Stevens 1884-06-26

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Attended Guardians Meeting at Banbury. Drove Cassie Heming and Frank in for a change.

Mr John Wells called and asked me to contribute to a fund being raised to purchase a cow for John Prophett, one of his having recently died. I gave him 10/- but requested him not to put my name down as I did not approve of the system generally – but looked upon his as an exceptional case, the man not being by any means able-bodied.

It was so dark one night a year or two ago in Sibford Gower that a Burdrop man could not find his way home. So he asked Blind Thomas Keene to show him the way, which he did.


Banbury Guardian, Thursday 3 July 1884, reporting on the Board of Guardians meeting of 26 June:


The usual fortnightly meeting of the above Board was held on Thursday. Mr. R. A. Carwright occupied the chair, and there were also present—The Revs. A. Short, W. A. Ayton, and E. T. Stevens, and Messrs. O. Ommanney, N. Stilgoe, J. Barrett, L K. Douglas. E. Messinger, W. T. Warner, J. Hawkes., J. Wady, R. Gardner, E. Wayte, J. H. Douglas, S. Hadland, G. H. Hall, R. Horwood, J. C. Macdermot, A. Hobley, J. Hayes, G. Wyatt, J. W. Cowper, R. Gibbs, J. Shepherd, J, J. Chard, G. Macklin, J. Lord, and S. Hadland.


The out-relief cases were—Banbury, 26; Cropredy, 13; Bloxham, 12; and Swalcliffe, 13,


The CHAIRMAN announced that during the first week of the fortnight 11 vagrants had been relieved at a cost of 2s. 9d. The number at the corresponding period of last year was 24. The second week the number was 18, the cost 4s. 6d., and the number last year 15.


Mr. J. Bonner, of Bloxham, relieving officer, applied for leave of absence for a fortnight, stating that he had been recommended change of air. He had made arrangements with Mr. Golby to attend to his duty in his absence. He had enclosed a medical certificate stating that he had recovered from the acute stage of rheumatic fever, and that it would be neces- that he should have a change.

Mr. OMMANNEY moved that he have four weeks’ leave of absence. (A voice, “He only applies for two.”) He (Mr. Ommanney) had seen Mr. Colegrove, who said he could not induce Bonner to ask for more. Mr. Colegrove said it was absolutely essential that he should be away as long as possible, as he had been so I very unwell.

The Rev. W. A. AYTON seconded the motion.

The Rev. A. SHORT said that Mr. Golby and Mr. Bonner, sen., would divide the work between them. The latter would attend to the work of the School Attendance Committee.

Mr. Golby was called into the room, and he said that he would do all he could to carry out Mr.Bonner’s duties. It was then agreed that leave of absence for four weeks be given.


A letter was read from the Rev. C. J. Bowen asking the Board to enter into an arrangement with another union to pay for a boy whom it was proposed to send to Mr. Fairfax, basket maker. The Board declined to take the responsibility, the Clerk stating they had no case like it.

The CLERK said he had received a letter from the Local Government Board asking whether Mr. Fowke , the Medical Officer for Chipping Warden district, did not hold another office in the Daventry union. He had written to the Board to the effect that Mr. Fowke did hold another office besides the one in this union.

The CLERK read a letter from the Sanitary Institute pointing out the importance of surveyor and inspectors passing the examination of the Institute.


The CLERK having read the minutes of the last meeting of the Sanitary Authority, when Mr. Ommanney gave notice that he would move that the resolution passed on the 7th of February be rescinded, and Mr. WARNER now asked what the terms of the resolution were.

Mr. HALL—And how many of a majority was it carried by ?

The Rev. A. SHORT (laughing)—Unanimously.

The CLERK read the resolution, which was to the effect that the salary be £100, and that the wole of the man’s time be given to the work. The motion was carried by twenty-four to three.

Mr. OMMANNEY—I think it would be the better plan to have the letter we received from the Local Government Board read.

The Rev. A. SHORT—You may rescind the resolution.

Mr. HALL—You had better try and see if the Board will agree to it.

Mr. OMMANNEY—I am trying, Mr. Hall—(laughter).

Mr. PAGE—I hardly think it is necessary. It has been published in the Guardian.

The CLERK read the letter, and Mr. OMMANNEY moved that the resolution passed on the 7th of February be rescinded, in order, he said, to bring the matter to a definite issue, and with a view of a larger salary being paid than that suggested by the advocates of £100. He thought they would come to see that it was their duty to pay a larger salary—for the simple reason that if they paid £100 the Union would have to pay the whole of it, and it would not be doing justice to the but to the ratepayers. Practically, it would be fining them £35. (Mr. Warner, £25.) When he said £35 a year, he meant if the course he suggested was adopted. If they rescinded the resolution he would propose a motion to theeffect that the salary be £130. He did not know if the Local Government Board would accept it, but he fancied they would, and if they agreed to £130, and paid one-half, it would practically be a saving of £35. He thought that no practical man, for the sake of an idea, would fine the ratepayers in this sum. No doubt they might get plenty of men at £100, but they would have to prove if they were efficient men, and they would not get half the salary. He very much doubted, and evidently the Local Government Board very much doubted, if they would get an efficient man for £100. He considered they would not, and the Local Government Board thought they would not. While admitting that those in favour of £100 had as much right to their opinion as he had to his, he maintained that if they paid £100 and got nothing back, instead of being an economical board, he should say they were -an extravagant board. They were absolutely throwing away £35. He saw no reason why the sum of £130 should not he put to the Local Government Board. Another reason why the thing should be gone on with now was that cholera had broken out in the south of France, and might very soon make its appearance in this country. If so, the Local Government Board would take some very sweeping steps, and more especially in places where there was no sanitary officer. He then formally moved that the motion be rescinded.

