The Isle of Wight 150 years ago.

Extracts from the Hampshire Telegraph.

February 1863

7 February 1863

A ROYAL VISIT was made to the Church of St. Thomas’ on the Wednesday afternoon by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, in company with the Prince Louis and Princess Louise of Hesse, with one of the younger branches of the Royal family, who fully inspected the interior of the sacred edifice which the late lamented Prints Consort was delighted to honour, and, on their departure, they seemed highly gratified with its appearance.

AN ALARMING FIRE broke out shortly before twelve o'clock on Saturday night in a capacious storehouse at the rear of the “Bird in Hand” beershop, in the High-street, lately opened by a Mr. Melchisedek James. Being surrounded by high buildings on every side, and the occupants of the beershop being from home at the time, the fire obtained considerable ascendancy before any means could be resorted to to subside it. The engines were at last got to work, and the fire was luckily confined to the spot where it originated, but we have not heard the amount of the damage sustained. The landlord of the “Crown and Sceptre,” Mr. Rainbird, in Quay-street is a considerable loser by the event, a half drunken and disorderly mob having forced themselves into his premises and by indiscriminately flinging his household goods and furniture out of window, occasioned far more damage than a fire would have done, whilst the fright and inconvenience to the surrounding residents, in removing their families and goods in the middle of the night, can scarcely be imagined. Luckily there was no wind at the time, or the whole of the neighbourhood must have been destroyed.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - The license of the Star and Garter Hotel, at Sandown, was transferred to Mr. Miles, of Ryde; the Morning Star, Newchurch, to Mr. Sanders; and the Victoria Inn, East Cowes, to Mr. Henry Sarjeant.

Joseph Clarke, a Waterman plying at West Cowes, remanded on bail, was placed at the bar under a charge of having robbed George Wellspring, a young bandsman on the board H.M.S. Emerald, then lying in Cowes Road, of the sum of £4 10s., all in florins, and a pack of cards. Mr. F. Blake appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Damant for the prisoner. The hearing occupied several hours, but the facts of the case may be summed up in a short space. It appeared that the complainant had leave to come on shore on Thursday, 23 January, and, like most of his class, he bought all his earnings with him, to the amount of £9 15s. 9d., spent one half of it in the first night in drunkenness and debauchery, the next night was plundered of the other half. The prisoner had offered to show him the town of Cowes on his landing, and the next day offered to show him around Newport, both of which offers were accepted, and with another bandsman belonging to the Emerald, named Power they came here by the 12.15 train, spent the afternoon in drinking different public-houses, fell in with three strolling musicians, treated them in style, and departed by the 6.30 train to Cowes. Previously, however, to starting the complainant counted his cash, and found that he had five and forty florins, and he placed them loose in the left-hand pocket of his pilot coat, together with a pack of cards and a bottle of hair oil. On the seating himself in the right-hand corner of the railway carriage, the prisoner seated himself next to him, his companion and the aforesaid strollers sitting opposite, complainant fell asleep and did not wake until the train had got through the tunnel. Prisoner got out at the terminus and was seen no more that night, and on taking the rest of his companions to aid other public-house the prosecutor found that he had no money to pay for the drink which he had ordered, as his pocket only contained some pieces of glass bottle, in which the hair-oil had been contained, and a pocket swamped with the liquid. On making his loss known the strollers asserted that they saw Clarke rob him. The next day the complainant found the prisoner, and taxed him with the robbery which the latter indignantly denied threatening to beat his ------- head off if he gave him in charge, but after some time he admitted that he had sent the pack of cards to his sister, to get them cleaned off of the oil with which they were stained, and offered, if the complainant would give a boy two pence to fix them, that he would get them back. The boy received the two-pence, and the cards were brought back, spotted and spelling of the hair-oil. The loser then gave Clarke into custody of the police. It appeared that none of the parties was sober at the time, and the Court liberated the prisoner on bail to appear again this day (Saturday), for the purpose of allowing the police time to discover the whereabouts of the three strolling musicians, and compelling their attendance before the Court.

George Edmonds, the keeper of the ”Morning Star” beerhouse, at West Cowes, was charged by P.S. Kent with keeping his house open on the Sunday evening after eleven o'clock, was fined 12s. 6d.

