Fire, rotting meat and lots more

1841 – Leominster Infant School

The infant and juvenile school for the “labouring classes” of Eaton, Hennor, and Stretford in the parish of Leominster, and Kimbolton and Stoke Prior adjoining, is progressing well.

As well as donations already received, the funds for this school were greatly swelled by very generous donations from John Arkwright of Hampton Court Castle, and the Hon. Harley Rodney.

1843 – Fire in Rick Yard

Superintendent McCrohin at Leominster Police Station was alterted to a fire in a rick yard at the Far-end, Monkland, owned by Mr. Sheward.

Two fire engines were rapidly dispatched along with some policemen, and on arrival they found three large hay ricks well ablaze.  Several “country persons” were trying to put out the flames, but it was apparent that they were roaring drunk, and their efforts were less than helpful!  However, many helpers arrived from Leominster and by cutting and carrying the burning hay away, they managed eventually to put out the fire, but it took some considerable time and hard work.

Mr. Sheward sent a cart load of refreshments from Stagbach in gratitude to the policemen and helpers from Leominster, as well as the firemen – who did not get back to Leominster until well after midnight.

This was the third fire in the area, and the cause in each case was the hay being too green when stacked.

1846 – Sale of Leominster Canal Navigation

In July 1846, a special meeting of the company of proprietors of the Leominster Canal Navigation was held at the Royal Oak, and attendance was excellent.

They were considering an offer made by the Herefordshire and Shrewsbury Railway Company to purchase the canal and property owned by the company, and eventually they agreed on the sale of the canal to the railway company for £12,000.

However, there were difficulties, and over ten years later things were still not settled:

The Hereford Journal reported –

“The Leominster Canal Navigation company sought by their bill to compel a specific performance by the defendants, the Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway Company, of an agreement for the purchase of the Leominster canal, and payment by them of the purchase money, £12,000 with interest.”

It went on to say that in 1846 the railway company proposed, through their solicitors, to buy the canal with certain conditions;  the proposal was accepted and by mutual agreement an application was made to Parliament to obtain an Act to enable them to sell, and authorising the railway company to purchase, the canal.

A problem then arose because the Leominster Canal Navigation Company only had the lease of the property for 40 years, but on 26th August 1854 a letter was sent to them by the defendants’ solicitors, saying that they still wanted to buy, but would have to wait until they had sold some shares at the right price.

Nothing happened.

To be continued when I find out a bit more!

1849 – Cholera in Leominster

The family of John Morris, a labourer, had been living in Wolverhampton where there was an epidemic of Cholera.  In fear for their lives, they moved to Leominster.

Shortly afterwards, the ten year old son of John developed diarrhoea which progressed to “rice water evacuations” and other clear symptoms of cholera, and although he seemed to rally briefly, he died a couple of days later.  Other members of the family also developed diarrhoea but recovered.

It was reported that extensive cleaning operations were carried out in Leominster, and the house where the family lived had been cleansed and whitewashed.

1850 – First Sewer for Leominster

The commissioners were due huge gratitude from the inhabitants of Leominster for starting work on a sewer which would carry away the stagnant water and decomposing matter from the streets.

Many areas of the town were filthy and rank with decomposition etc., and the new sewer would go a long way in preventing the diseases which came from such conditions.

1853 – Accident on Railway line near Leominster

Mr. Walter Bartlett of the railway office, Leominster, was surveying the works in progress on the new line;  near to Wharton a couple of miles from Leominster there was an engine and tender, and Walter decided to step up on to the engine.

Unfortunately, a heavy frost had made the metal slippery and his leg went from under him and beneath the wheel of the engine, which was still moving.  His leg was badly crushed between the ankle and knee, and he was bleeding copiously.  A surveyor in charge of the train immediately found a piece of string and tied it around Walter’s leg below the knee to stop the bleeding, and then they put him on the tender and took him to Leominster station.

His leg was immediately amputated by H.W. Watling and he was fortunate to recover.

1857 – Leominster and Kington Railway

It was announced by telegraph from an official of the company, that the Leominster and Kington Railway would definitely be opened for passenger and general traffic on Thursday 27th August 1857.

1858 – Butchers offer Rotten Meat in Leominster

Police descended on Leominster butchers to seize large quantities of “unwholesome” meat, which caused a great sensation in the town.

All the condemned meat was piled in the Corn Square, and publicly burnt – the resulting disgusting smell drove customers out of the nearby pubs!

1859 – Leominster Folk Sign the Pledge

There was a huge revival in interest in total abstinence in Leominster, and following lectures from Mr. Gough and Mr. Samuel Bowley, 71 people signed the pledge.

A further meeting took place (where attendees were fortified with tea), to which at least 400 people flocked to hear Henry Newman, the Rev. Henry Cooper of Stoke Prior,  Mr. Nash, and Mr. Walsh from Bromyard.

Enthusiasm for the movement was huge, and since the meeting more and more people signed the pledge.