January 1st 1854
Died at his residence, Thickthorn, near Norwich, in his 71st year, Mr. Richard Hanbury Gurney. He was the son of Mr. Richard Gurney, of Keswick, and in early life was a member of the Society of Friends. In 1818 Mr. Gurney was elected member for Norwich in conjunction with Mr. W. Smith; he was re-elected in 1820, in 1830, and in 1831. At the General Election in 1832 he and the other Liberal candidate, Mr. Ker, were, after a very severe contest, defeated by Lord Viscount Stormont and Sir James Scarlett. Mr. Gurney was a patron of the Turf and a genuine lover of old English sports, but he was never known to bet. His remains were interred, on January 9th, at the Rosary Burial-ground, Norwich.
January 3rd 1854
A heavy snowstorm, accompanied by a severe gale from the north, passed over the Eastern district. The snow was deeper than had been known for many years previously; all the roads were blocked, and railway communication between Yarmouth and London was stopped. The telegraph poles were blown down, and the wires broken. A train which left Fakenham at 6 a.m. did not reach Norwich till 5.15 p.m. At the Norfolk Quarter Sessions, at Norwich, on the 4th, it was found impossible to form a grand jury, in consequence of the non-attendance of those who had been summoned. All travelling by road was suspended for some days; the port of Lynn was frozen up, and several ships were driven ashore at Yarmouth.
January 5th 1854
A serious collision occurred on the line near Thetford. A train conveying sixty navvies, who were employed to clear away the snowdrifts, ran into the down train from London. “The engines rose up into the air, and two men on them were instantly killed; two others in the train from Norwich were also killed by the tender being driven through the carriage in which they were seated.” The Rev. Joseph Bell, of Barningham, a passenger in the London train, died on the 8th from the injuries he received, and Mr. Thomas Ellison, of Dove Street, Norwich, another passenger, succumbed on the 14th. The Coroner’s jury, after repeated adjournments, returned, on February 6th, a verdict of manslaughter against Mr. Peter Ashcroft, superintendent of the permanent way, and Mr. John Latham, locomotive superintendent, who, it was alleged, had acted contrary to the orders of Mr. King, station-master at Harling Road. At the Norfolk Assizes, on March 24th, before Lord Chief Baron Pollock, the jury, without hearing the defence, acquitted the defendants.
January 15th 1854
Died at Heigham Hall (private lunatic asylum), Norwich, aged 84, Mr. Cockle, “the original proprietor of the antibilious pill which goes by his name, and who some years ago sold the recipe for several thousand pounds.”
January 21st 1854
“An invention calculated to prove of great national benefit has been recently patented by Mr. Samuel Rainbird, carpenter, of Norwich. It is described in the specifications as an apparatus for grappling and raising sunken vessels and other submerged bodies.”
January 21st 1854
A meeting of the Deputy Lieutenants of the county decided, by 25 votes to three, that Yarmouth was the most suitable place in the district at which to centre the three regiments of Norfolk Militia. At another meeting, held on February 25th, the former resolution was rescinded, and it was agreed “that the present Committee be empowered to receive estimates and tenders for building barracks for one regiment of Militia at Norwich, and for one regiment of Militia and one regiment of artillery at Yarmouth, on such plans as they may think best suited for the purpose.”
January 27th 1854
Died near Holston River, in Knox County, East Tennessee, North America, Mr. William Forster, of Earlham Road, Norwich, in his 70th year. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and a brother-in-law of Mr. Fowell Buxton. He went out in the autumn of 1853 to carry petitions to the slave States of the Union, on behalf of the oppressed Africans.
March 8th 1854
At a meeting convened by the Mayor (Mr. Bignold), and held at the Guildhall, Norwich, petitions to both Houses of Parliament were adopted in favour of an Act “for the legal prohibition of the sale of intoxicating drink during the whole of Sunday (except to _bona fide_ travellers).” A committee was appointed to make arrangements for forming a Sunday Closing Association.
