Dynasty of Dover part vi, Fector-Jarvis, began with the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) arriving in Dover following the Battle of Waterloo (1815) and centred on the wealthy John Minet Fector (1754-1821). He owned one of Dover’s two banks and a thriving shipping business. Taking his family on an extended tour of Europe in 1819, he left the banking side of his enterprises in the capable hands of his close friend, George Jarvis (1774-1851) and the shipping business was looked after by his equally competent nephew, Peter Fector (1787-1862). Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) the British economy went into sharp decline, though Dover was able to survive for a short time after on the wealth created during the Wars.
By the time John Minet, as he was known, returned to Dover, the town was in the grip of the economic depression. John Minet’s solution was to build Kearsney Abbey and lend money to local businesses whom he thought had the ability to survive. This had taken its toll on his personal wealth and with the arrival of steam ships, following discussions with Peter and George, it was decided to allow the shipping part of the enterprises to run its course. That is, instead of replacing the Fector sailing ships with steam ships the business was to increasingly concentrate on the banking side. For this reason he had a new bank built on Customs House Quay, replacing the old Customs House that had been built in 1666. As the manager of the Fector bank, George had become friendly with James and his much younger wife, Sarah Gunman (See Dynasty of Dover part III – Gunmans) , who owned a large mansion with extensive grounds in the centre of Dover. On 12 June 1821, John Minet suddenly died and in his Will he had stipulated that George Jarvis should run the banking business until John Minet’s only son, John Minet Fector junior, born 28 March 1812, reached the age of majority.
From Saxon times Dover, as a Cinque Port, had a number of privileges in return for providing ship-service to the ruling monarch. These privileges included the full authority to deal with all criminal offences and the right to arrest, imprison or execute criminals arrested. The mayor passed all sentences, including those of death and in 1822 the Dover Mayor was Henshaw Latham. By that time, wooden gallows had become a permanent fixture on the rising ground to the left of what is now Tower Hamlets Road, opposite what was the Black Horse tavern – now the Eagle Hotel. The last Dovorian to be hanged there was Alexander John Spence who had been found guilty of shooting, during a confrontation, Preventative Coastal Blockade Officer Lieutenant Philip Graham working from the ship Ramillies based at Dover.
On the morning of Spence’s execution, 9 August 1822, the town turned out to watch the event and this included George Jarvis, Peter and most of the Fector family along with the Gunmans. All had paid £1.1s (£1.05p) to the Black Horse Inn for a good view and victuals. Spence arrived at the gallows accompanied by the hangman and Reverend John Maule of St Mary’s Church with local dignitaries travelling in covered carriages behind. Following the execution, Spence’s body was given to relatives for disposal and he was buried in St Mary’s Churchyard. The next year saw the last public execution in Dover and that was treated with equal public interest. The man found guilty of smuggling came from Margate. There is a plaque on the Eagle Hotel erected by the Dover Society.
Fanny Copeland (1801-1854), the daughter of Robert Copeland married Edward Fitzwilliam in 1822 and the Fector daughters who were in London at the time attended the celebrations. The Fector banking family once had a small theatre in the former Assembly House, close to present day 157 Snargate Street that was under the management of John Minet’s youngest brother, William Fector (1764-1805). One actress who played there was Ann Oakley the wife of Thomas Mantell, Mayor five times since 1793 and again in 1824. With finance from the Fectors, Mantell and others, in 1790, the larger purpose built Assembly Rooms opened and Robert Copeland was appointed manager. Fanny Copeland was born at the Dover theatre and was acting on the stage when she two. By the time she was in her mid-teens she was an accomplished actress and in 1830, she took over the management of Sadler’s Wells. At the time she was the highest earning actress in the country but died of cholera in 1854 and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery.
27 July 1822 saw the marriage of Charlotte Mary Fector, the second daughter of the late John Minet, to lawyer and cricketer John Bayley (1793-1871), the eldest son of the Hon. Mr Justice John Bayley 1st Baronet (1761-1841), at St Peter’s Church, River. The match was a great delight to her mother Anne and George Jarvis. That year, on 5 December 1822, John Minet’s eldest daughter, Judith, married Henry Pringle Bruyere at the same church but the match was not well received. The relationship was long standing and John Minet had made arrangements that if the couple married, a special trust was to be set up on behalf of Judith. Following the wedding George carried out John Minet’s wishes and the £10,000 trust fund was formalised. Out of this Judith was paid a generous allowance in four instalments a year the amount increasing with the number of children she had. Only Judith had access to the fund for capital expenditure but this had to be countersigned by George until her brother, John Minet junior, came of age.