Frederick John Armstrong, a beershop keeper at Sandown, was charged by P.C. Cole with keeping his house open for the sale of beer after 12 o'clock on Sunday morning, when the witness found no less than 33 persons in the house drinking. Defendant said his clock was out of repair, and he didn't know it was so late. Fined 20s. and 7s. 6d. costs.

COWES. - At the sale at the Fountain Hotel on Friday last of the late Mrs. Goodwin’s estate, “the Green,” extending from the Grantham House to Rosetta Villa, one of the sweetest spots in the vicinity of the town, was purchased by the Local Board of Health for the use of the residents and visitors, and it is one of the conditions of the sale that the ground shall never be built on, but be laid out as a pleasure ground for the benefit of the inhabitants. Many of our residents were prepared to buy this very attractive spot, but as soon as they knew the wishes of the Board they generously gave up all idea of buying, and thus a smaller amount was paid than would otherwise have been the case. The members of the Board have entitled themselves to the thanks of the town for their prompt action in the matter.

14 February 1863

The Mayor has called a public meeting of the inhabitants of this town, on Wednesday evening, at the Guildhall, for the purpose of considering the best means for celebrating the marriage of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

The upper prison at Parkhurst, now unoccupied, has at last been selected as a place of confinement for our female convicts, about four hundred of whom are expected in the beginning of April next. The warders in the adjoining cottages have received notice to quit at the latter end of March, to make room for the persons in charge of the new importation.

The barracks and stables inside the old ruins of Carisbrooke Castles are now to be converted into storehouses for the Isle of Wight Artillery Militia, and residences for the sergeants in charge, under the pretext that the capacious store recently erected at Hunny Hill at a considerable expense to the County, and which are but a short distance between the barracks and the town of Newport, are open to the “attacks of a mob,” whilst the alteration will place the stores above a mile away from the police in the town, and upwards of 2 miles from the troops, and where no assistance could be rendered in time to either to prevent any well-devised a system of depredation.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - Henry Southwell, labourer, was charged with indecently exposing himself to the servants and family of Mr. Henry Woodford, of Great Park; and the offence being clearly proved the Court ordered him to be committed for three months, with hard labour.

Joseph Clark, a Cowes waterman, remanded on bail from the previous Saturday, on a charge of having robbed George Wellspring, a bandsman on board H.M.S. Emerald, of the sum of £4 10s., whilst travelling by rail from Newport to Cowes, was again placed at the bar. Mr. Blake, for the prosecution, said the case was adjourned, on the application of Mr. Damant, for the prisoner, for the purpose of procuring the attendance of a party of strolling musicians who were in his company, and who had told the complainant that they saw the prisoner rob him; but as the party had no witnesses of his own he should decline to call them, believing that he had already established a prima facie case against the prisoner. Mr. Damant said the witnesses were now in court and insisted that they should be called, as he was able to prove that there was no ground whatever for the charge, and that it was a gross conspiracy on the part of the complainant to extort money from the prisoner. The Court said they considered the evidence before them was not sufficient to warrant a committal, and they should dismiss the case.

Edward Graham, the landlord of the Vectis Tavern, West Cowes, was charged with resisting the police in the execution of their duty, and with inciting others to do so. P.C. Hatcher said that on 27 January he went to the defendant's house with P.S. Kent, about half-past seven in the evening, and in the backroom he found P.C. Witt with four seamen of H.M.S. Emerald. Defendant was present, and Witt told him the men were absent without leave, when the sergeant told him that he had received a letter from the Commander to apprehend any sailor or marine belonging to his ship, who was without a pass, and bring them back on board, and he told the men they must go with him. They said they would, when defendant interfered, saying, “Fight for it, my lads, and I'll be one to help you” and with that they put themselves into fighting attitudes, and prepared to resist. Two of them attempted to escape, and defendant tried all he could to push them into the passage, and by the witness, who was placed in a door to prevent it, one of the men declared that he would stick him if he didn't let go of him, and defendant at the same time said, “Let them go, you ------ and go out of my house.” It was with great difficulty the men were handcuffed and taken to the station. P.C. Kent, who was thrown down in the struggle, with one of the seamen upon him, corroborated the statement, as did P.C. Witt. Mr. McKay, for the defendant, said he had been 20 years in the Navy, and 12 years the chief boatswain at Cowes, receiving a pension for his services, and had never had a stain upon his character. He should be able to prove, by a number of witnesses, that his client never interfered with the police. On the contrary, he wished the men to go with them quietly, that he directly left the room, and did not enter it again till all was over, nor did he ever attempt to push any of the men away at all. The learned gentleman then called several witnesses in support of his statement, whose evidence was rather more contradictory than consistent with the facts, and after a long examination, the Chairman said, “The Magistrates unanimously find you guilty, not only on the charge of resisting the police, but of inciting the seamen to resistance also. It is also clear that your house is not kept in a very satisfactory condition. We are also of the opinion that the police did not exceed their duty, and if they had not used very great discretion the consequences might have been serious, and then you might have got yourself into a worse scrap than you have now, for as you had belonged to the navy so many years you knew the necessity of its discipline being carried out, and we therefore fine you £5 and costs 17s. 6d. and it will be a question for the Magistrates to consider the next licensing day whether or not you are fit to keep a public-house licence.

