Eng. (Lancashire). Parish Bury.

The registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) online

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3rd of Oct. 1807, to resolve upon a plan for the establishment of a
General Dispensary, whereby the poor and industrious workman
and his family should receive the aid of the physician and the sur-
geon, in all diseases and accidents, at their own habitations ; where
medicines might be regularly administered ; and where, at stated
hours, those who are capable of attending, might receive advice and
medicine free of all expence, and with as little loss of time as
possible. Its doors being always open to persons suffering from acci-
dents, and to the sick on the recommendation of subscribers.

The building at present devoted to the purpose is a spacious
well-built mansion, at Causev-head, belonging to the Governors of



TOWNSHIP OF HALIFAX. 345

Waterhouse's charities for the use of the lecturer in the Parish Church.
It is held on lease by trustees on behalf of the Dispensary, at a low
rental. The charity consists of a president, two vice-presidents,
a treasurer, two physicians, two surgeons, a resident apothecary,
and governors. A donation of ten guineas or more constitutes a
governor for life, who may have a patient continually on the books
for every ten guineas contributed. An annual subscription of one
guinea or more entitles the subscriber to be a governor and to have
one patient continually on the books for each guinea subscribed.
All ministers preaching annual sermons followed by collections, are
governors, and entitled to vote on all matters relative to the institu-
tion, and also to have one patient continually on the books. The
management of its affairs is entrusted to a committee of twenty-
one governors chosen every year, the committee being open to the
president, vice-president, treasurer, medical officers, and governors
for life, who are entitled to a vote ; three of them form a quorum.
All ladies, as well as those governors who reside out of the district
for visiting patients at their own houses, (which extends to a mile
from the cross) may by letter appoint other governors to vote for
them at any election by ballot ; at which no person is entitled to
vote who has not been a governor upwards of six months, and who
has not paid his subscription on or before the day preceding the
election.

It is required that every physician eligible to the Dispensary, be
a medical graduate of the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Dub-
lin, Edinburgh, or Glasgow; and that the surgeons have obtained
a diploma from some incorporated College of Surgeons. The Phy-
sicians attend at the Dispensary every Monday, Wednesday, Thurs-
day, and Saturday ; and also visit home patients at their respective
places of abode, when necessary. A surgeon attends even,^ Tuesday
and Friday to examine patients labouring under surgical complaints, •
and also visits patients at their own houses, within the district of
the Dispensary, whose cases render them unable to attend. No
capital operation is to be performed without first consulting the
physicians. The qualifications for the apothecary arc testimonials
of moral conduct and of having served a regular apprenticeship of
five years to a surgeon, or surgeon apothecary : his election is
made by the four medical oiliccrs ; the President t" roUcct their



346 TOWNSHIP OF HALIFAX.

votes, and in case of an equality to have a casting vote. It is
required that the apothecary shall reside in the house, and compound
and dispense the medicines required ; and devote his w^hole time to
the duties of his office. No menial servants, nor domestic appren-
tices, whose masters are ahle to provide for them, can be admitted
as proper objects of the charity.

It is obvious that in manufacturing districts the labouring poor
are much exposed to accidents, and those in general of a very severe
nature, arising from the complicated state of machinery ; to meet
cases of this description, surgical wards were opened in the Dis-
pensary in the year 1823, and enlarged in 1827 ; but the number of
beds at present does not exceed eight. This department, of neces-
sity, draws largely on the funds of the institution. The numbers
admitted into these wards have been very considerable.

The total number of patients admitted from the commencement
of the charity till December, 1831, was 80.346. The amount of
donations and collections during the same period was £4063 13 11.
The annual subscriptions for the year 1834 amounted to £532 7s.

THE THEATRE.

This building has not any thing in its exterior appearance to
recommend it to public notice, its frontage being occupied by the
Shakspeare Tavern. It was erected about the year 1790 by
voluntary subscriptions, and contains two tiers of boxes, pit and
gallery. The size is sufficiently large for the town. It is open
during the season under the management of Mr. Manly, whose
best exertions are always put forth to cater for the amusement of
his audience ; but the taste for theatrical amusements does not
appear to prevail here to a great extent.




