Cardiff Records: Volume 5. Originally published by Cardiff Records Committee, Cardiff, 1905.
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Cardiff Council Minutes, 1891–1892
Resolved unanimously, upon the motion of Alderman Daniel Lewis, J.P., seconded by Alderman Carey, That this Council, with the heartiest satisfaction, desires to record its sincere and cordial thanks to the Most Honourable John Patrick Crichton Stuart, Marquess of Bute and Earl of Dumfries, K.T., for the admirable and efficient manner in which he has fulfilled the duties of Mayor and Chief Magistrate of this Borough during the past year, as well as its great appreciation of the manifold and valuable services so faithfully and zealously rendered by him to the Town and Port; of the graceful and generous reception accorded by him to the President and Members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; and of the courtesy, tact and geniality with which he has presided over the deliberations of the Council.
At a meeting of the General Purposes Committee held 23 November 1891, the Mayor reported that at the banquet given by him 9 November 1891 the ex-Mayor (The Most Honourable John Patrick Crichton Stuart, Marquess of Bute and Earl of Dumfries, K.T.) presented to the Mayor and Corporation of this Borough a magnificent loving-cup, in commemoration of his year of office.
The cup stands (with its cover) 3 feet 2 inches high, and is of silver, thickly gilded and very beautifully wrought. The cup is goblet-shaped, with masks and floral scrolls in low relief. On one side is enamelled the arms of Cardiff, and on the other the arms of the Marquess of Bute. The stem is highly wrought and decorated, and encircled by the folds of a gold dragon, set with carbuncles, and diamond claws, and eyes of emerald. The whole cup, from base to lid, is hooped at intervals by bands studded with sapphires, rubies, aquamarines, amethysts and carbuncles. Upon the lid, which is ornamented by water-lilies in white enamel, with chiselled leaves, stand two female figures; one symbolises Cardiff by a standing figure having a mural crown, holding in one hand a rudder and in the other an olive branch. A half-draped figure, representing the River Severn (or Hafren) reclines at the feet of the standing figure. Upon the base of the cup are figures symbolising the three rivers between which Cardiff stands, represented as river gods. The plinth upon which the figures are seated is studded, like the lid, with diamond-eyed waterlilies.
Resolved unanimously That the members of this Council desire to express their great gratification and most cordial thanks to the Most Honourable John Patrick Crichton Stuart, Marquess of Bute and Earl of Dumfries, K.T., the ex-Mayor of Cardiff, for his appreciated kindness and munificence in presenting to the Mayor and Corporation of this ancient Borough a superb and costly loving-cup, and to assure his Lordship that the cup will ever be treasured by the people of Cardiff as a memorial of his brilliant and successful year of office.
Sir William Thomas Lewis informs the Corporation that it is the intention of the Directors of the Bute Docks Company to apply to Parliament for a Bill enabling them to extend their Docks. Such Bill would include provisions to enable the Town (as such) to acquire an interest in the property of the Bute Docks Co.
Resolved unanimously That the Council of Her Majesty's ancient and loyal Borough of Cardiff most heartily congratulate their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales upon the betrothal of their son and heir, His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence and Avondale and Earl of Athlone, to Her Serene Highness Princess Victoria Mary of Teck.
Resolved unanimously That this Council, in the name and on behalf of the Burgesses of this important and progressive Borough, most respectfully and cordially invite the Right Honourable David Evans, esquire, Lord Mayor of London, to visit Cardiff on a convenient date to be hereafter decided upon, and assure his Lordship of a welcome worthy the metropolis of the Principality of Wales.
"Dear Mr. Mayor,—I received from Sir William Lewis last night the formal vote of thanks for the loving-cup. So many kind things have been said about it already, that I hardly think I am expected to write a formal letter in reply. If, however, you think I should say something, perhaps you will be good enough to tell the Council that I have written to you about it, and to convey to them the expression of my best thanks.—Believe me, Mr. Mayor,
Dear Mr. Mayor,—I have pleasure in informing you that on Thursday last I went with Sir Edward Reed to the Local Government Board. Mr. Ritchie is unfortunately laid up; but we saw Mr. Adrian, and I gave him the letters of the foreign Consuls with regard to the Flat Holm quarantine question, with the exception of one which I had inadvertently omitted from the packet, but which I have since forwarded to him. He retained all except the one which declined to enter into the question. We had some conversation, and Sir Edward urged our view, as seemed to me, in a very able manner.