Isaac and John Lewis Minet were cousins of John Minet Fector and on his death became the owners of Pier House in Strond Street and expected to take over the Fector bank based there. Under George’s management the Fector bank moved to Snargate Street so with the backing of London banker Lewis Stride, they opened their own bank in Pier House. One of the partners and the manager of Dover bank, Latham, Rice and Co, was Mayor Henshaw Latham, (born 1782). In 1822 the Dover Gas Act, which Latham had promoted, enabled the Dover Gas Light Company to be created. Prior to the passing of the Act, Dover streets had been lit with oil lamps that were introduced during the Napoleonic Wars. The Act gave the company the power to dig up streets, lay pipes and to raise £9000 capital in £50 shares. It actually stated that the ‘inflammable air,’ would be obtained from coal and ‘conducted to the street lamps and houses by means of tubes.’ The promoters for the company besides Latham included Isaac and John Lewis Minet, Lewis Stride, John Finnis, John Jeken, Michael Kingsford, Thomas Knocker and Thomas Mantell. Latham was appointed Chairman as he held the largest number of shares and the company’s gas works was on the site of the former Trevanion’s mansion on Woolcomber Street – the area where the swimming pool now stands. In 1824 gas lights were introduced on both pier-heads of Dover harbour and by 1828 it was reported that gas lighting was in general use, ‘not only in the streets, but in most of the principal shops and inns, and in some private houses.’ The price of gas was, at first, very expensive but fell during the first 27 years of the company’s existence.
In November 1822 John Jeken, who owned Castle Hill House, was elected Mayor for the first time and as such his major project was that of almshouses. Back in 1800 the Overseers of the Poor of St Mary’s Parish had made an effort to secure income for the relief of the poor from Dover’s ancient Almshouses charity, held by the council, but were continually frustrated. In 1818, they submitted a case to the Court of Chancery arguing that the charity funds were being used by the Corporation as a pot of money from which it continually borrowed. Two years later the Lord Chancellor (1807-1827), John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon (1751-1838) ordered that the accumulated fund of £1,657, including money owed by the council, was to be used to build almshouses. During his incumbency Mayor Jeken laid the foundation stone for seventeen new houses that opened in 1826 and for years after were known as Jeken’s Almshouses. They survived until 1970 when they were demolished to make way for the York Street by-pass.
By virtue of being the Mayor, John Jeken was also the coroner and an Inquest was held before him on 16 January 1823. This followed the death of William Cullen and three unknown persons forming part of the crew of the Three Brothers cutter. The highly respected Cullen was a member of Dover’s shipbuilding family and the deputed mariner of the Badger revenue cutter based in Dover. The Three Brothers cutter was brought into the harbour by the Badger and from the evidence presented it was learnt that the Three Brothers was seen about 3 miles off the French coast. Henry Wingfield, chief mate of the revenue cutter suspected she was involved in smuggling and the commander, Lieutenant Nazar, ordered a shot to be fired across her bows. Instead of heaving-to, the Three Brothers set sail and a running fight lasting 6½-hours ensued in which the three men died. On boarding the cutter it was found that she was carrying a cargo of tea, tobacco and spirits intended for illicit importation and valued at £10,000. She had a crew of 27 and an immense quantity of firearms plus four 6-pound carronades – a short smoothbore cast iron cannon. On landing in Dover the remaining crew were taken to Maidstone gaol and the Inquest lasted five hours. The jury returned, in the case of William Cullen, a verdict of ‘Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.’ In the case of the three men ‘justifiable homicide‘. This was the largest seizure of smuggled goods for more than ten years and was much talked about in the town.
