January 2nd 1875
The frost, which, during the preceding week, had been very severe, suddenly broke up, and, under the influence of a south-west wind, a rapid thaw set in.
January 2nd 1875
Died at his residence, Surrey Street, Norwich, Sir Samuel Bignold. He was the third son of Mr. Thomas Bignold, of Westerham, Kent, who came to Norwich towards the close of the eighteenth century, and established the Norfolk and Norwich General Assurance, “for the insurance of houses, stock, and merchandise from fire.” The office was in the Market Place, where Mr. Bignold also carried on the business of a wine and spirit merchant until the end of 1807. Mr. Samuel Bignold was elected Corporation Sheriff on August 9th, 1830, and in 1831 succeeded Mr. John Patteson as Alderman of the Great Mancroft Ward. In 1832 he was instrumental in introducing to the city Lord Stormont and Sir James Scarlett, as candidates for its representation in Parliament. During his Mayoralty in 1833 he wrote a letter to the Governor of the Court of Guardians, suggesting the establishment of a joint stock company for spinning yarn, in order to give employment to the poor. The result was the formation of the Norwich Yarn Company, and the first stone of their factory was laid by Mr. Bignold on December 1st, 1836. This undertaking was commenced with every indication of success, but it finally succumbed to the powerful competition of the North. In 1848 Mr. Bignold was a second time elected Mayor, and was chosen a third time for the office in 1853. On May 3rd, 1854, having been requested by the Corporation to present to the Queen an address pledging its loyal support to her Majesty in the prosecution of the Crimean War, he received the honour of knighthood, and his portrait was painted by public subscription, by J. P. Knight, R.A., and placed in St. Andrew’s Hall. In the same year Sir Samuel was returned as member of Parliament for the city, in opposition to Mr. Anthony Hamond, the Liberal candidate. On seeking re-election, in 1857, he was defeated by Lord Bury and Mr. Schneider, and again in April, 1859, by the same gentlemen; but that election was declared void. In June, 1859, when Lord Bury sought re-election, having vacated his seat by accepting the appointment of Comptroller of her Majesty’s household, Sir Samuel was again defeated, and Lord Bury was a second time unseated on petition. In all subsequent elections, although not a candidate himself, Sir Samuel Bignold continued to take an active part. He was associated with many public companies and charitable and other institutions. After the passing of the Municipal Reform Act, he was elected a Councillor for the Fifth Ward, which he continued to represent until his death. He was placed on the Commission of the Peace for the County in 1835, and became a Deputy-Lieutenant, and was appointed a city magistrate in 1841.
January 4th 1875
The Norwich Choral Society, founded by Professor Taylor, in 1824, for the performance of choral and orchestral music, was voluntarily dissolved by the few remaining members.
January 4th 1875
The Prince and Princess of Wales arrived at Holkham, on a visit to the Earl of Leicester.
January 20th 1875
Died at her residence, Thorpe St. Andrew, in her 69th year, Miss Mary Ann Bacon, third daughter of Mr. R. M. Bacon, of Costessey. She possessed varied accomplishments and poetical talent. Early in life she assisted her father by translating and writing several valuable articles for the “Musical Review”; and she was associated with Mr. Owen Jones in the production of some volumes of combined art and poetry which attracted much attention at the time of their appearance. Miss Bacon was particularly happy in her metrical translations of German, French, and Italian songs, and the books of the Norwich Festivals for many years attested her ready talent in giving the spirit of those languages when combined with music. She contributed many fugitive verses and serial tales in prose to the “People’s Journal” and other periodicals and magazines.
February 3rd 1875
A special meeting of the Norwich Town Council was held for the purpose of considering and passing resolutions authorising the Council to petition Parliament against the Norwich Gas Bill, by which the British Gaslight Company sought to acquire additional lands and to raise further capital. It was decided to oppose the Bill, and the action of the Council was confirmed at a common hall held on the 4th.
