Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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92                   Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. VII.
movement would ever have prospered as it did during its early stages/aJ The necessary capital was put at £5000 in shares of £10 each, and the greater part of it was raised promptly and without any difficulty. The Club-house on the Grand Parade was opened on August :2, 1873, and the only disturbing element was an unsuccessful effort made in 1874, to open it on Sundays. A further effort in the following year for the same purpose was successful, whereupon several members resigned their membership and sold their shares. I was ■one of the dissentients, and on the ground that at that time, at any rate in the history of East-Bourne, a Club­house open on Sundays was not needed. The members were practically all residents, and the Club had no kitchen arrangements for feeding its members, if there were any such who were without sufficient provision for being comfortably fed under the roof where they slept. What has been the position of the Club as regards its members and finances since 1875, I do not know.
In the year 1882, on November 9, there was held in East-Bourne the first meeting of an Institution which was calculated to do, and I think did do, a great amount of good; which at any rate afforded profitable amusement to a large number of people for several years, and occupied a considerable amount of space in the local Newspapers. It was called The " East-Bourne House of Commons." It was at the outset in some sense an offshoot of the Mutual Improvement Society, but soon acquired a position which enabled it to stand altogether on its own legs. So far as I remember, the credit of first broaching the idea was due to Mr. Nevill Strange, a local draper, and afterwards an Alderman of the Town Council. Strange was a Radical Dissenter of the deepest dye, the nearest approach to a 17th century Puritan that I ever knew. He was, however, at heart a good man, always anxious to do what he could to promote the religious and moral welfare of the young people whom he could influence,
(a) At one of the Committee Meetings, Dr. Bell, who was sitting next to me, whispered " Is Mr. Devonshire any relation of the Duke of Devonshire? " The identity of the names seems to have led the dear Doctor astray. He once told me that roller-skating had brought him a good accession of patients injured by accidents.
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