BOROUGH COURT. - William Filmore, a jobbing carpenter, charged by P.C. Jolliffe with thrashing his wife was fined 10s.

William Piper, charged by P. C. Stubbs with being drunk on Sunday night, was fined 5s.

Solomon Regan, an Irish tramp, charged with stealing a piece of bacon, the property of James Rugg, a piece of corned beef and a basket of eggs, the property of Henry Blake, and a quarter loaf to eat with it, the property of Edward Williams, pleaded guilty, and was committed to hard labour for three months.

Carolina James, a common prostitute, residing in Paradise-row, was charged with robbing Thomas Newman, a seaman belonging to the H.M.S. Emerald, of two sovereigns. It appeared by the evidence of the complainant that being the worst the liquor he went to sleep with the prisoner at a common brothel, having at the time four sovereigns in his purse, which he put in his pocket, and put alongside the pillow. The next morning he found two of them had been abstracted, but as it appeared that his companion had occupied the next bed, and that none of the money had been found, the Court dismissed the complaint, not knowing who was the thief.

21 February 1863

At a meeting of the Watch Committee on Tuesday, Mr. Frederic Mew was appointed superintendent of the Newport Fire Brigade, in the room of Mr. William Cantelo, resigned.

Parkhurst prison is about to be converted into a receptacle for female convicts, and the necessary alterations are in such a state of forward that the first instalment of 150 females are expected on Tuesday next. It is reported that before the present year is out the whole of both prisons will be devoted to their reception.

A splendid pair of engravings - Portraits of their Boyle Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Hesse, have just been presented by her most Gracious Majesty the Queen to Henry Nunn, Esq., of the Broadlands Lace Manufactory, as a thank offering for the many kindnesses the Boyle Family has received at his hands. The Royal present has been very elegantly framed and glazed by the Messrs. Brock of the High-street, and is now exhibited to the public in their shop window.

A very beautiful little monumental tablet to the memory of H.R.H. the late Prints Consort and executed by Baron Marochetti, has just been erected by public subscription in St. Thomas’Church, between the two stained-glass windows in the North aisle, which were presented by Her Most Gracious Majesty and her most beloved it husband. It occupies but a very little space, leaving only about 4ft. by 3ft., and consists of a white bust in relief, on a crimson ground, surrounded by a framework of black marble, with a carving of laurel leaves around it. A German crown in gold surmounts the whole, and the late Prince’s official baton of office lies in front, and the whole resting on his coat of arms. The likeness is pronounced exceedingly correct, and beneath it appears in the letters of gold the single word “Albert,” in reality an enlarged autograph of his usual signature. The cost is estimated at £200.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - Jacob Hunt, seamen, and William Hunt, labourer, of East Cowes, were charged with stealing a cash box, containing several pounds, the property of Henry Sargent, of the Victoria Tavern. Mr. Beckingsale appeared on behalf of the prisoners, the latter of whom was liberated soon after being placed in the box, there being no evidence to implicate him in the matter, and against his brother, Jacob, the deposition of the landlady was so confused that the court dismissed the charge altogether.

William Holman, 16, and old offender, was charged with stealing a meerschaum pipe, the property of Jane James, of West Cowes. The prisoner pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to be imprisoned for two months, and then to be sent to reform the tree for three years.