March 10th 1854
A troop of the Carabineers marched from Norwich Barracks, to join the headquarters at Ipswich. The remaining troop left on May 1st.
March 10th 1854
In the Rolls Court, before the Master of the Rolls, was heard the case, the Attorney-General _v._ Hudson, in _re_ the Grammar School and Hospital at Norwich. This was an information filed by the Attorney-General, at the relation of certain inhabitants of the city, against the trustees appointed under the Corporation Act, of two charities called the Free Grammar School and the Great Hospital. The object of the information was to show that the Grammar School had not received a fair amount of the funds of the charity, and that undue preference had been given to the Hospital in their distribution. A decree was made, directing a scheme to be settled in Chambers. On December 18th it was stated in the Rolls Court that when the case was in Chambers a deed of covenant, contemporaneous with the letters patent of King Edward VI., and to which the Corporation were parties, had been found, by which the whole surplus, after the stipulated payments, was to be applied to the sustentation of the poor. The question then before the Court was how far this varied the case. It was contended that the Hospital and the poor were entitled to the entire surplus. The Master of the Rolls was of opinion that the deed did not control the letters patent, that no predominance or priority was given to one part of the charity over the other, and that the surplus rents should be equally divided, and in such a way as would be most consistent with the intentions of the founder. The case was taken before the Chief Clerk to the Master of the Rolls on February 6th, 1855. “The result is that upwards of £1,000 per annum in addition to the property comprised in the charter will be secured for the general benefit of the charity, including, of course, the School. The matter now stands over, in order that a scheme may be prepared for the general administration of the charity under the sanction of the Attorney-General.” On April 7th, 1855, it was announced that the following proposal had been made on the part of the “promoters of the new Grammar School” as to the future division of the funds “hitherto belonging to the Great Hospital”: “That the present salary of the chaplain of the said Hospital be increased £100 per annum, he having at present £200 per annum besides his residence; that one moiety of the net income of the charity be annually applied for the benefit of the School and the objects thereof, and that the other moiety be applied for the benefit of the poor in the Hospital; and that no further election of inmates shall be allowed to take place until the number shall by death or other causes be reduced to 100, and that until the numbers shall be so reduced, the expenses occasioned thereby shall be provided for out of the savings of the trust and now invested in the sum of £11,500 Consols, or out of any other monies in the hands of the defendants.” Another meeting was held in Chambers on May 9th, 1855, when the trustees strongly opposed the heads of the scheme; thereupon it was proposed that the Chief Clerk should proceed to Norwich and hold an inquiry. The trustees claimed the right to appeal against his decision, if necessary, and the Chief Clerk then declined to accede to the proposal. The trustees were invited to carry in the counter claim, but refused to do so. (_See_ June 16th, 1857.)
March 13th 1854
Henry Russell gave his entertainments, “The Far West,” and “Negro Life,” in the presence of between 2,000 and 3,000 persons, at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich.
March 16th 1854
A meeting of the citizens was held at the Guildhall, Norwich, presided over by the Mayor (Mr. S. Bignold), at which it was agreed “that the wives and children of the Army of England called at this time on the service of their country to the seat of war, claim the sympathy of the British public, and that a subscription be forthwith commenced to relieve all such women and children as may be left in destitution and want.” Similar funds were raised in other parts of the county.
March 23rd 1854
At the Norfolk Assizes, before Lord Chief Baron Parke, William Thompson, aged 21, was charged with the murder of Lorenzi Beha, at Tittleshall, on November 18th, 1853. Mr. Evans prosecuted, and Mr. Carlos Cooper defended. The prisoner was found guilty, and sentenced to death. The execution took place on the Castle Hill, Norwich, on April 8th. “The criminal’s struggles continued five minutes.” The lowest and most degraded classes in the city and county assembled on the Hill, “and more scenes of drunkenness and immorality were exhibited than had been seen for a long time previously in Norwich.”
March 25th 1854
“At the Walsingham Quarter Sessions, the Grand Jury, in making their presentment, called the attention of the Court to the prevailing nuisance occasioned by carts drawn by dogs, and to the facilities thus afforded for the commission of felonies. They recommended that some decisive steps be taken to procure an extension of the Act providing against this evil in and around London.” The provisions of the Act in force in the Metropolitan district were extended to the United Kingdom, and came into force on January 1st, 1855.
March 31st 1854
Died at Haddiscoe, Edward Constance, aged 68, “well known for his sporting tastes, and for a considerable period a pedestrian follower of the hounds of the late Lord Berners, distinguished for his industrious habits and his ardent love of the chase.”
April 1st 1854
“An order has been received from the Home Secretary, calling upon the churchwardens of every parish in Norwich to discontinue forthwith the burials in the inside of their respective churches, and to discontinue those in the churchyards from and after February 1st, 1855. Burial Boards are about to be formed for the purpose of providing a suitable ground for interment in the vicinity.”
April 8th 1854
Mr. G. V. Brooke concluded a week’s engagement at Lynn Theatre. He appeared in the parts of Othello, Master Walter (“The Hunchback”), Sir Giles Overreach, Claude Melnot, and Hamlet.
April 11th 1854
A public meeting, held at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, with the view of promoting the abolition of capital punishment, resolved to petition the House of Commons in favour of such abolition.
April 19th 1854
An address to the Queen was adopted at a special meeting of the Norwich Town Council, assuring her Majesty “that she had their unqualified support in the prosecution of the war.”
April 22nd 1854
That remarkable character, Philip Coots, better known as “Philip the Pieman,” and the “Drum-boy,” died at Norwich, aged 49.
April 22nd 1854
Died at Yarmouth, Eleanor Warrant, aged 102.
April 25th 1854
The West Norfolk Militia, 1,000 strong, assembled at Norwich for a month’s training. The East Norfolk Militia and the Norfolk Artillery Militia commenced their training at Yarmouth on the same date. The East Norfolk Regiment was, on May 16th, presented with colours by the Lord Lieutenant.
April 26th 1854
This date was observed as a day of humiliation. In Norwich shops were closed, all business suspended, and the Mayor and Corporation attended service at the Cathedral, where “the Almighty’s blessing was implored upon the war.” The day was similarly observed at Lynn and Yarmouth.
April 27th 1854
Died at Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London, Lieut.-Col. Nelthorpe, of the West Norfolk Militia, in his 83rd year. He was succeeded in the lieutenant-colonelcy by Major Custance.
May 3rd 1854
At her Majesty’s Levée, Mr. Samuel Bignold, Mayor of Norwich, was presented and received the honour of knighthood. On the 17th the portrait of Sir Samuel was placed in St. Andrew’s Hall. It was painted by J. P. Knight, R.A., in 1850, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851, and afterwards engraved by Jackson.
May 21st 1854
Died at Bethel Street, Norwich, aged 70, Robert Forster, formerly bandmaster of the 33rd (Duke of Wellington’s Own) Regiment. “At Waterloo he received a ball in his knee, which had never been extracted. He was a native of Norwich, and the only survivor of the band of the regiment, the whole having fallen by his side at Waterloo.”
June 30th 1854
The Eastern Counties (Amalgamation of Railways) Bill was read a third time in the House of Commons and passed. One of the clauses was to the following effect: “That it shall not be lawful for the company to close or discontinue the Victoria Station at Norwich, now belonging to the Eastern Union Railway Company.”
July 3rd 1854
Foot-racing was revived on the Old Cricket Ground at Norwich, by Mr. Thomas Sapey, a local sportsman. A one mile handicap, open to all England, brought twenty-four competitors, among whom were Thomas Horspool, of Sheffield (holder of the one mile champion belt); C. Welton, of Gateshead; William Newman, of London; Robert Bunn, John Brighton (“The Milk Boy”), Richard Fromow, Jim Mace (pugilist), William (“Cock”) Blyth, &c. The meeting was continued on the 4th.
