Political Biographies of the Mayors of Portsmouth (1836-1900)

MAYORALTY:- November 9th 1843-1844. 1844-1845
PROFESSION:- Wine Merchant. Rentier
FIRST ELECTED TO COUNCIL:- December 26th 1835.
WARD:- St Thomas
FIRST ELECTED ALDERMAN:- March 6th 1844 on death of Ald Heather
OTHER CIVIC POSITIONS HELD:- Ex officio magistrate for tenure only.
RESIDENCE:- Business 24 High Street.
DECEASED:- Circa 20th February 1852 Aged 77
BURIED:- Not Known
MAYORAL ELECTIONS 1843 & 1844. (1)
Born in Dorset in 1775, twice mayor Edward Casher had not been the most popular man on the council mainly due to his opposition to the Camber Docks extension Bill. For this he had been rejected as the fit person to be mayor the previous year. Nevertheless, at the 1843 election Alderman Thompson begged to propose Casher saying he was, 'An old and respected inhabitant.' This was seconded by Cllr J. Sheppard (All Saints) noting that the system of partisanship which had divided the council ought no longer to exist. He went on, 'Indeed no man possessed a more independent mind than Cllr Casher.' Alderman Garrett then spoke saying it was known he had opposed Casher's nomination last year because of his attitude to the Camber Docks Improvement scheme. But as Casher now favoured a 3,000 extension programme he would support him this year. The motion was put and Casher was returned unanimously. The following year Casher was again nominated by Cllr Sheppard who said that by his efficient manner Casher was again the fit person to be mayor for a second term. As there were no other nominations Casher was returned unopposed.
Despite being mayor, Casher's popularity rating had not really improved to any great extent. This was manifested in March 1844 when a vacancy for alderman occurred. There were two nominees: Cllr William Purchase (St Paul) and Edward Casher. The initial vote was spit evenly at twenty-twenty. As mayor Casher had the casting vote - he voted for himself. (2)
The responsibilities of the council were still relatively minor compared with those of the Improvement Commissioners. The council met just quarterly and business was usually completed in one day. There were still but four committees, The Watch, The Camber Docks, The Gaol, and The Finance. The mayor was ex-officio chairman of all of them so it was his duty to present their reports to the council at large. At the February 1844 meeting discussion was confined to the reports from the Finance Committee. One issue was the landing tolls imposed at Victoria Pier. The vexed item was the loan of eighteen chairs to a Russian man-of-war for the use of their officers at a function. When the chairs were returned, and landed at Victoria Pier, the over zealous Collector (Mr Gamble) taxed them at a penny each! This was rectified at the May meeting where the only other item discussed was another proposal to petition Parliament for the removal of civic disabilities from British born Jews. (3)
A significant event was the visit of the French King, Louis Philippe, to Britain in October 1844. He arrived in Portsmouth on his handsome yacht the Gomez. His Majesty was greeted by the Mayor and Corporation who presented him with an Address of welcome. Later the officers of the Squadron were entertained by the Mayor and Corporation to a banquet at the Queen's Rooms, Lion Terrace.
In terms of civic development 1845 was the year in which a site in the Pitt Street area of Landport was granted by the Board of Ordnance, who owned much real estate on Portsea Island, for use as a hospital to be known as the Portsmouth, Portsea and Gosport Hospital. As chief magistrate Casher took his duties seriously and devoted a considerable amount of his time to the bench. Casher was also a rentier and is credited with owning twelve properties total rateable value 352.00. Cllr Henry Slight (St Thos) is reported (4) to have remarked that Casher, together with Cllrs G.C. Stigant (St John) and David Levy (St Thos) were the owners of some of the most wretched abodes in Portsmouth. Perhaps because of the cost involved in renovating these properties, in later years, Casher was a strong opponent of the Public Health Act 1848.
Casher continued to sit on the council as alderman until 14th February 1852. (5) He deceased suddenly late in that month. No obituaries were carried in the local press.
1. Portsmouth City Record Office, CM 1-2
2. Portsmouth City Record Office, CM 1-2 March 6th 1844.
3. Hampshire Telegraph 12th February 1844 & 13th May 1844.
4. Robert Rutter Doctrinal Thesis
5. Portsmouth City Record Office, CM1-3.
Norman Gordon
Further Information
Edward Casher was also a major shareholder in the Water Company