February 3rd 1875
Died at 26, Highbury Place, London, the Rev. Luke Hoult Wiseman, aged 53. He was a son of Mr. Samuel Wiseman of Norwich, so well known for his long and devoted services to the British and Foreign Bible Society. He became private secretary to Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, and afterwards entered as a candidate for the Wesleyan Methodist ministry. A popular and powerful preacher, he was appointed, in 1868, one of the general secretaries of the Wesleyan Missionary Society. In 1871 he was elected secretary to the Conference, and in 1872 was appointed its president. Mr. Wiseman wrote much for the Press, and all his writings bore the impress of a clear and vigorous intellect. His best known works were “Christ’s Temptation in the Wilderness” and “Men of Faith.”
February 4th 1875
A fire, which resulted in the destruction of the treadmill-house and of a small storage building, occurred at the City Gaol, Norwich. An alarming rumour of an attempted escape of the prisoners was circulated, and a detachment of the 7th Hussars was summoned from the Cavalry Barracks. The prisoners, however, were safely removed from the south to the north side of the gaol, the fire was extinguished by the city police, and the cavalry were ordered back to quarters.
February 5th 1875
The Norwich Town Council discussed the question of the proposed site for the new pauper lunatic asylum, and decided to erect the building at Hellesdon.
February 23rd 1875
The Sheriff of Norwich (Mr. J. Youngs) and the Under-Sheriff (Mr. F. Foster) opened a court at the Shirehall for the assessment of damages in the claims brought against the Great Eastern Railway Company by the relatives of certain persons who had been killed or injured in the Thorpe collision. At Norwich Assizes, on April 6th, before Mr. Justice Blackburn, Alfred Cooper, formerly night inspector, and John Robson, formerly telegraph clerk at Thorpe railway station, were indicted for feloniously killing and slaying George Robert Womack, on September 10th. Mr. Womack was one of the victims of the collision. The jury acquitted Robson, and returned a verdict of guilty against Cooper, who was sentenced to eight calendar months’ imprisonment. At the same Assizes, a special jury tried the civil action, Morse _v._ the Great Eastern Railway Company, in which the Rev. Charles Morse sued the company for compensation for injuries sustained in the collision. The jury awarded plaintiff £2,050 damages. On April 17th it was announced: “It is now expected that the amount of compensation claims will not exceed £40,000. About £10,000 has been paid in the amicable adjustment of minor claims, and juries have awarded some £15,000 more.” At the Summer Assizes, on August 6th, before Mr. Baron Bramwell, a special jury awarded Mr. C. R. Gilman the sum of £6,497 3s. 8d. for damages, medical attendance, and extra expenses consequent upon injuries received by him in the collision.
March 1st 1875
Mr. Craven Robertson’s company commenced an engagement at Norwich Theatre. “Caste,” “School,” “Ours,” and “M.P.” were produced.
March 5th 1875
An election to fill the vacancy caused in the representation of Norwich by the elevation to the judicial bench of Mr. Huddleston, Q.C., took place. The candidates were Mr. J. H. Tillett and Colonel Josiah Wilkinson, Southampton Lodge, Highgate. The result was declared as follows: Tillett, 5,877; Wilkinson, 5,079. On April 2nd a petition against the return of Mr. Tillett, M.P., was filed in the Court of Common Pleas, by Frank Ames, a workman at Messrs. Barnard and Bishop’s Ironworks. (_See_ May 6th.)
March 7th 1875
Died at Brighton, Mr. Edward Warner, of Hingham Hall, Woodford, Essex, formerly member of Parliament for Norwich. He was first returned in 1852, in conjunction with Sir Morton Peto, and in opposition to the Marquis of Douro and Lieut.-Colonel Dickson; and sat in the House of Commons until the dissolution in 1857, but did not present himself for re-election. In 1860 he again came forward, with Sir William Russell, with whom he was returned, defeating the Conservative candidates, Mr. W. Forlonge and Mr. W. D. Lewis. In 1865 he and Sir William Russell were unsuccessfully opposed by Mr. A. Goldsmid and Mr. R. E. Chester Waters. After the passing of the new Reform Act, the advanced Liberals selected Mr. J. H. Tillett as their candidate, and the Whigs adhered to Sir William Russell. In 1870 Mr. Warner took the field in opposition to Mr. Tillett, but, after consulting the electors, he decided to retire from the contest. Thereafter he lived in comparative retirement.
