In this edition we begin with the History Group’s November 1990 talk on ‘The Hadleigh Local Board of 1871’. This first episode provides an introduction to the topic; a further 3 articles will appear in subsequent newsletters to provide readers with an accurate and fairly lively picture of Hadleigh in times gone by.
The Hadleigh Local Board 1871
In 1871 The Hadleigh Board, or The Hadleigh Local Board of Health – to give its full name, was the governing body of the town. It had been established 2 years earlier in 1869 under a National Act which established Local Boards to deal with public health matters and roads; the former apparently being more often referred to as ‘nuisances’.
These Local Boards were supervised by a Local Government Board in London which was represented in Parliament & was thus the early ancestor of the Department of the Environment. By an act of 1871 the Local Boards took over the supervision and enforcement of the Poor Law, thus going further along the multi-purpose path.
In Hadleigh its elected members and officers met at 7pm on the first Monday of each month. There were fifteen members and, each year in May, five had to seek re-election. The salaried officer roles were the Clerk, the Treasurer, the Medical Officer of Health and the Surveyor who was also the Collector and Inspector of Nuisances. The Officers of the Board in 1871 were Mr E.S. Downes who was both Surveyor & Inspector of Nuisances, receiving £20 per annum for each post; Mr Harper & Mr Safford, both Clerks to the Board, each received £25 per annum. The names of the Treasurer & Medical Officer of Health do not appear in the text or Board minutes.
The Board’s main source of revenue was the rates. For rating purposes the town was divided into two districts – District One was the central part of the town covering the High Street, Station Road to the station, Bridge Street to the White Hart and the Angel and George Streets to the Green. District Two was the rest of the town. District One’s rate was set higher than District Two’s to pay for the watering and lighting of the central area. In addition all rate payers paid the general rate of 6d in the pound on houses and 1½d in the pound for land and tithes.
The Hadleigh Society History Group, who researched and produced this talk, selected extracts from the 1871 minutes and correspondence of the Hadleigh Local Board adding helpful explanations and commentary – these form the content of the articles in this edition & also in the next three Newsletters. As part of their introduction the History Group presented the above information on the purpose & structure of these Local Boards but, to provide a flavour of the business undertaken, the History Group reproduced the minutes of the first Board meeting of 1871; we shall do likewise.
Minutes of a general meeting of the Hadleigh Local Board held this second day of January 1871 at the Committee Room at the Town Hall
Present Mr Joseph Rand Chairman
The minutes of the last general meeting were read and signed by the Chairman.
Mr R.C. Joslin duly made and signed his declaration of qualification before proceeding to act in the execution of his office.
The Treasurer’s book was produced and showed a balance of £71. 8s. 4d
The Boards were informed by their Clerk that the amount of Mr Everett’s bill (9s 4d) included in the cheque for £5. 8s. 6d drawn at the last meeting was retained and paid to the credit of the Bank account: such bill having been subsequently reduced to 17s and paid by a separate cheque.
The Clerk reported that he had received £8. 19s. 11d from the Lavenham Highway Board as the balance in their hands to the credit of the parish of Hadleigh, and that he had paid that sum to the Treasurer as appears by the Treasurer’s book.
A letter was read from the Secretary to the Hadleigh Gas Consumers Company Ltd in reply to the letter of the Clerk, stating that the Directors would place the lamp and light it as requested, if a guarantee would be given that the Company might remove the lamp when the Board ceased to light the same.
It was proposed by Mr W. Kersey and seconded by Mr T.W. Wilson that the consideration of the Secretary’s reply be adjourned to the next meeting.
Amendment proposed by Mr Robinson and seconded by Mr George King.
That in consequence of the secretary’s reply Mr Wheeler be asked to give his authority to the Gas Company to remove the column at any time, should the Local Board cease to light the lamp.
For the amendment Mr Robinson and Mr King – total 2
For the original proposition Mr Kersey, Mr Wilson, Mr Kersey, Mr R.H. Cook – total 4.
The original proposition was declared carried.
A letter was read from the Deputy Inspector of Factories, the Clerk was directed to reply that this Board had no means of furnishing the return which he required.
A tender of £4 from Mr George Davies for the road scrapings and sweepings for the year commencing 2nd January was read and directed to be accepted, subject to the same being removed within 12 hours after notice from the Surveyor on pain of forfeiting the same to the Board, and on terms or payment of the money in advance.
An order was drawn on the Treasurer in favour of the Surveyor for manual labour - £10.
Mr Robinson, Mr T.W. Wilson and Mr R.H. Cook were appointed the Finance Committee for the year ending November 1871.
Edited by Margaret Woods
We really do need more members for the Executive Committee, partly to inject fresh inspiration as most of the current committee have served for many years. Nevertheless we recognise that a committee the size stipulated by the current constitution is unlikely and unnecessary. To reflect that reality we need to amend the Constitution, and propose to do so as follows.
The current relevant clause states: The Executive Committee shall consist of the Officers and not less than SIX and not more than EIGHT other members to include the representatives of study groups set up under item 9.
To be changed to: The Executive Committee shall consist of not less than SIX and not more than EIGHT members to include the Officers and the representatives of study groups set up under item 9.