Death of First Local Board Chairman Col Iremonger
Sudden Death of Colonel Iremonger, the first ‘Mayor of Skegness’, or Chairman of the Board, as the position was then called.
Great gloom has been cast over Skegness by the sudden death of Col Iremonger, chairman of the Local Board, which sad event took place about a quarter of an hour after midnight on Monday last. The report which rapidly spread early on Tuesday morning could at first hardly be credited, as the gallant colonel was seen in the town in his usual health as late as the previous afternoon.
It was soon, however, known to be a fact, and his sudden decease has caused poignant sorrow in the hearts of a large number of people’s who knew his worth. His upright conduct, even temperament, and general courtesy, had won the confidence of those with whom he was brought into contact. The deceased gentleman was born on the 25th of March, 1826, and would therefore have been 62 years of age on the 25th proximo.
Col Iremonger came to Skegness in 1882, and took up his residence at “Harewood” close adjacent to St. Matthew’s Church. About twelve months ago he caught a severe cold, from the effects of which he had never since thoroughly recovered, and times was very unwell, though the indisposition was not of so severe a nature as to confine him to his bed, or even to his room. He had enjoyed tolerably good health during the past few weeks he presided at the monthly meeting of the Local Board on Tuesday week, and attended divine service at St. Matthew’s Church on Sunday morning last with Mrs. Iremonger, notwithstandmg the very inclement weather, and was in the town as late as four o’clock on Monday afternoon.
He retired to rest about eleven o’clock on Monday night, and shortly before twelve – about an hour later – he experienced great difficulty in breathing. With a view to mitigating the pain he was then in, he got up and lay on the sofa near the fire. This, however, did not have the desired effect. He rapidly got worse, and expired about a quarter of an hour after midnight, before Mrs. Iremonger had time to secure medical assistance or even to call up the servants after seeing the dangerous condition her husband was in.
Mrs. Iremonger was alone in the room when the deceased breathed his last. These must have been crying moments for the stoutest heart, but when are added to this the dismal hour of midnight, darkness and gloom without, and the wind howling as it was on that melancholy night, the feeling of that estimable lady on such an occasion can better be imagined than described.
The servants responded to their mistress’s call as quickly is possible, but all was over before they came. Dr. Bernard was immediately sent for, and on his arrival he pronounced life extinct. The cause of death was heart disease, and, we understand, that an intimation was given to the family by Dr. Walls, of Burgh, about twelve months ago of the probability of his death taking place suddenly.
The form has vanished from us for ever, but the substance, never.
The deceased was a genuine lover of his adopted town, and at all times did what in him lay to serve her best interests.
Colonel Ironmonger has held several important offices since he has been in our midst. He was for some few years guardian of the poor for this parish and attended the meetings of the guardians at Spilsby regularly.
First Mayor of Skegness
On the formation of the Local Board at Skegness, about two years and half ago, he was, unsolicited, elected a member of the Board, and at its first meeting unanimously elected Chairman of that body. In this capacity he performed the duties attaching to his office so well that he was re-elected to the same in April last year.
At the time of his death he was Chairman of the Board, and would in all probability have been again re-elected to the office in April next. By the great attention he paid to the business of the Board and the affairs of the town he gained golden opinions respecting the business-like manner with which he acted on all occasions.
His decease has caused a vacancy on the Board which it will not be easy to fill. Though a strong conservative he discarded all party feeling at the Board meetings and acted in the most impartial manner. He was consequently beloved and respected by all parties alike; in fact, he was so highly respected that the members of the Board gave him a complimentary dinner at Hildred’s Hotel, on the 10th January last. His last duties in connection with the Board were the signing, only on Monday afternoon last, official documents respecting the forthcoming election of members of the Board.
He was also Chairman of the Skegness and District Conservative Association, and has, we believe, held that position since its formation in 1882; he was Chairman of the Club and Reading Room Committee, and took great interest in the welfare of that institution. Nor was this all. He was an honorary member of the Oddfellows’ Society, a great supporter of the Church, and has aided materially the Church Building Fund. Although Col Iremonger was not a gentleman who ostentatiously paraded his benevolence before the public, yet his charitable disposition was such that in him the poor of the parish will lose a valued friend. He was always mindful of them at about Christmas time, and his loss in Skegness will be generally felt.
