The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Memorial at Skegness
Source: Skegness Herald 1898
Laying the Foundation Stone of a Clock Tower by
Lord Willoughby de Eresby, M. P.
Public Luncheon at the Lion Hotel
Saturday last may be regarded as a red letter day in the history of Skegness, and the event which took place will form another important epoch in the annals of our rapidly improving popular seaside resort. It will be remembered that the celebrations in connection with her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee last year were carried out in our town on a magnificent scale, but our townspeople who are deeply imbued not only with a spirit of loyalty but also with a desire to increase the popularity of this rising watering-place, decided on the erection of a memorial which should answer a two-fold purpose – a memorial to the long and glorious reign of Queen Victoria and a lasting benefit to the residents and visitors to Skegness.
After careful consideration it was decided that a clock and tower should be erected, and after this came the selection of a suitable site and the provision of ways and means. In regard to the site the Earl of Scarbrough very kindly undertook to turn the corners of the parades and to give the necessary land for a roadway to the pullover on either side, when the present site was elected. This was a handsome gift, and considered from pounds, shillings and pence point of view amounts to £150.
The next matter was the raising the money for building the tower, as this could not be taken out of the rates. Mr Councillor Randall, then Chairman of the Skegness Urban District Council, was apparently determined to overcome this difficulty, and persevered in the matter in a most commendable manner. A public meeting was called and the matter laid before the ratepayers who decided the money should be raised by voluntary subscriptions. A subscription list was accordingly opened, and a committee formed to canvas the town. The result being very satisfactory, plans were prepared and tenders for the erection of the tower advertised for. Mr Winter, of Manchester, is the architect, and Mr Parker, of Boston, the builder. The contract for the tower amounts to £319, and the clock and bells will cost nearly £200 more, but the latter will be provided by the rates.
The memorial is expected to be completed by the commencement of next season. The general committee consists of the members of the Skegness Urban District Council, and the Rev. C. P. Disbrowe,
Laying the Foundation Stone
The interesting ceremony of laying the foundation stone commenced punctually at two o’clock, by which time a large concourse of persons had assembled. Cheap excursions were run by the Great Northern Railway Company from Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and other places for the occasion, and brought in a large number of visitors.
The weather was beautifully fine, and in every respect the affair was a great success.
Lord Willoughby de Eresby was accompanied by the Chairman of the Clock Tower Committee (Mr. S. G. Randall), the Chairman of the Skegness Urban District Council (Mr. J. Barlow, J. P.), Mr. H. V. Tippet (agent of the Earl of Scarbrough), several other members of the Council, and their clerk (Mr. G. J. Dashper), and others.
A letter was received from the Rev. R. R. Cracroft, rector of Harrington, expressing his regret at being unable to attend. After taking up their positions on the temporary platform, Mr. Randall, who presided over the assembly said:
I have great pleasure in asking you, Lord Willoughby, to perform the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of this clock tower. (Applause). He then presented his lordship with a polished mahogany mallet and handsome silver trowel with which to “well and truly” lay the stone which bore the following inscription “This foundation stone was laid by Lord Willoughby de Eresby, M. P., October 22nd, 1898.”
Lord Willoughby having gracefully laid the stone, said he had now great pleasure in announcing the stone, according to time-honoured custom, “well and truly laid.” (Applause).
It was now his duty to announce that there was still a small sum of money required to complete the expenses of erecting this tower, and a collection would be made towards obtaining the money required for the purpose of finishing the tower. He thought they would excuse him if he also said one or two additional words on this auspicious occasion, (hear, hear), for he was indeed pleased that the public spirit here in Skegness had induced them to come forward to erect in this important seaside town a fitting monument in commemoration of one of the most marvellous reigns in the world’s history – (cheers_ – one of the most marvellous reigns in every way. He believed that actually at the time of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen they had certain celebrations here at Skegness, and rejoiced along with their neighbours in having the Queen still reigning over them. (Hear,hear).
He thought it did credit to the public spirit in Skegness that they were not content with those celebrations but that they wished to erect something of more permanent and more lasting value. (Applause).
It must indeed be a source of gratification to all of them to have lived in a reign which had brought with it such increased prosperity and progress among the people – which had shown the development of an Empire which he might say was second to none throughout the world – (loud cheers), – and also, at the same time to know that we had ruling over us a Queen who had managed not only political affairs with the very greatest wisdom and thew very greatest foresight, but also by her many domestic virtues had endeared herself to the hearts of all men and women who are her subjects. (Applause).
