The Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century

By John Latimer

Editor of The Bristol Mercury, 1858-83.

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013

1851 - 1870

In conformity with the provisions of the Mercantile Marine Act of 1850, local boards to provide for the examination of masters and mates were established in the principal ports of the kingdom, and commenced their duties on the 1st January,


1851. The first Bristol board consisted of Mr. Edward Drew (Chairman), the mayor (Mr. Haberfield), and Messrs. P.W. Miles, M.P., Richard Jones, Richard P. King, William P. King, William Brass, Richard Rowe, William Patterson, Frederick W. Green, and William Cook.

In January, 1851, Mr. J. Curnock, an able local artist, who had been employed by the Corporation to clean some of the pictures in the Council House, discovered a work of art the disappearance of which had long puzzled the civic officials. Mr. Curnock was engaged upon a portrait of Charles II., the head of which was so miserably executed, compared with the hands, that he was led to examine it attentively. Indications of another wig beneath the surface convinced him that the canvas had been tampered with, and after obtaining leave of the authorities, he proceeded to remove the outer daubing, with the result of bringing to light a finely painted head of James II. This work - attributed to Kneller - was bought by the Corporation in 1686, and is supposed to have been “translated” soon after the dethronement of the would-be despot.

Amongst the financial proposals in the Budget of 1851 was a scheme, soon after sanctioned by Parliament, for the substitution of a house-tax for the unpopular duty imposed on windows. Owing to causes for which it is somewhat difficult to account, the window tax pressed grievously on Bath and Bristol, which bore a share of the burden greatly in excess of their proportional size and population amongst the chief cities in the kingdom. According to a contemporary Parliamentary return, the following were the ten towns which paid the highest amount of duty for the year ending April, 1849: Liverpool, £28,856; Bristol, £22,176; Bath, £21,278; Manchester, £20,575; Brighton, £17,572; Birmingham, £14,986; Plymouth, £11,929; Newcastle, £7,822; Leeds, £7,596; Cheltenham, £6,767.

Seven years before this date, when the population of Clifton was rapidly increasing, a demand sprang up for the establishment of a public market in the district, the sites proposed being Honeypen Hill Quarry, near Meridian Place, and the ground now occupied by the Triangle. The Finance Committee of the Corporation reported in favour of the project in May, 1844, but the Council refused its sanction. In 1851 the proposal was revived, and a strong effort was made to obtain the erection of a suitable building on a site near the church, the cost being estimated at £5,000. The Council, however, disapproved of the proposal. In 1875 another


attempt was made, a company being started to erect a market-house on Richmond Mews, near York Place, and a large portion of the capital (£4,000) was at once subscribed. The Corporation, having requested the opinion of the recorder, was advised that it could not concede to a public company its privilege of holding and regulating markets within the borough. The scheme consequently fell to the ground.

A local journal of the 8rd March contained an announcement that the Society of Merchant Venturers had reduced the fee payable upon admission into the company from £200 to £50. This brief statement comprises the only information respecting the inner working of the corporation in question which has been found in the newspapers of the present century. At an earlier period, it is believed, the political party predominant in it, as in the Common Council, was that of the Whigs; but a rapid change took place after the French Revolution. About 1860 there was said to be only one member of the society - Mr. Robert Bruce - who was not a Conservative; and the unanimity brought about by his death has since remained undisturbed.

The honour of knighthood was conferred in March, 1851, upon Mr. John Kerle Haberfield, who was then filling the office of mayor for the sixth time. His worship had subscribed liberally towards the local fund for promoting the Exhibition of the industries of all nations, which took place in London during the summer. [The total amount raised by subscription throughout the kingdom in support of the undertaking was over £76,000, to which Bristol contributed £788.] A few weeks after receiving his new dignity. Sir John Haberfield was presented, in recognition of his public services, with a beautiful dessert service of plate, valued at upwards of £800, being the result of a subscription to which 500 citizens of all shades of politics contributed. On the centre ornament, nearly three feet in height, were the arms of the city and of the mayor, with the inscription: “To Sir John Kerle Haberfield, knight, six times Mayor of Bristol, 1851”. Above this were emblematic figures of Justice, Commerce, and Generosity. The other portions of the service were also tastefully ornamented. Some years after the death of Sir John, which occurred in 1857, his widow presented this handsome service to the Corporation, to be used by each mayor during his term of office. A bust of the knight was also obtained about the same time, at the expense of a considerable number of citizens, and was placed in the Mayor's Chapel. A portrait of Sir John, painted during his first


mayoralty, was bequeathed to the Corporation by his widow in 1875.

The census of 1851 was taken on the 31st March. The population of the city and county of Bristol was found to be 137,328; the number of persons in the ancient city being 65,716. The population of Clifton was 17,634; the District, 7,935; St. Philip's, out, 24,961; St. George's, 8,905; Mangotsfield, 3,967; Stapleton, 4,840; Bedminster, 19,424, and Stoke Bishop tything, 5,623.

In April, 1851, Messrs. Stuckey & Co., bankers, who then occupied the singular old house at the corner of High Street and Wine Street, purchased premises in Corn Street, consisting of Mr. Harril's sale-room and the apartments occupied by the members of the Athenæum. An old dwelling standing at the corner of Nicholas Street was bought soon after, and a large banking-house was constructed on the sites, a portion being sold to the Corporation for the purpose of widening the adjoining streets. In removing the ancient buildings, the crypt of the demolished church of St. Leonard - the tower of which stood over the end of Corn Street - was exposed to view, much of it being in good preservation.

Some ludicrous incidents in connexion with a proposed “affair of honour” occurred in the spring of 1851. In a debate on the army estimates in the House of Commons during the previous session, Mr. Berkeley, the senior member for the city, had condemned as wasteful the vote granted for the yeomanry cavalry. As an evidence of the inutility of the force, he stated that during the riots at Bristol, when the North Somerset corps was summoned by the mayor to support the cause of law and order, only about ten of the “heroes” appeared, whereupon they were locked up by the authorities to keep them out of danger. No comment was made upon this statement at the time, but a twelvemonth later, when the vote was again under discussion, Mr. W. Miles, M.P. for Somerset, and the colonel of the yeomanry, made a reply, observing that in 1831 seventeen members of the Bedminster troop followed Captain Shute, and that, although they retired to the riding school during the riots on Sunday, as desired by the magistrates, they came in with the regular troops on the following day, and did good service. Mr. Berkeley, in defending his previous remarks, again contended that the yeomanry, in a military point of view, were impostors, and as constabulary were useless. He went on to show, on the authority of the Bristol Gazette, that Captain


Shute's troop had been sent for on the first day of the riots, but that only a handful made their appearance after a delay of twenty-four hours, when they were locked up with the consent of the captain, whose name, added the hon. gentleman, amidst much laughter, was not S-h-o-o-t, but S-h-u-t-e. The discussion then dropped, after mutual explanations. Upwards of a week later, Captain Shute wrote to Mr. Berkeley, asking whether that gentleman intended to imply any doubt of personal courage on the part of the writer. To this Mr. Berkeley replied that he had spelt the name in the House to avoid a mistake on the part of the reporters, and that he believed his correspondent to have been “the gallant leader of a miserably small number of gallant men”. Captain Shute, dissatisfied with the reply, proceeded to London in company with Mr. Joseph Leech, and indited a second epistle, repeating the inquiry made in his first. Mr. Berkeley thereupon retorted that, after the explanation already given, he did not think himself called upon to make further admissions respecting a personal courage which he had never impeached, and that, if Captain Shute still continued to consider his reputation injured, he might address himself to the writer's “friend”, Colonel Dunne. Captain Shute, however, declared that he was now satisfied, and Mr. Leech, approving of the decision, forwarded the correspondence to the Times for publication on the 14th April.

During the summer of 1851, the Great Western and Bristol and Exeter railway boards entered into a contract with the Electric Telegraph Company for the construction of a telegraphic line from London to Exeter. The Midland Company had some months previously established telegraphic communications on their system; but the intelligence received by the public by this means was confined to the results of interesting races. In February, 1852, when the line to London and the West was on the eve of completion, the proprietors of the Commercial Rooms consented to set apart a room in their building as a telegraph office. At the meeting for sanctioning this arrangement, it was stated that a telegraphic line had been laid to Shirehampton, towards supporting which the committee of the Commercial Rooms would give the £30 a year they had previously paid to the “Pill warner”. Up to this date, when the arrival of a ship at Kingroad was “warned” up to the rooms, notice was sent to the merchant concerned, who had to pay a guinea to the messenger. The intelligence was henceforth furnished for half a crown. The telegraph office was a few months later removed to the Broad


Quay, and subsequently to the Exchange. The new system was for the first time used as a vehicle for conveying reports of Parliamentary proceedings to the Bristol newspapers on the 30th April, 1852. The rapid development of telegraphic business brought into increased prominence the troublesome question of “local time” still registered by the parish clocks, messages from London being received at the Bristol office about ten minutes before the time at which they purported to be despatched. At a meeting of the Council on the 14th September, 1852, it was resolved - three inveterate admirers of ancient ways protesting against the innovation - to regulate the clocks by Greenwich time. The first electric apparatus fitted up in the provinces for private business transactions was ordered by Messrs. Wills & Co., tobacco manufacturers, in February, 1859, in order to communicate between their premises in Maryleport and Redcliff Streets. In a lecture delivered in Bristol in December, 1859, Mr. B.S. Culley, local superintendent of the Telegraph Company, stated that the first electric telegraph line in this country was erected in July, 1837, between Euston Square and Camden Town, London, but that as George Stephenson and other scientific men did not appreciate its value, it was soon after removed. In 1839 Messrs. Wheatstone & Cook constructed a line from Paddington to Slough on the Great Western railway - the first on which the invention was tried. Mr. Culley added that Mr. Brunel wished to extend the line to Bristol; but that at one of the meetings of the company he was overruled, mainly through one of the shareholders denouncing electric telegraphy as wild, visionary, and worthless.

A local newspaper of the 26th July announced that in consequence of the rivalry of two steamboats plying between Bristol and Cardiff, passengers were being conveyed gratis from and to each town. Subsequently fares were imposed - 1s. for cabin and 6d. for steerage passengers. The costly competition continued until April, 1855.

The annual congress of the Archæological Institute was opened in Bristol on the 29th July. Amongst the distinguished visitors were Lord Talbot de Malahide (the president of the Institute), Dr. Wilberforce (Bishop of Oxford), Chevalier Bunsen, and Mr. Hallam. A large apartment in the Council House was fitted up as a reception room for the guests, to whom cordial hospitality was offered by the mayor (Sir John K. Haberfield). The introductory meeting took place in the Guildhall, and a brilliant conversazione was held at the Institution. A record of the work of the week


will be found in the yearly volume of the society's Transactions.[75]

Down to this period the west end of St. James's Church, with its beautiful Romanesque ornamentation, had been concealed from public view by a number of hovels, which had been permitted to accumulate around the edifice during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. A subscription was now started by the parochial authorities for the purchase of those excrescences, and, the required amount having been obtained, the ground on which they stood was cleared during the autumn, to the great satisfaction of persons of taste. [An incongruous Corinthian altar piece was removed from the church in 1847.]

A meeting of merchants, shipowners, and others was held at the Commercial Rooms on the 4th September, Mr. Robert Bright presiding, for considering the desirability of reviving the Chamber of Commerce [see page 300]. Resolutions approving of the institution were adopted, but through the indifference of the mercantile classes no progress was effected for some time. In October, 1862, the movement was again started, and, upwards of a hundred firms having offered to become members, the Chamber was resuscitated in the following year. In 1874 it obtained a charter of incorporation.

At a meeting of gentlemen interested in shipping and commerce, held at the office of the mercantile marine board. Prince's Street, on the 16th September, it was resolved to establish a local Sailors' Home - an institution for raising the character and promoting the comfort of seamen which had been already tested with satisfactory results in other large ports. Mr. P.W. Miles, M.P., was elected president. The proposal having met with a large measure of support, the purchase of convenient premises, extending from Queen Square to the Grove, was effected in March, 1852, for £1,300, and over £1,000 more were expended in fitting them up. The home was opened in January, 1853. On the 1st January, 1880, a new building, called the Sailors' Institute, erected in Prince's Street, at a cost of £4,500, by Mr. W.F. Lavington, was opened to seamen, and proved very popular.

An extraordinary accident, which was disastrous to the


most skilful and enterprising shipbuilding firm in Bristol, and long cast a cloud on the reputation of the port, occurred in the Avon on the 10th November. Messrs. W. Patterson & Co. had constructed for the West India Mail Steamship Company a vessel called the Demerara, which, with the exception of the Great Britain, was the largest steamship that had then been built, her registered burden being about 3,000 tons. Having been floated out of the building dock on the 27th September, the vessel was partially fitted for sea, and on the day mentioned above she left Cumberland basin in tow of a powerful Glasgow steam-tug, which was to take her to the Clyde for the purpose of receiving her engines. A succession of blunders, however, occurred. The vessel should have entered the Avon some time before high water, so that the most dangerous reaches might be passed with a full tide; but delay occurred, and the current had turned before she was fairly in the river. The steam-tug, again, started at the rate of seven or eight miles an hour, which was much in excess of the speed consonant with safety. Mr. Patterson, on board the new vessel, urgently called the pilot's attention to the danger of this proceeding, but the rate of speed was not sufficiently reduced, and soon after passing the Bound Point the bow of the Demerara struck violently on the rocky bank of the Gloucestershire side of the river. The tide, ebbing strongly, caused the stem of the ship to swing across the stream to the opposite bank, and all attempts to repair the disaster proved abortive. As the water flowed away the ship settled down, the bolts started, the deck twisted, and there seemed every probability that the wreck would become immovable and that the navigation of the Avon would be wholly blocked up. Great efforts, however, were made in preparation for the next flood tide, and at night, amidst the blaze of tar barrels and torches, presenting a remarkable spectacle to the thousands of persons who had assembled, the exertions of a large body of workmen were successful, the vessel being floated and conveyed to the shore of the river in front of Eglestaff's quarry. It was intended that she should be temporarily repaired at that spot; but about an hour later the ship broke from her moorings, and again swung across the river, receiving further serious damage. It was not until the rising of the tide on the morning of the 11th that the vessel could again be floated and removed to the entrance of Cumberland basin. It was at first believed that the damage sustained was too great to be repaired, and the vessel, which was insured for £48,000 (her


cost, including £12,000 for stores), was abandoned to the underwriters as a “total wreck”, her value being then estimated at £15,000. On the 13th July, 1854, the Demerara was sold for £5,600; the paddle boxes were removed, and she was converted into a sailing ship, which bore the name of the British Empire. In September, 1859, the vessel was again sold for £5,400.

On the 12th November a remarkable amateur company of comedians gave a performance at the Victoria Rooms for the benefit of the Guild of Literature and Art - an institution started under the auspices of Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, afterwards Lord Lytton. The pieces represented were the comedy of “Not so Bad as we Seem”, by Sir B. Lytton, and the farce of “Mr. Nightingale's Diary”, by Messrs. Charles Dickens and Mark Lemon. The chief performers were Charles Dickens (who was manager of the troop), Douglas Jerrold, John Porster, Mark Lemon, Wilkie Collins, Peter Cunningham, R.H. Home, Charles Knight, J. Tenniel, F.W. Topham, Frank Stone, Dudley Costello, and A. Egg. Every seat in the building had been secured several days before, and, in deference to earnest appeals, the performance was repeated two days later.

Repeated complaints having been addressed to the authorities by the inhabitants of Clifton and Redland respecting the road then leading from the top of Park Street to Whiteladies Road and Clifton Church, which was much too narrow to accommodate the constantly increasing traffic, the Improvement Committee of the Council, in 1844, entered into negotiations with Mr. Tyndall - who had announced his intention to dispose of his park for building purposes - for throwing back the wall of his grounds from the Bishop's College to the park gates, so as to widen the thoroughfare to sixty feet. But after a price had been agreed upon for the ground, the owner insisted that the Corporation should rebuild his wall, park gates and lodge, by which the cost of the work would have exceeded £3,000. The committee, after some delay, adopted an alternative scheme, and bought in 1851 a triangular field opposite to the park, thus securing a sufficient breadth for the thoroughfare (which in 1854 received the name of Queen's Road). This arrangement also facilitated the opening of a new road on an easy incline from Jacob's Wells to the higher level, for which powers were obtained in the Improvement Act of 1847. The Council, in 1852, agreed with Mr. Tyndall for the purchase of another strip of the park, in order to widen Whiteladies Road from West Park


to the Victoria Rooms. The line of large elms then standing within the park wall was thrown into the road when the improvement was carried out; and the locality soon became the favourite promenade of the youthful working classes of both sexes on Sunday evenings. [The last of the noble trees was removed in 1886, having become dangerous from age.] Soon after the road had been altered, the neighbouring part of the park was offered for sale, and a row of villas was commenced. One of the first houses built was the Queen's Hotel, which was opened in October, 1854. A further great improvement was effected in the neighbourhood in the autumn of 1857, when, by means of a subscription amounting to £2,000, a number of hovels and petty shops standing on the now vacant ground between the Victoria Rooms and Richmond Hill were demolished, the land being transferred to the Merchants' Society, who undertook to maintain it as an open space. The upper portion of Whiteladies Road continued to be an extremely narrow thoroughfare until 1858, when a strip of the nursery gardens extending from the end of Cotham Road to opposite St. John's Church was thrown into the street.

The tolls on foot-passengers and cattle payable under the Dock Acts at the gates near Totterdown and Redcliff were abolished by the Council in April, 1852. The charge had always been unpopular, and the toll-houses were burned down by the mob during the riots of 1831. The tolls at the Totterdown and Cumberland Basin gates were ordered to be wholly abolished at a Council meeting held in June, 1863.

The death took place on the 7th April, 1852, of the Rev. Martin Richard Whish, M.A., Prebendary of Bedminster in Salisbury Cathedral, and, in right of that office, vicar of Bedminster, rector of St. Mary Redcliff, perpetual curate of St. Thomas, rector of Abbot's Leigh, and perpetual curate of Bishopsworth. A separation of those benefices took place by an Order in Council of the 6th October following, each district becoming an independent parish.

One of the first steps taken by the new vicar of Bedminster, the Rev. H. G. Eland, was to promote a subscription for rebuilding the parish church, a mean edifice of the seventeenth century, capable of seating only 450 persons. Service was performed in it for the last time on the 25th June, 1854, and the new church was ready for consecration in August, 1855. A few weeks before the intended ceremony, a novel feature in the edifice excited a violent outbreak of


antagonistic feelings in the two great parties in the English Church. The structure in question was a richly sculptured reredos, placed behind the communion table, and representing the Crucifixion, the Nativity, and the Ascension in highly idealised forms. This screen - said to have been the first of the kind erected in a parish church since the Reformation - had been executed at the expense of Messrs. W. Fripp and R. Phippen (former mayors), and another gentleman whose name did not transpire. The “Evangelical” clergy in the city vehemently protested against the introduction of an ornament which they termed of a papistical character, while their High Church colleagues insisted on the propriety and edifying tendency of the decoration. Excited meetings were held, and the newspapers abounded with acrimonious correspondence. Bishop Monk seems to have been painfully embarrassed by the stormy memorials addressed to him. On the one hand, he refused to believe, with the Low Church protesters, that the carved figures were likely to become objects of idolatrous worship. On the other, he objected to representations varying from the truth and simplicity of the Gospel narrative, and occupying the space on which, according to law, the commandments ought to have been exhibited. He would not order the removal of the reredos, but he did “earnestly and affectionately request” the vicar and churchwardens to take away the ornament. To this appeal, Mr. Phippen, the senior churchwarden, in an intemperate letter, refused to accede, alleging that the removal of the work would throw a slur upon those who had paid for its erection. The bishop reiterated his “request”, with no better success than before; and his lordship, unwilling to debar the parishioners from their church, consecrated the building on the 30th October, the occasion being seized by the jubilant High Church clergy to make a demonstration of their local strength.

At the dissolution of Parliament in the summer of 1852, the disunion which still partially existed in the Tory party in consequence of the incidents of the previous contest induced the Liberals to bring forward a candidate in conjunction with Mr. Berkeley. The new aspirant was Mr. William H. Gore Langton, who was then serving the office of mayor. As it was impossible to nominate either Mr. Miles or Mr. Fripp with any chance of success, the Conservatives found considerable difficulty in selecting a representative, the question of free trade throwing fresh fuel on the still glowing embers of the old personal quarrel. The Tory Premier,


Lord Derby, had formally stated that he would not abandon his hope of restoring a duty on corn until after the elections; and the result was that nearly every Conservative aspirant in the counties declared himself a Protectionist, while those in the boroughs were everywhere Free-traders. Mr. Forster Alleyne McGeachy, the gentleman ultimately selected for Bristol, had been an opponent of the Corn Laws, but, his relatives being connected with the West Indies, he was a Protectionist in reference to sugar; and to this qualification he joined the claim of being a native of Bristol. At the close of the poll the numbers were:- Mr. Berkeley, 4,681; Mr. Langton, 4,531; Mr. McGeachy, 3,632.

A lamentable accident occurred near Ealing on the 25th February, 1853, to the express train from Bristol to London, in which several of the directors of the Great Western railway were travelling to attend the weekly meeting of the board. Amongst those gentlemen was Mr. James Gibbs, of Clifton Park, who was killed instantaneously. Mr. Gibbs, who was head of the firm of Gibbs, Ferris & Co., of Union Street, and a chemical manufacturer in St. Philip's, was for some time a member of the Bristol Council, and served the office of mayor in 1842-3. He was subsequently Chairman of the Bristol and Exeter Railway Company, and of the Bristol and South Wales Union Railway Company, and was highly esteemed by his fellow-citizens. The public were never made acquainted with the cause of the accident.

The Bristol Journal of March 5 contained the following paragraph:- “Notwithstanding the many failures of the steam-carriage on common roads, it has again made its appearance between Bath and Bristol; and this time, owing to several most ingenious improvements in the machinery employed, has thoroughly realized the expectations of its projectors. The rate of travelling is about twelve miles an hour, and the cost is most trifling - say 6d. for the journey”. As no further reference to the carriage has been found, it may be inferred that the “expectations of its projectors” again ended in disappointment.

In the early months of 1853, the ruinous old buildings known as “Spencer's almshouse”, in Lewin's Mead, opposite to the Unitarian Chapel, were evacuated by the inmates, who were removed to a new house, erected in Whitson [properly Whitsun] Street, near the west end of St. James's Church.

The Bristol Library came prominently before the public about this time. The committee of the Fine Arts Society,


then about to erect their building in Whiteladies Road, suggested a union of the two institutions, and the subscribers to the testimonial to Mr. Bright [see p.302], offered to give £700 to the funds of the Library, on condition that a few deserving members of the working classes were admitted to the privileges of ordinary subscribers. Finally, a committee of the Council suggested that the Library should be converted into a free city library under the provisions of a then recent Act for facilitating the establishment of such institutions. The executive of the Library refused to confer with the committee of the Council, but assented to the two former propositions. Difficulties subsequently arose, however, and both negotiations fell through.

In the meantime, through the exertions of Mr. Charles Tovey and a few other members of the Council, the position of the Library Society towards the city was thoroughly investigated, with results somewhat surprising to the inhabitants. In a clever little work written by Mr. Tovey it was shown that, in 1613, “a lodge adjoining to the town wall, near the Marsh” was given to the Corporation by Robert Redwood, for the purpose of being converted into a library for the use of the citizens. About 1628, Tobias Matthew, Archbishop of York (son of a local mercer, and born on Bristol Bridge), gave a number of books “to the merchants and shopkeepers of the city” - his intention to do so being apparently known to the donor of the lodge; and the store of books received additions by a legacy of Redwood himself, and by purchases of the Common Council. In 1636, Richard Vickris, one of Redwood's executors, gave a piece of ground for the enlargement of the building, and in 1740 a handsome library was erected by the Corporation at a cost of over £1,300, exclusive of the money paid for a further addition to the site. Lastly, about 1,400 volumes of books were bequeathed, in 1766, by Mr. John Heylyn, a relative of the well-known Peter Heylyn, for the use of the citizens. The foundation of a free public library had thus been laid when, in 1772, a few influential individuals resolved on starting a “subscription library”, and shortly afterwards petitioned the Common Council for “the use of the Library House and of the books therein deposited”. That such a request should be made was perhaps not so remarkable as the fact that the Corporation, entirely ignoring the rights of the citizens, handed over to the memorialists the building and its contents, spent several hundred pounds in renovating the rooms and removing some contiguous stables, and also undertook to pay


a portion of the librarian's salary out of the city purse. Such proceedings were, however, a natural outcome of the old system of local government; and all surprise at the civic munificence ceases when it is discovered that several promoters of the Library Society were also members of the Common Council.[76] In 1784 the rooms were found insufficient for the convenience of the members, whereupon the Common Council granted an adjacent plot of ground at a rent of 2s. 5d. per year, and made a donation of £100 to the fund opened for building a western wing, which was finished in the following year. The Corporation further undertook to pay the whole of the national and local taxes on the library, which was also insured from fire and kept in repair at the expense of the city. Again, in 1814, when the society proposed to erect a gallery in the western wing for the accommodation of their books, the Common Council subscribed a moiety of the cost, £200. So entirely did the society consider themselves owners of the property, that in 1826 they requested the Corporation to permit them “to remove the city books from the city shelves, in order to make room for books belonging to the society”; but although the citizens had been practically excluded for many years from their own property, the Common Council was offended at the impudence of the demand, and the application was “laid on the table”. In 1836, soon after the Council came into existence, Mr. C.B. Fripp moved for a catalogue of the city books (which was furnished), and followed this up by obtaining the appointment of a committee “to consider of the best means to be pursued for rendering the library useful to the public”. The committee, however, never presented a report. Matters remained in this state until 1848, when a memorial was addressed to the Council by forty respectable citizens, calling attention to the usurpation of public rights by a small body of private persons, and asking that the books belonging to the city should be made accessible. Nothing was, however, done, and the subject again slumbered until the date at which this record has arrived. The Library Society having refused, as has been already stated, to co-operate with the Council, Mr. Tovey and his supporters urged the latter body to give the society notice to quit the premises in order that


they might be converted to their original purpose. The Council unanimously adopted this suggestion in February, 1854, to the great indignation of the society, which threatened for a time to hold possession of the building. At the close of the year wiser counsels prevailed, and the property was surrendered, the Corporation paying the society £630 for its interest in the western wing. The society, leaving behind them the books belonging to the city (about 2,000 volumes), removed in August, 1855, to a wing of the Bishop's College, at the top of Park Street. The old building was shortly afterwards fitted up for its original purpose, and was opened as a free library on the 15th September, 1856, Mr. George Pryce, subsequently author of a “Popular History of Bristol”, having been appointed librarian. By the gifts of various citizens, and the energy of Mr. Pyrce, about 4,000 volumes were soon after added to the shelves, and Mr. Robert Lang presented a painting by Syer, in the hope that others would follow his example. The development of free libraries in the city will be recorded under 1873.

A faculty was granted in August, 1853, for extensive alterations in All Saints' Church. Under the powers granted by this document, the west front was rebuilt, a new western entrance formed, the doorway in Corn Street converted into a window, and tracery placed in other windows. Further alterations were made a few years later, when the roof and the capitals of the columns were decorated with colour.

On the 20th August, the vestry of St. Mary Redcliff announced by advertisement in the local journals that they were desirous of receiving tenders for the purchase of the three pictures by Hogarth which then hung in the church. The result appears to have been unsatisfactory, as the paintings remained in their accustomed places until the spring of 1858, when the vestry, at the suggestion of Alderman Proctor, offered them to the trustees of the Fine Arts Academy, on the latter undertaking to preserve them carefully. The pictures were shortly afterwards removed from the church.

A singular case of fraud and deception, bearing resemblance in many points to the more notorious imposture connected with the Tichborne baronetcy, was tried at Gloucester assizes on the 8th, 9th, and 10th August, and excited great interest. The cause was in the nature of an action of ejectment, the plaintiff, styling himself Sir Richard Hugh Smyth, baronet, seeking to establish his claim to the title and estates of the Smyth family of Long Ashton. His story was that, although brought up as the child of one Provis, a carpenter, at


Warminster, he was really the son of Sir Hugh Smyth by a lady to whom the baronet was secretly married in Ireland in 1796. He further alleged that soon after discovering this fact he communicated it to Sir John Smyth, who had succeeded his brother Hugh through supposed default of male issue, and that Sir John had immediately acknowledged the justice of his claim, but was so much prostrated by the prospect of being deprived of title and wealth that he died suddenly during the following night. Various documents were produced in support of the case, amongst them being a declaration alleged to have been written by Sir Hugh, witnessed by his brother John, and sealed with the family seal, in which the plaintiff was acknowledged as legitimate heir to the baronetcy and estates. To account for the long delay in prosecuting his case, the claimant alleged that he had been taken to the Continent by one of Sir Hugh's servants; that he had long believed that Sir John was his elder brother; and that subsequently he had no funds to carry on a costly litigation. While under cross-examination, in which a huge web of falsehood was being gradually torn to pieces, a dramatic incident occurred. A telegraphic message was brought into court addressed to the defendants' leading counsel. Sir P. Thesiger, who, after perusing the missive, asked the plaintiff whether he had not, in the preceding January, ordered a London tradesman to engrave a crest upon certain rings, and a name upon a broach - the rings and broach in question being alleged family relics on which much of the case rested. The rogue, whose face became livid, stammered out an affirmative answer, whereupon his counsel, Mr. Bovill, threw up his brief, and apologised to the court for having believed in the imposture. The impudent trickster was forthwith committed on charges of forgery and perjury. He had been, in early life, under his true name of Thomas Provis, sentenced to death at Somerset assizes for horse stealing; subsequently he had picked up a mean livelihood as an itinerant lecturer, and by other less reputable avocations. He was tried and convicted of forgery at Gloucestershire spring assizes in 1854, and was sentenced to twenty years' transportation, but died in a convict prison in the following year. The defence against the action of ejectment is said to have cost the Smyth trustees upwards of £6,000.

A meeting was held on the 7th November, the bishop of the diocese presiding, for the purpose of considering the propriety of converting the Diocesan School in Nelson Street


into a Trade School. It was stated that the Diocesan School was established in 1812 for the purpose of educating poor children in the principles of the Established Church, but that owing to the springing up in subsequent years of schools in the various parishes, the object of its promoters had been attained in other ways, and it had ceased to be successful. The Rev. Canon Moseley, soon after his appointment to the cathedral, suggested the desirability of converting the building into a Trade School, similar to those which had been largely successful in Germany and other countries; and his proposal was sanctioned by the committee, subject to the approval of the subscribers. Dr. Lyon Playfair, who attended the meeting, congratulated the people of Bristol on being the first in England to contemplate the establishment of a valuable institution. Resolutions authorising the remodelling of the school were adopted unanimously. The new institution was opened by Earl Granville, Lord President of the Council, on the 28th March, 1856. His lordship, after being entertained to breakfast at the Council House, presided at a meeting held in the Merchants' Hall, where he expressed the deep interest felt by the Government in the new enterprise. The development of this school into the Merchant Venturers' School will be recorded hereafter.

A new church in Clifton, dedicated to St. Paul, was consecrated on the 8th November. The edifice, which was a tasteless specimen of gothic architecture, and cost only £4,000, had an ecclesiastical district assigned to it in October, 1859, by Order in Council. On the night of Sunday, the 10th December, 1867, the building, with the exception of the tower, vestry, and porch, was destroyed by fire - probably from the overheating of the flues. The church, considerably enlarged and improved, was rapidly rebuilt at a cost of about £7,000, and was reconsecrated on the 29th September, 1868.

A letter from the Home Secretary's office was on the 18th January, 1854, addressed to the churchwardens of each of the ancient parishes of Bristol, announcing that Lord Palmerston, under the powers of an Act passed in the previous session, had resolved on recommending the Privy Council to forbid interments in the crypts or burial grounds of their respective churches. In addition to the parochial cemeteries, the following were also closed: Francis's burial ground, West Street; Williams's burial ground, West Street; Thomas's burial ground, Clarence Place, Castle Street; Dolman's burial ground, Pennywell Street; Howland's burial ground, Newfoundland Street; Infirmary burial ground,


Johnny Ball Lane; Broadmead Chapel-yard, St. James's parish. Burials were also prohibited in St. Joseph's (Roman Catholic) chapel, Trenchard Street, and in Counterslip Baptist chapel. In the following places one body only was to be buried in each grave: Quakers' burial ground, Friars; Quakers' burial ground, Redcliff Pit; Quakers' burial ground, near the workhouse; Jews' burial ground, St. Philip's Marsh; Jews' burial ground, Temple parish. No burial was to take place within five yards of the adjoining buildings in the cemeteries of the cathedral, St. George's, Brandon Hill, Zion Independent chapel, Portland Street Wesleyan chapel, and St. Paul's, and in the three burial grounds in or near Redcross Street.

Some interest was excited about this time by an effort made by the Society of Friends to avert the threatened war between England and Russia by means of an appeal addressed directly to the Czar. The persons selected to undertake this novel mission were Mr. Robert Charleton, of Bristol, Mr. Joseph Sturge, of Birmingham, and Mr. Henry Pease, of Darlington. On being introduced to the Emperor, at St. Petersburg, on the 10th February, the deputies presented him with an address from their society, urging the universal application of Christ's commands on all who called themselves His followers. The address added that the signatories had been induced to take this course “by the many proofs of condescension and Christian kindness manifested by thy late illustrious brother, Alexander, as well as by thy honoured mother, to some of our brethren in religious profession”. The deputation was treated with great distinction by the Emperor, and was introduced to the Empress and the Grand Duchess Olga. It is scarcely necessary to add that the mission was a failure.

On the 16th March, Henry Charles, eighth Duke of Beaufort, paid a visit to the city in order to take the oath on accepting the office of Lord High Steward of Bristol, in succession to his father, who had died a few months before. The ceremony took place in the Council chamber. After his grace had been sworn in, and some complimentary speeches had been delivered, the company adjourned to another apartment, where a collation had been prepared. The tables were brilliantly decorated, and “a gigantic ship, in sugar, playing in a sea of whipped cream”, represented one of the chief elements of local commerce. In October, the members of the Corporation were invited to dine at Badminton, where a party of seventy was served entirely


upon silver. According to the Bristol Times, however, the guests were much irritated by their frigid reception, and one of them, in a published letter, complained of the huge dish of “cold shoulder” with which they had been regaled. The duke was presented with the freedom of the Merchants' Company, in a gold box, in the following November.

