Events 1896


4 January


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday afternoon, 4th January, at 3 30 o'clock.

S, MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 January 1896

29 January

The Annual Supper took place.

Of the many dinners and suppers it has been my pleasure and duty to attend none have been of such a happy, rollicking character as that of the Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, held last week in the Brigade House, on the South Pier. To begin with, the night was one of perfect loveliness. The scene on the pier would have enchanted poet or painter, the moon's silvery beams dancing on the placid waters reminding one of an autumn night, rather than winter. To the brigadesmen assembled it must have been a striking contrast to the many stormy nights when they fought the sea in all its might majesty, and rescued from its cruel fury the life of many a storm-tossed mariner.

Usually when you dine in public, it is a solemn and serious business. The conventionalities require you to don funereal garb of black and an extra expanse of starched habiliments. Not so with the brigadesmen. The occasion is one for life and laughter; the easy uniform with its red, white and blue making a kaleidoscopic picture of colour most pleasing to the eye and the digestion. You are expected to take a healthy appetite with you. Time was when the meal was rough and ready but, as the worthy secretary said the process of evolution has changed all that, and now the Brigade supper may vie with many a more pretentious function. Toast and song at many festivals are what Mrs Gamp would term "of a wearin natur," but this respect also the brigadesmen score points ahead.  Toasts are brief, responses are pithy, and the songs, as is but fitting, more or less smack of the salt-sea wave, have rollicking  choruses, and are calculated to fire a man’s breast with patriotic feelings and a desire to do brave deeds.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 5 February 1896


1 February


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday afternoon, the 1st of February at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 February 1896


7 March


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 7th of March, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 March 1896

11 March

The funeral of Mr Thomas Vasey, a member of the Brigade, took place.


MEMBERS ARE REQUESTED TO MEET AT St. Hilda’s Church at Two o’clock Tomorrow (Wednesday) to attend the Funeral of Mr Thomas Vasey. Uniform to be worn.

By order,

S. Malcolm, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 10 March 1896

At the conclusion the service the mourners filed out, and were joined by the members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, who wore their brigade uniform, and the procession went to Cemetery.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 11 March 1896


4 April


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 4th of April, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 4 April 1896


4 May


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday afternoon, the 2nd of May at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 1 May 1896

13 May

The venerable old rocket van at the South Pier, after a service of nearly 30 years in the work of life-saving, has been superseded by a brand new one. The old and the new, the latter looking spic and span in its fresh coat of paint, and the other, its work now over and its glory achieved, standing unpretentiously by its side, make up a subject which is at once interesting and attractive. What gallant and exciting work and deeds of daring must the old van have to tell its companion! It is now 29 years since it was first brought into requisition, and the number of lives saved through its agency is 384. It was possibly the first van provided for this kind of work in the whole country, and certainly its glorious record unique.

The local coastguard station dates back to the year 1855 and little more than a decade afterwards the Volunteer Life Brigade formed an auxiliary to the coastguard. At that time the means for getting the apparatus to a wreck were of a very primitive and irksome description, and it was not long after the establishment of the Volunteer Brigade that the idea was conceived of obtaining a van. The Tyne Commissioners came forward handsomely in the matter, and provided one for each pier, and up to the present they have done heroic service. But old age and the wear and tear of constant duty had of late years begun to tell a tale. The Board of Trade were approached repeatedly with the object of getting a new van on the south side, but it was not until opportunity presented itself for a personal interview with one of the inspectors, on the occasion of his last official visit, that Chief Coastguardsman Wm. Collis was able to successfully press home the needs of the station.

The new van enjoys the reputation of being the first in England provided by the Board of Trade for coastguard work. The specifications were prepared by Chief Coastguardsman Collis, and the van has been constructed by Mr Shewan, of South Shields. It is of a much lighter type than the old one, and will lend itself with greater ease and safety to the work. It is needless to say that its equipment complete in every detail. What seems to be an essential, however, is some suitable shed where it would be protected from the destructive effects of a burning sun, and from the tempestuous elements as much as possible. This is matter that might fairly occupy the attention the Life Brigade.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 13 May 1896


6 June


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday the 6th of June at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 June 1896

10 June


MEMBERS are requested to MEET at the Railway Station on Saturday next at 2 o'clock, to proceed to the Lifeboat Demonstration at Newcastle. Uniforms must be worn. By order,