Rescinding a previous resolution, the Council resolved that hucksters and street vendors be allowed to stand and sell their goods in the Hayes as heretofore, subject to payment of the Corporate tolls.
Captain Holford is directed by the Duke of Clarence and Avondale to express his sincere thanks to the Council of the County Borough of Cardiff for their kind congratulations and good wishes on the occasion of His Royal Highness' betrothal to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck."
My Dear Sir,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th inst., conveying to me a resolution of the Town Council of Cardiff inviting me to visit the metropolis of the Principality of Wales during my year of office as Lord Mayor, and assuring me a hearty welcome on the part of the burgesses and inhabitants of your famous Town. I beg you to express to the Council my grateful thanks for this distinguished compliment, which I accept with sincere pleasure and gratification. Nothing has touched me more profoundly than this great mark of respect on the part of the world-renowned centre of my native county; I might almost say of my birth-place, for Llantrissant was, when I was born, as it still is, in the same electoral division as Cardiff. This circumstance will invest my visit to your Town with peculiar interest to myself; and I feel certain that I shall much enjoy my reception by the Mayor and Corporation of Cardiff, not only as a Welsh Lord Mayor, but as a native of Glamorganshire. I shall hold myself entirely at your disposal as to the most convenient date for my visit; and I am with renewed thanks, My Dear Sir, Yours very truly.
This diversion is across the West Mud, from the first bend in the Taff above the Docks entrance-channel, to a point near the junction of the Ely with the same channel. It is supposed that the object of this diversion is to prevent the accumulation of debris washed down by the river, which are now deposited in the entrance-channel; which debris have from time to time to be dredged out, at considerable expense to the Bute Docks Co. If this river diversion is carried out, it will necessitate the removal and replacement of some of the Corporation buoys. It will have to be considered whether, by such an interference with the river course, your jurisdiction over the river will be prejudiced, and, if so, what clauses should be inserted in the Bill, or what action on your part may be necessary to secure your proper protection.
Sir Francis Knollys is desired by Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales to express their cordial thanks to the Council of Her Majesty's ancient and loyal Borough of Cardiff for their kind congratulations and good wishes on the occasion of the betrothal of the Duke of Clarence and Avondale to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck.
General Purposes Committee, at their Meeting held 15 January 1892, resolved unanimously: That this Council, in renewing to Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen the assurance of their devotion to Her Majesty's Person and Throne, desire to express the deep regret with which they have received the intelligence of the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence and Avondale and Earl of Athlone, who was an Honorary Freeman of this Borough, and tender their respectful and sincere sympathy with Her Majesty and Her Majesty's Royal Family in their sorrowful affliction.
Resolved unanimously That this Council desire to place on record their deep regret at the lamented death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence and Avondale and Earl of Athlone, who was an Honorary Freeman of this ancient and loyal Borough, and who, during his visit to Cardiff in September 1890, so greatly endeared himself to the inhabitants of this Borough; and to express their heartfelt sympathy and condolence with Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, the members of the Royal Family, and Her Royal Highness the Princess May, the affianced bride of the late Duke of Clarence, in their great sorrow.
Resolved That a wreath be subscribed for by the Members of this Council, as a mark of their respect and esteem for H.R.H. the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, who was an Honorary Freeman of this Borough; and that the Mayor and Town Clerk take such steps for the proper disposal thereof as they may deem necessary.
Resolved That the inhabitants of Cardiff be most respectfully invited to observe the day of burial of H.R.H. the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, who was an Honorary Freeman of this Borough, as a day of public mourning, in order to show the deep sympathy of the people of Cardiff in the affliction which has so suddenly befallen the Royal Family.
