January 6th 1859
At the Norwich Police Court, Mr. H. Brown, proprietor of the “Cirque Unique,” Castle Meadow, appeared to answer an information preferred by Mr. William Sidney, manager of Norwich Theatre, charging him with performing a stage play without licence from the Lord Chamberlain. It was contended by the prosecution that the equestrian spectacle of “Mazeppa,” as presented at the Circus, was a stage play within the meaning of the Act to Regulate Theatres. The magistrates held that there was no contravention of the Act, and dismissed the case.
January 12th 1859
A public meeting was held at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, under the presidency of the Sheriff, to promote the objects of “The Metropolitan and County Association for the Equalization of the Poor Rates.” A resolution was adopted, affirming that as the poor rates generally of the County of Norfolk were unequally levied, some parishes paying less than one penny and others more than four shillings in the pound, and as the city suffered from this inequality and great discontent was caused among the ratepayers, it was the opinion of the meeting that the rates should be equalised by establishing a county rate.
January 31st 1859
The Norwich Court of Guardians presented an illuminated address to Mr. A. A. H. Beckwith, on his retirement from the office of Governor of the Court, after a service of upwards of a quarter of a century.
February 3rd 1859
The Norwich Corn Exchange Bill was before the examiner of private Bills in the House of Commons. The Standing Orders of the House were declared to have been complied with. The Bill passed through its remaining stages, and on August 1st received the Royal assent. (_See_ November 9th, 1861.)
February 5th 1859
“Several primroses were gathered in the hedges near Ormesby a few days ago. The weather is exceedingly mild in this locality, which is not a little remarkable for this, almost the easternmost, part of England.”
February 10th 1859
Mr. Gough, the celebrated temperance advocate, made his second appearance at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich.
February 12th 1859
Died at Buxton Vicarage, in his 79th year, Lieut.-General James Claud Bourchier, Colonel of the 3rd Dragoon Guards. He served under Sir Ralph Abercrombie in the expedition against Cadiz, in 1800, in the campaign in Egypt in 1801, and in the campaigns of 1811–12–15. He was present at the siege of Badajoz, the battle of Salamanca, the cavalry affairs at Callada de Carino and Venta de Toso, the battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo, and the capture of Paris.
February 14th 1859
Mr. Barnum, the celebrated showman, lectured at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, on “Money-making and the Art of Humbug.” The lecture was described as “a strange medley—a most anomalous production.”
March 6th 1859
East Dereham church was, for the first time, lighted with gas, through the munificence of an anonymous parishioner. Evening services were held from this date.
March 8th 1859
The Norwich New Street Bill, the object of which was to acquire powers for constructing what is now known as the Prince of Wales Road, was before a Select Committee of the House of Lords. It was stated that a number of Norwich gentlemen had formed themselves into a company to construct a new roadway and street, and to buy the land fronting the said street to the depth of about 108 feet, leading from a point near the Eastern Counties Railway Station to King street, near Harveys and Hudsons’ Bank, a distance of something less than 500 yards. Rose Lane at that time formed the only approach from the station to the city. The Committee decided in favour of the Bill, leaving the question of compensation to be determined by a jury. The Bill was considered by a Select Committee of the House of Commons on June 28th, when the whole of the clauses were passed. (_See_ June 19th, 1860.)
March 20th 1859
Died at his residence, Highgate Rise, London, Mr. M. Prendergast, Q.C., Recorder of Norwich, and Judge of the City of London Sheriff’s Court. He was called to the Bar in 1820, and was appointed Recorder of Norwich on the death of Mr. Jermy, in 1848. He was succeeded in the Recordership by Mr. Peter Frederick O’Malley, Q.C.
March 24th 1859
Supt. Robert Hitchman, of Devonport, was appointed Chief Constable of Norwich, in place of Mr. English.
March 31st 1859
The first fall of snow during the winter, which had been very mild, occurred on this date. On April 6th and 7th the thermometer recorded 90 deg. in the sun.