He thought it would require no more words from him on this occasion, except to express a hope that the tower which would be erected would always be a mark to future generations of the town the appreciation of her Majesty Queen Victoria and always be a monument of this grand, glorious reign. (Cheers).
A collection was then made in behalf of the Clock Tower Fund, and £7 16s 0d realised.
Mr. G. J. Dashper, clerk to the Skegness Urban District Council, said the collection just taken was, as they all knew, towards the expenses of the tower, and not towards the cost of the clock.
When the tower was erected they would want a clock to place in it, but the law on the subject was rather peculiar, inasmuch as it allowed the Council to provide a clock at the expense of the residents, but did not furnish them with a place in which to put it; they might put it in a public building, or a private building by arrangement with the owner, Under these peculiar circumstances the townspeople wisely determined upon the erection of a tower in which to place a clock, which would show the time on all four sides. He might tell them that the Council held a meeting on the previous evening to discuss the matter, and came to the conclusion that they would order such a clock for this tower as would be appreciated by the visitors that came here, as well as by the residents, and a clock that would cost at least £167, which was the amount of the contract. The clock and everything connected with it would probably cost £180. They might therefore come to the conclusion that it would be a clock well worthy of the tower, and of which the foundation stone had just been laid.
The clock would have three bells, and hour bell weighing 6cwt, and two quarter hour bells together weighing 4.5cwt. There would be four dials each 4ft. 6in.in diameter, and which would be illuminated at night, east, west, north and south, so that those on the pier and in other parts of the town would know when it was time to return home and retire to rest after having enjoyed the beautiful sea breezes. (Hear, hear). He thought that they would agree with him that the tower and clock would be worthy of a town such as this which was growing day by day, and of which they heard said on all sided that people must go to Skegness to get invigorated in health. (Applause).
Mr. J. Barlow proposed a vote of thanks to Lord Willoughby for coming here that day to lay the foundation stone of the tower. They were greatly indebted to his lordship and on behalf of the town he tendered him their thanks. This tower was being erected as a memorial of, and show show their appreciation for, the benefits and blessings this country had derived from the long and glorious reign of her Majesty Queen Victoria. (Applause).
Mr H V Tippet said it was with a feeling of great pleasure that he seconded the vote of thanks so ably proposed by the Chairman of the Council. They were greatly indebted to Lord Willoughby for having travelled all the way from Scotland to perform this interesting ceremony, and which he had done in so satisfactory a manner, (Applause). Both the residents of Skegness, and those who favoured them with visits, could rejoice at the prospect of such an erection as a clock tower which they would all find most useful.
Hearty cheers were then given to Lord Willoughby.
Lord Willoughby, responding to the compliment, said he was sure it was too kind of them to thank him for what had been a very easy task. He could only regret he was not able to come at an earlier date in the autumn to perform this interesting ceremony, but he was glad to be able to be here today and the stone, he hoped was indeed well and truly laid. (Hear, hear).
He was sorry to say he had not had much experience in the work of a mason – in fact, this was his maiden effort – and he had come to the conclusion that when he wanted to look for a new experience it was only necessary to come to the east coast of Lincolnshire, because only last year about this time he assisted at the ceremony of launching a lifeboat at Sutton-on-sea, a thing which he had never done before. There was always a surprise in store for him on the coast of Lincolnshire . If they were all such good works as this here today, he thought there might be one or even more every year. (Applause). He could only say in conclusion it had given him the greatest pleasure to be here today, and it was his most fervent wish that this magnificent clock tower of which he had just been shown the plan, would remind them all of the glorious reign of her Majesty the Queen, and at the same time serve the useful purpose of informing those who had work and business to do the proper time; and he could also expect to hear in the future that the young of Skegness were never late at school. (Laughter and Applause,) He hoped this clock would serve a very useful purpose, and he thanked them all for the kind vote of thanks which they and accorded to him, (Cheers.)
The Rev. C. P. Disbrowe then offered a suitable prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer was next said and the Doxology sung, and the interesting ceremony was brought to a close with singing “God save the Queen.”
The ceremony was followed by a Luncheon at the Lion Hotel: