January 1st 1855
The railways from Reedham to Yarmouth and Lowestoft were flooded, owing to the high tides in the rivers. The metals were displaced, and on the 2nd traffic was stopped. At Yarmouth the water rose above the quayhead.
January 9th 1855
Lynn Corn Exchange was opened for business. It was built from designs by Mr. Maberley, at the cost of £2,450.
January 9th 1855
A “farewell festival” was held at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, “as a mark of respect and sympathy” to the Right Rev. Dr. Colenso, prior to his return to the diocese of Natal. Dr. Colenso, who was present had spent the greater part of the previous year in organizing means for carrying on his work in South Africa.
January 20th 1855
Died in Victoria Street, Norwich, aged 67, William Laws, one of the proprietors of the Norwich Telegraph coach, which he had driven for upwards of twenty years.
January 23rd 1855
The Norfolk Artillery Militia were embodied at Yarmouth. The corps, on March 7th, proceeded to Eastbourne, for garrison duty, and returned to Yarmouth on April 25th. In the following month it was determined to increase the strength from 200 to 400 men and to appoint a lieutenant-colonel.
January 29th 1855
Father Gavazzi, the popular Italian preacher and reformer, gave the first of a series of “Protestant orations” at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich.
February 10th 1855
“Died last week, at Lincoln, Mr. Benjamin Whall, Cathedral organist of that city, in his 75th year. He was a native of Norwich, and at an early age was distinguished for his splendid voice. At 19 he was appointed master of the choristers of Lincoln Cathedral, and subsequently organist, and held this situation for 56 years. He was distinguished as an organist, and was celebrated for his pure style of playing the old ecclesiastical compositions.”
February 20th 1855
In consequence of the high price of provisions, the inclemency of the weather, and the want of employment, it was decided, at a meeting held at the Guildhall, Norwich, to start a public subscription to aid the District Visiting Society in the relief of the poor.
February 24th 1855
The dignity of a baronetcy was conferred on Mr. Peto, in appreciation of his services, “and more especially of his disinterested and patriotic conduct in retiring from the representation of Norwich to carry out the construction of the railway from Balaclava, originated by the Duke of Newcastle.”
February 26th 1855
Died at Downham Green, Wymondham, Mr. James Neave, aged 68, “chairman of the market table at the Norfolk Hotel, Norwich.” When hundreds of small farmers in the county were threatened with ruin after the great hailstorm, in August, 1842, Mr. Neave suggested to his brother agriculturists the introduction of a voluntary rate, by which about £10,000 was raised for the relief of the sufferers. Subsequently was established the Norwich Hailstorm Society, of which Mr. Neave was an active promoter.
March 9th 1855
The Norwich police appeared in a new uniform. “The principal alteration in the clothing consists in the substitution of a frock-coat for the unsightly long-tailed coat, which is certainly a most becoming uniform for a civil force.”
March 21st 1855
This day was observed as one of solemn fasting and humiliation, in accordance with Royal Proclamation. The Mayor and Corporation of Norwich attended service at the Cathedral, and there were numerous congregations at other places of worship.
March 22nd 1855
At the Norfolk Assizes, before Lord Chief Baron Pollock and a special jury, was tried the libel action, Waldron, clerk, _v._ Bates, clerk. The Rev. Frederick William Waldron was a clergyman of the Church of England, and had been chaplain on board H.M. frigate Amazon, lying off the East India and China stations. On his return to England he became curate to the Rev. William Bates, rector of Burnham. After two years’ service, plaintiff gave the defendant three months’ notice of resignation. Mr. Bates supplied plaintiff with testimonials, by which he obtained the appointment of headmaster of a public school at Wymondham, in Leicestershire. In subsequent correspondence with the trustees of the school, the defendant stated he had “irrefragable proofs of the exceeding wickedness” of the plaintiff’s character, and, he added, “I call upon you, in the name of all that is holy and good, to dismiss him instantly from his employment.” After a trial extending over two days, the jury gave a verdict for the defendant.
March 26th 1855
The battery of Royal Artillery marched from Norwich Barracks for Woolwich, whence they proceeded to the Crimea for active service. They were replaced, on April 4th, by the D battery, from Chatham, commanded by Capt. Mountain.