THE NEW ROOMS, IN HARRISON LANE.



These rooms were erected in the year 1828, by subscription,
from a design and under the superintendance of the late Mr. John
Dates. The site is not only well chosen, but the building is admi-
rably adapted to the purposes for which it was erected, and displays
a degree of skill in the general arrangement of the interior. The
above Vignette will better illustrate its exterior appearance than
any written description.

In the centre of the ground story is an entrance hall, having on
either side two spacious rooms ; of those on the right side of the
hall, one of them extending the whole breadth of the building, is
appropriated to the use of the subscription library and has a separate
entrance ; the other as the temporary museum of the Literary and
Philosophical Society. The rooms on the left of the hall are a
handsome News room, and adjoining thereto a Billiard room, with
separate entrances. There are also private apartments for the resi-
dence of the housekeeper.

From the hall are a double flight of circular stairs, lighted by a
skylight of stained glass, ascending to a handsome gallery in the
centre of which are folding doors opening into a suite of lofty and
elegant ai)artments, extending the whole front length of the build-
ing, consisting of a splendid Ball room, Card room, and Supper
room, forming, when united, a noble suite of Assembly rooms.



348 TOWNSHIP OF HALIFAX.

The cornices are richly and tastefully ornamented : the ceiling-
is arched and supported by eight fluted Corinthian pillars, so
placed as to form a division of the apartments, which can be
sejDarated by invisible doors. Over the entrance is an appropriate
orchestra ; but on the occasion of concerts a handsome one has been
built expressly for the purpose, and removeable at pleasure.

The rooms are elegantly and tastefully furnished with crimson
damask curtains, sofas and ottomans, en suite ; beautiful cut-glass
chandeliers are suspended from the ceiling.

Adjoining the card room, and with a separate entrance from the
gallery, is a Ladies' withdrawing room. There is also a dressing
room for the gentlemen ; a cloak and hat room ; servants' waiting
room, and every other requisite necessary for the convenience and
accommodation of visitors.

As public rooms they have been universally admired, nor are
they surpassed by any in the county, either as regards their arrange-
ment, or the taste and style displayed in the fitting up. Much
jiraise is due to the proprietors, for their spirited conduct in thus
affording their fellow townsmen the oj^portunity of enjoying those
elegant pleasures and fascinating but innocent amusements, which
are the life and charm of good society.

LITERARY AND THILOSOFHICAL SOCIETY.

The Halifax Literary and Philosophical Society was instituted in
the year 1830, and is governed by certain laws and regulations
settled at the first annual meeting of the society on the 7th Octo-
l)er, 1831. Its affairs are conducted by a president, two vice-pre-
sidents, two secretaries, a treasurer, curators of the respective
departments, and five members of the society, all of whom con-
stituting the council, are annually elected by ballot out of the
subscribing members at the annual meeting, being respectively
eligible to re-election, except the vice-presidents, whose office is
biennial.

General meetings of the society are held during the sessions,
which extend throughout the year, with the exception of the months
of July, August, and September, at stated periods, when members
are elected, donalions presented, communications received and read,
and scientific and literary subjects discussed.



TOWNSHIP OF HALIFAX. 349

The literary character of the town may be said to have been in-
volved in the accomplishment of so noble an undertaking as the
formation of a society for the advancement of literature, science,
and philosophical research ; and if the encouraging and satisfactory
success that attended it in its infantine state, and still attends it.
be anv criterion of the value the gentry of Halifax attach to the'
cultivation of those pursuits which ennoble the understanding and
elevate the mind ; the Literary and Philosophical Society, will ere
long, occupy a pre-eminent station in this country.

As the society's first annual report may be said to form the
ground-work of their undertaking, I have here embodied such
extracts as cannot fail to be interesting, and at the same time shew
some of its principal features.

