January 6, 1866 RYDE

A NOVELTY –  On Tuesday last a hearse with four horses was driven by Mr Spencer to the end of the tramway-pier to receive a corpse from the steamboat. Such an event has not occurred before since the erection of the pier.

MISHAP ON THE PIER – On Monday evening, as one of the pier porters was conveying across the gangway the portmanteau of Lord Alfred Paget, who arrived by the Stokes Bay boat, he stumbled, and his lordship’s property fell into the water, from whence it  was ultimately drawn by a fish-hook. To make the accident still more annoying, it so happened that his lordship had received from Her Most Gracious Majesty an invitation to dine at Osborne on that evening, and the portmanteau contained his lordship’s court dress, which was completely spoiled. On this occasion it appears that it was not one of the regular porters, but a substitute for one who was ill, who took the portmanteau from the boat.

Isle of Wight Observer January 20, 1866

Richard Tyler was charged with being intoxicated on the pier on the 1st of January. Mr Ratcliffe, in support of the charge, called Charles Nuttal Tomlin, traffic superintendent, who stated that on the 1st of January, defendant was employed as an extra porter at the pier. He saw him about 7pm on that day, very drunk; in fact he had to take a parcel of Lord Alfred Paget’s, containing his Lordship’s Court dress, from the steamer to the pier, and he let it fall into the water. This was a very vexatious matter, as his Lordship had that evening been honoured with an invitation to dine with Her Majesty at Osborne (laughter). He immediately suspended him, and on the following morning asked him how it was he had got into such a state, and he said a lady had given him a glass of rum and it overcame him. At the time he had the usual brass badge of the Ryde pier porters on his arm. He had never seen him intoxicated before; on the contrary, up to the time in question, he had always behaved himself exceedingly well. – Mr Ratcliffe said it was the first offence, and the directors of the Pier Company had no wish whatever to press hard on the defendant. They were, however, fully determined to let all their porters see that they could not get drunk with impunity. Defendant expressed his regret for what had happened. He had with some of the other men gone to have some beef and beer, and that would have been all very well had he not taken a drop of rum afterwards. The Bench observed that it was a very serious matter for the porters to get drunk when on duty; indeed it had been shown in this instance. They inflicted a fine of 10s, but as Mr Ratcliffe had not pressed it, he would be excused the costs.

Lord Alfred Paget was the fourth son of the Ist Marquis of Anglesey, who lost a leg at the Battle of Waterloo. A diary written by Archibald Clarke, of Thornbrough, Binstead Road, Ryde, brings this event to life. In 1845, Archibald travelled to Belgium and Holland. During this trip, he visited Waterloo.

“Here I looked thro’ the church which contains about 20 or 30 monuments to the fallen……The Marquis of Anglesea’s leg was buried in a Garden near this church under a weeping willow…..In the house to which the garden belongs I was shown the table on which the amputation took place and the boot which contained the unfortunate limb – here I was told that 8 years ago the Marquis came to pay a visit to it and dined at the table on which he had had it amputated.”

After the Marquis died in 1854, his leg continued to be a tourist attraction and raised a considerable sum for the owners of the garden where it was buried. One Thomas Gaspey penned the following lines, which were widely published in the press of the time.

Here rests, and let no saucy knavePresume to sneer and laugh,To learn that mouldering in the graveIs laid a British calf.For he who writes these lines is sureThat those who read the wholeWill find such laugh were premature,For here, too, lies a sole.And here five little ones repose,Twin-born with other five;Unheeded by their brother toes,Who now are all alive.A leg and foot to speak more plainLie here, of one commanding;Who, though his wits he might retain,Lost half his understanding.And when the guns, with thunder fraught,Pour’d bullets thick as hail,Could only in this way be taughtTo give his foe leg-bail.And now in England, just as gay –As in the battle brave –Goes to the rout, review, or play,With one foot in the grave.Fortune in vain here showed her spite,For he will still be found,Should England’s sons engage in fight,Resolved to stand his ground.But fortune’s pardon I must beg,She meant not to disarm;And when she lopped the hero’s legBy no means sought his h-arm,And but indulged a harmless whim,Since he could walk with one,She saw two legs were lost on himWho never meant to run.

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