Page:Item 7 1858.pdf/40

From Historical Hastings
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Town Council Meetings (annotations)

At the meeting on the 7th of May, the Clerk said that the committee appointed on the postal arrangements had no report ready. They had drawn up a petition, but in consequence of the alteration in the postmaster general it had not been sent. Coun. Putland hoped that the petition would be printed, as he wanted all the inhabitants to know what it was the committee had put in the petition. The Mayor had no doubt that the committee would make it public, but there was nothing now before the meeting. Coun. Putland asked to be allowed to copy this “secret petition”. After some humorous remarks by different members, the subject dropped. [And dropped it was, for a time at least, altogether, the Council having played its last and lost the game]. Mr. Putland’s words that “the district in question would continue to be St. Leonards, and the Council could not prevent it” were already discounted by the fact that the inhabitants – supported by the visitors - of the district in contention, were practically unanimous in their determination to retain for it the name of St. Leonards, and which they well knew could not be changed by any existing Act of Parliament. The only persons to be excepted from this all but unanimous voice of the people mostly concerned were Messrs. Vidler, Winter, Bromley and it may have been one or two others who had built houses in Eversfield Place. These were the men in the Council, who with the assistance of Mr. Ross, the prime mover – members of the H.I.P.S. – who thought they could carry all before them. As will have been seen in their Council speeches, Mr. Ross was especially severe on the defendants and Mr. Vidler – a generally crotchety and unruly member – was dogmatic beyond par. “It is Hastings”, said he, “and it shall be Hastings”. These big words from a little man illustrated the saying “Little men sometimes air their assumed importance with strong utterances”. One phase in the dispute which should not go unnoticed was that during the controversy and when the word Hastings was written on most of the corner houses, under a threat of prosecution for defacement, the inhabitants, knowing the strength of their position, not only repeatedly daubed it out or added to it so as to make it read “one mile to Hastings”, but also the printed or written word “St. Leonards” was exhibited in almost every shop window. Whilst “St. Leonards House” was written by the owners on several private dwellings].

A Possessory Title - Confirmatory Cases

Thus much by way of annotations of the Council utterances on that momentous question of postal and boundary alterations, but there still remaineth something more to be said against a lingering belief among descendants of those who commenced the strife that the proper division of Hastings and St. Leonards is not at the hospital and the opposite Pier, but at the piece of granite which marks the site of the demolished Archway. In vol VI of this Local History, the St. Leonards case was shewn to have been well and ably represented by Sir Woodbine Parish, -