150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows - Sat 2 Oct 1858 Part 2 - The Collation at the Guildhall (Transcript of Page 14/15/16)

  • 27 Jan 2019
  • Worcester People and Places
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A collation was served at the Guildhall at three o'clock to which the Lord Bishop and Mr. Laslett, MP, were invited by the Mayor and Corporation. There were also present most of the members of the Corporation and of the clergy who had taken part in the proceedings of the morning, and a goodly number of ladies. The edibles were provided by Mr. Mountford, with his customary tact.

The Mayor presided, having on his right the Lord Bishop, and on his left Mr. Laslett, MP, The alderman occupied seats at the Mayor's table, Grace was said at the commencement and termination of the repast by the Rev. R. Sarjeant.  

After the usual loyal toasts had been proposed  and suitability received, the Mayor gave the 'Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese' and in doing observed that their excellent diocese was ever ready and ever willing to lend a hand to any work having a tendency to promote the well-being of the community at large. He felt sure they would give him three hearty cheers.

THE LORD BISHOP, interrupting the expression of feeling which the company were preparing to manifest, said that on all occasions he should be most happy to render the public all the service in his power. The present, he must say, had been a most interesting  occasion; the new Cemetery, he hoped, would serve as a source of salubrity  to this city. It had been a matter of much satisfaction to him when he had been present on similar occasions of consecration of public cemeteries, to find a portion put apart from the use of those who did not belong  to the Established Church. He was always gratified to find that those differences of religious opinion which prevailed were laid aside and forgotten at the graveside, and that they all looked to the same Saviour for the means of salvation.

The MAYOR, said in the important ceremony which had taken place place this morning, they had had the assistance of a worthy body of men, who did not belong to the community of the Established Church, and one of the ministers had delivered an address of which no Christian could disapprove, and in the sentiments of which they could all coincide. He proposed the ' Minister of other religious denominations'.

The toast was acknowledged by the Rev. T. Dodd, who observed that there had that day been a fair sinking of all differences, and he considered that the entire arrangements for the opening of the new Cemetery were such as did credit to the Local Board. He thought the board if anything, had treated the Dissenting body with greater consideration than this their acknowledgments were due. He did not know that he could properly represent the Churchmen, for the front portion of the ground had been assigned to them, and for this their acknowledgment were due. He did not know that he could properly represent the Dissenting body, being a sort of 'middle man' - (laugh) - but in the name of the ministers of the different denominations he thanked the company most sincerely for the honour done them.

The MAYOR next gave the health of Mr. Laslett. Although he did not mean to say that they should not have had a cemetery - or that they should not have been there celebrating its opening without the gift which had been made them, still  they were deeply indebted to Mr. Laslett for his munificent gift, and had not that gentleman been present he should have felt it necessary to say more than he should now do respecting it. This much however, he would remark, that they could not given to them a site for a place of sepulture; for he was sure that they would all agree with them that it was one perfectly well  adapted for the intended purpose. (Cheers) If they (the Local Board) had had to go into market, and purchase a site, they would have had to give a very large sum for it, and he thought they would have experienced great difficulty  in obtaining a piece of land twenty acres in extent, at any cost. They had, therefore, a great cause for thankfulness in having a site furnished them, which was on all grounds unexceptionable; he called upon them to drink "the health of Mr. Laslett', and thanks to him for his liberal donation", with three times three. (Drunk with much applause).

Mr Laslett having thanked the company for the mark of respect paid him, said that he felt pleased that he had been able to present the land to the city, and doubly so that so excellent, so obaste, and so beautiful a building had been placed upon it. The Mayor and Corporation and their Committee of Management had, he felt, done honour to the name of Worcester by the taste and liberality they had evinced. The building would long remain a monument of their taste and public spirit. Too much commendation and clerk of the works; felt convinced from his own personal observations that they well deserved it, for they had done their duty admirably, actively and zealously, regardless alike of trouble or loss of time. They had worked, not for their own advantage but for the public good, and were deserving of much praise. He hoped that the people of Worcester would feel a pride in the Cemetery, and that it would, by attracting the citizens to visit it on account of its beauty, be productive of moral and spiritual benefit, by teaching them to reflect upon a state at which they must all sooner or later arrive, and reminding them that they would upon a state at which they must all sooner or later arrive, and reminding them that they would have to answer at a future day for the actions of the present. He took no credit to himself for having given the land; he could afford to give it, and he felt it an act of duty to give it. When wealth was accorded by Providence, it was the bounden duty of the possessor to effect as much good as he possibly could with it, and that too in his life-time, for it should be reflected that if he deferred the time for effecting good with his wealth till the period when he ceased to exist, his good intentions might not be fairly carried out by his successor. (Hear, Hear). One regulation which had been made by the committee he felt grateful for, and that was - that the cemetery gates should open at all times for all persons, rich and poor, so that it could become a place of resort. He regretted that the fees for the internment of the industrious classes should be so high; but he was given to understand that if practicable those fees would be lowered, so that the working people could be buried at a less expense. He was sorry to find that a committee or society had made a statement which might , in some measure, reflect upon the character of Mr. Clarke as architect. He thought such criticisms as those referred to very unfair, because if the Architectural Society had thought proper to inspect the plans and had invited a conference with the committee and the architect, their suggestions would have been respectfully heard and possibly  acceded to; but having neglected to do this, their censures now came with a very bad grace. (Hear, Hear) Despite these ill-natured criticisms, he felt convinced that though the building might be equalled, it could not be surpassed by any one of its class. He hoped that each one would have his own conscience awakened and his heart prepared for a future state before he departed this life and was brought  for internment in the Cemetery. For himself he felt as all present must feel, that they would be accountable at a future day for any improper action done during life and frame of mind by which they would be prepared for a future state. Every one would have to answer for each word and action done of his left, and by acting up to his duty to God and his neighbour he became as it were a sermon in himself. It should, in his opinion, be the study and endeavour of every one in the possession of means or talents to use such so as to glorify God who gave them to him. They should love and assist each other if they were able and above all, strive to act upon the divine maxim - " Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you" (Cheers.)

(Spellings etc are as per the article of the day and not of modern day errors)