Rule by the Margate Local Board of Health 1851 - 1858

Anthony Lee

8. The Margate Board of Health

The first meeting of the new Local Board of Health took place in the Town Hall on Wednesday, 24 September 1851. According to the Kent Herald ‘the attendance of the members [of the Board] and inhabitants [was] numerous, and great interest taken in the proceedings by all present’, 152 whereas the Canterbury Journal reported that ‘a few inhabitants’ were present and, altogether, ‘the proceedings did not excite much interest’.153 The Canterbury Journal was probably nearer the mark; although a few important decisions were taken, this was done with none of rancour that had so enlivened meetings in the past. It was agreed unanimously that John Boys would be Chairman of the Board. John Boys, born in 1782, had been a local solicitor and Clerk to the local Cinque Port Magistrates until 1843 when he resigned in favour of his son John Harvey Boys, he himself becoming a Cinque Port Magistrate.154,155 He had been one of the Improvement Commissioners for many years, and a Director of the Margate Pier and Harbour Company; he was responsible for building the Clifton Baths. Boys was nervous about being chairman, as ‘the infirmities of nature were growing upon him’, but he felt that someone with a legal background was required to get the board ‘into good working train’, since many of the provisions of the Act under which they were appointed were ‘complicated and in some instances contradictory’.152 F. W. Cobb was appointed, also unanimously, as Treasurer and J. E. Wright, the former Clerk to the Improvement Commissioners, was appointed Clerk to the new board, at his old salary of £50 a year. The only real discussion at the meeting was over the appointment of a Surveyor, an Inspector of Nuisances, and an Officer of Health. Given that the new Board had not yet had a chance to discuss Cresy’s report, it was decided to delay any appointments to these posts, and, as an interim measure, three of the Board members, Edward White, George Ovenden, and Samuel Mercer were appointed a Committee ‘to report upon defective sewers &c.’.153 A Committee was also established to consider Cresy’s report, consisting of John Boys, Robert Chappel Osborn, Edward Mottley, George Ovenden, and Samuel Mercer.

From the beginning Boys seems to have been uncomfortable in the role of chairman. In October 1851 he wrote to the General Board asking if there were any printed instructions ‘to assist [him] in carrying out the objects of this new Law’.156 He was also unhappy about the lack of heating in the Town Hall. In January 1852 the Board set up a committee to consider warming the office of the Local Board, ‘at an expense of not more than £20’.157 A month later the committee reported that the cost of warming the whole building would be about £42: ‘this measure was advocated by Messrs. J. Boys, D. Price and others, and was strongly deprecated as a useless expenditure of money, by Messrs. E. Wright, Woodward, and Sturges. After considerable discussion, during which the chairman threatened to resign, unless the place was made warmer, the proposition was rejected’.158

Boys also seems to have had problems controlling the Board. In January 1852 the South Eastern Gazette complained that the ‘The Local Board of Health appear to be paralyzed from the for­midable nature of the compulsory clauses of the Public Health Act. For some weeks past they have met and departed, without doing anything except making a 9d. rate. The public expected more from them in the removal of nuisances’.159 A similar point was made by the Canterbury Journal in June 1852: ‘the Local Board of Health are in a most unhealthy state, and require a much stronger rope to keep them together’.160 These judgements were, perhaps, rather unfair as there were many minor issues that had to be settled in these first few months; just because they were minor did not mean that they were not contentious.

At the second meeting of the Board, on 21 October, the Board received the report of the committee established to frame the bye laws of the town.130 One of the bye laws established where carriage stands would be allowed. The Board had located one of these stands near the entrance to Grosvenor Place, where Frederick Chambers, one of the unsuccessful candidates for a place on the Local Board, owned property. On hearing of the plan Chambers wrote to the General Board in London, complaining that ‘the precise spot’ chosen by the Board for a coach stand, had ‘high buildings on each side and I believe would not admit of vehicles passing without dangers to passers by’.161  He asked that ‘that the [General] Board, in its power and authority and usual kind and patient consideration which has so marked its proceedings, will advise the Local Board of Health of Margate to withdraw such their intention, as there are many other named locations for such purpose which would offer ample and better accommodation.’ The General Board simply replied that this was a local matter, and they would not interfere.162 Undeterred, Chambers sent a copy of his letter to the Local Board and attended their meeting on 16 December.163 At the meeting J. E. Wright, the Clerk, asked if he had received a reply from the General Board, and Chambers said that he had and read the reply, that they had declined to interfere. This news was greeted with applause. Chambers then attempted to address the Board but was told by Boys ‘that bystanders could not be allowed to speak.’

Chambers was very upset by what he saw as his unsympathetic treatment by the Local Board. He wrote again to the General Board on 17 December:164

Having been a conspicuous promoter of the Public Health Act for Margate, I do not at present anticipate much sympathy at their hands, hence my letter to the General Board of Health, respecting the proposed Coach Stand in Grosvenor Place — at the same time I addressed my complaint in writing to the Local Board here. As I expected my letters upon the subject were not only blundered over and indifference shown by most members of the Board — but other and quite different business was gone into and a paper read taking up some time before the “Clerk” thought proper to finish the reading of the papers in my case. Now such mode of dealing with my application, and at the same time not allowing me to speak, left me without redress. I have laid out nearly £2000 in this Grosvenor Place — which property I believe must suffer damage. . . .  I therefore respectfully ask you how I may legally request to be heard when such important matters are to be settled between myself (or other persons) and the Local Board of Health of Margate.

Chambers was also very upset by the account of the Local Board meeting printed in the Kent Herald of 18 December and quoted above. He immediately sent a copy of the newspaper to the General Board,165 and wrote a rather strange and rambling letter to the Kent Herald, published in their issue of 1 January 1852:166