July 7th 1854
The first meeting of the Norwich Photographic Society (established on June 23rd) was held at Mr. W. Freeman’s, London Street. The objects of the society were the reading of original papers, the discussion of different photographic processes, the collection of pictures, and the formation of a photographic library.
July 20th 1854
A dinner was held at the Town Hall, Yarmouth, to celebrate the inauguration of Lord Sondes as High Steward of that borough.
July 22nd 1854
Norwich Theatre was opened for the Assize week, under the management of Messrs. C. Gill and William Sidney, lessees of the Theatres Royal, Leicester, Portsmouth, Leamington, and Jersey. They also had the management of Yarmouth Theatre. The winter season commenced on November 11th. The new managers endeavoured to restore at Norwich the old style and prices of the entertainments. “On each Friday night the prices will be as they were a few years since, and on these occasions the pieces selected will consist of standard plays and comedies, concluding with a really funny farce.” The company was a good one, and “the starring system, which sacrifices every supposed subordinate character to two or three leading ones,” was “studiously ignored.” Mr. Gill (who was afterwards for several years manager of Lynn Theatre) withdrew from the partnership in 1855, and on December 10th in that year the winter season commenced under the sole management of Mr. Sidney.
August 12th 1854
Died at the residence of Lord Palmerston, in Carlton Gardens, London, Viscount Jocelyn, M.P. His lordship contracted Asiatic cholera while performing military duty at the Tower of London as Colonel of the Essex Rifles. The eldest son of the Earl of Roden, he was born on February 20th, 1816, and served on the staff of Lord Saltoun in the China Expedition in 1842. He was the author of a work entitled, “Six Months in China.” In February, 1842, on the appointment of Sir Stratford Canning as Ambassador at Constantinople, a new writ was issued for King’s Lynn, when Lord Jocelyn was returned for that borough as a Liberal-Conservative, and continued to represent it until his death. During the last two years of Sir Robert Peel’s Administration he held office as Secretary to the India Board.
August 15th 1854
A whale of the “beak” species, measuring 29 feet in length and 21 feet in girth, and weighing nearly nine tons, was captured on Snetttisham beach. “When boiled, although the operation was unskilful, it produced 120 gallons of oil.”
August 16th 1854
Lynn Athenæum, erected at the cost of £4,150, was inaugurated by addresses delivered by the President (Mr. H. Edwards) and Lord Stanley. The architects were Messrs. Cruso and Maberly and the contractors Messrs. J. and W. Purdy.
August 20th 1854
A portion of a building at Lynn, originally a chapel-of-ease to St. Margaret’s church, and utilised as a workhouse, fell, killing a clockmaker named Andrews, and John Cana, a pauper. Fissures had been observed in the walls of the building, and measures had been taken to remove the inmates to another part of the premises, otherwise the loss of life would have been appalling. The first stone of the new Workhouse was laid on July 16th, 1855, by the Rev. J. Bransley, chairman of the Board of Guardians.
August 24th 1854
A shocking accident occurred on the River Yare, near the Alder Car at Trowse Hythe, Thorpe. Mrs. Palmer (wife of Mr. T. H. Palmer, chief clerk at the Norwich County Court), her son, about six years old; Matilda Hubbard, a nursemaid; and William Plow, a lad, were drowned by the overturning of a pleasure-boat which had gone foul of a wherry.
September 8th 1854
The first harvest thanksgiving festival held in the county took place at Brooke. It was the result of an attempt made by the vicar, the Rev. Dr. Beal, “to put a stop to the disgraceful scenes which too often characterise the close of harvest, and to the system of _largess_, which gives rise to cases of the grossest description.” After service at the church, men, women, and children had dinner on the vicarage lawn. “The Times” observed: “The attempt to put an end to the system of public-house harvest feasts, in which neither wives nor children can join, appears in this instance to have been eminently successful.” Many other villages in Norfolk, after the harvest of 1855, followed the example set by Brooke.
