Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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200                Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. XV.
The Local Board lasted until November 1883, when it was superseded by a Mayor and Corporation, in other words, by a Town Council under the " Municipal Corporations Act, 1882." There were only two other matters besides the Drainage Question which excited any great amount of local feeling during the whole of the 22 years that the Local Board lasted, and they were the questions of a Town Hall and Public Offices, and a Sea Wall; but these must be the subject of a chapter to themselves. Let me add that I was elected a Member of the Local Board in 1874, re-elected in 1877, turned out in 1880, re-elected in 1882 ; the ups and downs, or rather, the ' down' in the case being due to the active support which I had rendered to the " Go-ahead " party.
I now come to deal with the Incorporation of the town in 1883. This was really the outcome of the steady growth of a public opinion that the town ought to go ahead, and that a new Governing Body of go-ahead men ; was needed. The " Do-nothings " viewed the scheme of a Charter with great disfavour, but they were powerless
( to stem the flowing tide. Accordingly, a Petition was presented to the Queen in Council, asking for the grant of a Royal Charter for Incorporation. The usual practice was followed, and before the Charter was granted a local Inquiry was held before a Commissioner appointed by the Privy Council, who in this case was Mr. R. C. Bunbury, a barrister. I acted as Counsel for the Petitioners, and framed the application, which was in the ordinary form, and had only one special feature, namely: that it included the Parish of Willingdon in the proposed Borough of East-Bourne. This suggestion of mine was accepted by the East-Bourne Promoters without any sort of demur. The inspiring motive was that looking forwards a few years, and taking note of the evident certainty, even in 1883, that East-Bourne would become a great place, and that Willingdon would become a residential suburb of East-Boume, both as regards a villa population and a working-class population, it was undesirable to have a large number of houses built just over the East-Bourne border, free of the Sanitary control of an Urban Authority acting on modern Urban lines.
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