Thursday, 17 July 2014

Canal Cuttings (34)

This is just one of a series of around fifty old newspaper articles that I have been reading. I have been researching from old newspapers and magazines. Covering the last 200 years or so of life on the inland waterways. With particular interest in the major issues of the day that were effecting the canals. The most active periods for evaluation and change, has always been just prior, during and shortly after the two world wars. It should be remembered that between the wars the ownership of some of the canals changed hands as the railway companies bought up the waterways to get reduce competition. What is not clear is the effect this early form of asset stripping had on the viability of the inland waterways. Its good to take a look back at what people were saying and doing in the past. Most surprising of all are some of the problems that beset the canals back then - are still prevalent today. Reading old newspapers can throw up some rather interesting stories. Here is what we would call today a public interest story.

Caveat: Some of the articles are difficult to read and even using modern electronic  scanning and text conversion methods. The odd punctuation, word or character may have been transcribed in error. 

South Australian Register
From our Special Correspondent
London. October 30 1874

Another very mild autumn has set the meteorologists speculating upon what has come over the seasons. October has nearly passed, and without inflicting upon us anything more wintry. A few frosty nights than dull skies and a slight foretaste of coming fogs. The weather has been wet and disagreeable, and South Australians landing now might easily persuade themselves that an English autumn is not very unlike their own winters. London is dull, as in duty bound at such a season. But for the Duchess of Edinburgh having anticipated her maternal duty at Buckingham Palace there would not have been a single person of consequence among the three and three-quarter millions of unimportant cockneys. The Duke has had a lively domestic experience. Some time ago he took a quiet old house down at Ashford, to which he and his spouse were to retire for family reasons. He had got it all put in order under his own superintendence, and the day was appointed for taking possession. Ashford is an ambitious village, and determined to welcome its royal neighbours with all the magnificence it could' command. The Railway Station was wreathed and festooned, and placarded with mottoes all radiantly loyal The road through the village was arched and garlanded. An address had been drawn up, and an elegant bouquet prepared for presentation. 

The happy morning dawned, and Ashford was ready to rise to the height of the great occasion. The royal carriages arrived from Buckingham Palace in the morning. The Duke and Duchess were to start from town about midday. Within an hour of the time for departure all the arrangements were countermanded, the only reason assigned being that the Duchess did not feel able for the journey. The evening papers put a serious construction on the event, and sent up placards announcing the sudden illness of the Duchess of Edinburgh. The same loyal ingenuity which suggested the placards inspired a circumstantial account of Her Royal and Imperial Highness having suddenly taken ill during the night and the royal physicians sent for. You have had some experience in Adelaide of the Duke's appreciation of the attentions of the press. This time he was in great dudgeon, and the Court Circular had to scold a little about unfounded and exaggerated reports that had been put in circulation. 

The Duchess, it was said, continued in her usual health, but she had been recommended by her medical advisers not to leave town at present. Two or three mornings later there was another surprise for the public, and possibly also for His Royal Highness. The Duchess had given birth to a son a thriving prince, who since he made his appearance has never given the royal doctors a moment's cause for uneasiness. When the event happened the Empress of Russia was travelling at express speed from Livadea, on the Black sea. She and the Cesorewitch landed at Dover about the same time that the little grandson presented himself at Buckingham Palace. So far the Duchess has had a happy recovery, and the bulletins about her were suspended about a week ago. 

THE PRINCE OF WALES IN FRANCE. There is nothing to say about the Court proper. It is shortly expected back from Balmoral, and Prince Leopold has already rejoined his fellow students at Oxford. The Prince of Wales has had a pleasant fortnight all to himself among his French intimates. He went to Paris from Copenhagen, where he left the Princess and the children. After amusing himself among the Parisians for a few days and exchanging visits of courtesy with the Marshal and the Duke Decaze, he started to pay a round of visits to friends in the provinces. The late Ambassador, the Duke de Rochefoucauld Bisaccia, the Dowager Duchess da Luynes, and several other owners of historical châteaux, were thus honoured. In all cases His Royal Highness was magnificently entertained, but the day of days was one he spent at Chantilly with the Duke d'Aumale and his Orleanist relatives. The Comte de Paris and the Duke du Nemours escorted Mm from Paris. At the station he was received by the head of the family, and driven across the celebrated racecourse on which the Prix du Paris is run for. A splendid dinner was served in the chateau, and then the distinguished party adjourned to Chantilly preserves. A select dinner was given in the evening, and next day there was a grand deer-hunt after the manner of the olden time. After honouring several other chateaux in a similar way, the Prince's bachelor holiday came to an end. The Princess went from Copenhagen to Darmstadt, and, having visited Princess Alice, proceeded to Paris to join her husband. They have since returned to London, where a series of festive engagements await them. 

TERRIBLE  WRECKS. A terrible gale has swept across the Atlantic and spent its fury in the North Sea. All round the coast there have been disastrous shipwrecks accompanied with serious loss of life. Information which has since arrived at various ports indicates that the casualties on the coast have been exceeded in horror by others in open sea. Several cases of foundering all iron ships, and most of them new are reported both from the North and from the Bay of Biscay. The nature of the intelligence in most disheartening for Marine Insurance Companies, as it indicates that the new class of iron steamers built for speed and stowage are unsafe risks at any price. One of them has actually broken in two in the Bay of Biscay; another, which was driven ashore on the Ayrshire coast at Ardrossan, snapped clean through the middle, one part remaining on the bank while the other floated bodily into the harbour. In this case a great many lives were sacrificed. In another a new iron steamer cracked in two during a gale in the Bay of Biscay. There has been a third casualty of the same kind at the Hebrides through which an entire crew perished. 

THE BESIEGED RESIDENT IN A NEW CHARACTER. You have not forgotten the 'Besieged Resident' who furnished the Daily with such a diary of the siege of Paris. In default of better occupation he has lately undertaken the Herculean task of reforming the London Stock Exchange. To give him the strongest possible incentives in his work he invested largely in securities which he did not intend to run down, and which he might naturally expect to benefit by his attacks on rival securities. Then in conjunction with his friend Mr. Edmund Vatos he started a new satirical journal, the World. It opened a rich vein of sensation by attacking Srominent operators on the Stock Exchange. One broker, Sir. Abbot, who considered himself a prominent person, and one eligible for abuse, met 'The Besieged' one day that is, M. Henry Labouchere and in a bumptious way cautioned him about his articles in the World. M. Labouchere responded with the Johnsonianism that 'he should not be deterred from remaking a scoundrel by the menaces of a ruffian.' Broker Abbot, deeming this personal, hit at the Besieged, who described the blow as ' bounding from his arm like an india rubber ball' in the humorous version given by the Besieged before the Lord Mayor. The broker next turned round to a small boy, and asked if he had a horsewhip about him. The little boy had left his horsewhip in the nursery; bat the besieged politely offered to lend Mr. Abbot his own cane for the completion of the assault In due time a constable arrived and the deadly foes accompanied him to the Police Station and charged each other. The broker was bound over for six months. 

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