"In the society's collection in Zoology, the lover of natural
history will find that facilities of a more than ordinary nature are
here afforded him, of indulging and prosecuting his favorite study.
The beautiful series of Foreign Birds, for the most part formed
during the last few years in South America, presents numerous rare
and interesting examples, and some few indeed, which there is
reason to believe are, in this country, unique ; whilst many indivi-
dual instances occur, as perfect in their nature as those of which
any other collection can boast. The Museum also contains a col-
lection of British birds, which, though far from complete, comprises
a considerable portion of the rarer species ; the majority of them
deriving an additional interest from their having been procured in
the immediate vicinity of Halifax.

"The department of Foreign Conchology presents examples of all
the Linnsean genera, in their most brilliant tints and varied forms,
as well as a considerable portion of those of .more modern authors ;
and embraces many species of unusual occurrence and beauty.

"Perhaps no district in England, hitherto explored by the
naturalist, has been found more prolific in the rare and valuable
productions in Entomology than that in which this institution is
established, and the formation of a cabinet of British Insects which
has just been effected, may be said to insure, at no distant period,
a complete collection in this instructive, though minute, department
of Natural History.

"In the interesting and rapidly advancing science of Geology,



350 TOWNSHIP OF HALIFAX.

this immediate neighbourhood has furnished the Society with a
number of specimens, consisting chiefly of Fossil plants ; many,
undoubtedly, of great rarity, and others, probably, unique. Some
progress has thus been made towards the formation of a regular
series of organic remains, from the carboniferous beds which occupy
so large a portion of the parish of Halifax. It is, however, much
to be regretted that these strata have not, until a very recent period,
received that degree of attention from geologists, to which their
importance entitled them, and the consequence is, that many of their
productions remain undescribed. The establishment of this insti-
tution will, hoM^ever, it is hoped, be the means of awakening a
spirit of geological investigation and research, and thereby of
securing not only the acquisition, but also an accurate and scientific
description, of the productions of our own strata.

"Though the society's collection may be said to comprise
specimens from all the Fossil-bearing strata, it is as yet deficient in
examples in vertebrated animals and Mammalia."

The mineralogical department of the Museum at that time ex-
hibited upwards of 600 specimens referable to all the four leading
classes under which minerals are usually arranged — those of earthy,
saline, metaliferous and inflammable substances.

" In the Cabinets set apart for the reception of coins, and other
memorials and relics of former times, the antiquary will derive much
gratification and instruction from a careful examination of their
contents. The series of Roman and Grecian coins presents a num-
ber of interesting specimens of no ordinary beauty and value, and in
the most perfect state of preservation ; whilst that of the coinage of
our own country comprises, with very few exceptions, examples of
the currency of the English kings from the Conquest to the present
period, as well as of several of the Anglo-Saxon monarchs.

"From the ruins of Athens and its vicinity, there are some beauti-
ful illustrations of those exquisite arts which so eminently distin-
guished a former age ; and from these it may be permitted to select,
for more especial notice, the specimens of Grecian sculpture, which
are not less attractive to the artist than to the antiquary."

The rude but ingenious manufactures of many uncivilized
countries also ornament various parts of the museum.

In adverting to the Library, although the council could not



TOWNSHIP OF HALIFAX. 351

then continue the language of congratulation, as that important
branch of the Institution had failed to meet with its due measure of
success ; they have since received from their President a well timed
and liberal donation of 50 guineas, to be applied exclusively to its
increase ; together with several other donations, among which is
the munificent gift of the Public Records from His Majesty's Com-
missioners. In the selection of the books, a particular reference
has been had by the Council, to the objects of the institution,
which required not a miscellaneous library for general circula-
tion, but chiefly a collection of the most valuable standard
works on the different departments of science ; and it is but justice
to the Council to state that they have appropriated the funds placed
at their disposal, with a due regard to the comparative extent, im-
portance, and interest, of the respective subjects. It appeared, in
the first place, desirable to obtain a suitable provision of those books
of reference, which are almost indispensable appendages to the
Museum. Other scientific works have been, and will be, added
from time to time, possessing a more general interest. Whether
these should be allowed to circulate beyond the bounds of the Mu-
seum is a question which will probably come under the considera-
tion of the society.