April 6th 1859
The celebrated dwarf, “General Tom Thumb,” held a series of “levées” at St. Andrew’s Hall, Norwich, commencing on this date. “The General left the Hall daily in his miniature carriage, drawn by the smallest ponies in the world, and attended by an African coachman and footman in livery.”
April 19th 1859
A clipper barque named the Athelstan, of 500 tons burthen, was launched from the yard of Messrs. H. Fellows and Son, Yarmouth.
April 29th 1859
The General Election, consequent upon the defeat of the Derby Ministry on the Reform Bill and the Dissolution of Parliament on April 23rd, commenced in Norfolk on this date. At Yarmouth Sir Edmund Lacon (C) and Sir H. Stracey (C) were returned, with 699 and 659 votes respectively. The Liberal candidates were Mr. A. W. Young, 536, and Mr. E. W. Watkin, 568.
April 29th 1859
The nomination of candidates for the representation of Norwich took place at the Guildhall. The Conservative candidates were Sir Samuel Bignold and Mr. Charles Manners Lushington; and the Liberal candidates Mr. W. H. Schneider and Lord Bury. The Mayor announced at the Police-Court that, having received information that probable attempts would be made to prevent voters from exercising their rights, he had obtained the assistance of a large body of county police, and had telegraphed to Sir Richard Mayne to supply a strong party of Metropolitan constables. The poll was opened on the 30th, and the election resulted as follows: Bury, 2,154; Schneider, 2,138; Bignold, 1,966; Lushington, 1,900. (_See_ June 17th.)
April 29th 1859
The Earl of Euston and Mr. Baring were returned without opposition as members of Parliament for Thetford. Mr. J. J. Colman, of Norwich, had been invited to become a candidate in the Liberal interest, but declined. The register contained the names of 220 electors.
April 29th 1859
Lord Stanley (C) and Mr. J. H. Gurney (L) were returned unopposed for King’s Lynn.
May 2nd 1859
Mr. Edward Howes (C) and Col. Wenman C. W. Coke (L) were returned unopposed for the division of East Norfolk.
May 4th 1859
The Governors elected the Rev. Augustus Jessopp, of St. John’s College, Cambridge, head master of Helston Grammar School, to be head master of Norwich Grammar School.
May 6th 1859
Mr. George William Pierrepont Bentinck (C) and Mr. Brampton Gurdon (L) were returned without opposition members for West Norfolk.
May 16th 1859
The Mayor of Norwich, in compliance with a requisition, convened a Common Hall, at which a loyal address to the Queen was adopted, praying that there should be no interference in the war which had arisen on the Continent, but at the same time assuring her Majesty of the readiness of the citizens of Norwich to uphold the honour and dignity of her Crown under any circumstances that might arise.
May 17th 1859
At a meeting of the Norwich Town Council, Mr. J. H. Tillett moved that a petition be presented to Parliament praying for a full, searching, and impartial inquiry into corrupt and illegal practices at elections for members of Parliament for Norwich. The motion was adopted, and a committee appointed to draft the petition, which was presented for the approval of the Council on June 21st. It asserted that extensive and systematic bribery was practised; that it was rumoured a fund was raised in London prior to the last General Election for election purposes, and a considerable contribution from that fund was sent down to Norwich for the purpose of being used at the late election; and that a large sum of money had been subscribed in Norwich for the same purpose. The Council adopted the petition, and requested Mr. J. Bright, M.P., to present it to the House of Commons. The petition was presented on July 11th, and was ordered to lie upon the table. At a meeting of the Town Council on July 19th, it was agreed “That it be referred to a special committee to consider the propriety and expediency of applying in the next Session of Parliament for an Act for better regulating the election of members to serve in Parliament.” The Special Committee reported on August 8th, and recommended the Council to resolve that as soon as it should be known that an election for a member or members was to take place, the candidates with their influential and active supporters, to the number of not less than twenty on each side, be called upon to sign a declaration pledging themselves to abstain, both directly and indirectly, from and to discountenance treating and every form of corrupt or illegal practice