Alderman fined for lighting transgression

144919'1915 paper copy 'Picture by Neil Silk'05/12/14
144919'1915 paper copy 'Picture by Neil Silk'05/12/14

At the Scarborough Police Court, before the mayor (Mr CC Graham), and other magistrates, the case against Alderman William Hastings Fowler, as commandant of the Scarborough Volunteers, for having failed to effectively obstruct the glass roof of the Excursion Station, Londesborough Road, on October 4, was proceeded with.

The Scarborough Volunteers, of which Alderman Fowler is commandant, were drilling at the Excursion Station, hence Alderman Fowler, as the officer in charge at the time, was summoned.

Mr JP Medley, solicitor, who is the adjutant of the Volunteers, asked the magistrates to permit the summons be withdrawn. It was explained at the last hearing that the matter arose owing to a misunderstanding, and the Excursion Station had not been used since the issue of the summons, owing to the practical impossibility of properly shading the station. The matter had been before the military authorities at York, and that morning he had received the following letter:

Sir, – With further reference to your letter, as to the re-hearing of the summons against Colonel Fowler, the Brigadier General discussed this matter with the General Officer Commanding, in command in York, on Friday last, and he directs me to say that though he is unable to make any exception in favour of the North Riding Regiment of Volunteers by allowing the unshaded light of Scarborough Excursion Station for the future. It is, however, considered that the summons in this instance should be withdrawn, and I am authorised to state that the military authorities would look on any other result to the summons with strong disapproval – (signed) Wilfred Gutch, Captain Brigadier Major Detached Force, NC.

The chief constable said he had stated all he had to say about the case last week. He had no complaint to make about it being withdrawn. It made it more difficult to ask for the case to be withdrawn when pressure was brought to bear by the military authorities, it was entirely a civil matter. At the same time he was quite agreeable; it would be following the course he suggested to the bench last week.

The magistrates retired, and on retiring the mayor said: “The magistrates cannot see there are any circumstances connected with this case which sufficiently differentiates it from many similar cases. Therefore, they think the case must be proceeded with.”

The mayor then asked if Mr Medley wished to apply for an adjournment, to which he replied in the negative.

Inspector Mansfield gave evidence, in which he said he had told Colonel Fowler, in reply to a question by the latter, that the lights showed a terrible glare from Oliver’s Mount. Colonel Fowler had explained to him that steps were taken to shut off the lights on the receipt of any message.

Mr Medley said there was no desire to run counter to any lighting order. The lights must have been bad from certain portions of the town, and been recognised that they had discontinued the drills there. He asked the magistrates to be as lenient as possible.

The mayor said the bench fully recognised the good work done by the Volunteers’ Corp, and the amount of time and devotion of all connected with it. Nevertheless, taking all that into consideration it could not do away with the obligation imposed to conform to the lighting regulations, nor was there any reason, as he had intimated, why one should differentiate between lights exposed in that particular place – between that case and the many others which had been before the bench.

The lighting in that particular instance had been decidedly a glaring transgression of the regulations imposed. The magistrates wished to deal with the matter as leniently as possible, and a fine of £2 was the one they would impose.