Sir,—In the Kent Herald of the 18th of December, 1851, in the report of the meeting of the Local Board of Health of Margate, it states that upon a certain letter being read from the General Board of Health, expressing not its unwillingness to respond to my complaint against a coach stand at the entrance (and the only useable entrance) of Grosvenor Place, but that it was a question of a strictly local character, and, therefore, re­ferred it to the Local Board of Margate. I say, the report states that there was applause! Was this by the members of the Local Board of Health of Margate? If true, I do not envy them their animus. I leave the public to judge how fit they are to do things justly in their official capacity. It is quite certain that the Public Health Act is not very cordially received by some of that body, whichI do not impute to their wisdom or humanity. It would appear that there are such persons in this said Local Board as are not able to discover the nice distinction between a pigsty and a drawing-room, or they are exceedingly offensive and unjust to their neighbours. Edward the Third, five hundred years since, knew too well (so the ancients, whose cities are no more) that the devastation of the plague was frightfully promoted by the dirty habits of the people. With pigsties and slaughter-houses showing them­selves in bold relief, with all their concomitant offensive filth spreading death around — "when contagion with mephitic breath, and wither'd famine urged the work of death" — "the King issued a command to the mayor and sheriffs, stating that from their practices abominable and most filthy stinks proceeded, sicknesses and many other evils having happened to such as had aboded in the city, or resorted thereto," and that in future no animals should be slaughtered nearer London than Stratford on one side, and Knightsbridge on the other. Now these places were not less than three miles distance from the city. Does not this put the opponents even to a rigid sanitory movement to the blush? In 1665, a later period than the above, as many as 4,000 have perished by the plague in one night, from the authorities being so lax in their sanitary duties. 10,000 houses were deserted, and according to "Defoe" 100,000 victims were offered as human sacrifices to the want of clean­liness, conveniences, and bad construction of the streets and houses. In the parish of Cripplegate alone, the disbursements to the poor amounted to £17,000 a week. Wheat, and general farming produce, suffered a most alarming reduction in price, from the loss of consumers by plague. I know that I have digressed from the subject of the coach stand, but, never­theless, this is a serious truth for the Local Board to consider, for the cholera, in its various forms, still strides the land. The Local Board of Health must do their duty. Rate payers and property owners must be treated courteously, and their cases justly and honestly heard and considered. And business men must sit there who have time to do their duty, and are ac­quainted with the life-destroying nature of cesspools and pig­sties, the prevalence of which is, in my opinion, a constant and great cause of the deplorable indispositions here, destroying our first and brightest hopes, and plunging the poor by sickness and death also into greater misery and degradation. Now it is for the avoidance of such sad things I promoted the Public Health Act, and yet when Dr. Chambers is supposed to have met with some little disappointment, there is applause. Nearly two thousand pounds have been laid out by me in building and the purchase of property in Grosvenor Place, and I am certain a coach stand (in a 24 feet road) will injure it, as well as be dangerous to pedestrians. True as your report reads, I com­plained of this injustice. The board made no motion on the subject, therefore there was applause.

Dec. 20th, 1851.
The Cottage, Margate.

 P.S.—The matter is now in the hands of the Secretary of State.

A further letter from Chambers to the General Board dated 15 March makes it clear that he had visited their offices in London to complain about the ‘reluctance by the members of the Local Board here to carry out the Public Health Act,’ and ‘the negligent and rude way in which my complaint was received and treated by the Local Board’.167 They advised him to address his complaints about the Coach Stand to the Home Secretary, George Grey, since he was responsible for matters such as Bye Laws. This Chambers did, sending a memorial to Grey signed by a number of local inhabitants, but heard nothing in reply. He wrote again to the General Board on 22 March to say that  he was ‘apprehensive my question was not understood’.168 He tried to make his question clearer: ‘Suppose my neighbour created such a filthy nuisance on his premises as to be dangerous to my health, and part of my family lay ill with malignant fever therefrom. How can I appear before the Local Board of Health with my complaint – my letters &c are disregarded, they are not even put properly before the Board by the Clerk’. By now the General Board had rather lost patience with Chambers, sending him the briefest of answers: ‘In reply I have to state that the only way of [gaining] the attention of the Local Board to your question is by application or complaint sent in the usual way. Such communications are generally sent to local authorities’.169


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At the second meeting of the Local Board on 21 October the committee considering Cresy’s report presented their own report. They concluded that Cresy’s report contained ‘erroneous statements and a remarkable misstatement of facts’ and that ‘it would be highly injurious and probably  a great waste of money for any steps whatever to be taken either to improve the drainage or to afford a better supply of water until a scientific and correct survey of the entire area of the district and of its levels shall have been made’.67,150 The Board therefore decided to write to the Board of Ordnance in London to ask whether they would agree to carry out a survey of Margate, and, if so, ‘what would be the expense of it.’ It was agreed that it would not be wise to go ahead with appointing a permanent Surveyor and Inspector of Nuisances until the survey was sorted out, and it was agreed that the former highway surveyor, Thomas D. Reeve, should meanwhile be appointed  ‘clerk of works and inspector of nuisances, at a salary of 5s. per week, pro tem., as a weekly servant’.170

By the end of November the Local Board had rather gone off the idea of having a survey of the town.171 Mottley argued that ‘the preparation of a plan and survey would be premature’ as the Local Board was ‘as yet imperfectly acquainted with the provisions of the act of parliament’ and ‘the Board was not in working order’. He therefore proposed that the survey ‘be postponed for the present’ a motion that was carried. The postponement, however, did not last long, as on 10 February the following year it was decided ‘by a small majority’ that the Ordnance survey should go ahead.172 Progress was then rapid and by October the survey was complete and the map was being considered by the Board.173 A fuller account of the survey is given in the Section ‘History of Ordnance Survey Maps of Margate.’

Meanwhile some progress was being made in dealing with the better known and more obvious ‘nuisances’ in the town. The old Improvement Commissioners in January 1851 had discussed the possibility of removing Pump Lane to make a new street to the Fort, so removing a terrible eyesore and opening up better access to the new properties being built in Fort Crescent and Fort Paragon.174 In February the issue had been ‘very warmly debated’ and led to a ‘violent altercation between Messrs. Mottley and Waddington, the former supporting, and the latter opposing’ the demolition.112 It was finally decided to delay any decision until it was known if a Local Board of Health was to be established in Margate.112 Now, at the Local Board meeting on 20 January 1852, Edward Mottley brought the issue up again, and proposed that a committee be established ‘to examine certain decayed houses and houses without sufficient  water closets and privies, prejudicial to public health, situated in Spiller's Court, Meeting Court, Love Lane, King Street, and Pump Lane’.175 Mottley suggested that all members of the Board should obtain there own ‘ocular evidence’ of the conditions in this part of town. Despite some rather half-hearted attempts at delay, Mottley’s proposal was agreed and a committee was established to ’examine and report’. On the committee were Edward Mottley, William Barker, Rice Giles Higgins, David Price, John Mercer, William Druce Pickering, Edward R. H. Wright, Richard Mannings and James Standring.67

At this same meeting William Brooke, a member of the Board, proposed that he should sell to the Board, for public walks, ‘the present Promenade on the Fort for £170 – the Field in front of Fort Crescent west of the Paragon, for £440 and the Field in rear of the Paragon for £400, and estimated the costs of erecting an iron fence on the south and a portion of the east and west sides of the fields at about £200.’ It was decided to refer the proposal to a committee made up of Richard Wood, William Barker, Edward Mottley, George Ovenden, Edward White, Edward R. H. Wright, George Sturges,  John Harvey Boys, and David Price ‘and that such Committee do report fully as to the propriety of negotiating with Mr. Brooke for the purchase of the property offered’.67

At the next meeting of the Local Board, in February, the Committee asked to investigate the ‘decayed houses’ made their report:67

The Committee recommend that the Local Board duly authorize the clerk to serve notices on the owner of a wooden dwelling and two houses opposite the same in Meeting Court . . . Also that the owners of other properties in the said Court be served with notices – they also are of opinion that a dilapidated house in Crofts Court requires immediate repair – also that notice be served on the owner of a pig-sty in the said Court for its immediate removal.