or expenditure, and also engaging not to practice canvassing; that in case of infraction of the above-named, it be referred to the Right Hon. William E. Gladstone, M.P., and the Right Hon. Spencer Horatio Walpole, M.P., as referees, or to such third person as they might name, to determine whether the understanding had been honourably carried out or not, and the member or members returned should be bound to abide by such decision and to resign his or their seats if it were adjudged that his or their election was secured or promoted by the violation of such understanding, and that the other candidates and parties subscribing such declaration should also abide by the decision of such referees or umpire. The report was adopted, and a committee appointed to give effect to it. On October 29th a meeting was held at the Guildhall, convened by the following circular, issued by the Mayor (Mr. Middleton) and the Deputy-Mayor (Mr. Field): “Having heard from various quarters that an unusual effort will be made by each political party to secure the majority at the approaching municipal elections, we take upon ourselves the responsibility of asking our fellow-citizens to meet . . . with the view of saving the city, if possible, from a repetition of those disgraceful proceedings which have recently taken place in Norwich.” At the meeting the Deputy-Mayor moved the following resolution: “That, in the opinion of this meeting, the business of the Town Council and the Corporation of Guardians ought henceforth to be conducted without reference to political interests, but alone with the view of promoting the best interests of the citizens.” The discussion showed that the principle of the resolution was not agreeable to the meeting, whereupon Mr. Field withdrew it, and the proceedings ended.
May 23rd 1859
Miss Goddard, a tragic actress of some repute, appeared at Norwich Theatre, in the character of Hamlet. “Hamlet is now played by a woman,” wrote the critic, “infinitely better than it has been played by almost any of the opposite sex who have ever attempted it.”
May 24th 1859
The Queen’s birthday was celebrated in Norwich by the entertainment at dinner at St. Andrew’s Hall, of nearly 700 of the poor of the city, at the joint expense of the Mayor and Sheriff.
May 26th 1859
A _déjeuner_ was given at the Town Hall, Yarmouth, in honour of the Bight Rev. Dr. Hills, Bishop of Columbia, and formerly incumbent of the parish, who was presented with an address and several gifts by the townspeople.
May 26th 1859
The Volunteer movement commenced in Norfolk on this date. A public meeting, convened by the Mayor of Norwich, by request of the Lord Lieutenant of the county, was held at the Shirehall. It was decided that the inhabitants of the city and neighbourhood be invited to enrol themselves as active and honorary members of the Norwich Rifle Corps Club. All members were to provide their own uniform, the expense of which was not to exceed £3 or £4, and if the Government did not provide arms, the Committee would assist in individual cases to such an extent as the funds would permit. Honorary members were to pay an annual subscription of one guinea. The drill required from active members was not to exceed two hours a day on three days a week, and they were assured that “on no occasion could they be called from Norwich except in case of actual invasion or rebellion.” Many Volunteers were enrolled at the conclusion of the meeting. Similar meetings were held in all the towns of the county, and the movement soon became general. At an adjourned meeting, held at the Shirehall, Norwich, on July 2nd, and presided over by Lieut.-Col. FitzRoy, “to consider the best patterns for the clothing and accoutrements of the Rifle Corps in the towns throughout the county,” it was resolved, “That the uniform for the city of Norwich and the boroughs in the county be a gray cloth tunic coat with black mohair braid and buttons down the centre, with a low, upright collar, and trousers of the same colour and material, and with a shako of hair cloth of the same colour as the uniform, that a plume be worn, and that the appointments be a patent leather black waistbelt, with pouch bags; the officers’ dress to be distinguished by some embroidery above the cuff of the coat and by a pouch-belt, with bronzed whistle and chain, and a slung waistbelt, with sword and steel scabbard.” A general meeting of the members of the three companies formed in Norwich—the Mayor’s Company, the Sheriff’s