March 29th 1855
At the Norwich Assizes, before Mr. Justice Wightman, Mary Ann Fisher, aged 28, was indicted for the wilful murder of her husband, George Wright, at Norwich, on November 28th, by poisoning him. The jury acquitted the prisoner.
March 29th 1855
Died at Cambridge, James Rattee, who was born at Fundenhall in 1820. After serving his apprenticeship with Mr. Ollett, carver, of Norwich, he commenced business for himself at Cambridge, at the age of 22. He was associated with Mr. Pugin in restoring the choir of Jesus College Chapel. Most of the designs were made by Rattee himself, and submitted to Pugin before execution. He carried out Mr. G. G. Scott’s designs for the carvings in Ely Cathedral, and by the advice of that gentleman spent part of the year 1852 on the Continent, where he studied the carved woodwork and artistic wrought ironwork and sculptured stone of Quintin Matsy and the other master spirits of Louvain and neighbouring cities. Returning to England, he constructed at Ely the reredos composed of choice stone and alabaster, highly enriched with delicate carving and inlaid with gold and gems, forming the most glorious piece of art workmanship executed since the Reformation. His work is to be found in churches in every county in England.
March 31st 1855
Capt. Wodehouse was backed to run one mile in six minutes, on the Earlham Road, Norwich. In the presence of a large number of spectators, he ran the first half mile in less than three minutes, and accomplished the second half in 2 minutes 56 seconds. He was attended by Jim Mace. On the 31st Capt. Wodehouse performed the feat of walking one mile in 8 mins. 16 sees.
April 1st 1855
The remains of Richard Peck, an agricultural labourer, aged 69, were buried in Docking churchyard. “The deceased had worked for forty-two years on the Choseley Farm, an extra-parochial place, and _cottage property_, distant from Docking two and a half miles, where he was obliged to reside, no labourers being permitted to live at Choseley. Thus he walked to and from his work five miles per day, 30 miles per week, 1,560 miles per year, and the extraordinary number of 65,520 miles during his forty-two years’ employment. This circumstance might be multiplied by numbers in England in general, and West Norfolk in particular, showing cogent reasons for Mr. Baines’ Poor-law Bill being made the law of the land.”
April 6th 1855
Died at her residence, St. Martin-at-Palace, Norwich, aged 38, Harriet Gurney Gordon, many years a favourite actress at Norwich and at different metropolitan and provincial theatres.
April 16th 1855
Mrs. Fanny Kemble commenced a course of Shakesperian readings at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich.
April 28th 1855
“Mr. Clare Sewell Read, son of Mr. George Read, of Plumstead, near Norwich, has been awarded by the Royal Agricultural Society the prize for the best essay on the farming of Buckinghamshire. Mr. Read obtained last year the society’s prize for his essay on Oxfordshire, and had also been a successful competitor in a former year for his essay on farming in South Wales.”
April 29th 1855
Died, aged 86, Mr. J. Watts, of Yarmouth, for many years coachman of the Telegraph coach running between Norwich and Yarmouth.
May 3rd 1855
A dinner to celebrate the freeing of Duke’s Palace Bridge, Norwich, was held at the Duke’s Palace Inn, under the presidency of the Mayor (Mr. Robert Chamberlin). “Upwards of twelve years have elapsed since the abolition of the above toll-bridge was first mooted, and the citizens are to be congratulated on the removal of the toll.”
May 15th 1855
A public meeting was held in the hall of the Bazaar (Victoria Hall), Norwich, presided over by the Mayor, in furtherance of the movement in favour of administrative reform. An address was delivered by Mr. W. S. Lindsay, M.P., and a resolution was adopted affirming “that, without wishing to exclude the aristocratic class from the position in the public service to which their talents and patriotism may entitle them to assert, merit is the only principle by which appointments to public offices should be attained.”
May 18th 1855
Among the officers who received the Crimean medal on this date at the hands of her Majesty were Capt. Bulwer, Capt. Bathurst, Capt. Micklethwaite, Lieut. Cator, and Lieut. Cresswell.
May 24th 1855
Yarmouth Waterworks were opened, with great public festivity.
May 29th 1855
The Norfolk coast was visited by a violent gale, which caused considerable destruction to life and property. Off Yarmouth the smack Ruby was lost, with her crew of nine men and a boy.