They are unanimously of opinion that the Basement story of the houses in Spellers Court is in a very unhealthy state and prejudicial to the health of the inhabitants of that locality and calls for immediate remedy.

The Committee are desirous to impress on the Local Board the unhealthy and dangerous condition of the houses in Pump-lane as being without proper privy accommodation as required by the Public Health Act.

The Committee have examined the premises of No. 3 Bridge street and find them subject to unhealthy exhalations from the stagnant soil and water collected in the cesspools and recommended that the Surveyor be authorized by the Local Board to serve notice on the owner.

The Committee also beg to suggest the erection of Public urinals and other Places of accommodation wherever convenient and suitable situations can be found. Agreed and ordered to be carried out.

The proposed purchase of land on the Fort was also discussed, and the proposal was lost ‘by a small majority’.172 However, in March, Edward Mottley raised the issue again.176 He argued that the Fort promenade was ‘one of the greatest attractions of the town of Margate, and the great resort of the visitors’; the question was referred back to the original committee. They reported to the April meeting that they were in favour of the purchase, but the Board wanted more information about the ownership of the land, how the land would be paid for, and whether or not the General Board would allow the purchase.177 Mottley, as chairman of the Committee, wrote to the General Board on 16 April asking for their advice:178

The Margate Local Board of Health having the opportunity of purchasing two pieces of land on the Fort at Margate – Have deputed the preliminary enquiries and arrangements to a Committee. On behalf of that Committee I have to request the favour of your attention to the following statement – One of the pieces of Land has for a long period been used as a promenade and it is in fact the principal public walk for the visitors and inhabitants – who resort to it in great numbers in consequence of its fine sea views – and it has been maintained as a public walk by the late Commissioners of  Pavement – But from the fall of the cliff during a number of years the area of the promenade has become too limited for the public accommodation.

The second available piece of land is a meadow of about three and a half acres now let as pasture ground – a portion of this meadow is required to enlarge the public walk – and as both pieces of land are to be acquired at a fair price viz. £170 for the promenade (now rented by the Local Board of Health at £12 per annum) and the meadow for £400, now let for £20 per annum.

The committee wish for information as to the power of the Board:

1st To Borrow money to effect the purchase either from the General Board, or by private Loan (at 4 per cent), on the security of the rates.

2nd Whether the Local Board may let the part of the meadow not required to enlarge the promenade walk which would leave it at their disposal at some future time.

3rd And whether a Special District Rate may be levied to erect and maintain the fence in front of the Fort Paragon, the Local Board being memorialized to that effect by the principal owners and occupiers of the Property.

Fort Crescent Perry
Fort Crescent
[Perry 2 June 1855]

The General Board replied that this would be possible: ‘the Local Board have powers under the 73rd or 74th section of the Public Health Act to purchase so much of the pieces of land described in your letter as they may require for the purpose of public walks or pleasure grounds, but that such purchase must be with the approval of the General Board, and only of so much of the land in question as is need for the purpose in view’.179 The committee duly presented their report to the May meeting of the Local Board, arguing that the way was now clear for the purchase of the land, but the Local Board was not convinced, and ‘considerable discussion took place’.180 John Boys thought that ‘great caution ought to be exercised in making this purchase.’ One issue was that of purchasing land from Brooke, a member of the board; this would be open to accusations of corruption or ‘jobbery’; Section 9 of the Public Health Act made it clear that anyone proposing the purchase of land or property ‘should be free from all personal interest, gain, or profit’ and that ‘no bargain or jobbing should be allowed to take place between the Local Board and the person making such proposition.’ John Boys was also worried about the expense, particularly since the board ‘already had plans before them for upwards of £2000, and they ought to consider economy’.180 Edward Mottley countered the cost argument by suggesting that the cost would, in fact, be ‘nominal’, as they could borrow the money from Cobb’s Bank at just four percent. Also arguing in favour of the purchase was Boys’ son, John Harvey Boys, a partner in his father’s solicitors firm, who was worried about the possible loss of so popular an amenity for the visitors to Margate. Nevertheless, the Local Board finally rejected the report, which meant rejecting the proposed purchase, by one vote.180 

Much to John Boys’ dismay, this was not the end of the matter, and Edward Mottley placed a notice on the agenda at the next Local Board meeting in June, ‘to consider the propriety of revoking a resolution passed on the 18th of May last, negativing a re­commendation of the Fort Promenade Committee to apply for the sanction of the General Board of Health for the purchase of two plots of ground from W. Brooke, Esq., for a public walk and pleasure ground, and purchasing such other plots of ground as recommended by the committee’.181 John Boys, having read the notice, said ‘that if the mo­tion was carried he should resign the office of chairman and consider his functions at an end. It was inconsistent to do and undo — to pass resolutions at one meeting, rescind them the next.’  He was also upset that the Fort Promenade Committee had already written to the General Board, giving ‘a one-sided opinion.’ Apart from anything else he thought ‘it would ill become them to expend vast sums of the public money when the drains and sewage re­quired to be attended to’. Unfortunately, the meeting was against him. Edward Mottley said that ‘it was essential to preserve public walks and promenades, and this was one of the few improvements that could be effected at a nominal ex­pense’, and a memorial from the Margate rate payers in favour of the purchase had been submitted to the Board. Dr David Price, later to become Chairman of the Local Board, argued that cost should not be a problem: ‘so far from this purchase being an expensive one it would be quite the contrary. The promenade which they rented at £12 per annum, they could purchase for £170. The meadow let for £20 per annum, that they could have for £440, and they had already expended £60 in fencing and placing seats upon the promenade, and the purchase would buy them the freehold.’ Edward Mottley then suggested that ‘the chairman unfortunately was deaf — he could not hear the argument, or he would not speak against reason, the chairman might as well be in China.’ The motion was then put to the Board and carried, 15 voting in favour, including John Harvey Boys, and 6 against.67 John Boys responded by saying ‘that he considered the vote as final, and immediately resigned the office of chairman.’

