The Foxearth and District Local History Society
1876 Norfolk Chronicle newspaper Selections

January 1st 1876

At a meeting of Norfolk agriculturists, held at the Norfolk Hotel, Norwich, it was decided to support the national movement for presenting Mr. C. S. Read, M.P., with a testimonial in recognition of his services to agriculture. Upwards of £600 was subscribed in the room, the Earl of Leicester, Lord Lieutenant of the county, heading the subscription-list with a handsome donation. The presentation was made at the Cannon Street Hotel, London, on May 2nd, at a banquet presided over by Mr. Charles Howard, of Bidenham, and attended by 160 of the leading agriculturists of the three kingdoms. The testimonial consisted of a massive silver salver weighing 115 ozs., and inscribed, “Presented, the 2nd May, 1876, to Clare Sewell Read, M.P. for Norfolk since 1865, with a cheque for £5,500, in testimony of his valuable services to Agriculture.”

January 19th 1876

The first of the entertainments known as “Spelling Bees” was given at Noverre’s Rooms, Norwich. It was claimed that they “served the twofold purpose of testing the orthographical and philological knowledge of the competitors and of providing amusement for the public.” The Mayor (Mr. J. H. Tillett) presided. The referees were Mr. Carlos Cooper, the Rev. A. C. Copeman, and Mr. A. Master, and their decisions were in accordance with the Imperial, Richardson’s, and Walker’s dictionaries. Mr. T. Richmond Pinder was interrogator. “Spelling Bees” enjoyed for some months the same popularity as their precursors, “Penny Readings,” and every town and village in the county took up the movement, which, however, was very short-lived.

January 22nd 1876

The members of the Yare Preservation Society and the riparian owners of the county adopted a memorial to the Home Secretary, praying for the legislative protection of local sea and inland fisheries. A deputation, which included the members of Parliament for the county and city, approached the Home Secretary upon the subject on February 1st, and received the assurance that “if the Government could see their way they would take the matter up at some future time.” (_See_ February 2nd, 1877.)

January 29th 1876

Died at his residence, Unthank’s Road, Norwich, Mr. Abel Towler, one of the senior magistrates of the city, aged 83. He was head of the firm of Towler, Allen, and Co. In politics Mr. Towler was “a Liberal of the old school.”

February 1st 1876

A fire occurred at the works of Messrs. Riches and Watts, agricultural engineers, Duke’s Palace, Norwich. The damage amounted to between £3,000 and £4,000.

February 12th 1876

Died at his residence, the Depperhaugh, Diss, Admiral Sir John Baldwin Wake Walker, Bart., K.C.B. Born in 1803, he entered the Navy in 1812, and saw much service. In 1847 he was appointed Surveyor to the Navy; in 1861 he assumed command of the Cape of Good Hope station, and attained the rank of Admiral in 1870. He was created a baronet in 1856.

February 16th 1876

Died at his residence, Drayton Lodge, near Norwich, Mr. James Winter, aged 79. He was the last member but one of the old Corporation, in which he held the important office of Speaker. Mr. Winter remained a member of the new Corporation from its formation in 1835 until a few years before his death.

February 19th 1876

An outbreak of small-pox was announced to have taken place amongst the prisoners confined in Norwich Castle. There were twelve cases, two of which were serious, but no deaths occurred.

February 27th 1876

Died at his residence, Surrey Street, Norwich, Mr. John Harwell, in his 78th year. His mother was a daughter of John Samuel Sedley, of Barford and Morley, a lineal descendant of Sir Charles Sedley, the wit and poet. Mr. Barwell married, in 1824, the eldest daughter of Mr. Richard Mackenzie Bacon, proprietor and editor of the “Norwich Mercury.” He succeeded his father in his wine merchant’s business, was for many years an alderman for the Mancroft Ward, and served the office of Sheriff in 1839–40. On the occasion of the marriage of Queen Victoria, he was one of the deputation who presented, on behalf of the city, an address of congratulation to her Majesty and the Prince Consort. Mr. Barwell engaged largely in artistic pursuits, and was an accomplished musician and vocalist. A skilful amateur artist, he painted a portrait of Miss Julia Smith, daughter of Mr. William Smith, M.P., and aunt of Florence Nightingale, which was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, South Kensington, in 1868. He did much to promote art in Norwich, and, in conjunction with Cotman, Crome, and other Norwich artists, established a drawing academy. Many years later he had the satisfaction of seeing his views carried out by the establishment of a Science and Art Department of the Government, and by the opening of Schools of Science and Art in Norwich and most of the principal towns in the kingdom. With the assistance of Mr. Burt, he established the Norwich Cricket Club, and, in co-operation with Bentley, and afterwards with Fuller Pilch, formed the Cricket Ground at Lakenham, which was one of the best in England. Mr. Barwell was a Liberal in principle, but always refrained from taking an active part in local politics.