March 11th 1875
A severe gale raged on the East Coast. The schooner Elizabeth, belonging to Messrs. Bessey and Palmer, of Yarmouth, struck on the Barber Sand, and the crew of four hands were drowned. Several other casualties occurred.
March 25th 1875
Application was made in the Court of Common Pleas, on behalf of Josiah Buttifant, charged with the building society frauds at Norwich, for an order that a writ of _certiorari_ might issue to remove the indictments into the Court of Queen’s Bench. The order was granted, and the case came for trial before Mr. Justice Archibald, on May 6th, when it was stated that the prisoner’s defalcations amounted to £20,000. Buttifant pleaded not guilty to the charge of forging certain documents, but guilty to embezzling various sums. A jury was sworn to try the charge of forgery, and returned a verdict of guilty. The prisoner was sentenced to fifteen years’ penal servitude.
March 31st 1875
St. Margaret’s church, Lynn, which had been restored at the cost of £7,000, as an act of thanksgiving for the recovery of the Prince of Wales from his severe illness, was re-opened for Divine worship. The sermon was preached by the Lord Bishop, and a distinguished company assembled for luncheon at the Town Hall, under the presidency of the Mayor (Mr. E. E. Durrant). The Prince and Princess of Wales attended afternoon service at the church on Sunday, April 18th, and were received by the Mayor and Corporation. The work of restoration was carried out under the direction of Mr. Ewan Christian and Sir E. Gilbert Scott.
March 31st 1875
A new organ, erected at North Walsham church, by Messrs. Hill and Son, of London, at the cost of £487, was opened by Mr. James Turle, organist of Westminster Abbey, at a special service, at which the sermon was preached by the Dean of Norwich.
April 1st 1875
The Yarmouth and Gorleston tramway was formally opened by the Mayor of Yarmouth (Mr. R. D. Barber).
April 5th 1875
At the Norfolk Assizes, before Mr. Justice Grove, William Sillis, 25, labourer, was found guilty of feloniously assaulting Miss Ann Elizabeth Blyth, at Great Massingham, on October 12th, 1874, and was sentenced to eighteen years’ penal servitude and twenty lashes of the “cat.” The whipping was inflicted at Norwich Castle on April 20th. “The prisoner’s back having been bared, he was securely fastened by the hands and feet to the whipping-post and the flagellation duly administered by Mr. Pinson, the Governor, with a ‘cat’ having nine tails of braided whipcord. When the third lash had been given the prisoner turned his head round and implored, ‘For God’s sake, don’t hit twice in the same place,’ and, howling and wincing, threatened to break down at the eighth lash; but the whipping proceeded until the punishment was completed. When released from the post he appeared faint, and required assistance to get on his shirt. ‘A poor devil had better be hanged than punished like that,’ he said.”
April 9th 1875
At a military tournament given by the 7th Hussars at Norwich, the “cavalry ride,” now known as the “musical ride,” was performed for the first time. It was introduced by the bandmaster, Van Der Huevil, who was afterwards transferred to the Household Cavalry, and under his direction the display became one of the most prominent features of the Royal Military Tournament.
April 17th 1875
Died at her residence, Surrey Street, Norwich, Miss Cecilia Lucy Brightwell, eldest daughter of Mr. Thomas Brightwell. For nearly forty years she was the devoted and inseparable companion of her father. Miss Brightwell was a voluminous writer, and more than twenty works of hers had issued from the press, the first of which was a biography, the only one extant, of her old friend, Amelia Opie, whose diary and correspondence she had access to through her father, Mrs. Opie’s executor. Amongst her other works was a “Life of Linnæus,” “Early Lives and Doings of Great Lawyers,” “Annals of Curious and Romantic Lives,” “Palissy, the Huguenot Potter,” “Footsteps of the Reformers,” “Heroes of the Workshop,” “Men of Mark,” “Annals of Industry and Genius,” &c. Proficient in the use of the etching needle, she illustrated her father’s works on “Infusoria.” “A singular evidence of Miss Brightwell’s skill in etching may be found in the British Museum, where, side by side with the work of Rembrandt, known as ‘The Long Landscape,’ is a copy by her which the gentleman then in charge of that department could not believe to be such until vouched for by others.”