September 10th 1854
The great west window at Norwich Cathedral, designed as a memorial to Bishop Stanley, was submitted to public inspection. It cost £1,500, and was designed and executed by Mr. George Hedgeland, of London.
September 11th 1854
At the Norwich Police Court, the Rev. Henry Herring, formerly curate of North Pickenham, was charged with begging, under peculiar circumstances, on the previous day (Sunday), in the Cathedral Close. The prisoner, “with his gown on his back,” stationed himself in front of the great west door and exhibited a placard bearing the following inscription: “The law ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel. The Church of England withholds from me the justice of that tribunal which the civil law grants to the common murderer. Such is the spirit of that Church which professedly invites even a prodigal to repentance; I have spent £1,800 in her service, and have been driven to pass three nights in the streets of Norwich, and six nights in a lock-up (a hole where there is only straw to lie upon on a stone floor), solely for the want of better and proper accommodation. The Mayor and magistrates have encouraged me to apply to everyone that has a heart to feel for the miseries of a fellow-creature. I earnestly solicit the sympathy and charity of an enlightened public to enable me to live day by day and to defend myself by law from the tyranny and persecution of the Bishop of Norwich.—Henry Herring, late curate of North Pickenham, Norfolk. Norwich Streets, September 9th.” Superintendent English stated that he had offered to send the defendant to a situation in Yorkshire, or to Australia, where his brothers resided; but he had declined to avail himself of either. Mr. Herring promised not to repeat his behaviour, and was discharged.
September 12th 1854
The opening concert of the Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Musical Festival took place at St. Andrew’s Hall. The programme included Rossini’s “Stabat Mater,” a selection of sacred music, and (for the first time) “The Ninety-First Psalm.” In the evening there was a miscellaneous concert, including parts 1 and 2 of “Acis and Galatea.” On Wednesday morning (13th) Beethoven’s “Service in C” and “The Creation” were performed; at the miscellaneous concert in the evening selections from the works of Weber and Spohr were rendered. At Thursday morning’s concert (14th) “Elijah” was given, and at the evening concert miscellaneous items and selections from the works of Mozart. “The Messiah” was performed on Friday morning (15th), and in the evening a grand dress ball was given at the Assembly Rooms, with music by Weippert’s Royal Quadrille Band. The Festival _artistes_ were Madame Angiolina Bosio, Madame Clara Novello, Madame Anaido Castellan, Madame Weiss, Miss Dolby, Signor Gardoni, Herr Reichardt, Mr. Sims Reeves, Signor Bolletti, Mr. Weiss, and Signor Lablache. The instrumental solo performers were Mons. Sainton, violinist to her Majesty, and Mr. H. Blagrove, violins; Herr Hausmann, violoncello. Mr. Benedict was conductor. The gross receipts amounted to £4,244 5s. 2d., and the gross expenses and liabilities to £4,347 14s. 7d.; deficit, £103 9s. 5d.
September 13th 1854
The foundation-stone of the Norwich Free Library was laid by the Mayor (Sir Samuel Bignold). Addresses were delivered by the Duke of Wellington, the Rev. Edward Sidney, Sir Morton Peto, M.P., Sir John Boileau, Sir Fitzroy Kelly, Mr. W. J. Utten Browne, and Mr. J. H. Tillett. (_See_ March 16th, 1857.)
September 16th 1854
Mr. J. H. Gurney was elected unopposed to fill the vacancy in the representation of King’s Lynn, created by the death of Lord Jocelyn.