The Rev. W. A. AYTON seconded the motion.

Mr. HALL moved that the resolution he not rescinded and said that at Bradfeld union the thing was done. It worked satisfactorily there, and he could not see why they should not do it.

Mr. OMMANNEY (to Mr. Hall)—It is not necessary to move any motion. It is a simple yes or no to my motion.

Mr. HOBLEY—I beg leave to second Mr. Hall’s motion.

Mr. OMMANNEY—It does not want any seconding, it is simply yes or no.

Mr. HOBLEY—Cannot I be allowed to make a few remarks on the question ?

The CHAIRMAN—You can make any remarks you like.

Mr. HOBLEY—I am of opinion that we can get plenty of men fully qualified to fill the office for £100. I think the proper way would be, seeing the class of men we can get for £100, to appoint one at that salary and try him. It was threatened that some of the influential gentlemen would call at the Local Government Board and state their case, and I should like to know whether there has been any correspondence, either directly or indirectly, between these gentlemen and the Local Governiuent Board—(hear, hear). If so, I think useless for us to come here and be treated as we are—(hear). Call it local government, it’s a mere farce !—(applause).

Mr. WARNER said that it seemed to him now that the question was simply one of principle. It was a question whether two or three clerks were to carry their views against those of the Board on this question. Where the Local Government Board supposed to know more about the matter than the properly elected representatives of the district. If the members of the Board did not know what was necessary for the district it was a very poor affair—(hear, hear.)

The CHAIRMAN said the primary consideration was whether they were to throw away £35. They were there to represent the ratepayers, and to do justice to the ratepayers. He asked if they were doing justice to them in throwing away this money ? Was it so little that they should discard it and refuse to receive it? The Local Government Board would insist on their appointing an efficient man, and if they did so they would pay half the salary. He thought they might try the proposal made by Mr. Ommanney ; it might he accepted. Their Medical Officer of Health complained of the want of assistance, and this was a very critical time, as they were threatened with an invasion that might prove serious. If an epidemic broke out, it was most important that they should have an inspector. He thought they were foolish in refusing to have an efficient man under the circumstances, and they should save £35 as suggested by Mr. Ommanney.

Mr. HALL—We don’t save that—(interrnption).

Mr. COWPER—It comes out of one pocket and goes into the other.

The CHAIRMAN—I think it is a very important consideration. If you refuse Mr. Ommanney’s motion it will he doing injustice to the ratepayers. We are here to do our best for them, and not to throw away money. Mr. Henley met Mr. Loveday and asked him if the Guardians were going to discard this £25. I wish the members to know that if they neglect to do the duty which the law requires, they can he subject to a mandamus. It is very important that we should have an efficient man, and I am only sorry that some of the members discard saving the ratepayers’ money.

Mr. MESSINGER—We want a young man, not an old, tired horse.

Mr. PAGE said he had always been an advocate for cutting down the expenses where he thought it was possible, and as it seemed to he the opinion of some of the gentlemen there that the Local Government Board would meet them if they proposed £130, he thought an effort should be made to come to some arrangement, so that they might get a return of half the salary—(hear, hear). There were several of the Guardians who would not give £150, and he was of opinion that a compromise should be come to and £130 agreed upon as the salary. He should be very sorry indeed, for the sake of a little bit of pride and independence, to throw away £35 of the ratepayers’ money (hear, hear, and applause). It would be “penny wise and pound foolish” to do any such thing. It was their duty as far as possible to assist the ratepayers, and he thought they might meet the Local Government Board by offering a salary of £130. He hoped this proposal would meet with the support of the Guardians.

Mr. HALL—There are plenty who will do the work for £100, and we should appoint one, and then ask for the additional £35 if he is an efficient man.

The Rev. A. SHORT—They won’t do that.

Mr. OMMANNEY—They won’t give £35 in addition to the salary.

Mr. HALL—If they saw that we had got an efficient man they would give £150.

The Rev. A. SHORT thought £130 was a reasonable compromise.

Mr. OMMANNEY—I shall move tbat £130 be the salary, and I am of opinion that it will be acceptable to the Local Government Board—(hear). Mr. Henley said as much that it would be acceptable—(hear hear).

