Joseph Frederick Hickman

Date published: 12/06/2014
© Newbury Weekly News

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Mayor of Newbury 1852, 1853, 1872, 1873
©Picture kindly supplied by Newbuyry Town Council
Mayor of Newbury 1852, 1853, 1872, 1873







The death of Alderman Hickman early on Friday morning last did not come as altogether a surprise, as his serious condition was intimated in last week's issue, but it nevertheless has caused very genuine regret, as the Alderman for over half-a-century had been very prominently identified with the public life of the borough. The weight of years had brought with them enfeebled health, and an attack of bronchitis, from which he at last suffered, has terminated a useful and worthy life.


Alderman Hickman could boast of an unbeaten record in his public career, as was so recently shown, when on the completion of his fifty years service in the Corporation, he was interviewed by a representative of the Weekly News, to whom he imparted much interesting information concerning the earlier history of the borough.


The story of Mr. Hickman's life was then told with considerable detail, and it is unnecessary therefore now to recall facts which are still familiar to our readers. Mr. Hickman, was a native of Aldermaston, his father being agent to Mr. Congreve, who was then the owner of the Aldermaston estate. Having served his apprenticeship to a chemist in the North of England, he accepted a situation in a business house in London, where he remained for several years, and on Mew Year's Day in 1838 he succeeded to the chemist's business in the Market-place, which had been carried on by a Mr. William Jackson. And by energy and perseverance he developed the trade to a material extent, until it became a flourishing concern, from which he retired a few years since in favour of his son, Mr. Frederick Hickman, and his partner (Mr. B. Metcalf).


From the outset Mr. Hickman devoted much time and energy to public work. He commenced as overseer, and was elected a member of the Council in 1843, and ever fulfilled the duties involved in a painstaking and creditable manner. In 1852 he was elected Mayor, and in addition was Churchwarden at the Parish Church, as well as a guardian of the poor. He consented to serve a second year, and twenty years in 1872, he again, in response to the wish of the whole Council, assumed the mayoral dignity. He was asked to serve even a fourth year, and thus completed his unique record. This fourth year was marked by an important event in the history of the borough, the opening of the new Cattle Market, and the construction of the new thoroughfare, Market-street, in both of which enterprises Mr. Hickman took a leading and energetic part as long as he was able.


He has always been most regular at Corporation meetings, and it was his pardonable boast that only twice within the fifty years had he been absent from the election of Mayor. He was naturally proud of the title which of late years has been conferred upon him as “father of the Corporation.”


Mr. Hickman has been associated with the Board of Guardians, for many years, and since 1877 had occupied the position of vice-chairman of the Board, evincing a keen and practical interest in the administration of the poor law. The Alderman had been a borough magistrate for over 30 years, being appointed in 1859 in company with Ald. J.H. Mason, Captain Slocock, and the late Mr. John Matthews. He was associated with several of the charitable and benevolent institutions of the town, and took a special interest in the Coal-club, which he zealously served for a considerable period as secretary and treasurer. He was a governor of St Bartholomew's Grammar School, one of the oldest members of the county committee of the Berks and Hants branch of the National Deposit Friendly Society, and also belonged to the Newbury District Field Club.


The deceased alderman was of a genial disposition, a staunch Churchman and Conservative, and a firm upholder of the traditions of hospitality with which the mayoralty has been commonly associated. The death of a townsman after fifty years of such service cannot fail to evoke a public expression of sympathy, and this was evidenced by the hoisting of the Union Jack half-mast high at the Municipal buildings directly the intelligence of his death became known. On Sunday evening at St. John's church, at the conclusion of the sermon, the Vicar Rev. R. Dunn, standing at the chancel steps, said during the last week there had been removed from amongst them one who for six years had been a member of their congregation, and who during his fifty years of public life had always borne a fair name. They would not all be able to show their respect for the deceased by attending the funeral, but he requested them to remain standing while the “Dead March” was played. Mr. J.W. Vickers, the organist, played the “Dead March” in Saul, the congregation standing meanwhile.




The funeral of Alderman Hickman took place yesterday (Wednesday), the Mayor and Corporation attending in semi-state, as a mark of respect for one who had so long been a member of their body. The Corporation assembled at the Municipal-buildings, and proceeded to the residence of the deceased in Bartholomew-street where they joined the funeral procession. The coffin, which was of polished oak with massive brass furniture, was placed in a funeral car, and by the request of the family there were no flowers. All along the route to St. John's Church shutters were closed and blinds drawn, and the funeral knell at both St. Nicholas and St. John's Churches was tolled. The first part of the burial service was conducted at St John's Church by the Vicar, Rev. R. Dunn, who also officiated at the Cemetery, the interment taking place in the family vault.


The mourners included Mr. William Hickman, Mrs. Frampton, Mr. Frederick Hickman, Mr. Richard Hickman, Mr. Walter Hickman, Mrs. William Hickman, Mr. and Miss Frampton, and Mr. John Platt. Three grandchildren- the son and two daughters of Mr. Frederick Hickman- were also present in the church. The Corporation was represented by the Mayor (Mr. Councillor Elliott), the Ex-Mayor (Mr. Councillor Jackson), Aldermen Jackson and Absalom, the Town Clerk (Mr. Burke Godwin), the Clerk of the Peace (Mr, J. C. Pinniger), Councillors T. Fidler, C. Lucas, J. Hopson, W. Hall, R. Ravenor, H.J. Midwinter, R. Long, S. Knight, A.C. Bazett, H.S. Hanington, E. Harris, and H. Sargent. The Mayor wore his gold chain, which was veiled in crepe, and was preceded by the macebearers, the civic insignia also being draped in black.


There were also present in the church the Rector of Newbury (Rev. E.I. Gardiner), Rev. J. Pate, Mr. Brice Bunny, Mr. and Mrs. Metcalf, Mr. and Mrs. William Skinner, Mrs. Mallet, Miss Simmonds, Misses Wilson, Mr. G. Wintle, Mr. J. Hiscock, Mr. G.J. Cosburn, (representing the Berks and Hants committee of the National Deposit Friendly Society), Messrs. H. Wilder, J. Smith, E. Crisp, and L. Cleeves (representing the Working Men's Club), Mr. and Mrs. R. Eatwell, Mrs. H. Smith, Messrs. J. Parker, J. Hiscock, G. Boyer, A. Church, E. Church, H.J. Godding, J. Kemp, H. Brewer, F.H. Stillman, E.W. Edwards, R. Ruoff, F. Pocock, H. Pratt (Corn Exchange manager), Mr. E. A. Stickland (Borough Surveyor), Mr. R.M. Couper (gas manager), etc.


The coffin plate was inscribed


Died January 5th 1894,

Aged 83 years

At the meeting of the Board of Guardians on Tuesday, the Chairman (Mr. A.H. Tull) referred in sympathetic terms to the death of Alderman Hickman, and to the valuable services rendered by him to the Board as vice-chairman. A resolution of condolence with the family was unanimously adopted.



Newbury Weekly News 11 January 1894


Died 5 January 1894 aged 83


Mrs. P. p.22



see also:

Biographical survey of the Mayors of Newbury by Anthony C.Pick 







Sources:Newbury Weekly News 11 January 1894

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