To a stranger, and in this instance it may be added, - judging from the assurances given us on all sides - to the oldest stagers of the parish the spectacle which presented itself on Wednesday last in the pretty and neatly kept little town of Mandeville, was interesting in the highest degree. It was the day on which was held the grand Christmas Market of the now fast waning year. According to Law, the hour fixed for opening the market is at 5 a.m. but with the lengthened experience of the present very courteous and painstaking Lessee of that place of public resort, the gates were opened from 8 o’clock p.m. on the previous evening, so as to give more ready ingress to the seemingly never ending throng which from that hour, throughout the entire night, and up to 9 o’clock of the succeeding day, continued to pour into the town of Mandeville,bringing products and wares of the most diversified character, all to find eventual resting place and subsequent sale within the walls of the spacious and well ordered market. On came the people, from nigh and far, some from the Southern and other districts of Manchester, others from Clarendon and Vere, whilst a yet larger number found their way from the more distant parish of St. Elizabeth. At the hour last mentioned, viewed from the Court House which overlooks the town, the market was seen to be so densely packed with its living concourse of vendors and buyers, that it became a matter of surprise to imagine how the ever recurring numbers who yet sought admittance, were enabled to pass the turnstile and find entrance there. How would this have been possible, had the entire number of the vast multitude who came into the town for the purpose of attending the grand Xmas Market, sought admittance there at one and the same time. Large numbers of the people were congregated also on the parade outside and adjacent to the market, whilst the several stores were filled with busy visitors, engaged either in making sales of their coffee etc. or in effecting purchases from the well assorted and large stocks of dry goods, fancy goods, provisions and other merchandize, which are to be found in the neatly arranged stores of Mandeville. It was estimated by those well capable of forming an opinion that between five and six thousand persons came into Mandeville on this gala day and we leave our readers to imagine how novel and interesting was the sight on looking down on this sea of human heads from the windows of the building before referred to. Among this enormous gathering it was in no slightdegree pleasing to mark the order which prevailed throughout, and to observe the tidy and cleanly attire of each successive individual we met. Early in the morning, from our comfortable temporary domicile - the Grove - the hum of these many mingled voices, reached our ears, the sound being somewhat akin to the buz which one can imagine would arise from the congregation in the distance of myriads of bees. When, however, we sallied forth for our morning walk, the sight which met our eyes was at once remarkable and impressive, increasing throughout the hours as the in-comers flocked to their point of destination.
We believe from personal observation, coupled with information which we have been careful in gathering, we may state, that the Manchester peasantry are among the most prosperous and contented of their class. Their well-kept dwellings and in some instances the plots of ground which surround them give evidence of this, as likewise of the taste which rules with some of their owners, in their love of flowers which here and there may be seen either in boxes, or climbing the railings of the steps in front of their houses. We have been assured on most reliable authority that some few years since - possibly six or eight, the number of cattle slaughtered in the Mandeville market was only two - and that very frequently a considerable portion of the second carcass had to be salted for lack of customers, besides these a couple of pigs would find sale. At the present day however, in proof of how greatly advanced as a beef-eating community are the people of Manchester, it may be stated, that no less than SIX head of cattle are killed and sold each Saturday, besides six or eight pigs, whilst on Wednesday another steer is slaughtered finding ready sale, besides the vending of mutton.
On Wednesday the 24th inst. the large number of SIXTEEN head of steers were brought into the market, every pound of which found ready sale, as did TWENTY ONE hogs, ofwhich two weighed 259 lbs. each. The heaviest steer killed, weighed thirteen hundred and fifty pounds, all the others being in correspondingly good condition. It is worthy of mention here, that in the article of fine salt, besides the quantity sold in the shops of the town, no less than two and a quarter tons were likewise disposed of within the precincts of the market, 22 sacks of 2 cwt. each.
An accident on Christmas Eve
Shortly after one o’clock however, whilst this large and busy gathering were in pursuit of their respective occupations or commissions which had brought them together, loud screams and lamentations were heard from persons who were seen hurrying across the Parade. Enquiry soon disclosed the fact, that an accident of a most uncommon but yet of a disastrous nature had occurred. The flooring of the store of Mr. G. H. MENTON situated to the East of and next to the Prison it was found had given way under the additional weight of the large number of persons therein assembled, who were effecting purchases. In less time than it takes for us to tell the unfortunate occurrence, the large and varied stock of provisions, spirits, wines, malts, etc., went down by the run to the depth of some twelve feet, into a cellar beneath the shop. Down, down also went the people who in the height of the terror which had seized them felt sure it was an earthquake and that they were being swallowed alive. Quickly however did they find footing; some among them being nevertheless most awkwardly positioned by finding themselves wedged in between boxes, casks and barrels. Medical aid was promptly on the spot, as were the constables whose efforts were exerted to the utmost in endeavouring to keep off the enormous crowd which had by this time rushed from the market, placing ropes and chains around the premises. This was eventually accomplished, and the work of rescuing those who only a short time previously had imagined the end of the world had come was as promptly as possible got through, when happily, save a few bruises, no one was found to have been seriously injured. Pickled fish, flour, cornmeal, Kerosene oil, rum, wine, malt, coal, tar, pork, &c., were all heaped together in indescribable and mingled mass, and hard indeed must have been the heart which did not sympathise with the unfortunate man who had so suddenly sustained such heavy loss. On all sides did he receive assurances of sympathy, and it was cheering to observe how manfully he bore the sad disaster. Mr. Menton’s loss in stock is estimated at between three and four hundred pounds, to say nothing of the further loss which of necessityhe must sustain in consequence of the temporary suspension of his business. The cause of the accident was attributable to the giving way of a brick pillar, erected many years since in the cellar as a support for the flooring, but which now proves on close inspection to have been originally built up with little or no mortary, red dirt or clay having been chiefly made to serve the purpose of mortar.