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St.Bees Parish Council

The Beginning - Parish Revolution - (See Village History for full account)

On 4th December 1894 all roads in St. Bees led to the Village School. A large and excited crowd was assembling to elect the village’s first parish council. The new parish councils being set up all over England and Wales would be the first democratically elected bodies in the parishes. There was a whiff of rural revolution in the air; local affairs were being put in the hands of the man and woman in the street and excitement ran high.

At 7.30 p.m. prompt the meeting started, Mr. Henry Kitchin was appointed chairman, and nineteen nominations for the eleven council seats quickly rolled in. Curiously, the vote was by a show of hands to save the cost of a secret ballot, though dishonest or confused electors could use more than their eleven allotted votes. As a safeguard, electors could demand a secret ballot if they were not satisfied with the outcome.

The result was declared, and it only remained for Mr. Kitchin to allow a final opportunity for a secret ballot request. After an awkward silence a Mr. Brockbank spoke up, several other voters supported him, and the chairman was obliged to nullify that evening’s vote. A new election would be held on the 18th December - democracy had to be properly served!

The second election was probably justified. It attracted over twice as many voters, and three successful candidates from the first election failed to get elected. The new council was:

  • Canon E. Knowles, Vicar of St. Bees and last Principal of the Theological College

  • William Broomfield, chemist

  • Henry Fox, landowner

  • John Bowly, clerk

  • William Walker, grocer & draper

  • Steven Graves and John Sewell, both farmers

  • George Scoular and Joseph Woolcock, both mining engineers,

  • William Stafford, joiner

  • James Graham, bootmaker


Click below for full account - "100 years of St Bees".

(See Village History for full account)