specially constructed building for the receipt and despatch of mails, the sorting of letters and the delivery of the same by the now numerous postmen. Apropos of the original St. Leonards Post Office, the Hastings News of June 21st, 1861, had a paragraph as follows, under the term of Public Improvement:- “This term may be allowed, we think, in reference to the alterations which are now nearly completed at Dorman’s Victoria Library. Mr. Dorman’s establishment (like that of his respected predecessor, Mr. Southall) combines Post Office, Branch Bank and Electric Telegraph Office, besides his ordinary business. The new proprietor has recently remodelled his premises, which now present a vastly improved and modernized appearance. The Post Office department remains in its old corner, but new partitions of polished mahogany and glass have taken the place of the old structure. At the southern end of the shop, the Bank (London & County) and the Telegraph Office (London, Brighton and South-Coast line) occupy separate corners, partitioned off en suite with the Post Office. Neither has the alteration ended here, for all the old-fashioned glass cases and counters have had new ones substituted, with mahogany and plate glass fittings. The numerous exterior windows are now each occupied by a single sheet of plate-glass. The changes have been carried out in a spirit which speaks well for the enterprise of the present proprietor, and will, without doubt keep the establishment A1 in the township of St. Leonards.” Testimonials. A movement associated with the Post Office was the raising by subscription the sum of £121 8s. 4d. for presentation to Mr. John Woods, the late many years postmaster of Hastings, as Pg.49 an acknowledgement of his long and faithful services. The presentation was made to the recipient on the 10th of September in the names of the numerous subscribers of both Towns. Mr. Woods had been known to the present writer for a period of about 36 years, twenty-eight of which had been devoted to the discharge of those duties which he had recently relinquished. Vast changes had taken place during Mr. Woods’s official career – changes that had from time to time entailed upon that gentleman no small amount of labour and some pecuniary sacrifice. The idea always uppermost with Mr. Woods was that no small wheel of any machine should be suffered to stop the progress of a large one; and, acting himself on his favourite motto, he never attempted to place impediments in the way of that great machine of which he was a subordinate part. Came there an order from head quarters for an extra-ordinary return to be made immediately, or for some new regulation to be put in force, our late postmaster was the right man to do the bidding of his superior officers, and with alacrity, even though such acquiescence deprived him of rest and sleep. And then, his urbane manner and respectful bearing both to his fellow-townsmen and visitors, was so well known as to require no eulogy in this place. Royal Visitors Her Majesty the ex-Queen of the French, arrived at St. Leonards on the 27th of February, accompanied by the Duc de Nemours and attended by the Count and Countess Chabannes. They traveled over the South-Eastern line from Dorking. Other members of the family arrived at a later date, including the Prince de Joinville and the Count de Paris. After a sojourn of three weeks at the Royal Victoria Hotel the Royal visitors returned to Dorking. The King of the Belgians, accompanied by his son the Count de Flanders, passed through Hastings and St. Leonards on Wednesday the 22nd of May on his way from Dover to Portsmouth, from which town he crossed to Osborne to visit the Queen. The Prince of Prussia, on the 18th of July, also passed through Hastings and St. Leonards en route for Portsmouth. His Royal Highness was accompanied by Baron Obernitz and Col. Hardinge, equerry in waiting. They stayed at the Hastings station to change from the South-earn to the South-Coast line. The Grand Duchess of Hesse Darmstadt (mother of Prince Louis, the affianced of Princess Alice) arrived at Hastings station on Pg.50 the 6th of August, also en route for Portsmouth and Osborne House, Isle of Wight. Her Royal Highness was accompanied by the Princess Charlotte. The Duke and Duchess of Constantine, accompanied by the Mareschal de la Cour Schitchétin, M. Hawrowitz, M. Litue, and other Russian officials, on their way from Dover to the Isle of Wight, on Wednesday the 25th of September, alighted at Hastings and for about an hour were conveyed to the sea-front and other places in a number of carriages provided by Mr. Emary of the Castle and Albion hotels. More Royal Passengers. The following distinguished persons passed through Hastings and St. Leonards to and from her Majesty’s residence at the Isle of Wight:- On Friday, Dec. 20th, their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince of Prussia and the Princess Hohenlohe; on Saturday, the 21st, His Royal