Daring the month of March, an old building standing upon the Welsh Back, nearly opposite the entrance to King Street, and known to all Bristolians by the name of the Goose Market, was demolished by order of the Council, being an impediment to traffic. It had been used in former times for the sale of Welsh products arriving by sailing vessels, but the introduction of steamers had diverted trade into other directions.

An advertisement in the Bristol newspapers of the 1st April announced that Pile Hill, consisting of nearly thirty acres of freehold land, had been laid out for building purposes. The offer did not meet with much attention until six or eight years after this date, but several hundred dwellings were eventually erected in the locality.

On the 26th April, the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, then residing at Stapleton Palace, addressed a letter to the incumbent and churchwardens of that parish, undertaking to rebuild at his own cost the parish church, then “mean in structure and of inadequate capacity”. Dr. Monk explained that his motive in making the offer was to put an end to chronic quarrels respecting pews, and to provide accommodation for the poor. In order to insure the latter condition, his lordship forbore from reserving a seat for his own family. The representatives of the lay impropriator, Mr. J.H. Greville Smyth, a minor, gave notice of their intention to oppose the grant of a faculty for demolishing the old church, unless Mr. Smyth's rights in the chancel, including the power of selling or letting pews, were acknowledged. The difficulty was avoided by allowing the old chancel to remain, but it was afterwards rebuilt by Mr. Smyth's trustees. Amongst the last acts of Bishop Monk (who died in June, 1856, before the consecration of the church) was the gift of an organ and a clock to the edifice, which cost him upwards of £5,000, and is probably the most beautiful modern village church in the county. In 1870 Sir J. Greville Smyth, bart., restored to the parish the great tithes, which had belonged to his family for many generations, and which amounted to £250 a year. Half the sum was reserved for the ecclesiastical district of Fishponds, part of the ancient parish of Stapleton.

The once celebrated coaching-house, the Bush Hotel,


Corn Street, was ordered to be demolished in May, to make way for the new West of England Bank. Whilst the workmen were removing the flooring of one of the large rooms, they discovered a canvassing card of Henry Cruger, printed daring the contest of 1781, in which that gentleman appealed for support as “a zealous Promoter of Trade, Peace, and Harmony between Great Britain and America”.

About the end of August, the Rev. Robert H. Miles, rector of Bingham, Nottingham, and fourth son of the late Mr. P.J. Miles, of Leigh Court, purchased a piece of ground fronting the new course of the Avon, for the purpose of erecting a church - which the founder intended for the use of seamen frequenting the port - and also an almshouse for sailors' widows. The buildings were completed and the church opened in May, 1859. From the outset the religious services were characterised by an ornateness and ceremonial previously unknown in the city; and in the course of a few months the church became the recognised centre of fashionable “ritualists”, the seamen for whom the building was designed being conspicuous from their absence. In 1865 it was announced that a series of pictures, representing the Roman Catholic legend of the “Stations of the Cross”, had been placed in the building, and at a later period a waxwork representation of the Holy Family in the stable at Bethlehem was set up during the Christmas festival. In 1877 Bishop Ellicott repeatedly urged the chaplain, the Rev. A.H. Ward, to abandon the illegal practices which he had adopted in the celebration of the Communion; but the reverend gentleman replied that he could not conscientiously make any alteration in the services. In March, 1878, the bishop consequently revoked Mr. Ward's licence, and the church, which had never been consecrated, was thenceforth closed.

Another visitation of cholera occurred during the month of October, 1854, but the ravages of the disease were, as compared with former occasions, limited. Amongst the victims was Robert Evans, LL.D., D.C.L., the first headmaster of the reorganised Grammar School, which, through his learning and ability, had been already raised to great estimation. He was succeeded by Mr. C.T. Hudson, who had held the post of second master.

“In October, 1854, the first mission to that most hopeless of all hopeless countries, Patagonia and the Tierra del Fuego, sailed from the port of Bristol, in the schooner called the Allen Gardiner, commanded by the gallant and zealous


captain of that name, whose melancholy fate, and that of his crew, off that inhospitable coast, in the following year, filled the minds of many Christians with the greatest grief. Yet, notwithstanding the sad casualty which befell the captain and crew, entitling them to a place on the list of martyrs for the cause of religion, the little vessel, having been rescued and brought home to England, and lengthened and refitted at Bristol, has found another captain and crew ready to undertake the responsibilities of this dangerous but glorious enterprise, and is again (1862) about to sail for her destination”.[77]

Consequent upon the outbreak of war with Russia, a meeting of citizens was held in the Guildhall on the 20th November, in support of the Patriotic Fund, established under a Royal Commission, for the relief of the families of soldiers and sailors who should fall during the conflict. The total amount collected in the city was £9,996. At a later period of the war, when the deficiency of the transport service in the Crimea had caused deplorable results, steps were taken for the creation of a Land Transport corps, of which Bristol became the headquarters. The barracks at Horfield being inadequate for their accommodation, many hundreds of the recruits, drawn from the lowest classes, were billeted upon the innkeepers; and great complaints were made as to their disorderly conduct. The corps was reorganised and removed from Bristol on the return of peace.

In December, the Rev. George Madan, vicar of St. Mary Redcliff, a member of what was called the Puseyite party amongst the clergy, made several alterations in the service of his church. Amongst other innovations, he practically suppressed the parish clerk, and appealed to his parishioners to personally perform the part of the service that was set down for them in the Common Prayer Book. It may be now necessary to explain that, until about the middle of the century, in Bristol as elsewhere, the morning and evening services were simply dualistic performances reserved to the minister and his clerk, the congregations being practically silent, and that in most churches there was a monstrous edifice, known as a “three decker”, the lowest stage of which was occupied by the clerk, whilst the second was used by the clergyman during prayers, and the sermon was preached from the summit. Mr. Madan's innovation gave much offence to old-fashioned people. But in July, 1856, when the parish clerkship of St. Nicholas became vacant, the vicar. Canon


Girdlestone, an ardent Low Churchman, followed the example of his colleague in Redcliff; and as it was no longer possible to brand the system as “Tractarian”, it eventually came into favour amongst churchgoers generally, and the parish clerks, with the “three deckers”, gradually disappeared. Whilst Canon Girdlestone's action was still the subject of criticism, the Bristol Times stated (August 80, 1856) that when the Rev. J.H. Woodward [see page 321] was appointed to St. James's, he nominated his brother-in-law to the clerkship of the parish, and that the emoluments of the office, about £100 a year, after paying a small salary to a deputy, were received by Mr. Woodward. This arrangement, it was added, still continued, although Mr. Woodward had resigned the living on joining the Romish Church.

At the usual New Year's Day meeting of the Council in 1855, great complaint was made by some of the Liberal members at the strong political colour given to the various committees by those who privately framed the lists for the Conservative majority. It was pointed out that on the Finance Committee there were fifteen of one party and only four of the other; on the Improvement Committee the proportion was fourteen to four; on the Docks Committee, eight to four; on the Watch Committee thirteen to seven, and on the Parliamentary Committee seven to two. “It was now”, said Mr. Cole, “only for a Liberal to displace a Conservative councillor, and the latter was immediately made an alderman, or placed in some other post of honour”. It was alleged that one gentleman, whose high character and business habits were unquestioned, was a councillor for six or seven years before he was admitted upon any committee; whilst some aldermen, who did not enter the Council House for a year together, were placed on three or four important committees. In reply it was contended that the object of the majority was not to select political partisans, but men who were considered to be best qualified for the duties. The elections were then proceeded with, when the old arrangement was maintained. Owing to renewed complaints on the subject, however, the ruling party promised that two or three gentlemen from each side of the chamber should thenceforth meet previous to the annual election of committees, with a view to effecting arrangements satisfactory to both parties.

On the morning of the 20th March, the iron bridge spanning the new course of the Avon near the railway terminus was totally destroyed by a Cardiff steam barge. The vessel had conveyed a cargo of coke to the railway


works, and was returning down the river, in which there was a strong current, when through unskilful management it struck the ribs of the bridge with great violence. The effect was instantaneous, the structure collapsing, according to the expression of an eyewitness, like a child's house of cards. Not a vestige was left standing, and the carts and passengers crossing at the time were flung into the river. Two persons lost their lives, one being a wagoner whose cart was found next day below Rownham. A ferry was established during the rebuilding of the bridge, which was sufficiently advanced on the 5th June to admit of the transit of foot passengers. The new structure cost about £5,700. [See page 27.]

During the month of April, Mr. William Baker, a Bristol builder, purchased an estate at Sneyd Park for the purpose of erecting a superior class of villas on the picturesque site. The editor of the Bristol Times, in commenting on the intended new suburb on the 28th April, indulged in some reminiscences of which lapse of time has increased the interest. “Many living”, he remarked, “have made hay in Caledonia Place and the Mall. Most of my readers could have done the same not long since in Clifton Park. The little farmhouse where they sell fresh butter, near Litfield Place, will be soon shut out of sight by a cordon of domestic palaces. It seems but as yesterday that the Victoria Rooms and another building were the only edifices in that direction north of Berkeley Square; and the fanciful will, in a few years, amuse themselves with wondering how things looked when a boy was brought before the magistrates for ingeniously milking a cow in Tyndall's Park into a pair of new boots which he was taking home to his master, as we now smile over the entries in the vestry books of Clifton of sums paid for killing hedgehogs that infested the market gardens of Victoria Square. But we need not travel so far out of town for examples of the march of masons. On the left-hand side as you enter Tyndall's Park from St. Michael's Hill, there is a garden tower [still standing]. That which now barely shows its head above the adjacent houses was the country seat of a Bristol merchant of hospitable memory - Alderman Muggleworth, who, within the recollection of one not long dead, left his city residence in Lewin's Mead when 'the dog star burned', and travelled to his villa by the pleasant park, there to abide until the late autumn made his mansion by the Proom more tolerable and temperate”. The population of the new suburb having soon become considerable, arrangements were made for forming the locality into an ecclesiastical


district; and the church of St. Mary's, the site of which was given by Mr. Baker, was consecrated on the 12th March, 1860. The building, which cost about £2,300, was considerably enlarged about the end of 1871, at a further expenditure of £3,000.

St. Clement's Church, Newfoundland Road, was consecrated on the 24th April, and an ecclesiastical district was allotted to it in the following June, by an Order in Council. The church, which originally cost £2,000, underwent extensive alterations in 1871.

Arley Chapel, Cheltenham Road, built by the Congregational body at a cost of upwards of £4,000, was opened in June, when the inaugural sermon was preached by the Rev. J. Angell James. This was the last dissenting chapel of any importance erected in the city in the Italian style, the later constructions being of a mediæval type.

The tower known as Cook's Folly, with the neighbouring woods, and a small public house which had been for many years a popular resort, were purchased about the beginning of July by Captain H. Goodeve, who subsequently erected a private mansion adjoining the “Folly”. The tavern, known as the Folly Cottage, was closed about 1859. [On August 18, 1855, a little girl named Melinda Payne, living in one of the cottages which then stood on the right bank of the Avon, near the ravine, was sent by her father to this house for some beer, and was murdered whilst returning homewards. The perpetrator of the deed was never discovered.]

On the 24th July, the body of Field-Marshal Lord Raglan, who had died in the Crimea whilst in command of the British forces before Sebastopol, arrived in Cumberland Basin in the naval steamer Caraduc. Two of his lordship's brothers having been interred in the cathedral, it was expected that the remains would be deposited in the same building; but the Duke of Beaufort gave directions that the burial should take place in the family vault at Badminton. Great preparations had been made in the city to render fitting honour to the memory of the distinguished soldier. On the morning of the 25th, the coffin was transferred from the Caradoc to a small steamboat, on which a platform covered with black velvet, surmounted by a canopy of the same material, had been raised for its reception. On the coffin were placed the coronet, sword, and hat of the deceased, while his lordship's aides-de-camp and a number of artillerymen were ranged on each side. Upon the vessel entering the harbour, forty-two boats, chiefly contributed by the merchant vessels in the


port, each bearing a mourning flag, and with crews appropriately attired, were divided into two lines, and formed a guard on each side of the steamer. In this order the procession made its way to the Quay head, where the goods sheds were draped with black cloth and feathers for the reception of the body. At this point were assembled the mayor (Mr. J.G. Shaw), the sheriff, and many members of the Corporation, together with great numbers of the leading citizens, and the children of the public schools. The coffin having been placed in a hearse, amidst the firing of minute guns by a battery of artillery and the tolling of the city bells, a procession was formed, headed by the Gloucestershire Yeomanry and the band of the 15th Hussars, and attended by a guard of honour of the Royal Horse Guards. The mourning coaches containing members of the deceased's family were followed by the pensioners of the district, a detachment of the Land Transport corps, a troop of artillery, the officers of the Corporation, the carriages of the mayor and of many members of the Council, and those of the members of the Merchants' Society, and finally a lengthy procession of pedestrians, including the clergy, ministers, citizens, and members of friendly societies. Many of the houses along the line of march were hung with crape [sic], black cloth, or wreaths of laurel, some bearing flags or mourning tablets with appropriate inscriptions. Altogether the spectacle was one of an unexampled character in the city, and the good taste and public spirit which marked the proceedings evoked sympathetic admiration in all parts of the country.

St. Peter's Church, Clifton Wood, was consecrated on the 10th August. The edifice had been originally built by the Wesleyans, who opened it for Divine worship in November, 1833. In consequence of the largely increased population of the district, the accommodation of this church became insufficient, and a large, lofty, and ornate Gothic edifice was constructed on an adjoining site at a cost of £6,000, and was consecrated in September, 1882. In the following year the old building was bought by the Corporation for conversion into a free library.

In September, 1855, while repairs were being made in the house No. 10, College Green, then standing between the abbey gateway and the cathedral, and occupied by Canon Bankes, the workmen discovered portions of a Decorated shaft, some arch moulding, and a portion of a turret staircase. These relics were supposed to have formed part of the north-western tower of the nave which Abbot Newland intended to


construct in the same style as his choir. The House has since been demolished.

Down to this period the pauper lunatics of the city had been maintained in St. Peter's Hospital, although the suitability of that locality for such a purpose had long been questioned. In the course of this year, after receiving reports from official inspectors, the Government insisted upon the construction of a lunatic asylum in the suburbs. As the cost of the building threatened to make a heavy addition to the rates, opposition to the ministerial order was very generally manifested. But unfortunately the local authorities were unable to agree upon a plan which would avert the necessity of a new building. The guardians proposed that the paupers at Stapleton should be brought back to St. Peter's, and the lunatics sent to the vacated workhouse. The Council - which, under a new Lunacy Act, had in January, 1854, taken upon itself the duty of managing the lunatic asylum, previously imposed on the magistrates - contended that the paupers remaining in the establishment in Peter Street should be removed to Stapleton, so that additional room might be at disposal for the lunatics. But the Poor Law authorities set their faces against both suggestions. In the closing months of the year, the Council, the Board of Guardians, and the Chamber of Commerce severally passed resolutions deprecating a large expenditure for a new asylum, and meetings were held in the wards at which motions to a similar effect were carried almost unanimously. Deputations representing the Corporation and the citizens shortly afterwards, had an interview with the Poor Law Board, and asked that permission should be granted to alienate part of the workhouse premises at Stapleton, so as to build an asylum thereon. To this the Board refused its assent, nor would it sanction the conversion of a portion of the workhouse into an asylum. A committee of the Council was therefore appointed to obtain offers of sites and estimates; and in March, 1857, a report was adopted recommending the purchase of 24 acres of ground at Stapleton, and the erection of an asylum there at a total estimated expenditure of £30,000. The building, which actually cost upwards of £40,000, but was said to be the model asylum of the country, was finished in February, 1861, when it received 113 lunatics from St. Peter's Hospital. In 1875-7, owing to the increased number of lunatics, the asylum was enlarged at a cost of £22,000. A chapel was built a few years later, at an outlay of £8,000. In 1885 it was reported to the Council that the asylum,


though capable of accommodating 480 patients, had become seriously insufficient for its purpose, and that it was advisable to make additions so as to provide for a total number of 679 lunatics. The expense was estimated at £6,140 for land, and no less a sum than £59,585 for building. The Council deferred the consideration of the subject, in order to enable the committee to submit an approximate estimate of the cost of a new site that would permit the erection of an asylum capable of meeting all demands for fifty years. On the 1st June, 1886, the committee reported that in their opinion the most economical course would be to carry out their previous proposal, and the Council accordingly authorised the Finance Committee to raise the sum of £65,675 by mortgage, for the execution of the works.

In the session of 1854, the advocates of a strict observance of the Lord's Day, supported by the teetotalers, succeeded in obtaining the consent of Parliament to a measure by which public houses were almost entirely closed on Sundays. The operation of the new law having caused disturbances in London, and much discontent amongst the working classes generally, Mr. Berkeley, M.P., in the session of 1855, obtained a select committee to inquire into the working of the statute. The committee almost unanimously reported that its provisions were too rigorous, having regard to the wants and feelings of the labouring community; and Mr. Berkeley thereupon introduced and secured the enactment of a Bill by which the restrictions were relaxed. His action excited much irritation amongst the advocates of total abstinence; and their organ, the Alliance, then noted for its intemperance of language, published a series of articles in which the senior member for Bristol was charged with gross corruption, collusive conduct, and perjury. Mr. Berkeley thereupon raised an action for libel; but when the case came on for trial, in February, 1856, the defendants made an apology for statements they admitted to be false, consented to a verdict against them of five guineas, and undertook to pay the costs, estimated at nearly £1,000. In the meantime a movement had been started for raising a national subscription to recognise Mr. Berkeley's legislative exertions on the subject; and on the 24th September, 1856, he was presented at the Athenæum with a silver salver, a carved and ornamented casket, and a purse, the whole representing an offering of £1,012, contributed by about 14,000 persons throughout the country. The casket was made from an oak beam taken from the old north porch of St. Mary Redcliff,


and was enriched with some large and lustrous specimens of Bristol diamonds.

During the autumn of 1855 the upper part of Queen Street (Christmas Steps) was widened by the removal of some old buildings on the eastern side, and the stairs were made much more convenient to passengers.

After an existence of twenty-two years, the Bristol Agricultural Society, having lost many of its early and more liberal supporters, and failing to meet with adequate assistance from a new generation, was dissolved on the 12th December.

In the spring of 1856 the gunboats Earnest, Escort, Hardy, Havoc, and Highlander were constructed at Bristol for the Royal Navy by the shipbuilding firms of Patterson & Son, and Hill & Sons. These vessels formed part of a large fleet of gunboats hurriedly ordered by the Government during the Russian war, and built in all the leading ports of the kingdom. A few years afterwards the condition of the vessels was the subject of a discussion in the House of Commons; and on inquiry it appeared that, with the exception of the Bristol boats and a few others, the builders had committed gross frauds in construction, and that a number of the vessels were utterly rotten and worthless.

According to a local newspaper of the 8th March, 1856, a joint-stock company, under the new Limited Liability Act, was then in contemplation “for raising passengers and goods from the low levels of some parts of Bristol to the more elevated portions of Clifton by machinery”. Suggestions of a fixed engine at the top of Park Street, for drawing up wagons and heavily laden carts, were frequently started before the construction of Colston Street and Perry Road.

The Bristol Gazette of the 12th March announced, to the great surprise of the city, that a defalcation of upwards of £4,000 had been discovered in the accounts of the treasurer of the Corporation, Mr. Thomas Garrard, who had been for fifty-four years in the civic service. The deficiency was accidentally brought to light whilst Mr. Garrard was temporarily disabled by illness from attending to his duties. The sum was more than covered by the guarantees of the treasurer's sureties, who were themselves secured by life assurances. The defalcation was stated to have arisen from advances made by Mr. Garrard to retrieve a relative from commercial difficulties. It was understood that his successor, Mr. John Harford, allowed him a handsome yearly sum during the remainder of his life.


On the 30th April the ceremony of proclaiming peace with Russia took place amidst formal demonstrations of joy. The mayor (Mr. J. Vining), the sheriff, and other corporate officials, with the boys of Colston's and the City schools, assembled at the Council Hoase, from the steps of which the proclamation was first made at noon, after a blast from the city trumpets and a peal from the neighbouring church bells. Proclamation was afterwards made in the quadrangle of the Exchange, the centre of Queen Square, Bristol Bridge, St. Peter's Pump, and the Old Market. As the terms wrested from Russia were by many people deemed inadequate, the proceedings did not evoke any marked enthusiasm. The same may be said of the day fixed for a national celebration of the peace - the 28th May. No preparations were made to do honour to the occasion, which had little other character than that of a listless holiday. A writer in the local press remarked: “Some guns were fired from ships, and pistols popped off in obscure corners, and men stood at the doors of the Commercial Rooms, as usual, abusing Bristol for want of spirit, and, as usual, they themselves, though items of this much abused Bristol, doing nothing”. In the evening, a few gas-lit crowns, royal cyphers, etc., were exhibited on the public buildings, but the private illuminations were few and insignificant.

Upon the death, on the 6th June, of Dr. Monk, the first bishop of the united sees of Gloucester and Bristol, efforts were made in various parts of the two dioceses to obtain their separation. Lord Palmerston's Ministry, however, declined to propose any legislative measure for that purpose; and Dr. Baring, Rector of Limpsfield, Surrey, was soon after named Dr. Monk's successor. The alienation of the palace at Stapleton at this juncture has been already recorded [p.228]. The Queen, accompanied by the Prince Consort, the Prince of Wales, and her younger children, passed through Bristol on August 15th on her way from Plymouth to Osborne. The royal party remained twenty minutes in the refreshment room of the railway station, which had been hurriedly decorated, tidings of the visit having been received on the previous evening. In the autumn the Prince of Wales made an incognito tour in the West of England, in the course of which, on the 5th October, he attended service at Bristol cathedral. Presumably from no fee having been forthcoming,[78] the sub-sacrist conducted the stranger to a bench in one


of the aisles, where the heir apparent remained throughout the service. In April, 1858, the Prince again paid a brief visit to the city. Having left his yacht at Kingroad, he was rowed up the river, and landed at Rownham, whence he proceeded in a public cab to the railway station, but stopped at the cathedral on his way, for the purpose of inspecting the Chapter House.

The first annual Conference of the National Reformatory Union was held in Bristol - one of the earliest centres of the reformatory movement - on the 20th August and two following days. Amongst the many distinguished persons present were Lord Robert Cecil (now Marquis of Salisbury), Lord Stanley (now Earl of Derby), Sir Stafford Northcote (Earl of Iddesleigh), Sir John Pakington (Lord Hampton), Mr. Adderley (Lord Norton), etc. Visits were paid to the local reformatories at Arno's Court, Kingswood, St. James's Back, Pennywell Lane, and Hardwicke.

The primary schools existing in the city at this time being greatly below the needs of the population, many thousands of poor children grew up uninstructed, and frequently revenged themselves on society for its shortsighted indifference. At the Michaelmas quarter sessions of 1856, Mr. J. Naish Sanders, one of the magistrates, made some remarks before the recorder which afford a glimpse of the habits of the class in question. “Bristol”, he said, “has the unenviable reputation of having within her walls one of the most disorderly set of youths in England. Stones are continually thrown by boys in our public thoroughfares, owing to which many lives have been lost - five at least in Clifton parish only. Ornamental plantations, so placed as to benefit the public, are constantly injured, and even the branches carried away for firewood. Young thieves assemble in gangs at each end of Park Street, professedly to drag wheels, but really for worse purposes, as proved in many cases. If the police or private individuals complain, they are assailed in gross and indecent language, revolting to all, and especially to females”. Some regret was expressed by the bench at the uncultivated condition of the youth of the lower classes, but the authorities felt themselves impotent, and the matter was suffered to drop.


It has been already stated that the Bristol Incorporation of the Poor was, with a few others, exempted from the supervision of the Poor Law Board constituted by the great Act of 1834. In 1844 an amending statute was passed, empowering the central authorities to combine unions into districts for the audit of accounts, thus striking a mortal blow at the financial independence of the privileged bodies. Armed with this Act, the Board soon after issued an order for forming an audit district embracing Bristol and several Somerset unions. The Bristol guardians for some time offered a passive resistance to this measure, and nothing was done for two years. But in September, 1846, the Poor Law Commissioners gave peremptory directions that the local accounts should be revised by the official auditor of the district; and as the guardians refused to submit their books to his inspection, the Government officials in February, 1849, applied for and obtained a mandamus from the Court of Queen's Bench. The defendants, in no wise subdued, appealed to the Court of Error, by which in February, 1850, the action of the court below was affirmed. Although beaten on the point of law, the guardians continued to maintain that they had a right to administer relief in accordance with the bye-laws made under their private Act; and though their allowances were greatly at variance with the scale fixed by the central authorities, the contest on this subject was continued for several years. At length, in the closing months of 1856, the members of the recalcitrant corporation were threatened with legal proceedings for the recovery of £23,157, illegally distributed in relief in defiance of the regulations, and were warned that the “surcharge” would be recovered by levies upon them individually. It was now felt that no other course remained but to accept defeat. On the 8th January, 1857, the local bye-laws were repealed, and the “consolidated order” of the central board was adopted in their, place. The effect of this resolution was to terminate, for all practical purposes, the existence of the ancient “Incorporation of the Poor”, which now became an ordinary board of guardians. The ancient mode of election was, however, maintained. The last governor under the old system was Dr. George Rogers. The first chairman under the new regime - Mr. Elisha Smith Robinson - was elected on the 16th January, 1857. The latter gentleman, in a speech delivered March 2nd, 1860, asserted that the saving to the ratepayers brought about by the reorganisation of the union was not less than £4,000 a year - a fact which the public


apparently regarded as outweighing the old-fashioned guardians' anathemas against centralisation, oppression, and red tape. It may be worth while to add that, in spite of the increase of population in the city, and the tendency of the poorest class to flow into the central parishes, the expenditure of the board, in respect both to management and relief, has remained stationary. In the year ending March, 1858, the total charge was within a few pounds of £31,000. In the twelvemonth ending March, 1886, the outlay was £30,480. As the rateable value of the ancient city had in the meantime increased considerably more than 50 per cent., the rates had of course diminished in a corresponding proportion.

After having remained vacant upwards of two years, the Roman Catholic bishopric of Clifton was conferred, in the spring of 1857, on the Hon. and Rev. William Cl,ord, in whose hands it still remains.

At the general election in March, the members for the city in the previous Parliament, Messrs. Berkeley and Langton, were returned without opposition - an incident which had not occurred in Bristol for fifty years, with the exception of the abnormal election of 1831. The dissolution had been caused by a defeat of Lord Palmerston's Ministry, through a coalition of Conservatives with what was called the Manchester school. The conduct of their leaders gave so much umbrage to many local Tories of influence that a contest was found to be impracticable.

Owing to the confusion arising, from the diversified names of “places”, “terraces”, etc., in the chief suburban thoroughfares, the Council, in April, resolved upon the following nomenclature: Queen's Road (from the top of Park Street to Victoria Square); Clifton Road (from Victoria Square to Clifton turnpike-gate - now the site of Alderman Proctor's fountain); Whiteladies Road (from the Queen's Hotel to the Pound, Durdham Down); Redland Road (from the Pound just mentioned to Cutler's Mills); Stokes Croft Road (from North Street to Cutler's Mills); Cotham Road (from Whiteladies-gate, junction of roads, to Cutler's Mills); Hotwell Road (from the White Hart, Limekiln Lane, to Clifton Gate). Limekiln Lane had its name changed to St. George's Road in June, 1862.

On the 18th June, at a meeting held in the Commercial Rooms, Mr. Jose, master of the Merchants' Society, in the chair, resolutions were passed approving of the scheme laid before those present by M. de Lesseps for the construction of the Suez canal, “being of opinion that it is of the greatest


importance to the commerce of the whole world”. A few days later, in the House of Commons, Mr. Berkeley asked the Ministry if it would support the undertaking, to which Lord Palmerston answered emphatically in the negative, declaring - that the project was hostile to English interests.

On the 24th of June a portion of the premises in the Mall, Clifton, which at a previous period had been known as the Royal Hotel (closed early in 1854), was opened as a club-house, under the name of the Clifton Subscription Rooms. The remainder of the hotel premises was converted into shops and dwelling houses. The cost of the conversion was upwards of £4,000. In March, 1882, the association was reorganised, and the property transferred to a new company, with a capital of £12,000 in £75 shares, each holder of a £60 share in the original concern receiving a fully paid-up share.

The Council resolved, in July, to arch over the Froom from St. John's Bridge to the Stone Bridge, and to devote the space so obtained to the construction of a public street. The new thoroughfare, which was subsequently named Rupert Street, was recommended to the Council as the first instalment of a new line of road from the centre of the city to Stokes Croft. In July, 1859, the Council voted £2,000 for covering the Froom between Union Street and Merchant Street, the roadway constructed upon the site being styled Fairfax Street. In 1867 the sum of £2,650 was granted for covering the last open part of the Froom in the central districts - from St. John's Bridge to Bridewell. Finally, in 1880, almost the only remaining uncovered portion of this river within the city boundaries, near Haberneld Street, was also ordered to be arched over.

Soon after the arrival in this country of the Russian war material captured at Sebastopol and other places, some provincial corporation with decorative tastes applied to the Government for one or two of the cannons, proposing to mount them in a conspicuous position as lasting trophies of English valour. The application having been successful, a great number of municipalities followed the example - some of the local bodies being not a little puzzled how to dispose of the prize when it came into their possession. Amongst the rest, a request was addressed to the war minister by the Corporation of Bristol, and at once met with a favourable response, two cannons, thirty-six pounders, nine feet in length, and each weighing three tons, being despatched from Woolwich, together with carriages - the latter being paid for by the city. On the 19th August the guns were conveyed


from the railway station by a party of the Military Train (originally the Land Transport corps) through the principal streets to Brandon Hill. Great crowds lined the route, and the spectacle was of an animated character. In the rear of Berkeley Square a portion of the wall had to be broken down to allow the cavalcade to pass; and as the eight horses attached to each gun were unable to drag it to the summit of the hill, the populace lent enthusiastic assistance, the task being soon accomplished by main force. The proceedings terminated with patriotic and congratulatory speeches.

A murder which created unusual sensation in the city was perpetrated in Leigh Woods, on the 10th September, by a man named John William Beale, who had served as butler to some respectable families in the neighbourhood. His victim was a woman named Charlotte Pugsley, who had occasionally been one of his fellow-servants. On the day before the murder, Beale, who had left the district to serve with a gentleman residing near Daventry, went, apparently by appointment, to a country seat at Freshford, where Pugsley was living as cook. She had previously given notice to leave, and she and her companion departed soon after for Bristol, informing the other servants that they were about to marry and emigrate. (The woman was aware that Beale had a wife living.) On the following morning they were seen at Bristol railway terminus, where Beale had his companion's boxes removed to the Midland luggage room, stating that he was going to Liverpool. What became of the parties during the day was not discovered, but in the evening they were observed walking together in the rabbit warren near the top of Nightingale Valley. Next day Beale returned to his employer's at Daventry, with the woman's luggage, stating that it contained the clothing of his sister, whose funeral he had just attended. The body of Pugsley was found on the same day by one of Mr. Miles's gamekeepers. The woman had been shot in the head, which was nearly severed from the body by a gash in the throat, and her remains had then been thrown over the precipice overhanging Nightingale Valley, but had rested on a ledge about twelve feet from the summit. It was not until nearly a fortnight after the murder that the friends of Charlotte Pugsley suspected that she was the victim, and by that time the features of the body were no longer recognisable. Identity was however established by means of the clothing, and by a peculiar decayed tooth. No adequate motive for the deed was discovered. Beale's wife lived in the neighbourhood of


Daventry, and the money possessed by Pugsley did not exceed a few pounds. The murderer was tried and convicted at Taunton assizes in the following December, and was executed in January, 1858, refusing to admit his guilt even on the scaffold.

At the annual election of corporate dignitaries on the 9th November, Mr. John Henry Greville Smyth, of Long Ashton, who had attained his majority in the previous January, was elected sheriff of Bristol for the ensuing civic year. The appointment had been, as usual, determined upon by the secret committee to whom the selection of officers was delegated by the Conservative majority in the Council, and it was persisted in after Mr. Smyth, who had been made acquainted with the intention to nominate him, had intimated that he should refuse to serve. This he formally did after the election had taken place, whereupon the Council applied to the law courts to compel his obedience. A mandamus was issued in January, 1858, and the Court of Error consented to pronounce a formal decision in order that final judgment might be obtained in the House of Lords before the close of the session. The law peers, however, refused to give precedence to the case. The Council did not re-elect Mr. Smyth in the following November, and as that gentleman, by consent, withdrew his appeal, a definitive decision on the matter was never delivered.

About this time the authorities of the united parishes of St. Nicholas and St. Leonard found themselves seriously embarrassed by the increasing revenue of the estates confided to them by ancient benefactors for charitable purposes. A property bearing the strange name of the Forlorn Hope, near Baptist Mills, being likely to fall in through the death of the surviving lessees, the churchwardens had the prospect of the existing charity income being raised from £450 to £650 a year. Even as it was, a large portion of the funds being bequeathed for distribution in doles about the Christmas season, a crowd of worthless people were accustomed to flock into the parishes towards the close of each year, and to hire some miserable lodging to entitle them to share in the gifts, much of the money being at once squandered in dissipation. The competition for garrets and dirty back rooms was so great that inordinate rents were freely paid, and the result was simply to transfer a considerable portion of the doles into the pockets of a greedy and sordid class of landlords. In November, 1857, the churchwardens and vestry, urged thereto by the vicar, Canon Girdlestone, and having


the sanction of the Charity Commissioners, resolved to abolish the doles, to set apart £200 yearly for the maintenance of fifteen aged women in the parish almshouse, and to apply the surplus to the support of schools. An Act to authorise this arrangement was passed in 1858. A new schoolhouse was built by subscription in Back Street,[79] on a site previously occupied by ruinous dwellings, one of which was the ancient parsonage of St. Nicholas. The adjoining Rackhay burial ground, belonging to St. Nicholas' parish, was converted into a playground for the scholars. The new schools were opened in July, 1858.

In November, 1857, the Rev. J.B. Clifford, incumbent of St. Matthew's, somewhat astonished the public by denouncing from the pulpit an “institution in the city” for teaching infidelity and atheism. It ultimately turned out that Mr. Clifford had alluded to the Athenæum; and he subsequently admitted that he intended to condemn, not the institution itself, but a discussion class connected with it, in which an essay had been delivered - on the religions of India - which several clergymen declared to contain nothing worthy of reprobation. The class was warmly defended by Mr. Edlin, barrister, its chairman, while Canon Girdlestone rebuked the intemperance of the assailant, who was charged with intolerance in some of the local newspapers, and was significantly left unsupported by his clerical brethren. In the following January, Charles Dickens evinced his opinion on the subject by coming down from London to read his “Christmas Carol” for the benefit of the institution.

