150th Anniversary of Astwood - Berrows - Sat 2 Oct 1858 Part 3 - The Collation a t the Guildhall (Transcript of Page 17/18/19)

  • 27 Jan 2019
  • Worcester People and Places
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The LORD BISHOP gave the health of the Mayor and Corporation, eulogizing their exertions and again expressing the gratification which he in common with others present bad experiences at the day's ceremonial. (Cheers).

The MAYOR returned thanks. The ceremony of that day had been one of a most interesting kind, but it afforded great pleasure to him and to the members of the Corporation to find that the Cemetery itself met with his Lordship's approval. It had been desire of the Corporation to erect on the site which had been so generously presented them by Mr. Laslett, such buildings as would prove not only ornamental to the city, but also to lay out the public money in a manner as should afford satisfaction. He was glad to find that the general opinion was favourable. Some faults had been found with the architectural features of the building, but it was very easy for one professional man to find faults with the work of others, and perhaps the public were benefited by fault finding. But where fault was found and nothing but fault, one felt disposed to pause before too hastily attaching credit to the allegations made. One of the most pleasing features in the day's proceedings was the shaking of hands of all parties on that neutral ground where common fate awaited all. The corporation had done their duty in ground where a common fate awaited all. The corporation had done their duty in providing a satisfactory burial place for the citizens of Worcester, and they felt much indebted to the citizens generally for the support which they had afforded them in their attendance that day. 

Rev. Canon Wood proposed: "the Cemetery Committee and their Chairman - Mr Southall," warmly eulogizing them for the extreme judiciousness with which they had performed the difficult task in which they had engaged, which they had require the exercise of great discrimination, charity, and impartial pursuing of a straightforward path. The result of their labours had been the formation of a Cemetery generally satisfactory, and the effect would be felt by their children,s children, as demonstratives of the taste, good feeling, and Christian charity which had animated the citizens of Worcester. He must say that he regretted to find that faith had been indiscriminately found with the architectural details in a report presented at a meeting which he attended on the previous day. Mr. Southall, as Chairman of the Cemetery Committee, who had devoted much time, patience, and labour, and evinced very good judgement in the performance of a very difficult duty. (Cheers.)

Mr. SOUTHALL, at some length, returned thanks, taking a retrospect of the course adopted by the committee in advertising for plans, and the impartiality with which they had made a choice of what to them seemed the best for adoption. He congratulated the Corporation upon having secured for the city general Cemetery, in place of having in one place a Cemetery for Dissenters, in another one for Churchmen, and in a third for Roman Catholics. The greatest fault objected against the Cemetery  Buildings was their uniformity; but it was what the Committee had been most desirous to secure, showing equality, and that they did not wish to set one diversion above another. Mr. Southall expressed his regret at what had been said by the Architectural Society. The designs and the mode of their being carried out were open to criticism, but when the report of the exception of the liberality of the Corporation and an allusion to the Clerk of the works,  they might well conclude that there was some motive for that wholesale censure which disentitled it to the appellation of fair and liberal criticism. (Hear, Hear.) In his opinion the buildings themselves were a sufficient condemnation of such strictures, and they would long stand as monuments of the taste of the architect and the judgement of the committee. (Cheers.) He concluded by proposing the health of Mr. Clarke (the architect) and the Contractors (Messrs. Chambers and Hilton).

Mr. CLARKE, in responding, said his feelings had been hurt by what had been said by the Architectural Society. It has been his anxious wish to erect buildings which should be worthy of Mr. Laslett's noble gift and of the city; it was disappointing, consequently, to hear of his efforts being disparagingly spoken of. As to the uniformity of the chapels which had been complained of, he should mention that the Corporation insisted upon this point, and would have no difference in the external appearance of the chapels. Again, the plaster on the inside walls had been complained of; but if the city would not object to the outlay of a few hundred pounds more he could soon give them stone instead. (A laugh) Then is was further objected that all windows were of one class of geometrical tracery. In order to please, the Committee it would seem should have been a sort of pattern book of Gothic windows, each window being a different specimen of tracery, to which any of  the Worcester architects, when requiring window, might look for a pattern. (A laugh) There were faults, he admitted, but all was not to be blamed. He should be glad for the buildings to be criticised by parties of undoubted authority in architecture, and be their verdict he would not hestitate to stand or fall. But when one or two individuals, of whose claims to be critics nothing was known, spoke under the name of a society, and found nothing but to blame from the beginning to end, their opinion  would, he thought, weight little against the general feeling of the citizens. Mr. Clarke concluded by quoting a passage from Blair's Grave, in reference to the solemnity of the day. Mr Laslett, as the last toast, gave "The ladies" , which having been appropriately acknowledged by the SHERIFF , the company separated shortly after five o'clock.


At two o'clock in the afternoon, the staff of workmen who had been engaged in the works, assembled in a large room at Beauchamp Arms Hotel, Shrub's Hill where an excellent repast was provided for them, and in style which reflected the highest credit on the host and hostess Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Humphryes. Shortly after the appointed hour of meeting about 100 cheerful-looking specimens of the British workmen, sat down, and we need scarcely add, did ample justice to the repast. Mr. Lucy, clerk to the works, presided: the vice-chairman being occupied by Mr. G. Mitchell, working foreman of the masons; - Mr Hilton, of the firm of Hilton and Chambers, the contractors, resided at the second table.

After the removal of the cloth, the CHAIRMAN, in appropriate terms, gave "the Queens", which was responded to with true British loyalty, as was also "the Prince Consort and the Royal Family". - The CHAIRMAN said the toast of the Bishop and Clergy usually followed but he thought he must depart from the usual order of things, and proposed the "health of Mr. Laslett, the munificent donor of the site of the Cemetery", a gift that would hand him down to posterity, and he trusted he would receive the thanks and good wishes of all citizens. (Drunk with great applause,- The CHAIRMAN then gave the "Bishop and Clergy of the Diocese", and coupled with the toast the Christian ministers of all denominations, - The next toast from the chair was the "Mayor and Corporation of Worcester", who had recently effected so much in sanatory measures, and manifested such liberality in carrying out the works, which he said were superior to anything of the kind in the kingdom- Mr. J. HUMPHRYES gave "The contractors and subordinate agents engaged in the works," -observing that whilst great credit was due for the satisfactory manner in which they had carried out the operations, - Mr. Hilton, Mr Coker, Mr Bowker (contractor for laying out the grounds), and Mr. G. Mitchell, severally responded to the toast, the health of the architect, Mr. Clarke, was proposed by Mr. Hilton, and duly responded to by Mr. Lucy, who next proposed Messrs, Hardy and Padmore, coupled with whom were the names of Messrs. Lewis and Green, which the toast of "The Operatives" was given from the chair, and after a few other complimentary toasts, the party broke up.