May 6th 1875
The hearing of the election petition against the return of Mr. Jacob Henry Tillett as member of Parliament for the city commenced at the Shirehall, Norwich, before Mr. Justice Lush. Mr. Giffard, Q.C., was leading counsel for the petitioner, and Mr. Hawkins, Q.C., for the respondent. It was alleged on the part of the petitioner that a large number of voters had received employment of a colourable character. “Wherever possible a voter was made a messenger, clerk, or something. The majority for Mr. Huddleston at the General Election was between 40 and 50, but by this kind of device the Conservative majority was converted into a minority of one under 800.” The inquiry proceeded, and on the 15th Mr. Hawkins announced that “Mr. Tillett had come to the conclusion it had been sufficiently established that a great number of the lower class voters were employed unjustifiably in his behalf, and he felt he could not struggle further to retain the seat.” After hearing the evidence of Mr. Tillett and a few other witnesses, his lordship said: “The result is the respondent has become disqualified by reason of this corruption by his agents, and I have nothing more to do than to declare the election void and award costs to the petitioner.” (_See_ August 16th.)
May 13th 1875
The centenary of the banking house of Messrs. Gurneys and Co. was celebrated by a dinner given at Stoke Holy Cross, the seat of Mr. Henry Birkbeck. “The original founders of the Bank were John and Henry Gurney, who, in addition to their ordinary trade, that of merchants, carried on a banking business, first in Pitt Street, and afterwards in Magdalen Street. They were the sons of John Gurney, who earned the title of the ‘Weavers’ Friend,’ by reason of his advocacy of their cause. The Gurneys having, in 1779, devoted themselves exclusively to banking, the business was transferred to Bartlett Gurney (son of Henry Gurney), who removed to the present premises on Bank Plain, having as a partner his uncle, John Gurney. Bartlett Gurney died in 1803, and John Gurney was left sole proprietor, being joined shortly by his cousins, Richard and Joseph Gurney. John Gurney lived at Earlham Hall, Richard Gurney at Keswick, and Joseph Gurney at Lakenham. Changes from time to time occurred, and Hudson Gurney, Richard Hanbury Gurney, James John Gurney, Henry Birkbeck (the father of the present head of the firm), and Simon Martin became at subsequent periods partners in the great banking house. The panics of the years 1792 and 1825, which caused the failure of many banking houses, only resulted in establishing the Gurneys on a firmer and more prosperous basis, for they not only survived these financial disasters, but assisted others to tide over their difficulties. The year 1866 will be remembered as one which tested the stability of the house. The run on the Bank in that and the following year was as remarkable for its intensity as it was lasting. The run having ended, the business was further extended in 1870 by the addition of that of Harveys and Hudsons, the goodwill of which was purchased, and, by the liberality of the firm, that which might have ended in a catastrophe for Norfolk was averted. It is now by far the largest private banking house in the provinces.”
June 5th 1875
The Reedham Hall estate was sold by auction by Messrs. Spelman, at the Rampant Horse Hotel, Norwich, for £31,568. The purchaser was Mr. John Rose.
June 8th 1875
Mr. Frank Buckland, Inspector of Salmon Fisheries, opened an inquiry at Yarmouth, at the request of the Home Secretary, into the crab, lobster, and other sea fisheries on the Norfolk coast, with the view of ascertaining the expediency of adopting regulations for the prevention of waste and the preservation of fish. Similar inquiries were held at Lynn, Wells, and Cromer.
June 16th 1875
The annual show of the Norfolk Agricultural Association opened at Fakenham, and was continued on the 17th. Mr. Anthony Hamond was president for the year.
June 19th 1875
An important meeting was held at the Guildhall, Norwich, for the purpose of conferring with Mr. Frank Buckland as to the possibility of extending legislative protection to the fishing in the rivers and broads of Norfolk. Mr. Buckland expressed his full concurrence in the necessity of an Act of Parliament, for placing restrictions on the fishing, and resolutions to that effect were adopted. (_See_ January 22nd, 1876.)
