Friday, 4th August, 1871
Wallasey Local Board
The monthly meeting of this board was held yesterday, at the public offices, Egremont, the members present being the Rev. W.C. Greene (in the chair), Messrs. Littledale, Hughes, Mason, Davies, Skinner, Cowan, Wensley, Isherwood, Bowdler, Couldwell and Layland.
THE WALLASEY TRAMWAYS BILL
The Chairman said that a day or two ago a paragraph in a Liverpool newspaper to the affect that the Wallasey Tramways Bill had been postponed til next year. This, however, was a mistake. The Metropolitan Tramway Bill had been postponed till next session, but all the other bills (including the Wallasey bill), which had been joined into one as a separate bill, had already passed the committee of the House of Lords, and would no doubt, be passed this session. The chairman added that if the laying down of the tramways in Wallasey was not begun this year, it would be commenced early next year.
THE RIVER APPROACHES
The Chairman next returned to the settlement of the long vexed question of the river approaches. The board, he said, had gained advantages which they never expected. They had incurred considerable expense in their opposition to the Mersey Dock Bill, but if they had not stirred themselves in the matter they would have been left in the lurch.
Mr. Couldwell inquired what the expense would be.
Mr. Ishwerwood – Perhaps £1000
The Chairman thought the board might now rest and be satisfied. The services rendered by Mr. Laird, M.P., in the matter, had been very valuable, and he had no hesitation in saying that it was owing to the indefatigable exertions of that gentleman, both in Parliament and out of it, that a scheme had been carried which would be highly beneficial to all concerned. He moved the following resolution :- “That the thanks of the board be given to Mr. J. Laird, M.P., for the valuable service rendered by him in the negotiations relating to the river approaches on the Liverpool side of the Mersey; and that in the opinion of this board it is chiefly owing to the ability and energy of Mr. Laird that a question so intimately affecting the interests of all the ferries, and consequently of the owners of property and ratepayers on the Cheshire side, has, after a suspense of more than 20 years, been satisfactory settled.”
Mr. Littledale seconded the resolution, and endorsed all that had been said by the chairman respecting the services of Mr. Laird. He also spoke highly of the services of Mr. Greene and Mr. Simpson, solicitor, in the matter.
The resolution was carried unanimously.
HEALTH COMMITTEE - THE SANITARY STATE OF SEACOMBE
It appeared from the registrar’s return that the number of death in the parish during the past month was 32, including 4 from smallpox, 1 from typhoid, 1 from scarlatina, and 3 from measles; the number for the corresponding period last year being 14, including 1 from scarlatina and 2 from diarrhoea.
Mr. Davies moved the conformation of the proceedings of the committee.
Mr. Bowdler objected to a recommendation to licence a slaughter house belonging to Mr. John Lee, butcher, behind the Stanley Arms, Seacombe, on the ground that the premises were in a densely populated district.
The Chairman referred to some observations made by Mr. Couldwell, at a late meeting of the committee, respecting the sanitary state of Seacombe. On going home it struck him that an inquiry should be made into the state of Seacombe, and accordingly, in company with Mr. Lea, surveyor to the board, and Mr. McPherson, medical officer of the Wallasey Dispensary, he went on Tuesday morning and inspected some of the worst places at Seacombe. From what he then saw he was bound to state that Mr. Couldwell had not at all exaggerated the state of things at Seacombe. He now solemnly and publicly declared that the state of things at Seacombe was discreditable, not only to the board, but to their officials and all concerned. He blamed the owners of property, who had crowded as many dwellings as possible on the smallest possible space. In fact, the wonder in his mind was not that scarlatina and smallpox visited Seacombe, but having got there, that those diseases should ever leave the place. He also attributed the state of things at Seacombe to the filthy habits of some of the inhabitants; but this state of things had been much aggravated by the neglect of the board and their officials. He was prepared to take his share of the responsibility, for he admitted that when he was a member of the committee they were very lax in the performance of their duty. It struck him that there was a great want of inspection. He was told there was a theoretical emptying of the middens, but he was informed that some of them were not emptied for six months. Other places were preparing for a visit of cholera, but he believed that if the diseases visited Seacombe it would be some time before it left. He confined his remarks to certain portions of Seacombe; he did not believe the parish generally to be unhealthy. He was afraid that Mr. Davies, the chairman of the committee, had seen these nuisances through the eyes of Mr. Lea, their surveyor, and that Mr. Lea had seen them through the eyes of the officials under him, and consequently nothing had been done. He concluded by offering to meet the committee with the view of suggesting a remedy of the state of things at Seacombe.