Highness the Duke of Saxe Cobourg (brother of the Prince Consort); on Thursday, the 26th, the Duke de Brabant and two foreign Princes; and on Friday, Dec. 27th, his Majesty, the King of the Belgians. In all of the before-named transits the trains between Dover and Hastings were under the charge of J. P. Knight, Esq., General Superintendent of the South-Eastern line, and formerly the first station-master (or clerk) of the South-Coast line, when its terminus was at Bulverhithe. Railway Improvements. Several alterations and improvements that had been in progress were completed in the first week of June at the St. Leonards station of the South-Eastern railway, which with its new approaches and appurtenances, presented a strikingly picturesque appearance, from whatsoever point it might be viewed, but particularly so when seen from the new edifice that was being prepared for the Invalid Gentlewoman’s Home. Not to be behind in such matters, the South-Coast Company were also improving the chemin avant of their St. Leonards station, by erecting a light and elegant gateway. This erection, while it improved the approach to the station, gave an “invite” to the tourist and a warning to the tramp. Railway Collision The above qualifying notice of improvement effected by the two railway companies has now to be followed by one of an opposite character, which describes a collision of two trains by which the said companies sustained serious loss, whilst some of their passengers were injured. On Sunday, June 23rd, two trains from London were approaching the junction at Bopeep at the same instant, the one on the South-Coast line being slightly in advance. The last named train consisted of twenty carriages and was due at St. Leonards at half-past ten a.m., but being heavily freighted and the rails in a slippery condition, it arrived somewhat late. After some of the passengers had alighted at St. Leonards, the train again moved off slowly Pg.51 towards Hastings, it being necessary to throw sand on the metals to assist the speed. But ere it had cleared the point where the two lines converge, the South-Eastern train of fifteen carriages bore down an incline to the same point and crashed into its rival. The collision was seen to be inevitable, and the terror of the passengers added to the shrieks of persons who witnessed it were quite horrifying. The engine of the South-Eastern train struck the South-Coast train near the centre and forced several carriages off the metals without turning them over. The coupling hook and side chains gave way and the first ten carriages were drawn a short distance into the tunnel whilst the remainder were propelled by the South-Eastern engine a distance of about 30 yards, when they also stopped. Five of the South-Coast carriages were greatly damaged, but only one of the passengers was seriously injured, though many were greatly shaken. The signals had been properly placed, and the drivers of both engines were experienced men. The driver of the South-Eastern train admitted that he sighted the signal, and that everything was done to stop the train at the proper place, but owing to the incline and slippery state of the metals the efforts were not successful. Also from the same state of the metals the long train of the South-Coast Company proceeded too slow to be able to clear the point as it might otherwise have done. The accident was therefore one of those which will sometimes occur despite the usual means to prevent them. A Numerous Progeny. On the evening of May the 20th, the late Mr. Charles Chapman on returning home from the anniversary dinner of his club, was agreeably surprised to find that a favourite sow had presented him with 11 male porkers and 6 female ditto. Such a litter of pigs – 17 in number – was regarded as an extraordinary occurrence, and one for the St. Leonards people to talk about. A Prolific Family The above-stated occurrence was a reminder that population rarities were not confined to four-footed animals. It had been recorded in the earlier part of the year (January or February) that a widow named Neve, 78 years of age, relict of Mr. Charles Neve, who, sometime back, occupied Clive Vale farm, died at the residence of her son-in-law, Mr. Jenner, of Tile-Kiln farm, Fairlight. The said widow, it was said, left six sons and six daughters, sixty-one grand-children, and twenty great-grand-children. The Last Bank Dividend At the end of about four years a dividend (a final one) of 2½d. in the pound was paid on the suspension of the Hastings Old Bank, thus making the whole amount paid to the creditors of 19/6 to the pound. Pg.52 Robberies and Larcenies Lady Webster’s Jewels. On Wednesday evening, Feb. 13th, a robbery took place at the residence of Lady Webster, 29 Warrior, when a portion of her ladyship’s jewels, valued at between £200 and £300, was mysteriously carried off. Access to the jewels (which were taken from her ladyship’s bed-room) was by means of keys, which the thief