June 6th 1855
An exhibition of the Norfolk and Norwich Fine Arts Association was opened at Norwich. The collection included works by O. Short, J. B. Ladbrooke, C. J. W. Winter, H. B. Willis, Frederick Howes, C. L. Nursey, F. R. Pickersgill, R.A., John Wilson, Alfred Cooper, D. Hodgson, J. Stark, M. E. Cotman, J. J. Cotman, Mrs. J. Stannard, &c.
June 13th 1855
Colours were presented to the West Norfolk Militia, on the Cricket Ground, Norwich, by the Countess of Albemarle. Lord Orford, as colonel of the regiment, received the colours, and the consecration prayers were read by the Rev. C. W. Madden, “who wore the Waterloo medal on his breast.” The non-commissioned officers and men were entertained at dinner, provided by public subscription, at St. Andrew’s Hall. The Mayor (Mr. Chamberlin) presided, and Lord and Lady Albemarle, Lady Augusta Keppel, and other distinguished visitors were present.
June 23rd 1855
Notice was given that on and after June 30th the new Newspaper Act would be in operation, and stamped and unstamped editions of the NORFOLK CHRONICLE would be published. “In compliance with the request of the Postmaster-General, we would remind such of our subscribers as may desire to send the stamped edition through the post that the paper must be folded so that the whole stamp denoting the duty shall be distinctly visible on the outside. Such papers must be posted within 15 days of publication.”
June 23rd 1855
The Norton Subcourse and Raveningham estate was sold by Mr. George W. Salter, at the Norfolk Hotel, Norwich, for £16,632.
July 2nd 1855
A ten mile match, for £20 a side, was run at the Green Hill Gardens, between Robert Bunn, of Norwich, and John Lovett, of London. The first-named won; time, 58 minutes.
July 3rd 1855
The West Norfolk Militia, under the command of Lieut.-Col. Custance, left Norwich for Aldershot. In December the regiment was transferred to Dublin.
July 3rd 1855
Great festivities took place at Ellingham Hall, in celebration of the coming of age of Mr. Henry Smith, son and heir of Lieut.-Col. Smith. A dinner, at which 160 guests were present, was followed by sports, and in the evening dancing was opened upon the lawn by Mr. Smith and Miss Foster in a “Sir Roger de Coverley.”
July 5th 1855
The marriage took place at East Dereham, of Captain William Earle Gascoyne Bulwer, late Scots Fusilier Guards, eldest son of Mr. William E. Lytton Bulwer, of Heydon Hall, and Mary Anne Dering, only daughter of Mr. William Wilson Lee Warner, of Quebec House. The officiating clergy were the Rev. G. Dashwood, rector of Stow Bardolph, and the Rev. B. J. Armstrong, vicar of East Dereham.
July 7th 1855
Mr. Edmond Wodehouse, M.P., announced that it was his intention to retire from the representation of East Norfolk, in consequence of his continued ill-health. Mr. Henry Josiah Stracey was adopted as the Conservative candidate, and was returned unopposed on the 17th.
July 8th 1855
Died at Ems, Sir William Edward Parry, R.N., Lieut.-Governor of Greenwich Hospital. He was an LL.D. of Oxford, a F.R.S. of London and Edinburgh, a member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences at St. Petersburg, and author of a work entitled, “Thoughts on the Parental Character of God.” He married first, on October 23rd, 1826, Isabella Louisa, fourth daughter of Lord Stanley of Alderley, by whom he had issue two sons and two daughters. She died on May 13th, 1839. On June 29th, 1841, he married, secondly, Catherine Edwards, daughter of the Rev. R. Hankinson, of Walpole, and widow of Mr. Samuel Hoare, jun., of Hampstead, by whom he had issue two daughters. Sir William was an honorary freeman of the city of Norwich. He had commanded four Arctic expeditions, in all of which he gained high professional renown. For these services he received the honour of knighthood, and was presented by the Government with £1,000, his portion of a reward for reaching the meridian of 110 degs. W. within the Arctic circle.
July 18th 1855
Died, at an advanced age, at Norwich, John Osborne. “He was a well-known character, and for many years drove the Yarmouth coach, and for some time the mail coach between Norwich and Ipswich. The railway, however, put an end to his vocation. Every morning he attended service at the Cathedral. Even when he was the driver of the coach to Yarmouth he stipulated he should have his Sunday, in order that he might be in his accustomed place at the Cathedral.”