June 21st 1875
The centenary of the opening of the bells of St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich, was celebrated by the ringers of that church.
July 3rd 1875
Extracts from an article in the “Natal Mercury” of May 11th, on the life and labours of Mr. Thomas Baines, F.R.G.S., “just then deceased,” were published. Mr. Baines was a native of King’s Lynn, where he was born in 1822. At an early age he gave evidence of artistic instincts, and of his love of travel and adventure. His first experiences of the kind were in South Australia. When little more than a youth, he took part in an expedition which traversed a then unpenetrated portion of the Continent. He and his companions carried their lives in their hands, and many were the hairbreadth escapes from the perils of both sea and savages. Baines arrived in South Africa about the year 1848, and took an active part in the Kaffir wars of 1850–51–52. In 1860 he joined Dr. Livingstone’s expedition to Zanzibar, but differences arose between him and his illustrious chief. The next few years were spent in devious travel, and in 1866 he returned home and published several important works. He subsequently went to Natal as leader of a party sent out by the South African Gold Fields Exploration Company, and it was at Natal that he spent a large portion of the last few years of his life.
July 8th 1875
Died at Mulbarton, Mary Ann Todd, aged 100 years.
July 22nd 1875
The Norfolk polled cattle and flock of pure Southdown sheep on the North Elmham estate were sold by Messrs. Thornton and Long. The total amount realised was £4,953 5s.
July 23rd 1875
The last detachment of the 7th Hussars left Norwich for Manchester by special train; and on the 24th the dismounted party of the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers), from Shorncliffe, took over the Cavalry Barracks.
August 2nd 1875
A vessel named the Ponda Chief, intended for trading between this country and Port Natal, was launched from the shipyard of Messrs. J. Fellows, at Southtown, Yarmouth. She was 140 feet long, 26 feet beam, 14 ft. 6 in. deep, and 416 tons register. This was one of the largest vessels ever built at the port.
August 3rd 1875
H.M.S. Favourite, an armour-plated corvette of 2,094 tons and 490 horse-power, ran upon the south spit of Scroby Sand, when endeavouring to make the gatway. At the flood tide the vessel floated off and steamed out to sea.
August 9th 1875
At the Norfolk Assizes, before Mr. Justice Mellor, William Harper Stewardson, printer, of Norwich, was charged with publishing in a newspaper called the “Herald and Dispatch,” a malicious and defamatory libel of and concerning Frederick Lawrence Phillips, editor of the “Norwich Argus.” The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and the defendant was fined £20, and ordered to enter into his own recognisances of £100 to be of good behaviour for twelve months.
August 16th 1875
A Royal Commission, issued in consequence of the report of Mr. Justice Lush, “that he had reason to believe corrupt practices extensively prevailed at the election which took place in Norwich on March 5th, on the elevation to the Bench of Mr. Baron Huddleston,” commenced its proceedings at the Shirehall, Norwich. The Commissioners were Mr. John Morgan Howard, Q.C., Mr. Patrick MacMahon, and Mr. Gabriel Prior Goldney, with Mr. Tyndal Atkinson as secretary. On the 43rd day, Wednesday, October 28th, the court terminated its sittings in Norwich, and the inquiry was resumed in the House of Lords on November 8th. The fiftieth day was reached on December 3rd, when a further adjournment took place. (_See_ March 15th, 1876.)
August 26th 1875
The marriage was solemnised, at Latimer, of the Earl of Leicester and the Hon. Georgiana Cavendish, eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Chesham.
September 20th 1875
The Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Musical Festival commenced with an evening performance of “Elijah.” The morning performances were as follow: 22nd, “Hymn of Praise” and selection, “Jerusalem”; 23rd, “Stabat Mater” and “Woman of Samaria”; 24th, “The Messiah.” Miscellaneous concerts were given on the evenings of the dates named, except on the 24th, when a dress ball took place. The principal vocalists were Mdlle. Albani, Mdlle. Mathilda Enequist, Madame Lemmens Sherrington, Mdlle. Anna de Belocca, Miss Enriquez, Madame Patey, Mr. Edward Lloyd, Mr. H. J. Minns, Mr. Henry Guy, Mr. J. L. Wadmore, and Signor Foli. Sir Julius Benedict conducted.