September 23rd 1854
“An attempt has been made at the Boar’s Head Inn, Surrey Street, Norwich, to originate a place of entertainment of a similar kind to Evans’ or Johnson’s, in the Metropolis. A room capable of seating upwards of 200 visitors has been very tastefully fitted up by the proprietor, the walls being adorned by a series of Norwich views exceedingly well painted by our scenic artist for many years, Mr. Thorne, and every evening there is a vocal and instrumental concert by parties of London professionals, who are almost weekly changed, so as to secure as large an amount of novelty as possible. Another new feature in this city is the introduction of the imperial measure for wine at the old rate of 2s. 6d. per pint.” This place, known as “The Shades,” was managed by Mr. Fred Phillips, and was the first music hall or variety entertainment in the city. The venture was not of a successful character.
September 25th 1854
A meeting of the Norwich licensed victuallers was held at the Boar’s Head Inn, to protest against the Bill for “Regulating the Sale of Beer and other Liquors on the Lord’s Day,” which sought to prohibit the opening of public-houses between the hours of 2. 30 and six o’clock, and after ten o’clock on Sunday. The meeting decided to petition Parliament in opposition to the measure. At this meeting was formed a society called the Norwich Licensed Victuallers’ Association, of which Mr. Fred Phillips was elected president, Mr. Plane vice-president, Mr. Cushing treasurer, and Mr. S. Daynes secretary.
October 1st 1854
Intelligence was received at Norwich of the victory of the allied armies at the Alma on September 20th. The bells of St. Peter Mancroft were rung after service in the afternoon. A fictitious message reached Norwich on the same day (Sunday), announcing the fall of Sebastopol, and the tricolour was hoisted on St. Peter’s steeple. Regret was afterwards expressed that facilities existed “for circulating such hasty and erroneous despatches.”
October 7th 1854
Died, at Brandon Parva, aged 100, Mary Goward, widow.
October 17th 1854
A remarkable discussion arose at Norwich Quarter Sessions as to certain irregularities which were said to have occurred at Heigham Hall private lunatic asylum. The minutes of the proceedings of the visiting justices at an inquiry held by them on June 22nd were read. Dr. Hull alleged that the Rev. ---, then acting as chaplain at the Asylum, had been wrongly admitted as a patient. In his evidence he stated that in June, 1852, Mr. Nichols informed him that a country clergyman, a member of a high county family, had committed a rape, that his family wished to make him out to be mad, and that, in order to save him from a criminal prosecution, they desired to get him into a mad-house. Mr. Nichols requested Dr. Hull to grant a second medical certificate. Dr. Hull refused to comply. Mr. Nichols emphatically denied that he had used the expressions attributed to him by Dr. Hull. The justices came to the conclusion: “(1) That the Rev. Mr. ---, by being placed in the asylum under the circumstances disclosed in the inquiry, was rescued from the grip of the law on a criminal charge; (2) that the order and medical certificates upon which he was admitted into the asylum were regular and in the form prescribed by the Act of Parliament; (3) that in the opinion of the visitors the Rev. Mr. --- is not a proper person to have been appointed or to continue to officiate as chaplain to the asylum.” A letter from the office of the Commissioners in Lunacy was read, in which they stated they were satisfied that when the Rev. Mr. --- was admitted he was a proper person to be placed under medical care in the asylum. It was also asserted that the Commissioners had recognised him as the chaplain of the asylum. Mr. Palmer, who had moved that the licence to Heigham Hall be refused, ultimately withdrew his motion, and the incident terminated. At a meeting of the city magistrates in December, a memorial was addressed to the Secretary of State, asking that a “searching investigation be made, with power to call before the Commissioners all parties who may be able to give evidence upon the various points embraced in the case.” (No further action was taken.)
October 18th 1854
The new bridge at Yarmouth was opened by the chairman and members of the Haven and Pier Commission. The contract price for the work of construction was £24,500, but the total cost, including the sums paid for property in the vicinity of the bridge, was estimated at £60,000.
