Vestry, 1884

Buckingham Advertiser, 11 Oct 1884

VESTRY MEETING.-On Thursday evening, Oct. 2nd, a vestry meeting convened by Messrs. G. George and J. Hillyer, was held in the Yeates School, to consider the matter of the lighting of the streets.  The Vicar occupied the chair, and there was a good attendance. 

After the notice of the meeting had been read by the chairman, Mr. W. M. Neal on behalf of the Lighting Committee, stated the question at issue between the body and the Gas Company, which briefly appeared to be that each party desired to have the control of the lamplighter, Mr. Neal stating that for upwards of 40 years he had been the servant of the Lighting Committee, but that when the new Gas Company was formed some three years ago, as a matter of convenience it was left to the Company, but the Committee still claimed the right to control the lamplighter, who was paid by the Committee. 

A number of letters that had passed between the directors of the Gas Company and the Lighting Committee were then read by the chairman, from which we gathered that the Gas Company were only willing for the Committee to have the control of the lighter and the lamps on the condition of their buying the lamps and the lamp-posts at a valuation, while the Committee offered to pay five per cent on the outlay the Company had incurred on new lamps, &c., and to keep them in good order. 

A desultory conversation followed, in which the part of the Gas Company was taken by Mr. J. King and Mr. T. P. Willis, while Mr. G. George, Mr. J. Hillyer, and Mr. H. Monk spoke for the Lighting Committee.-

Mr. King gave a short account of the events connected with the lighting of the town, and stated that the present company had spent £4,000 for the convenience of the town, and they decided to have the control of the lighter, so that their property should not be wasted.  Mr King also denied that the Committee paid the lighter, stating that they paid the company a lump sum.-

Mr. Hillyer said that the Committee desired to have it in their power if they saw a lamp that was not burning, or was alight when it should be extinguished, to go straight to the lighter and tell him what to do, not to be obliged to go and complain to the Gas Company about it.  Mr. Hillyer also referred to the fact that the bill for lighting the town for the last season was about the heaviest remembered.-

Mr. G. George spoke about certain lamps being extinguished before 10 o’clock, but this was denied in toto by Mr. B. Walker, the contractor for the lighting.  Mention was also made of a lamp against the Crooked Billet Inn, and another against Winslow Hall, being left burning all night, but it was explained in one instance the tap had got set and could not be turned off, and in the other, the lamp was purposely left because of repairs to a drain, and that in both cases the loss fell on the Company, and not on the town, because neither of the lamps were registered, there being only four registering meters to the 44 lamps, the rest being averaged.-

Mr. H. Monk said that rather than be sat upon by the Gas Company, he would resign his position upon the Lighting Committee, and he complained about the prices charged for gas, which compared unfavourably with that of many other towns in the locality. –

Mr. T. P. Willis expressed his perfect willingness to sell Mr. Monk or any other person present his shares in the Gas Company, at cost price, and said that it had been stated over and over again by the Company, that they would reduce the price of gas as soon as they were in a position to do so.  Mr. Willis also stated that the lamp pillars had always belonged to the Company, and the lamps they had purchased at the Lighting Committee’s own price; and they certainly should not sell the Committee back the lamps without the pillars.  With regard to more gas being consumed by the town lamps, he explained that the mains being larger and in better order than formerly, there was a consequent higher pressure, which of course increased the consumption. –

Mr. T. Saving censured the conduct of the Lighting Committee in selling the lamps, and stated that he hoped the Company and the Committee would in the meantime come to an amicable arrangement.  He proposed “That the Gas Company light the town as usual until the next vestry meeting, when the matter should be more fully considered.”  This was seconded by Mr. J. Sear.-

Mr. Hillyer proposed as an amendment “That the town be lighted up to the vestry meeting by the Committee, who should employ their own lighter.”  It was pointed out that the Company had declined to accede to these terms, and that as they had the lamps in their own possession the meeting had no power whatever in the matter. 

On the amendment being put to the vote, there were only 5 for it, and 16 for the proposition, that the Gas Company continue to light the town until the vestry meeting.  The proceedings closed with a vote of thanks to the Vicar for presiding.

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Copyright 26 February, 2021