Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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198                Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. XV.
It was not until 1859 that there was set up in East-Bourne any representative Municipal Authority at all comparable with the Local Authorities with which we are now familiar. This was the outcome of the passing of the " Local Government Act, 1858," one of the many beneficent social reforms carried out by the Conservative Party in the person, in that particular case, of Mr. C. B. Adderley, afterwards Lord Norton. The Authorities set up under that Act were called Local Boards, and the first East-Bourne Local Board was elected on January 14, 1859. There were 51 candidates for 24 seats, and the first Board was very fairly representative of all classes. The members included the Vicar, 2 Magistrates,. 1 Barrister, 3 Doctors, 1 Builder, 1 Butcher, 1 Watch­maker, 1 Upholsterer, 3 Brewers, 1 Innkeeper, 1 Miller, 6 Farmers and 2 private residents, one of whom was a gentleman and the other who was not. The first Chairman was Mr. R. J. Graham, J.P., who was re-elected Chairman most years up till 1877 inclusive, sharing the honour for brief intervals with Mr. J. Dexter (a Chemist), Dr. D. J. Hall and the Vicar, the Rev. T. Pitman. Mr. Graham was succeeded by Dr. G. A. Jeffery, who was re-elected annually almost until the Local Board was superseded by the Corporation in 1883 with its Mayor,. Aldermen, and Town Councillors.
Considering the general lack of enterprise as to-Local Government matters which prevailed in the South of England, as distinguished from the North, it may fairly be said that the East-Bourne Local Board did a good deal of useful public work, but this fact was in no small degree due to the impulse in favour of good local management given to the Town by the 7th Duke of Devonshire and his professional advisers, Mr. Henry Currey, the Architect, and Mr. F. C. Stileman, the Civil Engineer. The town was visited in 1863 by a severe outbreak of scarlet fever, resulting in many deaths amongst all classes of the inhabitants. The cause was obvious, without much research—a water supply defective in quantity, and of very doubtful quality, coupled with an entire absence of arterial drainage.
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