July 26th 1855
At the Norfolk Assizes, before Mr. Baron Parke and a special jury, was tried the action, Fisher _v._ Nisbett. This was a will case, which excited considerable interest on account of the large amount of property in dispute and the number of persons concerned. The plaintiff was Miss Mary Ann Fisher, and the nominal defendant Mr. Philip Blundell Nisbett. The actual defendant was Mr. Richard Blundell Nisbett. The question at issue was the validity of the will of a lady named Nisbett. The amount in dispute was between £20,000 and £30,000 in real property, and a larger amount in personal property. The father of Mrs. Nisbett was a Mr. Fisher, a banker, of Yarmouth. Mary Ann Fisher, the plaintiff, was one of his daughters. All the children were dead in 1854 with the exception of Mary Ann Fisher. In the year 1811, when the deceased Mrs. Nisbett married, her father settled on her the sum of £10,000, and gave her during life an annuity of £500, while all that Mr. Nisbett brought was the sum of £7,000. In 1824 Mr. Nisbett died. Of the marriage there were three sons; two had died, and at the time of the trial the only one living was the eldest, Philip Blundell Nisbett, a confirmed lunatic. In the year 1835 Mr. Fisher died, leaving property to the amount of about £100,000. Mrs. Nisbett, after her father’s death, left the bulk of the property to Philip Blundell Nisbett. There now appeared on the scene Mr. Richard Blundell Nisbett, a son of Mr. Nisbett’s brother, and nephew by marriage to Mrs. Nesbitt. He took out a commission of lunacy against Philip, who was found to be a lunatic and incapable of managing his own affairs. Then he endeavoured to get a commission of lunacy against Mrs. Nisbett, but the Lord Chancellor, on receiving the report of the medical men who examined her, dismissed the petition, with costs. As soon as Mrs. Nisbett discovered the course that Richard was pursuing, she made a new will, the effect of which was that the property went to Miss Fisher, the plaintiff, for life, and after her death to blood relations. On November 10th, 1854, Mrs. Nisbett died suddenly, and these legal proceedings commenced. After evidence had been given by medical men and others, the Attorney-General (Sir Alexander Cockburn) who appeared for the defendant, unexpectedly withdrew from the case, and a verdict was entered for the plaintiff.
August 1st 1855
Died at Malta, of wounds received before Sebastopol, on June 18th, in the attack upon the Redan, Lieut. Charles A. P. Boileau, of the Rifle Brigade, aged 19, fourth son of Sir John P. Boileau, Bart., and Lady Catherine Boileau, of Ketteringham Park.
August 15th 1855
Stalham Corn Hall, erected at the cost of £300, raised by 82 shares of £5 each, was opened.
August 16th 1855
A public dinner was held at Fakenham, under the presidency of Sir Willoughby Jones, Bart., to celebrate the opening of the Corn Hall. A capital of £4,000 was raised in 160 shares of £25 each. The building was designed by Mr. Brown, architect, of Norwich, and built by Mr. Pettitt, of Ipswich, for £3,000.
August 20th 1855
Mr. Charles Mathews commenced a two nights’ engagement at Norwich Theatre. His characters were Sir Charles Coldstream (“Used Up”), Mr. Affable Hawk (“The Game of Speculation”), and Captain Patter (“Patter _versus_ Clatter”). For these two nights the Theatre was under the management of Mr. John Coleman, formerly of the Norwich Company.
