Mr Gladstone

 

 

MR GLADSTONE VISITS DOVER


MR GLADSTONE VISITS DOVER

“On Monday Mr Gladstone, accompanied by Mrs Gladstone, Miss Gladstone and Mr W.H. Gladstone, left Harwarden and proceeded by special train to Sandwich, reaching there at 6.20...

On Tuesday at 12.30pm, Mr Gladstone left Betteshanger Park for the purpose of fulfilling his engagement at Dover. As the roads were very heavy owing to the severe fall of snow, Lord Northbourne took the precaution to send his snow-plough on in advance of the carriages conveying the party, so that the five-miles of road between Betteshanger Park and Sandwich station were made passable and the station was reached in good time. The special train reached Dover Priory Station a few minutes before 2 o'clock. Snow was falling heavily at the time but notwithstanding this a considerable number of persons assembled outside the station, the majority of whom were those who could certainly not be claimed as Mr Gladstone's supporters.

Near the entrance to the station was a conspicuous heap of snowballs which caused a great amount of anxiety to those few gentlemen who were present, awaiting to receive Mr Gladstone. When the party stepped out of the train, hooting and yelling outside at once disclosed to the visitors what they were likely to meet with and, for a moment, there was some hesitation as to whether to leave the station or go on to the Harbour. Mr Gladstone looked particularly anxious and excited. The booking office being crowded the party were advised to leave by the parcels entrance which they did under the escort of the police. As soon as they emerged from the station, there was a little hustling, the yells increased, and a few snowballs were thrown, one or two of which hit the Rt Honourable gentleman. While this was going on, Mr Gladstone, who did not enter the carriage until his wife and daughter had preceded him, stood with a look of intense indignation. The carriage then drove away for the Town Hall without further molestation, but followed by a large number of people running. At the top of the road leading to the Priory Station, Mr Gladstone was received by a Brass Band who were seated in a wagon drawn by a pair horse team, and which played the “Rogue's March”. As the carriage passed, it was accompanied by a great deal of hooting. Accompanying the vehicle were a number of men on horseback. The men and also the wagon were liberally placarded with bills, among which many bearing the following sentences were conspicuous: “Who disgraced his Country 's flag? ” “Men of Dover, give the Old Turncoat the welcome he deserves ”, “Heaven protect us from another Grand Old Man ”, “Gladstone, the Old Chip Seller is coming ”, “Who murdered Gordon? ”. Handbills giving extracts of what leading men thought of Mr Gladstone, were also distributed.

During the day a wagon with a band and number of men in it had been drawn round the town placarded with bills inviting “The Burgesses to attend outside the Town Hall and show Mr Gladstone what they thought of him”. After he had alighted (at the Town Hall) the cheering and hooting and hissing was quite deafening for a few minutes, and, as Mr Gladstone crossed the pavement to enter the building, a snowball struck his hat and knocked it on one side. ”

.... When Mr Gladstone left Betteshanger on Wednesday morning to go to Sandwich station, a number of male servants engaged on the estate insisted on unharnessing the horses and dragging Mr Gladstone's carriage as far as the Lodge gates. At Sandwich a considerable crowd had collected to receive him, amongst whom was the Mayor Mr Jacobs, whose daughter presented Mrs Gladstone with a handsome bouquet of flowers. A special train was here in readiness to convey the Rt Hon.gentleman to Folkestone where they arrived at the Harbour Station at 11.10. They were met at Folkestone by Sir Edward Watkin, MP, together with Sir Edward Reed, MP and Mr Miles Fenton, General Manager of the South Eastern Railway Company, amid cheers. They proceeded from this meeting to the landing stage and the boats. Their boat left at 11.45 and reached Boulogne at 2. (Dover Standard 31 Dec 1887 page 6)