The Isle of Wight 150 years ago.
Extracts from the Hampshire Telegraph.
6 June 1862
The Total Abstinence Society in this town, which now numbers upwards of 700 members, have taken the Queen’s Rooms for the Whitsun holidays, and intended giving a soiree there on Monday evening. Dr. Jabez Burns gives a lecture on Tuesday evening, and on Wednesday the society is to meet and parade the town in procession with bands, banners, &c., and have a united meeting in the evening, when addresses on the subject will be delivered.
We regret to hear that Captain Forrest has considered it necessary to order Mr. Thomas Campbell, our highly respected Superintendent of the County Police, to hold himself in readiness to move into another district. During the many years that this most efficient officer has resided amongst us, he has gained the deserved regard and esteem of all with whom he has been in contact, and he leaves the Island with every wish for his health and happiness, wherever he may be stationed in future.
John Clarke, of West Cowes, who refused to appear, was charged with assaulting Peggy Clarke, his own mother, by giving her a slap in the face, after coming home intoxicated, was fined 17s. 6d., and in default of payment, committed for 14 days.
COWES. THE RAILWAY. - It is stated that the Cowes and Newport Railway will be opened for traffic on Whit Tuesday. The government inspector has been down once, and will this week examine the line, previous to giving his sanction to it being opened.
The public will be delighted to hear that the old Steam Packet Company, with their usual desire to accommodate all parties, are out to place one of their boats on the Cowes and Yarmouth station - a thing very much needed. At the present time, if one wishes to get to Lymington, he must hire a carriage from Cowes to Yarmouth, and proceed by steamer, or else go to Southampton and go on by rail; and as both these ways are expensive and tedious, the advent of a steamer to run from Cowes to Yarmouth will be a great boon, which the public will no doubt appreciate.
RYDE. POST OFFICE SAVINGS BANK. - From the eighth report of the Postmaster General, we find there are 10 of the above valuable banks in operation in the Isle of Wight, namely:-Cowes (W.,) Freshwater, Newport, Niton, Ryde, St. Helens’, Sandown, Shanklin, Ventnor, and Yarmouth.
ACCIDENT. - On Saturday last, as a little boy about seven years of age, son of the bugle-major of the Ryde Rifle Volunteers, was playing with the drag of the Newport coach in John-street, by some mishap he fell, hand on the wheel passed over his chest. His leg was also seriously injured. The little sufferer was removed to his home, a few doors from the spot where the accident occurred; on examination it was found, although seriously injured, no bones were broken. Immediate medical aid was afforded, and the poor boy is now progressing rapidly towards recovery.
14 June 1862
A very sudden death occurred in Holyrood-street, on Tuesday morning, when Mr. James Cooper, Taylor, was attacked with a fit whilst at work on his shopboard, and expired before medical aid could be rendered available. Deceased was a very industrious workman, and has left a widow and nine children to lament their loss. An inquest was held at the Town-hall on Wednesday before F. Blake, Esq., when the opinion of E Bucknell, Esq., surgeon, was given that deceased had died of a disease of the heart, and the jury returned a verdict of “Died from Natural Causes.”
The annual nuisance denominated “Whitsun Fair,” has once more been committed in Quay-street, that it begins to evince symptoms of a speedy disillusion, and we believe that there are but few people who will regret his cessation, for except on Monday, when the place appropriate it to the shows (which with the exception of “Ewen’s Royal Pavilion,” were of a very low description,) was crowded chiefly with children, soldiers, and prostitutes, there was nothing to distinguish it from any common market day, the heavy showers of Tuesday preventing the attendance of pleasure seekers, anticipating all the hopes of Profit to those who had speculated upon full pockets and empty heads.
The temperance societies in this town have kept high holiday this Whitsuntide, having had a large tea meeting on Monday at the Queen’s Rooms, where several addresses in support of the practice and theory of total abstinence were delivered. On Tuesday the same place was crowded to hear a lecture delivered by Dr. Jabez Burns on “The Three Pillars of Temperance,” and on Wednesday the “Band of Hope,” composed principally of children, their teachers, and in the committees attached to the different total abstinence societies in the town, to the number of about 800, with a procession of flags and banners, and accompanied by their drum and fife band, paraded the principal streets in procession, and afterwards assembled at the Queen’s Rooms, where several addresses appropriate to the movement were delivered.
BOROUGH COURT. - Henry James, labourer, who was remanded from the previous Tuesday on a charge of stealing three bushels of corn and hay, the property of his master, Mr. Wm. Jackson, the contractor for completing the Cowes and Newport railway, pleaded guilty, and was committed for three months to hard Labour. Prisoner: “ Thank’ee gentlemen, I can stand ‘pon my head and do out that.
COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - James Davy, a navvy employed on the Cowes and Newport Railway, was placed at the bar under several charges of robbing his fellow-labourers. It appeared by the evidence that the prosecutors and the prisoner lodged with a Mrs. Jane Gauntlett, at West Cowes, and that on Thursday the former got up and went early to work, where the latter took the opportunity of absconding with their Sunday’s wearing apparel. P.S. Kent was put upon the centre, and within two hours he apprehended the prisoner on Ryde Pier, as he was waiting for the steamer, having on or about him at the time a jacket, waistcoat, and two shirts, the property of Charles Jacobs, and a pair of trowsers, a cap, shirt, and handkerchief, the property of Alfred Hopgood; in short, there was not a single article of clothing on his person that what he had stolen, and the articles having been clearly identified by the owners, the prisoner tried “ the insanity dodge,” by declaring that he was subject to fits, and that for three or four days afterwards he never knew what he had done, and therefore was not responsible for his actions. The court gave him the opportunity of appealing to a jury upon this questionable point, and committed him to take his trial at the next sessions for each offence.
Francis Holbrook, the in-coming tenant of the Oak Tavern, at Ryde, was charged with selling beer without a licence. P.S. Mitchell deposed that on Friday night, the 30 of May, he went to the house in question, where he saw the name “ Henry Import” over the door. He went to the bar, and there saw the defendant’s wife, defendants not being there himself. Mr. Hearn immediately stopped the case, stating that the summons charged the defendant himself with selling beer, whereas it appeared by the evidence showed that it was the wife who committed the offence, and as the charge must be made against the person serving the article, the case must be dismissed. The Court said that, owing to this informality in the summons, the defendant must be discharged; they would however caution him to be more careful in future. Mr. White, of Ryde, for the defendant then made an application to the Court to endorse the licence of the Oak Tavern over to him, which was granted to the previous occupier up to October next. It had been usual for the in-coming tenant to sell under the old license, and this was the first time that any proceedings had been taken in that court to put a stop to the practice; the defendant had never imagined that he was doing anything wrong. He (Mr. White) has certainly seen in the papers a remark made by the Chairman of the Bench (Sir H. P. Gordon, Bart.), Noticing the custom, but he had only admonished parties to be more careful for the future. Mr Campbell said he had frequently caution defendant not to do it, and as late as three weeks since. Mr. White said that the brewer, Mr. Cooper, had assured the defendant that an endorsement was not necessary, particularly as the transfer-day was so near at hand. The Court: To prevent injustice in future, the actor must be complied with in all cases, but we shall endorse the licence over to the defendant and if the house is not kept respectable, we shall refuse it on the next license day.
RYDE. WHITSUNTIDE EXCURSIONISTS. - Our town has been quite lively during the last week in consequence of the large influx of holiday visitants. A great number came in on Saturday evening last, having come from London in an excursion train. On Monday the steamer is from Portsmouth and Southampton brought hosts of pleasure seekers amongst us, and on Tuesday not less than a thousand excursionists from Brighton thronged our thoroughfares and gave great animation to the streets. The weather was exceedingly favourable during the early part of the week, although on Thursday the wind blew a hurricane and the rain fell in times the greater part of the day.
THE VESTRY ACT. - As our readers are aware there has been an endeavour made to adopt a portion of the Vestry Act in the parish of Newchurch, which Ryde is the chief seat of the population. For a long time it has been felt to be a great inconvenience for the inhabitants of Ryde to have to travel several miles to the parish church to attend vestries. The result has been that only a few ratepayers have ever been present at the meetings, and at the parish affairs have been managed by cabals, the distance preventing the great body of the parishioners from attending. In order to remedy this practical grievance, it was proposed last parish meeting to adopt that part of the Vestry Act which gives the parish officers the power of changing the place of meeting from the church, in order to avoid the desecration of the sacred edifice by unseemly proceedings, for which Newchurch has been sadly. The proposal was lost upon a division, when a poll was demanded, which came off in Ryde on Monday and Tuesday last. The opponents of change of master strongly, and the results of the poll was as follows:
Majority against 541
21 June 1862
The Chief Constable of the County Police has so far listened to the memorial forwarded by the magistrates of the Isle of Wight against the removal of our worthy Superintendent, Mr. Thomas Campbell, that the order, which was to have been put in force on the Thursday last, has been suspended for the present.
THE COWES AND NEWPORT RAILWAY was opened to the public on Monday, when the “Precursor” locomotive, with three capacious carriages attached, gaily bedecked with laurels and bunting, made its way from the Cowes station to the Newport terminus in about ten minutes, and afterwards continued its journeys throughout the day at intervals and at articulate times, enabling the travellers to go to Cowes, and back again in half an hour. The place was crowded with spectators from morning till night, many hundreds of whom had never seen a railway train in motion before.
COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - George Figgins and Andrew Greentree, two young men employed on the Government works at Freshwater, were charged with poaching rabbits on the sabbath day in the Free Warren, and on the rights of Mr. John Himmens, and the lessee. The charge being clearly proved, the Court fined the parties 17s 6d. each.