The number of Non-conformists in the town were growing fast and to provide accommodation, in 1819, the Baptists had laid the foundation stone for a new Church on the western side of Dover, just below what remained of the medieval town wall that crossed Adrian Street. This was to replace a smaller chapel built by Samuel Taverner in the 17th century, approximately where Durham Hill meets present day York Street. The new chapel opened in 1820 but by 1828 the congregation were wholly Unitarian. They have worshipped there ever since and in 1974 the building was Listed as Grade II. In 1823, the Particular Baptists built a large chapel, accommodating some 500 persons, on the side of the Pent (later Wellington Dock) and on Middle Row, in the Pier District, that year, a chapel was built by Mr Igglesden for the Wesleyans and dedicated to St John.
On the afternoon of 5 November 1823, a fire broke out at the plumbery of James Holmes in St James Street when boiling lead was accidentally dropped into a barrel of turpentine. Under the 1778, Dover Paving Act, the Corporation created an embryonic fire service under the auspices of a chief Watchman called Constable and fires were dealt with by locals living in the Ward. On 5 November when a fire broke out in St James’ Street, the Corporation fire appliance manned by Ward locals attended, assisted by military from the Ordnance depot and members of the Coastal Blockade. However, the locals manning the fire appliance could not get it to spray sufficient water and the fire quickly spread totally demolishing the carpenter’s shop next door. William Marks bakers shop and James Michael Boxer’s home were next to succumb as wind fanned the flames and the fire appliance was still not working properly. By this time it was feared that the whole of the north side of St James Street would be totally destroyed so two dwelling houses were demolished. This checked the progress of the flames but a woman and child in the household of Mr Holmes were killed. Following the fire, the Paving Commission on which George Jarvis served, appointed Town Porters with the Town Sergeant in charge, to practice once a month using the town’s fire appliance. This was the start of what became Dover fire brigade and the porters were encouraged to turn out as the Town Sergeant had been authorised to spend 10s (50p) on beer!
The annual municipal elections took place in November and the one held in 1823, miller Joseph Webb Pilcher was elected Mayor for the first time. Having borrowed from the Fector Bank during the previous economic down turn, his business was doing well and he lived in a mansion on the west side of Biggin Street. Dover was now becoming a fashionable seaside resort with properties being bought as quickly as the Harbour Commissioners new developments were being built. Following Liverpool Street, which they started in 1818, was Liverpool Terrace and in the publicity of the time the town boasted of fourteen principal inns, baths and bathing machines, musical evenings, promenades, a theatre, local land and water excursions, donkey rides along the seashore for both children and adults and other activities. The Harbour Commissioners built Waterloo Crescent in 1838, followed by the Esplanade, Wellesley Terrace and Cambridge Terrace while private developers built expensive properties at East Cliff, Camden Crescent and Marine Parade.
Much to the town’s consternation, in late May 1824, some 200 Spanish army officers arrived in Dover from France, still wearing what was left of their uniforms, they were bedraggled and destitute. Over the following weeks many more arrived and George, who was detailed to look after their needs, reported their story. Following the Napoleonic Wars, monarchy was re-established in France under Louis XVIII (1814-1824), who had stayed with the Fector’s at Pier House before returning from exile in England. The Spanish king, Ferdinand VII (d 1833), was restored following the Wars but his country was financially ruined and many of her colonies were seeking independence. In January 1820, Spanish liberal army officers backed a coup d’état and took control. Ferdinand appealed to France and Louis XVIII complied with a successful invasion in 1823. Many of the officers were killed or taken prisoner. Following the invasion Ferdinand was restored to rule Spain with absolute power and the officers were released but there was nowhere for them to go, so they were seeking asylum in England. At the time, George was assisting Sarah Gunman who was nursing her sick husband, James who died on 29 June 1824. His funeral and burial was at St Mary’s Church and was very well attended. For a number of years George and his family had an apartment within the Gunman Mansion and following the death of James, Sarah’s mother, also called Sarah, moved into her apartment within the mansion, ‘to give respectability to the situation.’
Henry Bruyere, the husband of John Minet’s eldest daughter Judith, had helped George with the Spanish asylum seekers. Once they had their needs dealt with they were despatched to London. During this time, Bruyere suggested that he should use his expertise as a sea captain on the shipping side of the Fector enterprises. Both he and Judith were concerned that the Fector ships, when they came to the end of their useful life, were being sold. A meeting was held where Judith was told by Peter Fector, with George by his side, about the costs of replacing the sailing ships with steam ships. Judith was adamant and reminded both Peter and George that it was her father’s businesses they were running.