Company, and Mr. Hay Gurney’s Company—was held at the Guildhall, on July 5th, when the officers were elected as follows: For the Mayor’s Company, Mr. R. Seaman lieutenant, and Mr. A. J. Cresswell ensign. For the Sheriff’s Company, Mr. Henry Morgan lieutenant, and Mr. Charles Foster ensign. For Mr. Hay Gurney’s Company, Mr. Croker lieutenant, and Mr. Charles Henry Gurney ensign. The captains were respectively Mr. Middleton (Mayor), Mr. H. S. Patteson (Sheriff), and Mr. Hay Gurney. In the month of September two additional companies were formed, one commanded by Mr. J. H. Orde, with Mr. E. P. Youell as lieutenant and Mr. J. Tomlinson as ensign; and the other by Mr. William Swatman (brevet colonel), with Mr. F. J. Cresswell as lieutenant. The first public parade of the corps took place on October 7th, when the muster was 220, and “Capt. Black, an honorary member of the corps, kindly consented to put them through their evolutions on the Cricket Field.” Mr. Simms Reeve, the honorary secretary, announced on November 5th that long Enfield rifles had been supplied by Government free of cost; and on December 5th, at a general meeting of the corps, Major Brett was elected Major Commandant.
June 17th 1859
A petition against the return of Lord Bury and Mr. Schneider as members of Parliament for Norwich, was presented in the House of Commons. Bribery and other corrupt and illegal practices were alleged. The Special Committee appointed to inquire into the petition sat on July 29th, and on July 30th decided “That the election of Lord Bury and Mr. Schneider was a void election, and that both, by their agents, were guilty of bribery.” Sir Samuel Bignold, on his return from London, on the 30th, was welcomed by an immense crowd at Thorpe Station, and, escorted by a torch-light procession headed by a band of music, his carriage was dragged in triumph to his residence in Surrey Street.
June 23rd 1859
A writ was issued for the election of a member of Parliament for Norwich, in consequence of a vacancy caused in the representation of the city by the acceptance of the appointment of Comptroller of Her Majesty’s Household by Viscount Bury. The nomination took place at the Guildhall, on the 28th, when the candidates were Viscount Bury, Sir Samuel Bignold, and Col. Henry George Baldero. The show of hands was in favour of Lord Bury, and a poll was demanded on behalf of Sir Samuel Bignold and Col. Baldero. The poll was opened on the 29th, and declared on the 30th, as follows: Bury, 1,922; Bignold, 1,561; Baldero, 39. Lord Bury was declared elected. (_See_ March 9th, 1860.)
July 3rd 1859
Died in London, in his 90th year, the Right Rev. Dr. Maltby, formerly Bishop of Durham. He was born in the parish of St. George Tombland, Norwich, on April 9th, 1770, and at the age of nine years was sent to the Free Grammar School, then under the mastership of Dr. Parr. On the resignation of Dr. Parr, Maltby, who was then head boy, proceeded to Winchester, and entering Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, he there gained a University scholarship. He was seventh or eighth wrangler and first medallist, and obtained a prize for Greek epigrams. Maltby afterwards became domestic chaplain to the Bishop of Lincoln. He was author of “Sermons on the Christian Religion,” and editor of Morell’s “Thesaurus,” and wrote a very learned and judicious book on “Divinity.” He held one of the prebends of Lincoln Cathedral and the living of Brickdon. In 1831 he was consecrated Bishop of Chichester, and was translated to Durham in 1836. Under Act of Parliament he resigned the latter see in September, 1856, and was allowed an annuity of £4,500.
July 7th 1859
Died at Roydon Rectory, the Rev. Temple Frere, canon of Westminster and rector of Roydon, aged 78. He was son of Mr. John Frere, for some years member of Parliament for Norwich, and took his B.A. degree at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1802, as eighth junior optime, migrating afterwards to Downing College. Ordained deacon in 1804 and priest in 1805, he was presented, in 1820, to the family living of Roydon (valued at £400), which he held until his death. He owned the greater part of Diss, and was an active magistrate in that division of the county. Having served some time as chaplain of the House of Commons, he was gazetted to a canonry in Westminster Abbey in 1838. Canon Frere was remarkable for his businesslike habits, and is said to have considerably improved in value the Abbey estates.