Sir,—I am directed by the Secretary of State to acknowledge the receipt of the Resolution of the Council of the Borough of Cardiff expressing condolence with Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family on the occasion of the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence and Avondale.—I am, Sir, your obedient servant.
Sir Francis Knollys is desired to convey to the members of the Town Council of Cardiff the sincere thanks of the Prince and Princess of Wales for the warm sympathy they have expressed on the occasion of Their Royal Highnesses' bereavement.
Resolved That the Honorary Freedom of the Borough be presented to the Lord Mayor of London in a silver-gilt casket, at a cost not exceeding £50, and that Mr. J. Tilley be desired to engross the scrip containing the Admission and the Freedom.
A Deputation of the Free Library Committee request the Corporation to adopt the Museums Act. Council resolve that they cannot do so before ascertaining that such an action would be acceptable to the people of Cardiff, and especially to the working classes.
Mr. E. P. Loftus Brock, one of the Hon. Secretaries of the British Archaeological Association, writes that his Society has unanimously accepted the invitation to Cardiff; also that the Prince of Wales has consented to be one of the patrons of the Congress, with Lord Bute.
Dear Mr. Town Clerk,—In reply to your letter of the 1st inst., I do not think I can claim to hold any commission in the army or reserve forces, in either my private capacity or as Lord Mayor; but I am one of Her Majesty's Lieutenants for the City of London, and the head of the Lieutenancy for the year. My party, as at present arranged, will consist of:—The Lady Mayoress and myself; Colonel and Alderman Sir Reginald Hanson, Bart., M.P., LL.D.; Mr. Alderman and Sheriff Tyler and Mrs. Tyler, Mr. Sheriff Foster and Mrs. Foster; Sir John Monckton, Town Clerk of London; the Sword Bearer, G. T. W. Winzar, esq., ; the Mace Bearer, Colonel Burnaby; the City Marshal, Captain Richey. We shall bring three state carriages, and eight horses. There will be twelve men-servants in all. I do not know yet how many ladies'-maids there will be, but I will let you know more exactly on all these points later on. I am, Dear Mr. Town Clerk, yours very truly.
Deputation appointed, in conjunction with the Cardiff Incorporated Chamber of Commerce, to interview the Secretary of State for War, and the First Lord of the Admiralty, with reference to the defenceless condition of the Port of Cardiff.
Town Clerk read a memorial from the Cardiff Fabian Socialist Society, regarding the presentation of the honorary freedom of the Borough to the Lord Mayor of London and the civic reception of his Lordship at Cardiff.
Whereupon it was moved by Alderman Sanders and seconded by Councillor Morgan Morgan, that the letter be respectfully acknowledged, with an expression of regret on the part of the Council that personal abuse of the Lord Mayor of London has been conveyed to the Corporation in this form.
Having a valuable collection of various-sized engraved portraits of the luminaries of the Law, including some rare ones, all framed and in perfect condition, being wishful to give what I can when living, so as to save trouble after I am gone; therefore thinking I could not make a better disposition thereof than to ask the acceptance of the same by the Mayor and Corporation of my native Town, to hang up and adorn the Judges' Room or Rooms in the Town Hall, with pleasure I now do so; and on hearing from you in the affirmative, will forward them as you direct, and am, Dear Sir, yours very truly.
Resolved unanimously That this (Property and Markets) Committee has great pleasure in accepting on behalf of the Town Council of Cardiff the valuable collection of engraved portraits so kindly offered to the Corporation by Mr. John Evan Davies, of Clifton (a native of Cardiff), and that the best thanks of this Committee be accorded to Mr. Davies for his valuable and interesting gift.
The Lord Mayor's Secretary writes that the impending dissolution of Parliament has necessitated certain alterations in the list of the Lord Mayor's party visiting Cardiff. This will now include only the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, the Sword-bearer, Mace-bearer, and City Marshal, who will come in full state. As the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress are to be the guests of the Marquess and Marchioness of Bute at Cardiff Castle, there will be no necessity to make provision for housing the party at the Judges' Lodgings. The Lord Mayor will provide for the accommodation of his official retinue at a hotel.