The following day John Boys wrote to the General Board telling them of his resignation and giving his reasons:182

Finding that a Committee of our local Board of Health has by an ex parte Statement to the [General] Board, obtained their Sanction to a treaty for purchasing of one of their own members a piece of land for ornamental pleasure grounds, instead of performing much more important measures by removing many of the Nuisances complained of, I beg leave to state the Grounds upon which I have resigned the duties of Chairman, Namely; That the Purchase of that Ground being next the Sea and in a constant state of wasting, cannot  fail to become a most expensive matter to protect against the Sea in the course of a very few years, whereas it can only benefit a very small portion of the inhabitants, and those chiefly about twenty in number who ought at their own expense to defend their property, as I have done with the adjoining land called the Clifton Baths, at an expense of about £15,000 — Those 20 inhabitants and owners yesterday memorialized the local Board to take this matter upon themselves at the expense of the Town funds and Rates, and I therefore considered the injustice of the case to be as great as it was unfair, so to forestall the opinion of the Board by an ex parte statement. The preceding Court after long discussion had voted against the purchase, but yesterdays Court revoked that Order.

I beg to add, that the Sea Wall of Lower Marine Terrace which cost £9000 is(as to 1/3rd of it) supported by a special rate upon that property — and the Pleasure Ground in Hawley Square is wholly supported by its own Special rate —  also the property on the  cliff now  sought to be supported and purchased may be made more attractive to visitors, yet I cannot discover that any Special Rate can be made as in the cases above mentioned, and the measure, if confirmed by your Board, must throw the ultimate defence of those 20 houses  from the individual owners, upon the Town Funds,   than which no greater injustice could be committed: for all which reasons, I felt, as being the only resident County Magistrate in this Town, that I could not consistently remain any longer as Chairman to countenance it.

On 21 June 1852 Edward Mottley wrote to the General Board in London on behalf of the Fort Promenade Committee in response to John Boys’ resignation letter; ‘The Fort Promenade Committee feel it their duty to answer its allegations as their conduct is stated to be the principal reason of such resignation’.183 In answer to the charge from John Boys that the Committee had, by ex parte statements obtained the sanction of the General Board for the land purchase, Mottley reminded the Board that, in fact, no sanction had been asked for, and none had been given. As to the second charge, that the ‘purchase was to be from one of their own members’, Mottley argued that William Brooke had never been a member of the Fort Promenade Committee and that anyway his membership of the Local Board had now ceased, for reason of non-attendance at the Board; this, although true, was hardly in the spirit of the Act. As to the other charges, Mottley thought that the properties on the Fort were not under danger from cliff falls, that comparisons between the Fort and the Hawley Square gardens were false and that ‘there is . . . no necessary connection between any extension of a Promenade and the continuation of nuisances.’

The next meeting of the Local Board was in July; John Boys did not attend.184 Dr. David Price was asked to act as chairman, as a temporary measure, as Wright, the clerk to the Board, thought that Boys’ ‘resignation was conditional only’. David Price started the meeting by saying that ‘he hoped the meeting would be calm and fair, and calm and considerate.’ He hoped that this would make their meetings shorter, a wish that was received with applause from the other members of the Board. John Boys, in fact, attended no more meetings of the Local Board and David Price took over as Chairman. Overall, it is hard to avoid the impression that John Boys was relieved no longer to be Chairman. As to the Fort, the General Board gave their sanction for the purchase; the full story is told in The Fort Promenade. The property in Pump Lane was also purchased and cleared away to make the road to the Fort, as described in Pump Lane.

Another major issue facing the Board at this time, and one that was also to lead to a resignation, was that of the Margate Pier and Harbour Company and their wish to build a new Jetty in place of Jarvis’s Landing Place. The full story of the new Jetty is told elsewhere (The New Jetty) but the key facts are as follows. As already described, the Pier and Harbour Company got a clause included in the Provisional Order to allow them to reduce the company’s sinking fund and to use the money released to build a new Jetty, provided that they first had the agreement of the Local Board. The Company duly produced plans for a new Jetty, costing considerably more than the initial estimates, and presented them to the Local Board for their approval in June 1852.181 At this meeting J. E. Wright, Clerk to the Board, ‘said that it was his duty [as Clerk] to recommend that a committee be formed to consider the plans and estimates, and that such committee be formed of members of the Board, not shareholders nor bondholders [in the Company], and that they be instructed to inquire into the intention of levy­ing a toll upon the public using the new jetty and landing, and the state of the bonded debt, and every question connected with the plan and estimates.’ G. Y. Hunter, Chairman of the Pier Company, speaking  ‘as the representative of the Pier Company’ said that the Directors of the Company  ‘had not the most remote intention of levying a toll’ but that ‘he should consider the instructions to the committee so discourteous, so over-passing the duties of the board, that he should at once say that the plans and specification would be withdrawn, and that the great plan for the ornament and improve­ment of the town be abandoned — they would not be restricted.’ Wright replied that ‘Mr. Hunter and the present directors might be replaced by others of different views. It was his duty to advise the board to name a committee, to instruct them as to the nature of this inquiry.’ Then, it was reported ‘Messrs, Hunter and J. Wright, the clerk, with some warmth expounded their different views of the subject’. Wright ‘urgently pressed upon the Board the necessity of supporting the original motion, with instructions to the Committee, particularly as to a guarantee from the Pier Direc­tors not to levy a toll upon the new jetty’. Hunter replied that ‘he did not believe that the Directors had the power to give any such guarantee. He did not consi­der they could legally demand a toll, and he was satisfied that they had no desire to attempt its imposition. But he would not consent to surrender any of the rights and privileges of the Pier Company, which as their Chairman he was bound to protect; he further said that the Directors of an important company ought not to be asked for such a guarantee. It would be disrespectful for them to do so and if it were pressed it should never be given with his consent, and so far as he was concerned if that instruction was persisted in he should consider the matter at an end, and deeply regret that the progress of a measure had been obstructed which he believed of vital importance to the best interests of the town of Margate and the Pier Company. The Local Board had a ministerial duty to perform, they ought to examine plans and suggest improvements, but not impose restrictions.’ The motion to establish a Committee and ask for guarantees from the Pier and Harbour Company was then put to the vote and carried by a majority of one.