March 6th 1876

Mr. Craven Robertson’s “Caste” Company commenced an engagement at Norwich Theatre, and produced, for the first time there, Mr. T. W. Robertson’s latest comedy, “Play.”

March 14th 1876

In the House of Commons, Mr. C. S. Read called attention to the report of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act Committee, 1873, and moved, “That, in the opinion of this House, the general orders and regulations for the stoppage of disease should cease to be varying or permissive, and should be uniform throughout Great Britain and Ireland.” On an assurance from Viscount Sandon that the Government accepted the principle of uniformity, Mr. Read said he would not be justified in asking the House to divide, and withdrew the motion.

March 15th 1876

The Norwich Election Commissioners issued their report. They found that corrupt practices extensively prevailed in Norwich at the election in March, 1875, and in February, 1874. The number of persons scheduled was as follows: Schedule I., persons guilty of bribery at the election of 1874 or 1875, 72; Schedule II., persons bribed at the election of 1874 or 1875, 31; Schedule III., guilty of personation, 1; Schedule IV., persons guilty of procuring personation, 2. In the House of Commons, on May 29th, the Attorney-General announced that the scheduled voters were to be disfranchised, and the writ for the vacant seat suspended during the then Parliament. At a meeting of the Norwich Town Council, on February 26th, 1878, the Lords Commissioners of her Majesty’s Treasury requested payment by the city of £3,943 19s. 2d., the cost of the Commission. This charge was equal to a rate of 5d. in the pound.

April 1st 1876

Died at Dean Street, Park Lane, London, the Hon. Frederick Walpole, M.P. He was third son of Horatio, third Earl of Orford, by Mary, eldest daughter of Mr. W. Fawkner, and was born September 18th, 1822. In 1837 he entered the Royal Navy, became Lieutenant in 1845, and retired from the service in 1864, as Commander. He served in the first China War, in India, and in the campaign on the Danube. Mr. Walpole unsuccessfully contested King’s Lynn at the General Election in November, 1865, when Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton and Lord Stanley (afterwards Earl of Derby) were returned. At the General Election in November, 1868, he was elected one of the members for the Northern Division of Norfolk, and at the next General Election was returned unopposed. Mr. Walpole was the author of “Five Years in the Pacific,” “The Ansayrii, or Further East,” and a novel, “May and December.” He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries and of the Geological Society. Mr. Walpole also served in the West Norfolk Militia, of which he was Major, and shortly before his death received the honorary rank of Lieut.-Colonel. He married, on February 12th, 1852, his cousin, Laura Sophia Frances, only daughter of Mr. Francis Walpole, by whom he left issue two sons and a daughter. Amy Rachael, who married the Hon. Henry Charles Manners Sutton, eldest son of Viscount Canterbury. One of the last acts of Mr. Walpole’s Parliamentary career was the introduction of the Bill for the protection of the crab and lobster fisheries on the Norfolk coast.

April 3rd 1876

A serious disturbance took place at Hethersett, on the occasion of the Norfolk and Norwich Steeplechases. A large number of roughs from Norwich had planned the robbery of the tills of the person who had received the gate-money and had charge of the refreshment department. An effort was made to unhorse Hickman, Mr. Angerstein’s huntsman, who was engaged in keeping the course, and in the _mêlée_ which ensued an officer of the Carabiniers brought up at the trot a mounted detachment on duty at the races, and speedily quelled the disturbance.

April 5th 1876

The Norwich Town Council, on the recommendation of the Executive Committee, decided to proceed with the work of widening London Street, from the Market Place to Castle Street, at a cost not exceeding £22,000, and appointed a committee to negotiate with owners of property and to inquire into the best mode of carrying out the improvement. The subject was discussed in detail at various meetings during the year. (_See_ April 7th, 1877.)