In January, 1858, in consequence of the loud complaints raised by the innkeepers of the city against the army billeting system, the War Office obtained a lease of the extensive premises formerly known as the Royal Gloucester Hotel, and converted the building into barracks. The step aroused opposition amongst some inhabitants of Clifton; but the Secretary for War refused to assent to their appeals, and the building was opened for its new purpose in April. Owing to improvements effected in the recruiting system, and other causes, the Government, in April, 1870, removed the military staff established at this depôt.

In the spring of 1858 the Franciscan monks who had conducted the services at the Roman Catholic chapels in Trenchard Street and on the Quay were succeeded by secular


priests. Whilst the old books and manuscripts lying in the monks' apartments in Trenchard Street were being examined prior to removal, a perfect copy was discovered of the Hereford Missal. The book, which was stated to contain the only complete ritual of the Hereford “use” extant, was purchased by the trustees of the British Museum for £300.

On the night of the 30th April, the Brigand trading steamer, whilst on her way from Bristol to Glasgow, with eleven passengers and a crew of twenty men, got into collision off the Irish coast with a barque called the William Campbell. Both vessels sank within a few minutes of the disaster. Only two of the passengers in the Brigand, with the captain and six of the crew, were saved.

An abortive attempt to establish a daily newspaper in Bristol will be found recorded at page 118. The subsequent abolition of the tax on public journals enabled a similar enterprise to be undertaken with success. On the 1st June, 1858, the first number of the Western Daily Press, price one penny, was issued by Mr. P.S. Macliver, at No 1, Broad Street. The popular taste becoming rapidly educated to the new and cheaper system of publication, Messrs. C. & G. Somerton, proprietors of the Bristol Mercury, started, in January, 1860, the Bristol Daily Post, published daily from Monday to Friday, the Mercury supplying the sixth day's news. (In January, 1878, the two journals were incorporated, and the title of Daily Post was subsequently dropped.) In January, 1865, a combination was formed between the two Conservative journals in the city, the Mirror, belonging to Mr. T.D. Taylor, and the Times, the property of Mr. J. Leech, the result being the appearance of the Bristol Times and Mirror, issued daily from Monday to Friday at a penny, and on Saturdays at twopence. A still further development of daily journalism was made by Mr. Macliver in May, 1877, by the publication of the Bristol Evening News, price one halfpenny.

A local newspaper of the 12th June announced that the Docks Committee contemplated the widening of Hotwell Road between Limekiln dock and Mardyke ferry, and the construction of a wharf at that spot. It subsequently transpired that the works, which were to extend forty feet into the Floating Harbour, had been resolved upon without the consent or knowledge of the Council. Operations had scarcely commenced when Messrs. Hill & Co., whose shipbuilding yard stood opposite to the proposed wharf, applied to the law courts for an injunction to restrain the Corporation


from erecting works calculated to injure their property. Eventually the Docks Committee were obliged to make terms, Messrs. Hill & Co. accepting £1,000 and withdrawing their opposition. The wharf, which the committee had expected to complete for £1,500, actually involved an outlay of about £5,700.

A small church, dedicated to St. Michael and All Angels, was opened at Bishopston, Horfield, on the 20th June. The quarrel of its founder, the Rev. Henry Richards, with Bishop Monk has been already referred to. The prelate's successor. Bishop Baring, had also to publicly protest against the conduct of the incumbent. In a letter dated February 2, 1858, Dr. Baring stated that Mr. Richards had consented to the formation of a new district in Horfield, of which the bishop was to be the patron, but that after Dr. Monk's death he had repudiated this agreement, declaring that he would never allow a Low churchman to nominate a clergyman in his parish. Subsequently, added his lordship, Mr. Richards built a church, and offered to endow it to the extent of £40 a year, provided the patronage was vested in him and his heirs. But as the Horfield manor trustees intended to endow the incumbency to a much larger extent, the bishop refused his assent, to the great wrath of the vicar, who must have foreseen that through the increasing population the value of the living would soon be largely augmented. In consequence of the disagreement, St. Michael's was not consecrated until February, 1862. It was afterwards considerably enlarged. By an Order in Council of July, 1862, a new parish, out out of Horfield, Stapleton, and St. Andrew's, Montpelier, was attached to this church.

In despite of the benefits secured by the transfer of the docks to the city, Bristolians could not but be sensible that the port lay under peculiar natural disadvantages, which “handicapped” it heavily in the competition with other harbours. The course of the Avon from Hungroad to Cumberland Basin being exceedingly tortuous, accidents to vessels were of such frequent occurrence as to give the river an evil reputation amongst shipowners; and after the lamentable disaster to the Demerara, many firms refused to accept charters which would render their vessels liable to similar mishaps. An equally serious drawback had been created by the designer of Cumberland Basin. At the beginning of the century the commerce of the world was carried on by vessels which, while rarely exceeding 800 tons burden, were on the average of less than half that tonnage; and the depth of


the locks had naturally been determined by those conditions. But the application of steam power to ships had revolutionised former ideas on the subject, for not only were over-sea steamers necessarily larger in consequence of the stock of fuel they had to carry, but builders of sailing ships, to meet the competition for freights, studied economy by constructing vessels of double or treble the former size. The results had been early felt in Bristol. The citizens had built the Great Western only to find that, while they had solved the problem of transatlantic navigation, they were deprived of its profits by the natural defects of the port. By and by, the effects which the vessel had produced on shipowners and shipbuilders also began to be felt. The local public were ever and anon informed that a large vessel bound for Bristol had arrived at Kingroad, but that owing to insufficient depth of water she must remain at anchor until spring tides, perhaps eight or ten days distant. The evil was constantly growing more serious. The Great Western was of 1,340 tons register; but the Cunard company had, in 1848, four ships of about 2,000 tons; and at the time under review Mr. Brunel had under construction the Great Eastern, of 22,000 tons burden, which he confidently predicted would be the model ship of the future. The prospect naturally caused anxiety; and on the 24th June, 1858, a joint committee, comprising deputations nominated by the Docks Committee, the Merchant Venturers, Society, and the Chamber of Commerce, held a meeting at the dock office, the mayor (Mr. I.A. Cooke) in the chair, with the view of considering the question of improved dock accommodation. After a long discussion on the advisability of constructing a large dock at the mouth of the river, it was resolved, by a majority of 12 votes to 4, that the interests of the port would be best promoted by converting the Avon, throughout its tidal area, into a floating harbour. On the 14th September, in compliance with a requisition signed by upwards of 500 of the principal citizens, the mayor convened a public meeting in the Guildhall, which was densely crowded on the occasion. Mr. P.W. Miles having moved, and Mr. C.W. Finzel seconded, a resolution declaring that further accommodation was essential to the interests of the port; Mr. J.G. Shaw, representing the non-progressive party, brought forward a “rider” to the motion, declaring that it would be unjust and injurious to the owners of fixed property to raise additional funds by local taxation. The resolution having been adopted, Mr. E.S. Robinson moved that the rider should not be put, and


this, after an excited discussion, was also carried. An influential committee was then appointed to co-operate with the Chamber of Commerce in devising means for carrying the resolution into effect. A special meeting of the Council was held on the 7th November to consider the course recommended by the citizens, when it was proposed to appoint a committee to further the object in view. Mr. J.G. Shaw, however, returned to the attack,[80] and by a majority of 25 against 24, an amendment was carried by the fixed property party, refusing to appoint a committee to meet any representatives of public bodies for promoting increased dock accommodation. The committee of citizens, bereft of the expected support, found it necessary to surrender all thoughts of an extensive scheme, and the construction of a pier at the mouth of the Avon was suggested as an advisable temporary expedient. It was soon afterwards intimated, however, that the Board of Admiralty, by the advice of its engineer, Mr. Walker, would not allow the erection of a pier encroaching upon the anchorage ground at Kingroad. The subject thus fell into abeyance for a time, but its urgency soon brought it again into prominent notice. At a meeting of the Council, on the 2nd August, 1859, two voluminous reports were laid on the table. One of these, by Mr. William Parkes, an eminent engineer, disapproved of the project for “dockising” the Avon, and also condemned the proposal for docks near Kingroad, but recommended the deepening and widening of the Avon, the cutting of a new channel to avoid the Horseshoe Point, and the closing of the old course of the river at Dunball. The other report, by Mr. Howard, engineer to the Docks Conmiittee, proposed the damming up of the tidal river near its mouth, and the construction of an outer tidal harbour off the Somerset shore at Kingroad, to be enclosed by two piers, the entrance to be sufficiently deepened to permit steamers to enter at low water. The cost of the works was estimated at £800,000. At another meeting of the Council, in October, Mr. Shaw moved that it was inexpedient to expend money either for docks or dockisation; but an amendment was carried by 27 votes against 15, directing the whole question to be submitted to Sir William Cubitt (or, as it was afterwards determined, to Mr. John Hawkshaw) and Mr. Thomas Page. The only


actual work undertaken by the Corporation at this time was the erection of a small stage, called a landing slip, near the Lighthouse, for the accommodation of passengers arriving by the Irish steamers. With an increasing foresight, however, the Docks Committee purchased, in January, 1860, the island of Dunball for £850. It had been bought two or three years previously, at the sale of Mr. J.A. Gordon's estates, for £100, by an eccentric publican named Hooper. The reports of Messrs. Hawkshaw and Page were laid before the Council in October, 1860. Mr. Hawkshaw, whilst strongly condemning the dockisation of the Avon (the cost of which he estimated at £1,200,000), and recommending that the bed should be deepened and improved, pointed out that, whatever was done to the river, there was no likelihood that ocean steamers, increasing as they were in size, would ever come up to Bristol. The construction of docks near Kingroad was deemed practicable, but as they would lead to a divided and competitive trade, Mr. Hawkshaw recommended that, after the river had been improved, the Corporation should be content with constructing a dock for steamers, connected by a railway with the city. The expense of his proposals was estimated at £1,213,000. Mr. Page, who also disapproved of dockisation, on the ground of its costliness and probable ill effects on Kingroad, considered that it was unnecessary that ships should come up to the city if their cargoes were brought to it, and advised the construction of a pier near the river mouth, with a railway to Bristol quays and to the through lines of communication. He further suggested that when trade had developed, a dock should be constructed in the channel of the Avon, between Dunball and the mainland, of which the pier would form one side, the estimated cost being £260,000. Finally he proposed extensive alterations at Cumberland Basin, and the “floating” of the new course of the Avon. The reports, of which that of Mr. Page found most supporters, gave rise to a debate in the Council extending over two days, Mr. E.S. Robinson having moved that steps should be taken for obtaining an Act to effect improvements on Mr. Page's plan, at a cost not exceeding £400,000. The party which obstinately resisted improvements, on the ground that no guarantee for the interest on the amount expended ought to be required from the ratepayers, were ultimately defeated by 33 votes against 22. The influence of the fixed property party was, however, so powerful that the discussion ended in the passing of an empty resolution approving of docks, and appointing a committee to frame


a scheme which could be accomplished without imposing any charge on the ratepayers. Even this modest advance was succeeded by a retreat in February, 1861, when a resolution was proposed by Mr. R.P. King, another champion of vested interests, declaring that it was “not expedient to incur any further liability on the fixed property of the city for the purpose of making dock accommodation at the mouth of the river”, and that the surplus revenue of the dock - on which the “progress party” relied for effecting improvements - would be best disposed of by improving the river and existing works, or by reducing the dues. An amendment to this motion was proposed by Ald. Abbott, to the effect that the cost of a well-considered scheme of dock extension, the interest upon which could be provided out of the surplus revenues of the harbour, might be beneficially raised upon the guarantee of the borough rate; but this was rejected by 31 votes against 24; and Mr. King's resolution was adopted. In pursuance of its instructions, the Docks Committee shortly afterwards presented a report, recommending a reduction of the dues to the extent of about £6,000 a year. The report, clearly devised to tie the hands of the Council as regarded the improvement of the port, was adopted, and the dock dues were reduced in May, 1861. How an indispensable work was at length accomplished by private citizens, and how the Council had in the long run to retrace a selfish and reactionary policy, and to buy off the competition its own shortsightedness had created, will have to be related in future pages.

St. James's Market, Union Street, was reopened on the 26th June, 1858, after undergoing a complete restoration. The front elevation of the new structure was deemed even below the usual poor taste of civic erections in Bristol, and was for some weeks the object of mingled ridicule and censure.

About the end of June, Messrs. Baillie, Cave & Co., of the Old Bank, in extending their subterranean strong-rooms, discovered a large vaulted cellar of good medieval architecture. The place was supposed by some who visited it to be the old crypt of St. Leonard's Church; but that building, as has been already recorded, was found under Stuckey s banking premises in 1851 [see p.324].

At a meeting of the Merchant Venturers' Society on the 18th September, it was determined - subject to the approval of the Charity Commissioners - to purchase the vacated bishop's palace at Stapleton, and to convert the building into a school-house for the boys of Colston's School. The removal


of the institution from the city was opposed by many persons as a flagrant repudiation of the intentions of its founder, who distinctly prescribed that the school should be maintained “for ever” in the mansion which he had purchased for it; and suspicions were expressed that the ulterior object of those promoting the removal was to divert the benefits of the charity to individuals in a rank of life far above those for whom it was designed. Especial attention was excited by the remarks of one of the prime movers in the matter, Mr. A. Hilhouse, who declared that the sons of working men were sufficiently provided for in national schools, and that the great want of the day were “schools for the poor sons of decayed good livers, such as bankrupt merchants, bankers, traders, deceased clergy, and other professional men”. Mr. Edward Colston, the representative of the family, together with six past masters of the Merchants' Society, took the lead in protesting against the projected removal, declaring it to be “an entire breach of trust”; the mayor (Mr. I.A. Cooke), Mr. Langton, M.P., and many of the magistrates, aldermen, and councillors also presented a memorial against the design. The Charity Commissioners were, however, favourable to the views of the majority of the Merchants' Society, and an application to the Master of the Rolls (Sir J. Romilly) to prevent the removal was unsuccessful. Stapleton house and grounds were then acquired for £12,000. The Merchants' Society paid half of this amount, taking the land not required for the school. A large dining room and master's house were added to the premises, which underwent the needful modifications to fit them for the reception of 140 boys (an addition of twenty to the previous number) at a cost of £3,000. The scholars were removed to their new abode on the 21st October, 1861. The net income of the charity at that time was £3,433, and the expenditure (before increasing the number of boys) £2,421. Mr. Hilhouse's suggestion for the misappropriation of the charity was subsequently defeated by the action of the Endowed School Commissioners, to be noticed under a later date.

At the annual dinner of the Anchor Society, on Colston's day, Mr. Berkeley, M.P., at a time when a number of French military officers and some Paris journals were using menacing language towards this country, drew the attention of his hearers to the neglected state of the national defences. He contended that England ought to be always free from the danger of foreign invasion, and strongly urged the economy and general desirability of training the youth of the country


to arms, as had been the custom amongst their forefathers. Mr. Berkeley subsequently ventilated his proposal through the press; and in January, 1859, a movement was started in Bristol which speedily spread to other towns, and assumed a national character. On the 2nd February a preliminary meeting took place in the city with the view to establishing a rifle corps, and at another gathering, 18th May, the mayor (Mr. J. Poole) presiding, the project assumed a definite form, a series of resolutions being drawn up and forwarded to the Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Ducie, who was asked, but declined, to accept the office of colonel. It was then resolved that the mayor for the time being should be honorary colonel; Major Robert Bush, a retired army officer, was recommended as lieutenant-colonel, and Major Savile, of the local militia, as major. The corps was the first embodied in the kingdom. The Ministry of Lord Derby - in deference, probably, to the authorities of the Horse Guards - refused a grant for expenses, and declined to supply the volunteers with arms and clothing, although, as Mr. Berkeley observed in the House of Commons, this policy necessarily deprived the country of its strongest defence - the working classes. An application of the volunteers to be allowed to choose their own officers was declared to be inadmissible, and an attempt was made to prevent the various corps from being formed into regiments, the Horse Guards wishing to restrict the organisation to unconnected companies. The cost of the equipment was £10 a head. Nevertheless, by the beginning of July, 275 Bristolians had commenced drill; dresses and rifles were ordered from private firms; and the motto of the old Bristol volunteers - “In Danger Ready” - was again adopted. A pleasing incident of the movement was the concession by the majority of merchants, professional men, and respectable tradesmen, of a weekly half-holiday on Saturdays to their employés, many of whom joined the corps. The first parade took place in Queen Square on the 24th September, 1859, when over 600 men had entered the corps. The officers, who had by that time received their commissions, were as follows:-

Honorary Colonel, The Mayor of Bristol for the time being. Lieutenant-Colonel, Major Robert Bash. Major, Captain Henry B.O. Savile (who resigned in December and was succeeded by John Selwyn Payne). No. 1 Company. Captain, Samuel Edward Taylor; Lieutenant, Edward Poole; Ensign, Richard W.B. Hassall. No. 2 Company. Captain, John Bates; Lieutenant, William Britton; Ensign, James Gibbs. No. 3 Company. Captain, William Wright; Lieutenant, Frederick F. Fox; Ensign, Frederick Pinney.


No. 4 Company. Captain, Colston Lucas; Lieatenant, William Fuidge; Ensign, QtBozge Ley King. No. 5 Company. Captain, Andrew Leighton; Lieutenant, Perigrine Hammonds; Ensign, Edward M. Harwood. No. 6 Company. Captain, Charles Binger; Lieutenant, Alfred B. Miller; Ensign, Mark Whitwill. No. 7 Company. Captain, Henry Goodeve; Lieutenant, Charles H. Prichard; Ensign, John C. Aiken. No. 8 Company. Captain, John E. Pattenson; Lieutenant, Philip D. Alexander; Ensign, Charles Sevan. Staff. Adjutant, A.M. Jones; Surgeon, Henry A. Hore; Quarter-master, Daniel Burges, jun.

Two additional companies were added in the early months of 1860.

No. 9 Company. Captain, James Ford; Lieutenant Alfred Elton, Ensign, Charles F. Ivens. No. 10 Company. Captain, Boddam Castle; Lieutenant, John P. Gilbert; Ensign, Thomas Barnes.

The first building used for drill and depôt purposes was a portion of the vacant Royal Western Hotel, College Street. The erection of the Drill Hall in Queen's Road will be recorded under 1861. The first volunteer review before the Queen took place in Hyde Park on the 23rd, June, 1860, when, of the 20,000 citizen soldiers present, Bristol contributed nearly a thousand. A review of local corps was held for the first time on Durdham Down on the 19th June, 1861. The original shooting range of the Bristol rifles was temporarily formed in Sneyd Park. The more extended range at Avonmouth was opened in April, 1865, in which year Lieutenant Colonel Bush, who had displayed much energy in the command of the regiment, resigned. He had, in September, 1862, been presented by the volunteers with a handsome service of plate in recognition of his services, and a second testimonial was offered to him on his retirement. Colonel Bush was succeeded by Colonel P.W. Taylor, who died in March, 1881. The next commandant was Lieutenant-Colonel S.B. Taylor, who resigned in a few months, when Lieutenant-Colonel A.M. Jones, who had been adjutant for several years, received the appointment.

At a meeting of the Council in January, 1859, Mr. Robert Lang suggested the establishment of drinking fountains in the chief thoroughfares of the city, for the accommodation of pedestrians, offering a donation for that purpose of £100. The suggestion met with cordial approval, and the first two fountains were erected about the end of June, one at the south end of Prince's Street, and the other on the Welsh Back. A few days later Mr. T.P. Jose erected a chastely designed fountain in the wall of St. Augustine's churchyard, and Mr. R. Lang was the donor of another, opposite the Bishop's College. About twenty more were given by various


citizens in the course of the year. In 1876 a large fountain was erected on the Downs at a cost of 100 guineas, contributed by the local committee in connection with the local meeting of the Bath and West of England Agricultural Society. The most artistic fountain, however, was that constructed by Alderman Proctor, in the spring of 1872, at the top of Bridge Valley Road, to commemorate the liberality of the Merchant Venturers' Society in connection with the transfer of the Downs to the Corporation.

On the 4th January, 1859, a fire occurred in a tavern in Cider-house Passage (anciently Beer Lane), Broad Street, which caused the destruction of a mediæval hall, standing over the passage, and then used as a concert room. An etching of this building is to be found in Skelton's “Antiquities of Bristol”, where it is erroneously designated “part of a monastery”. The roof was of wood, supported by handsome groined ribs in the style of the latter part of the fifteenth century. The square-headed windows were of about the same date.

In March, 1859, a number of the inhabitants of Clifton resolved upon the erection of a chapel of ease to Clifton Church, in commemoration of the Rev. J. Hensman's fifty years' labours amongst them. The chapel, which was dedicated to St. James, but is more commonly known as the Hensman Memorial Church, was consecrated by Bishop Thomson, during his brief episcopate, in December, 1862, when Mr. Hensman was still incumbent of the parish. The cost of the building was about £3,000.

During the spring of 1859 the local Charity Trustees entered into correspondence with the Charity Commissioners in reference to certain proposed alterations in the scheme under which the Grammar School was governed. Although the success of the school since its re-organisation exceeded all hopes, yet through the slenderness of the endowment the head-master and teaching staff had been inadequately remunerated for their labours. It was consequently suggested that the fees paid by the elder class of boys should be slightly raised, that admission should not be restricted to youths residing in the city and suburbs, and that the head and second masters should be allowed to take boarders. The last-mentioned proposal was strongly condemned by a minority of the trustees; and, though approved by the Charity Commissioners, the Master of the Rolls, on an appeal for his interference, refused to give it his sanction. Mr. C.T. Hudson, the head-master, in consequence resigned his post


in May, 1860. He was succeeded by the Rev. J.W. Caldicott, M.A., tutor and mathematical lecturer at Oxford University, under whom the school attained an unexampled reputation, the successes of its pupils in competitive examinations being in some years proportionably greater than in any other public school. Dr. Caldicott resigned his post in 1883, on being appointed to the valuable college living of Shipston, Worcester. He was succeeded by Mr. R. Leighton Leighton, M.A., who had taken high classical honours at Oxford.

In the month of March an American merchant ship put into Cork harbour, having on board Baron Poerio and sixty-six other Neapolitan patriots, most of whom had suffered ten years' imprisonment, without trial, in dungeons the character of which had been exposed by Mr. Gladstone to the horror of Europe. The exiles had been liberated by “King Bomba” by virtue of what he called an act of grace, on condition that they would transport themselves to America for the rest of their lives. Whilst on the voyage they compelled the captain to alter his course to a British port. After a short stay at Cork, the patriots made their way to this country in detachments, the first of which landed at Bristol on the 19th March, and was greeted with extraordinary marks of sympathy by all ranks and parties in the city. Mr. Langton, M.P., and the mayor (Mr. J. Hare) personally welcomed the party, who were entertained at the Angel Inn. Two further contingents, which arrived during the following week, received a like hospitable reception. During their brief sojourn, the fugitives expressed their fervent thanks for the generous treatment they had received. The incident excited great interest in all parts of the island, and a subscription started for the relief of the patriots produced a sum of over £10,700.

At a meeting of the Bristol Board of Guardians on the 8th April, a controversy which had been long carried on in reference to the desirability of building a new workhouse was concluded by a vote in the affirmative, the site selected being Stapleton. The plans of a Gloucester firm, who estimated the cost at £12,000, were adopted. On obtaining tenders, however, it was found that the lowest was several thousand pounds above the expected sum, and the opposition to the scheme was renewed. Eventually, in March, 1860, it was resolved to let the contract for £15,895, and the foundation stone of the workhouse was laid in the following July by Mr. J. Perry, governor. Large additions were made to the plans, and the outlay on the building up to August 1864 was stated to have exceeded £22,500.


The London Gazette of the 12th April announced that a baronetcy had been conferred on Mr. William Miles, of Leigh Court, many years M.P. for West Somerset, and chairman of the Somerset quarter sessions. Mr. Miles, who was highly respected by all parties for the sterling honesty of his character and the conscientious performance of his public duties, was by birth a native of Bristol, where he was the chief partner of a large private banking company. The most striking incident in his parliamentary career was his unsuccessful attempt to impose a duty on foreign cattle and meat, for the “protection” of English farmers. An anecdote illustrative of his candour and sincerity was narrated in the House of Commons on the 4th July, 1879, by the Right Hon. John Bright; who stated that, some years after retiring from Parliament, Sir William Miles, who had been an indefatigable opponent of the repeal of the Corn Laws, came up to him in the lobby and said: “Well, now, I may as well make a confession. Your friend Cobden and you are the best friends that the landowners ever had”. Mr. Bright replied that he could tell the baronet another thing just as good was the great measure of 1846 (meaning the reform of the land laws); but Sir William, looking serious for a moment, said, “ No: I have no faith”, and walked away.

The Parliament of 1857 having been dissolved on the advice of Lord Derby's Cabinet, the nominations for Bristol took place on the 28th April. The Liberal members, Messrs. Berkeley and Langton, were again proposed; while the Conservatives, who had again become united, brought forward Mr. (afterwards Sir) Frederick Wm. Slade.[81] The contest, which was of an exciting character, resulted as follows: Mr. Berkeley, 4,432; Mr. Langton, 4,285; Mr. Slade, 4,205. In pursuance of a new Act, the expenses of the candidates were published shortly afterwards. Those of the two successful candidates were returned at £1,488, and those of Mr. Slade at £2,276.

On the 30th April, whilst the ceremony of declaring the poll was proceeding at the Exchange, one of the most destructive fires recorded in the history of the city broke out in the extensive sugar refinery of Messrs. Fuidge & Fripp, near the Stone Bridge. The flames rapidly spread over the


building, and damage to the extent of £80,000 was done before they could be subdued. The refinery was not rebuilt, and 250 workmen were thrown out of employment. A local paper, in recording the disaster, said, “All the sugar refineries in Bristol have now been burnt down once”.

A remarkable sale of wine took place at the Grove, Brislington, in June, consequent upon the death of Alderman Henry Ricketts, a member of an old Bristol family, and the last survivor of a firm once extensively engaged in the manufacture of flint glass. The chief competition was for the port wine, which included samples of all the celebrated vintages between 1793 and 1836. “Magnums” of 1820 brought the unprecedented price of £3 8s. each. One lot of the vintage of 1812 fetched £18 10s. per dozen ordinary bottles. The entire stock of 180 dozen of port averaged £8 a dozen, the purchasers being chiefly Lancashire manufacturers. The other wines also sold at high prices.

The foundations of the first houses in what was subsequently called the Royal Promenade, Queen's Road, were laid about the end of June.

Up to this time the internal arrangements of Bristol cathedral, adopted in the reign of Charles II., were such as to prevent more than a handful of persons from attending divine service. There being no nave, the appearance of one was produced by cutting off a large portion of the space originally included within the choir. The transepts and aisles were also shut off, and formed mere ambulatories for strollers. The area actually available was thus reduced to the proportions of a small college chapel, and was chiefly occupied by stalls and pews; the only accommodation offered to persons who did not purchase the favour of the beadles consisted of narrow, unfurnished, unbacked benches - to one of which, as has been noticed, the Prince of Wales was relegated on his visit to the building. Dissatisfied with this arrangement, the dean and chapter applied to Mr. (afterwards Sir) G.G. Scott, the celebrated architect, for his advice. Mr. Scott recommended the removal of the organ gallery, which blocked up the centre of the church, the erection of the organ in the north aisle, the construction of a light screen at the end of the choir, the throwing open of the entire space east of the transepts, and the introduction of chairs, by which the number of persons taking part in the services might be increased from 300 to 1,000. A considerable sum having been raised by subscription, the work of reconstruction, which involved a complete clearance of the stalls, screens, etc., was begun in


April, 1860. On the walls being stripped of the woodwork and partially freed from whitewash, so beautiful a structure was disclosed that the work of thoroughly cleansing and repairing the edifice seemed a necessary consequence, though it involved further appeals to the citizens for assistance. The expense of the restoration was £4,600, towards which the chapter subscribed £1,550. [Such at least were the amounts stated in an official report read to a meeting of citizens in March, 1861. In a letter to the Cathedral Commissioners, dated January, 1885, the Dean of Bristol alleged that the restoration cost the chapter £7,393, and the public £5,474, “giving a total of £12,867”.] The sedilia, destroyed about 1603 to make room for a monument to Sir John Young and his wife, was successfully restored, enough of the original design remaining to guide the carvers in reproducing the work. The only early relic destroyed was the heraldic pavement in the Berkeley Chapel - an inexcusable vandalism which cast discredit on those concerned. It must be added that the monument of Sir J. Young, which was of enormous size, was removed in fragments, and that nothing has since been done for its preservation. The cathedral was reopened, June 27, 1861, when the Corporation attended in state. Bishop Baring had been expected to occupy the pulpit on the occasion; but his relations with the chapter were not cordial, and he declined to be present. His lordship, who was translated to Durham a few weeks later,[82] preached only once in the cathedral during his episcopate - probably through unwillingness to admit the contention that his use of the pulpit was conditional upon the good pleasure of the chapter. Soon after the completion of the works, the condition of the central tower began to excite apprehension; and the chapter having set apart a sum of £6,000 for its restoration, operations began in 1865 with the massive piers supporting the tower, which were completely renovated. The later history of the building will be found recorded under 1866.

A chapel was built this year in St. James's Parade by the Scotch Presbyterians of the city, who had not previously possessed a special place of worship. It was opened on the 7th September, 1859, by the Rev. Dr. Macfarlane, of Glasgow.


The cost of the building, including the site, was upwards of £5,300.

The great popularity of the rifle volunteers led to various suggestions for an extension of the movement. At length, on the Palmerston Ministry having informed the Earl of Ducie, Lord Lieutenant, that “an artillery corps for the city would not only receive official sanction, but would be considered a valuable adjunct to the volunteer force already established”, a meeting was held in the Guildhall, on the 8th November, the mayor (Mr. J. Poole) presiding, to take the matter into consideration. Resolutions approving of the creation of a corps, and appointing a committee for that purpose, were unanimously adopted. The formal approval of the Government having been obtained, about 200 men were forthwith enrolled, and the first parade took place on the 31st December. The motto adopted by the corps was “Fidus et Audax”. Captain H.B.O. Savile, then major in the rifle regiment, transferred his services to the artillery, of which he was appointed major commandant. The captains originally appointed were J.B. Harford, W.M. Baillie, H. Grant, and Capt. F.P. Egerton, R.N.; a fifth, W.H. Barlow, was nominated afterwards. The lieutenants were F. Tothill, S.V. Hare, H.L. Bean, G. Garrard, F.W. Savage, H.S. Ames, E.G. Langton, and C.D. Cave. In despite of the professions of the authorities in London, their real feelings towards the citizen soldiers were strikingly exemplified by the material which was forwarded for training purposes - four enormous siege guns of the obsolete type of the reign of George III., and utterly unfit for field practice, being sent down from Woolwich in April, 1860. Notwithstanding the disrespect evidently implied in the gift, the cannon were cordially received, and their removal from the railway station to the enclosure in front of the Victoria Rooms was made the occasion of an imposing volunteer demonstration. In the following month, the Secretary for War informed the town-clerk that it was the intention of the Ministry to restore the old battery at Portishead Point, for the protection of Bristol. Some trifling repairs having been effected soon after, the battery was used for ball practice by the artillery corps, which had previously resorted to some earthworks thrown up near Avonmouth. Buildings were constructed for stores, etc., in Whiteladies road, at a cost of about £1,100, and a drill hall was added in 1865 at a further outlay of £1,200. In the meantime, Major Savile had applied to the ordnance authorities for lighter and more serviceable guns, but his appeal was peremptorily


refused. But in April, 1864, Mr. Berkeley indignantly commented in the House of Commons on the stupid perversity which had dictated the armament of the artillery corps, and the Government thereupon undertook that the shortcoming should be remedied. Some field guns of modern construction were subsequently forwarded to Bristol.

A large tract of ground lying between Stokes Croft and Grosvenor Place, which up to this time had been let in garden allotments, was laid out during the autumn of 1859 for building sites. The principal street. City Road, was commenced soon afterwards. A chapel at the western end of this thoroughfare was built by the Baptist congregation previously worshipping in the Pithay, at an outlay of £4,800. It was opened in September, 1861, by the Rev. C.H. Spurgeon, of London, then the most popular of dissenting ministers. Whilst the city was rapidly extending in this eastern suburb, building operations were proceeding on an extensive scale in Clifton Wood, on an estate previously belonging to Mrs. Randall, the last tenant in tail under the will of a member of the Goldney family.

The Prince of Orange, heir apparent to the throne of Holland, and reputed at the time to be a suitor for the hand of the Princess Alice, paid a brief visit to the city in February, 1860, on his way to Badminton. The prince was received at the railway station by the mayor (Mr. J. Bates), and by the newly organised volunteer rifle and artillery corps. Prince Jerome Bonaparte, cousin of the French emperor, paid a visit to the city in the following September.

The death was announced, on the 27th February, of Mr. James Palmer, who had held from youth until nearly the close of a long life a confidential position in the Old Bank, where, being of penurious habits, he accumulated a fortune of about £180,000. By his will he bequeathed £20,000 to ten charitable institutions in the city, the residue being divided between a relative, who had kept house for him, and two private friends, both wealthy men. His other kindred, including the needy children of an uncle who had been his surety upon entering the bank, were passed over unnoticed.

Although the construction of high level reservoirs by the Water Company had rendered fire engines practically unnecessary in the lower portion of the city, the principal insurance companies continued to maintain the old apparatus. In March, 1860, however, the Norwich Union office availed itself of a simple but efficient “hose reel”, devised some


years before by a working fireman at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and the economical arrangement was soon generally adopted.

A movement was started about this time for increasing the income of the vicarage of St. John, Broad Street, the value of the living being only about £50 a year. About £1,500 having been contributed, an arrangement was made with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, by which a further payment of £79 yearly was assured to the incumbent.