July 12th 1859
The new “marine promenade” at Wells-next-the-Sea, for which the town was indebted to the Earl of Leicester, was opened on this date. The work of construction was commenced in March, 1857. The length of the embankment is 1 mile 132 yards, and its height at the highest part 22 ft. 6 in.
July 14th 1859
A fire occurred on the premises of Mr. Noble, organ builder, Pottergate Street, Norwich. The entire stock was destroyed. The building adjoined the hospital for invalids of the West Norfolk Militia. “Ten sick Militiamen escaped from the house in great alarm, and only partially dressed.”
July 18th 1859
Messrs. Butcher, of Norwich, commenced the sale of the Earl of Orford’s estates; the proceedings concluded on the 21st. The Tivetshall estate realised £73,775; the Saxthorpe estate, £99,740; the Briston and Corpusty estate, £8,427; and the Burnham and Weybourne estate, £6,182.
August 3rd 1859
Mr. Spurgeon made his first appearance in Norwich, on his mission for procuring funds to erect a “monstre tabernacle in London to accommodate the immense congregations drawn together by his peculiar pulpit oratory.” About 2,500 persons assembled at St. Andrew’s Hall to hear his sermon. In the evening Mr. Spurgeon preached in the open air, in Chapel Field, to a congregation of more than 10,000. “The collection at the afternoon service amounted to £28, which Mr. Spurgeon took occasion to say, in introducing another collection in the evening, was the shabbiest collection he had ever had.” In the evening £23 was contributed.
August 12th 1859
The Donegal Militia, 300 strong, arrived at Yarmouth, in the ss. Himalaya. Lieut.-Col. Lord Claud Hamilton was in command of the regiment, which relieved the Louth Rifles (Militia).
August 13th 1859
A meeting of landowners and others interested in a proposed line of railway from Norwich to Aylsham and Cromer was held at the Royal Hotel, Norwich, under the presidency of Sir Henry Stracey, Bart., M.P. The meeting favoured the scheme, and appointed a provisional committee.
August 18th 1859
The first recorded angling match took place on this date, at Limpenhoe Reach, on the Yare, for prizes given by Mr. C. J. Greene, of Rose Lane, Norwich. The total weight of fish taken by the 28 competitors in the course of eight hours was 16 st. 7 lbs. 1 oz. Mr. G. Harman secured first prize, with a catch of 33 lbs. 3 ozs.
August 28th 1859
A remarkable case of protracted abstinence from food was discovered at St. Faith’s. A man, who gave the name of William Watling, of Felmingham, aged 60, was found in a prostrate and apparently dying condition in a plantation. His statement was to the effect that five weeks previously, when tramping the country, he was overcome with heat and crawled into the plantation. From that spot, he declared, he had not moved for five weeks, and although persons passed very near the wood, he failed, in consequence of physical exhaustion, to attract their attention. He had neither food nor drink during the whole time, and ate nothing but the grass and leaves around him, and a few blackberries. “His bones almost protruded through his skin, and his flesh was nearly all dried up.” The medical opinion was that he would not recover, but there is no further record of the case.
August 31st 1859
The ceremony of laying the first stone of the new church of Holy Trinity, Norwich, was performed by the Mayor (Mr. Middleton). A special service was held at St. Peter Mancroft, when the sermon was preached by the Ven. Archdeacon Bouverie, and, after the laying of the stone, a large gathering was held in a temporary building adjoining the site. (_See_ August 8th, 1861.)