April 10th 1876

At the Norfolk Assizes, before Mr. Baron Cleasby, Henry Webster, aged 61, a labourer, was found guilty of the murder of his wife, Sarah Webster, aged 53, at Cranworth, on September 17th, 1875. Sentence of death was passed, and the culprit was executed at Norwich Castle on May 1st. Marwood was the executioner.

April 17th 1876

Mr. Charles Durand’s Grand English Opera Company commenced an engagement at Norwich Theatre, in Rossini’s comic opera, “Cinderella, or the Fairy of the Glass Slipper.” Miss Florence St. John was a member of the company.

April 18th 1876

At an early hour in the morning the emigrant ship Humboldt, of Hamburgh, 729 tons register, bound from Hamburgh to the Brazils, with 349 emigrants on board, ran ashore on Winterton beach. With the assistance of tugs the vessel was got off and taken to Yarmouth Roads for repair. The master, Henrisch Detlof Busch, had lost his bearings, and believed himself to be off the coast of France!

April 20th 1876

The first Starr-Bowkett Building Society was established at Norwich, by Mr. Starr, one of the originators of the system.

April 20th 1876

The nomination of candidates for the election in the Northern Division of the county, consequent upon the death of the Hon. Frederick Walpole, M.P., took place at Aylsham. The candidates were Lieut.-Colonel James Duff, of Westwick House, and Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, Bart., of Warlies, Waltham Abbey. The polling, which took place on the 21st, resulted as follows: Duff, 2,302; Buxton, 2,192. Colonel Duff, during the election campaign, was confined to his house by sickness.

April 29th 1876

A meeting of gentlemen interested in the field sports of the county was held at the Royal Hotel, Norwich, to consider the advisability of accepting the offer made by Mr. Angerstein, namely, that he would give to the county his pack of staghounds and deer, on condition that the county subscribed a sufficient sum “to hunt them in a proper manner.” The meeting agreed to take over the hounds if adequate funds were forthcoming.

May 15th 1876

Mdlle. Beatrice’s Comedy-Drama Company commenced an engagement at Norwich Theatre. The repertory included “The School for Scandal,” “Mary Stuart,” “Frou-frou,” “Nos Intimes,” “The Ticket-of-Leave Man,” “John Jasper’s Wife,” and “East Lynne.”

May 18th 1876

Died at his residence, Theatre Street, Norwich, in his 82nd year, Mr. William Butcher, a well-known land surveyor and auctioneer. He was a native of Brooke, and entered the office of Mr. Robert Corby, of Kirstead, a land surveyor, who had one of the largest practices in the district, if not in the kingdom. Mr. Butcher had unusual opportunities of acquiring a practical knowledge of the business at the time when enclosures of commons in Norfolk and Suffolk were being carried out, for Mr. Corby was the surveyor employed. For nearly sixty years he carried on a most lucrative practice, which was not confined to local limits, but extended throughout the kingdom, from the remotest parts of Scotland to the Land’s End. Mr. Butcher served one term as an alderman of the city, and was Sheriff of Norwich in 1870–71.

May 24th 1876

The Queen’s birthday was celebrated in Norwich by an entertainment given to the inmates of the Workhouse by the Sheriff (Mr. Stevenson). It was stated that the Easter Monday and Whit Monday holidays provided by the Bank Holidays Act had affected the public observance of the day, and Volunteer reviews, sham fights, and civic feasts were no longer held to commemorate the occasion.

May 27th 1876

“The early closing of our shops on Thursdays in the summer months seems now to be the universal custom in Norwich, with the solitary exception of the chemists and druggists.” (_See_ March 26th, 1879.)

May 27th 1876

“Some days since some men at work on Feltwell Fen found a quantity of Roman silver coins, many of them distinctly bearing the names of Hadrian, Antoninus, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Divas Antoninus, Vespasian, &c. They were contained in a vessel which was broken to pieces by the plough which turned it up.”

May 31st 1876

The ceremony of laying the foundation-stone of the new building in Little Orford Street, of the Norwich Church of England Young Men’s Society, was performed by the President, Mr. F. E. Watson. The building, which was designed by Mr. Edward Boardman, architect, and erected by Mr. G. E. Hawes, was formally opened on December 6th.

June 14th 1876

The annual show of the Norfolk Agricultural Association opened at Swaffham. Sir William ffolkes, High Sheriff of Norfolk, presided at the luncheon.