In March, the authorities of St. Stephen's parish set about the renovation of the beautiful tower of the church. The structure had suffered much from natural decay, but more from the hands of ignorant churchwardens, all the delicate lattice-work attached to the pinnacles, and resting upon gurgoyles [sic] at the comers of the tower, having been deliberately cut away with a mason's saw in 1822, with disastrous results to the effect of the building. Plans of the original work having been preserved, its faithful reproduction was resolved on, and appeals were made to the public for funds to restore the lower storeys of the tower. The response was not sufficiently liberal to carry out the design in its entirety, but the restoration of the pinnacles and of the upper storey was effected in a creditable manner, the work being completed in September, 1862. About fourteen years later the interior of the church was restored; the walls of the aisles - barbarous constructions of 1704 - were rebuilt, and an unsightly altar screen in a debased Greek style, which blocked up the east window, gave place to an appropriate reredos.

At a meeting held in Clifton on the 16th May, the mayor (Mr. J. Bates) presiding, it was resolved to establish, by means of a company, a first class public school for the education of the sons of gentlemen, members of the Established Church, and a provisional committee was appointed to carry out the object in view. The result of this gathering was the establishment of Clifton College. The capital was fixed at £10,000, in £25 shares; and a large piece of ground (including a public house called the Gardeners' Arms) having been purchased for £14,000, the erection of the “big school”, designed by Mr. C. Hansom, soon after commenced. The cost of the building was £5,038. In January, 1861, the Council elected as head master the Rev. C. Evans, M.A., one of the masters at Rugby. After appointing several undermasters, however, Mr. Evans sought for and obtained the head-mastership of a school at Birmingham. The Clifton authorities thereupon appointed the Rev. John Percival, M.A., Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, whose university


career had been of almost unsurpassed brilliancy; and the college was opened on the 30th September, 1862, with about sixty boys. In 1866 a chapel was added to the buildings by Mrs. Guthrie, at an outlay of £5,000, as a memorial of her husband. Canon Guthrie, a zealous promoter of the college. [The chapel was in 1881-2 considerably enlarged.] In 1866 a new wing was added to the buildings, and in the following year a physical science school and gymnasium were erected. In 1869 Mr. Percival undertook to provide a library for the institution at his own cost; swimming baths were also built, and a sanatorium provided. In 1874 the assistant masters, the boys, and their friends added a museum to the library, and a preparatory school was erected. Many other additions were made from time to time. It was originally intended to have a “modern” school equal in size to the “big” school, but this was afterwards found to be unnecessary. The quadrangle, which formed part of the architect's design, was also given up. In 1886 a further extensive addition was made by the completion of the east wing, and the erection of a drawing school, laboratories, etc. The progress of the college exceeded the utmost expectations of its promoters; and in December, 1877, with a view to its establishment on a more permanent and unsectarian basis, and to place it on a level with the other great public schools, it was resolved to wind up the company and to petition the Crown for a charter of incorporation. This document was obtained in March, 1878. In the following October, Dr. Percival, on being appointed President of Trinity College, Oxford, vacant by the resignation of the Rev. S.W. Wayte, relinquished the head-mastership of Clifton, and was succeeded by the Rev. J.M. Wilson, M.A. (senior wrangler in 1860), then first mathematical master at Rugby. In October, 1879, Dr. Percival was presented with a costly and beautiful service of plate in recognition of his eminent services to the college, and of his successful efforts for the advancement of education in Bristol. The presentation was made by the Earl of Ducie. Dr. Percival was nominated to a canonry in Bristol Cathedral in 1882, but relinquished it early in 1887, having been appointed head-master of Rugby.

At the midsummer quarter sessions for the city, in 1860, leave was granted for the diversion of an ancient footpath in Tyndalls Park leading into Cotham Road, near Hillside. The application was made with a view to the formation of what is now known as Woodfield Road. From the legal notice given of the intended deviation, it appeared that the portions


of the park over which the footpath ran were formerly known as “Cantock's Closes, Long-leaze, Claypitts, High-meadow, and Traitor's-well”. In Jane, 1861, a new street through Tyndall's Park, connecting Whiteladies Road with Cotham Road, near Highbury Chapel, was opened for foot passengers. Although occasional attempts had been made from time to time to revive public interest in the proposed Suspension Bridge at Clifton, nothing had really been effected since the abandonment of operations in 1843, caused by lack of funds, down to the period now under review, and it would be tedious to record the various schemes which were ventilated only to be thrown aside. In the spring of 1860, when it became known that the Hungerford Suspension Bridge, in London, another of Brunel's works, and of nearly the same span as that proposed at Clifton, was about to be replaced by a railway bridge, two well-known engineers, Mr. [Sir John] Hawkshaw and Mr. Barlow, believing that the material set at liberty might be successfully applied to the completion of the unfinished structure, arranged for the purchase both of the chains, etc., in London, and of the piers at Clifton, and then laid their project before the public. The opportunity of constructing the bridge at a cheap rate proved attractive, not merely to many Bristolians but to distant capitalists, and the shares of the proposed new company, with a capital of £35,000, exclusive of borrowing powers, were soon absorbed. [The sum of £2,000, in paid-up £10 shares, was accepted by the old company for the piers and approaches, which cost £25,000.] Sir J. Greville Smyth soon afterwards offered to give £2,500 towards the undertaking, provided that the bridge were increased in width from twenty-four to thirty feet, and this condition was assented to. A Bill to authorise the construction of the bridge was brought into Parliament in 1861, and passed without opposition. The object which Mr. Vick had in view when he made his celebrated bequest [see p.131] was not, however, forgotten by Lord Redesdale, the chairman of committees in the House of Lords. Vick contemplated a bridge free from toll, and a large part of the funds subscribed in 1830 was given on the same understanding. Lord Redesdale therefore insisted on the insertion of a clause providing a sinking fund of £50 a year; and the promoters, much against their will, were compelled to acquiesce. The design of Messrs. Hawkshaw and Barlow for the structure was somewhat different from that of Brunel. The main chains on each side were increased from two to three; the girders were all of iron, instead of a combination of iron and wood;


and the anchorage was brought nearer to the piers, thereby shortening the land chains. Against these improvements, however, was to be set the bald, unfinished aspect of the piers, which Brunel intended to have finished in the Egyptian style of architecture, in the spirit of the great remains at Thebes. The towers were to hare been cased with iron, decorated with figures illustrating the whole work of constructing the bridge and the manufacture of the material. The execution of this design would have involved an outlay of several thousand pounds. The works were commenced in November, 1862, as soon as the chains at Hungerford were set at liberty. During the following summer wire ropes were carried across the river and over the east side of the piers on each side, and upon these a platform of planks was laid, forming an airy bridge for the use of the workmen. This was finished on the 4th July, 1863. Another rope, slung above this fabric, had attached to it a “traveller” capable of moving a body of considerable weight to any part of the chasm. The eastern main chains were thus gradually put together, link by link, upon the platform, and as soon as this was completed the framework was shifted to the western side of the piers, where the remaining chains were laid in a similar manner. The next operation was to suspend to the chains the girders for the permanent roadway, and as this task could be prosecuted from both sides, it was soon successfully accomplished. On the 2nd July, 1864, when the last of the cross girders was fixed in the centre of the bridge, a small party was allowed to pass over by Mr. Airey, the resident engineer. In the following September a number of members of the British Association (including the celebrated traveller, Dr. Livingstone), then holding their annual congress at Bath, also visited and passed over the bridge. The permanent roadway was then being laid down, and towards the close of November the bridge was tested, preparatory to the visit of the Board of Trade inspector, by placing about 500 tons of stone on the centre of the roadway. The deflection caused by this weight was only seven inches, and it at once disappeared when the burden was removed. The formal opening of the bridge took place on the 8th December, and was celebrated with much rejoicing. A procession of trades and friendly societies - more than a mile in length - marched through the principal streets of the city, and then directed its course to Clifton Down, where an immense crowd of spectators, thousands of whom had thronged in from the surrounding rural districts, occupied every spot commanding


the new structure. The procession which first passed over was headed by the contractors, the resident engineer, and the artisans by whom the work had been accomplished. These were followed by the volunteer corps of the city, the Lords Lieutenant of Somerset and Bristol, the bishop and clergy, several members of Parliament, the chairman, directors and engineers of the company, the mayor. Council, and magistracy, the members of the Merchants, Society and boards of guardians, the local fraternity of Freemasons, and lastly the procession of trades, etc. On the return of the vast party to Clifton Down, prayer was offered up by the bishop of the diocese; and the two lords lieutenant, each for his own county, then declared the bridge open for traffic. A grand banquet at the Victoria Rooms brought the proceedings of a memorable day to a close. [The bridge seems to possess an irresistible attraction to persons afflicted with suicidal derangement. The first suicide from it took place in May, 1866; since that date the roll of fatalities has increased to upwards of twenty. The most surprising incident connected with this mania occurred on the 8th May, 1885, when a young woman threw herself off the bridge, but was picked up uninjured on the right bank of the river.]

During the cricket season of 1860, the attention of lovers of the game was drawn to the unusually large scores made by Mr. E.M. Grace, a native of Bristol, who in the course of a year or two acquired a national reputation for his skill. In 1860 he played in thirty-two matches, and scored 1,372 runs. In 1861, in thirty-seven matches, he made 1,747 runs. In 1862 he played in thirty-six matches and scored 2,190. And in 1863 he was engaged in fifty matches and made 3,074 runs. One of his scores in those years reached 241, and twenty-four others ranged between 100 and 208. In addition to his batting exploits, moreover, he took 1,347 wickets, an average of more than four per innings. Subsequently his younger brother, Mr. W.G. Grace, achieved still greater triumphs in the game. In 1865, when only seventeen years of age, his skill was already so widely known that he was selected to play in the premier match of the year - that of the gentlemen against the players of England. Passing over many remarkable seasons, in 1871 he made 3,696 runs for sixty-three innings; and in 1876 he made in three innings, 400, 344, and 818 runs, though in two of those matches he was playing against the Kent and the York county clubs, two of the strongest in the kingdom. Down to 1879, counting only first class games, his scores reached a total of 20,832.


His bowling, moreover, was equally formidable, he having between 1868 and 1879 taken 1,349 wickets in first class matches alone, while in secondary games the results were still more extraordinary. In July, 1879, upon his partial retirement from the cricket field in order to apply himself to his profession as a surgeon, Mr. W.G. Grace was presented by Lord Fitzhardinge, on behalf of the cricketers of England, headed by the Prince of Wales, with a purse of £1,400 (to which this district had contributed £770) and a handsome clock, in testimony of their admiration of his achievements - which, so far as batting was concerned, had never been approached. The youngest brother of the family, Mr. G.F. Grace, was also invited to take part in first class matches before he had attained his sixteenth year. In subsequent seasons he became almost as famous as his brothers, and assisted in raising the fame of Gloucestershire cricketers to an unexampled height. A leading London journal, recording his premature death in his 80th year, spoke of him as “hardly second as an all round cricketer to any man in England”.

In October, 1860, the Dædalus, an old twenty-gun frigate, was ordered by the Government to be fitted up and sent to Bristol, for use as a training ship by the recently established Royal Naval Reserve. The ship arrived in the Floating Harbour in June, 1861.

At the annual Colston festival, in November, a proposal was started by Mr. G.W. Franklyn, M.P. (mayor in 1841-2) for the erection in the city of a statue of the great philanthropist whose birth was then being celebrated. The expense was estimated at £500, towards which Mr. Franklyn and another citizen offered £50 each. The proposition fell stillborn. In 1870, during the restoration of St. Mary Redcliff, it was suggested that the great window in the north transept might be appropriately filled with stained glass in memory of Colston. The proposal was received with coldness, but a sufficient sum was eventually obtained to carry it into effect.

A singular distribution of property took place in the city in December. In explanation of the affair, it is necessary to state that five of the large family mansions standing on the east side of Brunswick Square were built by what was called a tontine, established in 1786. The sum expended was 5,000 guineas, divided into 100 shares of 50 guineas each, held by as many lives. Although the speculation was substantially a lottery, the subscribers embraced many prominent Quakers, as will be seen by the following names: John J. Harford, John P. Fry, George Eaton, Thomas Mills, Edward


Ash, John Cave, John Godwin, Edward Harwood, Abraham Ludlow, Joseph Were, and Matthew Wright. The number of surviving lives having been reduced to five in 1860, it was determined that a ballot should take place, when Mrs. S.P. Anderson, of Henlade, became the owner of the largest house. No. 7; Mr. R. Ash got No. 8; Miss F. Wright had No. 9; and Alderman R.H. Webb, representing two lives in one family, was allotted Nos. 10 and 11. Brunswick Square was originally planted with elms, in which a colony of rooks soon established themselves. The trees, becoming old and dangerous, were cut down in December, 1858, when the birds took flight to the woods near Redland Court. Many of the trees in which they took refuge were destroyed in the spring of 1886, when the grounds formerly belonging to that mansion were laid out for building purposes.

About the close of 1860, the ancient Deanery, in College Green, was abandoned as a residence by the Dean of Bristol, on the ground of its alleged insalubrity. The house was afterwards occupied by the Young Men's Christian Association; subsequently a large portion was removed during the construction of Deanery Road.

The Bristol Pleasure Gardens Company, with a capital of £10,000 in £1 shares, came into existence towards the close of this year. About a twelvemonth later, the directors bought from the Rev. H. Richards eight acres of agricultural land at Horfield for £2,000, and converted the fields into a garden for public recreation. The place was opened with a fête given by the Order of Foresters on the 25th August, 1862, when 14,000 persons were present. The enterprise, however, proved unprofitable, and in February, 1871, the site of the garden was sold for £2,950. In September, 1873, the estate was purchased by the Corporation for £3,875, with the intention of erecting upon it a new prison for the city. The gaol, as will afterwards be noticed, was, eventually erected by the Government.

In January, 1861, an attempt was made by the Rev. Precentor Caley, and a few other gentlemen interested in the restoration of the cathedral, to recover for that edifice the brazen eagle which Dean Layard and his colleagues thought proper to sell in 1802 [see p.18]. It appeared that the lectern had never been used since its removal to St. Mary-le-port, and that the Rev. S.A. Walker, the incumbent, had emphatically declared he should never read from it. The reverend gentleman, however, changed his mind on the subject; and as the inscription placed on the eagle by Mr.


Adey stated that it was to remain “for ever” in the church, the vestry refused to part with the ornament. Mr. Caley then appealed for subscriptions to obtain a new lectern for the cathedral, but died in November, 1861, before the needful amount had been promised. An eagle was, however, erected in the cathedral in August, 1862, as a memorial of his services as precentor for nearly twenty-five years.

The first general collection in churches and chapels for the benefit of the Infirmary and Hospital took place on the 20th January, 1861. In a great number of cases the clergy and ministers at first declined to respond to the movement for a “hospital Sunday”, and the total amount acknowledged in the newspapers at the close of the week was only £637, a large portion of which was contributed by the rural parishes. The institution has since been generally recognised. In 1847 only one congregational collection was made in the city on behalf of the Infirmary.

St. Bartholomew's Church, Union Street, was consecrated on the 22nd January. The building, which accommodates about 450 persons, cost, including the site, £8,600. By an Order in Council of the following April, an ecclesiastical parish, consisting of the southern portion of St. James's to the Horsefair, was connected with the new church. St. Luke's Church, Bedminster, was consecrated on the 23rd January. It had cost about £7,000.

At a meeting held in the city in February, to support a Bill then before the House of Commons for the abolition of church rates, Mr. H.J. Mills produced some statistics from a Parliamentary return to show, as he contended, that the enforced contribution to the Church dried up the sources upon which the Establishment might safely rely if they were left uncontrolled. There were, he said, only three parishes in Bristol where church rates were levied. In St. Augustine's £1,160 had been obtained by compulsion in seven years, while the voluntary offerings were only £150. In St. George's, Brandon Hill, force had secured £1,007 in the same period, while nothing had been contributed voluntarily. In Clifton, £1,942 had been levied by the tax, and nothing had been given. On the other hand, taking the comparatively poor parishes, St. Andrew's had obtained voluntarily, £277; St. Barnabas', £280; St. Clement's, £280; St. Matthias' £196; St. Paul's, £454, St. Philip's, £479, and Trinity £474: “making a total of £2,500 given in the poor parishes, against the solitary sum of £150 offered in the rich parishes where there were church rates”.


In the spring of 1861 the Charity Trustees purchased some quaint old houses on the east side of Steep Street for the purpose of enlarging the adjoining almshouse, founded by John Foster. Plans for the complete rebuilding of the institution were obtained; but as the funds in hand were insufficient to carry them out, the trustees contented themselves with removing the houses in Steep Street, and with erecting the western wing of the hospital on an enlarged scale. Some years later a piece of ground at the back of the almshouse was purchased, and laid out as a recreation ground for the inmates. It was not until the summer of 1883 that the trustees were in a position to commence the reconstruction of the south and east wings, and the renovation of the interesting little chapel of the Three Kings of Cologne, which works were effected at a cost of £5,000. The design, which was praiseworthy, in spite of some meretricious details of a continental character, included the construction, under the almshouses, of four shops fronting Christmas Steps.

At a meeting of the Council on the 26th March, the Dock Committee reported that they had negotiated with the Society of Merchant Venturers for the surrender by the latter of their interest in the lease of 1764, under which the wharfage dues were held of the city for 99 years, at a rent of £10 a year. The Society having offered to give up the lease on the payment of a sum equal to one third of the net receipts during the three previous years, the committee recommended that those terms be accepted, and their proposal was approved. The Merchants' Company at the same time made a donation of £2,000 towards the erection of goods sheds upon the quays. These buildings, much ridiculed for their tastelessness, were commenced on the Broad Quay; a column bearing a sundial, which had stood there for at least two centuries, being removed in March, 1862, to make way for them.

The seventh national census was taken on the 8th April, when the population of the “ancient city” was found to be 66,027 - the highest Dumber it ever attained, later returns denoting a tendency to migrate from the central districts. The population of the extended city was 154,093. For purposes of comparison it may be stated that Clifton was credited with 21,735; the district of St. James and St. Paul, 9,944; St. Philip's, out, 31,753; St. George's, 10,276; Bedminster, 22,346; Mangotsfield, 4,222; Stapleton, 5,355; and Stoke Bishop tything, 5,623. In this census Korfield began to


assume the importance of a suburb: containing only 119 persons in 1801, and only 828 thirty years later, its inhabitants had now sprung to 1,746.

The London Gazette of April 16, 1861, contained an official announcement of the creation of the 2nd Gloucestershire Engineer Volunteer corps. Mr. W. Harwood was appointed commandant; Mr. J. Pierson, captain; Messrs. B.S. Cooper and G.P. Marten, first lieutenants; Messrs. P.S. Protheroe and W.P. Wall, second lieutenants. The privates were at that time almost exclusively workmen in the employment of the Bristol and Exeter railway; but from 1870 the corps has been recruited from the artisan class generally. The first parade took place on the 6th July, 1861. [About the same date Mr. Berkeley commented strongly in the House of Commons on the perversity of the military authorities, who asked for a vote of £90,000 for the yeomanry cavalry, which Mr. Berkeley termed worse than useless, while only £42,000 were granted in aid of the volunteer movement throughout the kingdom.] Drills at first took place in the Exchange, and subsequently in a large house in Avon Street, Temple. Later on, premises were rented in Trinity Street, where, in 1883, a large drill hall was erected, together with an armoury and other buildings required for engineering practice, the outlay being about £2,500. The corps, which from its importance has been granted the title of the Bristol Engineer corps, then consisted of 671 officers and men, exclusive of the Clifton College Cadet corps, attached to the regiment, and numbering 81.

Up to this time, no attempt having been made by the civic authorities to water the streets of the borough, the nuisance created by dust during the summer months was a source of loss to many tradesmen, and of much discomfort to all classes. In Clifton some of the roads had been watered by private subscription; but the refusal of mean-spirited people to contribute to a work of which they enjoyed the benefit caused discontent and failure. At length, upwards of thirty memorials were presented to the Council, praying for the establishment of a general system of watering; and in April, 1861, the Board of Health Committee proposed that the main thoroughfares of the city, comprising a length of nearly twenty-four miles, should be dealt with, the yearly expenditure being estimated at £2,500. This proposal, which received the approval of the Council, caused dissatisfaction amongst the ratepayers dwelling in the non-watered thoroughfares, who contended that it was unfair to tax all the city


for the benefit of only a part. At the next meeting of the Council, petitions signed by several thousand citizens were presented against the scheme, the people of St. Philip's out-parish especially protesting against an arrangement by which only three miles of road in their extensive district were to be watered, against eight miles of road in Clifton. The Council, submitting to popular feeling, determined to relinquish the project. The dust nuisance remaining unabated, in February, 1867, the Health Committee presented another report, recommending that £2,500 a year, equivalent to a rate of little more than a penny in the pound, should be voted for watering thirty-two miles of streets, including all the leading thoroughfares. The report was adopted, and the plan came into operation during the summer. No concerted opposition was offered on this occasion by the residents in the unwatered streets, but they speedily began to press the authorities to be included in the favoured area, and it was at last found necessary to make the system practically universal.

In the course of the parliamentary session of 1861, an Act was passed by which Cardiff, Newport, and Gloucester were exempted from the provisions of the Bristol Pilotage Act of 1807, and the pilotage service in those ports, hitherto compulsory, became voluntary. The Corporation of Bristol stoutly fought for the retention of the compulsory system, but without success. The management of the Bristol pilotage service, which had been in the hands of the Merchants' Society for about 250 years, was transferred during the summer to the Docks Committee.

An exhibition of industrial and ornamental art was opened on the 7th August in the Fine Arts' Academy. Although the value of the articles exhibited was estimated at £150,000, while the admission was fixed at sixpence, the public manifested great apathy towards the collection, which, though open nearly three months, was visited by only 24,000 persons.

An amusing action for what was legally called an assault took place at Bristol assizes on the 19th August. For a quarter of a century previously a contest had been waged between certain persons at Clifton and Mr. William Mathias, an eccentric parishioner, in reference to an alleged right of way between Rodney Place and Ferney Close (now Victoria Square). Mr. Mathias, the owner of the adjacent houses in Boyce's Buildings, admitted that there was a footpath, but denied the right of carriages to pass; and a wall which he erected to prevent the alleged invasion on his property, was thrown down, rebuilt, and re-demolished on numberless


occasions. Eventually he erected an arch over the path, and set up an iron gate, when the old struggle recommenced over the latter construction, which was frequently removed and replaced. Although Mr. Mathias was a singularly impracticable man, his complaints of persecution against the Corporation and the Merchants' Society met with considerable public sympathy, the repeated injuries to his property being invariably committed during the night-time, in order to prevent him from tracing out and prosecuting the perpetrators, who were undoubtedly hired by persons in the background. The charge on which the action was brought against him was of an insignificant character. A lady had, it appeared, gone down the disputed path with a perambulator, which she had lifted over the iron barrier, when Mr. Mathias slightly pushed her on the shoulder, and ordered her to go back. The action, nominally prosecuted in her name, was really brought by the Corporation. The chief witness for the prosecution, Mr. George Ashmead, surveyor, admitted that when he made a survey of the city, thirty-seven years previously, there was a gate across the roadway in question, and that no carriage could have passed there without being lifted over. The vehicle stopped by Mr. Mathias being a perambulator - then a novel invention - no precedents could be adduced, and there was much legal contention as to the right of such a carriage to pass along footpaths. The absurd female fashion of wearing crinoline, an article which had just swollen to extreme monstrosity, was also amusingly introduced. Mr. Mathias's counsel asked if a lady whose dress spread the entire width of the path was to be turned back by a perambulator, upon which Mr. Justice Byles thought that a baby's carriage would not be half so formidable an obstruction as the meeting of one lady with another. Eventually the jury disagreed, and were discharged. The Council next resolved upon raising another action, though a memorial signed by several thousand persons protested strongly against what was termed the vindictive oppression of Mr. Mathias, and alleged - not without reason - that far more serious encroachments on public roads and footpaths had been winked at by the civic authorities. The case was set down for trial at Bristol assizes in August, 1862; but a compromise was previously arranged, by which the defendant retained his right to set up a gate, and the record was withdrawn. For several years afterwards, Mr. Mathias's name came frequently before the public in connection with his conflicts with the authorities, and he became locally


known as “the general” from his astute and obstinate tactics in conducting “the battle of Boyce's Buildings”, and other wars of a similar character. At lengthy in 1873, he was committed to prison for contempt of the Court of Chancery, having disobeyed an order to restore a roadway near Manor House, with which he had interfered. Mr. Mathias, who was then in his 92nd year, and had been reduced from affluence to poverty, was not released until he had undergone six months' imprisonment. As he disposed of the wrecks of his property about the same time, “the battle of Boyce's Buildings” came to an end.

Reviving a suspended scheme [see p.291], the Council, during the autumn of 1861, resolved upon widening Bristol Bridge to the extent of about twelve feet on the eastern side, by removing the heavy stone battlement, and laying a new footpath upon iron cantilevers outside the additional space thus obtained. Two of the stone edifices erected for toll-houses were removed during the alterations, the plan of which provoked much public dissatisfaction, and even a suit in Chancery against the Corporation, instituted by some of the neighbouring tradesmen. Instead of following the convex lines of the bridge, the new footway was constructed horizontally, on the level of the highest portion of the curve, so that each end was some feet above the carriage road, and could be reached only by steps. The arrangement was so universally condemned that the Corporation were forced to remedy the unsightly blunder. Although the cost of the improvement was £5,000, it was complained that the alterations had been carried out with a striking disregard of architectural proprieties, and with a reckless indifference to picturesqueness of effect. The work of widening the west side of the bridge was commenced in March, 1873, when the two remaining toll-houses were demolished. As the stone balustrade was also taken down, and replaced by cast metal railing in harmony with the eastern side, the “lopsidedness” of the structure disappeared, though many citizens continued to complain that the bridge, in an artistic point of view, had been ruined. The structure was completed in June, 1874.

A new Congregational chapel, erected in Redland Park, was opened on the 4th September, with sermons by the Rev. Dr. Raleigh and the Rev. Dr. Vaughan. The edifice cost £4,700, and was described as unusually ornate in the interior, but its slate-covered spire was characterised by some critics as more prominent than beautiful.

The first local Post-office Savings Bank was opened at the


Clifton office on the 16th September. Some delay occurred in providing a similar institution in the city, but on the 10th March, 1862, an office was opened at the money-order office, then located in a shop in Albion Chambers, Small Street.

The Council having definitively refused to undertake works near the mouth of the Avon for the accommodation of large vessels [see p.362], a scheme was proposed in the autumn of 1861 for initiating so urgent an improvement by means of private enterprise. The project - the chief promoters of which were Messrs. P.W.S. Miles, Eobert Bright, and C.J. Thomas - took the form of a Bristol Port Railway and Pier, the line to commence near the Hotwell, and to terminate at a pier, to be erected at the mouth of the river, opposite to Dunball island. An Act to authorise the undertaking having been obtained in 1862, a company was formed, with a capital of £125,000 in £10 shares, very few of which, however, were subscribed for by the public. The construction of the line was begun by the turning of the “first sod” on the 19th February, 1863, and the railway was opened for traffic on the 6th March, 1864. The pier at “Avonmouth” - the new name given to the place - was completed about three months later.[83] The development of this undertaking into an extensive dock will be recorded later on; but it may be stated here that the railway has never returned a dividend to its proprietors. In 1869 a holder of a debenture bond for £10,000 demanded payment of his loan, which the company were unable to meet, whereupon the line was placed by the Court of Chancery in the hands of a receiver, and the proprietors have never recovered possession.

The record of the above pier affords a convenient opportunity for noticing a geographical phenomenon which has taken place within the memory of many persons still young, namely, the removal, so to speak, of a portion of the county of Somerset from the south side of the Avon, and its junction with the county of Gloucester on the opposite bank of the stream. In the chart of the Severn and Avon published by G. Collins in 1693, a large promontory on the Somerset shore of the latter river, nearly opposite to where the Lighthouse now stands, forced the stream before joining the Severn to make a sharp bend towards the north. In Donn's beautiful map of the environs of Bristol, issued in 1770, the course of the Avon is depicted as by Collins, but a thin line is figured


as cutting across the promontory, and marked “the Swash”, by which line, as we learn from tradition, light boats at high water could make a straight coarse from the Severn to Pill. No further change took place for nearly a century. In 1862, when Mr. Howard, the Bristol docks engineer, made a survey, “the only available channel for shipping was the 'North Channel”, though “the Swashway was gradually becoming more used by small craft”. The Swash had indeed become so deep that the northern end of the promontory had practically become an island, and had obtained the name of the Dunball. The construction of the pier mentioned in the preceding paragraph shows that its promoters felt no fear of the permanence of the North Channel. In fact, Mr. Howard stated (British Association reports for 1875), “the depth of water was good up to 1865, when the Irish and other steamers used to land their passengers there. Even in October, 1867, Captain Bedford, R.N., who was surveying this channel, found forty-two feet of water in it”. An extraordinary change was, however, then taking place. The Swash rapidly deepened, and large ships were able to pass over it safely. On the other hand, the North Channel silted up with marvellous celerity, and when Captain Bedford saw it again in 1871, “he found only eight feet of water, showing an accumulation of thirty-four feet” since his survey four years before. In 1875 the silting had risen to forty-one feet,[84] and soon afterwards the North Channel disappeared altogether, while “Dunball Island” - the end of the old promontory - had become indissolubly joined to Gloucestershire. The piece of ground in question, about twenty-five acres in extent, was, and indeed is, part of the parish of St. George, or Easton-in-Gordano. In March, 1886, a Local Government Board inquiry took place at Bourton, under the Divided Parishes Act, the result of which will probably be the separation of the spot from its former county and parochial connections.

The prospectus of the Bristol and Clifton Railway Company was issued in the closing months of 1861, and was received by the citizens with a wide measure of approval. The object of the promoters was the extension of the trunk lines of railway from Temple Meads into the city and to Clifton, and the connection of the railway system with the quays and Floating Harbour by means of tramways. The passenger line was to have crossed over Temple and Redcliff Streets and the


Float to Queen Sqaare, which was to have been converted into a central terminus, and from which a new branch line was proposed to be carried to the lower slopes of Brandon Hill, near Clifton. The capital of the company was fixed at £250,000, and the Great Western board undertook to subscribe a moiety of the amount, and to guarantee a minimum dividend of 4 per cent. yearly on the remainder. At a meeting of merchants and leading citizens, the project was cordially welcomed by the mayor (Mr. J. Hare), the master of the Merchants' Society, (Mr. F.W. Green), and the president of the Chamber of Commerce (Mr. P.W. Miles); an influential committee was appointed to further its success; and a petition in its favour, signed by upwards of 6,000 ratepayers, was presented to the Council. Its reception by the “fixed property party” in that body was nevertheless of the most hostile character. It was alleged that the scheme, in conjunction with that for the port railway and pier, was an insidious device to divert the commerce of Bristol from the city; and a resolution approving of the line was defeated by the customary manoeuvre of a reference to a special committee - 26 members voting for the amendment, and 25 for the original motion. (The obstructive nature of the opposition was indicated by the fact that the appointed committee never even pretended to undertake the duties conferred upon it.) Subsequently, the anti-progressive party found that those tactics would not serve their end, as the promoters were enabled to proceed unopposed with their Bill in Parliament. The measure itself was then referred to the Parliamentary Committee of the Council, which body, after suggesting certain modifications in details, recommended that the Bill should be allowed to pass. Their report excited the intense wrath of the opposition. Alderman Ford - an extensive owner of warehouse property - designating the supporters of the scheme as “traitors to their native city”. Nevertheless, the report was confirmed by 34 votes against 28, some of the absentees at the previous meeting being now present and turning the scale. The opponents of improvement next began an agitation out of doors, excited appeals being made to the citizens to resist the appropriation of Brandon Hill and Queen Square, and the “destruction” of the Float. Alarming pictures were also drawn of the danger of fire to which shipping and house property would be exposed if locomotives were allowed to pass through the city, and various other arguments of a similar character - equally remote, it was alleged, from the true grounds of resistance -


were incessantly urged upon the ratepayers. A large majority of the intelligent classes remained uninfluenced by the clamour, but the opposition, changing the field of battle to Westminster, paraded before the committee of the House of Commons as the defenders of local interests, and a crowd of witnesses, including “three respectable washerwomen” from Jacob's Wells, were brought forward to testify against the scheme. After a prolonged inquiry, the committee refused to approve of the preamble of the Bill, and the triumph of the anti-improvement party, though costly, was complete, The Great Western board, which had offered the city a great boon, relinquished the idea of a central station, and a project which many persons regarded as the most advantageous for its purpose ever devised was irrecoverably lost. The parliamentary expenses incurred by the promoters of the scheme were stated to have amounted to £12,000.

Another railway project of this date was promoted by the London and South Western Railway Company, who proposed to connect their system with the city by the construction of a new line from Gillingham, Dorset, through Frome to Temple Meads, thus opening out a large district in Somerset. The threatened invasion of its domain by a narrow gauge undertaking was stoutly resisted by the Great Western Company, which carried the war into the enemy's country by proposing to construct a broad gauge line to Southampton. The board also revived a plan for a railway from Badstock to Keynsham, for which an Act had been obtained several years before, but the powers of which had expired through effluxion of time. After a lengthy and expensive struggle in Parliament, the Bills of both companies were rejected.

The want of a commodious hall for public meetings, entertainments, etc., had long been painfully felt, the only building suitable for such purposes in the commercial part of the city - the Broadmead Rooms - being too small in regard to the population, besides being inconvenient in its arrangements and difficult of access. Upon the removal of Colston's School from St. Augustine's Place, the vacated “great house” was purchased by a few public-spirited gentlemen for £3,000; and the Colston's Hall Company, with a capital of £12,000 in £10 shares, was formed in November, 1861, for the purpose of constructing an edifice worthy of the city. The demolition of the great house took place in May, 1863, and shortly afterwards the directors of the new company entered into a contract for the erection of the large hall for the sum of £17,000. The hall was opened on the 20th September, 1867. The cost


greatly exceeded the estimates, and so completely exhausted the resources of the company that the directors were unable to proceed with the other portions of the building. In 1889 a further sum of £15,000 was raised through the zeal and liberality of some ten or twelve of the original promoters, and the structure, in the complete form designed by the architect, was completed in February, 1873, the aggregate outlay having been £40,000.

