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CHESTER V. HOOLE.

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CHESTER V. HOOLE. [BY A CORRESPONDENT, J -+- Lest some of your readers should misinterpret the foregoing headline, Let me say at once that this article has nothing to do with the anticipated football match, which some competent judges of that form of sport think must eie long take place between Chester and! Hoo-e for the honour of local football supremacy. No, it dea.b with the more important problem of amaig amaUoii of the two local governing bodies, which r.å.S been the cause of so much unrest. I am deling wich the subject with special reference to the circum- stances which led up to the dobaio uuu took place at the Chester Debiting Soc.eiy's sittmg at the Free Library on Tuc-:tday. lei, axe, uowever, in the first PiacÐ offer a few exp-auwtoiy remarks as to how it cornea about tnat Lie surety ttas undertaken tiie ejiquixy into too nuitter. il or some time it has been recognised among the thoughtful and- well-informed citizens that ail future schemes or pioposals of louai prognesa or reform should, before touched or embarked upon by the local authority, first, t>e submitted tor preliminary investigation to a. tribunal whoso mind is tree and open, unbiased but witual judicial, whose deliberations would be tree irom party or sectarian interests, and whose membeis would be proof against lobbying or ouiiur modern or ancient torms ot outside iniluu;ice. by com- mon consent it has been conceded tiiai- the Chester Debating Society was the one body possessing all the ioiegomg tribunal qiuuifaoauuus. Hence it was that Mr, Crowder, the champion of unity, appeared before the society on Tuesday, and at this moment the matter stands adjourned to next Tuesday, "part heard" as the lawyers say. Now, the interim result has already had an electrical effect on the ambitions of the Bar. They are of opinion that the days of "fat fees" ovet amalgamation squabbles are past and gone. They think that a modus vivendi will be the out- come of the society's enquiry. Weil, suoh a re- sult, if unity is to oome in the family, would J aave a lot of laundry work and give unfeigned satisfaction to a large body of ratepayers, who realise that whatever the result of another fight poor old Chester will ultimately lose the most "blood." I was explainng this "preLminary investigation" idea to an old friend of m.ne the other day, and he thought it was a capital move, if it would save the rates or lower them. Did I think it would, he asked. Of course I d d. If a better result is attained from an investigation which, costs nothing, the "free gratis" enquiry would, I explained, preserve the "status quo" and would have a chance at least of cheokmg use- less expenditure. He thought it was a pity the idea had not had an earlier birth, say in time to have looked into the details of the nkW sewage works' scheme. Let me now relate what took plaoe at the pre- liminary opening into the amalgamation ques- tion on Tuesday. First there was a crowded assemblage—over crowded in fact; which is in dicative of the interest taken in the subject. Many from Hoole were among the number, rate- payers as well as oouncillors. The Central figure was, of course, Mr. Crowder, who took h-s place on the left of the Chairman (Mr. Charles Hib- bert), who said the business of the night was a great and all-engroasing one, in which the in- dependency of Hoole was involved. By "stand- ing orders" the introducer of a subject, sa/id the Chairman, was allowed the not inor- dinate lengthy per of half an hour. This rule was intended as a training in conciseness and to prevent prolixity and the interposition of irrelevant matter. But he thought that to introduce a subject of the magni- tude undertaken by Mr. Crowder some little laxity over the rule time should be allowed, and he sug- gested Mr. Crowder should have 45 minutes in which to present Aiis case. Even this suggested grace took Mr. Crowder by surprise. I do not know exactly what his idea was on the matter, except that he did say he could talk for a whole day on the subject and then not finish. Mr. Preston, a stickler for the very letter of the rule, moved that Mr. Crowder be not allowed the time suggested. The meeting agreed, and so Mr. Crowder had to oram a day's speech into the 6paco of half an hour. Well, I thought, if he can do this and win, there's no need Chester's bringing Balfour Brown down at a 250 guinea brief fee with a 100 guinea "refresher" for at least two days. Nothing daunted, Mr. Crowder proceeded with his task. He took a course which I thought it was inevitable for him to take, viz., race against time. The abridgment of the time had un- bridled his tongue, and the result was not a line appeared in either London or provincial daily papers. It couldn't be expected. No pressman could keep the pace, the art of stenography not having yet attained to a minimum of 500 a minute or thereabouts. The only man who ap- peared to get a decent report was the "official reporter," and he, poor chap, wao like a wet rag when he finished. I wouldn't have attempted to report Mr. Crowder verbatim for the whole of Clare Avenue. But I have been fortunate in having the privilege of a limited inspection of the "official report" (a bulky work already, which will provide very edifying reading for posterity), and from it I have been able to extract a few items of the history of the dispute between Chester and Hoole. Mr. Crowder, in opening, commenced by shewng the interest he had taken in the subject under review. He had given 15 years of his life to its consideration. Thir- is a goodish time, but it doesn't appear inordinately long in which to solve a big problem. Sir Frederick Treves and the late Sir Isaac Newton took a much longer time to get at the bottom of the difficulties affect- ing their respective sciences, and even then these •eminent men could not say that so and so was so, or would be so. But Mr. Crowder had made up his mind that Hoole will be and must be one with Chester. In this he is certainly in agreement with the general Cestrian opinion. But the point is not whether Chester is agreed, but "HAS HOOLE ANY OPPOSITION?" I gather they have, from what Mr. Crowder said. because he pooh-poohed their opposition, and said it was nothing. The chairman looked amazed at such a statement, and I think I rightly interpret what was passing through his mind at the moment. "What's Hoole's opposition is the County Council's opposi-tion." thought he, and therein is a fact which no one must overlook. Mr. Crowder will no doubt deal with this aspect of the case next Tuesday. Well, it appears the genesis of the trouble between. the two bodies dates from 1872. Sewag,2, was the cause. Hoole, however, was at that time blocked up in this re- spect, and sought an outiet through Chester. Hoole was also then a squalid, petrified-kidney sort of a town. struggling against adverse cir- t cumstances. So Chester relieved her of her sewage disposal, but notwithstanding her task in other matters Hoole became overburdened, and so in 1888 she appealed to Cheater to take her within the city fo-id-Wor. destitute and wretched, she appealed for Chester s protection. But her poverty and desolation killed any oh-ance she had of then becoming part of the o!d city. Chester was obdurate, and refused her daughter's suppli- cations. "Put your house in order fi;,st, and pre- sent; a respectable and tidy appearance, and we'll then consider it." Now, viewed in the light of the present, this was a tactical blunder on tho part of our then city fathers.. If Hoole could sur- mount her difficulties and take her place among the well-governed local communities, sl» would not need the old city's help. So she sa.;d, "Thank you for nothing" and vowed she would work out her own destiny. Some Hoolites thought it quite within the bounds of possibility that the future may only know Chester's geographical position by its juxtaposition to Hoole, just as a. oentyry or so -a,o the then little river-side hamlet of Liver- pool was found by reference to the then more important township of Walton. Hoolo accord- ingly proceeded on this excellent resolve, and' I should say has not done badly. Helped by re- cent Parliamentary enactments, she has made decided progress. Her first assistance came from the Local Government Act of 1838. under which the County Counoil undertook the duties of making and maintaining the highways, and who will say that the main roads of the county of Chester are not of the best, if not the beat, in the country? Under this Act it was that the Council were able to make the beautiful Hoole-road, which begat the present fine and picturesque row of villas on the Newton side of the road. Then came the Private Street Works Act of 1892 and the Local Government Act of 1894, which gave Hoolo its urban powers and local self-government.

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CHESTER V. HOOLE.