found in the same room. As soon as the robbery was made known at the police station, Supt. Glenister immediately telegraphed to London and to the principal railway and police stations, whilst locally the police force were actively employed in endeavouring to trace the missing property. A later search for the lost jewels showed that the missing articles were of the value of nearly £1,000, instead of the amount fist(sic) stated. A reward of £50 was offered for the apprehension of the thief or thieves, but during the following two months no clue had been obtained. From the first, however, suspicion rested upon someone connected with the family, and the suspicion never lost its hold. A Daring Robbery was perpetrated on the evening of the 5th of December at one of the newly erected houses on the Marina by a man supposed to be a stranger, who had contrived to get in at the top of the house from an unfinished building adjoining thereto. After ransacking one of the rooms and securing some money besides several articles of value, the scamp was discovered by one of the domestics, who immediately gave an alarm, and an attempt was made on one of the lower storeys to waylay him. The thief was, however, too adroit to be thus caught, and having made his exit by the same way through which he entered, he effected his escape. More “Picking and Stealing”. At about this time numerous robberies and larcenies were effected in the borough and its neighbourhood, notwithstanding the vigilance of Supt. Glenister and his police force, the most serious was on the night of Friday, Nov. 22nd, when the shops of Mr. Breach, fishmonger, and Mr. Morris, fruiterer, were entered, apparently by means of false keys and property stolen. From Mr. Breach’s desk was extracted nearly £25 in gold, silver and a bank-note, whilst from Mr. Morris’s premises were taken nearly £4, and a quantity of jewellery, pebbles, &c. The shops thus dealt with were 45 and 46 Robertson street. On the following night, an entrance was effected at Hollington church and the contents of the poor-box stolen. The churchwardens offered a reward of £5. A similar offence had been previously committed at All Saints church, and shortly afterwards there was burglarious entry of the mill at Ore. Also on Saturday night there were several cases of pocket-picking during the fair. Six suspected persons were secured by the police, but there was sufficient evidence to justify their detention. Pg.53 St. Leonards Mechanics’ Institution A Quarterly Meeting of the now long-existing institution was held on the 14th of February, when the committee’s report, read by the junior secretary, Mr. John Davis, showed the number of subscribing members to be 124 – an increase of ten; and the number of life-members 35, being a reduction of one, in consequence of the lamented death of Mr. R. F. Davis, who had also been a secretary and vice-president. The balance of cash in the treasurer’s hands was 4s. 4d., and the outstanding liabilities were about £30. Mrs. Herbert, a tenant, had given notice to quit, and the rooms had been relet at a rent of 19 guineas. The thanks of the meeting were said to be due to Mr. T. B. Brett for three readings on “Metropolitan Sights”; to F. North, Esq., for a lecture on “The Alps”, to Dr. Stone, for his lecture on “Water”; to Mr. J. C. Savery, for a lecture on “Heat”, to Mr. Drayson, for a lecture on “Ancient Rome”; and to the Amateur Musical Union, assisted by Mr. Brett, for a “Musical and Anecdotal Entertainment” by which the Institution was financially benefitted. At the May Quarterly Meeting, the secretary, Mr. S. Putland, jun., read the Committee’s report, which showed a decrease of 15 in the number of members and stated that during the quarter a lecture on “Electricity” had been given by Mr. Banks and two additional readings on “Metropolitan Sights by Mr. Brett. Mr. McCowan having resigned the office of librarian, Mr. Wm. Shaw had been appointed in his stead at a small gratuity. The reading-room had been let to Mrs. Mirlees for an hour on Sunday mornings for a scripture-class of workingmen. The treasurer, (T. B. Brett) then read the financial statement which showed a balance in hand of 10½d. and outstanding liabilities of nearly £36. He explained that although those liabilities were more than at the previous quarter, they would really have been about £3 less, had not bills amounting to nearly £10 come in for repairs, which more properly belonged to the previous quarter. He also stated that the lectures and entertainments during the past winter, besides being more numerous, had been more lucrative than previously. The August quarterly meeting was thinly attended and was void of any special interest. The usual decrease of members during summer, in the present instance was shewn to be nine. There was a balance of 6/8 due to the treasurer, but the liabilities had been reduced by £3. The Annual Meeting, held on the 28th of November, was not largely attended, nor was