Mr Bowdler said he had intended to make an inspection of Seacombe, but having heard that the chairman was going round he refrained from doing so. He had seen a portion of the district, and he did not think they could find a parallel case in the worst districts of Liverpool. The courts were constructed in such a manner that a breath of wind could not get into them, unless there was a complete hurricane.
Mr. Davies said that if the chairman had intimated to him that he intended to make an inspection of Seacombe he would have been glad to accompany him. There was no doubt the sanitary arrangements at Seacombe were very bad, but he did not think blame ought to be attributed to the board of their offices. Their men went daily into the courts and alleys to clean them. He considered that a great number of these nuisances were the result of the filthy habits of the people, and it was almost impossible to keep clean the places where they lived.
Mr. Cowan remarked that some gentlemen who complained of nuisances permitted greater nuisances on their own premises. For instance, there was a smoky chimney at Mr. Bowdler’s works, and another smoky chimney at Liscard. (Laughter)
Mr. Lea (the surveyor), in answer to Mr. Skinner, said he had received no complaints of the neglect at Seacombe.
Mr. Couldwell said people would not take the trouble of sending complaints to the board, and therefore he considered it the duty of Mr. Lea to go to Seacombe and see whether these nuisances existed or not.
After some further conversation, the proceedings were confirmed, it being understood that the chairman would meet the committee to consider what was to be done. The recommendation about the slaughter was referred back.
From the ferry accounts it appeared that the receipts last month were £3890 1s. 10d., against £4459 10s. 6d. The receipts from the 1st January to the 31st July, this year, were £18,302 15s. 5d., against £18,136 in the corresponding period of last year. The working expenses during the latter period were – This year @ Working expenses, £9486; interest and sinking fund, £4490. Last year : Working expenses £12,336 8s. 10d., interest and sinking fun, £4491 1s. 9d.
THE IMPROVEMENT OF SEACOMBE FERRY
Mr. Mason moved the confirmation of the proceedings of the ferry committees, which included the following resolution :-
That it is desirable to carry into effect as early as possible the scheme for the improvement of Seacombe Ferry, approved by the board on the 4th of May last; and, with that view, that it be recommended that the manager be instructed to prepare the necessary specification and detailed drawings, in order that tenders for the execution of the work may be advertised for so soon as the sanction of Admiral Evans is obtained.
Mr. Mason said it was not in the power of the board to go at present into the large scheme of improved approaches at Seacombe, and after giving the matter every consideration it had been decided to adopt a plan which in its carrying out would not exceed £3000.
Mr. Davies moved, and Mr. Couldwell seconded, that the recommendation be referred back to the ferry committee.
Mr. Mason, in reply to Mr. Couldwell, said the expense would come out of the revenue of the board.
Mr. Couldwell contended that the board had no power to pay for the work out of revenue. If they spent one penny out of the revenue the item would be not only objected to before the auditor, but a protest would be sent to the Government. The people of Seacombe were not going to do with an expenditure on the ferry of only £3000.
Mr. Littledale – Where are you to get more?
Mr. Couldwell said the money should be provided in proper form, by calling a public meeting. The Seacombe people were determined not to be put off with £3000, unless the members of the board paid it out of their own pockets.
Mr. Skinner and Mr. Cowan spoke in favour of the resolution of the committee.
After some further conversation, the resolution to spend £3000 at Seacombe was agreed to; but, at the request of the ferry manager an amendment was carried that an engineer should be employed to prepare the plans and specifications.
On the recommendation of this committee a sum of 100 guineas was voted to Mr. Roberts, the district auditor, for auditing the accounts of the board.
This was the whole of the business, and the board adjourned.