Rule by the Margate Local Board of Health 1851 - 1858

Anthony Lee

Appendix III.

The separation of Margate from Dover 1853.

Canterbury Journal, April 2 1853.


At the meeting of the Dover Town Council, last week, the Town Clerk read the report of the Finance Committee upon the copy of the memorial of the inhabitants of Margate to the Lords of the Treasury, praying to be separated from Dover — forwarded to the Town Council at their lordship's direction. The report was as follows:

"The Finance Committee having had referred to them the memorial of certain inhabitants of Margate, one of the liberties of the Cinque Port Borough of Dover, addressed to the Lords Commissioners of her Majesty's Treasury, complaining of certain grievances to which it is alleged they are subject as one of such liberties, and praying that their lordships will be pleased (after due enquiry) to recom­mend her Majesty to adopt such measures of redress as should remove the grievances complained of [in the] report,

"That they have considered the memorial and the state­ments contained therein, and they find

"That the memorial appears to have been signed by, and to be the memorial of, only five of the Cinque Ports' Justices, the vicar and curate of Margate, the minister and lecturer of Trinity church, Margate, the churchwardens, guardians, and overseers of the poor of Margate, and three persons alleged to have been, in the year 1848, appointed to enquire into the Dover jurisdiction.

"That it does not appear to have been adopted at any meeting, public or private, of the inhabitants of Margate, nor (except so far as the five Cinque Ports' Justices who have signed it — though inhabitants of Margate — may be considered as acting for the whole of the Cinque Ports' Liberties) can it be anywise considered as the memorial of the rest of the Thanet Division of Dover, although its first allegation refers to the entire division which comprises not only Margate, but also the parish of Birchington, the Ville of Wood, and the parish of St. Peter, including Broadstairs, forall which parishes and ville the memorial professes to speak, as well as for the parish of St. John, Margate.

"With respect to the grievances complained of, the Committee cannot deny that there is a difference of a few miles in the distances between the gaol of Canterbury and Margate, and the gaol of Dover and Margate; and that the residence of the Coroner of Dover, whose jurisdiction extends to Margate, is a few miles further from that place than is that of the present County Coroner, who resides at Canterbury; but the Committee conceive that the difference of distance and of expense consequent thereupon is utterly insignificant in comparison to other considerations which must be taken into account, if any alteration in the juris­diction shall take place, for

"First — With respect to the Dover Gaol, the Thanet Division of Dover, and other non-corporate limbs of this borough, have been and are charged with a proportionate part of the debt incurred for the purchase of the site and the construction of the gaol for the borough and liberties, and such debt now exists to the amount of £6,340. To a fair proportion of this debt, so long as it exists, the Thanet Division must remain subject, whether it be withdrawn from the jurisdiction or not.

“Secondly — Even with such an arrangement as that on withdrawal from the jurisdiction, the Thanet Division should bear a portion of the existing debt, there would be further to be considered the fact that Dover itself would be burdened with the maintenance of a gaol larger than would be required for the jurisdiction of that borough without the Thanet Division.

"Thirdly — That as to the Coroner's jurisdiction, it is to be observed that since 1836 the Coroner has never failed (with one or two exceptions) to hold inquests in the Liber­ties within twenty-four hours after notice; while, referring to the public papers, it appears to have frequently happened that, probably owing to the extent of his district, the County Coroner cannot attend, when summoned, for several days after the death to be enquired into is notified to him.

"The Committee have not the means of accurately judging what would be the number of persons to be sum­moned as jurors from the Thanet Division, in case it should be thrown into the county; but they conceive that the inhabitants of that division would, in such a case, be in a worse position than at present, as they would be liable to be called upon to serve as jurors not only at the East Kent Sessions at Saint Augustine's, but also at the Assizes at Maidstone, where they might be detained many days, whereas at Dover they are detained but one day, and, as far as individuals are concerned, once only in about four years.

"With reference to the licensing of public-houses, which would seem to be rather the grievance of the Cinque Ports' magistrates than of the inhabitants of Margate, or of the Thanet Division, the Committee have no other remark to make than that it is a matter for the determination of her Majesty's Government whether, for so trifling a consideration, it is worth while to introduce a legislative measure to alter the jurisdiction; but, should it be deemed so, then the compensation of existing interests, hereafter referred to, will have to be dealt with.

"The Borough and Liberty Rate, to which the Thanet Division contributes, has averaged for the last five years 3¼ d. in the pound; and during those five years an amount of £1,200 has been paid off the debt, reducing it to the sum before mentioned.

“To this debt they are, in common with the Borough, liable; and, therefore, though they might be chargeable to a less rate, if thrown into the county juris­diction, they would also have to pay their portion of the interest and principal of such debt, and to bear a portion of the salaries of the Recorder and Gaoler, which have been fixed with regard to the entire jurisdiction. That they would also have to pay compensation to the Clerk of the Peace, the Coroner, and the Clerk to the Justices, to the extent those officials would be damnified by the withdrawl of the Thanet Liberties from the jurisdiction of the borough of Dover; and the Committee, therefore, conceive that those Liberties could not in the end be benefited by such withdrawal.      

“But if the fair proportion of the debt for the gaol, of the salaries, and the compensations to the existing officers, can be adequately provided for, the Committee would not recommend the Council to resist the desire of the Thanet Division for a separation, if it should be clearly ascertained that such a desire is entertained by the inhabitants of that Division generally, or of any considerable majority of them.”

The above report was unanimously adopted, and it was ordered that a copy of the same be forwarded to the Secretary of State.