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Bristol Chronicles 1905 | by brizzle born and bred
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Bristol Chronicles 1905

John Latimer


1905 - In January a memorial tablet to John Latimer was unveiled in the north transept of the Cathedral.


Solicitors pleaded guilty to crimes of dishonesty


Confidence in the probity of the local legal profession was dented at the winter assizes when two solicitors, in unconnected cases, pleaded guilty to crimes of dishonesty. John Frederick Murly (who was arrested in Australia) was sentenced to five years’ penal servitude and William Frederick Langworthy to three years’ penal servitude.


A mass meeting of postal workers chaired by H.W. Twiggs JP took place at Stuckey’s restaurant at the beginning of February. The purpose was to protest at the failure of the Postmaster General to implement the pay rises recommended by the Bradford Commission.


On 15 February there was a ceremonial opening of the Art Gallery which had been completed for some time. Before the ceremony there was an interesting address on art matters by Professor Herkomer.


Gloucestershire Regiment


The memorial to the members of the Gloucestershire Regiment who were killed in action or died of disease during the South African War was unveiled by Lord Roberts in March. He was met by a Field Marshall’s salute given by the band of the 2nd Gloucesters. The memorial stands outside the Victoria Rooms.


William Sturge


William Sturge died on 26 March in his 86th year. He was a surveyor and came from a well-known Quaker family. In his early years he had been involved in surveys of parishes under the Tithe Commutation Act 1836 and had also dealt with enclosure awards. Mr. Sturge was an expert in the purchase of land for railways and waterworks, was Land Steward to the Corporation and played a leading part in the formation of the Surveyors’ Institution in 1868. He appeared many times before Parliamentary Committees on the promotion of public works.


Bristol Dockers


In May the annual conference of the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Workers’ Union took place at the Shepherds’ Hall in Old Market Street. Mr. W. Gorman the local organiser reported that in Bristol the Dockers’ Union had fostered an amicable spirit with the employers and that it was the local practice that all disputes should be submitted to arbitration. Ben Tillett, who attended, suggested that unemployment was the result of the existence of monopoly and the burdens which the non-producing sections of the community imposed on the industrial classes. The meeting resolved that a corollary of universal compulsory education was that the state should maintain children.


Another conference took place in the following month when the city was invaded by postmen whose confederation held its 14th annual meeting at the YMCA hall Mr. W.H. Rogers of Bristol presided. The meeting expressed concern at the conditions of rural postmen who were not allowed a weekly half-holiday. Following the refusal to implement the recommendations of the Bradford Commission the meeting called for a select committee of the House of Commons to enquire into their grievances. The view was expressed that the low educational test for postmen entering the service was a cause of their failure to achieve an increase in wages.


William Wooldridge Fosbrooke


At the end of May a memorial to William Wooldridge Fosbrooke, the distinguished comedian, was unveiled by James Macready Chute in Westbury churchyard.


Betting News not allowed in city libraries.


In June the Library Committee considered a suggestion that betting news in newspapers in the reading room should be obliterated by a stamp covering the offending text with a black patch. Enquiries had been made of 153 libraries in other towns and it was found that of these 17 covered betting news in this manner. The committee rejected the suggestion by six votes to two.


foundation stone


In the same month the foundation stone was laid at Western College opposite Highbury Chapel. The college, which prepared young men for the Congregational ministry, was at the time in temporary accommodation having removed from Plymouth. The new building comprised lecture rooms, a library, dining hall, common room and an assembly hall. The architect was H. Dare Bryan and the builder Long & Sons.


Clifton Zoo


The Bristol Carnival at Clifton Zoo was opened at the beginning of July by the Lord Mayor; the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort were present on the opening day. The carnival which lasted for six days was in aid of the Infirmary. In addition to the usual funfair attractions, visitors could see ‘the Bristol Baron’, a St. Bemards collecting dog lent by the Dogs’ Home, and listen to music provided by Herr Kundt’ s performers and the Royal Artillery band from Portsmouth. Motor cars placed at the disposal of the Carnival Committee by their owners were available to take passengers on a programme of tours ranging from a circuit of the Downs to a country spin of considerable length. Two pavilions had been provided by the Coliseum and the Hippodrome, each seating about 1,000 and providing continuous entertainment of a high order from 3 until 11.30 p.m. At the close of the six days it was announced that the infirmary had been freed of its debt of £15,000 and that over 100,000 people had attended.


Bristol cricket week


The attendance at Bristol cricket week, during which the county played the visiting Australian test team, had been affected by the popularity of the Bristol Carnival. The visitors batted first and scored 527; play was affected by rain but the county in their first innings only managed a total of 116. Forced to follow on, the county had reached 145 for one wicket at close of play on the last day.


Brislington school


A new school in Wick Road, Brislington was opened in July. The cost of the site was £2,593 and of its construction £12,377. The architects were Holbrow & Oaten.




In July the Wesleyan conference was held in Bristol and the delegates were welcomed by the Bishop of Bristol, the first occasion on which an Anglican bishop had done so. In was reported that the total membership of Bands of Hope had reached over 450,000 and that there were over 10,000 members of temperance societies. The conference deplored the employment of barmaids in public houses and the prevalence of betting and gambling and discussed the cause of Methodist union. It commented on the evils arising out of unemployment and supported efforts by the government to deal with this question. As a result of the Education Act 1902 some Wesleyan schools were having financial difficulties but the conference resolved to continue to maintain them. Pupils from Kingswood School, the sons of ministers, were welcomed at the conference.


Fire at Lilley & Skinner, boot manufactures


In October a serious fire destroyed the premises of Lilley & Skinner, boot manufactures in King Square; the adjoining warehouse of Dickie Parsons & Co wholesale clothiers was also demolished. As a result of the conflagration some 500 people lost their employment. The fire also affected a number of cottages at the back of King Square and two elderly residents, one of whom was bedridden, in Charles Street had to be rescued by PC75 and a fireman. A local committee was set up to assist with the loss of furniture and effects by poor and homeless citizens.


Fire at Pickford & Co Colston Avenue


At the beginning of the following month there was another serious fire at a warehouse in Colston Avenue occupied by Pickford & Co. which destroyed a quantity of goods stored there. The fire also affected the adjoining printing works belonging to Wright & Co. whose valuable machinery and stock were totally destroyed.


Liberal Unionist Council


The Liberal Unionist Council meeting held in November at the Colston Hall was welcomed by John Wesley Hall, the President of the Liberal Unionist Association. He said that tariff reform was very much to the front in Bristol and that local Unionists regarded it as a great compliment that the city had been chosen as the first meeting place of the Council. The meeting was addressed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who supported the view that ‘we should have the powers of retaliation against those who treat us badly and the power of preference to those who treat us well.’ Joseph Chamberlain was unable to be present at the conference but came to Bristol and addressed an evening meeting, the theme of his speech being ‘I wish no ill to foreign countries but I wish good to my own.


Princess Henry of Battenberg


In November Princess Henry of Battenberg accompanied by her daughter Princess Ena (who later became the Queen of Spain) visited the exhibition mounted by the Irish Industries Association at the Victoria Rooms; the expense of the exhibition was borne by Lady White, wife of Sir George White. The Princess then went on the veterans’ headquarters in Orchard Street.


New Labour Exchange


The new Labour Exchange and Employment Registiy in Silver Street was opened at the end of November. On its opening 500 to 600 men were waiting outside to register. After three days some 1,500 had registered.


Lord Winterstoke


At the end of the year Sir W.H. Wills was elevated to the peerage and selected the title of Lord Winterstoke of Blagdon.


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Taken on October 17, 2009