The Bishop's College at the top of Park Street [see p.141] was purchased in December, 1861, for £5,400, by Mr. Wm. Wright and Mr. James Ford, officers in the volunteer rifle corps, with a view to converting it into a head-quarters and club house for the use of volunteers. The project was cordially approved by the riflemen and their friends, and further expenditure being necessary to provide a drill-hall, class rooms, racquet courts, etc., it was determined to form a company, and to raise £10,000 by means of shares. The concern was soon after registered as the Bristol Rifles' Headquarters Company. The apartments for the club were “inaugurated” on the 27th September, 1862, and within a few months 440 members were enrolled. The drill-hall, which cost about £2,500, and was then the largest hall in the kingdom having no intermediate support, was opened in October, 1862. In aid of the fund for its erection, the ladies of the city contributed handsomely to a bazaar in the following month, and succeeded in raising £1,800, which were handed over to the company, “in consideration of which”, said the first report of the directors, “the corps had the use of the drill-hall for five days in the week, an armoury, orderly room, sergeants, room, store room, etc., at a very low rent”. The rent fixed for the drill-hall and appurtenances was in fact £150, including gas, taxes, etc. At the outset the Headquarters Company was prosperous; but from various causes the club lost many subscribers, and at last ceased to pay its way. The board, in the meantime, raised the rent for the drill-hall, etc., first to £200, and then to £250. At a meeting of the company in March, 1872, the directors reported that as the expenditure was £400 in excess of the income, it was advisable to let the club premises to private persons for £280 a year, and to further increase the rent paid by the volunteers. The sum mentioned by the chairman, Major Bush, as fairly chargeable to the corps was £295, exclusive of repairs, gas, and taxes, or, in plain terms, over £400 a year. It transpired during the subsequent discussion that the chief officers of the corps. Colonel Taylor


and Adjutant Jones, had resigned their seats at the board in consequence of the decision of the majority, and that they maintained that the £1,300 produced by the bazaar was still the property of the Tolunteers - a contention which, though denied by the directors, was apparently held by nearly all who had taken part in the movement. Mr. Josiah Thomas, city surveyor, advised the regimental committee that their claim to the £1,300 had been practically admitted in a previous report of the directors, and that, taking this fund into consideration, the fair rent of the hall and appurtenances was £210, or, if the hall were given up to the company for four months in each year, £115. A lengthy controversy ensued, in the course of which the company gave the corps notice to quit the premises, while the latter threatened legal proceedings for the recovery of the amount they held to be due to them. Eventually an arrangement was made in 1873, by which the officers of the regiment undertook to pay £195 for the use of the hall for six months yearly, and for the occupation of the offices, etc., for the entire year, the company to be responsible for repairs and taxes. It was mutually understood that the question at issue respecting the bazaar money should be left to arbitration; but the matter dropped, and was not revived. The club has been twice reorganised since it fell under private management.

The unprotected state of the Bristol Channel had been for some time previous to this date under the serious consideration of the Government. There was not a single effective fort between Gloucester and the Land's End, nor was there any harbour, accessible at all times of the tide, into which a vessel pursued by an enemy could run for shelter. It was announced, however, in January, 1862, that the Government had selected, as the base for the construction of a line of fortifications protecting the ports in the upper part of the Chaimel, the hill known as Brean Down, projecting into the sea near Weston-super-Mare, which was to be connected with the promontory called Lavernock Point, on the opposite coast, near Penarth, by means of double batteries on the two well-known islands, the Steep and Flat Holmes, thus securing a cross fire of a formidable character, and virtually closing the gates of the Severn and its tributaries. The works, for which votes were granted by the House of Commons from time to time, were not finished until 1872. In the spring of the following year a garrison of about sixty artillerymen occupied the fort upon Brean Down, which, like the others, was armed with seven-ton guns. In 1874 the Bristol


Artillery Volunteers were attached to the service of the forts, and annual encampments for training have since taken place on Brean Down.

A new electric telegraph enterprise - the British and Irish Magnetic Telegraph Company - was started about this time in competition with the Electric and International Company, which had a monopoly of the railway lines. The telegraph wires of the new concern were carried along the turnpike roads, the first line in this district being commenced in March, 1862, between Bristol and Birmingham. Another undertaking, the United Kingdom Telegraph Company, also made its way to the city, and opened a station in Corn Street.

A public meeting was held in the Guildhall on the 20th March, to consider the propriety of erecting a suitable memorial to the late Prince Consort. The mayor (Mr. J. Hare) presided, and, after several influential citizens had advocated the movement, a committee of fifty representative inhabitants was constituted to secure the erection of a statue in front of the Victoria Rooms, at an estimated outlay of £3,000. The subscriptions offered, however, were so small that they were ultimately returned, the committee at the same time expressing regret that while Dublin, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and other towns had succeeded in similar projects, Bristol should be wanting in a monument to adorn her streets, and to testify her admiration of an illustrious prince.

The passenger steamer Mars, plying between Bristol and Waterford, was wrecked on the 1st April, whilst returning to this city, by striking upon Linney Head, near Milford, during a heavy gale. Thirty of the passengers and, twenty of the crew lost their lives by this disaster.

An arrangement was concluded in June, between the dean and chapter of Bristol, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, by which the former body transferred to the latter (with a few reservations) the whole of its estates, in consideration of the receipt of a yearly sum of £6,796. The commissioners further agreed to provide £6,000 for urgent repairs and alterations in the cathedral [see p.370]. The property retained by the chapter consisted of the deanery and other dwellings adjoining the cathedral, four houses in Lower College Green, the Upper Green and one house therein, the spring at Jacob's Wells, with its pipes, etc., and a small piece of land at Wapley. The chapter has had reason for congratulation that the transfer was negotiated before the setting in of the agricultural depression of later years. From some cause, the


lands of the Gloucester chapter were not taken over by the Commissioners, and a Bristol journal of November 6, 1886, stated that, owing to the reduced value of the estates, the income of the deanery of Gloucester did not exceed £200, and that of each canon had sunk to £100 per annum.

On the 17th June a very brilliant military spectacle took place on Durdham Down. The day had been chosen for a review of the volunteer corps of Bristol and the neighbouring counties, and 6,746 men partook in the manoeuvres. Amongst the regiments which had agreed to be present were the Gloucestershire and North Somerset Yeomanry, the Bristol, Gloucester, Newnham, Clevedon, Weston, and Cardiff Artillery, the Bristol and Gloucester Engineers, and the Bristol, Gloucester, Stroud, Tewkesbury, Cirencester, Forest of Dean, Stow, Moreton, Cheltenham, Pershore, Malvern, Evesham, Ombersley, Droitwich, Upton, Bromsgrove, Birmingham, Saltley, Bath, Keynsham, Temple Cloud, Taunton, Bridgwater, Wellington, Williton, Stogursey, Wiveliscombe, Yeovil, Crewkerne, Langport, Wells, Burnham, Weston, Frome, Shepton Mallet, Glastonbury, Wincanton, Somerton, Baltonsborough, Wrington, Salisbury, Swindon, Trowbridge, Chippenham, Bradford, Warminster, Melksham, Wootton Basset, Old Swindon, Highworth, Hereford, Ledbury, Bromyard, Archinfield, Leominster, Kington, Monmouth, Chepstow, Cadoxton, Dorchester, Wareham, Poole, Weymouth, Wimbome, and Sherborne rifles. Owing to the well-ordered preparations, the volunteers reached the ground at the appointed time and in good order; and the review, which was held before Major-General Hutchinson, passed off satisfactorily. A stand which had been constructed, capable of seating 5,000 spectators, was well filled, and it was computed that at least 100,000 persons witnessed the manoeuvres.

The prospectus of the Clifton Hotel Company was issued in August. The capital was fixed at £40,000, in £10 shares. The intention of the promoters was to build the hotel on a site opposite to the post-office; but in the autumn of the following year the Bath Hotel came into the market, and having been bought by the company, together with several adjoining houses, the existing building was constructed on the site. The new hotel was opened on the 24th July, 1865.

At a meeting held in the Guildhall on the 21st August, 1862, the mayor (Mr. J. Hare) presiding, a resolution was passed, earnestly inviting the railway companies to reconsider the determination they were understood to have arrived at in reference to an expensive enlargement of the Temple


Meads terminus, and to co-operate in the construction of a joint station in some central situation in the city. A committee of citizens was also appointed to select an appropriate site, and numerous designs were subsequently prepared and submitted for approval. Of these the committee selected two - one of which, favoured by the “fixed property” party, was for a station at the Stone Bridge, while the other suggested a terminus in Frogmore Street. At another public meeting, on the 25th September, the Stone Bridge scheme was approved, and a prospectus forthwith appeared of the Bristol Central Railway and Terminus Company, with a proposed capital of £300,000 in £10 shares. A Bill to authorise the project was laid before the House of Commons in the following session, and it was stated that notices had been delivered to no less than 6,000 owners and occupiers of property affected by the scheme. A competing proposal, promoted, like the Bristol and Clifton plan of the previous year, with the object of uniting the trunk railways with the intended line to the mouth of the Avon, by means of a tunnel at Clifton, and a bridge near Cumberland Basin, was opposed in Parliament by the Corporation, at the instance of the fixed property party. The Stone Bridge scheme was withdrawn, it being found that none of the railway boards would give it either support or countenance. The other proposal was also abandoned. In the session of 1864 rival Bills were again introduced into the House of Commons. The promoters of port extension proposed to cover over the Avon to Bristol Bridge, to lay a railway over the stream, and to carry the line by Castle Street, Union Street, and the Pithay to Christmas Street (where there was to be a station for the city), thence under Brandon Hill to near Trinity Church (where the Clifton station was fixed), and finally by a tunnel to a junction with the port railway. The rival projectors proposed to cover the Float from the Drawbridge to the Stone Bridge, and to build a grand terminus on the site. The Bill for the latter plan was rejected by the House of Commons. The other scheme received the royal assent, but in consequence of the great outlay required for its execution (estimated at £700,000), no steps were ever taken to carry it into effect.

The civil war in the United States of America having entirely cut off the supply of raw cotton from that country, the manufacturing towns of the North of England were at this time plunged in deep distress. This district was also affected by the “famine”, the Great Western Cotton Factory


having been forced to close in October through lack of raw material, when 600 operatives were thrown out of work. Energetic efforts were made by the public on behalf of the sufferers, and upwards of £12,000 were subscribed in a few weeks, all classes contributing liberally to the fund. The factory was not reopened until the spring of 1865.

At a meeting of the Council in October, the Docks Committee presented an important report, recommending extensive and costly improvements in the Avon and the Floating Harbour. The document was based on plans furnished by Mr. Howard, the engineer to the docks, whose chief recommendations were the deepening of the bed of the river to the extent of seven and a half feet for four and a half miles below Cumberland Basin, and the construction of a new basin for steamers at Rownham, the cost of the proposed works being £557,000. The committee estimated that the annual interest on this sum, which would become a charge on the dock estate, would be £22,800, being £16,800 in excess of the actual receipts. This deficiency they proposed to meet by imposing dock dues on corn and provisions, hitherto exempt, by reimposing half the dues taken off in 1861, and by charging a rent on vessels lying in the harbour, the three items being expected to yield £9,000. The wharfage dues about to fall in were estimated to produce £8,000, and £2,000 more were expected from increase of trade. The balance of £2,800 was to be provided by an increased tax on the ratepayers. The report caused a great sensation, for it was the production of a party which had hitherto opposed every scheme of port improvement on the ground that the dock dues should be kept down, and that the ratepayers should not be further taxed for the maintenance of the harbour. The Council, however, by a majority of 32 votes against 15, adopted the report, and resolved on applying to Parliament for the necessary powers. The excitement of the public, already considerable, was increased upon the discovery that in the Bill laid before the House of Commons the amount proposed to be spent had been increased by nearly a quarter of a million sterling, or to £800,000, on the plea that considerable improvements were needed in the Floating Harbour.

Meetings of the ratepayers were held in each ward, at which the scheme was condemned by large majorities. The Chamber of Commerce also vigorously opposed the measure, and the minority in the Council renewed their protests. In the result, the promoters reduced the intended expenditure to £400,000, of which, £125,000 were to be spent in deepening


the river. A motion to withdraw the Bill altogether was defeated in the Council by 36 votes against 24; another, to proceed with it, was carried by 38 votes against 26. The opponents of the scheme renewed their efforts before a committee of the House of Commons, where it was affirmed on their behalf that the project had been proposed simply to thwart the construction of docks at Kingroad. After a protracted inquiry, the committee rejected the Bill.

The church of Emmanuel, St. Philip's, was consecrated on the 9th December. It had cost about £3,000 in construction, exclusive of the site.

A Bill for authorising the construction of a dock near the mouth of the Avon was laid before Parliament in the session of 1863. The chief promoters of the intended “Bristol Port and Channel Dock Company” were Messrs. Robert Bright, Robert Bush, Philip W.S. Miles, Charles Nash, Henry A. Palmer, Christopher J. Thomas, and Thomas T. Taylor - all or nearly all of whom were promoters of the previous Port Railway and Pier scheme. The share capital was fixed at £295,000 in £20 shares, with power to borrow £98,000. When the advocates of port improvement had proposed that a Channel dock should be constructed by the Corporation, the fixed property party had constantly declared that their resistance was based on an unwillingness to impose fresh burdens on the ratepayers, and that if a private company would undertake the work it would meet with no opposition. But these assertions were now repudiated, and at a meeting of the Council on the 7th January a resolution to strenuously oppose the Bill, as an attempt “to deprive the citizens of their rights and privileges”, was carried by the advocates of a stand-still policy, an amendment in a contrary sense being rejected by 28 votes against 25. After a lengthy struggle before a committee of the House of Commons, the Bill was rejected.

Before continuing the history of the Avonmouth project, it will be convenient to notice the early schemes in connexion with Portishead, and the incidents which led to the creation of a rival harbour at that place. Many years before Channel docks were thought of, engineers had suggested the construction of a pier at Portishead for the accommodation of shipping, Mr. Milne's plan of 1882 being followed in 1839 by that of Mr. (afterwards Sir) John Macneil, for which an Act of Parliament was obtained, at the instance of Mr. James A. Gordon, in July, 1841. The project having proved abortive through defects in the design, Mr. Brunel, in May, 1845,


propounded another scheme, for a floating pier near Portbury, with a railway (on the atmospheric principle) to Bristol. The Portbury Pier and Railway Company, with a capital of £200,000 in £50 shares, was formed to carry out this proposal, for which an Act was obtained in 1846; but after the promoters had striven earnestly to obtain the necessary funds, they announced in February, 1852, that they had abandoned the enterprise, and the company was wound up during the following summer. In 1858 a Mr. Croome produced a scheme for two gigantic docks of fifty acres each, with a canal to the Avon, at Pill; a rival plan, for a dock in Portishead pill, was produced in the same year by a Mr. W.B. Neale. Although all these propositions were severally commended to the attention of Bristolians on the ground that the Portishead estate of the Corporation would be vastly increased in value by the creation of a new harbour, none of them met with much countenance from the advocates of port improvement, and the failure of each in succession appears to have excited no regret. When it was found, however, that the promoters of the Port Railway and Pier were preparing to develop their project into a dock, their leading opponents, including Aldermen Ford and Robinson, Mr. Mich. Castle and Mr. Rich. Fry, most of whom had contended that the creation of shipping accommodation at Kingroad would be absolutely destructive to the commerce of the city, set about the formation of the Bristol and Portishead Pier and Railway Company, with the view, as their critics mockingly maintained, of averting the doom of Bristol by duplicating the machinery which was to ruin her. The pier was proposed to be of about the same dimensions as that projected by Mr. Brunel in 1845. The Bill authorising the works met with little serious opposition, and received the royal assent in June 1868. The construction of the works began in the following year. Amongst the building removed during the laying out of the railway were two or three dwellings (called in the old directories “chocolate houses”) on the shore of the Avon, nearly opposite to the Hotwell, which were amongst the most favourite summer resorts of working men and their families. Much apprehension was expressed by lovers of the picturesque that the construction of the railway would destroy the beauty of the Leigh Woods scenery; but Alderman Ford declared, at a meeting of the company, that those fears were wholly unfounded. “He believed that no better security could be taken for the preservation of the beauty of the woods than the construction of the railway, as it would put a stop to the


quarrying and blasting which had so much damaged them” - an assertion which can be read only with a sigh by those who witness the wholesale havoc now being committed by the Corporation of Bristol and other tenants of the landowner. The Portishead railway was opened on the 18th April, 1867. The tidal section of the pier was opened in June, 1868, and the low-water extension - for which another Act had been obtained - in April, 1870. The total cost of the works up to that time had been about £290,000.

Although somewhat interfering with the chronological character of this volume, it may save the reader trouble to continue the narrative of the “battle of the docks” until the close of the struggle. In the session of 1864 the promoters of the Port and Channel Dock again applied for parliamentary authority to proceed with the undertaking. Since the conflict of the previous year, the annual municipal elections had significantly tested the feeling of the ratepayers, six or seven of the opponents of the Avonmouth Bill having been rejected on soliciting re-election as councillors. Conciliatory negotiations, moreover, had taken place between the cooler heads of the two parties in the civic body. The promoters of the Channel dock offered to surrender to the city a portion of the dues to be levied on goods and shipping, while the inability of the Floating Harbour to meet the growing requirements of commerce was acknowledged by some who had hitherto resisted improvement. The Parliamentary Bills Committee of the Council consequently changed its attitude, and now suggested that “dearly-bought experience ought to satisfy all parties of the folly of prolonging a fruitless contest”. The advice was disregarded by the uncompromising section of the “fixed property” party, an amendment with dilatory objects being proposed in the Council, but the committee's report was approved by 33 votes against 18. The Bill was nevertheless obstinately resisted before a select committee of the House of Commons, the opponents professing to represent fixed property worth £20,000 a year (out of an aggregate annual rental of £600,000). After a long hearing, the preamble of the Bill was approved by the committee, and the measure soon after passed the Lower House. A closing effort in the Council was then made by the anti-progress minority, but they were again unsuccessful, and with a final protest by Alderman Ford, who declared that the proposed docks were “fraught with the greatest peril to the trade and prosperity of the city”, the opposition sulkily quitted the field, and the Bill became law. The local controversy on the


question had been raging with little intermission since the fierce debates of 1859 [see p.360], and it is now difficult to realise the amount of ill-feeling excited during the contest. The Bristol Times of May 7, 1864, remarked that the question had been “like a sort of nightmare on the society of the city. Worse than politics, because more bitterly fought, more personally fought, it has cooled if it has not quite destroyed many friendships, and certainly broken up many associations. . . . [The struggle had been] of a character to break up old acquaintances, to chill conviviality, to make men look pale and spiteful at one another when it was introduced at table, and to feel a personal irritation in discussing it which perilled the preservation of good manners amongst a company”. Owing to the financial collapse of 1866, the promoters of the dock were for a long time prevented from proceeding with the undertaking. In 1868, however, the Bristol Port and Channel Company was definitely constituted, Mr. P.W. Miles becoming chairman, and Mr. Charles Nash vice-chair of the board of directors, which embraced, in addition to the gentlemen mentioned in a previous page, Messrs. H. H. Goodeve, Wm. H. Wills, and Mark Whitwill. It was announced that the dock, with the surrounding quays and warehouses, would be seventy acres in extent, and that the land had been purchased at a reasonable price from the Corporation, Mr. P.W. Miles, Mr. G. Cox, and others. The first sod of the undertaking was cut on the 26th August, 1868, by the chairman of the company, and earnest appeals were addressed to the citizens to assist by their subscriptions in furthering the progress of the works. The attitude of the promoters of the Portishead scheme, however, was well calculated to deter cautious capitalists from taking such a course. After promulgating many warnings through a sympathetic newspaper, the directors of the Portishead Pier and Railway Company announced in November, 1870, that the time had arrived for providing a dock at Portishead for the accommodation of the largest class of ocean steamers. It was alleged in support of this decision that the advantages of the site were unequalled, and that as the pier works had been constructed with a view to their forming part of a complete scheme, the cost of the intended dock and its accessories would not exceed £160,000. The announcement of the board did not surprise those who had carefully watched its movements, for in despite of the vehement assertions of its leaders that Channel docks were unnecessary, and that Bristol would be ruined by their construction, it was plain that the pier was


intended only as a stepping-stone to greater things. In the Bill laid before the House of Commons the promoters sought to confer power upon the Council to contribute £100,000 towards the construction of the dock, undertaking to give the Corporation as many directors on the board as were appointed by the shareholders. By this time it had become clear that the Avonmouth Dock, through lack of financial support, could not be finished within the period allowed by statute, and, concurrently with the Portishead measure, a Bill was prepared by the rival board, to obtain an extension of time for the completion of the work, and to empower the Council, if it thought fit, to contribute to the undertaking (the Docks Committee having already recommended a vote of £100,000). It appeared that the total amount subscribed up to that date was about £120,000, the chief subscribers being Mr. P.W.S. Miles, £10,000; Mr. Morley, M.P., £5,000; the Merchant Venturers' Society, £2,500, and Messrs. J.W. Miles, W.H. Wills, Francis Tagart, C. Norris, and Robert Bright, £1,000 each. Amongst the subscribers to the Portishead scheme were Sir J. Greville Smyth, bart., £15,000; Messrs. J. Ford, R. Fuidge, and G.R. Woodward, £6,000 each; Mr. Lewis Pry, £5,000; Mr. J.D. Weston, £2,500; Mr. T. Canning, £2,000; Mr. R. Fry, £1,500; and Messrs. J.C. Wall, S. Wills, Finzel & Sons, W. Fuidge, and James & Pierce, £1,000 each. “The battle of the docks” was waged vigorously before committees of both Houses, but neither party was successful in preventing the other from obtaining its Act. The conflict was next transferred to the Bristol Council Chamber, to which each company appealed for a subscription in aid of its funds. The remnants of the old fixed property party were soon defeated, their resolution declaring that any grant to either dock was inexpedient being rejected by 38 votes against 18. Thereupon, throwing aside their former arguments, the party went over to the Portishead camp, and secured it an easy victory. On the 1st July, 1872, Mr. E.S. Robinson moved the appointment of a committee with a view to the Corporation becoming interested, by purchase or otherwise, in the completion of the Avonmouth undertaking, affirming - with only too accurate foresight - that a divided jurisdiction would revive the evils created by the old Dock Company, and would be strongly disapproved by the citizens. His motion was rejected by 38 votes against 22. Alderman Hathway then proposed that £100,000 should be subscribed by the Council to the funds of the Portishead Company, and this was carried by 36 votes against 19. In order to soothe the susceptibilities of the


rate-payers, the subscription was made a charge on the dock estate, which at that time showed a large yearly surplus; though, as will be shown hereafter, the burden (from which no profit was over derived) was laid upon the backs of the inhabitants in 1880. In consequence of this decision, which caused much surprise and dissatisfaction amongst the citizens, the directors of the Avonmouth scheme were plunged in extreme embarrassment through lack of funds, and to the delight of their opponents the work of construction was practically suspended. In August, 1873, however, the directors announced that they had made arrangements with a contractor for completing the dock, and operations soon after vigorously recommenced. In August, 1876, when on the eve of completion, the dock was the scene of a disastrous landslip, caused by the treacherous bed of an old “pill” running under the east wall, about 400 feet of which collapsed, together with two large warehouses. The reparation of this disaster was not effected for some months. The progress of the Portishead project had been also arrested by an accident. After having been furnished with funds by the Corporation, the directors - promising the rapid completion of the dock - set about the preliminary works, the most important of which was a huge dam for excluding the waters of the Channel. On the 15th February, 1874, the dyke, then nearly finished, gave way under the pressure of a high tide, causing extensive havoc; and the task of damming back the Severn was not achieved until June, 1875. Through the delay thus occasioned, the Avonmouth scheme recovered its original lead in the competition; and the dock was formally opened on the 24th February, 1877. The directors obtained the use of a large steamer, the Juno, to convey the mayor (Mr. G.W. Edwards) the members of the Council and of other public bodies, and many of the leading citizens, to the mouth of the river, the party numbering about six hundred. A great concourse of spectators lined the banks of the Avon for nearly two miles, while about 15,000 persons assembled near the dock and greeted the Juno upon her arrival with repeated cheers. Having steamed around the basin, the vessel was brought up in front of one of the warehouses, when a short prayer was offered by the Archdeacon of Bristol (the Rev. Canon Norris). The mayor then declared the dock open, and complimented the directors on the successful termination of their arduous and public-spirited exertions. Owing to the proverbial exigencies of the tide, the ceremony was very brief, and the visitors returned immediately to Bristol. In the evening the


mayor gave a grand banquet in the Merchants' Hall in honour of the occasion. Much rejoicing took place at Shirehampton and Pill in the course of the day. The first commercial vessel which entered the dock was the steamer Evelyn, which arrived on the 8th April, with 1,600 tons of barley. It was hoped by the Portishead board that their undertaking would be opened in the summer of 1878. On the 18th March of that year, however, another serious disaster took place, a large portion of the nearly completed dock wall falling over, while a further portion showed so many rents as to require reconstruction. This entailed great delay, and an additional outlay of about £30,000. By dint of energetic efforts, the undertaking was completed in the following year, and the passenger steamer Lyn entered the basin, amidst much local rejoicing, on the 28th June, 1879. The first foreign arrival, about a week later, was a steamship named the Magdeburg, with a cargo of 1,100 tons of barley. Both the Avonmouth and the Portishead companies undertook to pay to the Bristol Dock authorities 50 per cent. of their dues on all sailing vessels under 1,200 tons and on all steamers under 800 tons entering their docks. It will be seen under a later date that this attempt to safeguard the interests of the Floating Harbour proved ineffectual.

Another of the numerous schemes which absorbed local attention during the session of 1863 was the Bristol and North Somerset Railway, a project for opening out a large district of Somerset by means of a line from Radstock to Bristol, and also for facilitating commerce in the city by means of a tramway from the quays to the terminus. The Bill received the royal assent, and a company to carry its powers into execution was soon afterwards formed, with a capital of £275,000 in £20 shares. Only about £16,000 of this amount, however, was actually subscribed. The first rail of the tramway was laid by the mayoress (Mrs. S.V. Hare) en the 8th October, 1863. Pecuniary difficulties soon after arose, and flung the company into extreme embarrassment. The first contractors for the works quarrelled with the directors and withdrew; their successors became insolvent; and the financial crisis of 1866 for a third time caused a lengthy suspension of operations. The company made repeated but fruitless attempts in Parliament to connect their railway with the narrow gauge systems on the south coast. In 1866 the directors, abandoning hope in this direction, concluded an agreement with the Great Western board, by which the latter undertook to work the line when completed.


At an early period of the company's financial difficulties, some of the directors, in their zeal to further the undertaking, made themselves individually responsible for a sum of about £180,000 - part of the liabilities of the concern - with the effect of completely ruining themselves. A report presented by a committee of investigation in May, 1867, was an astounding revelation of mismanagement, the conduct of the secretary, a parliamentary agent, named John Bingham, being especially censured. Amongst the items of the company's expenditure, a charge was discovered of £28,634 for legal and parliamentary expenses, and another very heavy bill of the same character remained unpaid. [Bingham, who sought to gain popularity by making “Church and Queen” orations at political dinners, and by delivering unctuous addresses at religious gatherings, pleaded guilty in June, 1870, to a charge of having forged an endorsement on a draft for £536, with intent to defraud Mr. Wm. M. Baillie, a Bristol banker, and was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment with hard labour.] In 1869 an Act was obtained for relieving the company from its liabilities by paying off the creditors in shares, power being also obtained to complete the undertaking by the issue of debentures. The creditors assented to this arrangement, which enabled the directors to make a new contract for the completion of the railway. The tramway to Wapping was definitively abandoned in May, 1871, by an agreement with the Corporation. The railway was opened on the 3rd September, 1873, when it was worked by the Great Western staff. The receipts, however, were disappointing to the promoters, and fresh financial embarrassments arose. In 1881 a new board of directors was appointed, the chairman of which stated soon afterwards that the former board, which had refused to meet the shareholders, and finally deserted them, had left the concern in a “state of chaos”, the books having disappeared. A creditor had brought an action against the company, and, as there were no effects, the Court of Chancery had appointed three of the new directors receivers and managers. There was not a sixpence in hand, the Great Western authorities retaining all the receipts. The old board had divided £900 a year amongst themselves. Shortly after those disclosures, attempts were made to sell the line to the Great Western Company, when the latter offered the ordinary shareholders a permanent dividend of 12s. per cent. per annum. The proposal was not accepted. At length, by an agreement arrived at in 1884, the line was purchased by the Great


Western board, the proprietors accepting 17 per cent. on the nominal value of their shares.

Dr. Wm. Thomson, Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, having been translated to the archbishopric of York, Dr. Charles John Ellicott, Dean of Exeter, was in February, 1863, nominated as his successor.

A prospectus appeared in March of the Bristol City Hotel Company, with a capital of £80,000 in £10 shares, the intention of the promoters being to purchase the well-known White Lion establishment in Broad Street, and to build a new hotel on the site. In the following July the directors, being unable to obtain immediate possession of the property, purchased the adjoining White Hart Hotel, in which they commenced business. An ancient inn, known as the Plume of Feathers, near the White Hart, was also acquired about the same time. Two years later the lease of the White Lion fell in, and the house was demolished. The purchase of the three properties, and the cost of the cellars and foundations, however, had exhausted the original capital, and it was found that the completion of the extended design would require a further expenditure of £35,000. The directors in the first place proposed to create new shares to the value of £45,000, but as the public declined to subscribe, the board decided to issue debentures for £35,000. This form of investment meeting with little more favour than its forerunner, the company were compelled, in June, 1867, to fall back upon a less costly scheme, by which a row of shops was placed upon the ground floor, the cost of the structure in this form being estimated at £25,000. The hotel was opened in January, 1869, but the expense of the building had exceeded the estimates by several thousand pounds, and the concern narrowly escaped a compulsory liquidation. In 1874, when the business of the hotel had become prosperous, the Plume of Feathers inn was ordered to be rebuilt at a cost of £2,500. The name of the hotel was at the same time altered from the White Lion to the Grand Hotel.

The marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales on the 10th March was celebrated in Bristol with universal manifestations of joy. A committee had been previously appointed, and liberally furnished with funds to provide recreation and amusement for all classes; a general holiday had been determined upon with one consent; and the entire community seemed to give itself up to merry-making. In the morning a parade of the volunteer riflemen, artillery, and engineers took place on Durdham Down, where the


members of the Oddfellows and Foresters benefit societies also repaired in procession with numerous bands of music. It was computed that upwards of 30,000 persons were present. Rustic sports followed the military pageant. The children of nearly all the schools in the city were gathered in various suitable localities, and, after singing the national anthem, each scholar received some memento of the day. Dinners were given or provisions distributed to upwards of 10,000 poor persons, and the inmates of the almshouses were suitably entertained. The most attractive features of the rejoicings, however, were the firework displays and the illuminations in the evening. All the public buildings and most of the large places of business, as well as numbers of private houses, were brilliantly lighted up with designs and transparencies in almost infinite variety; and the central streets were one continuous blaze. Those thoroughfares were densely thronged until midnight, and the scene was one of extreme animation and gaiety. The displays of fireworks were numerous and effective, and the electric light - then in its infancy - added a new feature to such exhibitions. The evening concluded with a ball at the Assembly Rooms. The ladies of Bristol made a magnificent present on the occasion to the Princess of Wales. It consisted of a large sapphire pendant, set in diamonds, and valued at 800 guineas; and was placed in an elegantly carved casket of oak, taken from St. Mary Redcliff Church, ornamented with ivory and gold. Speaking of this casket, the Times observed that “as a work of art it was as noteworthy, and quite as beautiful, an offering as the jewel itself”. The gift, accompanied by an appropriate address, was presented to the princess by the mayoress (Mrs. S.V. Hare), who was introduced by the Duchess of Beaufort. Her Royal Highness expressed great admiration of the present, for which she gracefully returned thanks.

At the annual Easter vestry of the parish of Clifton, a document produced by one of the churchwardens gave a noteworthy account of the financial difficulties of the authorities. Great objections, it was stated, were made to the payment of church rates, on the ground that the church was for the most part a proprietary building, and that many owners of the pews declined to contribute towards the maintenance of divine worship. An appeal had been made to them on the subject, but about eighty proprietors had either positively refused to subscribe, or had returned no reply. The largest pew owner, holding thirteen seats, declined to render any assistance, because his family had invested a large sum in


building vaults in the crypt, which, under the recent Burials Act, could not be used. Another had become a Dissenter, and felt “conscientious scruples” against contributing towards the services of the church, though his conscience did not prevent him from collecting his pew rents. The majority of the pew owners lived beyond the parish boundary; some resided permanently abroad; others in various distant parts of the kingdom; and several had angrily rejected the appeal for help, practically contending that the residents in the parish - although unable for the most part to find accommodation in the church - were bound to keep it in repair for the benefit of those who farmed out pews. The vestry eventually resolved to fall back upon a voluntary church rate. In some comments on the subject, the Bristol Times stated that one of the pews had sold by auction for £190. In spite of the scandal excited by such traffic, no attempt at reform was made during the long incumbency of Bishop Anderson. At length, in 1884, in consequence of the efforts of a new vicar, the Rev. Talbot Greaves, several of the pews were given up to the parochial authorities; and the churchwardens were authorised by a vestry meeting to apply for a faculty to reseat the church. But the opposition of many of the pew owners could not be overcome except by purchasing their property, for which purpose upwards of £8,000 were raised by subscription, and quickly expended in buying up seats. About £2,000 more were spent in the reconstruction of the sittings, which was soon after accomplished, and the church was reopened in December, 1884. It is intended to purchase the remaining proprietary sittings as funds are provided, though some of the present owners demand prices which will not be given. Already, through Mr. Greaves' exertions, there are, he states, “about 700 good free seats out of the 2,000 sittings in the church”.

At a meeting of the Council in May, 1863, a resolution was passed empowering the Improvement Committee to carry into effect a plan suggested by them for the widening of Nicholas Street, by removing the Gazette office and some old houses standing near St. Nicholas' Church. The estimated net cost of the alterations was £7,150, exclusive of Corporation property valued at £1,174. The improvement involved the removal, early in 1864, of a remarkably picturesque ancient house - the Angel Inn - which stood in High Street, near the corner of Nicholas Street. A portion of the site of this hostelry, having only 14 feet frontage in High Street, and 85 feet in Nicholas Street, was sold at a ground


rent of £151 per annum. Owing to the removal of the Angel Inn, the house in High Street adjoining it on the north - a building of about the same age - became insecure, and finally collapsed in July, 1865.

In May, 1863, whilst workmen were preparing the foundations of the Royal Insurance Company's new building, at the end of Bank Court, Corn Street, they laid bare portions of an apparently extensive mediæval structure. The window and door quoins of the cellar walls showed remains of moulded and traceried window-heads and jambs, but the worked faces had been turned inwards and built into the walls. The new building was completed in June, 1864.

