Archive by Author | colindunkerley

9th August 1870. Trams, Buses and Trolleys.

Hudsons and Swan Soaps along with Oakey’s Polish were much advertised on the side of trams and buses.

Horse-drawn omnibus.

The 1870 Tram Act to facilitate the construction and to regulate the working of the tramways received its Royal Assent Today in 1870 and so paved the way for local entrepreneurs to develop transport systems.

The first London motor-bus service started in 1899, but this with the Heavy Motor Car Act, four years later, which allowed vehicles of up to five tons, was to sound the death knell for horse-drawn buses, which had been long in decline since the arrival of the trams.

Yorkshire tram of 1906. Normanton, Castleford and Pontefract.

However In 1906 many buses were taken off the road, banned by the police as being ‘too noisy’, but who were only applying a requirement of no ‘undue noise’, by the licensing law.

By 1908 there were over 1000 motor buses in London, by 1914, but with the increased demand for horses by the military, the last regular horse-buses ended.

b-type 1916 Route 43, Muswell Hill to London Bridge.








These bus companies however, suspected the influence of the London County Council supporting its tram service inaugurated in the early 1900s.

In 1909 the maximum permissible unladen weight for London buses was reduced to 3.5 tons and Daimler commissioned Dr. Frederick Lanchester, both to make their names later for cars, to design a bus to meet the new regulations, but only twelve were ever built.

The LGOC ‘B’ Type double-decker in 1910 replaced the ‘X’ type and having 34 seats was the first mass-produced bus, designed by Frank Searle, but only to be requisitioned by the Army Service Corps in 1914.

‘Ole Bill’, Troop Transport.

Initially 300 went to France and by 1918 over 900 were employed. The model was retired in 1920, but ‘B43’ was retained and named ‘Old Bill’ the Bruce Bairnsfather cartoon character, popular at the time.

In 1931 trolley buses were in regular services in the London area, sixty vehicles being introduced in Kingston and Twickenham suburbs, foreshadowing a switch from trams.

Trolley Bus.

The trolley bus was a trackless tram, powered by electricity drawn from overhead cables, by roof-mounted rods, a system which had made its debut earlier in Leeds and Bradford; the Author well remembers those at neighbouring Derby which ceased in the early 1960.s.


Peter Cookson 14.2.2011. Yorkshire Tram Pic. of trolley bus.



8th August 1553. The Forgotten King.

Westminster Abbey was ninth in a list of tourist attractions in 2006 with over a million visitors. It contains the remains of most English monarchs, often with stone effigies and includes that of Edward VI who was buried Today on 8th August 1553 in the Lady Chapel of Henry VII.

It was in February 1553 at the age of 15 that Protestant Edward fell ill, and when it became terminal he and his Council drew up, ‘Devise for the Succession’ to prevent the return of Catholicism.

Edward also named his 1st cousin, once removed, Lady Jane Grey as his heir, excluding his half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth.

Edward died on 6th July at Greenwich after a long and painful illness, with the death kept secret for three days as time was needed to manoeuvre Lady Jane to succeed, which she did for nine days.

Mary keen to move quickly raised an army and entered London, with no bloodshed, and proclaimed Queen Mary I on July 19th, ‘Queen Jane’ meanwhile languished in the Tower.

However there was still the problem concerning the arrangement for Edward’s funeral,  complicated by the fact that Edward, as a reformed Protestant, abided by the Book of Common Prayer (BCP).

Under no circumstances could his successor Catholic Mary attend such obsequies, But luckily protocol didn’t require her to attend and risk eternal damnation. Eventually she was to hold a requiem  in the Tower.

In the event Cranmer author of the BCP officiated and the elaborate funeral procession was similar to that of his father Henry VIII, which began with Edward being taken by barge to Whitehall, and the night before to Westminster.

Modern burial plaque of Edward VI. Westminster

Edward was buried in an unmarked white vault in the Lady Chapel next to his grandparent’s Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.