August 21st 1855
Died at Thorpe, in his 72nd year, Mr. Edmond Wodehouse. He was a son of Mr. Thomas Wodehouse, by a daughter of Mr. Pryce Campbell, of Stackpole Court, Pembrokeshire. In 1809 he married his cousin, Lucy, daughter of the Rev. Philip Wodehouse, by whom he had four children, two sons and two daughters. In 1817 he offered himself as candidate for Norfolk, in opposition to Mr. Pratt; he was returned, and retained his seat until the General Election in 1830. At that time the excitement of the Reform agitation was at its height, which, with other circumstances, induced him to decline a contest. In that year Mr. T. W. Coke (afterwards Earl of Leicester) was returned with Sir W. J. H. B. ffolkes. In 1832 Mr. Keppel and Mr. Windham were returned. When the political excitement of the former period had subsided, Mr. Wodehouse again appeared before the constituency, and at the General Election in 1835 he and Lord Walpole were returned, in opposition to Mr. Windham and Mr. Richard Hanbury Gurney. Another General Election took place in 1837, and Mr. Wodehouse was returned with Mr. Henry Negus Burroughes, in opposition to the same Liberal candidates. In 1842 Mr. Wodehouse and Mr. Burroughes were again elected; Sir W. J. H. B. ffolkes, who was abroad at the time, was nominated without his consent as the Liberal candidate. Both Conservative candidates were re-elected without opposition in 1847. Mr. Wodehouse sat in Parliament about forty years. He was a Conservative of the old school, a Protectionist, and a zealous supporter of Sir Robert Peel until he introduced his Free Trade measures. His remains were interred at Norwich Cathedral on August 28th.
August 21st 1855
At the Norwich Police Court, Mr. John Coleman, tragedian, and temporary manager of the Theatre, preferred a complaint against Inspector Amis, of the city police. On the previous evening, he stated, a number of persons presented themselves at the dress-box entrance and demanded admission with, silver tickets. He informed them that the majority of places had been taken by those who had paid, but the upper circle was open to silver ticket holders. Some noise and disturbance ensued. Sir William Foster came up and endeavoured to gain an entrance, Mr. Coleman tried to prevent him, a scuffle ensued, and the police were sent for by both parties. Inspector Amis came, and Mr. Coleman directed his attention to a notice on the play-bill that no one would be admitted to the dress circle without a reserved seat ticket. Mr. Coleman asked the inspector to remove the persons who were seeking to gain an entrance; and they, in turn, requested the inspector to remove Mr. Coleman. The officer, it was asserted, made an unprovoked and violent assault upon Mr. Coleman, who denied that silver ticket holders had the privilege to enter the house, and told them that they must legally prove their right. He had taken the Theatre for two nights only, at a heavy rental, there was no arrangement in the agreement with the manager as to the proprietors of silver tickets, and that was why he had put the notice on the bills. Mr. Hudson (a magistrate) remarked that the owners of silver tickets were owners of the Theatre, and had a right to go in when they pleased. Sir William Foster attended the Court, and stated that unless Mr. Coleman apologised he would take proceedings against him. Mr. Coleman said he was sorry if Sir William Foster had been injured (his waistcoat was torn to ribbons), but beyond that he should make no apology. The case against Amis was dismissed. Silver ticket holders were admitted without opposition on the evening of the 21st.
August 23rd 1855
Died at Norwich, in his 87th year, Mr. John Francis, manufacturer, who served the office of Sheriff in 1837.
August 24th 1855
The foundation-stone of a new chapel on Hempton Green, Fakenham, was laid. The building was designed by Mr. J. H. Hakewell, architect to the Church Building Society. “Hempton has been without a church or clergyman since the Reformation, when the ancient priory church was demolished.” (_See_ October 6th, 1856.)
September 4th 1855
Died at Brighton, Mr. Henry Dover, of Caston, who, in the previous July, resigned the office he had long held as a chairman of the Court of Norfolk Quarter Sessions.
September 10th 1855
A telegraphic message announcing the fall of Sebastopol was exhibited at the window of the NORFOLK CHRONICLE Office, at six p.m. Thousands of citizens crowded into the Market Place, and the office was besieged by persons anxious to obtain copies of the dispatch. Peals were rung upon the bells of St. Peter Mancroft, bands paraded the streets, and the citizens sang in chorus the National Anthem and “Rule, Britannia.” A bonfire was lighted in the Market Place, followed by a display of fireworks. There were great rejoicings in every town and village in the county. Sunday, the 29th, was observed as a day of special thanksgiving.
September 18th 1855
Mr. Walter Montgomery, at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich, “repeated from memory his recital of ‘Othello.’” “Mr. Montgomery is the son of a respectable Norwich citizen, and has gained much provincial celebrity for his impersonation of Shakesperian characters.”
September 23rd 1855
A fire occurred at the Steam Flour Mills, Lower Westwick Street, Norwich. The large building, much valuable machinery, and 200 sacks of flour were destroyed. The loss to the owner (Mr. F. W. Waters) was estimated at £4,000.