September 26th 1875
Died at his residence, Bracondale, Norwich, Mr. Frederic Brown, aged 67. He served the office of Sheriff in 1863–64, was a magistrate of the city, and a director of the Norwich Waterworks and Corn Exchange Companies.
October 4th 1875
Don Edgardo Colona, a Mexican tragedian, appeared at Norwich Theatre, and during a week’s engagement played a round of Shakesperian and classical characters.
October 9th 1875
The foundation-stone of Yarmouth Aquarium was laid by Lord Suffield. The building was opened on September 5th, 1876.
October 16th 1875
“Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to approve the Norfolk Regiment of Artillery Militia being in future designated the Prince of Wales’ Own Norfolk Artillery Militia, and of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the regiment being permitted to wear, as a distinctive badge, on the collars of the tunics, the Prince of Wales’ plume and the motto, ‘Ich Dien.’”
October 20th 1875
During a severe gale, the barque Young England, of Middlesbrough, 371 tons (Captain Brown), bound from the Baltic to London with deals, drifted on the Cockle Sand. The crew of twelve men and a boy took to the boat, which was capsized, and all, with the exception of the boy, were drowned.
October 26th 1875
A public meeting was held at Yarmouth, to consider a project for constructing a railway from that town to Stalham, _viâ_ Caister, Ormesby, Martham, Potter Heigham, and Catfield. Sir E. H. K. Lacon, Bart., M.P., presided, and resolutions were adopted affirming the desirability of the undertaking, which was estimated to cost £70,000. (_See_ August 7th, 1877.)
October 28th 1875
A preliminary meeting of landowners and others interested in the construction of a new line of railway from March to Wymondham, to be known as the Central Norfolk Railway, was held at the Crown Hotel, Watton, under the presidency of Mr. W. A. Tyssen-Amherst. Mr. A. F. Jerningham, C.E., described the proposed route, and it was agreed that the railway was desirable. Its cost was estimated at £450,000, or £10,000 per mile. A Bill for the promotion of the undertaking was introduced in Parliament, but was withdrawn in January, 1876.
November 5th 1875
Mr. Charles Tadman, for many years manager at Norwich Gasworks, committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver.
November 8th 1875
Mr. Anthony Hamond, Master of the West Norfolk Hunt, was presented with his portrait, painted by Mr. Graves, R.A. Sir William ffolkes, Bart., made the presentation, on behalf of 400 subscribers.
November 9th 1875
Mr. Jacob Henry Tillett was elected Mayor, and Mr. Henry Stevenson appointed Sheriff of Norwich.
November 10th 1875
The first Poor-law Conference, attended by delegates from twenty-two Norfolk unions, was held at the Guildhall, Norwich, under the presidency of Mr. C. S. Read, M.P., “to take counsel on the important point of the more uniform administration of poor relief.”
November 13th 1875
Died at St. Leonard’s, the Rev. Dr. William Brock. Dr. Brock, who was upwards of 70 years of age, was formerly minister of the Baptist congregation, in Norwich, and resigned that post about twenty-five years previously, and became minister of Bloomsbury chapel, London, then recently built. There he remained until he retired from the ministry. Dr. Brock was one of the most popular ministers in the Baptist denomination, and took an active part on the Liberal side in many of the political movements of his time.
November 13th 1875
An extremely high tide occurred at Lynn, owing to heavy rains and strong gales. On the 15th Denver Sluice was in jeopardy, and large numbers of men were employed to strengthen the banks. At Hunstanton great masses of cliff were washed away; on the 19th railway traffic between Brandon and Ely was suspended, owing to the floods, and considerable damage was done to the line between Reedham and Haddiscoe by the overflow of water.
November 17th 1875
Sir William Bagge, Bart., M.P., presided at a luncheon at Downham Market, held in celebration of the opening of the new Public Hall. The building was converted from the old Theatre by a company formed for the purpose of carrying out the project.