October 19th 1854
In an “extraordinary edition” of the NORFOLK CHRONICLE, published on this date, was given a “nominal return of the casualties among officers in the action on the River Alma.” “1st Division—Scots Fusilier Guards: Captain W. G. Bulwer, wounded severely.”
October 25th 1854
The first detachment of the V Battery Royal Artillery arrived at Norwich; and the second detachment marched in on the 26th. “The last time artillery were stationed in this city was in 1813, and they were then commanded by General Cockburn, father of Major Cockburn, of Bracondale.”
October 25th 1854
At a public meeting held at the Guildhall, Norwich, a committee was appointed to carry out the objects of the Patriotic Fund, in accordance with the terms of the Royal Commission.
October 25th 1854
Killed at Balaclava, Lieut. Henry Astley Sparke, 4th Light Dragoons, eldest son of the Rev. J. H. Sparke, of Gunthorpe Hall, and nephew of Lord Hastings.
November 2nd 1854
The Wellington statue, erected in Norwich Market Place, was unveiled by the Mayor (Sir Samuel Bignold) in the presence of 20,000 spectators. The band of the West Norfolk Militia played the National Anthem, and the Royal Artillery fired a salute on the Castle Hill. At the luncheon given at the Guildhall, speeches were delivered by the Earl of Orford, Lord Ranelagh, Sir John Boileau, Lord Royston, and Mr. H. J. S. Stracey. The statue cost about £1,000. “The hero is represented in the identical boots, cloak, and some other portions of dress actually worn by him at Waterloo, which were placed at the service of Mr. Adams, the sculptor, when he was modelling the figure. Mr. Adams has placed a copy of last Saturday’s NORFOLK CHRONICLE in a small space chiselled for the purpose under the foot of the statue.”
November 8th 1854
Swaffham Coursing Meeting, which had greatly degenerated, was held, but owing to the small number of entries, the sport concluded early in the afternoon. “Although it does not appear that in other places coursing meetings have declined, it is clear that the glories of the Swaffham one have departed. The loss of Mr. Richard Gurney struck a blow at it almost fatal. This was followed by the withdrawal of Mr. Hamond and others, leaving the club originally consisting of all the letters of the alphabet reduced to two members. Although disappointed by the curtailment of the sports of the field, it was determined that the ladies should have the assembly as usual. It was held on Tuesday (the 7th), but it was known that none of the Club would be there to meet them as heretofore.” The fortunes of the Club could only be restored, it was said, by throwing the meeting open to all England.
November 9th 1854
Mr. Robert Chamberlin was elected Mayor, and Mr. R. J. H. Harvey appointed Sheriff of Norwich.
November 11th 1854
Mr. J. H. Tillett, it was announced on this date, had resigned his seat in the Norwich Town Council, in consequence of the Liberal candidate for the Seventh Ward “being forced upon the reluctant electors by bribery.” Mr. Tillett wrote: “A due regard to that peace of mind which is essential to a man’s happiness compels me to separate myself at once and for ever in the most decided and unequivocal manner possible from any association with those who are not prepared in public matters to adhere to a right and honest course.”
November 18th 1854
Died at his residence, Pedestal House, Southtown, Yarmouth in his 89th year, Captain Manby, F.R.S., the inventor of the apparatus for saving the lives of shipwrecked mariners. “His life for the last fifty years had been spent in serving his country, and his name will be revered by thousands who would have been widows and orphans but for the successful application of science which was perfected by his untiring industry and perseverance.” His remains were buried at Hilgay on November 24th.
November 20th 1854
Mrs. Fanny Kemble commenced a series of Shakesperian readings at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich.
December 8th 1854
A writ was received at Norwich for the election of a member to supply the vacancy caused by the resignation of Mr. Peto, M.P., “in consequence of the opinion of the law officers of the Crown that though he had consented to construct a railway in the Crimea without profit to himself, he would be liable to heavy penalties if he continued to sit in the House of Commons.” (_See_ December 27th.)