During the autumn of 1862 an advertisement appeared in the local press offering prizes for the best designs for laying out about 170 acres of Leigh Woods, including Nightingale Valley, for building sites. It was subsequently announced that prizes had been awarded to two firms which had responded to the invitation, and in the spring of 1863 it was understood that approval had been given to a design which mapped out the locality for 350 houses, with an extensive hotel, and a bridge over the valley. The prospect of the destruction of the sylvan scenery occasioned deep regret amongst the public, and evoked bitter comments in the newspapers. After an interval, however, the mayor (Mr. S.V. Hare) was informed that Sir John Greville Smyth, the owner of the estate, would spare the woods, provided the Corporation undertook to lease them for fourteen years at a rental of £500 per annum, and a ready-money payment of £300. The mayor, in reply, suggested an extension of the proposed term, or a sale of the freehold to the Corporation, but was informed that no alteration could be made in the terms. The Finance Committee having declined to approve of a short lease of unproductive land at a rental of £3 per acre, the matter came to an end. In September, 1864, it was stated that Sir Greville Smyth had sold the woods to a London speculator for £50,000, and that the purchaser had sent down a plan of his intended operations. “The plan showed”, said the Bristol Times, “some 800 tenements - many of them of a poor character, several of them small shops - to be erected on the romantic site, thereby of course making it an eyesore to Clifton. ... As might be expected, the mayor and other gentlemen who saw it were appalled at the threatened desecration, and a private meeting was called to consider the offer of the speculator, who required £10,000 for his bargain - that is, that the citizens should pay him


£60,000”. Suspicions as to the bonâ fide character of the speculator's threats were, however, excited in many minds; in spite of the menaced devastation, it was soon clear that the city would not subscribe the exorbitant amount demanded; and the next tidings of the projector were, that he had failed to pay the first instalment of the purchase money, and had departed to speculate in parts unknown. It being apparent that the permanent preservation of the scenery depended solely upon the public spirit of the citizens, the Leigh Woods Land Company was formed by a few generous-minded persons, Mr. George Thomas being appointed chairman. The capital was fixed at £50,000 in £25 shares, and after some negotiation the purchase of the property was effected for £40,000. The extent of ground acquired was about 160 acres, of which sixty were set apart for ornamental purposes, and about twenty more for roads. This arrangement left an area of about eighty acres applicable to building, and it was anticipated that the ground rents would ultimately produce upwards of £8,000 per annum. It ought to be stated that Mr. H.A. Palmer suggested a subscription for purchasing the ground for the free use of the public, offering to head the list with a donation of £1,000; but his proposal met with insignificant support. Subsequently, when complaints were raised as to the appropriation of so large a portion of the woods for building purposes, Mr. George Thomas offered to give up his £500 worth of shares, and Mr. Slaughter made a similar proposal as to half that amount, on condition that the citizens would raise £10,000 for securing a further reservation of the land; but the liberal-hearted overtures met with no response. The last instalment of the purchase money due to Sir J.G. Smyth was paid in 1875. Previous to that date the company had been brought to the brink of collapse through an unfortunate building speculation, by which it lost nearly £3,600; but the amount was paid off by three or four of the leading proprietors, who were granted in return 147 unissued shares.

Victoria Chapel, Whiteladies Road, the most beautiful local structure hitherto erected by the Wesleyan Methodists, was opened in June, 1868, by the Rev. F.A. West. The building and site had cost nearly £6,000.

The prospectus of the College Green Hotel Company, with a capital of £40,000 in £10 shares, appeared in October. A block of property extending from College Green to Trinity Street was soon afterwards purchased, and the houses were demolished. One of the dwellings removed. No. 2, College


Green, containing a finely carved hall and staircase, was the residence in 1741 of Mr. Jarret Smith (afterwards Sir J. Smyth, bart.), who was visited there by Sir John Dinely Goodere, a few hours before the seizure and murder of the latter by his brother, Captain Goodere. The new hotel, styled the Royal, was opened in March, 1868.

About this time, a number of stables and coach-houses fronting Queen's Road, appertaining to the houses on the north side of Berkeley Square, began to be converted into shops. At a later period, some of these little places of business were let at a higher rent than was paid for the mansions to which the old outbuildings were attached.

The Red Lion Inn, Redcliff Street, an ancient hostelry, with a courtyard and galleries in the style of the fourteenth or fifteenth century, was removed in 1864, and warehouses were erected on the site.

In June, 1864, a lifeboat, named the Albert Edward, the cost of which had been raised by a local subscription, arrived in the city, and was taken through the streets in procession, escorted by the volunteer corps. At a gathering on Durdham Down, the mayor (Mr. Jose) handed over the boat to the officers of the National Lifeboat Institution. It was afterwards transported to Padstow, Cornwall, for service on that stormy coast. In October, 1866, another lifeboat, styled the Bristol and Clifton, the cost of which had been raised by the exertions of the Bristol Histrionic Club, was welcomed into the city with similar ceremony. The boat was conveyed to the Zoological Gardens, where it was presented to the Lifeboat Institution by Mr. Commissioner Hill. The boat was afterwards stationed at Lossiemouth, Scotland. In March, 1871, a third boat, named the Jack-a-jack, paid for by Bristol merchants and ship-captains trading to the West Coast of Africa, passed through the city with similar honours, on its way to Morte, North Devon, By the will of Lady Haberfield, another Bristol lifeboat was presented to the institution in 1875, and two others have been given by local philanthropists.

The first agricultural show held in Bristol by the Bath and West of England Association was opened on the 13th June, 1864, under the presidency of Earl Fortescue. The exhibition took place on Durdham Down, 25 acres of which, lying to the south-west of the Stoke Bishop road, had been enclosed, and proved the most successful ever organised by the society. The entries of stock on the ground reached 545. The number of visitors was 88,138, and the receipts from admissions amounted to £5,966. During the week, the


mayor and the local committee gave a dinner to the council of the association at the Victoria Rooms. The society held another exhibition on the same site in 1874, when the development of the institution was indicated by the increased area of the show-ground, the inclosure measuring 38 acres. The entries of stock numbered 732, and those of machinery and implements marked a still greater advance over the previous meeting. The president for the year was Sir L. Massey Lopes, bart. The attendance of visitors exceeded anything recorded in the history of the association, the number of admissions being 110,105, and the amount received £8,378. The mayoress (Mrs. Barnes) was presented by the society with a beautiful screen in Honiton lace, in recognition of the courtesy and hospitality with which the executive had been received by the mayor and herself. The third visit of the society took place in June, 1886, under the presidency of Lord Garlingford. The show of animals showed a further advance in numbers, the aggregate reaching 969, and there was a still more notable increase in the exhibits in some other departments. Much interest was excited by specimens of ensilage from a store made at Long Ashton, under the supervision of a special committee. Although the number of persons entering the showyard - 100,579 - was less than in 1874, owing to the unfavourable weather, it was still greatly in excess of the attendances recorded at any other meeting held by the society. The total receipts amounted to £7,226. The leading members of the association were again sumptuously entertained by the mayor (Mr. Wathen) and the Society of Merchant Venturers.

A vessel named the Royal Sovereign, the largest iron sailing ship ever built at this port, was launched by Messrs. W. Patterson & Son during the summer. From this time the shipbuilding industry in Bristol, formerly very extensive, appears to have rapidly declined.

A reference to the extreme drought of the summer of 1864 has been made in narrating the progress of the Bristol Water Company [p.283]. The Council took active measures to alleviate the suffering of the poor, many of whom depended upon private wells. Several of these becoming exhausted, 200 old wells were reopened and pumps erected in populous districts. An arrangement was also made by which the vestry of St. John's gave up to the city the parish conduit, upon the Corporation undertaking to maintain it for the future. A suggestion was started that the Council should purchase Mother Pugsley's well [see p.249]; but it was ascertained


that the expense would be great, and the supply very limited.

Representations were made to the Government about this time by Mr. Berkeley, M.P., of the claims of Bristol and the neighbouring ports to a visit of the Channel fleet - a compliment which had been already paid to other maritime towns. Although the suggestion could not be complied with, the Admiralty directed that the armour-clad frigate Defence should make a cruise in the Bristol Channel. Accordingly, in September, the Defence dropped anchor off Clevedon, and her commander, Captain Phillimore, forthwith received an invitation from the mayor (Mr. T.P. Jose) offering him the hospitalities of Bristol. Captain Phillimore thereupon paid a visit to the city, and invited the mayor and other leading residents to inspect his vessel. A small steamer having been engaged, a numerous party embarked for the excursion; but unfavourable weather greatly marred the anticipated pleasure of the trip, and on nearing the Defence the pitching of the two vessels rendered a transit from one to the other more amusing to the blue-jackets than to the guests. The visitors were provided with a luxurious repast on board the frigate, and were honoured with a salute of seven guns on their departure. The return journey was made under as unpleasant circumstances as was the trip down channel. One unlucky member of the Council fell into the Avon while attempting to land at Shirehampton, but fortunately sustained no injury.

At a meeting of the Council in September, the Docks Committee reported that Mr. Howard, their engineer, had prepared new plans for the improvement of the port, which they believed could be executed without adding to the existing charges. The principal features of the revised designs were: a new and more commodious entrance lock from the Avon into Cumberland Basin, the cost of which was estimated at £127,580; a new junction lock from the basin into the Floating Harbour, estimated at £72,450; and the removal of projecting obstructions on both sides of the Avon, including the Hotwell House, Suspension Bridge, Round, Tea and Coffee House, and Pheasant Quarry “Points”, the outlay for which was set down at £95,470. To meet the interest on the expenditure - £300,000 in round numbers - the committee estimated that the annual surplus income of the dock estate would be £13,000, irrespective of prospective increases; while an accumulated surplus of £32,000 would be in hand before the works were commenced. The plan was approved by a unanimous vote of the Council. In November, 1866, a


contract was entered into with Mr. Tredwell, of Birmingham, for the entrance lock at Cumberland Basin, the removal of the Round Point, and some minor improvements, for the sum of £184,028. The removal of the rock at Tea and Coffee House Point was then in progress.[85] According to Mr. Howard's design, the earth removed in forming the lock and in cutting off the “points” was to have been employed in filling up the “bight” in front of the Port Railway station and the opposite bay below Nightingale Valley, by which the course of the Avon would have assumed a more symmetrical form. But it was subsequently resolved to make use of the material to fill up three of the great quarries which disfigured the Downs. This necessitated the construction of a tramway along the river side, the cutting of an inclined plane to the Down, and the erection of an engine-house on the summit of the cliff. The improvement works were in full operation by the summer of 1867. In February, 1868, the Council resolved to proceed with the inner lock and remaining works, at an estimated cost of £157,000. It was stated during the discussion, that although the dues had been reduced by one half, the dock receipts had increased from £28,784 in 1847 to over £30,000 in 1867. The inner lock, seventeen feet wider than the old one, was completed and opened on the 16th October, 1871; the works at Round Point (which had involved the removal of a shoulder of St. Vincent's Rocks) were finished soon afterwards. The new entrance lock into Cumberland Basin, a noble work, was opened on the 19th July, 1878. In the following September, the tramway on the Down was removed, after having effected great improvements. The quarry near Upper Belgrave Road was not, however, completely filled up until 1880.

On the 11th October, 1864, the fourth annual Church Congress was opened in Bristol under the presidency of the bishop of the diocese. The city was filled with distinguished clergymen and lay-supporters of the Establishment, and the proceedings, which occupied three days, excited general interest. The visitors were the objects of much hospitable attention on the part of leading citizens.

Amongst the incidents of the above gathering was the somewhat startling appearance of a Mr. Lyne, a person in deacon's orders styling himself Brother Ignatius, who had


assumed the costume of a monk, and professed to have refounded in the Church of England the monastic system of St. Benedict. Some of his admirers in Bristol had already set up an “Order of St. Benedict”, composed chiefly, if not wholly, of youthful laymen, who hired a room in a house in Trinity Street; and three or four clergymen - visitors during the Congress - assisted at “Benedictine services” held there during the week. At a later date, the local brethren of the “order” removed to an unoccupied workshop in Trenchard Street, where their eccentric proceedings caused crowds to assemble, and led to several disturbances. On one occasion two of the brethren attempted to take part in the service when intoxicated, and as they declined to obey the “prior”, a youth named Dundas, they were removed by the police. On being informed of the escapade. Brother Ignatius sent an order to the prior requiring the delinquents to perform penance in white sheets in the “oratory”, but they proved refractory, and were “excommunicated”, amidst great uproar. At the Romanist “feast of the Assumption”, the brethren, bearing candles and banners, and chanting hymns, walked in procession through several streets, about two o'clock in the morning. Exhibitions of this kind were frequently repeated, and the police had much difficulty in maintaining order. After several unseemly incidents. Brother Ignatius fulminated a decree deposing the prior (who called himself Brother Cyprian); but the latter repudiated the authority of the inventor of the order, and excommunicated some of the refractory brothers and sisters on his own account. Subsequently the “order” removed to Montpelier, where Brother Cyprian, who had come into possession of a valuable estate, built a chapel, established a “home”, and started a newspaper. The services at the chapel soon attracted a great number of profligate young people of both sexes, and, after many unedifying scenes, the building - an iron one - was presented by Mr. Dundas to the Vicar of Bedminster, who placed it at Ashton Gate, and opened it in March, 1878, as a chapel of ease. [In June, 1883, it was removed for the purpose of erecting on the site the permanent church of St. Francis.] In 1872, through pecuniary difficulties, Mr. Dundas's establishment at Montpelier was altogether broken up.

The foundation stone of a new church in Pembroke Road, Clifton, intended to be dedicated to All Saints, was laid on the 3rd November, 1864. The first portion erected was the chancel, to which was attached a large temporary nave, and in this form the building was consecrated in June, 1868.


Owing to the large proportions and costly details of the edifice, the permanent nave was not ready for consecration until August, 1872, when £27,000 had been expended. Upwards of £10,000 more have been since spent on the building. Sufficient funds are still lacking for the erection of the tower and spire, although, from the absence of those adornments, the church, viewed from a distance, presents the appearance of a gigantic barn.

To increase the accommodation for worshippers in St. James's Church, a new north aisle was added to the building during the autumn of 1864, at a cost of £4,000. The incongruity of its style of architecture with that of the original fabric provoked much criticism.

The foundation stone of a proposed harbour of refuge for the Bristol Channel was laid, or rather supposed to have been laid, off Brean Down, near Weston-super-Mare, on the 5th November, by the wife of Sir John Eardley Wilmot, bart., the originator of the company formed for the purpose. The stone was lowered into the sea from a steamer lying off the promontory, a buoy being attached to mark its whereabouts. Unfortunately the rope was of insufficient length, and as the buoy was capable of sustaining more than twice the weight of the stone, the latter never reached the bottom; and at the rise of the next tide both buoy and stone drifted away, and were lost. The incident appears to have had a depressing effect on the undertaking, which was eventually abandoned. The Bristol and Exeter Railway board obtained powers, in 1866, to connect their main line with the proposed works, but no steps in that direction were ever taken.

Oakfield Road Chapel, erected by the Unitarians of Clifton and the neighbourhood at a cost of £6,000, was opened in November by the Rev. James Martineau, of London.

Although the opening of the Bristol and South Wales Union Railway had much facilitated intercourse between Bristol and the other side of the Channel, it was confessed by its promoters that their hopes of its availability for heavy traffic had been disappointed. The double shifting of goods at the two piers was, in fact, an insuperable obstacle to the transit of coal and iron; and as the enormous mineral resources of South Wales were more largely developed every year, the urgent need of placing Bristol in closer connection with the Principality was ever more widely acknowledged. In November, 1864, notice was given of the intended prosecution of a Bill in the following session for diverting the traffic of South Wales into a new course. Mr. Fowler,


engineer to the Great Western Company, designed a railway from Wootton Bassett to the Old Passage, with a bridge over the Severn - an immense structure two miles in length, estimated to cost £1,800,000. This project being obviously prejudicial to Bristol, notice was given of another Bill, for a tunnel under the Severn near the New Passage, the construction of which, according to the estimates of Mr. Richardson, C.E., might be effected for £750,000. A meeting of merchants and traders was held on the 6th January, 1865, to consider the question, when it was stated that the promoters of the tunnel scheme were Messrs. C.J. Thomas, George Wills, T.T. Taylor, E.S. Robinson, and M. Whitwill. Resolutions in its favour were adopted unanimously; but the construction of a tunnel four miles in length under an arm of the sea was not an enterprise likely to commend itself to any but robust-hearted investors. The parliamentary deposit was not forthcoming, and the Bill was dropped. The Bill authorising the bridge obtained the royal assent, but no steps were taken to carry out its powers. The whole subject, in fact, was expelled from the minds of capitalists by the disastrous panic of 1866, and nothing was heard of it for some years. In the session of 1872, a Bill reviving the tunnel project was introduced into Parliament by private persons; and it was soon afterwards announced that the Great Western Railway board - moved by the aggressive designs of the Midland Company in reference to South Wales - had resolved to adopt the measure, which received the royal assent. Another Severn bridge scheme - on this occasion at Sharpness - was promoted by an independent company under the patronage of the Midland board, and also received legislative sanction. The first sod of the tunnel works was cut on the 18th March, 1873, near Portskewet, the directors having resolved to make a preliminary investigation into the nature of the strata by cutting a six-feet driftway under the Channel. The sinking of a shaft for this purpose was greatly impeded by land springs, which poured into the works to such an extent that powerful pumping machinery was required to overcome the difficulty, and it was not until October, 1874, that tenders were invited for the first section of the “heading”. The proposals received being much in excess of the estimates, the directors resolved to carry out the experiment by their own officers. Only 120 yards of the driftway remained to be excavated to unite the two ends when, in October, 1879, another prodigious flood of water, proceeding from land springs near Portskewet, burst into the southern headway.


and welled up into the shaft. A contract was now entered into for the completion of the undertakings and Sir John Hawkshaw was engaged as engineer in chief. Under his advice the line of the tunnel was lowered 15 feet, in order to maintain more “cover” under the Channel, and in consequence of this alteration it was subsequently found advisable to make a second driftway beneath the original one. Further additions were made as rapidly as possible to the already numerous steam pumps, but more than a twelvemonth passed away before the invading waters could be effectually walled out. In February, 1881, the directors, in announcing that the difficulty had been surmounted, stated that the nature of the strata (principally hard rock) had proved satisfactory, and that the construction of the permanent tunnel had been begun. The two ends of the driftway were united in the following September, when the centres were found to join within three inches. In April, 1881, an irruption of water took place on the Gloucestershire side of the Severn, which for a time exceeded the power of the pumping machinery. A more serious disaster occurred in October, 1883, when a third outburst of Monmouthshire land water, the volume of which was estimated at 25,000 gallons per minute, occurred near the site of the disaster of 1879. Although the effects of the irruption were circumscribed by the walls built for the purpose, the tunnel was flooded to the extent of a mile and a half, and a lengthy delay occurred before the water could be overcome by the help of four additional pumping engines. This was the last serious difficulty encountered, the flooding of a section by a huge tidal wave in October, 1883, being only a transient embarrassment. The works, on which 5,000 men were for some time employed, were so far completed that a passenger train containing Sir Daniel Gooch, chairman of the Great Western board, and several of his brother directors, passed through the tunnel - which is 7,664 yards in, length - on the 5th September, 1885. It was stated that 75 millions of vitrified bricks had been used in the construction. Much, however, remained to be done before the undertaking could be made available for traffic. The doubling of the Bristol and South Wales Union line, involving the widening of the tunnel at Patchway was found indispensable, and this and other alterations required considerable time. An experimental train, laden with Welsh coal for Southampton, passed through the tunnel, however, on the 9th January, 1886. For the purpose of ventilation, a fan was afterwards erected on the Sudbrook side capable of discharging 240,000


feet of air per minute. The tunnel was opened for regular passenger traffic, without any ceremony, on the 1st December. The total cost of the undertaking was then estimated at about two millions sterling.

As the Severn Bridge scheme has been casually mentioned in the above narrative, it may be added that its promoters succeeded in erecting, near Purton Passage, the longest and perhaps the most remarkable structure of the kind in the kingdom, consisting of twenty-two large arches extending over a space of 1,387 yards. The cost of the bridge, including the railways connecting it with the Great Western system in the Forest of Dean and with the Midland line near Berkeley, was about £400,000. It was opened amidst much local rejoicing on the 17th October, 1879.

At a meeting of the Council in January, 1865, it was determined to appoint a committee, to be called the Sanitary Committee, for the purpose of exercising the powers of the Local Government Act, under which increased facilities were offered for effecting public improvements. The new body, which took the place of the Board of Health Committee, was itself superseded, under the provisions of the Public Health Act of 1872, by the “Sanitary Authority”, consisting of all the members of the Council. Mr. Josiah Thomas, about the same date, became sole city surveyor.

Some amusement was created about this time by the lucubrations of a gentleman named John Hampden, who, having convinced himself of the impending destruction of the world, published a local periodical styled The Armourer, with a view of awakening a thoughtless and unconverted community to its approaching doom. Mr. Hampden proclaimed in January, 1865, that England had seen its last “merry Christmas” and for several successive months his predictions of an imminent cataclysm became more positive and more gloomy. Eventually he admitted that the final catastrophe might possibly be reserved for 1866, but this was the extreme limit conceded to papacy and infidelity. Even in December of the latter year he stoutly repeated his prognostications; but as events were not precisely in accord with his fears - or rather, apparently, with his hopes - The Armourer ceased to appear, and its author removed to London. Mr. Hampden afterwards gained notoriety by first making a bet of £1,000 that an impartially conducted engineering experiment would prove the world to be a plane, and then - when the said experiment had proved the contrary - appealing to the law courts to debar the gentleman who had won the wager from


recovering his money. In the course of the controversy he was amerced in £600 damages for libelling his antagonist, and was afterwards sentenced to two lengthy terms of imprisonment for repeating his annoyances.

In February, 1865, the Council entered into negotiations with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the purchase of Rownham Ferry, part of the ancient estate of the Abbey of St. Augustine's, and subsequently of the Dean and Chapter of Bristol. The ferry was transferred to the Corporation in August, 1866, for the sum of £10,000.

During the later years of the reign of George IV., Sir C. Wetherell, recorder of Bristol, held two criminal assizes annually for the city under the charter of Edward III. After the events of 1831, Sir Charles discontinued this custom; and in 1835 the Corporations Reform Act abolished the jurisdiction of the recorder in weighty criminal cases, prisoners charged with grave crimes being thenceforth remitted for trial to the Gloucestershire assizes, to the great inconvenience of prosecutors and witnesses. The Council, shortly after its institution, and several times afterwards, addressed urgent, but fruitless, appeals to the Government for the restoration of the criminal assizes. Early in 1865, it was intimated to the mayor that the desire of the city would at length be complied with; and the first commission was opened on the 31st March. Contrary to the custom of centuries, the name of the mayor was not on this occasion associated with that of the judges in the commission of over and terminer; but the Council protested against the withdrawal of an ancient privilege, and the Home Secretary promised that the omission should not be repeated. It now became necessary to provide a second assize court, the Guildhall furnishing only a court for civil cases, and the Finance Committee, to whom the matter was referred, were forthwith besieged by rival projectors. In addition to plans for the erection of additional buildings at the rear of the Guildhall, designs were sent in for entirely new law courts in Queen Square, upon the Float near the Stone Bridge, on the site of Colston Hall, on the site of the Upper Arcade, and other places. “The battle of the sites” was fought for a time with as much obstinacy as “the battle of the docks”, and was marked by similar vicissitudes. The Council in the first instance approved of a costly proposal to build upon the Float; but the Dock Committee having protested vigorously against any diminution of the harbour, the vote was practically annulled. The Queen's Square site was next recommended for adoption by the Finance Committee,


but an influentially attended meeting in the Guildhall adopted a memorial emphatically condemning the project. On the 1st January, 1866, when the report of the committee was discussed by the Council, an amendment in favour of the Guildhall site was negatived by 29 votes against 25. Another amendment, approving of the Stone Bridge site, was also rejected by 31 votes against 21. Proposals in favour of College Green, the Haymarket, and the Exchange were successively negatived without a division. Finally, the report recommending the Queen Square site was rejected by 87 votes against 18. Still another motion, affirming the expediency of petitioning the Government to revoke the grant of an assize, was defeated by a overwhelming majority. The Council is reported to have made merry over the negative results of the debate, but the comments of the ratepayers on the proceedings were the reverse of complimentary. It soon became impossible to ignore the preponderating opinion of the citizens, and at another Council meeting, in March, it was resolved to build the new court on property belonging to the Corporation, at the back of the existing hall, plans being asked for to carry out that determination. When the proffered designs were considered, however, it was found that a satisfactory result would be impracticable unless the site of a house belonging to Christ Church parish were made available. Much dissatisfaction was created by the bungling of the authorities, while the judges, who found most inconvenient provision made for the assizes, did not conceal their indignation at the discomfort of the arrangements and at the lethargy of the Corporation. In August, 1867, the Council at length adopted the plan which was eventually carried into effect. The architect succeeded in preserving two Romanesque chambers in the mansion in Small Street erroneously styled “Colston's”. The new building cost £16,000. A portion of it was used by the judges for the first time at the August assizes in 1870, and the second court was opened at the spring assizes of the following year. The interesting ancient apartments were granted to the Incorporated Law Society, who fitted them up for their library.

The Council, at a meeting in February, 1865, resolved to enforce the provisions of a permissive Act by which public houses and refreshment rooms were required to be closed between the hours of one and four o'clock in the morning. The new regulation materially added to the tranquillity of the streets.

During the parliamentary session of 1865, a Bill was


introduced on behalf of the Great Western, Midland, and Bristol and Exeter Railway Companies, empowering them to cooperate in the erection of a new joint station at Temple Meads. After the measure had become law, the companies disagreed amongst themselves as to the proportionate amounts which they should contribute towards the outlay, and nothing was done for several years. In August, 1870, it was asserted at a meeting of the Bristol and Exeter Company that their Bristol station - designed by Mr. Brunel - was “the most disgraceful, dangerous, difficult, and impracticable in Europe”. At length, in February, 1871, the companies came to an understanding, and the construction of the new building commenced. The work was one of much difficulty, since the structure had to be reared without interfering with the traffic on the three lines. The “down” platform was opened for passengers on the 6th July, 1874, and the entire station - which cost nearly £300,000 - was completed shortly afterwards.

The local newspapers of the 3rd June, 1865, contained an appeal for subscriptions on behalf of a proposed Hospital for Sick Children. [An institution for youthful sufferers, under a somewhat different name, had existed in St. James's Square since 1857, but treated only out-patients.] The promoters intended at the outset to fit up a suitable house for the reception of a few patients, and asked for only £300 a year to set the establishment on foot. The appeal was signed by Messrs. Mark Whitwill, W.K. Wait, W. Turner, A. Phillips, A.N. Herapath, T. Fry, and Dr. Carter. A dwelling in the Royal Fort was soon afterwards purchased for £750, and was opened on the 20th October, 1866. A bazaar held a few weeks later yielded a profit of over £1,600. The building having been found too contracted for the requirements of the charity, a meeting was held in April, 1882, to promote the erection of a large and commodious hospital, near the same spot, in a style worthy of the city. A design in the Tudor style having been selected, the foundation stone of the structure was laid on the 5th April, 1883, by the Duchess of Beaufort, who also opened the new hospital on the 1st August, 1885. The outlay for the new building was nearly £20,000.

In the course of the summer the directors of the Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Company purchased extensive premises in Corn Street, for the purpose of building offices upon the site. One of the houses, some of the upper apartments of which had been occupied by the Law Library from its establishment in 1818, was of the sixteenth century, and contained a stately Elizabethan chimneypiece, with an


elaborately ornamented ceiling and panelling. (These relics were purchased by Alderman Baker, who had them reconstructed in the dining-room of Broomfield Broomwell House, near Brislington.) The new building - which surpasses all others in the city as regards the richness of its front - cost £11,500. The Law Library Society, as has been already recorded, found accommodation in the new Law Courts, Small Streets

On the dissolution of Parliament, in July, Mr. Berkeley again offered his services to the citizens. Mr. Langton retired into private life, and the candidate adopted as his successor by the Liberal party was Sir Samuel Morton Peto, bart., a member of a great firm of railway contractors. The Conservative aspirant was Mr. Thomas Francis Fremantle, son of Sir T.F. Fremantle (afterwards Lord Cottesloe), the former owner - through a Bristol ancestor - of Pugsley's field. The result of the poll on the 12th July was as follows: Mr. Berkeley, 5,296; Sir S.M. Peto, 5,228; Mr. Fremantle, 4,269. The Conservative press insinuated that the defeat of their party was due to bribery; and, although no proof was offered in support of the charge, it was undeniable that the expenditure of Sir Morton Peto was extremely profuse. According to the official return, the outlay on behalf of Berkeley and Peto was £4,500, against £1,614 spent by the Tory candidate.

An Industrial Exhibition was opened on the 19th September, the event being celebrated by a general holiday. The Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, had undertaken to be present, but owing to severe illness, which proved fatal in the following month, he was unable to fulfil his promise. In the morning a procession of trades marched through the principal streets to the Council House, where it was joined by the mayor, sheriff, and corporate officials, and the gathering then proceeded to the Drill Hall, at which the bishop, Mr. Berkeley, M.P., the committee, and many leading citizens had already assembled. The inaugural ceremony passed off amidst general applause. The exhibition was highly successful, the number of visitors having been nearly 117,000, and the gross receipts £3,254. Out of the profits, £481 were awarded to exhibitors in the shape of prizes, which were presented by Mr. Berkeley, and £575 were distributed amongst the principal local charities. The chairman of the committee, Mr. J.M. Kempster, was presented with an elegant silver salver in recognition of his energetic services. In 1871 Mr. Kempster presented the salver to the Corporation, and it now forms part of the civic plate at the Mansion House.

The revival of local trade, which became marked during


the autumn of this year, induced the authorities to recognise the urgency of various street improvements which had been from time to time deferred. The first work undertaken was the opening of a new thoroughfare from College Green to Hotwell Road, the then existing route by Cow Street (now buried under Park Street viaduct) and Frog Lane being not merely inconvenient but dangerous. The dean and chapter co-operated in this undertakings which included the lowering of the road in front of the cathedral - leaving the threshold of the original north doorway three feet above the new level - and the removal of a large portion of the deanery.[86] More important operations were ordered by the Council in September. A sub-committee recommended the adoption of a plan by Mr. R.S. Pope for improving the gradient of Park Street from the Mayor's Chapel to Great George Street. The design contemplated bridging over Unity Street as well as Frogmore Street, and the purchasing of about forty houses, at an estimated cost of £81,000. The Council limited the line of improvement to the space between the top of Unity Street and the (then) Philosophical Institute, the net outlay being estimated at £11,400. [The actual cost of the new street, opened on the 4th April, 1871, was £27,000,] The second scheme for the construction of a new street from the northern end of Thomas Street to the railway terminus - was practically a revival of the design of 1846. Mr. S.C. Fripp, who laid out the later plan, estimated the net cost at £53,000. [It actually cost about £46,000.] Two proposals were made by Mr. Josiah Thomas, the first being for widening the roadways leading from Redcross Street and Old Market Street, while the second was for opening a thoroughfare from Old Market Street to Stoke's Croft, the net estimated expenditure being £8,700. Finally Mr. Pope proposed a new road from the western end of Maudlin Street to Upper Park Row, the expense being estimated at £9,200. [The outlay was actually £13,000.] All the schemes were approved. In November, 1867, another series of improvements, completing plans already partially executed, was ordered to be carried out. It included further alterations in and near Deanery Road, Park Row, Redcliff Street, Temple Street, Narrow Wine Street, Redcross Street, Baldwin Street, Corn Street, and Bedminster. In addition to these works it was resolved to make a new street (Colston Street) from Colston Hall to Maudlin Street, to extend


Jamaica Street, and to construct a road from Victoria Square to Carlton Place, another from Victoria Square to Clifton Park, and a third from Clifton Park into Pembroke Road. The net cost was estimated at £126,000, Parliamentary sanction having been obtained in due course, the whole of the improvements were completed in a few years.

During the autumn of 1865, two pigs of lead, each bearing a Roman inscription, were disinterred near Wade Street, on what anciently had been the bank of the Froom before the river was narrowed at that point. Both the pigs had been cast in a mould in which the name of the reigning emperor had been mutilated, but competent antiquaries believed the inscription to refer to Antoninus Pius. Being the only important Roman relics ever discovered in Bristol, the discovery excited some interest, and a paper on the subject appeared in the Archæological Journal for 1866.

In October, 1865, a large portion of the beautiful grove known as Lovers' Walk, Redland, was sold by auction by order of the executors of the late owner, Mr. James Evan Baillie. One lot, consisting of two closes of land and part of the avenue, altogether about 10 acres, sold for £4,620. Another lot, known as the Long-acre, and including the lower part of the grove, with an area of about 4¼ acres, was sold for £2,740 to Mr. G.O. Edwards, who had privately bought from the executors the mansion and grounds of Redland Court. The first-mentioned lot was forthwith mapped out for sale in building sites; but Mr. George Thomas and a few other public-spirited citizens, in order to prevent the entire destruction of an agreeable resort, made an agreement with the new owners by which one of the best parts of the avenue was preserved. In February, 1879, it was reported to the Council that Mr. Francis Fry and his brother, owners of that portion of the property extending from South Road to the end of Cotham Grove, had offered to convey an area of four acres to the Corporation for the use of the public. The offer was gratefully accepted. The land adjoining the walk was subsequently enclosed and laid out as a pleasure ground, at a cost of about £850. Finally, in September, 1884, it was reported to the Council that Mr. W.H. Edwards, son of Mr. G.O. Edwards, had executed a conveyance to the Corporation of that part of the avenue which extended from Realand Road to near the railway bridge, for the perpetual enjoyment of the public. A cordial vote of thanks was accorded to the donor. About the same date, Mr. Edwards disposed of Redland Court and its surrounding grounds for £12,250. The


mansion was soon afterwards acquired for the Redland High School for girls.

The rinderpest, or cattle plague, reached this country during the autumn, and spread rapidly over the island, more than 200,000 animals being attacked within a few months. Of these over 120,000 died from the malady, while 40,000 more were killed. In some localities the recoveries did not exceed two or three per cent. of the animals affected. The parish of Bitton especially suffered in this district. It was literally swept by the pestilence, upwards of two hundred head of cattle falling victims in a few days. Stringent measures were taken by the local authorities to check the spread of the pest. The movement of stock, at first limited to fat animals ready for slaughtering, was eventually wholly prohibited. Butchers were consequently obliged to kill their purchases at the farms where they were fed. The Bristol cattle market was not re-opened for store cattle until June, 1867.