Mr. HADLAND—We are here to protect the interest of the ratepayers, but it seems to me that some here want to throw away £35 for a little bit of pride. It’s like cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face—(hear hear).

Mr. WARNER—Can we appoint a man ourselves ?

The CHATRMAN—If we pay the whole of the money.

Mr. HALL—It works very well in Bradfield Union, which we copied to save out-relief, and why should we not copy it in this matter ?—(Interruption).

Mr. WARNER—These gentlemen who settle this are officials themselves, and it is their duty to keep up the salaries—(hear). Mr. Hobley’s question has not been answered whether any communication bad taken place between any of the gentlemen and the Local Government Board ?—(hear, hear).

Mr. OMMANNEY—No, none at all that I am aware of.

The motion for rescinding the resolution was then put to the meeting, and on a division twelve (inculding the Chairman) voted for it, and a similar numbs against. The Chairman gave his casting vote in favour of rescinding the resolution.

Mr. WARNER (to the Chairman)—You voted before—(hear, hear).

The CHAIRMAN—I have two votes —(laughter).

Mr. OMMANNEY then said that he did not consider the Board large enough to proceed with his motion that the salary be £130, and he begged to give notice that he would move to that effect that day fortnight. There was not such a large Board as he expected to see, and he did not think it would be fair to proceed with the matter now. He thought that every member of the Board should have reasonable notice that he intended to propose that the salary be £130.

The Rev. E. T. STEVENS–I object to the delay. I will propose that an advertisement be inserted in the papers for an inspector at a salary of £130 a year.

Mr. STILGOE—I will second that.

Mr. OMMANNEY—I have told you plainly what I think. There are so many Guardians absent, that I think it is right that they should have notice of the motion. There are seventy Guardians, and not half of them are here.

The Rev. E. T. STEVENS—We have already … great deal of time, and remote parishes like … suffer considerably from want of a sanitary officer. (A voice “I propose that it be postponed a month,” and hear, hear.)

Mr. STILGOE—I feel quite certain that we wil get an efficient man for £100 a year

Mr. HADLAND—I should like to ask the Clerk whether we have power to make the appointment … notice ?

Mr. OMMANNEY—Not without the consent of the Local Government Board.

The CLERK—It is competent to advertise for a …

The CHAIRMAN—You can’t appoint today.

Mr. HADLAND—I contend you are not, because … salary. I don’t think it is competent to fix a salary without notice.

Mr. HALL—I propose we consider it this day month. In a fortnight, we shall all he haymaking.

Mr. WARNER—I will second that. (A voice, … this day twelve month,” and laughter).

Mr. OMMANNEY could not agree to any further delay.

Mr. HALL—We shall all be busy haymaking in a fortnight. We can’t come in a fortnight.

Mr: STILGOE—Let us set about the thing. It is a parcel of foolishness the manner in which the thing has gone on—(hear, hear).

The Rev. E. T. STEVENS said he had no wish to force the matter against the wishes of the Guardians but to be without an inspector was a great mischief for an outlying parish like his. They certainly needed the services of the sanitary officer very much.

The CLERK said they must get the consent of the Local Government Board before they could say what salary they would give.

The Rev. E. T. STEVENS—Then I will propose we send to them and state that we wish to appoint an officer at a salary of £130—(laughter).

The Rev. A. SHORT—I think we might issue an advertisement.

The CLERK—You must get the sanction of the Local Government Board if you are going to fix the salary in the advertisement.

Mr. OMMANNEY—It is not right that the … should be taken by surprise. I say that it is … proper that notice should be given, and that … be brought on in a fortnight. You have … proceed with such a resolution to-day.

The Rev. E. T. STEVENS—Then it is probably … the business will be attended to at the end of … months—(a laugh).

Mr. WARNER—Perfectly right.

The Rev. A. SHORT—We should hasten it on as soon as we can. We know that drainage suffers from the continuous absence of the sanitary officer. … important matter, and the whole health of the … may suffer in a way that will surprise us unless the appointment is made.

Mr. HALL again suggested that it be adjourned … month.

The Rev. E. T. STEVENS—I understand it was said by Mr. Ommanney that no doubt the Local Government Board would accept the proposal of £130 as the salary of the officer, and it was on that supposition that I made my motion.

Mr. OMMANNEY—I have not the slightest doubt they will.

Mr. WARNER—You seem to have a good idea of what the Local Government Board will do. We ought to proceed with the appointment if we have the power. If we are to go on writing backwards and forwards to the Local Government Board we may go on till doomsday. (Interruption).

Mr. PAGE proposed that the Clerk write to the Local Government Board and ask whether they would pay half the salary if they agreed to give £130 per annum. He thought this was the wish of the Guardians at the present moment, without waiting for a month.

Mr. OMMANNEY—I will second Mr. Page’s motion. There must be a resolution on the books before anything can be done.

Mr. WARNER thought they should proceed with the appointment. It had been distinctly said that scores were ready for the office—cries of “No, no.”)

Mr Pages motion was carried, and the meeting separated.