Mary was soon to reverse protestantism, in no small measure, but the Edwardian reforms were eventually to form the basis of the Elizabethan religious settlement in 1559.

The plans for a monument to Edward never materialised for lack of space, but in the 19thc Dean Stanley recorded the inscription from the coffin’s corroded plate which read: ‘Edward the sixth by Grace of God, King of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith…migrated this life on 6th day of July in the evening at the eighth hour, in the year of our Lord 1553 in the 7th year of his reign and in the 16th year of his age’.

In 1869 a large fossil, marble slab was laid on top of the vault, with a copy of the inscription, but this was to be obscured by a new altar in 1870. In 1966 Christ’s Hospital celebrated their founder with an inscribed floor tile.


7th August 1613. Judicial Review.

Thomas Fleming the judge who tried Guy Fawkes died Today in 1613.

Sir Thomas Fleming.

North Stoneham Park, Hamps.







Fleming found favour with Queen Elizabeth and her successor for apart from sitting in the Commons he was Lord Chief Justice, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer and Solicitor General for England and Wales.

In 1595 on the personal intervention of Queen Elizabeth, Fleming was preferred to the polymath and scientist Francis Bacon as Solicitor General and succeeded Sir Edward Coke as Attorney General, demonstrating, to her court, the ultimate power of the sovereign, in patronage.

Having acquired sufficient wealth Fleming purchased North Stoneham in 1599 from the young Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, which was to remain in the family intil 1953.

It was as Chief Baron of the Exchequer that Fleming tried Guy Fawkes in 1605 after the Gunpowder Plot, when he the judge, was described as, ‘trying to look wise and say nothing’.(1)

It was also as Chief Baron that he was the judge in the so-called Bate’s trial, the ‘Case of Imposition’ of 1606 which rested on the power of the Crown to levy taxes without parliament’s approval.

John Bates was a merchabt trading with Turkey when he refused to pay a tax on the import of currants. Fleming adjudicated for the Crown saying, ‘that the King (James I (VI) had unlimited power to levy taxes on any way he thought fit, the power of the King is both ordinary and absolute’.

Fleming though the son of a merchant was anti-trader in his judgements, dismissing an appeal in the name of the common good: ‘ Every private merchant is not working for the common good, but his particular profit’.(2)

However Fleming like so many of the time profited from the monastic dissolution, in his case Hyde Abbey dissolved in 1539; Stoneham originally being part of the Abbey estate, which he eventually acquired  via Wriothesley. (3


Gatehouse only surviving building of  Hyde Abbey. Pic by J. Armagh. Nov. 2011.

Fleming tomb in local church, showing wife and surviving children, shown as praying.








Two things stand out what we have said with reference to Thomas Fleming: the first how patronage from a monarch can influence the judicial system, and secondly the fact that King James was allowed to determine taxation without reference to parliament, and it was this which cost the head of his successor.

(1) Adams. WH Davenport. 1862. OUP p. 181-3.

(2) State Trials Vol. 2.

(3) A report in 2011 said North Stoneham was almost unique being one of the few places ancient manors where development could be trace over 2000 years.


Chris. K. Currie. North Stoneham Park. 1992.


6th August 1861. Offences against the Person.

Today in 1861, in the name of simplifying the law, the Royal Assent was granted for the ‘Offences against the Person Act’ which was itself a revised version of the 1828 Act. (1)

The 1828 Offences against the Person Act had repealed Petty Treason (not against the sovereign) and the 1533 Buggary Act.(2)

This significant legislation of Great Britain and Ireland, was known as Lord Landowne’s Act, being one of the number of Criminal Law Consolidation Acts also known as Peel’s Acts . (1)

1828 made felony punishable by the death penalty and the Act was significant in that for the first time any part of Magna Carta, Clause XXVI, had been repealed.

