Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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88                   Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. VII.
Its operations had lasted 44 years, and I consider, from personal knowledge, that it conferred many benefits on the deserving poor in all parts of the town. At the end I had risen to the responsible position of Treasurer, and so well had the ladies carried on their work that I had about £140 in hand. This I distributed, acting on what the lawyers called the doctrine of cy-pres, amongst the Clergy of the 3 poor Parishes, St. Mary's, Christ Church and All Souls', to be employed for Blanket purposes at their discretion.
The " East-Bourne Coal Company " was founded in 1874, as a Limited (and, as it proved, very limited) Company. Its intended capital was £3000, but I do not think that much of it was raised, and the Company's trading operations did not last long. This was sur­prising, because at the time, the coals obtainable in East-Bourne were high in price and bad in quality, to say nothing of their being often sent out short in weight, and amongst the 6 Directors, there was certainly one of great experience and business capacity, whose presence should have insured success, namely Mr. W. Routledge. The Secretary was a Solicitor, Mr. W. G. Wheatcroft, who showed his foresight by only describing himself as " Secretary pro tern."
In 1878, a meeting of Churchmen was held to found a " Church Institute," under the " Limited Liability Acts." Though Mr. F. J. Howard consented to be Chairman, and upwards of 100 names were given in as Members, the scheme did not prosper, Churchmen in those days, as in these, being apathetic as to the necessity of organising for the dissemination of their principles. The scheme had included a Reading Room, Library, Lectures, and some of the more obvious attributes of a Club.
There was in existence at that time a Society called the " Mutual Improvement Society." Though not avowedly a Dissenting Organisation, it was almost exclusively managed by Dissenters, and during its existence, no doubt did some good amongst the young men and young women in the town.
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