June 15th 1876

Died at his residence, South Quay, Great Yarmouth, Vice-Admiral Thomas Lewis Gooch, aged 69, youngest son of Sir Thomas Sherlock Gooch, Bart., of Benacre Hall. Born at Bramfield, he joined the Royal Naval College in 1820, and entering the Navy, obtained Lieutenant’s rank in 1828. He was appointed to the command of H.M.S. Kite, went to the West Coast of Africa, and brought home the survivors of the first ill-fated Niger Expedition. In 1865 he attained the rank of retired Rear-Admiral, and became Vice-Admiral in 1871. In 1828 he married Anne, eldest daughter of General the Hon. William Gardner, Lieutenant-Governor of Malta.

June 18th 1876

Father Ignatius announced that he would commence an eight days’ mission at the Monastery, Elm Hill, Norwich. Miss Ware, a lady residing at Claydon, to whom, it was stated, the property belonged, was communicated with, and she instructed her solicitors to take the necessary steps for the ejectment of Ignatius. Mr. J. Clabburn, of Norwich, as agent to the solicitors, went to the Monastery, accompanied by three process-servers, and forcibly removed Ignatius and a brother monk as they were in the act of celebrating mass. On the 20th Ignatius summoned Mr. Clabburn and his men for assault, and, after a prolonged hearing at the Police Court, the magistrates dismissed the case. Meanwhile Ignatius held his services in the large room at the Bell Hotel, in the yard of the Rampant Horse Hotel, and at St. Andrew’s Hall.

June 27th 1876

Died at Ambleside, Miss Harriet Martineau, who was born in Norwich on June 13th, 1802. “Although she was not a great she was a most industrious writer, and thoroughly in earnest in whatever she undertook.”

June 28th 1876

The new organ erected at East Dereham church by Messrs. Hill and Son, of London, at a cost of between £700 and £800, was opened by Dr. E. T. Chipp, organist of Ely Cathedral.

June 30th 1876

Died at Catton House, Norwich, Mr. Robert Chamberlin, aged 74. He thrice served the office of Mayor—in 1854–5, 1856–7, and 1871–2, and was Sheriff in 1848–9. Mr. Chamberlin was a magistrate for the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and for the city of Norwich, and was a Deputy-Lieutenant of the first-named county.

July 1st 1876

The 3rd Norfolk Rifle Volunteers, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Duff, M.P., went into camp at Hunstanton Park, and were officially inspected on the 6th by Colonel Harenc, commanding the 31st Brigade Depôt at Yarmouth.

July 2nd 1876

Two troops of the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers) marched from Norwich, _en route_ to York; the headquarters left on the 8th.

July 19th 1876

Died, Mr. Wace Lockett Mendham, Town Clerk of Norwich. He was in his 66th year, and was appointed to the office on the death of Mr. J. R. Staff, in 1855. A Liberal in politics, “previous to his appointment he might have been a warm partisan, but in his office of Town Clerk he most carefully concealed his political feelings, and acted with strict impartiality.” Mr. Mendham married Miss Tillett, a sister of Mr. J. H. Tillett. He was succeeded as Town Clerk by Mr. Henry Blake Miller.

July 21st 1876

The Norwich Central Conservative Club was formally constituted at a meeting of the party, held at the Bell Hotel.

July 22nd 1876

Died at Cardiff, aged 38, Mr. Henry Powel Smith, fourth son of Mr. George Smith, formerly manager of the Norwich Theatrical Circuit.

July 24th 1876

In pursuance of a writ from the Exchequer Division of the High Court of Justice, the Sheriff of Norwich, by his Under-Sheriff (Mr. F. Fox), empanelled a jury at the Royal Hotel to inquire what lands and tenements, and their yearly value, were possessed by James Frederick Neale, of St. Andrew’s Hall Plain, grocer, and what goods and chattels any person had in trust for him, as he was truly indebted to the Crown in the sum of £801 10s., “which sum was in danger of being lost unless some method more speedy than the ordinary course of procedure at law be had.” These proceedings constituted another phase of the notorious Creak case. The jury found that Mr. Neale possessed property to the amount of £855, including £300 book debts, £505 stock-in-trade, and £50 paid on a life insurance policy, besides freehold property of the value of £16 a year. The jury thought they were not bound to find what was Mr. Neale’s indebtedness to the Crown, or what was the yearly value of the property he held belonging to the late Margaret Creak.