Then in its turn the provisions of the 1828 legislation were wholly replaced by the 1837 Act of the same name, when the death penalty for post-quickening abortion was abolished, along with that for shooting, stabbing, cutting or wounding with intent.

The death penalty for rape and carnal knowledge of a girl under 10 was abolished by amendment of the Substitution of Penalty of Death Act 1841.

Between 1828-41, sixty-three men were accused of rape at the Old Bailey, London with sixteen found guilty and twelve being executed.

The 1861 Act a revised version of the earlier consolidation of 1828, although amended since, continues to be the foundation of prosecution for personal injury in England and Wales.

(1) The 1861 Act came into effect on  November 1st.

(2) The 1832 Act replaced section 16 of the 1828 Offences against the People Act (replacing the Henry VIII Act on the subject.) ‘Hanging in Chains’ was repealed by an Act of the same name in 1834. The whole Section was replaced by Section 3 of Offences against the Person Act 1861.

Ref :Prevention of Crimes Act 1885.


5th August 1583. The Newfoundland.

Today Sir Humphrey Gilbert, adventurer, explorer, soldier and MP  landed, and two days later took possession.‘On the 5th day of August 1583  of this New Found Land (Newfoundland), in the name of his Sovereign Queen Elizabeth’, thereby founding Britain’s overseas Empire.(1)

Humphrey Gilbert.

Elizabeth warned Gilbert against further voyages to the New World as in 1578 with 10 ships and 500 men, he had hardly left shore when disaster struck in a storm. As the Queen said, ‘He was a a man not happ (sic) by sea’.

However Gilbert had a belief in the heroic virtues of chivalry and exploration, an ambition which in the end led to his death at sea.

Spain was blocking our access to the New World and Humphrey Gilbert began to look elsewhere, in particular  routes to Cathay (China), by the north-west passage, thus inspiring the likes of Martin Frobisher, and John Hawkins who had learned his seamanship in slave-running to Spanish colonies, in the process educating an apt pupil in a young adventurer from Devon, Francis Drake, the ‘master thief of the unknown world’, as his Spanish contemporaries called him.

Compton Castle, Devon, home of the Gilberts up to 1785 and then after a period up to 1931.

Gilbert was the son of Otto Gilbert and Catherine Champernowne, with Arthur Champernowne coming from an old Devon Family and celebrated in having the explorers Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh as nephews, as sons of his sister.(2)

In fact Gilbert was half-brother to Walter Raleigh both of whom were to pioneer English colonisation in North America, and so helping to lay the foundations of Empire and exploration.

Gilbert was to prove the Queen’s remark that, ‘he was not ‘happ’ at sea’, for on his return to record his claim to Newfoundland, he preferred to sail on the small ship Squirrel rather than on Delight a much bigger ship or even the Golden Hinde.

The small ship disappeared beneath the waves on Monday, 9th September 1583, taking Humphrey Gilbert and his crew with it.

(1) Gilbert: 1539-9.9.1583.

(2) Originally from Cambernon in Normandy they had helped put down the 1549 Cornish Rebellion, who as Cornish speaking regarded English as a foreign language and so were against the English Prayer Book as opposed to their Latin usage.



4th August 1829. Bedlam.

‘The melancholy fact is that your thorough-going mad doctor takes for granted that hardly anyone is sane…anyone of us may be seized by a pair of ruffians…and plunged for life into that hopeless prison, which is calculated to unsettle the steadiest intellect’.

‘The morning of today in 1829 a carriage pulled up at the door of Furnival’s Inn (a London Inn of Court), two men strode into the coffee house and man-handled one Edward Davies into a carriage and not surprisingly a crowd gathered no doubt thinking one should be able to move around without being kidnapped’, as Sarah Wise says in her book ‘Inconvenient People’.(1)

William Hogarth’s Bethlehem Hospital or Bedlam for the insane. 1730.

