Your Committee Needs You
We are losing several of our committee members this year so it is more important than usual that you should consider helping to keep the Society going. If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Executive Committee and would like to talk about what is involved then please phone the Honorary Secretary, Graham Panton or any other committee member. Contact details are on the back page.
The 33rd Annual General Meeting of The Hadleigh Society is to be held in Hadleigh Old Town Hall on Wednesday 10th June 2015 at 8 p.m. and all members are invited to attend.
1. Apologies for absence
2. Minutes of the 32nd AGM
3. Treasurer’s Report
4. History Group Report
5. Planning Report
6. Chair’s Review
7. Election of Officers and Executive Committee Members
This will be followed by a picture show, presented by Jan Byrne and Sue Angland and then to finish, wine and nibbles.
The 2014 AGM Minutes can be found on our website at http://www.hadsoc.org.uk/AGM/agm_2014_mins.htm . Copies will be available at the Meeting, together with the Annual Accounts.
From an original presentation by the Hadleigh Society History Group in November 1990
N.B. Paragraphs in italics are direct quotes from the 1871 Board minutes or correspondence.
Business continues with the Hadleigh Local Board in 1871
Families of any standing in the town would have a pony stabled near the house, & a large number of families kept pigs & some a house cow; this keeping of livestock could be another source of ‘nuisance’.
Letters of complaint had been received in December 1870 regarding Mr Elliot’s pigs & he had not responded to the requests for the abatement of the nuisance. In July 1871 the Inspector took action: ‘To Hadleigh Local Board, The Local Authority – I, the Inspector of Nuisances of the Hadleigh Local Board hereby give you notice that there exists in or upon the yard belonging to the dwelling house in the occupation of Mr John Elliot of Hadleigh in Suffolk, pig dealer & shoe-maker, situate in the George Street in the parish of Hadleigh in your district under the Nuisances Removal Act 1855 the following nuisance in which swine so kept as to be a nuisance or injurious to health & that such nuisance is caused by the said John Elliot dated this third day of July 1871. Signed E.S. Downs. Whereupon the Inspector of Nuisances was directed to take the necessary steps for abating the nuisance. This he did & at the next meeting reported that the Bench of magistrates had ordered the nuisance to be abated in 21 days & that the defendant should pay the court fees of 19s.
At the same meeting the Inspector reported that he had given notices to Mr W.C. Golding & Mr Benjamin Last of their having caused a nuisance by allowing house refuse to flow upon the highway but that such nuisance had not been repeated since such notices were given. Mr Golding, however, was not happy about the way he had been treated & had written to the Clerk asking how he could complain to the Board. The clerk responded to him: ‘In reply to your letter of yesterday I beg to inform you that if you have any complaint to make to the Board, you can do so either by letter or by personal attendance at the next Board meeting which will take place on Monday evening next. The Board meets at 7pm but the regular routine business takes about an hour so it will not be worth your coming before 8pm’. Three days later he had to write again to clarify the meaning of the above!!! Mr W.C. Golding attended & complained: ‘that the Surveyor had threatened to stop up his drainage & had sent 2 men who took up his pipes & threw them into the public road & stopped up his drainage. Mr B. Last also complained that the surveyor had caused to be informed whether the Surveyor had the authority of the Board in so acting. The Board having heard the Surveyor in reply, a committee consisting of Mr T.W. Wilson, Mr J. Cook & Mr J.T. Muriel was appointed to inspect the premises & to do what they may think fit in the matter & report to the next meeting’. From the Board’s minutes of the following month: ‘The Committee appointed to decide what was to be done as to the drain from Mr Last’s & Mr Golding’s houses & taken up by the Surveyor reported that they had inspected the premises & heard statements on both sides & decided that the Surveyor had not exceeded his duty, & that nothing needed to be done’.
Other residents were more cooperative: ‘The subject of the cesspool outside the gate of Hill Farm was brought forward by Mr Wilson & Mr W. Kersey, the occupier promised to do whatever the surveyor recommended’.