This committee presented its report to the Local Board meeting at its August meeting, when J. E. Wright announced that he was resigning over the issue.185 The event was reported at length in the Kent Herald:185

The last notice being to receive the resignation of the clerk, Mr. J. E. Wright, and to appoint a successor, excited considerable attention. Mr J. E. Wright said, that previous to his tendering his resignation he should read to the Board the correspondence of the committee appointed to consider the reconstruction of the landing place, with the directors of the pier. Shortly after the appointment of the committee, the members Messrs. J.  Boys, S. Mercer, E. Mottley, T. Flint, Wm. Mercer, Wood, and Osborne, met, and directed him to write to the Pier directors, requesting them to allow the committee to inspect the plans and estimates of the intended landing place. The next day he received a reply, under date June 21: —

"Mr. J. E. Wright, Sir, — I am directed by the Directors of the Margate Pier and Harbour Company to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, with a resolution raised by a majority of one at a meeting of the local Board of Health, on the 15th, and to inform you that as that resolution contains instructions to the committee thereby appointed to consider the propriety of obtaining from the directors certain guarantees, and as it thereby assumes a power to control the Pier Company, which the directors do not admit the Local Board to possess, and which guarantees if asked for, the directors, as the guardians of the rights and privileges of the Pier Company, have neither the power nor the inclination to give, they deem it useless so long as those instructions form part of the resolution to proceed further with the negotiation which has been commenced under the 2lst clause of the provisional order, a conclusion which they have come to with unfeigned regret, because it delays the pre­liminary inquiry as to the possibility of accomplishing a work which they believe to be of vital importance to the best interests of the Pier Company and the inhabitants of Margate."

This letter Mr. J. Wright said, in the exercise of his discretion he had withhold from the committee, as he thought that in a day or two the Pier Company would have recovered their  reason. Mr. Ovenden asked Mr. Wright how long he had withheld this letter from the committee? and whether a meeting of the Board had been held since it had been received by him? Mr. Wright. — I do not know. Yes — one meeting of the Board had taken place. Mr. G. Ovenden. — Very curious, very curious indeed. Mr. J. Wright. — It got wind that I received a letter, and on Thursday last Mr. Mottley convened a meeting of the committee, which he had a right to do. The committee had directed him to read the letter to the Board. Mr. Mottley said that he should move that the letter be entered in the minutes, and “that a committee be appointed to confer with the Pier directors relative to the erection of an intended new landing-place, and that such committee consist of all the members of the Local Board, not proprietors of pier shares nor  bond-holders." It would be unnecessary for him to say how important to the town the erection of this new approach would be. Every improvement that emanated from the Local Board, however requisite or desirable, must be preceded by, accompanied with, and followed by a rate; but this improvement would not cost the inhabitants one shilling. The interest of the £10,000 now in the funds, would go to augment the dividends of the shareholders. They were every way entitled to receive it; but if the new landing place was erected a con­siderable portion of the large sum required would be expended for labour —employment would be created, probably it would be the commencement of important improvements. The members of the committee would be quite competent to take care of the interests of the inhabitants. Mr. Wm. Pickering said that he seconded the motion for the appointment of a committee with much pleasure.

Mr. Ovenden said the proposition met with his approbation. He wished the committee seriously and attentively to examine the entire question; when the committee met he had some im­portant questions to put. — Mr. J. Flint said that the resolution recommended itself, and he should not offer any vexatious opposition, in fact, it was their only mode of escape — but he must express his opinion that they had the power to reject the plans or estimates, and that the letter just read by their esteemed clerk was a threat, and he never could submit to threats. Motion put to appoint a committee — carried unanimously. — Mr. Wright then rose and said that his reason for resigning the office of clerk, was that he felt he no longer possessed the respect and confidence of the members on certain points. The clerk's office was one of much responsibility and anxiety. He had drawn up a written statement, which he should read, and enter on the minutes: — The statement set forth the original plan of the proposed landing — that it was to cost £15,000, and be thus derived; £9,000 from the sinking fund, £2,000 from the sale of the old jetty, £6,000 to be borrowed; and that the reduction of the interest on the bonds was to cover the interest of the loan. That the new head of the jetty was to project into the sea 300 feet beyond the present one, and give large steamers the opportunity of calling and landing, and embarking at all times of tide. That the directors came before them with a new plan, that the new head was only to be 80 feet longer than the present, and the structure to cost £13,000 instead of £15,000. These with some minor points were the reasons Mr. Wright alleged as the cause of his resignation, and said that Mr. Hunter had stated that there was no intention on the part of the directors to inflict a toll. Mr. Wright's resignation being given, Mr. R. G. Higgins proposed, and Mr. Ovenden seconded, Mr. J. H. Boys as clerk to the board. — Mr. Wright appeared to doubt if a member of the board could be clerk of the board. — Mr. Mottley said that would be met in the proper manner.    Motion put that Mr. J. H. Boys be the clerk — carried unanimously. — Mr. Price, chairman, said he should always respect Mr. Wright, for directing attention to the probability of a toll on the intended landing.

And so in a period of three months both the Chairman of the Board, John Boys, and the Clerk to the Board, J. E. Wright, had resigned. At the next meeting of the Local Board, on 17 August, a resolution was passed unanimously that ‘that this board desires to assure the late clerk, Mr. J. E. Wright, that he retires with the entire respect of its members, and to convey to him its un­qualified approval of the zeal, integrity, and uncompromising independence displayed by him in the discharge of the arduous duties of his office, and that the present clerk be directed to send Mr. Wright a copy of this resolution’.186 At this same meeting, John Harvey Boys resigned as a member of the Local Board and was immediately elected Clerk to the Board.186

With this new leadership, things started to change, although at a slow and steady rate:187

The question has been asked, “What is the Board of Health doing?” We can tell them what it has done; it has procured for the inhabitants what they long craved for, open courts; the election of the commissioners by the rate­payers in lieu of self-election. It has also conferred upon them several other benefits, and they are steadily pursuing a sure path, having a due regard to the interests of their constituents. What it has not done is this; they have not effected radical changes at an enormous outlay, as at many other towns has been the case, producing enormous rates. Water and sewerage will be provided in good time. We think it foolish to urge the board to do that which would cause great outlays merely for the sake of blaming them afterwards.

