Sir Musgrave Brisco Dies

Sir Mugrave Brisco, of Crofton Hall, Wigton, Cumberland, and Coghurst Hall, Ore, died at Crofton Hall. He was the fourth baronet and was born in 1833. He was little known in the town, as he had only moved into Coghurst Hall after the death of Mrs Coghill some months ago.

Brisco Estate Price

Replying to Councillor Blackman at a Council meeting on 7 January, the borough accountant stated that the Corporation had purchased the nine acres of land of the Brisco Estate for £18,000, and the remaining seven acres were then rated as worth £6,100 as agricultural land.

Socialists Not Backing Liberals

A letter in the Mail from Alf Cobb denied any rumour that the local organised socialists supported the candidature of Liberal Tweedy-Smith in the coming election. The position of the Social Democratic Party was made clear in the manifesto it was circulating and at meetings it held nightly in Wellington Square. The secretary of the Independent Labour Party Frank Willard had also expressed his intention to abstain from voting.

Meagre Left Meeting

There was somewhat meagre attendance at a meeting held under the joint auspices of the Church Socialist League and the Independent Labour Party in the Market Hall, George Street on Wednesday 12th, chaired by Mr MB Reckitt. The Rev NE Egerton-Swann referred to the present social system as “abominable and damnable”.

Tory MP Again

The general election polling day of Saturday 15th resulted in a Tory victory: Arthur du Cros 4,634; Liberal Ronald Tweedy-Smith 3,833. The majority was 801, a reduction of 217 from the by-election of 2008. There was no Labour or SDP candidate. The result was made known to a crowd of several thousand outside the town hall a few minutes after 10pm. Du Cros then went on a procession round the town, ending at a rally at the Conservative Club in Carlisle Parade.

Serious Shop Fire

An unexplained fire caused considerable damage to the printers and stationers premises of Messrs Randle and Sons, 15 and 16 Queens Road. Although the fire was quickly subdued, the toy department and library were completely destroyed and the premises remained lcosed for several weeks.

Hastings Bill: Details

A poll on the proposed Hastings Bill was to be taken on February 4 after a resolution to that effect was agreed at last week’s Council meeting. The Mail editorial talked of the very serious significance of the prompt opposition given to the proposed Bill. It ought to be the subject of an inquiry by every individual who has any responsibility, for the conduct of the town’s affairs. There is a disquieting evidence of a wide and obstinate distrust of those who are responsible for the government of the town. At the Town’s meeting last week ratepayers knew that there was a Bill giving the Corporation power to spend money and they had no great desire to hear from any but the Bill’s sworn enemies. Dr Gray heard promoting the Bill was listened to with unconcealed patience – Mr Morgan an opponent was cheered and applauded. It shows a general distrust against the Corporation – this is a severe condemnation “not necessarily against the present town councillors but of the government of the town for the past 20 years”. “Time seems so far to have exposed every important collective action of the Corporation as an error of judgement. … The heavy purchase of the electricity works, the acquisition of the Brisco Estate, not less than the want of foresight which led to the dangerous shortage and insecurity of the water supply which is now reported – facts like these – of which we are so continually reminded, have combined to produce a contempt of the Corporation as a whole, which threatens seriously to cripple the government of the town.”

Opponents of the Bill say they have had no adequate opportunity to consider the proposed Bill and cannot trust the elected Corporation, or the officials whom they pay highly for expert knowledge. The town is told by a large majority of the Corporation that the security and adequacy of the town’s water supply is in danger, a fact which threatens such alarm to visitors and residents as may mean ruin to many of our businessmen – this announcement is made upon the advice of the water engineer and an independent expert. The water question is the principal reason for the Bill seeking new Parliamentary powers. The Hastings Bill, as explained by Councillor Dr Gray, was on page 5 of the Mail.

Our water supply: Causes of the present situation – past errors – temporary stations in critical state. In December 1890 the borough surveyor RH Palmer recommended that a new source should be sought in the chalk and green sand formation in the neighbourhood of Glynde. That report was submitted to Mr Hodgson, an underground water supply expert, and in September 1891 he presented a report stating that if a water supply for a town the size of Hastings were to be obtained from only one source it must be from a chalk formation. He concluded that there was no place in the Weald, in the immediate neighbourhood of Hastings, that could possibly give the large amount required. The Council hesitated to act on this advice and decided to attempt to obtain a water supply from the Brede Valley.

Two years afterwards the Eastbourne Water Co chose a spot in the chalk and sand within a very short distance of the place Hodgson had advised Hastings Corporation to seek their supply, so whilst temporising, the Council lost their potential best source to a rival town. Had this borough begun operations at Glynde when advised to do so the town would have been getting its water practically for nothing. The opening in the chalk formation now closed, the Brede Valley was chosen. Meanwhile some of the towns existing sources of supply fed by small streams, had become polluted, owing to the extension of the town. Temporary supplies were therefore obtained, and it is the need to extend, develop and make permanent these sources (outside of Brede Valley, water from which will be much more costly to obtain) which the Corporation now command by an insecure tenure that has led to seeking the new powers. Large sums need to be spent to keep these sources in working order, and the land on which they are situated must be purchased. The land is nearly all leasehold in the hands of trustees, who can only give the Corporation a 21 years lease, so that for these no money can be borrowed as for permanent works.

From these temporary works a third of the total supply of the town’s water is supplied and by the development of Forewood, one of the temporary stations, into a permanent station, it is calculated that an increase of 500,000 gallons a day may be obtained, enabling the Corporation to close other stations for the winter so as to leave a good underground supply left idle for reserve in the summer. The development of Brede would be the last work entered upon if the new powers are realized, because the great depth of the wells render the supply there so much more expensive. The Bill’s powers will allow another well to be sunk at Brede and to drive further underground headings or channels to the Redley Farm well which had been earlier sunk during the experimental work but abandoned because the Corporation could not come to terms with the landowners. This could double the Brede supply.