Before coming to this town he resided at Reading and was for some years a member of the Town Council there, and also secretary for the Penitents’ Home, in which he took a great interest.
The deceased gentleman has left a widow and three surviving sons and one daughter. Three or four others died when young. The eldest son is vicar of Clatford in Hampshire, and the sad news was telegraphed to him on Tuesday morning, and he arrived here the same evening. The second son is a Lieutenant in the Madras Native Infantry, and he has recently been home to England on leave for one year and half. He only left England on his return to India on the 18th December last, sailing from Hull in the steamship Albion, one of the Wilson liners. A letter was received from him only on Monday last stating that he had arrived in India, that he had joined his regiment at Secunderbad, and that it was now on its way to Burmah. It will be some days before the sad news of his father’s death con possibly reach him. The shock to the third son, Mr. Edgar, when he hears the melancholy news will probably be greater than to the others.
It was only on Saturday morning last that he wished his father “good-bye” and left Skegness also for India. He is also in the army,and has recently been appointed as Lieutenant in the Durham Light Infantry which is stationed at Poonah, in India. He sailed from Portsmouth on Tuesday, in the troopship, Malabar, for Bombay, to join the regiment, to which he has been appointed, at Poonah, and he may not hear of his father’s death until the ship touches at Malta, some days hence. The only surviving daughter is Mrs. Baldwin, wife of the esteemed rector of Skegness.
In 1842, and when only 16 years of age, the deceased went out to India as an ensign in the 21st Native Infantry, under the East India Company, and remained with the above-named regiment, until he retired in 1871 on a full colonel’s pension, and returned to England. He was with his regiment at Peshawar, in the northwest provinces, during the Indian mutiny in 1857. This was one of the few garrisons which did not mutiny, and the five regiments stationed here, and of which the gallant colonel’s was one, remained disaffected. At the close of the mutiny he was appointed Assistant Adjutant General at Allahabad, which post, we believe, he occupied until he finally retired and came home to England.
The mortal remains of the lamented Colonel will be interred in Clatford churchyard, Hampshire, this (Friday) afternoon at two o’clock, the decease’s brother and other members of his family having been buried here. We understand that the deceased selected only a few months since a spot in the churchyard where he wished his grave to be.
The funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Mr George Dunkley, builder, of this town. The coffin is of polished oak with brass mountings with an inner deal shell, and the breastplate bears the following inscription – “Henry Edward Iremonger, born 25th March, 1826, died February 21st, 1888.”
The coffin containing the body was removed from “Harewood” yesterday (Thursday) morning shortly after nine o’clock, and despatched by the 10.35 a.m. train for Hampshire. The members and officers of the Local Board, a large number of the Members of the Oddfellows’ Society, and many of the general public assembled at the late residence of the deceased about nine o’clock and followed his remains to the railway station, in order to show their last mark of respect to the late Chairman of the Local Board and one who was greatly beloved by all. A handsome wreath of white flowers was placed on the coffin by the members of the Local Board, together with an appropriate mourning card with the words:
“From the members and officers of the Skegness Local Board. In sincere regard. February, 1888.”
The Oddfellows also sent a beautiful wreath of flowers, which was placed on the coffin with a card bearing the words, “As a tribute of respect and sympathy from the Skegness Oddfellows.”
The whole of the shops in the streets, and blinds from private houses, were closed during the mournful procession to the station.
The members and officers of the Local Board and the Oddfellows will attend divine service at St. Matthew’s Church on Sunday morning next, when, in all probability, some allusion will be made to the lamented death of the late Colonel.
Skegness Herald 1888
The picture below was taken in 1888 and shows the Skegness Local Board. Col Henry Edward Iremonger is the gentleman seated in the centre.
Charles Houghton, G J Crofts, W E Swift, G J Dashper, Coun Baldwin, Coun Iremonger, C J Bernard, E R Capon, Charles Hildred, A W Rawley, F Cartright, Charles Fred Grantham, E Grantham, E A Jackson, G Burley, S Clarke, Henry V Tippett, E L Wardle.
We have been contacted by a descendant of Col Iremonger who asked us
to find out if “Harewood” still exists. We searched in the vicinity of St Matthew’s Church, Skegness, but found no sign “Harewood”, where Col Iremonger lived. However, we have since determined that what is now the Charnwood Hotel on Scarbrough Avenue was, in fact ‘Harewood’.