Brett Volume 5: Chapter L - Hastings 1853

From Historical Hastings

Transcriber’s note

Volume 5 - Chapter L - Hastings 1853

Contents: (See also general index) Town Council meetings pages 10-31
(pg. [[Brett Volume 1: Chapter I - {{{3}}}#{{{4}}}|{{{4}}}]]) Street lighting, (pg. 10)
payment of map, (pg. 10)-(pg. 111)-& (pg. 15)-[(pg. 16)
Baths and Washhouses, (pg. 11)
District rates, (pg. 2),(pg. 26),(pg. 37)
Cavendish Place (pg. 12)
Putland's resignation, (pg. 12)
His successor (pg. 103)
Thanks to ex-Surveyor, (pg. 14)
Site of old lighthouse, (pg. 14)
Town Clerk's "extras", (pg. 14)
Financial accounts (pg. 14)
Steps and crossings, (pg. 15)
Pelham Place improvement, (pg. 16)
Drainage, (pg. 16) & (pg. 21) (pg. 26)
Cinque Ports privileges, (pg. 16)
Custom House (pg. 17), (pg. 22), (pg. 28)
Crier's fees,(pg. 17)
Widening parade and road, (pg. 17)
Removal of rocks, (pg. 18)
Watch house (pg. 19), (pg. 22)
Condolence (strange proceedings), (pg. 19), (pg. 20)
Election of Alderman, (pg. 20)
Leanstock show, (pg. 20), (pg. 36)
Cemetery required, (pg. 21)
Parade improvement, 21.
Chalk-road groyne, 21
Old Warm Baths, 22,27,29,30
Tackleway improvement, 23,30
Water supply, 13, 30
Naming of houses, 21, 23 to 25
Watering roads, 25
Surveyor's enlarged sphere, 25
Rise in rates, 26
Condemned Hole, 28
Queen Elizabeth's Charter, 28
Encroachments, 31
Balls, concerts & lectures, 31 to 36
School treats, 34
Mechanics Institution, 34
Athenaeum, 35
Literary Institution 35
Board of Guardians, 35
Gas Company, 35
Cinque Ports pilots, 36
Carpenters' strike, 36
Printers' demands 36
Proposed new road, 36
Building operations, 36
Mayor at church 36
Cost of negligence, 37
Death of Sir Godfrey Webster, 37
St Mary Magdalen Church, 37
Fishing, 37
Accidents, 38
Burglaries, 39
Rowing matches, 39
From Australia, 39-40.


Town Council Meetings

Street Lighting. At the Council meeting on the 7th of January, 1853, the Clerk stated that the cause of Carlisle Parade not being publicly lighted was due to the consent of the owners not having been obtained.

New Valuation. The new valuation of property showed an increase from 1847 of nearly £18,000, such augmentation being chiefly in the Magdalen and Trinity parishes. The disputed payment of the map still kept up a rancorous feeling between the two towns. At the present meeting the Clerk read a communication from Mr. W. B. Young, Clerk to the St. Leonards Commissioners, with which was a copy of Counsel’s opinion on the disputed question. The opinion of Mr Bramwell was “that the Town Council was clearly not justified in purchasing the map from the Local Board, nor in paying for it as proposed. Had the map been made and required for municipal purposes, then such purchase might be effected; but it was clear that such was not the case, as the Town Council had worked for many years without it, and it had been ordered by the Local Board for the purpose of the Public Health Act. It being now attempted to make St. Leonards pay Pg.11 for what it did not want, the proper mode of resistance if the Council persevered in such a course, was to give notice to the Treasurer not to pay for the map out of the Borough Fund, and as soon as such payment was made, to move to quash it in the Court of Queen’s Bench, under the Municipal Act, when the payment would be disallowed”

Mr Deudney remarked that upon Mr. Bramwell’s and also the Clerk’s opinion, the Finance Committee recommended the bill to be paid by the Local Board, but Mr. Williams went again over the old ground of objection, and contended that the counsel’s opinion must have been obtained on false premmises. (sic)

Mr. Deudney was sure that Mr. Young was too honourable a man to state a case falsely, and that Mr. Williams was using discourteous terms towards that gentleman. Couns. Ginner agreed with Coun. Williams in much that he had said, yet he would rather have the whole payment saddled upon the Local Board than go into the Queen’s Bench with a case legally uncertain. Coun. Beck totally dissented from Mr. Williams’s view, and considered that both equity and law were on the side of St. Leonards. He regarded Coun. Williams’s remarks as touching the honour of himself and other West-ward councillors, and he hoped that whenever he came to that Hall and left honour outside it would be the last time. They were accused of voting on self-interest and not on principle. Now, four out of the six West-ward councillors were really voting against their own interest, inasmuch as most of their property lay outside the Archway. He, himself, had as much outside as in, whilst Mr. Peerless had the same. Mr. Neve had more outside than in, and Mr, Deudney’s property was nearly or quite all outside.

It was then suggested and a motion ultimately carried that the St. Leonards Commissioners be asked if they would consent to refer the matter to Mr. Furner, the County Court Judge!

Baths and Washhouses. A communication was received from Mr. Gant with plans and estimates for baths, washhouses and a fishmarket, proposed by some Hastings gentlemen, on a site eastward of the East Parade, at an estimated cost of £3,500. It would be left to the Council, as owners of the ground, to take up the scheme, or to sell the ground to a company. The Clerk then read a memorial from owners and occupiers of property in the vicinity, earnestly hoping that the Local Board would not sanction such erections, as it would seriously affect their interests as lodging house keepers. Councillor Ross, though admitting the desirableness of Baths and Washhouses, thought the erection of such in that locality would be greatly to the disadvantage of the memorialists. The ​building​ would extend 130 feet from the parade towards the Fishmarket, and to protect the same a wall must be built in continuation of the parade, which would have the effect of throwing the sea on to the stade that the Council had been widening and improving. He, for one, would object to cover the ground which for 9 years they had been struggling to clear. Coun. Burfield also objected, there being more legitimate means of spending money, besides which, the town was already complaining of the great bur- Pg.12 -den of taxation. If pursued as a private speculation, the Council should make every foot of the ground pay its proper value to the borough fund. Ald. Emary considered the proposed site very objectionable. Many years ago, efforts were made to clear the spot, and quite recently the inhabitants there had added money to the £40 paid by the Council for the purchase of Spice’s rope shop, which had been an obstruction. ­­­­­­ Coun. Ginner also strongly objected to the project, as it would contract the room of the stade, and enhance the danger of landing and getting off the colliers. The fishing and mercantile interest would also be inconvenienced; capstans would have to be moved, and more wall and groynes would have to be erected. Coun. Harvey admitted that washhouses and baths were desirable, but not on that spot; he therefore moved that the application be not entertained. Carried unanimously.

Twopenny General District Rate. This being recommended by the Finance Committee, Coun. Williams remarked that the first district rate under the Local Board was 9d in the pound, but if extended to a period of twelve months; the rate for the next six months was 6d, and then 2d for the next six months. He therefore congratulated the Council that in striking an average the rates were not a halfpenny more than they were under the old Commissioners; and this with all the cost of law proceedings and the purchase of the old Commissioners’ stock. The recommendation for the 2dy rate was adopted, but Coun. Deudney reminded Williams of the 1d special district rate and of the greatly increased valuation of property in the West Ward, the first of which was towards the payment of the Commissioners’ debt, and the other a considerable relief to the rating of the old town. A motion was next carried to confirm a previous order for a penny rate to raise £154 on the special district of the late Commissioners’ Act. Cavendish Place. It was resolved that notice should be given declaring the new portion of the thoroughfare near the Croft to be public property. This was a portion of the projecting ​building​ opposite the last house in Cavendish Place, and described in “Remiscences (sic) of Hastings” as Thorpe’s school-house, lately purchased by the Local Board for improving and widening the ​road​.

Mr Putland’s Resignation. A lengthy report was received from the Surveyor on his plans for draining the Eastern District, but the report was not discussed because at the same time the Surveyor’s resignation was sent in, worded as follows:- “To the Hastings Local Board of Health. Gentlemen, I beg most respectfully to tender my resignation as your surveyor. In doing so, I feel it my duty to state that the labour and personal attention constantly required of your surveyor to the multifarious business of an increasing and important district has imposed on me heavier responsibilities than I anticipated when I accepted the office, and has proved at times a severe test to my health and strength. I am not disposed to meet the continued restless pressure from a few mem- Pg.13 -bers of the Local Board, who with reckless impatience would thrust me into sanitary work of momentous importance to the ratepayers of the district, which the instructions of the General Board state, to be effectual, must be the result of careful consideration, and require much time in preparations. I feel much pleasure in referring to the many sanitary reforms and improvements effected in ​road​s, footpaths, paving, sea walls, new waterworks, &c. during my short term of office, and shall feel pleasure in temporarily fulfilling the duties of surveyor until my successor be appointed, that the Local Board may be subject to no inconvenience through my resignation, and am, Gentlemen, your most obedient servant, Stephen Putland” - Coun. Harvey said it would ill become the Board to request the Surveyor to hold an office which was so injurious to his health; he would therefore move that the resignation be accepted; and as to the plans which Mr Ross enquired for, it was of no use to go into them now that the surveyor had resigned. The Surveyor said when he sent in his resignation, he was not aware of Mr Harvey’s notice on the agenda (A very significant and uncomplimentary one). “Oh, yes you were” replied Harvey. The Surveyor repeated his assertion, and then remarked that he believed he had done his duty to the Board, and thought that that was the best possible time to tender his resignation. He was not afraid of the sewage work before him; for, many of his friends in London had told him that he had already done his worst work; and he thought so himself. Any practical man coming after him, should have his assistance. He had found his labours too heavy and perplexing, and there was an undercurrent at work against him. All the contracts were drawing to a conclusion, and his successor would have little to do. Finally, he trusted they would allow him to retire without the appearance of anything discreditable. (Hear, hear!)

Mr. Putland’s successor. The resignation having been received and accepted, Coun. Deudney hoped that in the selection of a new surveyor no rash promises would be made. On the former occasion the appointment was almost given before the meeting was held, so that a fair opportunity was not given to others. He hoped the Board would throw over all party feeling, and endeavour to elect the best man. He saw Mr. Gant was present, and perhaps he might have something to say. Ald. Emary would like a surveyor to be advertised for, and Coun. Ross would like the same. Coun. Ginner hoped the Board would not advertise if they had really made up their minds to elect a particular person. It would simply be umbugging parties to set them racing after an office that was already virtually given away. They all knew Mr Gant, who had prepared a map of the borough in a satisfactory way, although he was a long time about it, he having had too much imposed upon him. (The same, say I, that might have been justly said of Mr. Putland, who had still more imposed on him). They must not expect impossibilities from anyman. (Yet that was what they did expect from Mr. Putland as any impartial hearer or Pg.14 reader of the discussion would opine). They should not drive a man like a horse (Here Coun. Ginner, voluntarily or otherwise became an apologist for Mr. Putland, who never before or after laboured so incessantly and at a most important epoch to accomplish within a given time the many duties set before him in the Health of Town’s Act. ­­­Duties, by the bye, with which the most exacting members of the Council had not made themselves sufficiently acquainted.

The attention to the sanitary arrangements of 150 new houses, the making of new ​road​s, the heightening and repairing of the parade-walls, the supervision of the new water-works, and the preparation of a general drainage scheme, in addition to works of a minor character, and all wanted to be done at once, required a strength of mental and physical powers, not to be found in the ordinary circles of humanity). He, (Coun. Ginner) would test the sincerity of the Board as to whether they had made up their mind, by proposing that Mr. Gant be Surveyor. Coun. Harvey seconded, and in doing so, intimated that the Board would be surprised that he, on a previous occasion, opposed Mr. Gant, and now supported him; but his only complaint against Mr. Gant was the long time he took to prepare the map. Coun. Ross certainly was surprised to hear Harvey support Mr. Gant, whom he had formerly launched out against, and condemned in every point of order. Mr Harvey seemed to think no one had a right to change his opinion but himself, who had shewn himself to be a complete weathercock.

Mr Gant elected. It having been stated by Mr. Gant that he would accept the office at £150 salary, Ald. Clement expressed his fears that Mr. Gant would be wanting an increase every three months, and he, (Ald. C.) would sooner see him paid £200 or £250, to prevent his asking for more. Mr. Gant was elected at the original salary, by 14 votes to 4.

Thanks to the ex-Surveyor. Ald. Scrivens, in a commendatory address proposed a vote of thanks to the ex-Surveyor, which, it was satisfactory to find was carried unanimously.

Site of the abandoned Lighthouse. At the Council meeting on the 4th of Feb. Mr Simmonds’s offer to purchase the site of the “Upper Lighthouse” was declined, for the following reasons:- That to build on it would make the neighbourhood of Hill street more confined; that the Council might want it themselves; and that they could not sell it without permission of the Treasury.

Town Clerk’s Extras demurred to. A long and animated discussion ensued on the recommendation of the Finance Committee to pay the Town Clerk’s bill for extras, his salary being £150, and the sum of £2 8s 10d being objected to. Coun. Williams moved that the disputed item be omitted, and this, as an amendment was carried by 11 to 4. Coun. Harvey expressed great indignation at the result, and said he should withdraw his name from the Finance Committee. Couns Ross was also dissatisfied with the vote. Coun. Ginner was surprised that Ross and Harvey should so entirely agree, which he said was like mixing vinegar with oil.

Proposal re Financial a/cs. Coun. Harvey then moved that in future all bills be Pg.15 brought before the Council, and not before the Finance Committee, which being seconded by Coun. Ross, a protest was made by Coun Ginner, who again expressed surprise at the agreement between Ross and Harvey. The Mayor, although dissenting from the motion, put it to the vote, when, amidst derisive laughter, Harvey’s was the only hand held up for it.

Coal-Tickets Receiver. At the same meeting it was resolved that Thomas Brazier be discharged from the office of coal-tickets receiver, near Robertson Street, as the site was ineligible, and that Charles Paine, of Norman Road West be appointed instead, at 3s per week salary.

Stone-steps and Crossings. Although Ald. Ticehurst and Coun. Harvey objected, it was resolved that a stone crossing be put down from York Place to the east end of Robertson Street. But the recommendation was not adopted to place stone steps instead of “pudding” steps from Cambridge Road to Claremont Road, it being uncertain to whom the site belonged.

The Map Question again. The St. Leonards Commissioners having consented to refer this question to Mr. Furner, the County Court Judge, for his decision, the deputy Town Clerk was requested to represent the Town Council. Mr. Phillips, however, as well as the Town Clerk, himself, did not believe St. Leonards was legally liable for the payment of the map, and he could not, he said, argue the case against his conscience. His very countenance would also condemn his cause if he went before the Judge. It was therefore resolved that Mr. Langham should be engaged, and that Messrs. Harvey, Burfield, Williams and Ginner (four strongest St. Leonards opponents) be a committee.

Discourtesy to Mr. Putland. The Waterworks Committee having ordered Mr. Putland, the engineer of the new waterworks, to return by Feb. 5th all documents connected with the construction of the new reservoir, considering his services to be no longer necessary, the Town Clerk received in reply from Mr. Putland a communication in which was stated that, although his resignation as Surveyor had been accepted, his engagement at the new waterworks was a distinct matter, and that as the contract for paving a portion and making a main drain had yet to be done, he begged most distinctly to state that he intended completing his engagement. It had cost him much hard labour, and his success hitherto had been sofar encouraging as to meet the approval of Mr. Austen, of the General Board of Health. The only mishap had been the throwing away of £150, contrary to his advice. The Clerk said £120 was due to Mr. Putland, but by continuing the superintendence of the work he would not have to receive any more money. Coun. Harvey (Putland’s implacable enemy) said Mr. Putland might never finish the work, and he therefore moved that he should have notice that his services were no longer required. ­­­­Ald. Ticehurst con- Pg.16 -sidered that the water Committee had acted in a very discourteous manner in sending such a notice without an order from the Council. Coun. Deudney thought if Mr. Putland had been fairly met and asked to give up the documents he would have done so. - Coun. Ross said the waterworks had been almost a work of love with Mr. Putland, and he ought to be allowed to complete them. Coun. Ginner regretted the strong steps taken by the Committee, particularly as Mr. Putland was ill at the time. Coun. Ross moved that Mr. Putland continue as engineer to the new waterworks until the 25th of March. - In seconding the motion (which was carried by 11 to 4), Ald. Ticehurst argued that the action of the committee had a very discourteous appearance, and the public would draw their own conclusions.

Pelham Place Improvement. At the same (February) meeting, Ald. Scrivens laid before the Board a plan for improving the neighbourhood of Pelham Place by widening the ​road​ and parade. He did not know what the cost would be, but probably the purchase of the Baths would be £800. A new groyne would also be wanted. The Mayor had heard that the widening the parade would improve the stade by sending in more water and forming a kind of basin. Alderman Ticehurst remarked that such a result would be a steep and dangerous beach. Coun. Ross wanted to see the widening the ​road​ carried to the eastern extremity of the parade, so as to open the Fishmarket and All Saints Street to the western part of the town more completely. Coun. Ginner seconded the motion for the improvement, and the same was carried.

The Drainage. Coun. Ross said he had elicited from their new Surveyor that the drainage plans would be ready by April 1st: that the General Board’s inspection of them would take two months; that the consideration of the tenders would take another two months; and that the work could not be commenced till August 1st, at which time the fashionable season would be on; so that they might make up their minds that nothing would be done till 1854. [this was a much longer time than was computed by the late surveyor Mr. Putland, and for which he was so severely accused of dilatoriness that he was induced to resign. In this affair Mr. Putland was badly used by incompetent men, but the nemisis was yet to come].

Cinque-Ports’ Privileges. At a special Council meeting, a letter was received from P. F. Robertson, M.P., stating that as Government intended to make some alteration in the usages of the Cinque Ports, if the matter was likely to affect Hastings, he would make further enquiries, and give it his best attention.

The Map Question Settled. The disputed payment for the Map having, with the consent of the St. Leonards Commissioners, been referred to the County Court Judge, that legal authority decided for St. Leonards, together with costs. This decision was in conformity with the opinion of Counsel and that of the Town Clerk, previously ob- Pg.17 -tained, whilst to reasonable outsiders there was never any doubt. Coun. Burfield, with reluctant resignation, remarked that it would have been more generous if St. Leonards had not disputed the payment, apparently forgetting the injunctive motto “Be just before generous!” Ald. Burton had stated at the outset that the contention on his part was not so much for the avoidance of cost as for the upholding a principle of equity. Curious as it was, there immediately followed a warm discussion in which those who had been throwing “principle” to the winds, objected to the payment of so small a sum as half-a-crown,

“On Principle”. The lessee of the market had charged 2/6 for his work in stamping the weights. Coun. Ross declared that the payment of half a crown to Mr Saunders was bad in principle, and that parties who would give the man such an amount, would give him £50 if they thought it necessary. Coun. Burfield protested against Mr. Ross’s statement [“Hear, hear!” and confusion]. The Mayor desired that not more than three gentlemen would speak at once. Coun. Harvey considered that in the narrowness of Mr. Ross’s mind it had not entered his shallow head [Order, order! and increased confusion]. Nothing (continued the speaker) was too bad, in response to this calumnious attack on the committee, and he for one, couldn’t stand it. The charge of 2/6 was not only for stamping the weights, but also for adjusting them. The dispute was at last given up, and a general district rate at 3d was agreed to.

