1860 oddments random articles from the Isle of Wight Observer
Isle of Wight Observer 19 May 1860
A DISAPPOINTED MENDICANT – Any stranger looking at the exterior of the police station of this town would imagine it to be the residence of some old amiable widow lady, or of a retired tradesman, who had accumulated sufficient to carry him to his last long home, and here rested for the remainder of his days. Some such idea as this no doubt occupied the mind of one Richard Gattrell, a beggar-man, who a Sunday or two ago gave a knock at the door, and in a whining tone solicited a few coppers to procure him a night’s lodging. Had the stalwart policeman who opened the door been in his uniform, Gattrell would doubtlessly have inquired the way to Newport or somewhere else, and tried his luck elsewhere; but it so happened that he was in his shirt sleeves, and Gattrell was thrown off his guard. The inquisitive PC having a desire to ascertain if Gattrell was really in distress, or whether he merely wished to possess the few coppers in order that he might get drunk at the expense of the benevolent, invited him in, and introduced him to Serjeant King, who had not doffed his uniform. “Do you know where you are?” was the stern interrogation of the serjeant. “Yes, sir.”, replied Gattrell, “I do now, but if I’d a’known it before I wouldn’t a’come.” “Well, you require a night’s lodging, and we have no objection to accommodate you,” responded the serjeant, “but first let us see what you have in your bundle.” Richard Gattrell’s bundle was overhauled, and in it was found sufficient provender to satisfy any reasonable man for five or six days, and on him was found enough money to deprive him of all excuse for begging. The unlucky mendicant retired to his cell like a true philosopher of the tribe, simply observing “that misfortunes would happen”. In the morning he was introduced to one of our local justices, who sentenced him to be imprisoned in Winchester gaol for seven days, with the addition of hard labour, to which he had evidently not been accustomed.
Isle of Wight Observer 19 May 1860
As soon as the Commissioners of the town have recovered from the panic into which Mr HEARN’S quo warranto bombshell has thrown them, we should like to call their attention to the state of the footway of the Esplanade, with its many holes and uneven state generally, the sharp points of the tar-embedded pebbles producing more exquisite pain to the feet of the incautious pedestrian than we imagine was endured by pilgrims of old, when they were compelled to march a longer or shorter distance with unboiled peas in their shoes. The town felt obliged to the Gas Company at the time for their liberality, but considering the manner the tarry abomination has been applied and its subsequent repairs, it was dear at a gift. We know of more than one thrifty housekeeper whose temper has been soured by finding more of the gaseous produce on her carpets than was agreeable or necessary. Had it been mixed with properly-screened ashes or gravel, it would no doubt have answered the purpose admirably, especially if the surface had been covered to the depth of three or four inches; but the mere flake laid on is worse than useless, as gravel itself would have been better and more easily repaired when Father Neptune thinks proper to arise and laugh at our – in this case at least – most puerile efforts to resist his fury.
Isle of Wight Observer 21 July 1860
ST SWITHIN’S REIGN – The anniversary of this saint was this year accompanied with rain, and the prediction of old-fashioned folks, that forty days rain will succeed, seems likely to be verified. Really, this continuation of rain gives a serious aspect to things, not only in an agricultural point of view, but it stops the migration of visitors to the sea side, and consequently makes long faces in the watering-places; indeed, who would leave home, unless forced, while such aqueous weather prevails? Let us hope for better things.
A FALSE ALARM – An eccentric gentleman in this town amused himself in the High-street on the night of Monday last, with shouting in a stentorian voice “Fire! Police” to the great alarm of very many quiet and peaceable people who were comfortably in their beds. On a policeman coming up the fears of the inhabitants who had arisen were dispelled, and the uproarious individual was persuaded to go home. It subsequently transpired that our eccentric visitor had come here for the purpose of deriving benefit from the cold water treatment at Dr Weeding’s establishment. The worthy-doctor’s external application of cold water will we should think be of little avail to this gentleman if he continue to apply internally a fluid much more elevating. As this is not the first time this gentleman has amused himself in this manner, if repeated, it may be a question for his friends to decide whether an establishment somewhat different from a hydropathic one would not be more suitable to his complaint.