In the end, it was reluctantly agreed that Bruyere would assist Peter. In 1825, J.H. & J Duke, working on Shakespeare Beach, built the Calpe. Originally for the American and Colonial Steam Navigation Company, she was 134-feet (40.9 metres) in length, with a displacement of 438 tons and powered by a Maudslay 2-cylinder side-lever engine with a capability of 8mph. Together with boilers weighing more than 100 tons, the Calpe was expensive to build and even more expensive to maintain with a crew of specialist paddle steamer trained seamen. On completion, the Dukes sold the Calpe to the Netherlands Royal Navy who renamed her Curaçao. She claimed international fame in 1827 as the first ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean under steam both ways. Peter, used this to distance himself from the business and moved to the Fector owned Eythorne House, in Eythorne. In 1826, the Post Office ceased to use sailing ships on its Dover to Calais Packet service in preference to steam ships.
The Coastal Blockade officers were also concerned about Bruyere taking over the Fector shipping business, especially when they heard rumours that he was considering buying sailing ships. It was common knowledge that sailing ships were being built in Dover with false keels, hollow masts, and other subterfuges for smuggling purposes. Then, in March 1825, the general gossip in the town was that some Bow Street Runners from London (forbears of the police), were to be stationed in Dover in order to instigate a crack down on horse theft. This was another crime that was escalating and there was every reason to believe that the stolen horses were being exported through Dover to dealers in France and the Netherlands. Bruyere, denied all knowledge of either illicit trade and that he was considering adding sailing ships to the Fector fleet.
By this time George was making plans to marry Sarah Gunman as a decent interval from the death of her husband James had almost elapsed. Following Easter in 1825, she was not well and on 4 May 1825, Sarah died. George organised a stone memorial to Sarah that can be seen in St Mary’s Church. Both Sarah and her mother had inherited most of the shares in the palatial Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire. In 1816 Sarah’s mother had bought a further one-sixth for £12,000 and that left just one share which was in the hands of John Savile, 2nd Earl of Mexborough (1761-1830). In her will, Sarah bequeathed her shares and the all the lands and property she had inherited from her husband, to her mother with a caveat. On her mother’s death, the estates were to pass to George Jarvis together with the option to purchase her mother’s shares in Doddington Hall, if her mother so wished.
Nationally, by February 1825, the Bank of England’s gold reserves were lower than five years previously and were still falling. On 1 April Dover Saving bank had opened but at by the end of that year the speculative bubble burst and country banks across the country collapsed. George together with Henshaw Latham issued a notice in the local and London papers, assuring customers that the Bank of England was safe and had its entire confidence in the stability of their respective banks. Sarah Rice, a shareholder in the Latham bank was a friend of Nathan Rothschild (1777-1836) and she knew that he had come to the rescue of the Bank of England by providing the necessary gold. In Dover, a public declaration was signed and published by several of Dover’s wealthiest residents stating that they would continue to make deposits and take notes issued by the Fector and the Latham Banks. In Deal, depositors withdrew their money from their local bank, May, Wyborn White and Mercer bank, which collapsed with a devastating impact on Deal’s economy. The Minet bank moved from Pier House and into Snargate Street having amalgamated with Lewis Stride’s London bank.
John Finnis was a Wesleyian and during his Mayoralty from November 1825, he sought an Act of Parliament stopping the election of Members of Parliament and Mayors taking place in St Mary’s Church. The 1826 parliamentary election was fierce and although the flamboyant entourage of John Halcomb (1790-1852), one of the candidates, was particularly remembered, it was during this election that slavery was a major issue. On 17 March the Town Hall was packed to hear the debate headed by Dover’s incumbent MP, Edward Bootle Wilbraham who passionately argued against slavery. This was of particular interest to George as he was born and brought up in Antigua where his father was a plantation owner with a great many slaves. Polling for Dover’s two members was extended over five days, Wilbraham came top with 1,175 votes and new comer, Charles Poulett Thomson (1799-1841) came second with 746 votes. Joseph Butterworth, who had previously held one of Dover’s seats only managed to get 198 votes and immediately caught a chill from which he later died. A memorial service was held at the Wesleyan Chapel at Buckland for him.