An iron church, erected in Tyndall's Park for the accommodation of the rapidly increasing residents in that locality, was opened on the 13th December. Funds having gradually accumulated for the construction of a permanent church, dedicated to St. Mary, building operations commenced about the close of 1870, and part of the choir was consecrated by Bishop Ellicott in June, 1874. [The iron building, become unnecessary, was removed to Woolcott Park in 1875, where it was again the forerunner of a permanent edifice, St. Saviour's.] The western portion of St. Mary's was finished about seven years later, when nearly £10,000 had been spent upon the building.

On the 15th December a disturbance occurred in Clare Street, the record of which will probably be regarded by later generations as denoting a curious survival of lowerclass intolerance. A French merchant captain, whose vessel was lying at the Grove, was walking down the street in company with his wife, when the peculiar head-dress of the latter - who was probably a Breton woman - attracted the attention of a number of boys, and a crowd rapidly gathered around. A rumour then spread that the lady was a Mrs. Law, who had been lecturing during the week against Christianity, and the report so excited the rabble that they made a violent attack on the unfortunate foreigners, who had at last to beg for refuge in a neighbouring shop. After keeping out of sight for some time, the refugees made an attempt to return to their ship; but the populace again surrounded them, and the captain was so brutally ill-treated


that he and his wife, whose life was also seriously menaced, were again driven to appeal for protection. A body of policemen, which at length arrived, had great difficulty in reaching the luckless couple, the mob surging around the place and refusing to disperse. After considerable delay, the pair were removed to their vessel in a cab, followed by a howling multitude.

At the close of this year, on the retirement of Mr. C.T. Eales, Stamp Distributor for the city, the office, which from its lucrativeness was one of the great prizes of party patronage in ante-Reform days, was abolished, the duties being afterwards performed by the Inland Revenue authorities.

The financial condition of the kindred societies at the two extremities of Park Street - the Bristol Library and the Institution - had for some time previous to 1866 caused much anxiety to their supporters. The Library Society had somewhat increased its roll of subscribers since its removal from King Street, but its funds were inadequate to maintain it in a state of efficiency. It now received notice from the Headquarters Company that it must pay a greatly increased rent, or remove elsewhere. The subscribers to the Park Street Institution had been diminishing for many years, and an energetic effort was evidently required to save it from dissolution. In the meantime the apartments devoted to the museum had become too contracted for the proper display of the contents, and no funds existed for their extension. In the face of these embarrassments, a proposal to unite the two institutions, and to place their treasures of literature, science, and art under a single roof, was received with much approval. A joint committee having been appointed, steps were taken for the purchase of a piece of ground adjoining the Drill Hall, and the plot was acquired for £2,500. Plans for the proposed building having been obtained in June, a design in the Venetian style was selected. Meetings for giving legal effect to the union were held early in 1867, and were practically unanimous. Financial resources, however, continuing to be painfully deficient, a meeting was held in January, 1868, the mayor (Mr. F. Adams) presiding, when the committee reported that the new building, even though certain portions would be postponed, could not be erected under a cost of £17,000, and an urgent appeal was made to the citizens to contribute £5,000 towards that sum. The report went on to promise that, if the amount in question were forthcoming, the museum should be opened free on certain days of the week, and students


of limited means should be admitted to the library either gratuitously or at a reduced payment. The response of the city was, however, disappointing, only a few liberal contributions being received, and the committee were compelled to open the building in an unfinished condition. Early in 1871, when about £14,000 had been expended, the two institutions took possession, and started on their joint career under the style of the Bristol Museum and Library. About the same time, the old Institution at the bottom of Park Street became the property of the Freemasons of the district for £5,960. [After undergoing internal re-construction and decoration, the building was “dedicated” to the purposes of the craft by the Earl of Limerick, P.G.M., on the 2nd February, 1872.] In 1873-4 the committee made another appeal to the public to enable them to proceed further with the original design, by erecting a lecture room, a museum of antiquities and industrial products, and certain much-needed offices, but the subscriptions were far from adequate to meet the expenditure (£7,000); and the institution was saddled with a heavy debt, the interest on which has since crippled its executive and grievously impaired its efficiency and usefulness.

A Bill passed through Parliament in the session of 1866, authorising the construction of the Bristol Harbour Junction Railway and Wharf Depôt, a scheme promoted with the view of lessening the traffic in over-crowded thoroughfares by forwarding goods directly from the quays to the railway station. The cost was estimated at £165,000, which outlay was to be divided between the Great Western Company, the Bristol and Exeter Company, and the Corporation - the latter being required to lay out £50,000, for which it was guaranteed £2,000 per annum as interest. The construction of the railway necessitated the removal of the old vicarage of St. Mary Redcliff and nearly all one side of Guinea Street. As the line passed under the burial ground of the parish, the vestry received £2,500 in compensation, with which sum land was purchased and laid out for a parochial cemetery near Arno's Vale. The railway opened out a district little known to the citizens in general; and the Bristol Times of February 9, 1867, stated that in laying out the line the surveyors had lighted on a considerable withy bed, lying between Redcliff Church and the station. A few weeks later the local journals reported the (supposed) discovery of an extensive network of subterranean caves under Redcliff Hill. The largest of the caverns was octagonal in form, about forty-five feet in diameter and about seven feet high.


“The vaulted roof was supported on eight column at equal distances, and a ninth in the centre of the place. A well, bored from above, had passed through the central column. A wide, lofty, and well-finished corridor led to the cavern on the other side, but this being walled at the end, the party could not explore further”. Upon reading those statements, the owner of Redcliff Wharf, Mr. Henry Charles Harford, of Frenchay, addressed a letter to a Bristol newspaper, stating that the caverns were well known to him. They had, he said, formed part of the Redcliff Wharf property, and he had when a boy explored them to an immense distance, Redcliff Church standing on one of them. Mr. Harford hinted that they had, at an earlier period, been used for smuggling and even for worse purposes kidnapping and slave dealing). He believed they had been originally dug for sandpits, and they had certainly proved valuable to the owners of Redcliff Wharf. In 1812, a gentleman (indicated as Mr. Thos. King, merchant), had claimed that portion of the caverns which existed under his property, and this claim being substantiated, the wall found by the workmen was built to separate the estates. In 1869, the railway companies, finding it desirable to increase their waterside accommodation, applied to Parliament for further powers, and obtained the assent of the Corporation to the extension of the wharf by the addition of 400 feet water frontage west of Prince's Street Bridge. The railway was opened in March, 1872. In a few months it was found that the wharves were insufficient to accommodate the trade, a largely increased number of steamers frequenting the port, and in 1873 parliamentary sanction was obtained for the further development of the works. The new Act provided that the two wharves on either side of Prince's Street Bridge road, already constructed, and a third towards Wapping - 1,488 feet in length - were to be exclusively city property, while two contiguous wharves lower down, 1,208 feet long, with power of extension over 398 feet more, were to belong in fee simple to the companies. The rent-charge of £2,000 payable to the city was to be suspended until the completion of the new works. The wharves devolving on the Corporation by this Act were estimated to have cost £60,000.

At the annual meeting of the Bristol Turnpike trustees, in March, 1866, it was reported that the mortgage debt upon the entire trust - which embraced 163 miles of road, and was, with one exception, the most extensive in England - had been nearly paid off. The only charge remaining was one of £5,500


on two of the northern sections. As the surplus receipts for a further period of eighteen months would clear off this burden, it was resolved that the tolls should be abolished on the 1st November, 1867. The resolution was carried by the narrow majority of 26 votes against 22, many of the rural trustees being opposed to a step which threw the maintenance of the roads on the local ratepayers, whilst some of the Bristol trustees objected that the abolition of tolls would entail a burden of £2,000 a year upon the citizens for repairing the eighteen miles of turnpike within the borough. In accordance with the resolution, the district was included in the Turnpike Act of 1866, under the provisions of which the powers of the trustees expired on the 1st November, 1867, when all the turnpike gates were removed. Within the borough there were no less than fifteen of those obstacles to locomotion, namely: Whiteladies, St. Michael's, Clifton Down and Gallows Acre gates in the Aust district; Cutler's Mills and Redland Road gates in the Horfield district; St. John's Lane gate in the Whitchurch district; Lawford's and Baptist Mills gates in the Stapleton district; West Street gate, and bars at Packhorse and Barrow Lanes in the Toghill and Bitton district; Parson Street and Luckwell Lane gates in the Dundry district; and Coronation Road gate in the Ashton trust. The sites of the toll-houses were in most cases claimed by the owners of the adjoining property, and the buildings were demolished.[87] The surplus funds of the trust (£6,760) were divided amongst the local highway authorities. In the spring of 1866, Mr. Thomas W. Hill, of Clifton Park, acquired from the Merchants' Society a piece of ground near Jacob's Wells. After clearing it of a number of cottages, he built upon the site an almshouse for the residence of twelve aged persons, for whom he provided a small weekly income. A few months later Mr. Hill presented the Infirmary with £3,000 for the erection of two additional wards, and subsequently, by gift and bequest, he distributed upwards of £10,000 amongst charitable and religious institutions. The residue of his estate, which was very large, was devoted to his almshouses, to the church and schools of St. Silas, Baptist Mills, to the schools of St. Luke, Bedminster, and to the Infirmary. In consequence of this bequest, the trustees of


the almshouses added forty non-resident almswomen to the number receiving weekly pensions, and built a large room, intended for a chapel and library to the almshouse.

The local journals of July 21st contained an address to the public, signed by J.P. Norris, canon and sub-dean of Bristol cathedral, appealing for aid in the great work of reconstructing the nave of that edifice. The tower, it was stated, was undergoing restoration at the expense of the chapter [see p.870], but it could not be effectually buttressed except by the completion of the cathedral in its original form. (During the previous year, whilst the road in front of the cathedral was being lowered by the Corporation, the workmen laid bare the foundations of a nave and north porch which had been commenced - probably by Abbot Knowle - but never completed, thus disposing of the foolish legend that they were destroyed during the civil war. Traces of the original Romanesque nave, which had been of small dimensions, were also found during the reconstruction.) In October, a committee of influential citizens was formed with a view to pressing the subject upon public attention; but it soon afterwards transpired that a majority of the chapter, consisting of the dean and canons Bankes and Girdlestone, believing that funds would not be forthcoming for a perfect reconstruction, were in favour of building a truncated nave of three bays. This proposal being universally condemned, the committee requested Mr. Street, the Gothic architect, to advise them on the subject. His report stated that Abbot Knowle's nave was intended to be of six bays, and that only such a structure would properly bring out the beauties of the choir. He also thought that the addition of western towers would greatly improve the appearance of the building. The entire reconstruction according to his designs was estimated to cost £52,800, but the completion of the nave and towers up to the level of the roof was set down at about £48,000. Subscriptions amounting to £13,000[88] having been already promised - some leading Dissenters offering handsome donations - it was resolved to undertake two bays, as suggested by Mr. Street, and a contract was signed in August, 1867, for £14,270. The foundation stone of the new work was laid on the 17th April, 1868, with masonic honours, by the Earl of Limerick, P.G.M. Early in 1870, when the two bays were completed, Mr. W.A. Wait, then mayor, offered to build the new north porch


(estimated to cost £1,200), provided a like sum was subscribed to raise the north wall of the nave for its reception. The repaired sum was soon forthcomings and by a further effort, in 1872, subscriptions to a large amount were contributed for the purpose of completing the nave and the lower portion of the western towers. In the autumn of 1875 the state of the central tower was reported to be so critical that it was deemed advisable to remove the battlements, - greatly impairing the former stately appearance of the building - in which denuded condition it still remains, the fund appropriated to its restoration by the chapter having proved inadequate. The singular incidents of the following year, and the completion of the nave, will be noticed hereafter.

At a meeting of the Council, in September, 1866, Mr. Christopher J. Thomas drew attention to the urgency of a redistribution of the seats allotted to the several municipal wards of the borough, the movement of population since the ill-advised arrangement of 1835 having rendered the existing system a mockery of the representative principle. Mr. Thomas succeeded in obtaining the appointment of a committee to consider the subject, but its deliberations led to no result. In December, 1869, Mr. Thomas reintroduced the subject, the anomalies of which had been in the meantime greatly increased by an Act conferring the municipal franchise on householders whose rates were paid by their landlords. Mr. Thomas moved that a petition should be addressed to the Crown praying for an equitable reform, reminding his opponents that the unfairness of the arrangement would become every year more glaring. The following was then the position of the seven principal wards. The figures are well worth contrasting with those given at page 209.

 Ratepayers.Yearly Value.Members.
St. Augustine987£40,9566
St. Michael159464,0903
St. Philip481886,6873

The Conservatives, who predominated in the four favoured wards, met Mr. Thomas with an amendment, asserting that, as it was not established that public good would result from a change, it was inexpedient to make any alteration. The


amendment was adopted by 31 votes (including 12 aldermen) against 22. The question was again brought before the Council in June, 1875, by Mr. H.J. Mills, when the relative state in the wards had become more anomalous than ever. The four favoured wards, shown in the above table as returning thirty councillors, had in 1875 only 7,565 burgesses, while the remaining wards in the city, returning only eighteen councillors put together, had an aggregate of 15,844 burgesses. The predominant party in the Council continued to defend the arrangement, on the ground that it worked well and that the grievance was a sentimental one. It was admitted, however, that the matter was deserving of further consideration, and a committee was appointed to report as to what should be done. The committee had the subject under discussion for nearly four years, the majority being very unwilling to disturb the existing arrangement. At length, in March, 1879, a report was presented recommending certain reforms. The large wards of Bedminster and St. Philip were each divided into two wards, having three members each, the additional representatives being obtained by taking three from Bristol ward and three from St. Augustine's. A third new ward was created out of the northern portions of Clifton and St. Michael's wards, and called Westbury ward, the three members for which were obtained by reducing the representatives for Clifton from nine to six. Finally, the portion of St. Philip's Marsh south of the Feeder was transferred to Redclifd ward, which was to retain its six members. Under this rearrangement, the wards stood as follows:-

 Councillors.Burgesses.Rated value.
Bedminster, East32076£80,044
Bedminster, West3182530,563
St. Augustine3103048,619
St. James3101130,316
St. Michael3121048,670
St. Paul3155435,698
St. Philip, North3290243,108
St. Philip, South3296058,880

This plan was so distasteful to some of the Conservatives that the leader of the party. Alderman Ford, moved its postponement, to enable his friends to get “educated” on the


question. A delay of a fortnight was carried after a warm discussion. At the adjourned meeting the report was adopted by a majority of 46 against 6 - the letter number representing the “uneducated” Conservatives. A Bill to carry out the reform having been approved at a statutory meeting of the ratepayers, the measure was laid before Parliament in the session of 1880. It was opposed in the House of Commons by Mr. W.K. Wait (mayor 1869-70), a member of the Council then representing the city of Gloucester, who obtained the assistance of a number of Conservative members. His motion for the rejection of the Bill was, however, defeated by 163 votes against 98; and the measure received the royal assent on the 14th June. Shortly afterwards, three members from each of the reduced wards were transferred to St. Philip's, Bedminster, and Westbury - much against the wishes of some of the gentlemen thus “transparished”, amongst whom there was much heart-burning.

At a meeting of the Bristol Board of Guardians, in October, statistics were produced showing the annual local taxation of the ancient city during the previous 26 years. During that period the average had been nearly 6s. 1d. in the pound. The rates had been about 1s. in the pound more during the later half of the term than they were in the previous moiety, owing to the large expenditure for sewers incurred by the Board of Health. The highest year was 1856, in which the total rates amounted to 7s. 6d. in the pound, divided as follows: poor rate, 3s. 4d.; borough rate. 1s. 7d,; harbour rate, 3d.; dock rate, 4d.; board of health rate, 2s. From a table kindly furnished by Mr. Alderman Naish, it appears that in 1886 the local burdens in the “ancient city”, had fallen to 5s. 9d. in the pound; namely, poor rates. 1s. 6d,; borough rates, 11d.; dock rate, 4d.; harbour rate, 2d.; sanitary rates, 2s. 10d. In the city portion of Bedminster the local charges in 1886 amounted to 5s. 5d.; in Clifton and St. Philip's (out), 5s. 2d.; in Westbury (within the city), 5s., and in the District, 4s. 10d. in the pound. The rateable value of the entire city in October, 1886, was £932,496.

In October, Mr. J.H. Chute, the manager of the Theatre Royal, purchased of Mr. Rich. Fuidge a large house in Park Row, formerly the residence of Colonel Baillie [see p.78]. Mr. Chute soon afterwards constructed a handsome theatre on the site, at a cost, including fitting, of nearly £18,000. The building was intended to accommodate 340 persons in the dress boxes, 100 in the orchestra stalls, 800 in the pit, 360 in the upper circle and amphitheatre, and 800 in the gallery.


It was opened on the 14th October, 1867, as the New Theatre Royal, but was afterwards styled the Prince's Theatre.

Pembroke Chapel, Oakfield Road, erected by the Congregationalists, was opened on the 31st October. It took the place of an iron chapel, which had been in use there for some years. On the following day, Trinity Chapel, the second place of worship built by the Wesleyan Methodists in Whiteladies Road, was opened by the Rev. W. Shaw and the Rev. W.M. Punshon.

Emmanuel Church, Clifton, was opened on the 18th December, its erection having occupied less than thirteen months. In 1868 the building was considerably enlarged; it was consecrated by the bishop of the diocese on the 7th January, 1869. A lofty tower was added subsequently - in which a peal of eight bells was placed in September, 1884, but funds have not yet been forthcoming for the construction of an intended spire.

A mysterious affair, under which no doubt lurked a villanous murder, caused great excitement towards the close of the year. On the afternoon of the 6th of December, a man named Charles Jones, about eighty years of age, who pursued the business of a money lender, was seen to enter the yard of a beerhouse called the North Somerset Railway Arms, in St. Philip's Marsh, kept by one Nathaniel Ramsden. Jones was never seen or heard, of again. In the yard of Ramsden's house was a lime-kiln and furnaces, used by the occupier in his business of a lime dealer and tar distiller. Ramsden owed the deceased about £330, of which Jones had been endeavouring to obtain repayment for some time, and Ramsden was in difficulties and had just been made a bankrupt. On the 8th December Ramsden called on Jones's agent and man of business in the city, and produced a paper, purporting to be a receipt signed by the deceased for £340, alleging that he had paid £10 too much and was to receive it back again. Jones's agent, however, intimated his belief that the signature was not genuine, whereupon Ramsden went off, carrying the paper away with him. When questioned by the police, Ramsden asserted that he had paid the money to his creditor, but two of the persons said by him to have been present at the transaction deposed that they saw no money pass. A careful search was made of the premises, but no trace of the body could be discovered; and it was generally believed that it had been burnt in the lime-kiln. Ramsden left the country a few months later, and the affair has ever since been wrapped in impenetrable mystery..


The Duke of Buckingham, President of the Council, having paid a visit to Bristol in January, 1867, to distribute the prizes to the successful pupils in the Trade School, the opportunity was seized by the Merchant Venturers' Society to present him with the freedom of the incorporation. The Duke was a lineal descendant of Robert Nugent, Lord Clare, many years M.P. for Bristol, his grace's great-grandfather having married the only daughter and heiress of that nobleman.

A distinguished native of Bristol, and one of the most accomplished British sculptors of the present century, Edward Hodges Baily, E.A., F.R.S., died on the 22nd May, in his eightieth year. The artist was the eldest son of Mr. William Hillier Baily, of this city, and was born on the 10th March, 1788. He was for about two years a pupil at the Grammar School, where he is said to have been deft in carving portraits of his companions, but to have shown no capacity or ordinary work. Mr. Hillier Baily was a ship carver, in which avocation he displayed much ability, and his figures doubtless awakened a love of art in his son, who at the age of 16 abandoned the mercantile desk over which he had bent for a couple of years, and soon after gained admission to the studio of Flaxman, where he made rapid progress. At 19 he gained one of the prizes of the Society of Arts; at 21 he was awarded the first silver medal of the Royal Academy; and at 23 he carried off the gold medal and 50 guineas which were then the “blue ribbon” of the latter institution. In the year following this last success, he produced his grandest imaginative work - “Eve at the Fountain” - which won for its orator the prize of 100 guineas from the British Institution as the best specimen of British sculpture. The loveliness of the work at once established his reputation, and casts were eagerly purchased for the chief schools of art in France and Germany. In 1819 Baily was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy, and was raised to the rank of Academician in 1821, being the only sculptor who attained that honour during the presidency of his fellow Bristolian, Sir Thomas Lawrence. The mythological group sculptured in the frieze of the portico of the Institution (now the Freemasons' Hall), in Park Street, was presented by Baily as a token of affection for his native city. Amongst the best of the artist's very numerous works were: “Eve Listening”, “The Graces”, “Motherly Love”, “The Sleeping Nymph”, a statue of Fox at Westminster, and colossal statues of Sir Robert Peel at Manchester, and of Earl Grey at


Newcastle. The statue of Nelson, on the column in Trafalgar Square, London, was also from his chisel. “Eve at the Fountain” was purchased by a local subscription for £600, and was placed in the Bristol Institution - now the Museum and Library. Though much profitable work was placed in his hands, Baily was, like Lawrence, unthrifty; and the later years of his long life were passed in painful embarrassment.

On the 17th June, during the progress of the Reform measure of 1867 through the House of Commons, a Liberal member moved that the six English provincial boroughs having a population of upwards of 100,000 (Bristol being one of the number), should return three representatives instead of two. The proposal was resisted by Mr. Disraeli on behalf of the Ministry, and on a division it was rejected by 247 votes against 239. Subsequently, the Cabinet conceded the claim for another member made on behalf of Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds, whereupon Mr. Berkeley put in a similar demand for Bristol. He was, however, defeated by 235 votes against 136. In July, 1870, the Council unanimously resolved to petition Parliament for an additional member but the effort was without result.

At a meeting of the Docks Committee in June, it was determined to erect a new and improved Drawbridge at the end of Clare Street - the roadway of the bridge to be more on a line with that street than was the old structure. The improvement cost about £2,500.

A local newspaper of the 20th July stated that in consequence of the Governments of France and Belgium having granted a “drawback” on exportations to the sugar refiners of those countries, the loaf sugar trade in England had been so largely monopolised by the foreign manufacturers that some of the chief British refiners had been obliged to contract their operations and reduce the number of their hands. The making of loaf sugar appears to have been practically discontinued in Bristol before this date, the manufacturers having devoted themselves to the production of crystallised sugar, in which they excelled. The Bristol Times of September 28, 1872, stated that “last week, sales by Messrs. Finzel & Sons reached 1,800 tons, the value of which would probably be £70,000”. In 1876 the same firm, whose premises were already amongst the largest in the country, purchased Counterslip Chapel and the adjacent schools for about £10,000, and converted them into warehouses. The step was not justified by the financial condition of the firm - which had sustained an irreparable loss by the death (21st


October, 1859) of Mr. Finzel, its founder and manager[89] - and the house went into liquidation in the spring of the following year. It was stated at an attempted sale of the premises and plant, that the outlay upon them had exceeded £400,000. The agitation in reference to the foreign sugar duties continued for several years, and was made an instrument for the promotion of the doctrines of a party calling themselves Fair Traders. In 1878 the Bristol Chamber of Commerce forwarded a memorial to the Government praying for the imposition of a duty on foreign refined sugar equal to the amount of the bounty on exports alleged to be paid by the French and other Governments. But Lord Beaconsfield's Ministry refused to take any legislative action which savoured of protection, and an attempt of certain professional agitators, styling themselves working men, to secure the support of the Trades Union Congress, during its gathering in Bristol in August, 1878, was emphatically defeated. In the autumn of 1878 a few public-spirited citizens formed a company, with a capital of £150,000, with the view of taking over Messrs. Finzel's works - offered at £71,500 - and of reviving the business. The experiment unfortunately resulted in heavy loss to the promoters, and the manufactory was finally closed in April, 1881.

During the summer of 1867, building operations were carried on with unusual vigour in the suburban districts. In July a number of fields and nursery gardens near Redland and Hampton Roads were laid out for new streets. On one somewhat extensive estate, styled Woolcott Park, a great number of houses was subsequently built. For several years after this date, the only outlet westward from the estate was an old footpath, known as Nettle Lane; but the Corporation refused to lay out a street unless the landlords interested would contribute £500. This they refused to do, and the ground required for the street was allowed to be built over. In 1877 the Council - amidst much ridicule - admitted the necessity of a thoroughfare, and was compelled, at considerable cost, to buy and demolish the houses which stood in the way of the improvement. The “Goodhind estate”, near Stapleton Road, was also sold in building lots during the autumn of 1867.


At the Wimbledon rifle competitions, in July, the great prize of the gathering - the Queen's gift of £250, with the gold medal of the Association - was won by Sergeant Henry Lane, of the Bristol volunteer rifle corps. His success was hailed with much satisfaction, and he met with an enthusiastic reception on his return. Mr. Lane was afterwards presented with a handsome testimonial, “in recognition of the honour he had gained for Bristol”. At the meeting in the following year, Drum-major Hutchinson, of the same corps, won the silver medal, the silver badge, and £60, as the most successful shot in the first stage of the Queen's prize.

The church of St. Silas, St. Philip's Marsh, was consecrated on the 2nd October. Owing to the spongy nature of the subsoil, the church speedily began to show signs of subsidence, and its condition at length became so perilous that it was closed in March, 1872. The building was soon afterwards taken down, and the foundation stone of another edifice was laid on the 9th October. The new church, which cost about £2,100, was opened in August, 1878.

A small church in Maudlin Street, intended to serve as a chapel of ease to St. James's, and dedicated to St. James the Less, was consecrated on the 30th November.

On the 22nd January, 1868, several members of the Ministry of the Earl of Derby were entertained to a magnificent banquet by about 1,300 of the leading Conservatives of the district. The dinner took place in the Drill Hall, the standing order forbidding the use of that building for political purposes having been rescinded for the occasion. The Duke of Beaufort presided, and the chief speakers amongst the guests were Lord Stanley (now Earl of Derby), Mr. Gr. Hardy (Lord Cranbrook), and Sir John Pakington (afterwards Lord Hampton). The proceedings were marked with much enthusiasm.

The Royal Commission appointed for the purpose of readjusting the limits of counties and boroughs after the passing of the Reform Act of 1867, presented its report early in the following year. In dealing with Bristol, the commissioners recommended that Bishopston and St. George's parishes in Gloucestershire, and a further portion of the parish of Bedminster, in Somerset, should be included within the limits of the borough. The suggestion was condemned as unreasonable in view of the fact that the city had been refused the third member to which it was entitled by its population. A Committee of the House of Commons recommended the rejection of the report so far as Bristol and some other boroughs were concerned, and their advice was adopted.


In recording the removal, on the 25th March, 1868, of the Bristol Post Office from Corn Street to Small Street, an opportunity is afforded for a brief sketch of the progress of the institution during the present century. The onerous postal charges exacted down to 1839 have been already recorded [p.244]. Their effect was to deter the entire community from making use of the office except for matters of urgency; and the postal revenue, in spite of the constant growth of population, made scarcely any advance for many years. The local office, when removed from Small Street to Corn Street, about 1748, required only the basement floor of the house on the west side of the Exchange. With the addition of a small apartment at the back, the accommodation remained sufficient until the days of penny postage. The staff, in 1820, consisted of 17 persons; it had risen only to 19 (6 clerks and 13 postmen) in 1837. The number of letters delivered at the latter date is unknown, but did not probably exceed 16,000 weekly, while, owing to the charge imposed on money orders (eightpence in the pound on small sums, and a higher rate on remittances above £2) the entire amount of the transactions in Bristol averaged only about £500 a year. A rapid development followed the reduction in charges, and besides an absorption of rooms on the upper floors, large extensions of the premises were made in the rear, a corner of the vegetable market being appropriated. But the work of the office expanded more rapidly than the space allotted to the staff, the number of which in 1855 had risen to 93 (42 clerks, 51 carriers). More elbow-room being then indispensable, a separate office for money orders was opened in September in a shop in Small Street. In February, 1856, the introduction of pillar letter-boxes led to a further growth of correspondence. Until nearly the close of the eighteenth century three mails a week from London were considered adequate. Thanks to the railways, the public were accommodated with three mails daily, and increased facilities were offered in various other directions, with satisfactory results. The time at length arrived when it was no longer practicable to conduct the work of the office in the old premises. In 1865 a site was purchased in Small Street, then occupied by Messrs. Freeman and the Brass and Copper Company; and a large building was erected at a cost of £10,000. [While the ground was being cleared, says the Bristol Times of November 18, 1865, the workmen came upon an old safe, falling to pieces, which, from some papers found in it, had belonged to the long extinct banking firm of Vaughan, Maxse & Co. An


ancient mulberry tree, the last of several that once grew in the city, was destroyed about the same time.] When the new office was opened for business, the staff had augmented to 141; the weekly average of letters, etc., delivered in Bristol exceeded 157,000, and the transactions of the money order department represented upwards of £400,000 a year. The marvellous development effected under the new system, however, did not warn the authorities to make reasonable provision for future growth. Only the ground floor of the building was reserved for the postal officials - the first and second flats being appropriated to the Inland Revenue staffs who removed there from Queen Square. The transfer of the telegraphs to the Government (see January, 1870), hastened the breaking up of an arrangement which was from the outset injudicious. Before the close of 1871 the Inland Revenue officers returned to their old quarters, and the evacuated apartments were soon after occupied by the telegraphists. A few years later the money-order and savings-bank branch was again removed to a separate building, to make room for the growing needs of the postal service. Yet in spite of the relief afforded by successive migrations, the new office, before it was fifteen years old, was condemned as inadequate. The question of removing the institution to another site was brought before the Council in 1885, at the instance of the authorities in London, but the suggestion was not approved. In the autumn of 1886 the Government purchased a block of offices in Small Street, known as New Buildings, and some warehouses in the rear, with a view to an extensive enlargement, the cost of which was estimated at £15,000. The postal staff had then swollen to 356 persons (127 clerks and 229 carriers), to which were added 214 telegraphists and messengers. The average number of letters, etc., delivered weekly was 488,040; the yearly number of telegraphs transmitted and delivered was nearly 620,000; the transactions in postal orders and notes marked a total of nearly 300,000 annually, while the sum turned over in the savings bank reached nearly £100,000 a year.

In consequence of the failure of Messrs. Peto, Betts & Co., the great contractors, through the financial panic of 1866, Sir Morton Peto, M.P., in April, 1868, made use of the usual procedure for resigning his seat. His action having been foreseen, both political parties were prepared, and a smart contest ensued. The Conservative candidate was Mr. John William Miles, of Kingsweston, brother of a former member for the city. The Liberals were at first threatened with a division in


their ranks, Mr. E.S. Robinson offering himself against the wishes of the leaders of the party, who brought forward a Mr. Bowring; but eventually both of the gentlemen withdrew, and a new selection was made in the person of Mr. Samuel Morley, a Nottingham manufacturer distinguished for munificent philanthropy. The polling took place on the 29th April, and the figures at the close were as follows: Mr. Miles, 5,173; Mr. Morley, 4,977. At the declaration of the poll on the 30th April, Mr. Morley affirmed that his defeat was due “to an undue use of money, beer, and intimidation”, and a petition against the return was forthwith presented to the House of Commons. In the course of the subsequent investigation, evidence was given charging the Conservative committee with hiring a number of “roughs”, with wholesale treating, with paying non-voters to personate electors, and with several cases of bribery. The petitioner's counsel also pointed out that the secretary to Mr. Miles's central committee and two other prominent agents had absented themselves from Bristol to avoid being summoned as witnesses. In the result, the committee, of whom a majority were Conservatives, declared that the election was void, and that Mr. Miles was, by his agents, guilty of bribery. Mr. P.W.S. Miles, brother of the unseated member, having immediately offered himself for the vacancy, repeated motions were made in the Commons for the issue of a new writ; but, as a general election was imminent, the House refused its assent. The election and its consequences excited considerable irritation in both political camps.

The death was announced, on the 14th June, of the Rev. Robert Vaughan, D.D., one of the most eminent Nonconformists of his time. Dr. Vaughan was born in Bristol in 1795, of poor parentage, and in early life worked as a carpenter. By dint of energy and ability he overcame the difficulties of his position, and ultimately became Professor of History in University College, London, and afterwards Principal of the Lancashire Independent College. His best known works are a biography of Wycliffe, a history of England under the Stewarts, “Revolutions of English History”, and “The Age of Great Cities”. He was also the founder and many years editor of the British Quarterly Review. In May, 1866, Dr. Vaughan was presented by Mr. S. Morley, as chairman of a meeting of prominent Dissenters, with a cheque for £3,000, in recognition of his distinguished services as a minister, a teacher, and a man of letters.

The new thoroughfare connecting Park Row with Maudlin


Street was formally opened by the mayor (Mr. P. Adams) on the 20th Augast, with some state, a civic procession wending its way from the Council House to the place fixed for the ceremony. The mayor, in a brief address, stated that the street would thenceforth be called “Perry Road”, in honour of the chairman of the Streets Improyement Committee. In the construction of the new thoroughfare, which cost upwards of £13,300, or nearly 50 per cent. in excess of the estimates, a great number of crowded and ill-constructed dwellings were cleared away, one side of Lower St. Michael's Hill being entirely demolished. Amongst the old structures removed was an octangular tower, which was embedded in an old house nearly opposite to the southern front of the King David Inn. This tower was the only relic of the White Lodge, built in the sixteenth century upon the northern extremity of the garden of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Christmas Street. Subsequently, at an expenditure of £37,600, Upper Park Row and Maudlin Street were widened, nearly the whole of the south side of the latter thoroughfare being rebuilt. Lower Maudlin Street was also improved, and the result was a spacious road from Clifton to St. James's Churchyard, and also to Stokes Croft. In September, 1872, the new street named after Colston, extending from St. Augustine's Place to Lower Maudlin Street, where it forms a junction with Perry Road, was completed, and offered an easy communication from the fashionable suburbs to the centre of the city.

The Baptist denomination erected this year a handsome place of worship in Whiteladies Road, which was opened by the Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel on the 30th September, under the name of Tyndale Chapel. The original outlay, £7,500, was increased by upwards of £5,000 in 1880, through the addition of lecture rooms and schools.