Town Clerk read correspondence between Mr. Peter Price, Chairman of the Cardiff Free Library and Museum, and Sir William T. Lewis, Lord Bute's Agent, with regard to the purchase of a site for a new Museum and Art Gallery. Mr. Price asks whether Sir William would advise Lord Bute to sell to the Corporation a site in Park Place adjoining the premises of the Iron and Steel Institute, and adds a suggestion that "Lord Bute may be induced to sell the whole or a part of Cathays Park to the Corporation for public uses only. We are sadly in need of land for a new Town Hall, Assize Courts, Municipal Offices, Technical Schools, Intermediate Schools and new University College. These could be arranged around a Central Park. If Lord Bute found it his pleasure to sell this land for a moderate sum .... we could make Cardiff one of the most beautiful towns in the country."
Thanks were severally voted by the Council to Lord Bute, to His Worship the Mayor, and to the Town Clerk, Mr. J. L. Wheatley, for their valuable services and assistance in connection with the recent visit to Cardiff of the Lord Mayor of London, "and for the dignity with which they sustained the best traditions of the metropolis of the Principality."
Allan Wyon, esq., Hon. Treasurer of the British Archæological Association, has forwarded to the Mayor and Corporation a copy of the late A. B. Wyon's work on "The Great Seals of England," in grateful remembrance of the courtesy and kindness extended to the Congress of the Association during their recent visit to Cardiff.
Resolved That all unskilled labourers, bona-fide residents of Cardiff, who are out of work be requested to attend at the Town Hall and fill in the necessary particulars in the register to be kept by the Hall Porter in the vestibule.
The Town Clerk reported that he had inspected the site of the Bute Shipbuilding, Engineering and Dry Dock Co., Ltd., and the bed of the river Taff between the Clarence Bridge and their shipyard, and found that the siltage complained of was in much the same state as in 1887, when the construction of the bridge was authorized; although a steady silting up is continually taking place. An aspect of far greater importance than any liability to the Company is the claim of the Corporation to be Conservators of the river Taff; and it is for the Committee to consider whether, as such Conservators, they should not take measures for cleaning the bed of the rivers and keeping the same clear and free from danger to navigation.
Resolved That the hearty thanks of this (Public Works) Committee be given to the Right Hon. Lord Tredegar for his generosity in presenting to the Corporation the land required to widen Newport Road, from Albany Road to the Taff Vale Railway (Roath Branch).
Sir William Lewis has informed the Corporation that Lord Bute is prepared to sell 38 acres out of the 59 composing Cathays Park, for the purposes of municipal buildings and public recreation ground, for £120,000.
A Deputation, consisting of Monsignor Williams, Father Hayde and Father Cormack, waited upon the Committee of the Burial Board with reference to a new entrance to the Catholic burial-ground. The matter was deferred. (fn. 1)
The Mayor reported that the Most Honourable the Marquess of Bute, K.T., had presented and forwarded to the Corporation a valuable portrait of himself by Professor Herkomer, of London, which His Worship had caused to be placed in a prominent position in the Council Chamber.
Resolved unanimously That the cordial and hearty thanks of this Council be tendered to the Most Honourable the Marquess of Bute and Earl of Dumfries, K.T., for his generosity in presenting to this Corporation a magnificent oil-painting of himself in his robe and chain of office as Mayor and Chief Magistrate of the County Borough of Cardiff for 1890–1; and the Council hereby records the pleasure with which it receives the gift, and assures His Lordship that the same is highly appreciated by the people of Cardiff.
Resolved That the Borough Engineer be instructed to adopt such measures as he may deem desirable, with a view of preventing the mud accumulating upon the shoal in the middle of the river Taff immediately above the Clarence Bridge.