At the Lent assizes, Maidstone in 1826, George was called upon to give a character reference for Preventative Coastal Blockade Officer, Lieutenant Philip Graham of the Ramillies. It was because of the shooting and wounding Lieutenant Graham that Alexander John Spence was publicly hanged in 1822. Lieutenant Graham was accused of ‘sending challenges’ to Robert Sherard, 6th Earl of Harborough (1797–1859), ‘with the intent to provoke him into fighting a duel.’ The evidence largely rested with Earl Harborough and John Ward – Dover’s Collector of Customs. Lieutenant Graham was found guilty, sentenced to four months in Marshelsea prison, London and lost his job.
In the summer that year a gang of smugglers were confronted on Dover beach by Preventative Officers with First Class Quartermater Richard Morgan in charge. He was killed and one of his colleagues, seaman Michael Pickett, was wounded. George and his fellow townsmen made it clear that the conviction of Lieutenant Graham had given a carte-blanche to smugglers and between them they offered a £500 reward for information. It was believed that those responsible belonged to the infamous ‘Aldington gang’ that came from the Romney Marsh headed by George Ransley. Much to George’s annoyance, most folk in Dover closed ranks and the wall of silence lasted for ten weeks. Then two gang members were arrested and turned King‘s evidence. At their trial the gang members said that the darkness on the night of the crime hindered positive identification as to whom had confronted them. The two, along with George Ransley and the rest of the gang were transported to the penal colony in Dover, Tasmania. They were later joined by their wives and family.
The downturn in the economy had hit the boatmen who rowed passengers to and from the cross Channel ships when they were unable to get into the harbour. In 1826, in order to raise money for their poorer brethren the boatmen organised a series of boat races and invited soldiers from the garrison, the town’s visiting gentry and affluent businessmen to take part. George and Henry Bruyere agreed and the prize money was raised by public subscription. The event was so successful that the following year society folk from far and wide attended the Dover Regatta. The one held on 28 August 1827,was reported in the London newspapers, saying that ‘an immense assemblage of beauty and fashion came from all parts of the coast and interior, balls and concerts were held at the Assembly Rooms, and at Batcheller’s spacious rooms at the King’s Arms Library.’ (Times 30.08.1827). A form of the annual Dover Regatta is still held today.
William Batcheller had opened his King’s Arms library in Snargate Street, on the corner with New Bridge at about the same time as the first Regatta. He produced guidebooks on Dover and in 1833 he established the Dover Telegraph. The first local paper, the Cinque Ports Pilot, had been published by Zachariah Warren in 1824 and then on 20 November 1825, the Cinque Port Herald was established. Warren had taken over George Ledger’s shop and printing works in Snargate Street that had opened in 1782. Batcheller’s library was spacious and during the day people would meet and chat. In the evening they would go next door to the Assembly Rooms and it was not long before Batcheller took over and incorporated the Assembly Rooms. The result quickly became the social centre of Dover that was to last for a long time. The library was later taken over by Cluff Brothers for some 80 years then the building was given over to a variety of uses until 1950. That year it was converted into the Hôtel de France and the Café de Paris but the building was finally demolished in the early 1970s.
During 1826 John Shipdem, after thirty-five years as Town Clerk, decided to retire but retained his position as Register with Dover Harbour Commissioners. His son-in-law, George William Ledger, son of the printer of the same name, was elected Town Clerk. The municipal year finished with the election of George Stringer as Mayor for the third time. However, a lasting legacy of John Finnis’s time in office was the Mechanics’ Institute that was formed on 26 January 1826 by Archibald Wilson, of Coulthard and Wilson the shoemakers, at his home, 7 Market Street. The idea was to provide books and reading materials to enable those with mechanical interest and those with expertise to find out more. George was one of those who provided books and he also helped by teaching mathematics. Wilson’s institute evolved into the Dover Working Men’s Institute and in 1878 the Institute, as it was called, moved to a grand building at 6 Biggin Street. This eventually became the basis of the Dover public library.