However the law appeared to be on the side of the two ‘heavies’ who had a letter from Dr.George Man Burrows, one of the rising lunacy medics of the time. They were not yet carting him off to Burrow’s private ‘mad-house’ at Clapham, where he had 18 patients, but to be assessed by a panel of doctors in the pay of his mother, and thence forcibly kept in his own house.

His mother had already petitioned the Lord Chancellor to hold a ‘lunacy inquisition’- a public inquiry-to test whether Edward was of ‘unsound mind’, that is, so eccentric and peculiar as to be unable to manage his own affairs.

If the inquisition determined Edward was ‘mad’ enough to be confined, then his affairs passed to a ‘committee of the estate’ under the nominal jurisdiction of the Lord Chancellor. His mother in other words would have control over his finances.

The 1828 Madhouse Act was then seen as progressive in that before being confined one must be certified insane by two different doctors; paupers only required one and a magistrate or public person to certify madness. It was however, the ‘inquisition’ in fact which found Davies as sane despite all the money his mother had put into the campaign.

In 1829 there were 16,500 ‘insane’ people in England and Wales, but only 600 were wealthy enough to require the ‘inquisition process’.

One person who concerned himself with private asylums was the novelist Wilkie Collins, when he wasn’t investigating marriage laws. It was this interest which is the focal point of his novel  the Woman in White (1859)  where Laura Fairlie is sent to the asylum under a fake identity. (2)

(1) Inconvenient People. Bodley Head Sarah Wise. 2012.

(2) One of his two major works, along with the Moonstone.(1868).


Lunacy Commissioners and Alleged Lunatics Friends Society.

1890 Lunacy Act made detention more difficult and release easier.

Madhouse in 1840 by  artist, Hablot K Browne (Phiz) two asylum keepers drag away a sane man while the real lunatic looks on.

3rd August 1942. Operation Pedestal.

On 3rd August 1942 Captain Mason of the tanker Ohio, of the American owned Eagle Oil and Shipping Company, read a letter with the Admiralty crest, and kept sealed until the ship was under weigh. It revealed that they were one of fourteen merchant ships in a convoy to relieve beleagured island of Malta.

Ohio enters Grand Harbour, Malta.

Flying the red ensign and on loan for just one voyage, she was half as fast again as any other British tanker and shock proofed. Also 24 army and naval gunners had come on board to man nine anti-aircraft guns a significant armament for a merchantman.

Eagle sinking August 1942.

The cruiser Manchester.

Thus the entire crew had their suspicions justified and were told by Mason that if they wanted to withdraw they would be kept under the Navy Provost Marshal, for secrecy purposes.

As part of the convoy, named ‘Operation Pedestal’, the merchantmen were supported by the largest ever Naval escort and configured in three columns. 

HMS Victorious one of the carriers.

This comprised 2 battleships, 4 aircraft carriers, one carrying spitfires, 7 cruisers and 32 destroyers all involving 32,000 seamen.

The crew knew that out of 17 ships of the previous relief convoy, only two reached the Island, and that the Ohio as the convoy’s solitary tanker would be the enemy’s prime target, carrying as it did 13,000 tons of high-octane fuel.

In the battle on 11th August, the carrier Eagle was sunk by torpedoes and Indomitable suffered flight deck damage. The crippled HMS Manchester was scuttled by her captain Harold Drew rather than let her top-secret radar fall into enemy hands. He was court-marshalled and lived the rest of his life under a cloud.

Rear Admiral HM Burroughs CB., Commander Close Escorts, shaking hands with Mason.

Along with the Manchester, Cairo and Eagle and one destroyer, were lost, along with nine merchantmen carrying 85,000 tons of cargo. Of the remaining five, Ohio, with damaged steering, was the last to win through to cheering crowds after being attacked by Ju 88s dive-bombers and U-boats.

Captain Mason, as a civilian was awarded the George Cross in September 1942, with the rest of the crew receiving bravery awards.