An extract from the proceedings of the Museum Sub-Committee was read regarding the old town stocks, and the matter was left in the hands of the Chairman. (fn. 2)
Correspondence was read relative to the proposed Cardiff Harbour Trust. The Town Clerk writes Sir William Lewis that the Corporation have under consideration the desirability of establishing a Harbour Trust, so that the various interests involved in the docks and railways may be consolidated to the advancement of the trade of the Port of Cardiff. It was believed that Lord Bute would be willing to enter into negotiations for the transfer of the whole property forming the Cardiff Docks, and the warehouses, wharves, railways &c. incidental thereto, with a view to the formation of such a Trust, which it was suggested should include the Penarth Docks and the Barry Docks.
The Town Clerk read and the Mayor presented to the Most Honourable the Marquess of Bute and Earl of Dumfries, K.T., the Vote of Thanks engrossed on vellum, passed by the Council in recognition of his eminent services to the Town during his Mayoralty (1890–1). The Marquess suitably replied.
Resolved That this (General Purposes) Committee desires to express its sincere sympathy with the proprietors of the Western Mail on the occasion of the disastrous fire, whereby their business premises, plant, machinery and stock have been completely destroyed.
Town Clerk reported that by an order of the Local Government Board, made under the Divided Parishes Acts and dated the 22nd December 1882, a formerly detached part of Rumney Civil Parish, situate in Glamorganshire, was added to and amalgamated with Roath Civil Parish and was ordered to form part of the County of Glamorgan. No order, however, was made as to this piece forming part of the Borough of Cardiff, the Local Government Board being debarred by the provisions of the Divided Parishes Act from making such an order. It therefore appeared that the part of the Parish of Roath above mentioned was not within the Borough of Cardiff. The Town Clerk suggested that the Corporation should make a representation to the Local Government Board to add same to the Borough, so that the Borough boundary may at this point be co-extensive with the Parish of Roath, the whole of which is popularly believed to be within the Borough.
Resolved That a representation be made to the Local Government Board that the boundary of the Borough of Cardiff be altered by the inclusion within the Borough of so much of the Parish of Roath as lies within the County of Glamorgan and is not included in the present Municipal Borough of Cardiff.
Resolved unanimously That the Council of the County Borough of Cardiff, being the metropolis of the Principality of Wales, desire most respectfully to renew to Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen the assurance of their devotion to Her Majesty's Person and Throne, and to offer their sincere congratulations on the happy and auspicious occasion of the approaching marriage of Her Majesty's illustrious grandson, His Royal Highness the Duke of York, to Her Serene Highness the Princess Victoria May of Teck.
Resolved That upon the occasion of the marriage of H.R.H. the Duke of York to H.S.H. Princess May of Teck, the day be observed in Cardiff as a holiday, and that the Mayor be desired to respectfully invite the tradespeople to close their places of business and decorate their establishments.
Town Clerk reported that he had been served with a writ issued in an action by Lord Bute against the Corporation, claiming (1) Damages for removing the obstruction caused by the silting of the river Taff near the Clarence Bridge, and (2) Injunction to restrain the Corporation from any repetition thereof. The facts which led to the action were as follows:—
On 18 December 1892, the Borough Engineer received from the Bute Shipbuilding, Engineering and Dry Dock Co. a letter calling attention to the large amount of siltage accumulating in the bed of the river between the Clarence Bridge and their ship-yard, requesting him to have it removed, and stating that it rendered the approach to their property difficult and dangerous.
The Borough Engineer was asked to report as to the best way of getting rid of the mud, and eventually decided to excavate a channel through the centre of the shoal in the river bed and place an old barge there filled with debris, so as to turn the water into the said channel.
These operations were commenced and carried out without interference until the 19th ultimo, when the Borough Engineer had an interview with Sir William Thomas Lewis on another matter, and Sir William incidentally mentioned the work that was then going forward in the bed of the river Taff. The Borough Engineer informed him that the Corporation had undertaken the work at the request of the Bute tenants (the above-named Company), and that the same was being carried out as one of the duties thrown upon the Corporation in their capacity as conservators of the river.