The Custom House. A communication was received, stating that the Board of Customs, in consequence of the lease expiring in July, would require the Council to find a proper ​building​ or a suitable site for the requisite premises, of which a lease would be taken for 21 years. Two rooms would be required, each about 15 feet square. There was a piece of ground at the east end of the parade belonging to the ordnance, but as the Council desired to keep that clear, there was no wish of the Crown to interfere with it. The question was referred to the Stone-beach committee.

Criers Fees. The great increase of houses in the West Ward caused the Council to allow Cox to charge 1/6 for 40 cries of public notices, instead of 1/ for 20, as theretofore.

Crossings. At the same meeting it was resolved that all the stone crossings be taken up which existed near Earl Waldegrave’s stables, opposite the Town Hall, opposite the Swan Hotel, opposite Russel Court, opposite Diplock’s library, opposite the Royal Oak, and opposite Wellington Cottages. Widening the Parade and Road. At a special meeting, the Roads Committee recommended that at a distance of 35 feet from the east end of the Marine parade the sea-wall should commence to be carried further seaward, the line to be protracted to a distance of twenty feet on the east side of Beach Cottages, and to extend to an extreme distance Pg.18 of nine feet beyond the sea wall. The parade to retain its present width and the adjacent ​road​ to be widened. They did not advise any immediate removal of the Old Warm Baths. The estimated expense of the alterations was £1700. Coun. Harvey favoured the recommendation, remarking that by widening the ​road​ which flanked the parade, George Street would be relieved of the superabundant traffic, and a good piece of ​road​ would also be obtained on the site of the Old Warm Baths when they were removed. He moved the adoption of the report. Coun. Ross seconded and hoped the mover would not say such naughty words about him again after that. (Laughter) Coun. Burfield quite agreed with the recommendation, it being of immense importance to have a wider ​road​ leading from the site of the old Battery to the Pelham Baths. Coun. Williams and Coun. Tree opposed the scheme. Ald. Scrivens had no personal interest to gratify in upholding the report, although the proposed improvement would cover a space of ground towards the purchase of which he had contributed two hundred guineas out of two thousand, and he might say the same for Mr. Crake. Motion carried.

Removal of Rocks. While speaking in support of the previous recommendation, Coun. Ginner suggested the removal of the Pier Rocks, which he said were a great nuisance to the Stade, as was evidenced on the previous Saturday. They would do to build the wall with, and if taken away the East groyne would have full scope to act. Beach would accumulate, and there would be room left in front of the sea wall even when extended seaward for the pleasure boats and machines. At that time and even now, Mr. Ginner would be considered as holding erroneous views respecting the removal of the Pier rocks, but since his day the great difficulty and expense that has accrued in the protection of property at that spot and in repairing the many beaches of the sea-wall thereat ought to have convinced successive Town Councillors that they were a bane rather than a boon to the town. It was the opinion, half a century ago, of the late Mr. Bowerbank, a St. Leonards geologist, that all foreshore rocks helped rather than hindered the flow of the sea, and this view coincides with that of the present writer, who has watched the tidal action for at least seventy years. He did not at first think that Mr. Ginner’s and Dr. Bowerbank’s views were practically correct, but his many observations since have convinced him that the onshore rocks are a danger, and in no way a protection. There are several persons who can attest the long-ago statement of the writer that if ever the Pier rocks (which have wrecked many a boat) disappear in a natural way, it will only be after other parts of the foreshore are well covered with shingle. Look at the coast all along and it will be seen that where there is most rock, there is less beach. Not only would the removal Pg.19 of onshore rocks make room for an accumulation of beach or a greater stretch of agreeable sands, but their disappearance would also tend to certain sanitary improvements, whilst such absence would be of immense benefit to boating and bathing.

The Watchhouse. At a special meeting held on the 1st of April, it was resolved that the watchhouse attached to the gaol in Bourne street be heightend (sic) by an additional storey.

Condolence. At the same meeting, Coun. Harvey said that although almost unable to stand in consequence of illness, he nevertheless rose to propose that a letter of condolence be sent to the widow and family of the late Ald. Emary. Coun Ross said that never had he heard anything calculated to excite in his breast so strong a feeling as that of a person like Mr. Harvey moving, as he had done, in reference to their late very worthy alderman, since it was not long ago he set about a report that Mr. Emary had hanged himself (Sensation). Coun. Harvey asked for proof. Ald. Ticehurst remarked that he had long since ceased to be surprised at anything Harvey said or did, and the fact that he denied the accusation was another proof of the great degredation(sic) to which he had fallen. Coun. Ginner was sorry the subject had been mentioned, but at the late Mayor’s dinner, Mr. Harvey said Mr. Emary had hung himself, that he was cut down and was nearly gone. Ald. Clement said he was present, when Mr. Harvey, in a joking, nonsensical way, asked “Have you heard that Mr. Emary has hung himself, and that Mr. Clift has drowned himself?” and so he went on in the same strain as anyone else might ask, Have you heard that Mr. Ticehurst has tumbled out of his carriage and broke his neck: Mr. Harvey afterwards saying “Nor have I.” It was really all in a joke, and he (Ald. Clement) was sorry the case had been mentioned. Coun. Burfield enquired if Mr. Ticehurst had said “I hope Harvey will die now he is ill?” Ald Ticehurst replied that the question was irrelevant, but if asked at the proper time and place, he would answer it. Coun Harvey retorted that his being publicly attacked did not alarm him. He attributed the treatment he had received to the chagrin of Mr. Ross and Mr Ticehurst, who he believed would cut his throat if it were not for the protection of the law. (Sensation). He had never denied that at the dinner after the cloth had been removed, he asked Mr. Ginner if he had heard that Mr. Emary had hung himself: and that when Mr. Ginner said “No!” he (Mr. Harvey) said “Nor have I.” And now, after what Ross and Ticehurst had said of him, he would say that there were no two men in the Council whom he had held to be more despicable. (Confusion). Coun. Ross was proud of his company; but was it not disgraceful in the extreme that such a man as Harvey should sit in the Council? For himself, he could say that he never got drunk Pg.20 and clung from door to door when he went home, but he had cleaned his own windows, and was not ashamed of it. The Mayor vainly strove to check the disgraceful wrangle, Coun. Ross declaring that no one should stop him; and as to his Scotch blood being up, if Harvey had one drop of Scotch blood in his veins, he would be a better man. Mr Ginner did not know where authority rested, but the discussion was very unseemly. As the oldest living member of the Council [Mr. Deudney, “No, not the oldest”]. The Mayor – “I must throw myself upon your hands, gentlemen. I do all I can to stop this unseemly disturbance, but one speaks, and another claims the right to reply.” Coun. Beck, “Sit down, Mr. Ross.” “No, one more word. I never stood up to fight a fisherman”. Coun. Harvey – “I shall reply.” (Chair, chair, chair! And great confusion). Ald. Ticehurst - “If Harvey could have said only one good word for me. I should have felt it a degredation as coming from his lips”. Coun. Beck – “I move that we proceed to the next business.” (Hear, hear, stop, stop! Order; order! Business!) The tumultuous scene then came to a conclusion, the motion for the letter of condolence being lost sight of. A stranger who reads these lines might well ask “What manner of men did the burgesses choose to rule over them in those days?”

Election of Alderman. ­­Coun. Ross having understood that Mr. Ranking was going to be proposed, wished to remind the meeting that he had been previously rejected. Mr. Ranking was, however, elected, despite Mr. Ross’s reminder.

The Lean Stock Show. Coun. Deudney said that as chairman on the previous occasion it might be supposed that he was able to give a statement of the financial a/c. It was an unpleasant subject, and although there was a balance in hand, the Committee had been unable to bring the local secretary to a settlement; so that he had been quite disgusted, and for some time past had ceased to interfere. He would, however, be happy to contribute to the requirements of about £100. Ald. Clement would also be happy to forward the project. Coun. Burfield would be glad to see the Cattle Show held at Hastings again, but better managed than the last. Mr. Yates, who provided the dinner, had told him that he lost money by it to a considerable extent. Five pounds worth of tickets were placed in the hands of one gentleman, which tickets were presented at the dinner, but he had received no money for them. Ald. Scrivens regarded the show as one which affected Hastings – a town which in importance was second to only one other in the county. He therefore moved that it was desirable for the Sussex Lean Stock Show of 1853 to be held at Hastings, and that they do all in their power to aid it. A committee was then formed of the following gentlemen: - Messrs. Hickes (mayor), Scrivens, Clift, Clement, Deudney, Ross, Williams, Cooke, Stubbs, and H. B. Young. Mr. Clift would Pg.21 not act, and Mr. Ross would withdraw his name, as there was one in the party whom he would rather not meet.

A Cemetery Wanted. Permission having been asked to construct a cemetery near the Roman Catholic Convent, it was resolved not to grant the same, as being too near a site likely to be built upon.

Another Cemetery required. In consequence of a resolution of the St. Clement’s vestry not to allow any further interments, and the new church of St. Mary Magdalen not having any burial ground, Coun. Deudney moved that a committee be formed to look out a site for a public cemetery. Coun. Ross seconded, and the motion was carried, the following members being placed on the committee: - Messrs. Clement, Scrivens, Ross, Ginner, Burfield, Peerless, Harvey, Deudney and Tree. Coun. Deudney enquired if Mr. Ross had any objection? Perhaps there was someone whom he would not like to meet. Mr. Ross “If I have, I will state it; bear in mind I am not under you!” The Mayor – “Order, gentlemen! We must not have this sharp firing.”