December 9th 1854
A description was published of the new Corn Hall at Diss, erected by a public-spirited resident, Mr. T. L. Taylor. The building was designed by Mr. George Atkins, jun. “Mr. Taylor intends vesting it in trustees for the purposes of a corn market at a nominal rental, and he further intends appropriating a spacious apartment for a reading-room and library.”
December 16th 1854
Wombwell’s Menagerie arrived at Norwich, and was advertised under its new title, “Edmonds’, late Wombwell’s.” The exhibition was removed from its usual quarters on Castle Meadow to the Market Place.
December 22nd 1854
Died at his residence in Berkeley Square, Mr. William Howe Windham, of Felbrigg Hall. He was one of the representatives of the Eastern Division of Norfolk in 1832, when he was returned with the Hon. George Keppel, their opponents being Lord Henry Cholmondeley and Mr. Nathaniel Peach. In 1835 he came forward with Mr. R. H. Gurney, in opposition to Mr. Edmond Wodehouse and Lord Walpole, when the two last named were returned. In 1837 another election occurred, when Lord Walpole having retired, Mr. H. N. Burroughes was brought forward in conjunction with Mr. Wodehouse. Mr. Windham and Mr. Gurney, who opposed them, were again unsuccessful. Mr. Windham, who was a staunch Whig, was the oldest son of Vice-Admiral Windham (formerly Lukin), who took the name and arms in pursuance of the will of his uncle, the Right Hon. William Windham, in 1824, on succeeding to the estate on the death of Mrs. Windham. On the decease of his father, the Admiral, Mr. Windham succeeded to the Felbrigg property. He married, in 1835, Lady Sophia Hervey, daughter of the Marquis of Bristol, by whom he had one son, then in his fourteenth year. Mr. Windham died at the age of 53.
December 26th 1854
Mr. J. F. Young, who for many years afterwards was a favourite actor in Norwich, made his first appearance at the Theatre Royal, in the character of Sir Edward Mortimer (“The Iron Chest”). The play was followed by a pantomime, entitled, “Harlequin St. George, or the Geni Czarnickholdofallhecan and the Fairy of Contentment.”
December 27th 1854
The West Norfolk Militia assembled at Norwich for the annual training. The East Norfolk Militia were embodied on the same day, at Yarmouth.
December 27th 1854
Sir Samuel Bignold and Mr. Anthony Hamond, of Westacre, were nominated candidates at the election at Norwich rendered necessary by the retirement of Mr. Peto. A poll, demanded on behalf of Mr. Hamond, took place on the 28th, and the result was officially declared on the 29th, as follows: Bignold, 1,901; Hamond, 1,635. After this election were published, for the first time, the expenses of the respective candidates. In Mr. Hamond’s accounts, under the heading, “hire of horses and carriages,” was the item, “W. Slaughter, Sedan chair, 15s.”
December 27th 1854
Died, the Rev. Sir George Stracey, Bart., rector of Rackheath. “It is rather a singular circumstance that there has been but one presentation to the living of Rackheath during a period of 115 years. The late rector held the living from 1796, and his predecessor was presented to it in 1739.”
December 30th 1854
A serious railway accident occurred between Thetford and Brandon. The up mail from Norwich, which left Thetford soon after 11 p.m., was detained two and a half miles beyond the station by a breakdown of the engine. Twenty-three minutes later a cattle train, travelling at full speed, dashed into the rear of the mail train. The engine-driver of the mail, John Burton, who was at work beneath his engine, was killed instantly, and three passengers in the rear carriage seriously injured. One, Mr. Meagher, a London undertaker, who had been attending the funeral of Mr. Windham, afterwards died. At the inquest, on January 15th, 1855, the jury found that the accident resulted from the inefficiency of the railway company’s rules in allowing a heavily-laden cattle train to follow a mail train at unlimited speed without telegraphic communication from the preceding station.