the business of a magnitude to require a lengthy notice. The senior secretary (Mr. S. Putland, jun) read the Committee’s report, which showed a reduction of three in the number of members, whilst the number of life-members remained at 35. W. Janson, Esq., of 97 Marina had presented 44 volumes of books and a number of pamphlets. The library had recently received 56 additional volumes, thus bringing up the number to 1150. Mr. W. Hall having resigned his office as collector, Mr. Shaw had taken his place. A balance of 8/10 was due to the treasurer, but the liabilities account showed a further reduction of £5. The following officers were re-elected:- Pg.54 A. Burton Esq., president; T. B. Brett, treasurer; S. Putland, jun. and J. Davis, secretaries. The Temperance Hall Established. A formal opening of the new room in Norman road, took place on Tuesday the 14th of May, by a public tea-meeting, at which 130 persons were present. The hall was profusely decorated and illuminated, and after the tea had been cleared away, the company was augmented to the number of over 300. Mr. Thos. Putland read the proposed rules of the Temperance Society, from which it appeared that the room would be open to any teetotaller or non-teetotaller on payment of 1d. per week, coffee was to be provided at 1d. per cup, and bread-and-butter at a low price. Daily papers and other literature would also be placed in the room. Addresses were given by the Rev. A. Reed, Mr. W. Fitch (of Brighton), Mr. Woods (also of Brighton), the Rev. J. Doxey (of Edmonton) and Mr. Ranger (of Northiam). The meeting was prolonged to a late hour and was very enthusiastic. Another Formal Opening – this time as the “Workingman’s Reading-room” took place in the Norman-road Temperance Hall on the 28th of May, when it was stated that fifty persons had joined the association. The room was to be open to any working man from 6 till 10 in the evening on payment of 1d. per week. An Address on Total Abstinence was delivered in the new room on the 10th of June to the St. Leonards Band of Hope (chiefly conducted by Mr. Beagley) by the popular Temperance advocate, the Rev. J. B. Smythe, of Dublin. Another address by the same gentleman and in the same place was given on the following evening to a crowded meeting composed mainly of working men and women. The Rev. Dr. Crosse occupied the chair, and in a brief opening address expressed his sympathy with the movement. The Rev. J. B. Smythe again held forth in the St. Leonards Teperance(sic) Hall on the 8th and 9th of August to crowded audiences, his powers of oratory being such as to call forth great applause. “England’s Besetting Sin” was the title of a temperance lecture at the same place on the 24th of September, delivered by the Rev. J. Fleetwood, of Tunbridge Wells. Great attention was paid to the lecturer’s arguments by a large audience. “How to Secure Good Times” was the burden of a lecture delivered in the same Hall on the 20th of November by Mr. J. Hilton, of Brighton. His remarks were both humorous and effective. It may be here mentioned that in connection with this society an out-door coffee stand has taken up its position and is much patronized by flymen and workmen. It was presented to the society, through Mr. Beagley, by Miss Hanbury, a St. Leonards visitor. Pg.55 A New School Room. A social gathering (intended to be annual) of the friends connected with the Wesleyan Sunday schools was held in the Shepherd-street new school-room on New Years Day. About 150 sat down to tea, after which, the Rev. T. Harding occupied the chair, while appropriate addresses were delivered. It was stated that the erection of the school had cost nearly £300, and that about £30 was required to clear off the liabilities. Among the subscribers to the building fund were Lord Harry Vane, M.P., £10; F. North, Esq., M.P., £5; H. Reed Esq., £20; - Pocock, Esq., £20; P. F. Robertson, Esq., £5; Lord Pevensey, M.P., £2. The fittings of the room were made by the teachers as a free-will offering, a reading-desk was presented by Mr. Rodda, and a handsome clock was given by Mr. Tuckfield of Clerkenwell. The Robertson-street Congregationalists held their annual tea-meeting on the 9th of January in the school-room under the chapel, at which upwards of 200 persons were present. After tea several anthems were sung by the choir, and addresses were delivered by the Rev. J. Griffen, the Rev. W. Porter and other gentlemen. The Christ-Church Juvenile Choristers, with some musical friends, assembled in the new Reading-Room, Alfred street on the 15th of January to partake of tea and to spend a social evening. Tea being over, the Rev W. Turner delivered an appropriate address, setting forth the many occasions of song and thanksgiving traceable in the sacred writings. Several sacred pieces were then sung with good effect. The Congregational School-room at Hastings was occupied by a tea party of about 150 persons in connection with the Boys’ British school, on