I was intrigued to notice that, within Salisbury, there are two prominent artifacts concerning one Andrew Bogle Middleton. The first is a Blue Plaque at the junction of New Canal with High Street (currently the wall of Waterstones) which credits Middleton with having rid the city of cholera in the mid-19th Century (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Blue Plaque commemorating A.B.Middleton
The second is a clock in The Salisbury Museum with the inscription that it was ‘The Gift of A.B.Middleton Esq, A.D. 1860’.
Figure 2. Clock in The Salisbury Museum
An information board adjacent (Figure 3) states that this clock was from the Market House, Salisbury and that not only did A.B. Middleton set up the Salisbury Railway and Market House Company, but he was also associated with the Museum, which was founded in 1860.
Figure 3. Information board accompanying the clock in The Salisbury Museum.
It is difficult to believe that, given the dates, these are not one and the same person.
Given, as stated on the information board, that Middleton was also associated with the Museum when it was founded in 1860 (presumably in connection with the Drainage Collection – the first collection acquired by the Museum), it is surprising that the Museum does not make explicit the connection of this A.B. Middleton with the man responsible for the eradication of cholera within the city, and link it with the Drainage Collection, which is housed in a separate room!
That, therefore, is the purpose of this blog.
Regarding the clock, this once graced the Market House, a building constructed to the west of the Market Place, in the place now occupied by Market Walk and the Public Library. This was the culmination of a need to erect accommodation for the buyers and sellers of agricultural produce. There had been much wrangling over a suitable site for such a building, including sites in and around the present Market Square, considered at the time to be the finest in the West of England.
Eventually the site proposed by A.B. Middleton was agreed upon and the new Market House eventually opened in May 1859.
The great advantage of the location proposed by Middleton was that a railway could be built directly from the Market House to link with the Great Western and South Western lines at Fisherton. Indeed, both narrow gauge and broad gauge lines were laid down to connect with the South Western line, enabling cattle and merchandise to be sent by any of the four railways which served the city.
The clock itself was fixed to the far end of a balcony that ran round three sides of the building. It is 62 inches high and 48 inches wide. The dial is a convex copper sheet secured to a wooden frame. Access to the mechanism is from behind, and thus requires no hole in the face for a winding key.
All but the façade of the Market House was demolished in the late 1970s to build the new Salisbury Public Library.
We will have more next week from Alan Crooks about A B Middleton …