September 2nd 1859
Died Mrs. Sarah Bickersteth, widow of the Rev. Edward Bickersteth, rector of Watton, Herts. She was the eldest daughter of Mr. Thomas Bignold, of Norwich, and sister of Sir Samuel Bignold. Born on October 3rd, 1788, she married, on May 5th, 1812, Mr. Edward Bickersteth, who was then a solicitor practising in Norwich. Two years afterwards, at the call of the Rev. Josiah Pratt, he gave up a lucrative business for the laborious post of co-secretary in the Church Missionary House, and visited the missions on the West Coast of Africa. Four fourteen years Mrs. Bickersteth shared all his toils, until 1830, when he was presented to the living of Watton, by Mr. Abel Smith, M.P. He died in February, 1850, and Mrs. Bickersteth, for the last nine years of her life, divided her time among her children. She spent the last month with her son, the incumbent of Christ church, Hampstead.
September 15th 1859
The church of Framingham Pigot, built through the munificence of Mr. G. H. Christie, at a cost exceeding £5,000, was consecrated by the Bishop of Norwich.
October 8th 1859
Died, in the 100th year of her age, Mary Tallowin, of Bowthorpe.
October 11th 1859
Charles Dickens gave a reading, at St. Andrew’s Hall, of the “Christmas Carol” and the trial scene from “The Pickwick Papers,” and on the 12th read the story of Little Dombey and of Mrs. Gamp. “The reception of Mr. Dickens, on his first appearing in front of a very artistically arranged screen, was cordial and enthusiastic. His voice was far from powerful, but he had remarkable expression and the power of exhibiting this in face as well as in voice. As a pecuniary speculation, it must have been highly profitable to Mr. Dickens.”
October 17th 1859
The town of Attleborough was, for the first time, lighted with gas, an event which was celebrated by a public dinner at the New Inn.
October 20th 1859
At the Norwich Quarter Sessions, John Plummer (25), shoemaker, was indicted for stealing a model of a gold nugget, the property of the trustees of the Norfolk and Norwich Museum. Mr. Reeve, the curator of the Museum, stated that the model was worth only a few shillings, but it was an attractive object, and generally supposed by visitors, and no doubt by the prisoner, to be a piece of genuine gold. The prisoner was sentenced to seven years’ penal servitude.
October 21st 1859
At the Norfolk Quarter Sessions, the Police Committee called attention to an Act of Parliament passed in the previous month of August, empowering the substitution of policemen for javelin men at the Assizes, and recommending that the Chief Constable be authorised, on the application of the High Sheriff, to employ a sufficient number of constables for that purpose, the High Sheriff engaging to pay such sum as would, in the estimation of the Chief Constable, be sufficient to meet the additional expense of such employment. The matter was adjourned for further consideration. (_See_ January 5th, 1860.)
October 21st 1859
Mr. R. M. Phipson was elected County Surveyor.
October 24th 1859
A singular question came before the Norwich Town Council, in relation to the right of the Corporation to the property of convicts. The Police Committee reported they had been informed by the Chief Constable that on the apprehension of one George Valentine, on a charge of felony, a large sum of money was found in his possession. Valentine having been tried and convicted at the Quarter Sessions, the Town Clerk had stated that the city was entitled to the convict’s money. The Chief Constable wished to know how he should dispose of the money. The Committee were advised that, after the conviction, the city had become entitled to the money under a Royal charter granted during the reign of Henry IV. The Council ordered that the money remain in the hands of the City Treasurer, pending further inquiry. The question was again considered by the Council on May 12th, 1863, when the Town Clerk reported that after Valentine’s conviction it was found that, in addition to the sum in question (£90), he had £60 deposited in a savings bank in London. The Town Clerk had given notice to the bank directors that the Corporation claimed the money, but since the liberation of the prisoner he had been pressed to withdraw the notices, and had refused to do so without the sanction of the Corporation. The difficulty under which the Corporation laboured was that the money was out of their jurisdiction, and they had no control over it beyond the notice that had been given. If further steps were taken the question would arise whether it was a forfeiture to the Corporation or to the Crown, but as this would involve an inquisition, the cost of which would probably exhaust the money enquired about, it was for the Council to say whether, the man, having served his term of three years’ penal servitude, and having petitioned for some relief from the fund to place him in a position to gain an honest livelihood, they would authorise the withdrawal of the notice. It was agreed that the notice be withdrawn.