In May 1827 a formal letter was issued by the Fector Bank that George Jarvis was to retire as manager due to ‘ill health.’ People were told that he was going to live in Lincolnshire but that members of his immediate family were staying in Dover, particularly his eldest son, George Knollis Jarvis (1803-1873). Two years later, on 17 February 1829, Sarah’s mother died and in respect of her daughter’s wishes she instructed her executors to make over to George, Sarah’s shares of the Doddington Hall estate. She also gave George the option of purchasing, at the same price that she had paid, her shares in the estate. George took up the offer and also bought Lord Mexborough’s share in 1830 for £14,000. About the same time George married Frances Sturges, daughter of the Chancellor of Winchester Cathedral. Henry Bruyere, succeeded George as the manager of the Fector bank.
George Knollis Jarvis (1803-1873) – George junior – married in 1833, Emily Pretyman, eldest daughter of the Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral. They lived in the former Gunman mansion. Emily died on 6 March 1840 at the age of 24 and was buried in St Mary’s church – a memorial to her can be seen by the north door. George junior move to the Knees in Shepherdswell and was active in Dover affairs including the Dover branch of the Shipwrecked Fishermen & Mariners’ Benevolent Society and chairing various local committees such as the Dover Pavement Board. In the 1851 census, George junior was back at the Gunman mansion with his two sons and his father George. However, George senior died shortly after and was buried at St James’ church. George junior inherited all his estates.
The Jarvis estate in Dover stretched from Maison Dieu House to Stembrook when George junior put it on the market in 1854. William Moxon bought the northern part, built his residence, Brook House, and laid out Pencester Road. The remainder was sold to William Crundall senior (c1823-1888) who intended to build a crescent of houses that was given the provisional name of Neville Road. For reasons unclear, he changed his mind and eventually it became a timber yard before it was purchased by Dover Corporation in 1922 to become Pencester Gardens that we see today.
By the time Henry Bruyere took over the management of the Fector bank, he was an elected Dover councillor and magistrate. With an eye on becoming mayor, in 1828 he and Judith presented a silver snuff horn or mull, to the town council. Together with Judith’s younger brother John Minet junior, they also gave pieces of ‘Plate.’ In November 1829, Bruyere was elected Mayor but the following year Rowland Stephenson (1782–1856), a highly respected London businessman, who had relatives living in Dover, disappeared. At the time of his disappearance Stephenson was the treasurer or trustee of several companies and charitable trusts including London’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital. He had, however, invested heavily in Thomas Horner’s London Colisseum in Regent‘s Park using money that he had been entrusted with. Following his disappearance, Stephenson opened accounts at both the Fector and Latham banks and Bruyere on Latham’s advice notified the authorities in London. Unaware of this but realising that the heat was on, Stephenson called into both banks to close his accounts. The tellers refused and Stephenson disappeared to resurface in America.
Following the death of the Lord Warden, the Earl of Liverpool, in December 1828, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington was appointed Lord Warden and Constable of Dover Castle in January the following year. Although both Henry and Judith ordered new clothes for the installation, Wellington said that the role of Constable was an historic relic so was not bothering with an installation ceremony. Wellington’s mind was changed and on 28 July 1829 the installation took place and was a splendid affair with royalty and national dignitaries attending. Judith was radiant though throughout the proceedings, Henshaw Latham was irritating Bruyere over the future of country banking and the inadequacies of the law. Bruyere did agreed, however, to back Latham in any action he took. Other bankers in Kent organised a petition but Latham refused to sign on his own account and on behalf of Bruyere. This gave the impression that Hensham Latham was Dover’s senior banker. Watching was John Minet Fector junior and he was not happy. On reaching the age 21 in 1833, he took over the Fector Bank and gave Bruyere the sack.
