Bristol Chronicles 1907
1907 - At the beginning of the year four suffragettes were released from Holloway Prison; they had been sentenced to 14 days’ imprisonment on 21 December for disorderly conduct in Parliament. They were welcomed by Christobel Pankhurst and entertained to breakfast at Anderton’ s Hotel. The youngest of the prisoners was Miss Ivy Heppel from Bristol and she was presented with flowers in the shape of an anchor bearing a message from Dr. C.F. Aked which read ‘With sympathy, affection and admiration.’
Central Association for Stopping the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors
On 5 February the annual demonstration of the Central Association for Stopping the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors was held in the larger Colston Hall. As well as the movement’s supporters there were many members of the licensing trade and their supporters in the hall. The secretary reported that some 300 Members of Parliament supported the Sunday closing of licensed premises but the other speakers, including J.S. Fry, the Dean of Hereford and a Salvation Army brigadier, were unable to make themselves heard above the shouts of the audience. A few days later a temperance demonstration was held in the same hall but the police were better prepared and only ticket holders were allowed in. The audience was entertained by an organ recital by Mr. Riseley and the meeting was chaired by the Bishop. A resolution was proposed by Sir Thomas Whittaker MP and seconded by Henry Vivian MV to the effect that wider powers should be given to localities to work out their own deliverance from intemperance; it was carried by a large majority.
New Tram Service
On 21 March, without ceremony the extension of the tram line from the Centre to Filton was opened.
At the March meeting of the Distress Committee it was reported that an application had been made to the Local Government Board for a further payment of the parliamentary grant. The number of unemployed men registered was 416 skilled and 1,321 labourers. A number had been helped to find employment mostly with the local authority. The emigration sub-committee stated that they had selected 12 families (comprising 64 persons) for assisted emigration to Canada.
meeting of the Health Committee
The May meeting of the Health Committee considered the municipal lodging house. Some members spoke strongly against municipal trading, noting that the house was losing upwards of £1,100 a year and commenting that the undertaking was an abuse of public funds. One member suggested that, whilst they were not permitted to sell the premises, they should investigate the possibility of letting it to a lodging house keeper or an organisation like the Salvation Army. The committee were subsequently advised that the Local Government Board had considered that they had no power to let the house.
invited to visit Bristol
In May the Colonial Prime Ministers assembled in London to meet Lord Elgin, the Colonial Secretary, and the Chamber of Commerce invited them to visit Bristol. Four of them accepted and the freedom of the city was granted to Sir Wilfrid Laurier of Canada, Sir Robert Bond of Newfoundland, Sir Joseph Ward of New Zealand and the Hon. F.R. Moore of Natal. The premiers and representatives of other colonies visited Avonmouth to see the new dock in course of construction and were enthusiastically welcomed by 500 school children.
Cossham Memorial Hospital at Lodge Hill, Kingswood opened
Cossham Memorial Hospital at Lodge Hill, Kingswood, was opened in June by Augustine Birrell MP. The construction had been made possible by a bequest of £120,000 from Handel Cossham; his trustees spent £30,000 on building and equipping the hospital, which had 50 beds, and invested the balance in an endowment fund to maintain it. 700 guests attended the opening ceremony and tea and were entertained by Kingswood Evangel Silver Band and a large number of people went over the building in the evening. The committee had over 100 applications for the post of matron and appointed Miss Mann, the assistant matron at Gloucestershire County Hospital. The architect of the building was F. Bligh Bond FRIBA and the builders were A.J. Beavan and William Cowlin & Sons. Probably the hospital’s first fatality was Oliver Bryant aged 20 who was killed in an accident at Hanham Colliery; the coroner held an inquest at the hospital on 20 June.
Also in June the Libraiy Committee recorded that they had purchased John Latimer’s copy of his Annals which was interleaved and contained manuscript notes by the compiler with a view, apparently, to a revised edition.