John Cassford, of Ventnor, was charged with assaulting P.C. Wilson, at a Shide, and being unable to pay the penalty of £3, was committed to hard Labour for one month, the chairman in marketing, that during the 20 years he had sat there as a magistrate, he believed he has seen the prisoner’s face a hundred times.
COWES. - During the severe squall which visited the Solent on Monday afternoon an accident of a rather serious nature befel our valued townsmen. Messrs. John White and Son, whilst returning from Ryde. It appears that, being in a large sail boat, when off Binstead, a sudden gust of wind struck the boat, which was under full canvas, and through her on her broadside. She instantly filled and sunk, and the party of all persons had to swim for their lives the fortunately, a small boat which was towed by the other was available, and all of them gained the boat and save themselves the only Indian beer sustained was that caused by their sudden and unexpected immersion.
COWES. CAUTION. - George Moore, Thomas Clarke, and Walter Lane were brought before R.C. Shedden Esq., at the police station, on Wednesday morning, charged with throwing stones on the Green on Sunday evening. The case was fully proved, and the Magistrate, after giving the offender a suitable reprimand, inflicted a fine and costs, warning them at the same time that if they again offended in a like manner the full penalty would be enforced. Two others were directed to be summoned for the like offence, and it is a place for the update duty as on this occasion, the intolerable nuisance caused by boys throwing stones will soon be got rid-of.
28 June 1862
We regret to hear that the Commander-in-Chief of the County Police Force has, in very curt terms, refused to listen to the memorial of the Isle of Wight Magistrates to retain how excellent Superintendent (Mr.T.Campbell) amongst us, and they have only themselves to blame for helping to create a power far above themselves, and what they now find it beyond persuasion, direction, or control. Mr. Campbell is to be removed to the Andover district, and Mr. Horan, of Kingsclere, is to be moved to Newport in his room.
We regret to hear that the potato blight has once more make its unwelcome appearance in the Island, and with its usual virulence, so our markets will soon be gutted with early as well as unlike fruit, for which we shall have to suffer in the ensuing winter by a rise in price.
A splendid altar railing, manufactured by Mr. Robinson, upholstered of Pyle-street, and painted by Messrs. Brook, of the High-street, for her Majesty's drawing-room on the occasion of the marriage of H.R.H. the Princess Alice and Prince Louis of Hesse, has this week been exhibited to an admiring public. The balusters half painted of a dead white, with burnished gold mouldings, whilst the hand-rail, the cushions, and the footstools are covered with the richest velvet, with bullion tassels. The work altogether is of a most chaste description, and reflects great credit on all employed in its construction.
The Cowes and Newport Railway is attracting numerous passengers, having between Monday morning, the 16th, and Sunday evening, the 23nd inst., conveyed nearly 2000 persons between the two towns, or, on the average, nearly 300 per day for the first seven days, and making 100 journeys in the week. The coaching interest is already feeling the effects of this improved and cheaper and quicker mode of travelling, the 9.45 and the 2.20 coach from Newport to Cowes, and the 11.45 and the 5.45 coach from Cowes to Newport having been discontinued on Monday, and others must easily follow in the wake; at the same time, it has created a new market for vehicles for higher, and omnibusses, caps, and cars have been extensively patronised during the week in short journeys from the Newport Terminus to the Roman Villa and Carisbrooke Castle.
COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - William Bull, the proprietor of certain bathing machines let for hire on the shore at Ventnor, was summoned by the Local Commissioners, for refusing to obey their orders to place the machines in certain positions for the better accommodation of the public. Mr. John Burt, the Clerk to the Board, appeared to prefer the charges, and Mr. F. Blake, for the defendant, but the termination of the case was as ludicrous as it was unexpected, in fact it was a re-enactment of the old play of Hamlet, with Hamlet left out, for the Clerk to the Magistrates (Mr. Hearn) having required the prosecutor to show by the Ventnor Act, on which it appears that several clauses of the Health of Towns Act had lately been engrafted, any Clause empowering the Magistrates to interfere, or anything to levy or impose a penalty for disobeying the commands of the Commissioners, it was discovered that this important clause had been omitted, and, therefore, the Court refused to go into the matter, the defendant remarking that “this was the way they always did things in Ventnor.”
At the conclusion of the hearing, the chairman called Mr. Campbell four, and at some considerable length expressed to him be unfeigned regret of the Bench that the memorial so numerous they sign by the Magistrates of the Island has altogether failed in inducing Captain Forrest to reconsider his order of removal, at the same time rendering him the highest testimonial at their command by declaring that he had always conducted himself in his duty to them and the public generally to their entire satisfaction, and that he was carrying with him their best wishes for his health and happiness wherever he might be removed to, and whenever he required assistance in any shape they should feel the greatest pleasure in rendering it.