Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XIII.]               Sunday Bands.                              159
on the Pier and at the Devonshire Park have done much to cause scandal and mischief to Religion. The band on the Pier was started in 1885 by a snap vote of the Directors in the month of February, they hoping to forestall their shareholders who were believed to be hostile. This fact sufficiently explains the obvious folly of an open-air band in the month of February, for I think there was no covered-in apartment on the Pier at that early period. An opposition was organised amongst the shareholders and there was found an enormous majority against the band but by an extraordinary blunder Mr. Bathurst, the Vicar of Holy Trinity and Chairman of the Sunday Defence Committee, was 24 hours too late in depositing the proxies at the Company's office, and so the Directors were able to defy public opinion. The Duke of Devonshire was the largest shareholder and he sent in his proxy against the band. Nothing daunted, the Sabbath-keeping shareholders again organised their forces, again secured proxies sufficient to condemn, by a large majority, the Sunday band ; again intrusted the proxies to Mr. Bathurst and again Mr. Bathurst was 24 hours too late, and so Sunday desecration by means of the Pier Company's band became a permanent evil. Many years ago G. A. Sala wrote a flaming article in the Daily Telegraph, headed " East-Bourne the Quiet." It did the town good as an advertisement, and especially as Sunday was then a day of rest for visitors and residents alike. Indeed it was publicly announced in the spring of 1875 that the Brighton Railway Company had decided to grant no more Sunday excursion special trains to the " National Sunday League." Every well-wisher to our town will regret that this policy has since been abandoned by dollar-loving General Managers and Directors, and the South-Coast watering places thrown open to London rag a muffins. Under the head of "general" Church matters at East-Bourne, I must not omit the visits of the Chichester Diocesan Conference. These took place in 1881, 1890, 1897, and 1910. I shall not go into details, but the first Conference, that of 1881, deserves a few words. The motives and working of Diocesan Conferences were
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