Now I know that politics can evoke some strong reactions, and that often it gets very heated during council meetings, but these chaps took it to a whole new level! So much so that it made the national papers.
That Friday morning in December 1894 had started off normally for the local coucillors, they arrived to attend their meetings at the Guildhall. First on the agenda was the Garden committee, fairly innocuous you would have thought, but it appears that behind those closed doors of the chamber things were starting to hot up!
Two of the councillors exchanged heated words during the proceedings. Councillors Wallis and Edgson obviously didn’t agree on a matter, and having researched the beginnings of Weymouths parks and gardens, I suspect that I know what might have sparked it off.
That meeting having finished, the men retired to the hall outside, waiting for the next one to begin, this being the Finance committee.
This is where it really kicks off!
Obviously, still hot under the collar over the words exchanged in the chamber, Edgson marched over to Wallis and once again started to berate the man for a remark he had made during the previous spat. Wallis, well known for his often outlandish views, and no shrinking violet, retaliated accusing Edgson of similar remarks.
This was too much for Edgson, he saw red, grabbing Wallis by his shoulders he shook him fiercely. Of course, Wallis wasn’t going to let that go, he deliberately and slowly removed his spectacles and carefully placed them down on the table next to him, with that he swung for Edgson, landing a punch firmly on his nose! The two men
then proceeded to have a “stand up fight” as the reporter says, with Wallis looking to be pretty much the better boxer of the two. It was said that blood was “streaming copiously from Councillor Egdson’s nasal organ.”
The other members were so shocked at what was happening before their very eyes, they could only stand and watch in complete amazement at these two respectable men of the town brawling like navvies in the chambers.
Coming to their senses, councillor Vincent manged to wrestle a still enraged Edgson from the room and into one of the side chambers, while the others managed to restrain Wallis.
Within minutes, news of the pugilistic coucillors was racing round town, and before long had reached the ears of the local reporter, who must have rubbed his hands with glee as he sat and wrote his tale.
Wallis was a real character, he stood up for the common folk in the town, was fairly hot headed, and I’m sure there will be many more tales about him to reveal.
- 1879; Tragedy at the George Inn, Weymouth. (susanhogben.wordpress.com)
- Weymouth’s Victorian bandstands. (susanhogben.wordpress.com)
- Weymouth’s harbour area; Brewers Quay (susanhogben.wordpress.com)
- 1899; Thwarted love…never cross a woman! (susanhogben.wordpress.com)
- 1873; The battle for Greenhill gardens;2013. (susanhogben.wordpress.com)
- Why Weymouth and me? (cannasue.wordpress.com)