October 25th 1859
A severe storm occurred off the Norfolk coast. At Winterton two vessels were wrecked and thirteen lives lost. At Yarmouth there were several wrecks, and for miles the shore was strewn with remains of cargoes and portions of vessels. The sloop James and Jessie drifted on to the Britannia Pier, and severed the structure into two parts.
October 26th 1859
Mr. and Mrs. German Reed gave, at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich, their entertainment entitled, “Seaside Studies.”
November 9th 1859
At a meeting of the Norwich Town Council, Mr. J. H. Tillett was elected Mayor, and Mr. Joseph Underwood appointed Sheriff.
November 9th 1859
Mr. Tillett, on taking his seat as Mayor of Norwich, informed the Town Council that an attempt had been made to bribe one of the Councillors. Mr. Joel Fox, the member in question, produced the halves of three £100 bank notes, which, he alleged, the Conservatives had handed to him to induce him to vote for eight Conservative Aldermen. After the vote had been recorded the payment was to be completed. Amid much excitement, a Special Committee was appointed to investigate the case. On November 12th, before the Committee had presented their report, criminal proceedings were instituted against Mr. Albert John Collins, solicitor, a member of the firm of Beckwith and Collins, who was charged at the Police Court with conspiring with Henry Croxford, stationer and others, to bribe Joel Fox, Town Councillor, by promising and offering him a sum of money to vote for certain Aldermen. Croxford, the other defendant, had absconded. Fox alleged that he went to Croxford’s house, where he was shown the halves of three £100 notes and four £50 notes, which were offered to him by Croxford, on behalf of Collins, on condition that he voted for the Conservative Aldermen. After formal evidence, the case was adjourned. On the 16th the Committee of the Council asked for full power and authority to proceed with the investigation, and to take such steps as might be necessary for the prosecution of the offenders. The Council granted the application. The magisterial proceedings were resumed on the 17th, when Mr. Power, Q.C. (instructed by the Town Clerk, Mr. Mendham), appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Serjeant Ballantine for the defendant Collins. After further evidence had been taken, the case was again adjourned. Meanwhile informations had been laid against William Wilde, William Wilde, the younger, William George Wilde, James Stowers, and Sir William Foster, members of the Liberal party, for conspiring to bribe at the last General Election for the city. By way of reprisal, the Liberals obtained summonses, through William Randell Lacey, against Sir Samuel Bignold, the Rev. F. S. Bignold, J. H. Bignold, James Hardy, Capt. Ives, and G. Priest, for unlawfully conspiring by bribery and other illegal means to return Sir Samuel Bignold and Mr. Charles Lushington at the last election of members of Parliament. On Nov. 19th the magistrates decided to hear all the cases on December 8th. A special meeting of the Town Council was held on December 6th, to consider the following motion by Mr. Simms Reeve: “That it is the opinion of this Council that the peace and welfare of the city will be best promoted by the cessation of political strife, and, with the view to the attainment of that object, the resolution of the Council of the 16th November last, with reference to the charge of bribery made by Mr. Councillor Fox, be cancelled, and that all further legal proceedings against Henry Croxford and Albert John Collins and others for conspiracy be stayed.” The motion was seconded by Mr. Field. Mr. C. M. Gibson moved, as an amendment, “That the due administration of justice is essential to the peace and welfare of the city, and it is therefore the opinion of the Council that the resolution of the 16th November . . . should be again confirmed.” The motion was carried by 28 votes against 19. On December 8th, when the magisterial proceedings were resumed, the Town Clerk said he had no instructions from the Town Council to proceed with the prosecution. After he had formally withdrawn, Mr. R. N. Bacon, Mr. J. J. Colman, Mr. J. Youngs, Mr. J. Newbegin, Mr. C. N. Bolingbroke, the Rev. G. Gould, the Rev. J. Crompton, Mr. E. C. Holland, and Mr. John Pymar appeared as prosecutors, and Mr. Power claimed to be heard as their counsel. The Bench decided that there was no _prima facie_ case against Collins, who was discharged on giving sureties to answer any charge that might be made against him at the Assizes. Serjeant Ballantine thereupon said that he would offer no evidence in the charges against the Messrs. Wilde, and Mr. S. H. Asker, who appeared for the complainant Lacey, withdrew the summons issued on his information.