November 18th 1875
At the adjourned Norfolk Quarter Sessions, held at the Shirehall, Norwich, a report was received on the advisability of amalgamating the county prisons and of transferring the Governor of Swaffham Prison to Norwich Castle, the Governor of the latter prison, Mr. Pinson, having given notice of his resignation of office. The report recommended that Swaffham Prison be discontinued from January 13th, 1876; that the prisoners at the time under detention be removed to Norwich Castle; and that Mr. Duncan Stuart, Governor of Swaffham Prison, be appointed to succeed Mr. Pinson at Norwich. The report was adopted. Mr. Stuart took over the governorship of Norwich Castle in January, 1876, but resigned office in the following month, when he was succeeded by Mr. Miles Joseph Walker.
November 19th 1875
A gale, the severity of which had been unequalled for many years previously, visited the coast of Norfolk. Several wrecks occurred off Yarmouth and Caister, and many lives were lost in the Wash. The Scotch fishing fleet suffered terrible privations. Five bodies of the crew of the smack Beautiful Star, of St. Monance, Fifeshire, were picked up at the entrance to Lynn Well, and at a subsequent date the bodies of other unfortunate fishermen from the North were discovered in the same locality.
November 20th 1875
The Hon. Frederick Walpole, M.P., F.R.G.S., was installed Grand Master of the Norfolk Provincial Grand Lodge of Freemasons, in place of Mr. Benjamin Bond Cabbell, deceased.
November 21st 1875
On this day (Sunday) a mad freak was perpetrated at Yarmouth by a Scotch fisherman, named Watson. Having gained admittance to the Nelson column, he climbed the figure of Britannia and clasped his arms about its neck. He then came down to the platform, and, dangling his legs over the edge of the capital, took off his shoes and proceeded to descend by the lightning conductor which runs down the outside of the column. The conductor was only seven-eighths of an inch in diameter, and placed close to the stone work, “and how he managed to get over the edge of the projecting capital was a marvel.” The man, however, reached the ground in safety; but his hands were terribly lacerated, “as in several instances he had to pull the conductor from the wall to get his fingers in. He was under the influence of drink when he performed the feat.”
November 30th 1875
Died, in his 75th year, Mr. Francis John Blake, solicitor, for forty years treasurer of the Norfolk County Lunatic Asylum, and thirty-eight years Superintendent Registrar for the city of Norwich. Mr. Blake was for many years treasurer of the Norwich Musical Festival, and a director of several public companies.
November 30th 1875
St. Andrew’s Day was celebrated in Norwich by the members of the newly-formed St. Andrew Society dining at the Maid’s Head Hotel. Mr. T. Muir Grant, the founder and president of the society, was in the chair, and Dr. Waddell, the vice-president, officiated as croupier.
November 30th 1875
A suit, the Archdeacon of Norwich _v._ William Delph and William Thomas Gilbert, churchwardens of St. Augustine, which came before the Consistory Court at Norwich, excited much public comment. The case was heard originally in November, 1874, when the Chancellor decreed that the respondents, who had desecrated the churchyard by throwing a portion of it into the public road, should, by placing certain stones in the pathway and wall, mark the ancient boundary of the churchyard. The respondents not having obeyed the decree of the court, application was made on October 5th by Mr. Walter Overbury, as Proctor for the Archdeacon, that they might be pronounced contumacious. The case was adjourned until this date, and the decree not having been obeyed, the Chancellor pronounced the respondents contumacious, and issued a certificate to her Majesty in the High Court of Justice, in order that an attachment might forthwith issue against them. This action resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of Mr. Gilbert. At a meeting of the Town Council, on December 21st, Mr. J. D. Smith called attention to the case, and stated that Mr. Gilbert was imprisoned for alleged contempt of court in not paying the costs of the suit. He moved a resolution expressing regret that the ecclesiastical authorities should have instituted the prosecution, and urging that the Parliamentary and Bye-Laws Committee confer immediately as to the best steps to be taken to obtain the release of the prisoner. The motion was carried by 27 votes against 1, “the Conservatives having vacated their seats, leaving only Mr. H. W. Stafford, who voted against the motion.” Mr. Gilbert was liberated on December 24th, an undertaking having been given on the part of Mr. Delph that the decree of the Consistorial Court should be carried out.