The death of Richard Reynolds in 1816 was recorded in Latimer’ s Annals. On 12 July the Lord Mayor unveiled a tablet to his memory at 7, St. James Square. The memorial was in bronze measuring 26’ by 15”; the top portion was occupied by a head of the deceased and the inscription read: ‘In memory of Richard Reynolds, distinguished philanthropist and benefactor of the poor. Born in Bristol November 1735: died September 1816. Interred in the Friends’ Burial Ground at the Friars, Bristol. He resided in this house from 1804-1816.’
Petty Sessional Court House was opened at Henbury
In August a new Petty Sessional Court House was opened at Henbury at the corner of the road leading to Hallen. It was envisaged that the court would sit once a month and would settle minor cases without the necessity of the parties travelling to Lawford’s Gate.
Eight Strokes of the Birch
In the same month Frederick Parker aged 13 pleaded guilty in Bristol Magistrates’ Court to the theft of two razors from his former employer. It was said that he was penitent and the court read testimonials from the headmaster of Redcliffe Boys’ School where he had been a pupil and from the superintendent of a Sunday School that he had attended. The magistrates said that they did not want to inflict something which would be a lasting stain on the boy’s character but at the same time his offence was a deliberate one and they were going to punish him in a way he would remember. Before he left the court he would receive eight strokes of the birch, the father to be present at the time.
corn merchant dies
William Proctor Baker died on 17 August. His father founded a firm of corn merchants and Mr. Baker was connected with it until 1889 when it amalgamated with Messrs. Spillers. He was closely identified with civic life for nearly 40 years during which time he was an alderman. He was leader of the Conservative party and served as Mayor in 1871-2; he retired from the Council in 1901. He had a great interest in port improvement and was chairman of the Docks Committee for some years. Mr. Baker was a keen amateur musician and played the cello at the first Handel Festival at Crystal Palace. He was chairman of the first Musical Festival in 1873.
On 1 September there was a Trade Union demonstration to direct public attention to the Old Age Pensions movement and to the Unemployed Workmen’s Bill then before Parliament. The demonstrators processed through the city’s principal streets to the Ropewalk where there was a public meeting.
In September there was a dock strike at Antwerp and it was proposed to issue posters inviting men to apply for work there. After representations against strike breaking from the Dockers’ Union the proposal was withdrawn.
On 10 September the first meetihg of the Kingswood Arbitration Board was held. It comprised representatives from employers and workers and its purpose was to discuss wages in the boot and shoe trade in the district.
new dock at Avonmouth
At the end of the month the President of the Chamber of Commerce invited nearly 3,000 visitors to inspect the progress of the construction of the new dock at Avonmouth; it was rapidly reaching the stage when it would be filled with water. There were visitors from the Midlands, Gloucester, South Wales, the western counties and London; eleven towns were represented by their mayor. Members of other chambers of commerce and journalists from some 50 newspapers were present. Avonmouth was en fete for the occasion, tea was served to the visitors and they were encouraged to wander around the docks.
Future of the Dutch House
In October the Council discussed the future of the Dutch House at the corner of Wine Street and High Street in connection with proposals for highway improvement. There had previously been an approved scheme to retain the architectural features while setting back the lower part of the premises to increase footpath width. One member proposed that the previous decision should be rescinded and that the New Streets Committee should be instructed to sell by auction such parts of the property as were not required for street improvement; he opined that the building was ‘a monstrosity and should be removed.’ His proposal was defeated.
On 30 October G.K. Chesterton gave an amusing and thoughtful address to the Bristol Centre of the Parents’ National Educational Union, a body that aimed at interesting parents in educational subjects to encourage them to realise that they had responsibilities as well as teachers.
At the November municipal elections the Liberals lost four seats to the Conservatives. An Independent councillor who sat on the Conservative side lost his seat to the Labour candidate.
In the King’s November Birthday Honours there was a baronetcy for Sir Herbert Ashman.
On Colston Day in November the societies held their usual celebrations. The Anchor Society held their dinner in the lesser Colston Hall and were addressed by the Prime Minister Sir Campbell Bannerman.
Serious Fire at King’s Orchard, Queen Street
On 22 December there was a serious fire at King’s Orchard, Queen Street when the provender mill of Messrs Bodey Jerrim was extensively damaged.
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