Judith was devastated but was informed by her brother that she was more than adequately provided for as she received £600 a year from the trust that had been set up. John Minet junior did however, make money available from her trust fund, to buy South Bank House, Regents Park, London. By 1842, Bruyere was financially embarrassed and Judith, with their five children, moved to cheaper Jersey leaving Bruyere at their London home. Bruyere found employment with the London and North Western railway, quickly gaining promotion. He sent his wife an allowance from his wages and asked her to come home. Judith returned to London in May 1847 on the marriages of two of their children. While in London, she lived at the London home but by this time Bruyere was the owner. Judith then returned to Jersey with two of their children then in 1848, died from cholera. On her death she left an outstanding debt of nearly £100 that Bruyere refused to pay so John Minet junior stepped in. In 1851, following the Bicester railway accident when six people were killed, Bruyere, along with the directors of the Railway Company, were condemned for the lack of concern of human life. Bruyere died in 1885.
Since his father’s death, John Minet junior, it would seem, was educated by a series of tutors but it was his faithful servant Henry Stone, whom he held most dearly. When John Minet junior took control of the Fector bank it was evident that he had inherited all his father’s business acumen. He was also interested in local affairs and was determined to live up to his father’s promise and become one of Dover’s two elected representatives in Parliament. In May 1834 a meeting was called in the Town Hall chaired by the Mayor – the miller Joseph Webb Pilcher. John Minet junior was invited on the platform along with several other dignitaries. The only item on the agenda was bringing the railway to Dover and John Minet junior rounded off the meeting by calling for a motion to back the proposal, saying that, ‘by carrying it into effect, the intercourse with France would be materially improved, and Dover would feel the good effects of a communication by which farmers and fishermen could expeditiously convey their goods to London markets.’ The motion was unanimously carried and John Minet junior was called upon to be the chairman of subsequent meetings on the subject. Along with the Latham bank, Fectors was the new Railway Company banker. By 1835 John Minet junior was one of the four trustees of the South Eastern Railway Company.
That year, 1834, the Ordnance Department offered the ancient Maison Dieu for auction along with Maison Dieu House next door. The suggested price was £7,680. The town council wanted to replace the Town Hall in Market Square but could not afford the asking price. The Ordnance Department suggested splitting the sale and offered the Maison Dieu at a much lower price but the council were short by £1,500. John Minet junior suggested that the silver his grandfather, Peter Fector, had bequeathed to the town together with the pieces of ‘Plate’ and silver mull given by his sister and Henry Bruyere, be mortgaged to the bank. On this, he would lend the £1,500 to be paid back over 25 years and as a ‘goodwill gesture’, John Minet junior said that they could borrow the silver for civic occasions. Dover Corporation accepted the offer.
In parliament, the Liberal reforms caused a split within the Party and in April 1835 a general election was called. Sir John Rae Reid (1791-1867) was elected as one of Dover’s representatives in 1832 and was nominated by John Shipdem. John Minet junior stood as Reid’s running mate having been nominated by John Jeken and John Webb Pilcher. The Liberals only fielded one candidate, Edward Royds Rice (1790-1878), son of Sarah Rice and nominated by Henshaw Latham’s brother Samuel. Just as Dovorians never saw the Fector and Latham banks as rivals, neither did they see the two local men that way even though they stood for opposing political parties. Thus there was sentiment for returning both but , ‘party feeling swamped sentiment’. John Minet junior headed the poll, Sir John Rae Reid came next and Edward Rice was only 21 votes behind.
Of his maiden speech in the House of Commons, John Minet junior’s cousin, James wrote, ‘It appears that he speaks on one side and votes on the other.’ Shortly after the election, John Minet junior purchased the hostelry, Little Waldershare at the top of the old Castle Hill Road. He demolished the building and replaced it with Laureston House, named after his mother whose maiden name was Laurie. Anne, his mother, moved in. In 1830, Henshaw Latham was the Mayor of Dover for the third time and besides being a senior member of one of Dover’s two banking families and Treasurer of Dover Harbour Commissioners, he was the Warden of the Pilots‘ Court of Lodemanage and a Lloyds shipping agent. Latham was resolved to expand Dover’s harbour into a Harbour of Refuge and was determined that if the opportunity arose he would make the case. In 1836 the Harbour Commissioners promoted a Parliamentary Bill to raise £60,000 in an effort to combat the reoccurrence of the age-old problem of the Eastward Drift that blocked the harbour mouth with shingle.
