Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. IX.]                     Magistrates.                                 103
number of years the burden of magisterial work fell to Mr. R. J. Graham. It gradually became a grievous burden because owing to Mr. F. H. Gell, the Clerk of the Magistrates, residing at Lewes (as did his son, Inigo Gell, after him) Graham had to be, to a large extent, J.P. and Clerk in one. I often think that if Radical orators who scowl at the " great unpaid " had known as much as I did of the home magisterial life of my friend Graham they would (if honest men) abate some of their gibes.
Captain L. K. Willard would have been a useful man in these days of motor drivers who rush recklessly through the streets. He laid down the following axiom for the guidance of Mr. R. J. Graham as a Magistrate :— " You have now become one of our Body. Always bear in mind that we belong to a Penal Bench—ours is a Penal Bench. It is my plan—always to give the whole dose. I'll be bound to say they won't forget it in a huriy. Whenever anyone is brought before you, always give him the full dose, and nothing but the dose."
It was not till after 1851 that there were any formal meetings of Magistrates in an open Court at East-Bourne. Every case which could not be dealt with by Magistrates sitting at home singly in their armchairs, or by 2 of them together at the Workhouse [!] or at the private house in South Street of their Clerk (Mr. Gell) when in residence, had to be sent to Hailsham where there was, as there still is, a fortnightly Sitting on Wednesdays. This necessity was eventually found intolerable, and when the Vestry Room in Grove Road was built at a cost of £270, Sittings there on Mondays were instituted, preparatory, it might be, to remand to Hailsham. It was not until as late as 1875 that East-Bourne had a resident Magistrates' Clerk in the person of Mr. J. G. Langham. Up to then the system of a Clerk at Lewes had continued, except that some short time before 1875 a deputy of the Lewes Chief had been sent to reside at East-Bourne, but this worked badly. From 1875 East-Bourne cases were all taken at the East-Bourne Bench ; and Hailsham Sittings for East-Bourne cases virtually ceased.
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