RYDE. – RATEPAYERS AT THE VICTORIA ROOMS. - As we announced in our last issue a large public meeting of the ratepayers of Ryde took place on Friday se’nnight [week]. The room was crowded and the proceedings more prominent for this disorder than their business or regularity. The desirability of constructing a campaign from the old Company’s New Quay to the projected railway terminus at the end of Melville-Street, in connection with the Isle of Wight (eastern section) Railway, was the subject for discussion. The meeting had been called by the chairman of the Board of Guardians (G.F. Harrington, Esq.), upon a requisition from the ratepayers. As our readers are aware, from the reports that have appeared in our columns, the tramway question is a very vexed one in Ryde, and consequently a stormy meeting was expected on Friday evening, nor were the most lively anticipations doomed to disappointment, for we scarcely remember such a noisy meeting anywhere. The chairman took the chair according to custom under the circumstances, but a legal gentleman made a furious endeavour to dislodge him; he, however, did not succeed in his attempt, but by and unanimous vote of the meeting the chairman was established in his post. The chairman then gave a brief outline of the origin of the railway, is inactivity for three years, its resuscitation upon the opening of the Cowes and Newport line, its vitality being materially strengthened when Mr. George Young of Appley Towers, joined the board of directors. The company have a bill before Parliament to obtain powers to construct a tramway between the old Pier, over the Esplanade to join the terminus. The company are now seeking permission to construct the tramway. The railway bill has been obtained, the contract for the works has been signed, and, thus prepared, the company came under the notice of the commissioners, and the ratepayers this. The speakers upon each side were applauded and hooted, and they indulged in all sorts of insinuations towards each other, the row away company, and the pier company. The objectors declared that the tramway would cut up the Esplanade, destroy the thoroughfares, and drive the visitors away. It advocates quite as roundly exclaimed that he would bring ten-fold visitors to the island, be a far less nuisance in conveying passengers and goods from the pier to the terminus than omnibuses and other conveyances, and would, in fact, give general prosperity to the town. After a wearisome and quarrelsome discussion a resolution and amendment was put to the meeting, the former refusing altogether to entertain the project to erect a tramway, the latter to allow its construction under certain conditions to be allowed by the town. For the amendment about 15 or 20 hands were held up, for the original motion about 100, which was carried. It should, however, be stated that there was a large majority which did not vote at all. This meeting, with all its excitement, but she left things as they were after the decision of the commissioners.

21 February 1863

The first detachment of the 18th Royal Irish, numbering about 500, arrived at Parkhurst barracks on Monday last, with their splendid band, from the Channel Islands. The rest of the Regiment is expected in about a fortnight.

CAUTION TO MOTHERS. - A coroner's inquest was held on Friday, the 20th instant, before F.Blake, Esq., at the George Inn, Nodehill, on the bodies of William and Edith Toogood, twin children, of the age of five weeks, whose death was occasioned by the mother having incautiously administered to each of them half a spoonful of suet of poppies, in ignorance of its dangerous properties. Dr. Savage was called in soon afterwards and applied the usual remedies, but without the effect, as one of them died in his presence and the other soon after. The jury returned a verdict to the effect above named.

COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. - Four rough looking men, in the garb of seamen, who gave their names as Hazzell, Bullock, Williams, and Johnson, the latter of whom had lost a leg, which charged by P.C. Ives with levying contributions on the charitably disposed, and that the fictitious plea that they were shipwrecked Mariners who ship had been destroyed by fire, and that they alone had been saved by having been washed ashore at the back of the island, and were now endeavouring to gain a livelihood by selling religious tracts. As there was only one of the lot who could show the court that he had ever belonged to the Navy, the chairmanships them off to Winchester gaol for a month each, promising them that if they ever showed themselves in the island again he would triple the dose.

William Hind, an itinerant hawker of doormats, was charged with assaulting, with intent, a child of the age of 12 years, neighbour Georgina Barber, who resided with her friends at Brading. Mr. Beckingsale appeared for the prisoner, and submitted that as he went to sleep in a sour state of intoxication overnight he was not sufficiently recovered the next morning when the assault took place to know what he was doing. The court, taking a merciful view of the disgraceful transaction, merely convicted the prisoner of a common assault, and fined him 17s. 6d.

BOROUGH COURT. - Caroline Harvey, a common prostitute, was charged by P.C. Jolliffe with being hopelessly drunk in the public streets, and fined 10s.

The Isle of Wight 150 years ago

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1 February 2013