Thursday the 17th of January. A Temperance Tea Meeting was also held on the same evening in the Alfred-street Reading-room, the social repast being partaken of by about 170 persons. Addresses were delivered by Messrs. Janson, Penhall, Putland and Ranger; and at the close nearly fifty persons signed the pledge book. The Wesleyan Annual Tea-meeting was held on Good Friday in the new school-room annexed to the Norman-road chapel, and was attended by 180 persons. Afterwards the chapel pulpit was occupied by the Rev. S. Coley, of London, whose ministrations on that occasion were in aid of the Trust Fund of the Chapel. A Quarterly Tea Meeting of the teachers connected with the St. Leonards National Sunday and Weekday schools was held in the class-room on the evening of April 6th. The party numbered about forty, and, as was usual on such occasions, a spirit of harmony and socialability prevailed. The Rev. W. N. Tilson gave an appropriate address, and the remainder of the evening was mainly devoted to singing and recitations. A Crowded Tea Meeting, to inaugurate the opening of a Primitive Methodist Chapel in Gensing road, took place on Monday, Sept. 23rd. Pg.56 Wesleyan Anniversary. - On Whit-Monday, a muster of the Sunday School children took place in the new room in the rear of the chapel to the number of 200 or more. Here a “marshalling of the forces” was effected and the customary march was commenced. After perambulating the principal thoroughfares, the juveniles were taken to a field lent for the purpose by Mr. R. Deudney, of Gensing farm, in which teachers and scholars fraternised and ruralised to their hearts’ content. Having thus spent a couple of hours in cheerful recreation, the throng of merry hearts was again conducted to the schoolroom, where an abundance of appetizing edibles was freely discussed according to requirements. This youthful phalanx having received its delectable quota, its constituents were dispersed to their homes in a happy frame of mind, while the tables were being prepared for those of a larger growth. The second assembly was composed of about 160 teachers, supporters and other friends of the school, who all sat down to tea in the decorated room. Then followed the evening meeting, presided over by the Rev. W. P?. Jones. A report was read by the secretary, in which it was stated that the contract price for building the schoolroom was £298 9s. Subscriptions to the amount of £246 5s. had been received; and £16 2s. had been promised. The stove and fittings cost £6 14s., and a balance of £42 15s. 6d remained of the debt to be cleared off. Addresses were delivered by Messrs. S. Putland, R. Putland, Eldridge, Pankhurst, Bickle, Hoskins (of London) and Lee (of Lambeth). Silverhill Sunday School. On the 25th of September, the teachers and children of the Sunday school connected with the Presbyterian church at Silverhill had a good and substantial treat given them by George Clement, Esq., on the grounds near to his residence. About 140 partook of Mr. Clement’s hospitality, and a number of ladies and gentlemen visited the happy party to witness their sports and to share in their enjoyment. Treat to Workmen. On Thursday, the 4th of July, the workmen in the employ of Mr. John Kenwood, builder, of St. Leonards, to the number of about 50, were invited to partake of a bountiful repast provided for them by the liberality of Mrs. White, a lady for whom Mr. Kenwood was erecting a villa residence at Upper Maze Hill. The feast was presided over by – White, Esq., son of the lady alluded to, whilst Mr. Kenwood performed the duties of vice-chairman. A variety of glees and other musical compositions were sung, and a very happy meeting was the result. Mr. Potter, of the Horse and Groom inn, managed the cuisine on the occasion, the merits of which were favorably discussed. There needed not a word to be said on behalf of social gatherings of that sort, their good effects being almost if not entirely self-apparent. Pg.57 Special Sermons For the Wesleyan Missions a sermon was preached in the Norman-road chapel on Sunday January 13th by the Rev. W. Hales, of Rye. A public meeting was also held on Monday for the same purpose. The speakers were the Rev. W. Hales, Rev. J. Harry (Eastbourne). Messrs. Beck, Putland and Streeter. The collection amounted to nearly £9. For the St. Leonards National Schools, three sermons were preached in the St. Leonards Church on Sunday, March 24th, the one in the morning, by the Rev. C. Kennaway, rector of Campden, which realised £22; the one in the afternoon by the Rev. C. W. Keightley, rector of Dinsby, at which the offertory was £3; and the one in the evening by the Rev. J. A. Hatchard, when the collection was £4. The last-named gentleman, unfortunately, took occasion to offer some remarks upon the conduct of the School Committee which appeared to take the worshippers by surprise, and judging from the sentiments expressed by many of them on leaving church, must have created