The Parade Improvement. The Surveyor said he had prepared a plan and estimate for the improvement of the Hastings parade, the cost of which would be £2,030 for the new sea-wall, and for the pavement and setting back the railings, £240; but if the contractors were allowed to use the Pier rocks there would be a saving of about £130. This was a much higher estimate than Ald. Scrivens’s £1700, and the further consideration was deferred.

The Drainage. The Surveyor also delivered his report on a scheme of general drainage, with his estimate of £12,548. This report and the accompanying plans were discussed at considerably length at an adjourned meeting on April 16th, during which the Surveyor was complimented for his dexterity in their production and his ready explanations. The question was whether by draining into the sea the bathing would be interfered with, or whether it would be better to drain into tanks to preserve the sewage for agricultural purposes. It was resolved to transmit the plans at once for approval or otherwise to the General Board of Health.

A Question of Names. The Mayor enquired of Mr. Tree whether anything could be done to improve the naming and numbering of the houses between Hastings and St. Leonards, and was told by Mr. Tree that he had no objection to some better arrangement. He had called his houses Eversfield Place, but he could not say what other proprietors would do.

The Chalk-​road​ groyne having been complained of as being too high, and thus depriving the eastern side of it of beach to such an extent as to lay bare the rocks and prevent safe bathing, an order was passed Pg.22 for some more of the planking to be taken off.

The offer of a shop, adjoining the Corporation property at Bourne’s Mouth for the sum of £40.10s was accepted.

For enlarging the Watchhouse, Mr. Langridge’s tender of £45.10s was also accepted. Mr. Winter’s rejected tender being £76 2s 6d, and the Surveyor’s estimate being £90. Ald. Clement remarked that one would be making an enormous profit or the other would be greatly losing.

To Build a Custom House of two rooms, and let it on a 21 years’ lease at a rent of £25, a site was chosen at the south end of a clump of rope-shops, near the lower lighthouse.

A Fishermen’s Church. An application was complied with for a site near the Condemned Yard whereon to build a church or chapel-of-ease, under a lease of 75 years at a rental of £1 per year - £25 less than the real value.

As to the Cemetery. The General Board had been written to, and the reply was that the Local Board had no authority under their own Act or any other, to provide a general cemetery, but any one parish might buy a piece of land and raise the money out of the rates. It was hoped, however, that additional powers would be obtained that session of Parliament.

The Old Warm Baths. Coun. Deudney was convinced that the first proper step to be taken in the means of improving the adjacent property was the removal of the Baths. He found there were 53 shares, the majority of which were held by members of the Council; also that the Baths had only earned an average £25 3s 6d during each of the last three years. He hoped the worthy aldermen who held shares would induce the other shareholders to be liberal. He moved that £600 be offered for their purchase by the Local Board. Ald Clift seconded the motion. Ald Scrivens said the average return was about 19s per share. He concurred with Mr. Deudney’s views, and he rose as not only a shareholder himself, but also as representing several shares held by parties at Windsor, Maidstone, Brighton, Northiam and elsewhere, who he thought, would agree to any fair terms. It should be remembered that though the Baths were now old, they were once new, and those who took shares at the time were as anxious to promote the interest of the town as the Board now was in the endeavour to get them removed. The dividends were now low, but in former years they used to pay £2 and more. The original cost of the shares was from £7 to £9, and they might now be put at £15. - The motion was carried, but, as will be seen further on the shareholders would not accept £600.

Mr. Putland and the Reservoir. The next notice on the agenda was for Mr. Putland to deliver plans &c. of new reservoir; also to deliver up all books, papers, bills, etc. with a list of bills outstanding. Mr. Putland, who was in attendance, said that having seen by the newspaper that his Pg.23 name was on the agenda, he thought it best for him to appear. The Town Clerk had received all the plans and documents some months ago, except one section which had been sent in that morning, he having unexpectedly found it that morning in his office, and he not previously knowing it was there. He was not aware of having anything now in connection with the waterworks, nor was there any bill outstanding. “Why then is this notice on the Agenda?” The Clerk did not know, unless it was for the section of the plan delivered that morning. There seemed to be a strange feeling in certain quarters against Mr. Putland.

The Tackleway. The Surveyor’s estimate for widening and otherwise improving the Tackleway (with Lady Waldegrave’s consent) was £260 for the retaining wall and water channel, and £120 for the footway and kerb. Mr. Eldridge at first wanted £150 for the Crown Lane, but had consented to take Mr. Inskipp’s valuation of £75.

Western Water Supply. Coun. Ross said, something ought to be done to find sufficient water for the district between Hastings and St. Leonards. There was now a long and handsome range of ​building​s which would, ere long, be occupied by good families, and if they were to find the water bad or short, it would be discreditable. It was quite a farce to dignify Mr. Clark’s reservoirs by the name of Waterworks. Coun. Deudney said that although it was a delicate matter for him to touch upon, he felt that the property in that district must suffer unless some decisive steps were immediately taken. Mr. Eversfield had given him full power to state that whatever obstacles Mr Clark might place in the way, permission would be given to the Local Board to take such steps as they thought proper. He (Mr. D.) also gave similar permission (Hear, hear!). The Treasurer reported that the new waterworks had cost £2499 10s., of which sum £386 had been paid by the late Commissioners. Coun. Ross was of opinion that the said waterworks were a credit to the town and to the late surveyor (Mr. Putland) who carried them out; also that they ought to congratulate the three eastern parishes on being so well supplied.

Drawback Tickets. Coun. Ginner said it would be a more convenient system for the coal-merchants and a saving to the borough if an agreement were made with the St. Leonards Commissioners to combine with Hastings in collection of the coal duties; and he had been told that the Commissioners were likely to agree to any fair proposals. Most of the coals entering St. Leonards were landed in the Hastings district. Although the Commissioners let their coal duties, they would let them at a higher rate, if provision were made against smuggling, &c. Subject referred to the Finance Committee.

Classification and naming of Houses. Owing to the confusion of names on the different blocks of houses between Hastings (proper) and St. Leonards (proper), Coun. Deudney said he had seen Mr. Eversfield and several Pg.24 owners of the different properties, all of whom were agreeable to a change of name to that of Eversfield Road or Eversfield Place, except Mrs. Woodford, who wished to retain the name of Agincourt for her houses. He had told that lady that it was not necessary for that name to be done away with even if one name was given to the whole line. Mr. Tree’s was the largest block of houses and to that had been given the name of Eversfield Place. He (Mr. Deudney) would therefore move that all the houses from the east side of Warrior Square to the west side of Verulam Place be called Eversfield Place. Coun. Beck seconded. Coun. Ross wished to know why Mr. Eversfield was anxious to have his own name upon the houses? If it had been the name of some very important person who had conferred great benefits on his country such as a Nelson or a Wellington there would be some excuse. But when Mr. Eversfield wanted his name on houses in which he was not concerned (Mr. Deudney – “He is deeply concerned!”). Well, he would allow that, but nothing lowered a man so much as to desire his name on houses and streets. And why confine the proposition to the east side of Warrior Square? Why not go up to the Archway? Perhaps Mr. Eversfield had no interest there [Yes, he had, but not so much! Besides, the two places – Adelaide Place and Seymour Place, were already amalgamated into Grand Parade, and separated from the ​building​s now in question by Warrior Square. Well, why not call it Grand Parade? Why not have something lifting up instead of lowering down? Such petty pride lowers a man fifty per cent in his estimation. It was just after the manner of Mr. Robertson, who called his houses Robertson Street. Yes! and also after the manner of the Pelham family, who must thus have lowered themselves “50 per cent.” by allowing the name to be attached to Pelham Place, Pelham Crescent, &c. As an antiquarian, Mr. Ross should have known that Eversfield was an honoured name in the county for centuries before he (Mr. Ross) was born. He should also have recollected that the then Mr. Eversfield had just given over the Eversfield Parade to the Corporation; that he gave the ground for the Infirmary and the St. Mary Magdalen Church; that he subscribed to the ​building​ funds of more than one church, as well as to local societies and charities. Mr. Ross might also have told us why his own political friends “lowered themselves” by allowing their names to be associated with Elphinstone ​road​, Scrivens’s ​building​s, Gladstone terrace, Brassey Institute, Russell street, Cobden houses, &c. He might have condemned the “petty pride” of those who either gave or sanctioned the giving of such names as Ashburnham ​road​, Barley lane, Breeds place, Cornwallis Gardens, Fishers’ Cottages, Wood’s row, Weston Cottages, Waldegrave street, Humphrey’s avenue, High Wickham (property built by Humphrey Wickham) Shepherd street, Halloway place, Langham terrace, Kent’s cottages, Mann street, and many Pg.25 other places with personal names. He might even have recollected that Pelham Cottage was first known as “Ross’s Cottage”, it having been built by his father; and that his own and his sister’s houses bore the surname of Claremont in consequence of favours received by Mrs? Ross from the Countess of that title. He might have gone still further and condemned Ross’s Guide as having lowered itself “50 per cent” by having attached to it the name of its author, and thus causing itself to be worth 6d instead of a shilling[1]) He, (Mr. Ross) would move that the houses be called Grand Parade from the Archway to Verulam place. Coun. Harvey would want that name for the Hastings parade which they were now going to enlarge and improve. Ald Clift thought that they were getting wide of the question. He was glad to see the two towns approaching each other so rapidly, and hoped the time was near when the inhabitants would shake hands with each other. Why not call the line St. Leonards ​road​? They might have letters addressed Eversfield place, St. Leonards ​road​. Coun. Ross could not see why it should be called St. Leonards ​road​; it was quite as much Hastings ​road​; but anything was better than Eversfield. Coun. Deudney, still adhering to his original proposition, said the variety of names would not matter if the numbers were made to go consecutively through them all, with only one commencement. (The Messrs. Tree had already given the name of Eversfield place to their handsome range of houses, and there was no legal enactment to prevent their giving to their own property whatever name they thought proper). Mr. Deudney’s motion was carried by a majority of three, much to the disappointment of Mr. Ross and other St. Leonards opponents.