Immediately after this, on the same day, Lord Bute's Solicitor, Mr. John Stuart Corbett, wrote the Town Clerk alleging that the land belonged to the Marquess, that he should have expected his permission would have been asked before the works were commenced, and requesting that orders should be given to discontinue the same until the objects had been explained to Lord Bute's advisers. The Town Clerk then requested Mr. Corbett to state from what date and under what authority Lord Bute claimed to be the proprietor of the river. Mr. Corbett replied that Lord Bute and his predecessors in title had for centuries been the owners of the bed or soil of the navigable part of the river Taff; and that this had not been disputed, except to some extent by the Crown, which dispute was settled by a conveyance of the Crown rights (if any) to Lord Bute.
The correspondence did not go beyond a statement of the claim of the Corporation to be from time immemorial conservators of the river Taff, entitling them to certain privileges and rendering them liable to various obligations and duties—including the duty of keeping the river clear and free from obstruction, in discharge whereof the works in question had been carried out. The claim of Lord Bute to be owner of the soil forming the bed of the river is by virtue, it is presumed, of his own proprietorship of the land on either side.
The Town Clerk has instructed his Agents to enter appearance to the writ and ask for statement of claim, which will entail upon Lord Bute the burden of showing his title to the property he claims in the bed of the river.
Resolved That the action of the Town Clerk be approved, and that he be instructed to take such steps as he may deem advisable to defend the action and assert the title of the Corporation to be conservators of the river Taff.
Cardiff Incorporated Shipowners' Association write enclosing copy of the following resolution:—" That a vote of thanks be sent to his Worship the Mayor of Cardiff for the police protection afforded the business men at the Docks during the recent dispute with seamen, which probably prevented serious rioting and injury to property and persons."
A letter was read from the Local Government Board, enclosing copy of a telegram received by the Home Office from Father Butler that typhus fever was in the Docks and that no provision was made for isolation.
Dr. Walford presents a special report on the outbreak of typhus fever, the first since 1885. It occurred almost exclusively in the Irish quarters of the town; and among those attacked by the disease was the Rev. Father Butler, of Saint Paul's, Tyndall Street, who had devoted a great deal of time and attention to his destitute parishioners, and visited the houses in which the first known cases occurred.
Proposed by way of amendment by Mr. Alderman Carey and seconded by Mr. Councillor Thomas, That all the references to the Irish residents or people in the above report of the Medical Officer of Health be eliminated.
Sir,—I have had the honour to lay before the Queen the Resolution of Congratulation passed at a meeting of the Council of the County Borough of Cardiff on the occasion of the betrothal of His Royal Highness the Duke of York and Her Serene Highness the Princess Victoria Mary of Teck; and I have to inform you that Her Majesty was pleased to receive the same very graciously. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant.
The Town Clerk was directed to enquire the cost of having the bells of Saint Peter's (fn. 3) rung for the same time.
At the next meeting it was Resolved That the Town Clerk be authorised to order a peal of bells to be rung at Saint John's and Saint Peter's. Also that the Town Hall be illuminated and decorated, and medals purchased for distribution at the tea to be given to the school-children in Cathays Park.
An action has been commenced against the Corporation, at the instance of the Attorney-General, raising the question of the recent vote for the increase of the Mayor's remuneration for the purpose of celebrating the marriage of the Duke of York; together with a process to set aside the orders for increase of the same salary in connection with the visits of the Duke of Clarence and the Lord Mayor of London to Cardiff.
The Stipendiary having given a decision in favour of the legality of the sale of alcoholic liquor on Sundays in clubs supported by common contributions, a number of men are now accustomed to assemble on Sundays on a piece of waste ground (popularly termed "the Hotel de Marl") and there broach barrels of beer purchased with the money of every comer who throws a few pence into a hole in the ground. The police attempting to forcibly suppress these assemblies, much excitement and disorder resulted.
Dear Mr. Wheatley,—Pray be good enough to convey to the Mayor and Council the expression of my sincere thanks for their very kind invitation, and of my earnest hopes that the future of Roath Park may more than justify the expectations which, as far as I know, everyone entertained on the subject. I am very sorry, however, that the great probability of important business rendering necessary my presence in Scotland puts it out of my power to perform the interesting ceremony.—Believe me, Dear Mr. Wheatley, sincerely yours.