October 19th 1855
At a meeting of the county magistrates, the following resolution was adopted, on the motion of Mr. T. J. Birch: “That the magistrates of the county of Norfolk, in Quarter Sessions assembled, take this, the earliest opportunity, of conveying to Major-General Charles Ash Windham, their sincere congratulations on his providential escape from the perils attendant on the assault of the great Redan of Sebastopol on the 8th of September, 1855, of expressing to him their sense of admiration of his long-enduring gallantry, of his courage, constancy, self-devotion, and self-possession, which may be equalled, but cannot be surpassed, and of tendering to him their warmest and most cordial thanks for the example he has thus held out to the British soldier.” A “Windham Testimonial Fund” was afterwards opened. (_See_ August 1st, 1856.)
November 3rd 1855
The Norfolk coast was visited by a severe gale, which did enormous damage to the shipping.
November 9th 1855
Mr. J. Godwin Johnson was elected Mayor, and Mr. Timothy Steward appointed Sheriff of Norwich.
November 28th 1855
At a meeting of the Norwich Town Council, the unsatisfactory state of the railway communication between Norwich and London was considered. It was stated that an apprehension existed on the part of the public, on account of delays and obstructions, that the Eastern Counties Railway was insecure. A committee was appointed to inquire into and define the grievances of the citizens. On December 7th the Committee reported upon the alleged insecurity of the permanent way; the irregularity and inconvenience in the working of the line; and the arrangements for the conveyance of the mails. The Board of Trade made an inspection of the line, and in January, 1856, reported upon its insecure and dangerous state between Norwich and Cambridge.
December 8th 1855
“The Queen has been pleased to grant unto Joseph Stonehewer Scott, of Thursford and Pinckney, in the county of Norfolk, eldest son of Mr. Joseph Scott, of Colney Hall, license and authority that he and his issue may use the surname of Chad in addition to and after the surname of Scott, and bear the arms of Chad quarterly with the family arms of Scott.”
December 8th 1855
“Of late years some improvements have been made in various parts of Norwich by widening the streets, but by far the most important and expensive has been that in London Street. The improvement was badly designed, and has cost almost as much already as the cost would have been of pulling down one side of the street entirely. From first to last at least £20,000 has been expended, and the whole street is a bungle after all. The lower part of the street remains as bad as ever, and in the upper part years have been required to make a fourteen feet passage.”
December 19th 1855
Mr. W. L. Mendham was elected Town Clerk of Norwich, in succession to Mr. J. R. Staff, who, since 1836, had held that office with the appointment of Clerk of the Peace. Mr. A. Dalrymple was elected to the latter office.
December 20th 1855
Died at Dorking, Mr. T. Cubitt, who was well known by reason of the many important building contracts he had undertaken in London. He was born at Buxton, near Norwich, on February 25th, 1788. When working as a journeyman carpenter, he, in his nineteenth year, made a voyage to India, as a ship’s joiner. On his return to London two years afterwards, he commenced as a builder in a small way of business. Later he erected the London Institution, Moorfields, and about the year 1824 entered into an engagement with the Duke of Bedford and Lord Southampton for contracts on the ground on which Tavistock Square, Gordon Square, Woburn Place, and the neighbouring streets now stand. Towards the close of the same year and the beginning of 1825 he engaged with the Marquis of Westminster and Mr. Lowndes to cover portions of the Five Fields and grounds adjacent, and of this engagement Belgrave Square, Lowndes Square, Chatham Place, and other ranges of houses resulted. He built upon the vast open district lying between Eton Square and the Thames, now known as South Belgravia, and carried out similar extensive operations in Clapham, Kemp-town, Brighton, and other places. Mr. Cubitt had two brothers, Mr. Alderman Cubitt, M.P. for Andover, and Mr. Lewis Cubitt, the architect of the Great Northern Railway terminus.
December 26th 1855
The title of the Christmas pantomime produced at Norwich Theatre was “King Goggle-eyed Greedy Gobble and the Fairy of the Enchanted Lake.” Mr. Sidney was complimented upon the excellence of the production.
December 27th 1855
Died, in his 80th year, Mr. W. Shalders, who was for many years a leather merchant in Norwich. He was the originator and patentee of the far-famed Norwich invention known as the “fountain pump.”