within them a feeling akin to indignation. If ever the history of this church should be written (even from the materials in the writer’s possession) it will show that the said church has been strangely unfortunate in disagreement between some of incumbents, organists, churchwardens and others. The case here cited was of much less importance than that of the Rev. - “Workman”, a returned convict, but it was one, nevertheless, which had a prominent place in 1861, as causing general consternation and resulting in the absence of many of the worshippers from their accustomed seats. Mr. Hatchard’s statement having become a topic of conversation during the ensuing week, and the matter having been taken up by the committee whose acts were made the subject of the reverend gentleman’s animaversion, it is felt that no apology is here needed for giving a more permanent record of the comments which were made at the time by the St. Leonards Gazette. Said that journal – “We fully concur with those who heard the charges brought against the School Committee that even if the allegations could be substantiated, both the time and the place were exeedingly(sic) ill-chosen for making them known. If the reverend gentleman did not approve of the manner in which the funds had been appropriated, we think that the wiser course would have been for him to have attended the annual meeting recently held, and there expressed his dissent, instead of absenting himself as one of that committee, and sending in his resignation, as he then did. It seems to us that Mr. Hatchard – perhaps with the best intentions – has the misfortune to differ from most of the public bodies with whom he has associated; a circumstance which forces us to the conclusion that his views, even if not erroneous, are sometimes urged with too much warmth of feeling. The charges – if such we may be permitted to call them – against Pg.58 the Committee have been met by that body in a calm and dignified manner. A plain statement of facts, unaccompanied by any ill-natured remarks, is being sent round to the subscribers and others, shewing, almost at a glance, that, so far from the committee with whom Mr. Hatchard differs having mis-appropriated the funds, they have made the best possible use of them. The following is an extract from the circular alluded to:- “The Committee of the St. Leonards-on-sea National Schools are most reluctantly compelled to place before the subscribers and others generally, the following statement of facts, in consequence of the charges made by the Rev. J. A. Hatchard, in his sermon at St. Leonards Church on Sunday evening last. Mr. Hatchard, amongst some other matters, charged the Managing Committee with having misappropriated of £200 Consols raised by himself and invested in the names of Trustees – himself and three other members of the Committee – for the benefit of the schools. “With respect to his reiterated claims to having raised the whole of this sum by his own exertions, over and above what was required for the ordinary expenditure for the schools during the three years of his incumbency, it should be observed that that very nearly three fourths of the purchase money of the first £100 bought were not, in fact, obtained by him at all, as a reference to former reports will show, being balances handed over to him by the Rev. G. D. St. Quintin on resigning the incumbency. The remainder was the proceeds of a sermon in St. Leonards Church on the Fast Day, with donations of £1 each from two gentlemen of the Committee and one of £1 5s. 4d. from Mr. Hatchard to make up the total cost of £93 7s. 6d. “Towards the purchase of the second £100 Consols there was a balance in hand at the end of the year of £86 9s. 1½d. Of this sum, £40 10s. was the amount of a collection in St. Mary Magdalen Church – an additional source of income enjoyed by our schools during the whole time of Mr. Hatchard’s incumbency, but which naturally ceased when the incumbent of St. Mary Magdalen built schools of his own. Further, this balance of £86 9s. 1½d. was the result of a diminution of that year’s expenses which were £25 or £30 Less than ordinarily. There was also an increase of £18 12s. 5d. in the children’s pence in consequence of raising the weekly payment from 1d. to 2d. Indeed, the subscriptions and donations of that year were less by nearly £3 than those of the year 1850, before Mr. Hatchard came. So little justice is there in his claiming to take to himself the sole credit of raising the whole of this money and of asserting that the Committee had no right over it to use it for the good of the schools according to their judgement in opposi Pg.59 tion to his. That the possible sale of this stock, should it be thought desirable, was anticipated at the time of the purchase, is clear from the terms of the resolution passed at the time, which provided that a specified notice should be previously given to the Trustees. “At the commencement of 1860, in consequence of the