Watering of Roads. Coun. Beck complained of the imperfect watering of the ​road​s between Hastings and St. Leonards. People, he said, came down to the seaside for fresh air, but could not open their windows without admitting a cloud of dust. Coun. Ross, addressing Mr. Beck, said “You seem to have a great deal to complain of.” Coun. Beck thought that it was Mr. Ross who was most complaining.

Surveyor’s enlarged sphere. At the Council meeting of July 1st, after a long discussion, Mr. Grant was appointed Municipal Surveyor, with an additional salary of £20 to the £120 which he received as Surveyor to the Local Board of Health.

Mr Campbell’s Emoluments. Coun. Deudney having moved for a return of these, they were stated to be as follows:- Inspector of police, £65; Sergeant at Mace, £12; Collector of borough rate, £2 10s.; Inspector of Common Lodging-houses, £5; fees on licensing of inns, &c. Pg.26 £1 5s.; summoning juries, £1; coroner’s inquests, £1; all other summonses and notices £10 14s. 6d.; = total, £98 9s. 6d. Ald. Clement considered the return as very satisfactory, and thought that Mr. Campbell certainly did not receive too much.

Great rise in Rates. It having been found that the previous district rate of 2d. was the result of an error in calculation, it was now proposed that a rate of 8d. be levied. Coun. Deudney reminded the meeting of his expressed opinion that the last rate was too little, and even now he had proposed in committee a ninepenny rate. Coun. Ginner said the year’s income ought to meet the year’s expenditure, and it appeared to him that even a ninepenny rate would not be enough. He would rather see the Financial Committee grapple boldly with the matter and say we must have a tenpenny rate – Ald. Clift remarked that the inhabitants would be very dissatisfied with so great a rise to 9d. or 10d., and that was why in committee he gave the casting vote for 8d. This was ultimately adopted, as was also a special district rate at 3d.

Water Supply. The special committee reported that the shaft sunk near the Gas Works had produced a large quantity of water at a depth of 24 feet. The Surveyor said he had also found water at the excavation near the Tivoli, and a supply of about 34.500 gallons at a depth of about 14 feet. A letter was then read from Mr. Clark, who coupled Mr. Eversfield’s name with his own, stating that the excavations at the Tivoli cut into one of the main springs of his reservoir, and threatening an action for an injunction unless it was stopped. Coun. Deudney was sorry to have to refer to this subject again, but he could assure the meeting that Mr. Eversfield had given full permission to the Board to make excavations for water on any part of the Eversfield estate, and that that gentleman had had nothing to do with the letter then received. Mr. Clark, who was present, declared that Mr. Eversfield had no power to grant authority to go upon his land [Oh, oh! and laughter].

On the General Drainage there was a long and confused discussion, the Surveyor, who, a few months before, produced his plans and estimate, being sharply questioned (as had been Mr. Putland, when in office, on the same theme), notwithstanding that he appeared to have exercised all due diligence in the work, and had sent his plans to the General Board in London, where they had been kept for two months. It had been understood at a previous meeting that it would not be well to commence drainage operations until the next year; yet, some of the members – Ald. Clift, in particular – appeared to be destitute of ordinary patience. The Pg.27 Surveyor showed that so far as he was concerned in the work, that in order to get on with the plans, their awaiting the approval of the General Board, he had spent £6 per week, whilst his salary was only £3; but of that he did not complain. Ald. Clift wanted to see carried out the purpose for which at great cost they obtained an Act of Parliament. The Board had borrowed £1000, and they had an estimate of £12,000 for the drainage, but how were they to know that it would not cost £24,000? He verily believed that Hastings would be like Chelmsford, where, after a long delay, their drainage was nearly finished, after two or three surveyors had been thrown over.

The Old Warm Baths. The Clerk stated that at a recent proprietary meeting the shareholders had agreed to dispose of the Baths for £17 10s. per share, which in all would be £927 10s. The Local Board had agreed to give £600, and as the materials would probably realise £100, there would have to be raised by other means £227 10s. The public had subscribed £112, thus leaving a deficiency of £115 10s. Some of the proprietors had given as much as £20 or £22 for their shares, and some of them had not pledged themselves to take £17 10s., yet it was thought that they would not stand out. Coun. Deudney was surprised that the wealthy people who owned the obnoscious (sic) baths, should, by their large demand, place themselves as obtacles (sic) in the way of improving the town. He hoped the Board would not advance a fraction more; and if the shareholders, now that their dividends were decreasing, would not agree to reasonable terms, he would like their names to be publicly advertised. Mr. Coussens said the little pittance which the shareholders had lately taken up was not worth consideration, but perhaps if one or two parties had not threatened to throw them over, the shareholders might have felt differently. Coun. Ginner moved to adopt the Committee‘s recommendation to at once widen the ​road​. Coun. Ross seconded and objected to any more money being taken from the rate-payers. Coun. Ginner then suggested that as Ald. Clement held a considerable number of shares, that gentleman’s name be added to the committee for collecting subscriptions. Ald. Clement objected, but was perfectly willing to let his shares go at the same price as the rest, whatever that might be; and he had no objection to subscribe £20 or £25 towards the removal of the Baths. For the last twenty years the dividends had been from 15s. to 20s.; and it should be remembered that the Baths did not bring a nuisance to the houses, but that the houses came to the Baths. [When the Baths were built, which now projected four feet into a narrow ​road​, they were outside of the town’s western limit, which before 1820 only extended to the west end of George Street – that is to say – it was the western boundary of the Commissioners’ Act up to that time]. Pg.28  As to subscriptions, Ald. Clement had told Mr. Shadwell that Pelham place ought to look up £100. He, however, would do what he could to get the Baths removed. The shareholders afterwards consented to take £16 per share, which came within a few pounds of the amount of the Local Board’s offer and private subscriptions.

Tenders. At the Council meeting on August 6th, Mr. Grisbrook’s tender of £306 15s. for ​building​ the Custom House was accepted, it being 7s. lower than Mr. Howell’s. Also Mr. Bossom’s tender of £16 10s for painting the Town Hall. The other tenders were £18 18s. and £37. The Surveyor intimated that the work could not be properly done for the lesser sum. For this statement he was sharply set upon by Ald. Clift, who in this instance, as in some others, appeared to have as great an animus against Mr. Gant, as Mr. Harvey had against Mr. Putland. The Surveyor said he was willing to have his estimate tested by any competent person. Ald. Clift, in his criticism, expressed his fear that the Surveyor’s estimate for the general drainage would prove to be far from the actual cost.

The Condemned Hole. In accordance with the general project for widening the ​road​ near the Parade, it was deemed desirable to set back the wall which formed the boundary of the Condemned Yard at the rear of Beach Cottages, but it was held on lease by various parties (which lease would expire in June, 1854) at £25 per annum. As to take the ground at once might involve the Local Board in complicated legal transactions, the Clerk recommended waiting till the lease expired. Coun. Williams moved that the Clerk’s recommendation be adopted, and Coun. Ross moved as amendment, that the ground be taken at once, which was carried by 10 to 5.

Queen Elizabeth’s Charter. Coun. Ross read a passage from the charter of Queen Elizabeth, thus:-

“All that our parcel of land heriditaments called the Stone Beach with the appurtenances in Hasting in our County of Sussex…Likewise “all those our fresh and salt marshes and all other our lands and tenements, tithes, rents and heriditaments whatsoever in Hasting aforesaid, within the liberties of the same, now or formerly concealed, withdrawn or unjustly detained from us or our progenitors.”

From these passages, Mr. Ross believed that that part of the borough lying beyond St. Leonards in the neighbourhood of the Martello towers, belonged to the Corporation. He considered that no other party could establish a claim to that Stone Beach unless they could show a title older than the Corporation charter. He thought it advisable for the Corporation to see what property was remaining of which they could take possession, as they could not tell how valuable it might become, though, perhaps, of but little consequence at the present time. That the Stone Beach between St. Leonards and Bulverhithe did once belong to the Corporation he had no doubt. He had noticed that Mr. Brisco had lately put up a board announcing for ​building​ ground the soil thrown out of the railway tunnel on to the beach. [Yes, and had also permitted Mrs Hyland and her son Pg.29 to erect a cottage thereon, there to keep poultry &c., which premises, somewhat enlarged, were still there in 1898]. In reply to Ald. Clement, the Clerk said he was not aware that the Corporation had ever had possession of it. Coun. Ginner was doubtful if any good would result from the proposed enquiry; at the same time he did not know that Mr. Ross’s position was altogether a false one. - Coun. Deudney had seen a document proving possession in favour of Mr. Eversfield as far back as 101 years. (It is on record that Sir Charles Eversfield was Lord of the manor in 1749, when the Amsterdam Dutch ship drifted ashore at Bulverhithe, and was present at the submergence of the said vessel.). In continuing his objection, Coun. Deudney asked if Mr. Ross meant to claim the Stone-beach, why did he not begin with the more valuable part on which Mr. Burton had erected ​building​s at St. Leonards? Coun. Ross would give Mr. Deudney credit for the trouble he had taken to rouse the feelings of Ald. Burton, and so bring on a little warfare: for so doing, he was only fighting the battle of his friend Mr. Eversfield. As for Mr. Burton’s property, the Stone-beach was gone for ever, and it would be a robbery to meddle with it now; but that was not the case with the district beach westward. He moved that a committee be formed to take the case into consideration. The motion was carried.