A French Roman Catholic Sisterhood, styled the Little Sisters of the Poor, which about 1861 took up their residence in Bedminster, and subsequently removed to Trinity Street, and then to Park Row, having been compelled to leave their last-named dwelling by the improvements in progress there, purchased a house on Cotham Hill, to which they now removed. They afterwards built, in connexion with their convent, an asylum for the reception of about one hundred sick and aged poor, means for the maintenance of whom they obtained by soliciting alms from door to door. A chapel was added to the asylum in 1876, when about £7,000 had been expended on the institution.

A large boarding-house in Sion Row, once the pump-room


of the Sion springs was purchased during the year by a joint stock company, and was opened in October under the name of the St. Vincent's Rocks Hotel.

At the general election in November, the political events which had occurred in the city a few months before added greatly to the excitement customary on such occasions. Mr. John William Miles was again nominated by the Conservatives, who expressed confidence in his triumph, owing to the gain of 579 votes on the new register claimed by their Association. The Liberal candidates were Mr. Berkeley and Mr. Samuel Morley. The poll, which took place on the 17th November, resulted as follows:- Mr. Berkeley, 8,759; Mr. Morley, 8,714; Mr. Miles, 6,694. The figures show a great increase over those recorded at the contest seven months before; and it is necessary to explain that the household suffrage conferred by the Reform Act of 1867 had added about 7,000 electors to the constituency, which was thus enlarged nearly 50 per cent. The election was marked by disorder to an extent unknown for many years. During the proceedings Mr. Morley was twice attacked in the streets with stones, and was painfully wounded in the face. Much destruction of property was committed on the nomination and polling days by “red” and “blue” mobs, which rivalled each other in brutality and violence. It was asserted in the Conservative organ that the city was “sacked and wrecked” by a rabble organised for the purpose by the Liberal committee. Major Bush further declared before a committee of the Commons, in 1869, that intimidation prevailed to a great extent, and that organised mobs, hired as he believed by the Reform League, were turned loose to prevent Conservatives from voting. He estimated that about 900 voters were deterred from going to the poll. Mr. Herbert Thomas, a leading Liberal, gave evidence of a flatly contradictory character. The Liberals, he deposed, hired no “roughs”, though to his knowledge as many as 1,200 were paid in April, 1868, by the Conservatives, who opened 200 public-houses, and obtained a three days' holiday for the labourers employed on the river improvement works, in order that they might act against the Liberals at the nomination. With regard to the disturbances in November, Mr. Thomas added that out of the 17 ruffians punished for rioting by the magistrates, 15 were wearing blue colours when arrested. In consequence of the outrages, the Council petitioned Parliament, by a unanimous vote, to abolish the system of public nominations, which had everywhere degenerated into a disorderly and useless farce.


Clifton Down Chapel, erected by the Congregationalists who had long worshipped in Bridge Street Chapel, was opened on the 11th November by the Rev. S. Martin, of London. The new building, which is in the fourteenth century style, cost nearly £10,000. Funds were not available for raising a highly ornamental spire. The congregation traces its existence to 1682, when a licence from Charles II. (still exhibited in the vestry) was granted to John Weeks to preach in a room in St. James's Back. Subsequently the congregation removed to a building erected for a theatre in Tucker Street; and upon that place being demolished for the construction of Bath Street, a migration took place to Bridge Street, where the basement of the chapel was leased to a wine merchant for cellarage. The arrangement, of which there have been other local examples - one in fact still exists - gave rise to the following lines:-

“There's a spirit above and a spirit below,
A spirit of weal and a spirit of woe;
The spirit above is the Spirit Divine,
The spirit below is the spirit of wine”.

During the year 1868 the two bells of Clifton Church were increased to a peal of eight, at the expense of Miss Clay, a resident in the parish.

During this year a novel and interesting movement was started by Dr. Percival, in co-operation with the teaching staff and the elder students of Clifton College. A ragged school was established in one of the poorest eastern districts of the city - on the borders of the parishes of St. Emmanuel and St. Silas - and in a short time about one hundred and twenty children were receiving instruction. After the passing of the Education Act of 1870, it was felt that the School Board might be safely left to provide secular teaching in the locality, and Dr. Percival addressed a communication to the commissioners for church extension purposes, appointed by Bishop Ellicott, offering to maintain a mission in any district they should select. The result was the establishment in 1875 of a mission in Newfoundland Road (St. Barnabas, parish), and an invitation to the boys of the College to co-operate in the movement met with a cordial response. A large workshop was converted into a mission room, and two adjoining houses were afterwards taken for the purposes of the work. The accommodation being found insufficient, about £2,000 were subscribed, and a new mission room, with class rooms, soup kitchen, etc., was opened in May, 1882. An additional building, used as a workmen's club and library,


was added shortly afterwards. The institution proved of great service to the sufferers from the disastrous inundation of 1882, when the College, assisted by friends, raised an extra subscription of £618. In the following year the district undertaken by the mission was separated from St. Barnabas' parish, and constituted the ecclesiastical district of St. Agnes, and a new church was built at a cost of upwards of £5,000, of which the College and its friends provided one half. The building was consecrated on the 2nd March, 1886. It ought to be added that the example of the College stirred up some of the Clifton parishes to establish similar missions in the eastern districts.

Under the will of Miss Hannah Ludlow, a Quaker lady, who died in February, 1869, aged about ninety years, the Charity Trustees came into possession of about £20,000, the interest upon which was ordered by the testatrix to be divided into annuities of £30 each, for the benefit of women of respectable character and position, but impoverished by unavoidable circumstances. The wealth of Miss Ludlow, who was a native of the city, came to her from a brother, who was for many years an ironmonger in Old Market Street.

An influentially attended meeting was held on the 8th April, the mayor (Mr. F. Adams) presiding, for the purpose of promoting the establishment of a training ship for the reception of homeless and destitute boys. The subscriptions announced at the close of the proceedings amounted to nearly £1,500. In the following August, the Lords of the Admiralty granted the loan of an old man-of-war, the Formidable, pierced for eighty-four guns, which arrived at Kingroad in September, when Commander E. Poulden, R.N., was appointed captain-superintendent. About 1,200 homeless boys have since been rescued from misery, trained as sailors, and passed into active life, where the vast majority have conducted themselves worthily. In 1874 a tender, the Polly, intended to take about thirty of the elder lads on cruises for practical training, was purchased at a cost of about £1,000.

The merchants attending the corn market in the Exchange having presented a memorial praying for protection from the weather, the Council, at a meeting in June, resolved to expend £2,800 in covering the open quadrangle with glass. The proposal was opposed by many members, the most amusing objection being that of Alderman Webb, who contended that if the market were made “too comfortable, the farmers, a dilatory set of men, would keep the corn merchants there much longer”. The resolution was carried by a majority of


20 votes against 18. Sabseqnently, the Council requested a committee to consult with an architect as to the propriety of the proposed design. As shrewd observers anticipated, the selected architect lost no time in producing a plan of his own, and although the estimated cost was increased to £4,000, his proposal was adopted. The new design entailed considerable alteration in the details of the interior, a number of offices being built upon the top of the colonnade, and much allegorical enrichment introduced. The actual cost of the improvement, which was completed in August, 1872, was little short of £7,000.

The Right Honourable Sir John Cam Hobhouse, Lord Broughton, G.C.B., F.R.S., died at his residence in London on the 3rd June, 1869. The son of a Bristolian - Sir Benjamin Hobhouse, bart. - he was born at Redland on the 27th June, 1786, and received his early education on St. Michael's Hill, at a school of great repute kept by the Rev. Dr. Estlin, minister of Lewin's Mead Chapel. Having formed a friendship with Lord Byron at Cambridge, he accompanied the poet in his travels in 1809, and on his return published an interesting narrative entitled “A Journey through Albania”. He had previously produced a volume of poems and translations; and the fourth canto of “Childe Harold” was dedicated to him by the author. Mr. Hobhouse, who took advanced views as a politician, was one of the few who then advocated a reform of the House of Commons, and having published in 1819 a biting pamphlet, entitled “A Trifling Mistake”, he was committed to Newgate for a breach of parliamentary privilege, but recovered his liberty a few weeks later, on the death of George III. He was immediately afterwards elected one of the members for Westminster, which he represented for several years. In 1832 he entered Lord Grey's Ministry as Secretary of War, which office he exchanged in 1833 for that of Irish Secretary; a twelve-month later he became Chief Commissioner of Woods and Forests. His candidature and rejection for Bristol in 1835 have been already recorded [p.203] . On the return of his party to power in the same year, he became President of the Board of Control, and filled the post for more than six years. In 1846 he was again nominated to that office, in which he continued until 1852. For his distinguished public services he was raised to the peerage in February, 1851. After retiring from public affairs, he occupied his leisure in composing “Recollections of a Long Life”, privately printed in five octavo volumes, and stated by the Edinburgh Review (vol.


133) to be replete with interesting anecdotes relating to political, literary, and social life.

During the summer of 1869 a memorial was addressed to the Poor Law Board by a number of local magistrates, members of the Council, and guardians of the poor, pointing out the anomalies that had arisen in the constitution of the Bristol board in consequence of the changed effected by time in the ancient wards. Each of those districts was represented at the board by four members, but while All Saints', St. Ewen's, and St. Mary-le-port each contained less than 200 ratepayers, the assessments in St. Michael's numbered 2,586, and those in St. James's 4,152. The memorialists further complained that the guardians representing the ratepayers were generally outvoted on important questions by the nineteen churchwardens who were guardians ex-officio, and nonrepresentative.[90] The memorial having been sent to the Board of Guardians, a motion was brought forward in November, recommending a reconstruction of the body. To this an amendment was moved, asserting that the ratepayers had a sufficient control over the boards and were generally satisfied with the old system. On a division the ratepayers' guardians were outvoted, and the amendment was adopted.

The branch railway from Yatton to Axbridge, Cheddar, and the neighbouring district was opened for traffic on the 3rd August. The new line, which was originally projected by the Somerset and Dorset Company, was extended to Wells in the following April.

On the 4th August, the Midland Railway Company offered the public an alternative route between Bristol and Bath, by opening a branch from Mangotsfield to the latter city. The line had been originally proposed by Hudson, “the Railway King”, in January, 1846. For the accommodation of the passengers on this railway, the Company soon afterwards constructed an independent station near their goods depôt at Whipping-cat Hill, St. Philip's (erected in 1866), and it was opened early in 1870.

The National Association for the Promotion of Social Science opened its thirteenth annual congress in Bristol on the 29th September, under the presidency of Sir Stafford Northcote, bart. (Earl of Iddesleigh). The congress was very


numerously attended by social reformers and philanthropists from all parts of the kingdom. In addition to an inaugural address, the president delivered a speech at a crowded meeting of working men in Colston Hall.

Under the provisions of an Act recently passed, conferring the municipal franchise upon women, the burgess roll for this year was considerably enlarged, the names of 2,465 female ratepayers appearing upon it. The addition was strikingly conspicuous in the Clifton list, in which were the names of 641 female and 1,907 male burgesses. A large majority of the new electors evincing Conservative sympathies, the three Liberal councillors for Clifton successively lost their seats.

During the autumn, to the regret of many residents in the neighbourhood, a number of the fine old elms which decorated Queen's Square were cut down, their partial decay awakening a dread of accidents in heavy gales. As in the case of Brunswick Square, whose deprivation of sylvan ornaments has been already noticed, a colony of rooks, an interesting feature of city life, was left homeless. Many of the Queen Square birds appear to have quitted the city, but a few betook themselves to the neighbourhood of Tyndall's Park and Cotham.

The Deane Road, affording a new route from College Green to the Hotwells and Clifton, was opened on the 29th November by the mayor (Mr. W.K. Wait), accompanied by a large civic procession. The road had cost the Corporation about £20,000.

The death of Mr. George Thomas, which took place at his residence at Brislington, in December, excited general regret, and his funeral was the occasion of almost unexampled manifestations of respect. Upon the hearse entering the city on its way to the Friends burial ground in Rosemary Street, the carriages of the mayor, sheriff, and other members of the Corporation joined the procession; and at the cemetery about five thousand citizens, including the Dean of Bristol, several clergymen and ministers, and members of every public body, were present to testify their sympathy. Mr. Thomas had during his life made many munificent gifts to public institutions. By his will about £13,000 were bequeathed to various charities and religious societies.

The most tragical accident recorded in the modern history of the city occurred at the New Theatre, Park Row, on the 26th December. Being “boxing day”, a great crowd had assembled previous to the opening of the doors, to witness the Christmas pantomime. Unfortunately the avenue


leading to the low-priced departments of the house sloped from the level of the street for about 50 feet, and the roadway outside being densely packed with people, there was a heavy pressure upon those below. After the doors were opened, the pressure became greater, and eventually it became so excessive that some of the weaker persons in the crowd, becoming exhausted, fell, and were trodden under foot. Their cries were drowned by the shouts of the stronger portion of the multitude; and it was a remarkable fact that their bodies were walked over by many persons who, forced on from behind, entered the house and enjoyed the performance in ignorance of what had occurred. Reports of the disaster, however, reached the ears of the police, who by great exertion forced back the crowd, and partially cleared the avenue. A fearful sight then presented itself. Upwards of forty victims were found upon the ground, some dead, others insensible from injuries. Fourteen dead bodies, mostly of women and youths, were soon after laid in the lower refreshment room of the theatre, where the performance was still going on, it being deemed perilous to make an announcement of the facts to the audience, which might have brought about a panic, and perhaps a still greater catastrophe. Four more of the sufferers expired after being rescued. The coroner's jury which inquired into the case returned a verdict of “accidental death”, but recommended that separate entrances should be constructed for the pit and gallery, so as to divide the pressure in the avenues. The calamity had long a disastrous effect upon the fortunes of the New Theatre.

On the 1st January, 1870, the telegraphic business of the country was transferred from the private companies by whom it had been previously conducted to the Post Office. Some alterations were made in the new building in Small Street in order to accommodate a portion of the telegraph officials; but it was not until January, 1872, that room was found there for the entire staff, which then consisted of 90 clerks and 50 messengers. Soon after the new system came into force, the telegraphic system in the district was extended to all the small towns and rural villages.

On the 1st January, in accordance with a Bankruptcy Act passed in the previous year, imprisonment for debt ceased throughout England. The bankruptcy statute of 1861 had already reduced the number of debtors in prison to an insignificant number, and there was only one to be liberated from Bristol gaol when the later Act came into operation. A local journal, commenting upon the fact, stated that at a time


within the experience of the then governor of the prison, the total liabilities of those detained had amounted to over £200,000. Yarions small bequests had been made from time to time for the benefit of destitute debtors. They were transferred, in 1875, to the endowments of the Grammar School.

The Court of Bankruptcy also ceased at the above date, the business being transferred to the County Court. Mr. M. D. Hill, who had been appointed commissioner on the death of Serjeant Ludlow in 1851, and who had gained a wide-spread reputation for his exertions on behalf of reformatory institutions and prison reform, retired into private life amidst many tokens of respect.

A vacancy in the representation of the city was caused on the 10th March by the death of Mr. Henry Berkeley, who had held his seat in no less than eight Parliaments. His friends expressed much regret that he was not spared to witness the success of a measure with which his name will be associated in history. The Ballot Bill received the royal assent during the session of 1872, and those who had poured ridicule upon Mr. Berkeley's advocacy of its principle were soon found practically admitting that they had miscalculated its effects. Mr. Berkeley's demise caused a division in the Liberal party, Mr. Kirkman D. Hodgson, a London merchant, being selected by the Liberal Association, while Mr. Elisha S. Robinson put forward his claims as a “local man”, and a section of the working classes supported the pretensions of Mr. Greorge Odger, of London, who had been a journeyman shoemaker. As none of the fractions showed a disposition to give way, it was suggested, and finally determined, that a “test ballot” of the constituency - excluding those known to be Conservatives - should be taken, and that the successful aspirant at that stage should have the united support of the party. This novel procedure accordingly took place on the 22nd and 23rd March, when 8,698 electors took part in the voting; the result showing that Mr. Robinson had 4,502 supporters, Mr. Hodgson 2,861, and Mr. Odger 1,335. Beckoning upon a certain amount of irritation amongst the friends of the defeated candidates, the Conservatives now entered the field, their champion being Alderman Sholto Vere Hare (mayor in 1862-3). The election took place on the 28th March, and the sheriff declared the poll as follows: Mr. Robinson, 7,832; Mr. Hare, 7,062. About a thousand Liberals declined to support Mr. Robinson. Shortly afterwards the Conservatives petitioned against the return; and on the 23rd May Mr. Baron Bramwell opened a court of inquiry at the Guildhall. The


case turned out to be of an unprecedented character. Some cases of alleged corrupt practices at the election were adduced against Mr. Robinson, but the judge held them to be unfounded. It was proved, however, that before and during the test ballot a sum of between £8 and £10 had been spent in treating electors by two agents employed by Mr. Robinson, with the object of inducing voters to select him in preference to his competitors. The learned judge refused to decide whether those acts voided the election, and the case was remitted to the Court of Common Pleas, which was unanimously of opinion that the test ballot was one of the steps in the election, and that the treating was within the provisions of the Corrupt Practices Act. Mr. Baron Bramwell thereupon unseated Mr. Robinson, but refused to grant costs to the petitioners. Another writ having been issued, Mr. K.D. Hodgson was brought forward by the Liberals - Mr. Odger withdrawing in his favour - and Alderman S.V. Hare was again nominated by the opposite party. The nomination - the last of the many tumultuous scenes enacted in the Exchange previous to the passing of the Ballot Act - took place on the 24th June, and the polling followed on the 25th. The number of votes recorded was: for Mr. Hodgson, 7,816; for Mr. Hare, 7,238. This was the fourth parliamentary contest in the city within a period of twenty-six months.

The church of St. Gabriel, Upper Easton, erected at a cost of £4,400, was consecrated on the 14th March. An ecclesiastical parish, subtracted from Trinity, St. Philip's, was created for this church by an Order in Council.

An Act for reforming and reorganising the endowed schools of the kingdom having passed in 1869, the commissioners appointed under the statute sent Mr. Fitch, a sub-commissioner, to Bristol, to inquire into and report upon the schools of the city. Whilst the measure was passing through Parliament, the local authorities had appealed to the Government to exempt Bristol from its provisions, whereupon Mr. Forster, the minister who had charge of the scheme, in declining to comply with the request, assured the applicants that, as the Bristol endowments were admirably managed, the Bill was not intended to interfere with them. In spite of this assurance, Mr. Fitch speedily published suggestions the character of which excited much local indignation. Colston's School, Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, and the Red Maids' School, which had an aggregate income of about £16,800 a year, were practically to be swept away, in order to found, by means of their property, a series of first, second, and third


class schools, in which education was to be offered to both sexes, though at rates which the working classes could not afford to pay. The intention of the founders of the three charities to assist poor and deserving parents was condemned by the sub-commissioner as the root of an immense mass of mischief and abuse that should be wholly cut away. To the objection, that the proposed changes would deprive the poor of institutions expressly founded for their benefit, and divert the funds to classes able to provide for themselves, Mr. Fitch retorted, that while the benefit of the charities was monopolised by about 400 families, and those perhaps not the most deserving, the entire population would reap the advantage of a system better fitted for the age; that in the primary schools “for twopence or threepence a week, every working man would have within his reach the most appropriate education he could desire for his children”; and that the endowments would be more beneficially spent in “creating a ladder to the universities”, the approach to which would be an object of general emulation. The details of the draft scheme of the commissioners, issued in December, were in accordance with the principles formulated by Mr. Fitch, and evoked a general expression of disapproval, the only voice raised in favour of the plan being that of the Rev. J. Percival, the headmaster of Clifton College. The exception was not calculated to allay local dissatisfaction, for it further appeared that the commissioners had not merely adopted the sweeping proposals of their subordinate in reference to Colston's, Carr's, and Whitson's endowments for the poor, but had also sanctioned his scheme for crippling if not degrading the Grammar School, in order, as Mr. Fitch avowed, that it might not interfere with the development of Clifton College - at that time a denominational class school belonging to a joint stock company. The features of the commissioners' plan underwent great modifications. It will therefore suffice to say that Queen Elizabeth's School was to retain 200 boarders, whose parents were to pay from twenty-five to thirty guineas per head yearly; the Red Maids' School was to have 250 boarders, the annual fee for each being from eighteen to twenty-five guineas; whilst Colston's School, degraded to the third class, was to contain 800 boys, the charge for whom was also to range from eighteen to twenty-five guineas a head. Other children might attend the schools, but they were to be simply day pupils. Out of the endowments set free by this arrangement, the commissioners proposed to create an institution styled the Queen's School, for girls of


the upper classes, together with some inferior schools. A few free scholarships were provided in each of the boarding schools as prizes for meritorious children drawn from the primary schools; but those gifts were to be open to competitors from all parts of the kingdom. In May, 1871, the Charity Trustees, on behalf of the two great schools under their charge, proposed alternative schemes, introducing important changes in the existing regulations, but maintaining the local and charitable objects of the endowments. In August the commissioners abandoned the features of Mr. Fitch's plan which had excited wide-spread objection, and made various other concessions to local opinion, the attack on the Grammar School being entirely defeated. They insisted, however, that forty free scholarships in Queen Elizabeth's Hospital and twenty in Whitson's School should be reserved for children selected by competition from the elementary schools of Gloucestershire and Somerset, and that two members of the governing body should be appointed by the members of Parliament for those counties. In March, 1872, the Merchants' Society proposed an alternative scheme on behalf of Colston's School, rejecting the commissioners' suggestion of day schools, and proposing to render liberal assistance to the Trades School. Under this arrangement the boys in Colston's School were to be reduced from 120 to 100; and the patronage as to nominations - which it was admitted had been sometimes exercised without reference to fitness or merit - was to be surrendered; on the other hand, the right of preferring a certain number of orphans was reserved. The Society added, that if its proposals were accepted it would endow the reorganised institutions with the sum of £10,000 (including certain debts due to it by Colston's Hospital). This scheme, with some modifications as to details, was agreed to in 1874 by the commissioners, who at the same time relinquished their attempt to open the City and Red Maids' Schools to children from the country districts. It was determined that the foundation boarders in the City School should not exceed 160, and that the surplus income should be applied to the endowment of day schools. The boarders were to be preferentially elected as follows: sixty poor orphans or children of incapacitated parents, residents of Bristol and Congresbury; fifty boys chosen by examination from the Bristol elementary schools, and fifty selected from the new day schools to be created under the scheme. The boarders in the Red Maids' School were fixed at eighty, as before, of whom fifty were to be orphans or children of incapacitated


parents; fifteen to be chosen from the elementary schools in the city; and fifteen to be drawn from new day schools to be established and supported out of Whitson's endowment, aided by a sum of £5,000 drawn from Peloquin's charity. The boarding school in Denmark Street was to be eventually removed to a more appropriate site, and the old building converted into one of the day schools just referred to. As regarded the Grammar School, the scheme provided that the existing endowment, which was very limited, should be supplemented by £5,000, a further part of Mrs. Peloquin's bequest for doles to the poor, by £4,250 of the local Loan Money charity, and also by £355 left for the redemption or relief of poor debtors in prison. A new school was also to be erected in a suitable locality. Finally, the governing body of the three foundations was to comprise the existing Charity Trustees and six gentlemen elected by certain local constituent bodies, with an addition, in the case of the Red Maids' school, of four ladies, to be appointed by the other governors. The scheme received the approval of the Crown on May 13, 1875. By the scheme dealing with Colston's endowment the Merchants' Society and the Colston nominees lost their patronage as regarded the admission of boys, who were thereafter to be selected by order of merit, 80 from the elementary schools in Bristol, and 20 from those of Gloucestershire, Wilts, and Somerset. In addition to the foundation boys, the governors were to admit others, on payment of about £30 a year, to all the advantages of the school. Exhibitions to the value of £100 a year were to be created, to enable meritorious boys to finish their education at a grammar school. In accordance with the founder's injunctions, all the pupils were to be instructed in the doctrines of the English Church. The governors were to consist of the bishop of the diocese, the rector of Stapleton, eleven persons nominated by the Merchants' Society, two by the magistrates of Somerset and Gloucestershire, three by the Bristol School Board, and three by co-optation. The management of the Trades School was transferred to the governors of the school, who were also charged with the establishment of a school for girls when funds were available. The scheme received the Queen's approval on the 4th February, 1875.

In the Parliamentary session of 1870, a Bill was promoted for an extension of the Port and Pier railway from Sea-mills to the South Wales Union line, near Ashley Hill, by which the dock at Avonmouth would, when finished, be brought into communication with the great trunk railways. The Port


and Pier Company had no funds to carry put the work, and upon the Grreat Western board discovering that a refusal to support the scheme would throw it exclusively into the hands of the Midland Company, the two directorates entered into negotiations. The result was an arrangement under which another Bill, for the construction of the extension line by the two companies jointly, was presented to Parliament, and received the royal assent in 1871. The works were commenced in the following August. The Clifton station was built upon a portion of the nursery grounds of Messrs. Garraway & Co., and the line from the Joint Station to that point was opened on the 1st October, 1874. The driving of the tunnel under the Downs, almost exactly a mile in length, was an arduous operation, but was completed in February, 1875. The cost of the line had been estimated at £225,000, but the actual outlay was £450,000. Its joint proprietors were at that time anxious to open the line for passenger traffic, but the Government inspector withheld the needful certificate, contending that a station should be constructed at the junction near Sneyd Park, and his objection was upheld by the Court of Appeal in January, 1877. Subsequently the companies became unwilling to carry passengers beyond Clifton station, and in spite of repeated remonstrances, the western section of the line remained closed to passengers for upwards of ten years, although the additional works required by the Board of Trade would not have cost more than about £600. It must be added that the debenture holders of the Port and Pier line, who had thrown it into the hands of a receiver [see p.386], were equally obstinate in refusing to supply the deficiency. In 1884 the Midland board obtained parliamentary powers to provide the required signal station, etc., and to charge the expense on the receipts of the Port and Pier Company. The necessary works were soon after completed, but the receiver of the Port line then refused to provide one or two servants to work the signals. At last, in August, 1885, his resistance was overcome by a judgment of the High Court of Justice, and the railway was opened throughout on the 1st September following.

A meeting of the Council was convened in December, for the purpose of considering what steps should be taken in reference to the Elementary Education Act of the previous session. According to statistics prepared under the supervision of the town clerk, the number of elementary schools in the city was 286, but 38 of them had not sent in a return of their pupils. With regard to the remaining 198 schools,


70 were Church of England schools, with 10,628 scholars; 36 belonged to Nonconformists, and had 6,326 pupils; 7 were Roman Catholic, with 1,057 children; and 5 were endowed schools, having 421 inmates. There were also nine ragged schools, six industrial schools, and two orphanages, in which were altogether 3,265 children. The total number of scholars in attendance was nominally 23,286. Finally, 11 schools were being built, with accommodation for 3,252 children. This left a deficiency in the accommodation required by the Act of 6,591; but the insufficiency was in fact much greater, the central and Clifton districts being over-supplied with buildings, while there was a general lack of accommodation in the poorer parishes. The Council unanimously resolved to apply to the Government for the formation of a School Board. The request having been complied with immediately, the election of a board of fifteen members took place in January, 1871, and the proceedings, through their novelty, excited much interest. The Conservatives nominated seven churchmen, hoping, with the assistance of the Roman Catholics, who accumulated their fifteen votes upon a single candidate, to secure a majority in favour of denominational education. The Liberals nominated only five gentlemen, but counted upon the aid of candidates representing the chief dissenting bodies to maintain their principle of unsectarian teaching. Four additional Conservative candidates were brought forward by the Orangemen, the High Church party, and the Conservative Working Men's Association. The schoolmasters, the secularists, and some other interests also brought nominees into the field. The election, which was by ballot, occupied two days, and resulted in the return of three of the Conservative and of all the Liberal list. The entire board consisted of nine unsectarian and of six denominational members. The chairman, elected at the first meeting, was Mr. Lewis Fry. An educational census was next taken, from which it appeared that 5,300 children between 5 and 12 years of age - being nearly a fifth of that class in the city - were not attending any school. On further inquiry, it turned out that the estimate was too favourable, upwards of 4,000 children alleged by their parents to be at school being unknown at the respective institutions. The actual number not in attendance was thus 9,392, or one-third of the children of school age. A newspaper critic nevertheless continued to speak of the School Board as a “white elephant”, and to censure the Council for having needlessly added to the taxation of the ratepayers. The compulsory clauses of the Act


were put in force; but, in spite of numerous prosecutions of careless parents, the daily absentees from school were for some time rarely under 7,000. The first building operations of the board were in the St. Philip's district, schools in Freestone Road for 650 children being opened in August, 1874, and at Barton Hill, for 750 children, in September, 1875. Six schools were transferred to the board about the same time. Subsequently, large school buildings were erected to accommodate the districts of Ashton Gate, the Hotwells, Redland, Baptist Mills, etc.; and within a few years the authorities were enabled to boast that the names of practically all the children of school age were upon the registers of efficient schools; though in point of regular attendance there was still much to be desired. A considerable addition to the educational machinery of the city has been made since 1870 through the efforts of voluntary bodies. Elections for the School Board have been held triennially, but the principle of unsectarian teaching which predominated at the first election, though often attacked, has not been overthrown.

During the year 1870 efforts were made by various philanthropic persons to enable working men to enjoy social intercourse during their hours of leisure in places where they might have the conveniences of the public house without its disadvantages. One of the first of those institutions in Bristol was the “British Workman”, established in College Street; and although the class for which it was designed were somewhat slow in conferring their patronage, the new system steadily made way. The necessity of a reform in the licensing laws was at this period generally acknowledged. Beer licences being obtainable by almost any one at a trifling cost, beer shops sprang up in excessive numbers. As an illustration of the evil, it was stated at a Council meeting in February, 1871, that in Hotwell Road between Trinity and St. Peter's churches - a distance of about a quarter of a mile - there were thirty drinking establishments. (The number of inns, taverns, and beer-shops in the whole borough had increased from 400 in 1820, and 650 in 1840, to about 1,250.) The operation of the Licensing Act of 1872 gradually effected a reduction of the public houses in over supplied localities. Under this measure the time of closing on Sundays was fixed at ten o'clock, and one hour later on week days. In 1876, another temperance organization, called the Bristol Tavern and Club Company, was formed for carrying out the system of “public houses without the drink”, and several such taverns were opened. The increasing enlightenment of the


working classes has also greatly promoted temperance and thrifty the growth of which, to those who remember the social habits of the labourer half a century ago, is one of the most gratifying features of the age.

[75] Mr. Pryce relates that, in anticipation of this gathering, one of the churchwardens of St. Peter's ordered the beautiful Renaissance monument of one of the Newton family in that church to be bedaubed with yellow wash, observing that “it was a dirty beastly thing, but was now a little decent”.- Notes on Ecclesiastical, etc., p.208.
[76] The society appears to have been worthy of its patrons. In a letter in the Bristolian for June 12, 1827, undoubtedly written by John Evans, the city chronologist, it is stated that the name of Dr. Beddoes, the most distinguished local scientist of his age, was “crossed out of the list of members” of the Library Society because he was “not Blue enough”.
[77] “Gloucestershire Achievements”, by the Rev. S. Lysons, p.18.
[78] The greediness of cathedral underlings has always been notorious. A Bristol sub-sacrist, who died whilst Sydney Smith was one of the prebendaries, was said to have hoarded £20,000, causing the witty cleric to observe that he at length understood the full force of the text: “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house”, etc. [The text is inscribed upon the tomb of a verger in Salisbury cathedral.] At a quite recent date, it was publicly stated that one of the English bishops had been treated with indignity in Bristol cathedral for having presumed to look at some of the monuments without being “guided” by the officials.
[79] This ancient street, which like its namesake, the Rue de Bac in Paris, owed its title to an adjacent ferry, was in 1885 inconsiderately, if not foolishly, dubbed Queen Charlotte Street.
[80] Mr. Shaw was an Irishman, and is said to have been not a little vain of his exuberance of speech. He was naturally unpopular amongst the advocates of improvement, and it appears from one of his own speeches that he earned for himself the nickname of “Jaw Jaw Jaw” - John George Shaw.
[81] Mr. Slade, though an able lawyer, does not appear to have sacrificed to the Muses. In a libel case tried at Bristol, he cast much ridicule on one of the parties in the action, for having made “one Boston, a weaver, talk about roaring like a sucking dove”. It was clear, said the matter-of-fact counsel, that a dove could not have roared.
[82] Dr. Baring, who had a large private fortune, displayed an amount of hospitality towards his clergy which is said to have been unprecedented in the history of the see. He resigned the bishopric of Durham, one of the great prizes of the Church, in 1878, owing to impaired health, refusing to accept the large retiring allowance id which he was entitled. His successor in Gloucester and Bristol was the Rev. William Thomson, rector of Marylebone, London, who was soon afterwards translated to the Archbishopric of York.
[83] Avonmouth hotel and pleasure gardens were opened on the 10th April, 1866, but the attempt to make the place a popular summer resort resulted in heavy loss to the original projectors.
[84] Mr. Howard estimated that a million cubic yards of silt had accumulated within ten years.
[85] A pleasant and innocent place of resort was destroyed by these operations, without much advantage to navigation, the rocky bank of the river below highwater mark being left practically undisturbed for nearly twenty years. The work of removing the rock was at length begun in 1885, and is still unfinished.
[86] In carrying out this improvement, the corporate officials wantonly destroyed a trefoiled Gothic parapet on each side of the steps leading into College Green, in front of the High Cross, and replaced it by an ugly iron handrail.
[87] The Clifton toll-house at the top of Bridge Valley Road had a large rustic portico, under which the public were accustomed to take shelter during sudden showers of rain. A member of the Council proposed that the construction should be preserved for the sake of its utility; but his suggestion met with no support, and promenaders are worse off now than they were twenty years ago.
[88] The first subscriptions - afterwards largely increased - of the five originators of the movement, Canon Norris, Sir Wm. Miles, and Messrs. Francis Adams, J.J. Mogg, and W.K. Wait, were £500 each.
[89] Mr. Finzel, who was a German by birth, and began his career in England as a working sugar refiner, invented improvements in the apparatus for refining, the patent rights of which are said to have brought him in £10,000 a year. He was exceedingly generous, and for many years is said to have given between £5,000 and £10,000 per annum to Mr. Müller's Orphanages.
[90] Speaking of these churchwarden guardians at a meeting of the Council, January 2, 1878, Mr. H.J. Mills said: “He remembered one ward where the churchwarden would call a vestry meeting - it was a close vestry - would be the only person present, would vote himself into the chair, elect himself guardian, pass the usual vote of thanks to the chairman, and vote himself out again”.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in June & July 2013.

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