December 4th 1875
A heavy gale prevailed on the coast of Norfolk, and continued until the 6th. There were many shipping casualties, and much loss of life.
December 7th 1875
At the annual dinner of the Farmers’ Club, held at the Salisbury Hotel, London, Mr. Clare Sewell Read announced that he would no longer continue a member of the Government. He took office, he said, on the stipulation that he should have perfect freedom to speak upon all agricultural matters, and that if he believed the interests of agriculture were neglected by any department of the Government he should resign. “I believe,” he added, “that the interests of the stockholders of this country have been persistently ignored by the Veterinary Department of the Privy Council, and that being the case, I have to inform you that I am no longer the Secretary of the Local Government Board, and that I only hold office until my successor be appointed.” Mr. Read further said that, to a tenant-farmer whose principal income was derived from the occupation of 600 or 700 acres of land, £1,500 a year was an extremely convenient addition to his income; but he was quite sure that all present would approve of what he had done. During the Cattle Show week it was announced that some suitable recognition would be made of Mr. Read’s services to agriculture, and, at a large meeting of the agriculturists of the county—Conservative and Liberal—held at the Norfolk Hotel, Norwich, on December 18th, a deputation was appointed to attend a meeting at the Salisbury Hotel, on the 20th, in support of the testimonial fund which was forthwith inaugurated. (_See_ January 1st, 1876.)
December 13th 1875
A dreadful tragedy occurred at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. A weaver, 42 years of age, named Robert Edwards, who resided at Marsham, had been admitted to the Hospital on an indoor recommendation obtained from the Rev. J. Gunton, rector of the parish. The physician who examined him prior to admission believed that he was suffering from some bodily ailment of a dyspeptic character. Ten or twelve weeks previously his case was regarded as one of insanity; he had been restless and violent at times, and his friends had placed him under surveillance. Early on the morning of this date, Edwards, in a fit of homicidal mania, escaped from the Catherine ward, and, finding his way to the children’s ward, seized a pair of tongs from the fireplace, and, before he could be secured, made a murderous assault upon some of the unfortunate young patients, which resulted in two being slain outright, a third died shortly afterwards, and grievous injuries were inflicted upon two others. Edwards was disarmed by Mr. Baumgartner, the house surgeon, taken into custody, and charged on the 14th, at Norwich Police Court, with feloniously killing William Martin, aged 14, of Ryburgh; John Lacey, 10, of Griffin Yard, Pockthorpe; and Joseph Colman, 11, of Barton Turf. A fourth lad, Alfred Clarke, aged 9, died on February 20th, 1876. On the 18th the magistrates committed him for trial at the Assizes, but meanwhile he was certified to be insane and incapable of pleading, and was sent to Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. At the Coroner’s inquest, held on December 18th, a verdict of wilful murder was returned, and the jury expressed, in the strongest terms, their disapproval of the circumstances under which Edwards had been admitted to the institution, and their high opinion of the courageous conduct of Mr. Baumgartner.
December 22nd 1875
Died at Bombay, Bernard Edward Delaval Astley, tenth Baron Hastings, aged 20. His lordship left England early in October, for India, accompanied by Viscount Ebrington, and, after staying with Sir Philip Wodehouse, the Governor, at Parell, during the Prince of Wales’ visit there, he proceeded to Calicut, and thence to the Annamally Hills, for shooting. He there fell a victim to jungle fever. Born September 9th, 1855, his lordship was eldest son of the Rev. Delaval Loftus Astley, some time vicar of East Barsham, and afterwards ninth Lord Hastings, and grandson of Jacob Astley, Lord Hastings, better known by his former name of Sir Jacob Astley, M.P. He was educated at Eton, and succeeded to the family honours in 1872. The title passed to his next brother, the Hon. George Manners Astley, who was born in April, 1857.
December 26th 1875
The Christmas pantomime produced by Mr. George H. Chaplin, at Norwich Theatre, was entitled, “Bluff King Hal the Bluffer and his Crippled Guy, or Harlequin Darnley, the Pet of the Court.”