Gas Tar. The proposition to lay down gas tar on some portion of the parade was debated at considerable length, which ended with a resolution to try it on the path leading from the Harpsichord to the Long Fields.

The Old Baths Once More. Ald. Clement said he had gone round to all the shareholders, who had agreed to accept £16 per share – total £848. The Committee had made up the subscriptions to £118 5s., thus leaving a deficiency of £134 15s., to meet which the earnings up to January and the sale of materials would probably raise £120. There would then be wanting about £14 added to the £600 already offered to effect a clearance. This sum was ultimately agreed to.

Soliloquy on the Old Warm Baths
In the prospect of a speedy dissolution. By “Mercury” (Mr. Pitter)

“The driving storm my weather boards
Have weathered year by year;
My bricks and mortar long have heard
The surges beating near.

“My slated head has borne the heat
Oft on a summer’s day:
Or in November braved the showers
Of pebbles and of spray.

“My tiny mouth with curling smoke
Has long enriched the air;
And often marked the neighbourhood
 Pg.30 With carbon, rich and rare

“For years I’ve been the much observed
Of all observing eyes;
And how I stood their glance so long
Was matter of surprise.

“Amid the vile and common herd
I ever scorned to sneak;
And held my architecture forth
A relic quite unique

“But, oh, alas! Those stupid folk
Who know not how to drive
Delcared (sic) I was a stumbling block –
The greatest plague alive.

“In vain I offered douch and dip,
And bathing, warm and cold,
For prices that were very low,
To rich, poor, young and old.

“Ungrateful souls, who long have loved
My shelter in a gale!
They dared at last to make my life
The subject of a sale.

“Now look upon my hoary sides.
And read their reckless deeds;
Next Tuesday I’m by auction sold
By Mr. Boykett Breeds.

“Alas, alas! My glory pales,
My wondrous race is done:
I hear a voice upon the gales –
Tis going, going, gone!

“The hammer of the auctioneer
Shall knock me soon about;
My veins and arteries will all
Be wrench’d right inside out.

“The spot on which I long have stood
Shall know me soon no more;
And future ages seek in vain
The site I held of yore.

“The Aldermen and Councillors
May dance upon my grave;
But yet one consolation left
Shall cheer my weeping shade.

“Tis this, - that after many dips
I’ve furnished in the past
For some ‘cool hundreds’ I have dipp’d
Right into them at last.

“Shareholders all, a last farewell!
Ye fought for me like men;
Though forced at last to take sixteen,
Instead of seventeen ten.

“Receive my thanks, a friendly scribe,
Will mark my parting breath,
And tell how like a snowy swan
I wobbled into death

“I’m dying fast; remember me
When all the sale is done;
My timbers quake, the mortar fails,
‘Tis going, going, gone!”

The Tackleway Improvement. Resolved that the work for this be carried out, and the money be borrowed – namely £260 estimated for the retaining wall required by Lady Waldegrave, £120 for the footway and kerb, and £75 for the purchase of the Crown Lane.  Pg.31 

Alleged Encroachment. Ald. Clement produced a plan, with an application for permission to lay down a pavement round his new houses on the north side of Robertson street and at the east end thereof. Coun Ross opposed the application as an encroachment. Mr. Clement, he said, had built a house four inches from the ​road​, and now wanted three or four feet to give him a foot-way. He (Mr R) should be surprised if they yielded to such an encroachment. Ald. Clement indignantly repelled the charge, and said Mr. Ross was far more likely to encroach than he was, and if he repeated the charge, he (Ald. C) would say something that would not be pleasant. The application was granted by 9 votes to 7. The path was to be 4 feet ‘wide’ on the Robertson-street side and 6 feet on the Cambridge Road side. [See page 38 for criticism on the Council’s proceedings in the case of Mr. Putland and the endeavour to foist on St. Leonards the cost of a map.]

Concerts 1853.

A Dirge Concert in memory of the Duke of Wellington in the Market Hall on the 10th of January was given It a greatly crowded assembly, notwithstanding the rainy and boisterous character of the weather. The vocal portion of the programme was sustained by Me. Elford’s choir, assisted by other singers, and the instrumental by Wood’s string band and Brett’s brass band.

A concert by Mrs. Louisa Forte Hay, and sketches of character by Mr. Hay, were given in the Swan Assembly Room on the 14th of January.

The Tyrolean Minstrels gave a “Farewell” concert in the Market Hall on the 20th of January to a numerous and gratified audience.

The Dirge Concert by Mr. Elford was repeated by request on the 24th of January, by the same executants, and with similar success.

Scenes and Songs from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in connection with the Atheneum, were given in the Market Hall on the 7th and 8th of February.

Madrigals, Glees and Sacred pieces, together with tea and a supplemental dance, in the long room of the Swan Shades, constituted the entertainment given by the choirs of St. Clement’s and All Saints on the 22nd of February. The company consisted of 80 persons.

A Ballad Concert, in connection with the Atheneum, took place on the 9th of May, the principal vocalist being Mr. George Barker, composer of the “White Squall” and other songs.


The Social Aspect of Railways was the theme on which the Rev. J. Stent lectured at the Mechanics Institution on Jan. 24th.

A Temperance Lecture, with melodies, was delivered by Mr. Ripley, on Jan. 21st in the Lecture room of the Wellington Square Baptist Chapel.

Electricity. On the 24th of February, Mr. Banks failed, for the third time, to give his lecture on Electricity, the audience this time being only four persons, and on previous occasions, the weather was bad.  Pg.32 ] A Lecture on Nunneries, (with Mr. Ransom presiding) was delivered to a crowded audience at the Market Hall, on the 27th of January, by the Baron de Camin, L.C.O. of the Legion of Honour, late supporter in secret of the Inquisition in the Order of Dominic, South of France. He said he was willing to meet in discussion any Roman Catholic, even the great Cardinal Wiseman. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Northampton had pronounced him to be worse than Luther. He was not so great as Luther, nor as Dr. Cumming, but he could tell them what Popery was by his own experience, which Dr. Cumming could not. Concerning his own history, he confessed that at one time he was a great hater of England and its religion. A Frenchman always has the battle of Waterloo in his heart. His father was a general in the French army under Napoleon, and his name was recorded in History. His father’s dying wish was that he should enter the army, but his mother wished him to enter the Church. He entered the army and served in Africa. He was in 18 battles and received 15 wounds. His escape from death he at that time attributed to the protection of the Virgin Mary. In 1840 he entered the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1849, he came to England, where Father Gavazzi instrumentally converted him. Since he had renounced Romanism he had suffered great persecution, for which he was prepared. Leaving his personal history, the Baron described the architectural and subterranean arrangements of Continental nunneries, and detailed the course through which the candidates of the veil had to pass, and made some horrible relevations (sic) of the coercions and machinations to which the unhappy nuns were made the victims. The nuns, he said, were violated, their offsprings murdered, the nuns themselves most cruelly used and often put to violent deaths. He declared that he himself had seen nuns smothered to death in religious services, and had never known them to take either the white veil or the black without being ill for some months after. He accused the Monks of the foulest crimes; and, as an agent of the Inquisition, he said he had put God’s dear children into boiling oil. – thus, like Paul, persecuting the Church of Christ, and thinking he was doing God service. He emphatically asserted that in every monastery and nunnery arms and ammunition were concealed in readiness for use against Protestants if occasion served, and he warmed into vehement exhortation against any further concessions to English Roman Catholics.

Aerial Navigation. On the 9th of March, Mr Joseph Pitter delivered a lecture on Aerial Navigation to a numerous audience in the Swan Assembly Room, and also exhibited a model of his “Archimedian Balloon”.

Phrenology. On this subject, and in connection with the Mechanics Institution, a lecture was given by Mr. Marriott on the 7th of March.

The Abomination of Popery was the title of a Third lecture by the Baron de Camin.  Pg.33  Ocean Penny Postage. The celebrated Elihu Burritt (the “learned blacksmith”) lectured on this subject in the Wellington Square Chapel on the 6th of April. The scheme was partly carried out forty-five years later (1899).

London Missionary Society. On behalf of this society a lecture was delivered in the Croft Chapel on the 4th of April, by the Rev. G. Gogerly, many years a missionary in Bengal.

“Italy as it is” was the title of a lecture delivered the same evening in the Swan Assembly Room by the Rev. H. J. C. Smith.

Advantages of Assurance was descanted upon, by J. F. Leach, Esq. in the Market Hall, on the 6th of April.

The Life of Henry formed the subject of an interesting lecture, in connection with the Christian Association, on the 15th of April, by the Rev. C. D. Bell.

The History of Philosophy in Germany, was treated of in an able lecture by the Rev. F. J. Sharr, on the 18th of April, in connection with the Mechanics’ Institution. Mr. Womersley presided.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In the Swan Assembly Room, on the 5th of May, Mr. Wells Brown, the fugitive slave, delivered a lecture, with this title to 200 persons.

Dinners. - Public and Private; also Balls.

On the 28th of January, Musgrave Brisco, M.P. and his lady entertained a select party of friends at dinner and on the evening of the same day about 140 of their most aristocratic aquaintances (sic) assembled for a supper and ball, Mr. Elford’s band being in attendance.

On the preceding evening, Mr. Brisco’s sister (Mrs Fletcher-Norton) gave a soirée dansante to 130 of the elite of the town and neighbourhood, at her residence in Wellington Square. Mr. Elford supplied the music.

