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Monday, 11 January 2016

What the neighbours got up to: A Post for Trove Tuesday

What the Neighbours got up to: A Post for Trove Tuesday

Turner St Malvern East runs between Waverley Rd and Manning Rd.  Just around the corner on Waverley Rd is an impressive-looking building containing shops and offices. These days there's not a lot happening there apart from a florist shop and a solicitor's office, but when initially built in about 1900 it looks to have been quite a busy place. Further shops were added in about 1912.  I've blogged about the history of the area previously,but I hadn't seen the following photograph of one of the shops before.

Photograph from the Stonnington Local History Catalogue, showing the boot and shoe shop, located at 53-55 Waverley Rd, operated by Wm. Howarth

When looking for further information about Mr Wm. Howarth, I came across these two articles, which don't portray him in a very favorable light.
Report published in The Argus, 1 November 1935, snipped from Trove web site

Shopkeeper Fined £20.
Giving evidence at the Malvern Court on Wednesday, Joseph Henry Foster, superintendent for the Electricity Commission, said that his suspicions were aroused when he heard that a shop conducted by William Howarth, boot retailer, of Waverley road, East Malvern, was known as the "lighthouse of East Malvern" , because of the number and brilliance of the lights used. A check of accounts showed that the amount of power used in the shop was far above normal. Howarth pleaded not guilty to a charge of having fraudulently used electricity. 
Llewellyn Hunt, a clerk employed by the commission said that on September 20 he went to Howarth's shop. A 75-watt lamp and a 150 watt lamp were being operated from the power circuit. Current for these lights was being obtained at 2d instead of  5 3/4d a unit.
In defence Howarth said that the fuse in the light meter had blown out about an hour before the inspectors called. As a temporary expedient he had connected two of the lights in the power circuit.
Mr R.E, Stapleton, P.M, said that he believed that Howarth had been defrauding the commission for a considerable time. 

A fine of 20 with  3 3/- costs was imposed.

Here's the corresponding report from the Age, which additionally reports that when the officers attempted to inspect the meters Howarth offered obstruction and tried to prevent them from climbing a ladder. The police had to be called. The Magistrate placed no reliance in Howarth's explanation.

Report published in The Age, 31 October 1935, snipped from Trove web site

I rather wonder what Mr Lllewellyn Hunt and the Electricity Commission would have thought of a number of current local residences in Malvern East such as in the following picture, that are 'lit up like Christmas trees' in the month of December!

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