greatly augmented numbers in attendance, and in compliance with the repeated suggestions of the Government Inspector, the Committee felt it to be necessary to propose considerable alterations of and additions to the School buildings. Mr. Hatchard was present at the meeting at which the plans ultimately adopted were discussed. He was not only in favour of the enlargement, but expressed an opinion that the plans proposed did not go half far enough! “One part of the plan preferred, and that which was most fully discussed, was that the rooms occupied by the Infants’ Mistress should be converted into a class-room for the Girls’ School, thus rendering it necessary either to hire rooms for that teacher or to build or buy a new house. All this was clearly understood at the time “From the time the alterations were commenced, the Committee provided accommodation for the Mistress – very inconvenient, being at a distance, and very insufficient, consisting of only one room for herself and pupil teacher – being the only accommodation that at that time could be met with, and this at a weekly rent of 6s. or at the rate of £15 a year. “In consequence, therefore, of the great inconvenience and heavy annual expense attending this arrangement the Committee resolved to purchase one of the houses recently built adjoining the schools for a teacher’s residence. They were unwilling to make another appeal for large contributions to the residents and visitors so soon after the liberal assistance received towards the extension of the School buildings, for the whole amount required. It was considered that applying the money funded for the purpose of a Teacher’s House, wherby(sic) a great annual saving might be effected was a much better investment than the Funds from which but a small addition (amounting last year to £5 14s. 3d.) accrued to the income of the schools. “As Mr. Hatchard’s statements were of such a vague character, inasmuch as the object was not named to which the money spoken of had been misappropriated, the Committee feel it to be their duty to lay these facts before the friends and supporters of the Schools, confident that they will exonerate them from all blame.” – Signed Afred Burton, John Carey, R. Cooper Gardiner, W. H. Hull, S. B. Maggs, J. Peerless, G. D. St. Quintin, C. H. Southall, F. W. Staines.” St. Leonards-on-sea, March 27th, 1861. Pg.60 For the Indian Relief Fund a sermon was preaced(sic) in the St. Leonards church on Sunday, June 14th, by the Rev. J. Birch, which realised about ten pounds. For the Pastoral Aid Society, on the evening of the same day and at the same church, a little over £5 was collected after a sermon by the Rev. G. Despard, association secretary. Anniversary Sermons were preached at the Hollington Wesleyan Chapel on Sunday, August 4th to full congregations by Mr. Streeter, of Hastings and Mr. Thompson, of London. A public meeting was also held on Monday. The Wesleyan Sunday Schools at St. Leonards had sermons preached on their behalf on Sunday, Sept. 1st, by the Rev. S. J. Pigott, and, as usual, a meeting was held on the following Monday, at which there was a good collection. Sermons by the Rev. J. Fleetwood, of Tunbridge Wells, were preached on Sunday, September 22nd, to inaugurate the opening of a Primitive Methodist place of worship in Gensing road, St. Leonards. A meeting was also held on the following day, at which addresses were delivered and money collected. The Additional Curates’ Aid Society had a sermon preached on its behalf at the Trinity Church on Sunday the 15th of November by the Rev. C. B. Penrice, and a public meeting was held on Monday in the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms, at which meeting W. D. Lucas-Shadwell, Esq., presided and £9 6s. was collected in addition to annual subscriptions of £5 5s. For the Infirmary sermons were preached in the St. Leonards Church on Sunday, Dec. 22nd, by the Rev. W. Tilson-Marsh, and an offertory of £32 collected. A Sermon by the Rev. Archdeacon Otter was preached at Silverhill, St. Leonards, on Thursday, May 16th, on the occasion of opening a new church built at the cost of the Rev. J. Cumerlege(sic) and dedicated to St. Matthew. (For special sermons at Hastings see next chapter) Opening of St. Matthew’s Church. The opening service of this church took place on Thursday the 16th of May, in presence of a crowded congregation, including many of the local clergy. The service was read by the Rev. J. Cumberlege, minister of the new church, and the sermon was preached by the Venerable Archdeacon Otter from Acts IV, 32. Miss Emma Hume presided at the harmonium, and the choir was composed chiefly of young ladies connected with the church of St. Mary Magdalen. A second service was held in the evening, when the sermon was preached by the Rev. J. Cumberlege. A collection was made towards the expenses of conducting the services, which amounted to the liberal sum of £52. Mr. Cumberlege, who was not a strong man died on the 6th of March. 