Three days later (Jan. 31st) a ball was held in the Swan Assembly Room, attended by about 100 persons. It was thus described in the Hastings and St. Leonards News:- “Dancing was carried on with great spirit until 12 o’clock, when the band struck up the enlivening strains of “The Roast Beef of Old England” and the company descended to a splendid supper given by the never failing munificence of our worthy member Mr. Brisco. The supper tables groaned under the profusion of delicacies there displayed, and the ‘feast of reason and the flow of soul’ gave place to the gaiety and merriment suited to such a festival occasion. During the supper several toasts were given in which the health of Mr. and Mrs. Brisco, Mr. and Mrs Fletcher-Norton, the Mayor, and others were successively proposed. The rataries of Terpsichore then returned to the ball-room to resume the mazy dance with renewed spirits; and polkas and waltzes were kept up till an early hour of the morning.”

The Trade Protection Society dinner, took its annual place at the Kings Head Inn on the 10th of March, with G. Scrivens, Esq., president, in the chair.

The Anniversary Club Dinners were the accompaniments of Whit Monday as Pg.34 usual, the reports of which occupied about nine newspaper columns. The day was ushered in with the ringing of bells and the closing of shops. The long and gay procession, with banners and full regalia, consisted of the “Old Friendly”, headed by the Hastings Band; the “Victoria Lodge, M.U.” by a German Band; the “Benevolent” by Brett’s St. Leonards Brass Band; and the “Adelaide Lodge, M.U.” by a country Band. The Friendly Society (of 677 members and £3,547 stock) dined at the Swan; the “Victoria” (317 members), at the Anchor; the “Benevolent” (313 members and £1789 stock) at the King’s Head, the “Adelaide” (£370 stock) at the Warriors’ Gate,, the “Foresters” at the Royal Standard; and the “South of England” at the Hastings Arms.

A Dinner and Evening Entertainment by invitation of Francis Smith, esq. was given at Torfield House, on the 8th of July, to the Mayor, Recorder, magistrates and borough officials.

A Sumptuous Dinner was given at Halton House by P. F. Robertson, Esq., M.P. on the 29th of December, to the Mayor and Town Council.

The Annual Tradesmen’s Dinner provided by Mr. Yates, at the Royal Oak Inn, took place on February 3rd.

School Treats

The Croft Sunday School, to the number of 100, on Whit Monday, assembled on the West Hill for their customary recreation, and afterwards for tea in the school room, where addresses were given by the Revs. W. Davis and J. Stent.

The Wesleyan School, on the same day assembled for tea in the large room over the Bourne-street Chapel, and on the following day, for games on the West hills. The numbers on the books were stated to be 380 children and 45 infants.

The National Schools of St. Clements and All Saints, to the number of 600, on the 8th of July, assembled in the new school room for their annual treat, and afterwards proceeded to the East Hill for games.

The New Schoolroom here mentioned, was opened on the 5th of April, with two formal meetings, at which the Revs. W. Wallinger, T. Vores, G. D. St. Quintin, J. D. Foyster, Earl Waldegrave and other gentlemen took part. The ground, as well as a subscription to the ​building​ fund, was given by Lady Waldegrave. The room would contain 300 girls, and thus leave the school on the East Hill for boys.

Local Institutions

Mechanics’ Institution

At a quarterly meeting, the Committee’s report showed that the number of members was 225, as against 270 at the previous year’s corresponding period. The receipts were £21 5s. and expenses £45 9s, which, with outstanding liabilities made the deficit about £50. Mr. Hallaway wondered what they could do with such a burden on their shoulders, but Mr. Walter thought that, looking at the great competition then existing, their condition was very satisfactory. A Finance Committee was formed, and it was hoped that the burden would soon be removed.

The Atheneum

 Pg.35 The competition – or opposition, as Mr W. Walter expressed it – which the Mechanics’ Institution had to contend with, was the Atheneum, which at that time had 213 members, and had spent during the quarter no less a sum than £66. Retrenchment appeared to be necessary, and to begin with, it was resolved at the quarterly meeting on May 9th, that the privilege to members of admitting each a lady free to lectures and entertainments be discontinued.

The Literary and Scientific Institution.

This society was also not in a satisfactory condition. The receipts were insufficient to meet the disbursements at the commencement of the year by 8/11. Two new members were, however, elected – namely F. Ticehurst, Esq. and S. Vores, Esq. The president, F. North, Esq., was re-elected, and the vice-presidents were Benj Smith, Esq. J. G. Shorter, Esq. Robt. Ranking, Esq. F. Smith, Esq. Robt Holland, Esq. Musgrave Brisco, Esq., M.P. & P. F. Robertson, Esq., M.P.

Board of Guardians

The Guardians elected were A. Harvey, S. Gutsell and W. Adams for All Saints; Richard Seldon, jun., for Ore, and S. Putland and David Tree for St. Mary Magdalen. The new Board of Guardians on the 21st of April voted against the admission of the reporters by a majority of one. The Ayes were Messrs. Womersley, Bromley, Ross, Gutsell, Putland, Smith, Tree, Adams and Beck. The noes were Messrs. J. Arkcoll, jun., Harvey, Skinner, Peerless, J. Smith, Wood, Polhill, Selden, J. Arkcoll and Clement. It was said that those who voted against the admission of the Press were very rarely present at other times.

St. Clements Organist.

The organist’s office of St. Clements having become vacant through the resignation of Mr. Elford, several applicants competed for it, the salary of which was £35. Mr. Giles played first, and was followed by Mr. Funnell of Wittersham; T. Elliott, of All Saints; Mr. Jacob, of St. Mary Magdalen; and Mr. Dawes, of Battle. The situation was obtained by Mr. Elliott.

New Dispensers.

On the 3rd of May, Mr. Hawkins having resigned as dispenser at the Dispensary, there were two candidates for the office, Mr. Isaac Smith and Mr. Francis. The former was elected, with 80 votes as against 46 for the latter. A dispenser for the Infirmary was also elected on the 9th of June. Mr. Ruffell was chosen by 157 votes over those for Mr. Staffell.  Pg.36 

The Gas Company

Without any pressure from without, the Gas Company promised to reduce the price from 6/- to 5/- at the end of the year.

Miscellaneous Items

The Sussex Cattle Show was held at Hastings on the 22nd of July, amidst unfavourable weather, the visitors to it not numbering more than 240, and the money taken at the gates being only £38 10s. The dinner took place in a marquee near the Priory farm house (about where Trinity street now is. See discussion on a previous Lean Stock Show at the April Council meeting. page 20.

Cinque Ports Pilots. A Parliamentary return, obtained by Lord Chelsea, showed that the cost of maintaining the Dover and Deal pilot cutters for the previous seven years had been £16,415, and that the sums paid by the existing members of the Fellowship of Cinque Ports Pilots for relief in cases of pilots deaths had been £23, 261.

At a Soirée and Ball held at the Market Hall on the 26th of January, nearly 500 persons attended, the company being chiefly members and friends of the Victoria and Adelaide lodges of Oddfellows and Cinque Ports Foresters.

Carpenters’ Strike. Up to the 25th of February, the Hastings carpenters had been on strike to the number of about 70. They claimed 4/6 a day for best hands, and the masters held out for 4/- a day, to all indiscriminately. The strikers very reasonably contended that by giving the same wages to inferior workmen there was no encouragement to the skilful or ingenious men, nor any inducement to inferior hands to make themselves efficient. It appeared to be a strange contention of the employers, seeing that of later years, the arguments of each side had been mostly in reversed order. The result of this particular strike was that a considerable number of the men obtained employment in London and other places at even higher wages than they demanded at home.

Painters’ Demand. Later in the year – namely, July 6th, the operative painters, to the number of 40, met at the Royal Standard inn, to ask the masters for 4/6 a day.

Castledown House and grounds, were offered by auction sale on the 28th of July, but no one advanced to the reserve price of £4,200, and so the property was bought in. The estate was afterwards sold by private contract.

Building Operations on a large scale were at this time contemplated on the Eversfield estate, the whole of which comprised 400 acres. The plans included new ​road​s, terraces and detached villas, the ground to be let on a long lease.

The Mayor and Corporation attended service at All Saints’ Church on the 7th of August, and sat, for the first time, on a new cushion in the Corporation pew, which cushion cost £3 15s., and was paid for by the said Corporation, personally.

Howard Warburton Elphinstone, grandson of Lady Elphinstone, of Ore Place was elected a scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, on the 8th of April.

Mr. Oscar Thorpe, of Battle, brother to George Archibald Thorpe, of Hastings, was admitted a Fellow of Christ College, Cambridge, on the 13th of April.

Mr. T. H. Cole, of Hastings, formerly of Sidney Sussex College, was, at the commencement of July, created Master of Arts.

 Pg.37  A Collision. Whilst being hauled off during a gale and a rough sea, the Queen brig and the London schooner collided, and were both damaged.

A Good Catch. The hauling off of colliers reminds one of a different kind of haul, and one the account of which in 1853, the late Mr. J. G. Shorter said he had found among his father’s papers. “Memorandum. Dec 30th, 1793. Thirteen fishing boats brought on shore 55 lasts, one thousand and one hundred herrings: which sold for £859. 5s. 9d at 15 guineas a last”

The Cost of Negligence. Eaton Samson, a servant of the S.E. Railway Company, was fined 40s. for allowing a second train to enter the Bopeep Tunnel before a preceding one had been signalled out of the same, thereby causing a collision.

Unequal Rates. The first half-year’s rates, signed by the magistrates were a poor-rate at 8d. and a borough-rate at 3d. for St. Clements; a poor-rate of 9d and district-rate at3d. for All Saints; and a poor-rate at 3d. for St. Mary Magdalen.