The Parliamentary Committee sat between 12 May and 7 June 1836 and Latham expected John Minet junior to back him all the way. Nineteen witnesses put forward evidence but John Minet junior was not among them and for this he was condemned by his fellow Conservatives in the House of Commons. That year the South Eastern Railway Bill (SER) was going through Parliament and received Royal Assent on 21 June. If the problem with the harbour entrance could be solved, then it was generally assumed by the folks in Dover that the railway company’s main passage to France would be from the port. However, John Minet junior supported SER in buying Folkestone harbour for their main crossing.
John Minet junior celebrated his 25th birthday on 28 March 1837 by a week of festivities at Kearsney Abbey. On the day of his birthday a special peal of bells was rung from both St Mary’s and St James’ churches. On the ascent of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) on 20 June 1837 a general election was called in July the same three candidates stood. However, John Minet junior, only received 742 votes against Edward Royds Rice who received 864 votes with Reid coming second with 829 votes. Rice’s manifesto centred on the Harbour of Refuge. Following his arrival at Westminster, Rice pursued this objective with vigour and in 1847 approval was given for four large Harbours of Refuge to be constructed, one of which was Dover and this eventually became the harbour we see today.
Immediately following the election John Minet junior sent for Lewis Stride and asked him to join the Fector bank. Lewis, after some consideration, took up the offer becoming the manager on 31 July 1837. By that time, John Minet junior was enjoying a ‘Continental tour and African excursion,’ which was to last a further eight months. His mother Anne moved to London where she died on 10 September 1848 and John Minet junior brought her body back to Dover where she was buried next to her husband in St James’ Church. John Minet junior actively worked with SER and the French government in opening a railway line to their Continental ports. The first was Boulogne and arrangements were made for SER ships to berth there when the port opened. By June 1842, the line from London had reached Folkestone and the Harbour there became SER’s port of choice for the cross-Channel passage. Although the Act of Parliament was for the line to go to Dover, Round Down Cliff proved an obstacle until it was blown up on Thursday 26 January 1843. The railway line to Dover was completed by 27 January 1844 and formerly opened on Tuesday 6 February that year.
In October 1841 John Minet junior was formerly introduced to the supporters of the Conservative party in Maidstone and was elected one of their two Members of Parliament. Three years later, in 1844 he put all his Dover properties on the market. Within the year Kearsney Abbey had been sold to a Mr E C Jones, who paid £57,000. The Pilcher family, in 1838, were still paying off loans to the Fector bank when the economy went into a down turn. They transferred the deeds of Temple Ewell, Crabble and Town mills to the bank but things did not get better and John Minet junior declared them bankrupt in 1842. He sold Crabble corn mill to Willsher Mannering senior for £2,610. Temple Ewell corn mill was initially sold to a Mr Martin, who on being declared bankrupt was then sold to Alfred Stanley, who bought the mill for £100. By that time he owned Kearsney mill, in the grounds of Kearsney Manor. Laureston House was sold and eventually demolished. St Mary’s school, a direct descendent of the Queen Street school that Sarah Gunman cared about, was built on the site.
From the sale of Kearsney Abbey and the rest of his estate, John Minet junior bought himself and his wife, Isabella daughter of General Augustus William Murray, a mansion in Hyde Park, London, where he died on 24 February 1868. John Minet junior’s faithful servant Henry Stone stayed on in Dover, becoming the proprietor of the Apollonian Hall in Snargate Street. He was also elected to the council and became a Director of Dover Gas Works. In 1856 the Fector town mansion, which stood on the sea side of St James Street, was bought by the Dover Gas Company. Having sold much of the land for redevelopment they had the fine Regency residence demolished in order to build a large gasholder. Workmen digging the foundations came across what turned out to be an extensive Roman quay!
In 1841 John Minet junior arranged for the business of J Minet Fector & Co to be reconstituted as Fector & Co and was looking to amalgamate the bank. He believed that the future of country banks was as joint-stock companies and his chance came in January 1842 when he amalgamated Fector’s with the National Provincial Bank. That bank had been established in 1833 and in May 1845 he joined the Board. In 1848, assuming his mother’s maiden name of Laurie John Minet junior became the chairman, a position he occupied until 1866 when he retired, he died two years later. Under his guidance, the bank became a major concern and today it is known as the Nat West Bank.
- Presented: 10 August 2015
- Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire: http://www.doddingtonhall.com