July 29th 1876

The 1st Dragoons (Royal)—five troops with headquarters—arrived at Norwich, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Graham.

August 11th 1876

A fire, involving damage to the amount of about £10,000, occurred at Messrs. Boulton and Paul’s Ironworks, Rose Lane, Norwich.

August 12th 1876

Died at his residence, Unthank’s Road, Norwich, Mr. Josiah Fletcher, aged 70. He was born at Henley-on-Thames, and in 1822 was apprenticed to Mr. Simon Wilkin, printer, &c., of the Haymarket, Norwich, with whom, on the completion of his term, he entered into partnership. Mr. Fletcher, in 1834, succeeded to the business, which was subsequently removed to the Market Place, and was there carried on by him until 1871, when, in consequence of his failing health, he retired, and was succeeded by his only son, who erected the extensive premises at Davey Place Steps. “Mr. Fletcher may be said to have been the originator of the ‘Norfolk News,’ of which journal he was for some time the editor and chief manager.”

August 18th 1876

Died at Ingoldisthorpe Hall, in his 88th year, Captain John Davy, R.N. He entered the Navy in 1803, was midshipman of the Barfleur in Sir Robert Calder’s action in 1805, saw much gunboat service in 1807 and 1808 in the Faro off Messina, and was present at the reduction of the islands of Ischia and Procida.

August 29th 1876

At a meeting of the Norwich Town Council, it was decided to purchase the Oxford Hotel for a sum not exceeding £2,000, for the purpose of converting it into municipal offices. A special meeting was held on September 19th, at which it was reported that immediately after the decision of the Council a Norwich solicitor had offered £2,250 for the building. Mr. J. D. Smith, on behalf of the Corporation, offered £2,275, at which price it became city property. Considerable indignation was expressed at the action of the solicitor in question, which, it was pointed out, involved an increase in the rates of one farthing in the pound.

September 1st 1876

Mr. and Mrs. German Reed appeared at Norwich Theatre, and were assisted in their entertainment by Mr. Corney Grain, Miss Fanny Holland, and Mr. A. E. Bishop.

September 4th 1876

Madame Blanche Cole’s Crystal Palace Opera Company began a six nights’ engagement at Norwich Theatre.

September 6th 1876

In compliance with a requisition signed by persons of both political parties, the Mayor of Norwich (Mr. J. H. Tillett) convened a Common Hall, “for the purpose of giving expression to the views entertained by the requisitionists on the atrocities committed in Bulgaria.” The Mayor presided, and the Lord Bishop and many other leading citizens were present. Resolutions were adopted expressing indignation and horror at the atrocities perpetrated by troops in the service of the Turkish Government. Meetings of a similar character were held in many of the towns and villages of the county, sermons were preached in churches and chapels, and relief funds organized.

September 9th 1876

Mr. R. T. Gurdon was presented with his portrait (painted by Mr. Sidley, of London), in recognition of his political services to the county. The presentation was made by Sir Francis Boileau, Bart., at the Liberal Club, Norwich.

September 10th 1876

Swaffham church was re-opened for public worship. It had undergone extensive restoration, under the superintendence of Mr. W. O. Milne, architect, of London.

September 11th 1876

Mr. H. Loraine and Miss Edith Kingsley opened Norwich Theatre for a short season with a performance of “Othello.” Among the other plays produced were “The Gamester,” “Hamlet,” and “Richelieu.”

September 12th 1876

An explosion occurred on board the Alexandra steamer, which had been chartered for the conveyance of the workpeople of Pockthorpe Brewery, Norwich, on a river excursion. A case of fireworks placed in the bar exploded, and filled the cabin with fumes by which many of the party were seriously affected. Four deaths resulted. At the subsequent inquest, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death, and expressed their strong opinion “that in future no fireworks or combustibles be taken on board steamers without being declared as such and placed under proper charge.”

September 13th 1876

A disastrous gas explosion occurred at the church of St. John Maddermarket, Norwich. The Rev. H. L. Rumsey and several members of the choir were at practice when an escape of gas was noticed. Mr. Rumsey, with a lighted taper in his hand, was in the act of turning off the gas at one of the standards when a brilliant flame shot across the north side of the nave, followed by a terrible explosion, which completely wrecked the interior of the church. The choir escaped without injury, but Mr. Rumsey was hurled a distance of several yards, and severely shaken and bruised. The damage was estimated at £1,000.