November 12th 1859
Mr. Louth, landlord of the Rampant Horse Hotel, Norwich, received fatal injuries by the overturning of his vehicle in London Street. His father, by whom he was accompanied, also sustained severe wounds, from which he died on the 18th.
November 30th 1859
The foundation-stone of the St. Andrew’s Wherrymen’s chapel, at Yarmouth, was laid by the Mayor (Mr. W. Worship). The building, which was erected at the cost of £1,050, by Mr. Stanley, of Yarmouth, from plans by Mr. C. E. Giles, of London, was consecrated by the Bishop of Norwich on October 9th, 1860.
December 1st 1859
The Norwich Operatic Union gave its first concert, from Verdi’s “Il Trovatore,” at St. Andrew’s Hall. The principal vocalists were Miss Theresa Jefferys, Mr. Angus Braham, Miss Laura Baxter, and Mr. Durand. The band and chorus of 80 performers were conducted by Mr. Bunnett, B.M., Mr. Alfred Bowles was instrumental leader, and Mr. Henry Rudd choral director.
December 1st 1859
A fatal accident occurred on the works in progress at the new Fishmarket, Norwich, by the falling in of three of the arches beneath the “promenade.” A workman, named William Powley, of Necton, was killed, and another workman sustained a broken leg. At the adjourned inquest, on December 15th, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death, with the rider: “They consider, from the evidence of eminent architects of London and builders of Norwich, that the buildings are in an unsafe condition, and require the immediate attention of the Corporation, in order to insure the perfect safety of the public.”
December 10th 1859
Died at Sydenham, Col. the Hon. John Walpole, of 18, Jermyn Street, Piccadilly, aged 73. He was son of the second Earl of Orford, served with the Guards in the Peninsula War, and was severely wounded at the siege of Burgos. From 1827 to 1831 he was member of Parliament for King’s Lynn; from 1830 to 1833 private secretary to Lord Palmerston; from 1833 to 1841 Consul-General in Chili; and from 1841 to 1849 _chargé d’affaires_ there.
December 17th 1859
A heavy fall of snow and a frost of great severity were recorded. “In the course of the 17th, the thermometer fell to 14 degrees, and on the 18th to 9 degrees, or 27 degrees below freezing-point.”
December 26th 1859
The pantomime at Norwich Theatre was “founded on the celebrated and world-known Norfolk ballad,” and entitled, “The Babes in the Wood, and Harlequin and the Cruel Uncle, or the Forest Queen of the Fairy Dell.” The other Christmas attraction was Mander’s Menagerie.
December 27th 1859
Died, Jacob Astley, Lord Hastings, of Melton Constable and of Seaton Delaval, Northumberland. He was son of Sir Jacob Henry Astley, fifth baronet, by the youngest daughter and co-heiress of Samuel Browne, of King’s Lynn. His lordship was born in 1797, married in March, 1819, the youngest daughter of Sir Henry Watkin Dashwood, Bart., and succeeded his father in the baronetcy in 1817. As one of the heirs of Sir John de Hastings, who sat in the Parliament of 18th Edward I., he was summoned to the House of Peers in 1841. He was appointed first Captain and Commandant of the Norfolk Militia Artillery in 1853, and Hon. Colonel in 1856. From 1832 to 1837 he represented West Norfolk in Parliament. His lordship was succeeded by his son, the Hon. Jacob Henry Delaval Astley, born in 1822.