The Board had to strike a difficult balance; although a proper water supply and sewerage system had been identified as being essential in Cresy’s report, the local rate payers were scared of the costs involved. In September 1852, at the annual election of new members, G. Y. Hunter, a local G. P. and Chairman of the Pier and Harbour Company, was elected onto the Board,188 and, in September 1854, Frederick Chambers and J. Towne were also elected onto the Board,189 Frederick Chambers having stood for election in 1852 and 1853 without success.190,191 The following month a handbill was circulated complaining of ‘a few influential members of the Local Board’ who were determined to push ahead with an improved drainage system at an estimated cost of £20,000.192 It was argued that this was not needed, and could not be afforded. A list of rates was given, starting in 1851 when the Local Board was established:



Poor rate

Church rate

Highway rate

Town rate

Total in the pound


2s. 0d.



1s. 6d.

4s. 0d.


2s. 3d.



1s. 11d.

4s. 4d.


2s. 3d.



2s. 2d.

4s. 7d.


2s. 3d.



2s. 2d.

4s. 7d.


As well as these rates, a rate payer living in a special-rated district would have to pay additional rates, such as the Fort Promenade Fence rate, the Cliff Terrace Improvement rate, and so on. From the list it was clear that the Town Rate, for which the Local Board was responsible, had gone up more than the other rates and it was estimated that an improved drainage system costing £20,000 would, if paid off over 30 years, be equivalent to an additional rate of 1s. 6d. in the pound. 

Although progress on the water supply and sewerage systems was to be delayed for many years (see Water and Drainage) Chambers, and Hunter in particular kept pressing on the smaller nuisances. An early victory, even though a small one, was in dealing with Meeting Court. This, and ‘its wretched neighbourhood,’ had been inspected in 1852 and found to be in ‘a sad and lamentable condition’ with much sickness and fever, which, it was said, would continue ‘as long as such soil remains at the doors of the houses’.286 The state of Meeting court was discussed again the following year when two medical certificates were read ‘as to the unhealthy condition of several of the houses’.287 This time something was done: ‘The commissioners of the Board of Health have made a very great improvement by having Meeting-court paved, which now makes a good thorough­fare from King-street to Love-lane’.288 The cost of paving the court was just £48 7s., and this was charged to the owners of the property.67

The Local Board now turned its attention to pig sties and other nuisances. At their meeting in November 1853, the Local Board considered a proposal to ‘remove all pig-sties within a certain area situate in the lower part the town’.289 This engendered much discussion: ‘nearly every member of the Board present . . .  made some observations upon it, particularly Mr. Flint, because it included all pigs whether clean or dirty’. It was finally agreed that all pig sties would be removed ‘where proved a nuisance,’ and ‘several notices for removal of pig-sties were signed’.289,290 The Board also accepted a proposal that they should carry out house-to-house visitations to identify all nuisances. The town was divided into four districts and seven members of the Local Board were assigned to each district to carry out the visitations. It was stressed that ‘the admission of the members of the Board into the premises of the ratepayers is optional on their part.’

Although many pig sties were removed at this time, Charles Jarrett, Robert Wood and Edward Thomas Relph, three butchers, refused to remove the pig sties on their premises and they were summoned to appear before the local magistrates. The case came up on 16 December:291

Friday. (Before A. Crofton and T. Blackburn, Esqrs.) Marchant v. Robt. Wood.—Same v. Thos. Ralph. Same v. Chas. Jarrett.—These were informations by the inspector of police against defendants, for not removing pigs, pursuant to notices served on them by the Margate Local Board of Health on the 22nd of November last. Mr. Towne appeared for the Local Board, and represented that the defendants, who were butchers, had, with many others for a long time past, kept herds of swine in a crowded locality behind King-street, and which was well known to be the lowest and most unhealthy part of the town; that the Local Board had had the matter under their deliberation, and determined to do all they could to purify the densely-populated part where these pigs were kept; that all the poorer people, who had kept swine, had removed them in compliance with the notices of the Board, but the defendants, who might be considered comparatively wealthy, had thought proper to set the Local Board at defiance; however, he trusted to have the support of the Bench. He added, that there never was a time when cleanliness was more demanded, or the appearances more alarming, than what now was to be discovered in the neighbourhood of these pig-sties. — Mr. Delasaux objected that the information was laid by the wrong officer, as under the Board of Health Act, the proceedings were required to be instituted by the Local Board, or sanctioned by the Attorney General. — Mr. Towne contended that, as the Inspector of Police was acting as the officer, and under the direction of the Board, his information was sufficient; and if it were not, he was willing to substitute another name in the information, and proceed at once to the merits of the case, as all parties and witnesses were now in attendance and he added it would be a mere waste of time to insist upon the objection, and so procrastinate the hearing. — This, however, not being assented to, the information was dismissed.

As reported in the South Eastern Gazette:292

The question now in course of agitation here is, are pigs a nuisance or are they not? Proceedings were taken before the magistrates . . . to endeavour to get the judgment of the court upon the subject, but these proceedings were stopped by a technical objection on the part of the advocate of those who had been summoned. A good deal of excitement was rife, and an army of medical opinions had been engaged both for and against the pigs; the case, however, still remains to be tried on its merits. The Health of Towns Act says that whosoever keeps any swine or pig-stye on any dwelling-house, or so as to be a nuisance to any person, &c., for twenty-hours after written notice from the local board of health to remove the same, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding 40s., and to a further penalty of 5s. for every day during which the offence is continued. So says the law, but opinions are conflicting as to whether they are a nuisance. The pigs in this case are kept in King-street. From what we have heard of the merits of these cases, they are such as, we believe, would not ensure convictions, and we hope to see some arrangements of an amicable nature come to. We have heard some complaints of the manner in which the house to house visitation has been conducted. Courtesy is due to all, and we know that if it has been found wanting in some cases, it has not been the case generally. The system is a good one, and if worked out well by those who have the conduct of it, good will result. Many cases have already come to light which have shown the necessity of its introduction.