September 19th 1876

A skating rink, built at the cost of £9,000, including fittings, &c., was opened at St. Giles’ Street, Norwich. It was 103 feet in length, 55 feet in width, with promenade gallery, smoking rooms, &c. An outer rink, abutting upon Bethel Street, covered an area of 80 feet by 40 feet. For some months roller skating proved a very popular amusement, and weekly returns were published of the number of persons who visited the establishment. This popularity was, however, of short duration, for on May 26th, 1877, it was announced: “The passion for rinking having fallen to zero, the managers have introduced additional attractions in the shape of a couple of clever bicyclists and a troupe of performing dogs.” A theatrical licence was subsequently obtained, and the rink was opened, on September 10th, 1877, as “The Vaudeville Theatre of Varieties,” under the management of Mr. Hugh J. Didcott, with Mr. B. Isaacson as musical director. The originator of the skating rink was Mr. Warner Wright, a local solicitor.

September 24th 1876

A brilliant meteor “fell about half-past six o’clock directly over the planet Saturn, which was then shining in a cloudless sky.” It was observed throughout the Eastern and Southern Counties, and upon the Continent.

September 25th 1876

Messrs. H. M. Pitt and H. Hamilton’s Company commenced a three weeks’ dramatic season at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. The pieces produced included “False Shame,” “Partners for Life,” “Old Sailors,” “Two Roses,” “Forgiven,” “Queen Mab,” “Still Waters Run Deep,” “New Men and Old Acres,” “Money,” “London Assurance,” &c. In the company were Miss Fanny Addison, Miss Alma Murray, Miss Dora Santon, Mr. and Mrs. George Canninge, Mr. John Burton, Mr. J. Watkins, Mr. Sidney Weatherilt, Mr. Edward Fowler, Mr. E. D. Ward, Mr. A. Walters, and Mr. Barry. Mr. H. Cecil Beryl (Mr. W. H. Sparrow, of Norwich) was the acting manager.

September 27th 1876

Died at Great Yarmouth, Commander Horatio Nelson Atkinson, “named after his god-father, the hero of Trafalgar.” He was the eldest son of Thomas Atkinson, master attendant on Nelson’s flagships, and entered the Navy in January, 1817. When mate of the Seringapatam, in 1825, he received three severe gunshot wounds. He attained the rank of Lieutenant on November 27th, 1827, and served from February 23rd, 1831, until July, 1834, in the Alfred on the Mediterranean station, where he witnessed the establishment of King Otho on the throne of Greece, and was presented, when off Alexandria, with a sword by Mehemet Ali. From March 31st, 1836, until his retirement he was employed in the Coastguard, owing to his inability to procure further occupation afloat. Commander Atkinson was in his 74th year.

October 14th 1876

A new County Cricket Club was formed at a meeting held at the Royal Hotel, Norwich. Lord Suffield was elected president.

October 30th 1876

The Boileau drinking-fountain, erected at the junction of the Newmarket and Ipswich Roads, Norwich, was inaugurated. Sir John Boileau, Bart., had bequeathed the sum of £1,000 to defray the cost of the work, which was designed by Mr. T. Jeckyll, St. George’s Terrace, Queen’s Gate, London. The statuary was designed and executed in bronze by Mr. J. E. Boehm, the well-known sculptor, and the structure was built by Mr. Hubbard, of East Dereham. Sir Francis Boileau, Bart., performed the ceremony of asking the city to accept the fountain, and was thanked by the Mayor (Mr. J. H. Tillett), in the name of the citizens.

October 30th 1876

Norwich Theatre was opened for the winter season by Mrs. W. Sidney, with an excellent production of Dion Boucicault’s Irish drama, “The Shaughraun.”

November 9th 1876

Mr. Richard Coller was elected Mayor, and Mr. William Cadge appointed Sheriff of Norwich.

November 13th 1876

The Prince of Wales arrived at Morton Hall, on a visit to Lord Walsingham.

