Part 2 of 1902 report on Thundersley in the Southend Standard

Column 2, Page 3 for Thursday 16th January 1902

Responsible journalism in 1902

How rumours arise or A Tale of Thundersley Life
the second column of the Southend Standard article

{here we can reach the transcription of the first column}

On the first Sunday in each month in this building is held a men’s [‽] P.S.A. This is carried on by Mr. Ellis and he often contrives to have fresh speakers and entertainers there. Two Sundays gone, the young men “from the hill” gathered in the Institute for their accustomed meeting. The speakers included the before-mentioned owner of Jarvis Hall (Mr. Varty), Mr. Ellis and a Mr. Durant, a London lawyer. Near the Institute is a laundry, and at this laundry are employed some dozen girls. Drawn by the strange affinity which ever attracts a maid to the gatherings of men, they assembled outside the fast closed door. To be sure they had their own meetings, but that was not enough. Mr. Varty * was speaking, and being of that increasing class of people who join in denouncing the war in South Africa, he naturally enough turned some of his remarks upon the subject next his heart.

At this stage, the girls had become annoyed at the strange persistency with which the young men “from the hill” remained stolidly unaware of their proximity and decided on the bold move of making their presence felt by the aid of a projectile hurled at the tender wall.
With all due respect to ladies and at the same time rejoicing in our immunity from attack by reason of our unknown identity, it is a fact that, as Mark Twain says, “A girl throws like a horse trying to kick with its front leg.” A wide circular motion with the whole arm stiff, such a thing as bending the elbow being quite out of the question, usually sends the missile in a mysterious direction, as likely as not at right angles to the object of attack.
However that may be, Mr Varty, towards the close of his peroration, was astonished by the smashing in of a glass window and the landing before him of a particularly fine specimen of that useful article of domestic utility, a potato. Shortly afterwards two or three of the young men rose and went out; apparently the potato had achieved its object of imparting to them the information that sundry “ fair iniquities and small vices “ awaited them outside.
We pause here to reflect on the curious circumstances involved. A Thundersley young woman wishes to attract the attention of a young man, therefore she hurls a potato at the house in which he happens to be. Ergo, she would not think twice of hurling it at him personally. If we dared to think that she had really aimed at the window, one trembles at the chances of escape from mutilation of that young man. Or can there be some delicate hint involved, as, say, “potato thrown – inference; thrower of a domestic nature, probably good cook, at any rate, thoughts turn to comestibles, hence good wife.”

Leaving this as it may be, we turn to the deeper issues involved in the simple act of a potato being thrown by the hand of one of Thundersley’s fair daughters, of malice aforethought, at the obstacle which kept her from him who had ensnared her young affections.   Some two or three days later there came to a journalist in Southend-on-Sea a man who used words of big import. “Great riot at Thundersley, pro-Boer riots; Mr. Varty giving a pro-Boer address last Sunday, when the people rose in righteous wrath, smashed the windows, used violent and obscene language, threatened the speaker’s life, harried him home with stones, from which he escaped with his life and did other great damage.”

(End of column 2)    {The third and final column is reached here.}

Mr Varty* is also mentioned in “The Motor Cycle”  Thursday, January 6th, 1916.
MOTOR CYCLES FOR SALE   which includes:

NEW Imperial-J.A.P   3.5 h.p., 1915, 3speed countershaft, clutch, kick start, only 3 months old, mileage 1,900, complete with lamps, horn, speedometer; £48; cheaper machine considered in part.
Varty, Thundersley, Essex.

DOUGLAS, War Office model, 2-Speed, new this year (makers’ despatch ticket shown), with lamps, horn, long exhaust pipe fitted, specially tuned; £50 cash; consider good 2.75 h.p. in part payment, twin preferred, or Norton, Rudge Multi, or Triumph.
Varty, Thundersley, Essex.

[Ed: ‽  PSA stands for “Pleasant Sunday Afternoon”. This was a religious revivalist movement that first emanated from the Birmingham area and the Congregational Church and spread country-wide, from the mid 1870s onwards. The intended purpose was to get “backsliders” and those who had been lost from the Sunday Schools back into the influence of the Church by providing secular entertainment, education and instruction, but with an element of “Church” mixed in. In an age when there were precious few recreational activities available to the poor, these meetings were immensely popular.]

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