1869, and his widow, twenty years later, March 19th, 1889, both at Tilsworth Lodge, adjacent to the church. Pg.61 St. Leonards National Schools The Committee of these schools in their reply to the Rev. J. A. Hatchard’s charges of misappropriation of funds having refuted those charges (see pages 57 to 59), the following additional particulars ought not to be out of place. At their meeting on the 10th of January, 1860, it was resolved that the plans and specifications for the enlargement of the schools be sent to the Education Committee of the Privy Council for approval, and to ask what amount of grant would be allowed on the same. Also that subscription lists be opened for about £400. Instructions were given to Mr. Young to write to Mr. T. Burgess respecting his encroachment. (The said encroachment was an excavation from his stable or coach-house yard in Gensing road, under ground attached to the schools, without permission.) Mr. Elijah Marsh was appointed collector in the place of Mr. Willard, who had resigned. Resolved that the Girl’s schoolroom be lent to the St. Leonards Glee and Madrigal Union on conditions that they bear their own expenses, bring no friends, do not smoke, take all precautions against fire, and leave the room as they find it. The application of the Rifle Corps for the use of the school was refused, with regret, owing to the difficulties that would accrue. At a meeting held on Feb. 14th, 1860, the Rev. J. A. Hatchard was appointed on the Building sub-committee in the room of the Rev. G. D. St. Quentin who had resigned. On Feb. 28th, the Rev. A. Maclennan was appointed on the sub-building committee on the proposition of the Rev. W. Tilson-Marsh. On the 24th of April, it was resolved that there was no objection to Mr. Carey building a warehouse adjacent to the schools. At the meeting on the 11th of May, it was resolved to accept Messrs. Hughes and Hunter’s supplementary estimate, making a total of £127 4s. for alterations; also their estimate of £214 16s. 3d. for building new Infants’ Schoolroom, and Messrs. Carey’s and Avery’s estimate of £46 11s. for new desks, seats &c., as proposed by the Committee of Privy Council. On June 23rd, a communication was received from the Education Council to the effect that £88 2s. 6d. would be the grant towards the cost of building the new Infants’ Schoolroom, fittings, &c. Resolved that a letter be written to their Lordships, soliciting further aid on account of enlarging the old rooms as they had suggested. To this application a further grant of £21 was made. The sub-committee reported that £268 18s., making with the Government Grant £350 0s. 6d. had been received. It was therefore decided that Hughes and Hunter proceed with the work as quickly as possible. On November 30th, the youth Ernsting’s apprenticeship as a pupil teacher was sanctioned, the period being two years, with an Pg.62 annual stipend of £5 from the Training Fund and a weekly allowance of 1s. from the General Fund. The Capitation Grant for 90 boys was £22 10s., for 73 girls, £14 12s.; and for 60 infants, £12 10s. Resolved that half of each grant be given to Mr. and Mrs. Gibson and the Infant school mistress, respectively, in consequence of the favourable report of H. M. Inspector, and the remainder to go to the general fund – Resolved that the house recently built near the schools be purchased from Mr. Carey for £350, such house being for the Master’s residence. Ordered that notice be sent to Messrs. Burton, Hatchard and Hull in reference to the sale of £200 invested in Consols. To this sale Mr. Hatchard demurred, but the committee abided by their decision. Resolved that thanks be conveyed to Mr. Decimus Burton for his own gratuitous services in connection with the alterations and enlargement of the schools, and for reducing the charge for the plans, &c. from £19 8s. 6d. to £10 10s. At the committee meeting of Feb. 26th, 1861, to(sic) report was ordered to be published, and the balance in hand to go towards the purchase of the master’s house; also resolved that Mr. Gibson have the occupancy of such house as part payment of his salary, and that he be appointed as acting secretary to the committee. Also that Mr. Hatchard’s letter of retirement from the committee be received, and that he be thanked for his services. The Rev. J. Reed was elected on the Committee, and a motion passed that the number each of boys and girls be limited to 165. On the 24th of April it was resolved that the answer of the committee to Mr. Hatchard’s letter which appeared in the Observer be also sent to that journal for insertion. At the last meeting in 1861, Nov. 20th, the capitation grants received were £19 for 95 boys, £10 10s. for 70 girls, and £9 15s. for 39 infants. Resolved that the total of £39 5s. be divided as before. Also that Mr. Gibson issue circulars of appeal for subscriptions towards the liquidation of debt on the new house.
- It is uncertain why Brett repeated this sentence