November 20th 1876

The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Norwich, with the object of furthering an important scheme promoted by the governing body of the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital for enlarging the institution. Their Royal Highnesses, who travelled by special train from Wolferton, were received at Thorpe Station by the Mayor, Sheriff, and Deputy-Mayor, and presented with an illuminated address, after which they drove to St. Andrew’s Hall, where a distinguished audience had assembled, under the presidency of the Earl of Leicester, Lord Lieutenant of the county. The High Sheriff (Sir William ffolkes, Bart.) moved, “That the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital fully deserves the confidence and support of the county of Norfolk and city of Norwich, on account of its services, extended over a hundred years, to the sick and suffering poor.” The Lord Bishop seconded the motion, which was adopted. His Royal Highness then moved, “That it is desirable, both for the accommodation of the patients and the improvement of the sanitary condition of the Hospital, that the proposed alterations and additions be carried out, and that for this purpose an application be made to the county and city to raise the sum of £35,000 for a building and sustentation fund.” Votes of thanks were accorded to their Royal Highnesses for attending the meeting, and to Lord Leicester for presiding. Lord Leicester, who had previously offered to subscribe £5,000, on condition that the remaining £30,000 of the £35,000 required were raised within a stipulated time, now announced that he would give £13,000 to be invested for the future sustentation of the Hospital. At the conclusion of the proceedings the Prince and Princess were entertained at luncheon at the Bishop’s Palace, where a distinguished company had been invited to meet them; and in the afternoon his Royal Highness attended a Masonic gathering at the Drill Hall, and installed Lord Suffield as Provincial Grand Master. Later their Royal Highnesses proceeded by rail to Gunton, to spend a few days with Lord and Lady Suffield; and in the evening a concert was given at St. Andrew’s Hall, at which Madame Albani was the principal performer. (_See_ February 3rd, 1877.)

November 20th 1876

A man named William Nelson was severely injured in St. Peter Mancroft Church Alley, by the explosion of a gaspipe charged with gunpowder. He was removed to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, where he died on the following day. At the Coroner’s inquest, on the 22nd, the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against some person or persons unknown. A reward was offered by the Mayor for the discovery of the perpetrator of the outrage, but no information was forthcoming.

December 18th 1876

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrived at Holkham, on a visit to the Earl and Countess of Leicester, who, on the 21st, gave a grand ball in honour of the event.

December 23rd 1876

Died at Norwich, Mr. William Cooke Stafford, aged 83. Mr. Stafford was one of the oldest journalists in the kingdom. After a visit to America, he commenced his professional career in London, in 1818, as a contributor to the “Anti-Jacobean Review,” the “White Dwarf,” &c., for which he wrote leading articles. He afterwards became editor of the “Leeds Intelligencer,” and proceeded to York to edit the “Yorkshire Gazette.” Leaving York, he established the “Doncaster Chronicle,” and had subsequent engagements on the “Hull Packet” and the NORFOLK CHRONICLE. His later years were spent in London, where he did a considerable amount of literary work as “publisher’s editor,” by writing a history of the Crimean War, and part of “The World as It Is,” for Mr. Peter Jackson. Mr. Stafford also re-edited Hume and Smollett’s History, and did much work of a similar character.

December 26th 1876

The pantomime of “Beauty and the Beast, or Harlequin Prince Azor and the Good Fairy of the Wedding Ring,” produced under the direction of Mrs. Sidney, at Norwich Theatre, was one of the best and most successful pieces of the kind in the annals of the house. Stoodley and Harmston’s Circus and Edmunds’ Menagerie were exhibited on Castle Meadow; and Madame Rose Hersée, supported by an excellent concert party, appeared before a meagre audience at Noverre’s Rooms.

December 27th 1876

Died at the Grove, Chapel Field Road, Norwich, Mr. Joshua Swann, aged 71. He was a partner in the firm of Messrs. Willett, Nephew, and Co., and an alderman of the city. Mr. Swann’s literary and scientific tastes rendered him a valued and most active member of the committees of the Norfolk and Norwich Museum and Literary Institution, and he was a warm supporter of the School of Art and the East Anglian Art Society, formed shortly before his death. He left a collection rich in portraits of local celebrities and etchings by Norwich artists.

December 30th 1876

Died at Catton, Mr. George Gedge, aged 78. For many years Mr. Gedge carried on an extensive business as a dyer, by which he realised a fortune. He was a Conservative in politics, and long served the city as a member of the Town Council and of the old Court of Guardians. He directed his attention especially to the advocacy of a system of national rating, in the furtherance of which he spent both time and money. It was to Mr. Gedge’s enterprise that the city was indebted for the first visit of Jenny Lind, the precursor of so much benefit to local charitable institutions, and of the founding of the Jenny Lind Infirmary for Sick Children.