It would be an act of injustice and ingratitude to omit particu-
larizing those of its members, to whom the society is most especially
indebted for their liberal donations. Among these the name of the
worthy president, Christopher Rawson, Esq., occupies a prominent
place. The acquisitions derived from this gentleman's munificence
consist of a splendid series of Roman and Grecian gold and silver
coins, medals and antiquities, various curiosities, minerals and
fossils ; the value and extent of which can only be duly appreciated
by a reference to the museum : together with several expensive
and valuable books. Nor are the interesting collections of En-
glish silver coins, and medals, the donation of Edward Nelson
Alexander, f. s. a. one of the honorary secretaries, unworthy of
especial notice.

The whole of the valuable and interesting collection of foreign
Birds, which, as a deposit, originally formed one of the bases of the
Museum, and, in fact, contributed in no small degree to its A'ery
establishment, lias been, in the most handsome manner, presented



352 TOWNSHIP OF HALIFAX.

to the society by John Smith, Esq., of Halifax ; thus affording an
unequivocal proof of his approbation of its proceedings, of his con-
viction of its permanency, and of his anxiety for its increasing
success. To this very liberal donation, he also added the gift of
an interesting series of South American shells, which have hitherto
formed part of the contents of the Museum, and several specimens
connected with foreign natural history ; merely attaching to the
whole, the very proper and reasonable condition that, should so im-
probable an event as the dissolution of the society occur within seven
years, the specimens thus presented shall be restored to their former
possessor.

Among the other donations which are entitled to peculiar
notice, are those of Dr. Moulson, and the Rev. J. B. Reade,
who, with the view of encouraging absolute contributions to
the society, and thereby augmenting its own possessions, have
most kindly presented their valuable collections of Entomology :
that of the former, embracing specimens, in the most perfect pre-
servation, of Brazilian Insects ; and that of the latter comprising
upwards of Six Hundred British Insects, rendered particularly
interesting from their being chiefly captured in our own district.

I have thus endeavoured, as briefly as possible, to set forth the
advantages peculiarly enjoyed by this infant institution, and it is
almost needless to add, that in proportion as those advantages are
known, they cannot but be appreciated. The prosperity of this
society is identified with the best interests of the Parish, and every
individual who desires to promote the reputation of the one, will
pride himself in the welfare of the other.

THE LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETy's HALL.

This is a handsome classical structure, contiguous to the New
Rooms. The foundation was laid on the 16th May, 1834. and the
building erected from a design of Wm. Gravatt, Esq. f. r. s. Archi-
tect. On the ground floor is a good entrance hall, a spacious lec-
ture room, and two smaller rooms, with apartments for the keeper.
A circular stone stair case ascends from the hall to the museum,
which exclusively occupies the first floor, and is a grand apartment
well adapted for the purpose. There are only four windows on the
ground floor. The roof is an entablature supported by six pilasters.



TOWNSHIP OF HALIFAX. 353

in the centre is a large Ian thorn sky-light to give light to the museum.
The building is encircled by a handsome pallisado fence.

The day set apart for laying the foundation stone of this building
was of too interesting a nature to be passed over in silence ; it will
long be remembered here, not only as regards the object of the
undertaking, but the manner in which the ceremonial was performed.
I must not omit to state that the Ladies had most kindly and con-
siderately deputed Dr. Kenny to present to Christopher Rawson,
Esq. the president of the society, a silver trowel to be used on the
occasion. The day was beautifully fine; and the presence of a
numerous assemblage of the fair sex (who viewed the proceedings
from the adjoining rooms) gave a peculiar animation to the scene.
A few short but excellent speeches having been made by some of
the members of the society, and the usual muniments, and a set of
coins of the present and two preceding reigns, having been deposited
in a cavity of the stone, and secured by a brass plate with an ap-
propriate inscription thereon ; the worthy mason performed his
interesting duty, amidst the smiles and greetings of his fair coun-
try-women, the contragulations of his friends, and the acclamations
of his assembled townsmen.

