Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XVI.] The Salvation Army.                        209
A long time elapsed before the Corporation of East-Bourne was again seen at Westminster, and the circumstances were in the highest degree discreditable to those who dragged the Corporation there. One of the provisions of the " East-Bourne Improvement Act, 1885," dealt with a great and serious local annoyance. For some years previously to 1885 various towns in England, including amongst others Brighton, Worthing, East-Bourne, and Hastings, had been very much disturbed by the " Salvation Army," by Sunday Processions through the streets, preceded by noisy brass bands. At a Conference representing the Local Authorities of several South Coast watering-places, held at Brighton on November 17, 1884, it was agreed unanimously that these Salvation Army bands in the streets, both on account of their noise and of the crowds which they engendered, were a nuisance to the inhabitants, as well as a fertile cause of Sunday desecration, and ought to be prohibited by Act of Parliament. Accordingly, as the Corporations of Hastings and East-Bourne were applying to Parliament for additional powers, they were urged to deal with this matter in their Bills then in course of preparation. And they did so, by borrowing first of all from a London Act a clause as to the playing music in the streets, supplemented by a clause taken from a New York State Enactment, controlling the playing of music in the streets on Sundays.
The clauses were not opposed in either House, and Parliament sanctioned them in both Bills in nearly identical terms. Subsequently when the East-Bourne Corporation proceeded to put the enactment in force, there were riotous scenes in the streets, brought about by the wicked misconduct of the Booth faction in defiance of the law and of the wishes of the inhabitants at large. A climax was reached in the Session of 1892, when Sir H. H. Fowler, M.P., a Dissenter, now Viscount Wolverhampton, brought in a Public Bill specially to repeal the East-Bourne clause. The Bill was carried on a division in the House of Commons by 269 votes to 122 p
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