The discussion of the failed prosecution at the Local Board meeting on 20 December was very heated:293

On Tuesday a meeting of the members of the Local Board of Health was held; D. Price, Esq., M.D., in the chair. The report had reference to the recent failure of the law proceedings against Messrs. Relph, Wood, and Jarrett, for persisting in keeping pigs  within the rating area, contrary to a resolution of the Board. The Inspector explained that the proceedings were carried out in accordance with the orders of the clerk, and that if any blame attached to the conductors of the suit, it was not himself that could be censured. The Clerk observed that the error in the proceedings were on his side, and not in any way connected with Mr. Reeve. Ovenden defended the cause of the pigs, declaring the conduct of the Board vindictive. The Chairman insisted on the withdrawal of the word "vindictive," and after a good deal of beating about for another word the charge of vindictiveness was withdrawn. Mr. Ovenden concluded by wholly condemning the prosecutions against persons for keeping pigs, and now suggested the matter be allowed to drop, and that no further proceedings be taken. — Mr. Busfield opposed the conclusion of Mr. Ovenden’s remarks, and in substance charged the Board with being afraid to proceed with the question because Mr. Relph was a member of the Board. — Mr. Relph denied the assertion, and condemned the conduct of the Board, and which he called a prosecuting society. The chairman requested the withdrawal of such an accusation. Mr. Relph declined. The chairman insisted on it. Mr. Ovenden considered the term applicable. The chairman denied it, and continuing to insist upon its withdrawal, Mr. Relph bowed to the firmness of the worthy chairman, and withdrew the offensive term. Mr. Busfield again urged consistent conduct, and they could not, with order and propriety, allow the proceedings to drop. The order of the Board had gone forth and it ought to be obeyed. Mr. Sturgess took a similar view, as did also Mr. Flint. Mr. Caveler belabored those members who signed the pig removal notices, because they did not know what they were signing. It was, however, presently shown to Mr. Caveler, he was one of the parties he was now condemning. Ultimately an arrangement was made by which proceedings against the pig removal were deferred till next meeting. A committee of thirteen was appointed to inspect the premises and report thereon.

It was not, of course, to be expected that Joshua Waddington would refrain from giving his opinion on the pig question, and on 19 December he wrote the following letter to the Kent Herald:294


To the Editor of the Kent Herald

Sir,—The celebrated Dr. Bancroft may be considered the first authority who presumed to deny the febrific influence of putrefying animal matter — at least as far as the generation of contagious fever was concerned. He gave co­pious statements concerning the freedom from disease enjoyed by those engaged in the preparation of glue, or in the carrying of hides, by butchers, knackers, nightmen, and gut makers — in short by all those traders or manufacturers constantly en­gaged in the manipulation of putrescent animal matters. In support of Dr. Bancroft's position, I may remark, that butchers and the slaughtermen, their wives and their errand boys, are plump and rosy; they are generally also cheerful and good-natured; neither does their bloody occupation nor their beef-eating, render them savage as some theorists pretend, and even as the English law presumes. They are subject to few ailments, and these the result of plethora. The atmosphere of the slaughter-house, though sufficiently disgusting to the nose, does not appear to be at all injurious to health. The mere odours of animal substances, whether fresh or putrid, are not hurtful; indeed they seem to be often decidedly useful. Thus, consumption is remarkably rare among the men em­ployed in the slaughter-house. The atmosphere of the slaughter­house, imbued with a foreign admixture. is moreover less sus­ceptible of those natural changes which produce epidemics. From this circumstance, conjoined with their diet and habits of life, butchers are less subject than other trades to cholera and dysentery. To the same favourable combination I attribute their comparative exemption from diseases, considered as infectious or contagious. Our local board of health (insti­gated by Dr. F. Chambers) have commenced an onslaught against pig-sties! After nearly forty years' extensive practice in this salubrious locality, I venture to say, that the exhala­tions proceeding from pig-sties, do not prejudice in the slightest decree the health of the persons constantly exposed to their influence.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Joshua WADDINGTON , Surgeon.
Margate, Dec. 19th.     

An unsigned letter published the following month set out the opposite case:295


To the Editor of the  Kent Herald
Sir,—The conservation of the public health, involving  the life and death of individuals, is a matter too grave and serious to be imperilled by local feeling or the desire to obtain a spurious popularity by the defence of old-standing abuses.

In the correspondence that has appeared in your columns relating to pig keeping and the removal of nuisances, the writers, both for and against the attempts of the Margate Local Board of Health to purify the more confined and di­seased portions of the town, appear to have lost sight of a very important consideration; viz., that we are on the eve of a visitation [of cholera] which has already given society sufficient warning of its approach. The authority of Dr. Bancroft is antiquated; Dr. Copland, though a much later writer, had not the advan­tages possessed by the medical enquirers of the present day, who have ample means of tracing the paths of epidemics, whether scarlatina, typhus, cholera, or diseases of a generic character, through the squalid abodes of avarice, indolence, and neglect. There is no fact more patent than the cheering and consolatory one, that cleanliness, ventilation, and pure air will mitigate and greatly modify if they do not prevent the fatal course of epidemic, and the presence of accumulating masses of decaying matter and animal refuse in close and badly ventilated streets, courts, and alleys, ascertain to render its unfortunate neighbours susceptible of disease. If the odours of putrid animal substance are decidedly useful, then the London grave yard should be upheld with its reeking abomi­nations, and we must seek the abode of Hygeia in the krall of the Hottentot, and not on the open plain and spacious amply ventilated mansion of modern erection. If practical proof were wanting, let the relieving officer say where his presence is required, where parochial aid most needed, where the doctor visits late and early, and where disease is death. The task of cleansing the foul and neglected purlieus, and enforcing attention to the propriety due to civilized existence, is not a pleasant one, but every well-constituted mind will rejoice to see the attempt successfully accomplished. The greatest benefit will be received by the poor and ignorant, who are too often misled by prejudice and affected sympathy.

Margate, January 5, 1854.

The Committee appointed to inspect the pig sties reported on 17 January 1854 that the premises of Charles Jarrett and Robert Wood were not in an unhealthy location and so could remain, but that of Edward Relph was ‘not a desirable situation for the keeping of pigs’.67 G. Y. Hunter then spoke ‘with great animation’ and said:296

nothing could be more fallacious than the opinion that masses of decaying animal and vegetable refuse were not injurious to health, they might not produce epidemic but they rendered the individuals subjected to this influence eminently liable to sink under the attacks. He did not require to consult any authority upon this subject, beyond his own experience, extending over a lengthened practice. He knew too well the dire effect arising from a poisoned at­mosphere. It was not for the individual living in a well-ventilated mansion, with every means at his command to resist the morbid influence, to prevent the poor man receiving the benefit intended by a wise and enlightened legislature. It was very selfish policy to obstruct those sanitary improvements that would so greatly benefit the poor man; we must not only give him education, but make his home happy and comfortable. (Applause.) He should move a resolution to the effect that slaughter-houses, pig-sties, and accumulation of decayed animal and vegetable refute were injurious to health, and prejudicial to Margate as a place of healthful resort. After an animated discussion, it was entered on the minutes. Dr. Price, the chairman, fully concurring in its sentiments, and citing the eminent authority of Dr. Simon, the medical officer of the city of London, in support of the evil effects of decaying putrid animal refuse, rendering the attack of cholera fatal.