[[Sir Godfrey Webster (1789-1836)|Sir Godfrey Webster] of Battle Abbey, died on the 4th of May, and was buried in Battle Church on the 11th. Business in the town was mostly suspended for the entire day, and the church was crowded to excess. All his tenantry, a good many clergymen, and most of the principal tradesmen followed the funeral. He would have been 38 years of age on the 3rd of July.

The Queen’s Birthday was celebrated by the marching of the coastguards to the East hill, where they fired a feu de joie and gave three cheers for her majesty. The church bells were also rung, and a salute was fired from the town’s small cannon on the beach.

A Novel Mousetrap. A lady living near Hastings, and wearing, a dress with what was called a “bell” sleeve to each arm, was reaching to a high shelf, when a mouse ran down her sleeve, and in the midst of the lady’s struggles, proceded (sic) under her dress round to her back, and by the aid of someone, was killed between her shoulders. The writer of this paragraph has a relative, whose garments, many years ago, whilst in wear, formed the refuge of a disturbed mouse in a similar manner.

The Magdalen Church, Sunday after Sunday, got to be so crowded, that the Incumbent (Rev. W. W. Hume) provided at his own expense, a number of forms capable of seating 70 additional worshipers. They were used for the first time on July 18th, and were filled to the utmost.

Successful Fishing. The Hastings luggers returned from the western mackerel voyage after a season so far successful, that several of the crews realised from £300 to £400, and one of them £500.

Ginnett’s “Cirque Nationale de Paris” with its horses and artists, its “ceiling walker”, and its five clowns was intensely crowed on July 23rd and 25th.

A “Blind” Woman, suspected of imposture, was taken before the magistrates, but not having been caught begging, was discharged. Afterwards, the same “blind" woman caught sight of P. C. Adams, and made it hot for him by “blowing” him up with the greatest energy.  Pg.38  Criticism. – Says a leading article in the Hastings News of Jan. 7th., 1853 – “We are not desirous of casting censure at a public officer engaged in duties so arduous as those which have continuously pressed on the late surveyor, but we regret that he should have come to a standstill just at this crisis. The drainage now appears to be postponed sine die, though, doubtless, the Council will do their best to hurry it on. Whoever is to be the successor of Mr. Putland, we trust that a thoroughly competent man will be engaged, and that no further delays and disappointments will be visited on the already heavily rated borough. The importance of the duties devolving on the Council in pursuance of the Public Health Act is daily becoming more apparent – a fact, which we trust, will be duly remembered on every first of November. At least there should be no ‘dummies’ at the Board, and we hope that there are no such monstrocities in the region of the Town Hall. We perceive that a legal opinion as to the payment of the borough map is to be laid before the Council to day (See Council meeting, page 10.) We suppose this opinion comes through the hands of the St. Leonards Commissioners. On this point we cannot but think that St. Leonards has been treated discourteously, if not unjustly.”

Accidents and Fatalities

Thomas Page, 49 years of age (uncle to the wife of Henry Osborne (1806-), a printer) drowned himself on the 5th or 6th of March in the “Marl Pit” or Eft Ponds (not now existent). His mind had been deranged in consequence of a law-suit, some time before, he had trespassed on a passage by opening a window and a door, and was sued by a man named Benge, and although he had offered £50 as compensation (which counsel’s opinion stated was too liberal), action was taken against him, and as he had never been in a law-court before, it so entirely depressed him that suicide was the result. In his pocket were found money, keys, promisory notes &c.

William Benge(probably a son of the Mr. Benge who sued Thos. Page, as above described) was very severely scalded on the 4th of April, at Breeds’s Brewery.

Accidental Drowning. – William Plane, a fine man of 32 years, was on a fishing voyage at Plymouth in the “William” lugger, and while there, as an act of kindness to another man, he took his place in a different boat to his own. On the 29th of March, while cleaning some fish on the side of the boat, he was knocked over by the swinging of a sail, and unfortunately drowned. He left a wife and one child. His father was drowned 28 years before.

Fatal Accident. On the 15th of April, Henry Barden, living at Hastings, with a wife and two children, while standing on the step of a carriage in a train from London to Hastings, struck his head against a railway arch, and was immediately killed.

A Curious Accident. On the 31st of May, as a workman was sitting on a putlog at a great height on one of the Robertson terrace houses then ​building​, a plumb weight fell Pg.39 upon his nose and broke it, also causing the man to fall forward into an unglazed window just below him without further injury. Had he fallen backwards he probably would have been killed. Another Building Accident. On the 27th of July, Samuel Boorman, a carpenter living at 109 High Street, while at work on Mr. Cooper’s new house at Warrior Square, was knocked down by a piece of brick falling on his head from a height of three or four storeys, and was greatly injured.


Mr. Strickland’s corn warehouse in George street was entered by some unknown person or persons on the night of the 12th of May, and about £10 worth of silver and copper stolen. A man and woman had been seen standing in the doorway in a suspicious manner.

All Saints’ Church was broken into on the night of Sunday, July 10th, but except the opening of the parish chest of ancient records and drinking some sacramental wine, the would-be thief or thieves got nothing for their trouble.

Rowing Matches

A rowing match took place on the 23rd of May between the Albion Hotel, Hastings, and the Archway, St. Leonards. The competitors were George Brazier and Alfred Farroll in one boat, and James Hutchinson and Thos. Tutt in the other. There was a stiff breeze and lumpy water at the time, but the distance there and back was accomplished by Hutchinson and Tutt in 38 minutes, thus beating their rivals by 4½ minutes.

At the Brighton regatta on July 23rd, the Lelia, of Hastings, manned by James Hutchinson, Thomas Tutt, Hy Phillips, William Elphick and Henry Roberts, won a second prize of £7 10s. The Surprise, also of Hastings, took a third prize of £4. A Rowing Match between James Burchell and Philip Head in one boat, and Chas. Picknell and Jas. Dicker, was eventuated on June 4th, when the former two won by a minute and a half of time.

From and to Melbourne

On the 25th of May eight passengers were landed at Hastings, who had come from Melbourne, Australia, in a ship of 450 tons, called the Artrevia. One of the passengers, it was said, had half a hundred weight of gold. They lodged for the night at the Cutter Inn.

Letter from a Hastings man at Melbourne

The foregoing paragraph is a reminder that a letter had been received by Mr. Henry Winter, of George Street, from Mr. E. L. Robinson, at one time his next door neighbour, and of the firm of Robinson and Oliver, for whom, as drapers, I was two or three times employed to write metrical advertisements. They gave up business, and Mr. Robinson emigrated to Melbourne. The letter, dated January 1853, was a very long one, and Mr. Winter believing that many families were leaving their homes in England for the Antipodes upon unsafe data, sent the letter for publication in the Hastings News. The writer, after describing his voyage of 16,000 Pg.40 miles in 95 days, said:–

“We miss the brilliant foliage, the verdant fields and the beautiful gardens we have left behind. The herbage during the time I have been here has been completely parched up, and the gardens have most of them so run to waste through the scarcity of labour, that hardly a cabbage or a lettuce is to be had. I priced them yesterday, and am not joking when I tell you cabbages were 2/9 each; lettuces 6d. to 9d.; onions 13d. per pound, by the ton, but selling in the shops at 2/- per pound; nuts, 3/- per lb.; flour, which was £47 per ton, has gone down this week to £16. Bread, which we paid 2/6 the 4lb loaf for on landing, we are now giving 1/6 for. House rent, however, flogs everything else. The average rent for a wooden hut is £3 to £5 a week. There is not more than a quarter of the number of houses ​building​ in Melbourne that there was in Hastings when I left. The arrivals kept pouring in, and for the most part bring their tents, and pitch them at ‘Canvas Town’, about a quarter of a mile from the city, on a hill. Here they ‘gipsy’ to their heart’s content, and many a fair form, accustomed at home to the negligé of the drawing room and the winning grace of the white satin slipper, clusters round a fire of wood, and repose in all but primitive simplicity, with nought but a shred of hemp or calico between the wind and their nobility. The number of tents is not so great as formerly, many of them having been drafted off to the diggings, but I think there are still from a thousand to fourteen hundred. It is calculated that the population within the last twelve months has risen from 1.000 to 22,000”. . . Referring to the diggings Mr. Robinson says – “My own knowledge, derived from the gold diggers themselves, leads me to believe that more is made of this gold-digging question than properly belongs to it. The occasional find of a good lump dazzles and attracts the multitude, who dig on, hoping some day to come across the same luck themselves. Minute enquiries among those I came out with in October give me the result that out of about 150 engaged at the Ovens and Ballarat diggings, only one party have netted more than their current expenses. . . Parties unfitted by previous occupation, to use the shovel, and the pick, become disgusted when they arrive at the diggings, to find as plebian an occupation as would be at home in the cutting a railway or sinking a well. Only just outside the window where I am writing is a young fellow, well-educated, master of a profession highly connected, &c., who has tried the diggings three times and failed. He has returned to town and is now laying down a pavement in the street at 10s a day. This will be thought high wages by those at home, but a man at home can buy more of the creature comforts of this life for 3/6, and be in a far happier condition, because everything here is in the rough, and whatever he may pay he cannot purchase that which is to be found at home. The social and domestic interchanges of feeling and affection which are met with at home, are here but faintly reflected, while the vices and evil passions, both of man and woman are more intensified. . .Notwithstanding these drawbacks, Mr Robinson believed that as Time works wonders, there was, probably, a brilliant future for Melbourne.


Transcribed by Sally Morris

  1. An explanation of old currency and coinage may be found at the following website Pre-decimal currency, accessdate: 16 June 2022