One of the reasons for the higher rate in the town centre was the cost of street lighting. Gas lighting had arrived in Hadleigh comparatively early in the 19th century. In 1834 Brown & Moy built their silk mill in Duke Street & to enable them to work long shifts, the factory had its own coal gas lighting installed. In 1836 the ratepayers of Hadleigh requested Brown & Moy to extend their gas supply pipes to light the town & £54. 17s. 6d was raised to pay for the works. By 1839 fifteen lamps lit Hadleigh & twelve inspectors were employed to ensure they were properly lit & maintained. A dispute over money caused an interruption in the supply between 1853 & 1861 when the Gas Consumers Company was formed with capital of £5000, & a gasworks was built by the iron bridge. The town’s gas fittings, which had been in store since 1853, were brought back into use. In 1871 the Board was twice involved with the lighting. In December 1870 the Reverend Wheeler had asked for a lamp to be placed between the Rectory & the Hall; the Board had written to the Gas Company & in January had a reply: ‘the Directors would place the lamp & light it as requested, if a guarantee would be given that the Company might remove the lamp when the Board ceased to light the same’.
Discussion on this matter was postponed until the following meeting on 6th February when ‘it was proposed by Mr Robinson & seconded by Mr J.T. Muriel that Mr Wheeler be asked to give a guarantee in the terms of the latter to the secretary of the Gas Company of 15th December 1870 with reference to the erecting of a lamp between the Rectory & the Hall.’ The following month in the minutes: ‘Letters as to the proposed lamp in the churchyard near the Rectory were read, whereby it appeared that the Rector had given the Gas Company the required guarantee & that they had given directions for the erecting of the lamp & that the Rectory undertook to bear half the cost of lighting’. The total cost of lighting the lamp for the year was 55s – so the Reverend Wheeler’s contribution would have amounted to 27s 6d.
At a meeting of the Local Board on 7th August the Rate Collector asked directions concerning the rates due from the Gas Company. As it was said that an appeal was to be made by the Directors of the company, the matter was left until the next meeting on 2nd October. By that day the ‘manifestly excessive’ assessment of the Gas Company’s rateable value had been reduced by the committee. It dropped from £150 to £118. 10s but the Gas Company still remained dissatisfied & decided to appeal to the Quarter Sessions. The Board then resolved that the Gas Company’s assessment had been reduced further to £75 on appeal to the Quarter Sessions.
Local Boards were supervised by the London based Local Government Board as also from 1871 were the Work Houses & Poor Law Guardians. Hadleigh was one of the 10 parishes in Babergh Hundred & 18 in the Cosford Hundred that in 1834 had formed the Cosford Union. Mr Farnall, a Local Government Board Inspector had drawn the Guardians attention to the fact that between 1860 & 1870 the annual expenditure on poor relief had increased by £1378. The Guardians appointed a committee of their number to investigate & in September reported
‘The Committee thus appointed have met & agreed the following report:’… that the comparison is a fair one as regards the 2 years – the average price of flour for the 4 quarters being within a farthing a stone the same. They have arrived at the following conclusions, remarking at the same time, that there may exist other reasons for the increase of charge which they failed to discover.
1. Under the old system of management of highways which prevailed in 1860, numbers of old men were … employed … in the winter months in order to help the poor rate, but since the new Highway Act has come into operation the demand for old men has almost ceased. The District Surveyor, seeking the labour of the able-bodied, thus the old & infirm are thrown upon the rates in greater numbers … .
2. … in 1869/70 the harvest of 1869 was early & the ‘general failure of the root crop acted injuriously towards the poor & tended to swell the application for relief’.
3. Before Union rating became the law of the land, employers of labour felt a special interest in their several parishes in providing work for their settled poor, whether the work was remunerating or not, now that the … Union had become one parish for purpose of relief, that interest had diminished.
4. But the cause above all others to which the committee attribute the increase of expenditure has reference to the operation of the Union Chargeability Act in its relation to the proceedings of the Board.
Under the old system of parochial responsibility the guardians were wont to exercise a strict supervision over applications for relief, especially in the parishes they represented, but now … they exhibit less interest in general expenditure & less discrimination in their grants for relief … it can afford no surprise that the rates have increased!
The matter did not end there. A further committee was appointed & reported on 15 December. It re-iterated the loss of local responsibility as the underlying cause of increased expenditure but went on to recommend specific measures to tighten up on the granting of outdoor relief & suggested that consideration should be given to increased committal of applicants to the Union House.
More in the next newsletter.