Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

An Account of, notable events, Persons and town history - online book

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Chap. XVII.] A Town Ball at last I                      221
and his report was altogether adverse to Mr. Schmidt's plans, whilst he expressed approval of Mr. Foulkes's plans. It fell to my lot, having been re-elected to the Board in 1882, to move on May 7, 1883 :" That steps be taken to carry out Mr. Foulkes's plans at once, with some modifications suggested by Mr. Currey." And so after more than 10 years of agitation and unusually violent controversy all round we got our Town Hall. The final struggle by the " Do-nothing " obstructives took place on November 11, 1881, at the Local Government Inquiry as to the borrowing of the requisite money, capped by an Indignation Meeting on November 17 to vilify the Local Board.
The foundation stone was laid on October 9, 1884r by Lord Edward Cavendish, then M.P. for North Derbyshire, with the ceremonial usual on such occasions, followed of course by a mayoral feed and speech-making, in which I had to take a part as Chairman of the Committee which superintended the building of the Hall. The last part of the day's proceedings was carried out at the Devonshire Park Pavilion.
The Town Hall was opened on October 20, 1886. The opening ceremonial was of the ordinary type; various bowings and scrapings between different officials ; Prayers by the Vicar of East-Bourne, the Rev. T. Pitman, and music in the shape of HandeVs " Hallelujah Chorus," Haydn s " The Heavens are telling," and of course the National Anthem. All this was followed by a luncheon at 2.0 p.m., presided over by the Mayor, Alderman Boulton. A more extensive inaugural celebration was held 2 days later in the form of an evening reception by the Mayor and Mayoress attended by, to quote the language of ancient Greece, Oi ttoXXoi.
The history of open spaces in Eastbourne (or the lack of them) presents some points of interest. The circumstances under which Devonshire Park became a closed space is related in Chapter III. (ante). Its closure inspired me with a desire to take some definite steps to secure at least one open space somewhere in the centre of the town, which sooner or later might be
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