The sentiment of Mr. Rawson, at the conclusion of the pro-
ceedings, is too excellent, too deeply in unison with the feelings of
all who take an interest in the success of the society, to be passed
over in silence, I here transcribe it, : —

" Gentlemen, the ceremony being now concluded, and the
foundation laid, it remains for me to express my fervent hope, that
the superstructure to be raised thereon, may to the present and suc-
ceeding generations, ever prove a scene and source of intellectual
enjoyment and moral improvement : and that its walls may be ever
strangers to any sentiments and opinions which do not inculcate
universal philanthropy and brotherly love ; sentiments and opinions,
gentlemen, which, whilst they teach us to admire the wonderful
works of nature, teach us at the same time, to bow with humility
and reverence to that " Great First Cause," Nature's God! who
made all things ; who made man after His own image, and having
done so, enjoined upon all mankind this sublime precept, ' love thy
neighbour as thyself ; and now, in conclusion, from my heart I pray,
may God bless you all."



354 TOWNSHIP OF HALIFAX.

THE mechanics' INSTITUTIOX.

The Halifax Mechanics' Institution was established in May.

1825, and owes its origin to a letter which was circulated among
the principal inhabitants of the town, and signed on behalf of a
small number of operatives, by one Joseph Baldwin, a respect-
able working mechanic, — setting forth the advantages which they
expected would arise from popular institutions of this kind, when
fitted up with necessary books and apparatus, and supported and
countenanced by gentlemen of property and influence ; expressing
their desire to see an institution established in Halifax, similar in
its plan and objects to those already formed in other manufacturing
towns. This appeal met with the encouragement it deserved, from
a number of the more intelligent and wealthy classes of the commu-
nity. A meeting was called by public advertisement, when John
Waterhouse, Esq. of Well Head, took the chair, at which a series
of resolutions were agreed upon, expressive of their opinion of the
beneficial results likely to arise from a society formed for the pur-
pose of affording to the working classes the means of acquiring
practical and scientific information, and their determination to
encourage the desire expressed in the letter above alluded to, by
co-operating with each other in forming and supporting a society
which should be denominated "The Halifax Mechanics' Institution."
A provisional committee was appointed to draw up rules and to ob-
tain subscriptions, and on the 29th June, a meeting of the members
and subscribers was held in the Parish church Sunday school room,
when the rules for the future government of the institution were
adopted and officers appointed for the ensuing year. From this day
therefore, the institution bears date, when the society consisted of
seven honorary members, forty-nine members, and thirty-four sub-
scribers. The first annual meeting was held on the 3rd of July,

1826, and in October following a course of lectures was delivered.
From this period until 1829, the subscribers to the institution
gradually lessened, occasioned partly from the apathy and indiffer-
ence exhibited by those for whose more especial benefit the society
was formed, and partly from other causes. In this year however,
through the active exertions of a few individuals, a deeper interest
was excited, than had existed for two years previous. lo order to give



TOWNSHIP OF HALIFAX. 355

a greater popularity to the institution, a few gentlemen agreed to
deliver monthly, a gratuitous lecture on some important branch of
science. By these means and a complete reA'ision of the rules in the
following year, the institution has become what it was originally
intended to be, and instead of not having more than from twenty
to thirty members on the books, as was the case in 1829, it can
now boast of from 350 to 400 members.

Connected with the institution there is an evening school, three
times a week ; a library, consisting of upwards of 1000 volumes
which is also open three times a week ; and access to all lectures,
apparatus, &c, &c., for the annual subscription of eight shillings.

PUBLIC LIBRARIES.

There are two public circulating subscription Libraries within
the town. The principal is at the New Rooms, in Harrison Lane,
and was established in the year 1769, there being at that time not
more than four public libraries of this nature in the metropolis ; the
price of the tickets at its formation was £1. Is. and the annual sub-
scription 5s. : at present the value of a ticket varies from £7 7s. to
£4 4s., and the annual subscription amounts to £1 5s. It is said to
contain upwards of 7000 volumes, including several standard works,
and many well chosen books, excluding Divinity, Law, and Physic.
It is subject to a fixed code of rules, and its affairs are placed under



Online LibraryEng. (Lancashire). Parish BuryThe registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) → online text (page 32 of 52)