Mr. E. Wright here stated that Mr. Relph had informed him that he was killing off his pigs as fast as possible; he had received a message to that effect. After a lengthened discussion, in which Messrs. Abbott and Pickering took part, it was resolved to give Mr. Relph formal notice through the Inspector of nuisances.

In February 1854 the House-to-House Visitation committee presented their report to the Local Board and ‘after a long debate, and two amendments, the following resolution was carried by a majority of one vote "That the inspector of nuisances call on the parties offending, and remonstrate with them, and report to the next meeting"’.297 The Kentish Gazette commented, ‘as 180 nuisances are to be inspected, the inspector will have something to do’.297 However the approach seems to have worked as by May 1854 only 50 cases remained where there had been no improvement.298 In these cases the Clerk of the Local Board ‘was instructed to give the offenders notice to remove the same within three weeks, and in default to commence further proceedings’.298  However problems still remained. As Chambers wrote to the General Board in January 1855: ‘There are numerous piggeries, slaughterhouses, stables &c. &c.’ in the town and ‘our  [Police] Inspector tells me that he cannot remove pigs that are a nuisance, unless persons in the immediate neighbourhood of them complained, which is not very likely, for very many of the people of the town appear to have a great affection for pigs – on my Cottage steps there is now a quantity of pig dung (cast  there in the silence of the night ) – because I complained of the prevalent nuisances’.193

Trying to remove these minor nuisances made the Board unpopular in the town, as made painfully clear in a case in March 1854:194

Defeat of the Board of Health. — [Margate] was the scene, on Thursday last, of one of those demonstrations of public feeling peculiar to this country, where public sympathy is so easily excited on behalf of personal intre­pidity, under whatever character it may manifest itself. It appears that one of our oldest and most respectable inhabitants, Mr. Edward White, has been fighting a battle with the “Local Board of Health,” respecting an alleged trespass upon a public highway at the back of the Lower Marine-terrace. The trial came off at Maidstone on Wed­nesday last, and ended with a verdict for the defendant. The leading counsel for the defence, Mr. Bramwell, clearly proved that it was a most unjust and spiteful prosecution, and severely handled several of the witnesses. On the following day (Thursday) the church bells were set ring­ing, flags were flying, and a band of music paraded the town until a late hour. Mr. White having been instrumental in building the pier, the landing-place, and many of the best houses in the town, the great bulk of the inhabitants gave their unmixed approbation to the gratifying scene.

The following week there was a further scene:195

On Monday the town was thrown into a state of excitement by the parading of an effigy in connection with the recent prosecution, instigated by the Board of Health against Mr. White, and afterwards burning it. This was obviously in bad taste, but such manifestations of popular feeling cannot always be prevented. The board appear to have been singularly unfortunate in attempting to please their constituents. The measure is an unpopular one, and it was not one of the brightest eras for the town when it was introduced, or in some measure forced upon the inhabitants. There has been a deal of money spent without any apparent benefit to the town, and the chief expenditure, a heavy item too, is to come, in the shape of the water supply and drainage of the town. A large sum is named for the estimate, nearly £30,000, which will materially increase the rates. We hope to see the most economical plan carried out and the greatest possible saving effected.

A letter, under the pseudonym ‘Buff-Slippers’, published in Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper shows just how suspicious the town had become about the motives of those running the town:299


Sir – I am a native of Margate . . . At times I revisit my native spot, and — however boards of health and so forth may flourish in other places — see no alteration in Margate. There, dirt has still its champions, and pigsties are fought for with all the valour of British impetuosity . . .  There are, as you may know, wheels within wheels in parish matters which prevent progress. There is a cer­tain magistrate suspected of imposing nominal fines merely for the sake of the fees which go to the clerk. Why is this? For this good reason. There was a pro­posal before parliament to pay clerks by fixed salaries — the salaries to be regulated by an average of the fees according to such clerks' own return.

Out of spite to the dignities acting under the town act, Dr. Chambers procured the town affairs to be ad­ministered under the act authorising local boards of health, for which offence the Doctor has become marked. In the winter of 1853, fever raged in the town frightfully; the deaths nearly doubled the number of births. Innumerable pigs were kept in the town, con­trary to law and dangerous to health. The inspector of nuisances (Thomas Dalby Reeve) called a meeting of the board, but many members who kept pigs opposed their removal. A baker, who also kept pigs, held forth at the meet­ing in their favour, and died of a fever (by their stench engendered) that same night*. The board meet­ings were many and stormy. Some abused the inspec­tor, saying he had "a personal interest;" he having just lost two children by the fever. Summonses were issued to enforce the law, but were rendered useless by trick. Though the lives of all were alike endangered, the pig nuisance became a party question . . .  

A Mr. White infringed on a public way by building. The surveyor — as in duty bound – reported the fact. The board prosecuted White. Inadvertently (or designedly) in the indictment the way was called a public carriage-way instead of a highway. The flaw was surreptitiously made known to defendant. At the trial the public use as a carriage-way was not (though it could have been) proved. Therefore defendant was acquitted. After the trial (which cost the town nearly £500) a band went round the town, followed by a huge mob with flags and banners embellished with pigs, and the surveyor’s and witnesses’ likenesses. And at night an effigy of the surveyor was burnt on the sands. Have I not cause to be proud of my native Margate, perambulating its golden sands in native

[* This is possibly a reference to Charles Kidman, a baker of Queen Street, who died in November 1853.300]

The pig issue was long remembered in the town. In 1865 Frederick Chambers was leaving the shop of Mr. Dixon in the High street when a man called Charles Taylor shouted at him ‘“What, old Pig-stye! Old Pig-Stye, how are you?” followed by other offensive language.’ In return, Chambers called Taylor a blackguard, and Taylor then ‘jumped into the road,  and said he would knock him (the Doctor) down’. Chambers replied ‘he had better not,’  but at that moment  the Rev. Mr. Whish came up, and Taylor ‘ceased his abuse for a time.’ Chambers then returned to Mr Dixon’s shop, ‘as he felt that it would be discreditable to him to be seen having an altercation and defending himself against a man like that.’ Taylor was found guilt and bailed to keep the peace for 3 months.301

Despite such setbacks, the Local Board did change Margate for the better. The slums of Pump Lane and Jumble Joss Island were swept away; a new road was made to the Fort and the public walks on the Fort were secured; sea defences were built at Westbrook, in conjunction with the development of the Royal Crescent; a new Cemetery was built; a new Jetty was built; and there was much talk, if little action, about improved Water and Drainage systems. The final success of the Local Board was to plot its own demise, with the award of a Charter of Incorporation to the town, as described in the next section.