Friends of Hastings Cemetery
Hastings and St Leonards Observer -
DEATH OF MR, BOUCHER
A STRENUOUS CAREER
The death of Mr. Thomas Boucher, which occurred at his residence, 29, George Street, on Saturday morning, removes from our midst one who was regarded as a local celebrity. He had been in ill-
Since he came to Hastings as a lad from Warwickshire, nearly half a century ago, Mr. Boucher has always been an exceedingly busy man. Stage acting, as a member of the old Royal Garrick Dramatic Club, brought Tom Boucher into local prominence. In his early days in the town he was employed by the late Mr. Henry Phillips, ex-
In his time Mr. Boucher played all sorts of parts; it would difficult to say which was his most successful character, but he always particularly enjoyed playing " Harvey Duff" in the Shaughraun." [The Shaughraun is a melodramatic play written by Irish playwright Dion Boucicault.]In numerous other farces and dramas our departed friend has trodden local boards. Mr. Boucher was always proud of having had the honour of performing before Royalty; … many years ago at St. Leonards Assemble Rooms (now the Masonic Hall). Several Royal princes and princesses were present, amongst the latter the mother of the present Kaiser of Germany. Boucher's laugh was as irresistible as it was contagious. Some years ago Mr. Boucher started in a small way a theatrical costumier; the business developed till he had premises in West-
Swimming was a favourite pastime with Mr. Boucher. Many years ago he gave lessons to the boys of Holy Trinity Choir ........ at the Baths, and in recognition of these services he received a presentation clock. Tom was a wonderfully strong swimmer, and his great backward dive from the summit of the diving platform was a feature many entertainments at the Baths. On one or two occasions he also accomplished his backward dive from the head of the Pier. ..........It was in connection with swimming that Mr. Boucher gained a certificate which entitles him to be known as Professor. He was one the original promoters of the Hastings Swimming Club.
He also loved dancing, and was for many years, in conjunction with the late Mr. George Reeves, a recognised “M.C.” especially at Park Fetes, Primrose League demonstrations and other al fresco gatherings. As a reward for his services the old Amusements Association presented him with a special "M.C.'s” cap, of which he was very proud, and which he is wearing in the portrait of him which appeared in this week's" Pictorial Advertiser."
Mr. Boucher's introduction to the Fire Brigade was accidental. In the Seventies there a great fire in Cambridge-
His last appearance was at the recent Intercessional service at Holy Trinity; he then looked very ill and was told by medical gentleman that he should have kept indoors.
For his pluck in stopping two runaway horses at the west end of George-
Mr. Boucher sang in Holy Trinity Choir for 22 years. He was also an old member of the Derwent Lodge of Freemasons.
It will be gathered from the above that the late Mr. Boucher was altogether a many-
In October he visited the home of his birth, and attended Mop Fair at Stratford-
The funeral took place yesterday afternoon, the first part of the service being at St. Clement's Church. The deceased was honoured by a Fireman's funeral, a large number of old comrades attending under the command of Captain Alderman H. N. Cruttenden. The coffin, on which was placed the deceased's fireman's cap and belt, was carried to its last resting place on the engine of No. 1 Section, of which he was formerly Foreman. The chief mourners were:—The Misses Boucher (sisters). Mrs Claridge (niece),and Mr. Claridge, from Birmingham. Others present were .....
Members the Fire Brigade officiated as bearers. A good many people journeyed to the Borough Cemetery, where the Vicar of St. Clement's concluded the service. Two nephews of the deceased (Mr. Frederick A. Boucher and Sydney Charles Boucher) were prevented front attending owing to duties consequent on the War. There was a large number floral offerings taken to the Cemetery in a carriage.....
For more on Thomas Boucher see The West Street Chronicle, Summer 2018, p.8 (Available from Hastings History House, 21 Courthouse Street, or email: lornacrabbe[at]gmail.com)