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette10 June 1896

13 June

Newcastle Lifeboat Saturday

Favoured with the most seasonable weather, the procession in Newcastle on Saturday was a really brilliant affair from first to last. The wisdom of the Executive Committee in delaying the hour of the start to half-past three o'clock was generally realised when the magnitude of the procession was seen, and here a word of praise is due to Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace, the chief marshal, and his able staff for the success of their endeavours to fulfil the programme with completeness and punctuality. In the first section highly interesting features were the Tyne Theatre tableau and Messrs Fell and Co's decorative car. Messrs Fell and Co. also supplied a quantity of specimen plants for the general decoration of the other vans, doing much to brighten up the appearance of the whole procession. The tableau "Peace and War," arranged by Mr James Hicks, scenic artist at the Tyne Theatre, was greatly admired. The four-in-hand coach lent by Messrs Slater and Co. was both useful and ornamental, as there was collected by its occupants during the progress through the city a handsome contribution to the general fund. Of course, the fire brigadesmen in this section attracted much attention, and occasioned favourable comment, whilst the Tynemouth lifeboat, Charles Dibdin, with crew and coxswain, met with popular reception. Section B made a good start with the boys and band of the Wellesley Training Ship, and the happily named  "Young (Grace) Darlings” pleased everyone. Mr Arthur's tableau, “Rescued," reflected credit on the taste of Mr Stafford Hall, scenic artist of the Theatre Royal. Section C was varied, but the requisite marine savour was forthcoming in the Band of the Volunteer Submarine Engineers, the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade, which Ald. John Foster Spence is secretary; the "Sons of Tyne," represented by boys of the Royal Grammar School and a number of canoes. The up-to-date  "Trilby " tableau from the Gateshead Theatre caused much interest and amusement. Chief features of interest in the concluding section were the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, a "Seasons" tableau from the Tyne Theatre, the Marsden Hero (Mr Thomas Varley) and his boat, and the lifeboat Resolute, with the Cullercoats crew and coxswain. Music was liberally provided, and the procession was in every way a decided advance on that with which the movement was inaugurated in Newcastle last July. The important matter of the collection of the offerings of the public was carefully attended to in the morning by the ladies' auxiliary council, and throughout the procession by members of the executive committee, further additions being made at night in the places of amusement. When the street collections were counted in the evening, in a room kindly placed at the disposal of the committee Mr C. E. Barkas, it was found that they realised a total of £223, amount excess of that gathered in like fashion last year. To this will have to be added the collections in the public places during the past week, the house to house collections, the proceeds of the concert the Art Gallery and the band contest at the Olympia. After the procession Mr and Mrs H. R. Bailey entertained to tea at the dining room of the Co-operative Wholesale Society in Waterloo Street a numerous party of Cullercoats fishwives, who had taken part in the afternoon's proceedings. They were delighted with their tea and the diversion which followed, thanks also to the liberality and forethought of Mr Bailey. Acknowledgment of their untiring services is due to the local secretary of the executive committee.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 15 June 1896


6 July


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 4th of July, at 6 o’clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 July 1896

15 July

The Annual Meeting took place.

26 July


A CHURCH PARADE will be held St Hilda's Church on Sunday Morning Next. Members to meet at the Brigade House at 10 a m. Uniform must be worn. Royal Naval Reserve Men (in Uniform) invited.

S. MALCOLM. Hon Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 23 July 1896

Life Brigade Church Parade

Yesterday morning the members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade assembled in strong force at the Watch House on the Pier, and, marching along Ocean Road and King Street; attended service at St. Hilda's Church. Captains  J. W. Buckland, George Robson, G. A. Potts, and James Page, and the deputy captains were in attendance and the procession was headed the band of the Wellesley Training Ship, under Bandmaster Eskdale. A sermon appropriate to the occasion was preached by the vicar, Canon Savage, M. A., from Judges v. 18, “Zebulum and Naphtali were people that jeopardised their lives unto the death." He claimed that one distinguishable mark of all the better religions throughout the world's history had been that they demanded of their devotees the spirit of thought for others, and self-sacrifice. They would not find it universally in the individual or tribe as the distinctive mark of each; but where religion entered into the heart of man it was a power that drew out of him the unselfish care and sacrifice for others. The Christian religion led man to put self in the background and to take the cares and sorrows of his neighbours upon him. That power had been the earth's great regenerator. All that we were most righteously proud of in the English character had been built by slow degrees upon this basis. They were that day asked to bear their share in relieving the trouble to those who suffered at sea. There could be no cause which could possibly appeal to them more emphatically than that of shipwrecked fishermen and mariners ; for probably there was hardly anyone in that church who had not some relations associated with the sea. And they had special associations there which they could not forget. Beyond the church door there lay the grave of one who first thought out the pattern of the lifeboat— Wouldhave—himself an officer of that church. The first rough sketch he had drawn for him by John Clark, was in the possession of the vicar and churchwardens of that church. The model upon the chandelier told of a later stage in the development of the lifeboat. It was made by Stephen Laverick, Greathead's first senior apprentice, when he designed the first boat with the curved keel. Similar patterns were sent to the Trinity Houses at Newcastle and London. Were not these associations appeals to them to maintain a spirit of thought and care and work for those who suffered at sea? Some interesting historical references were made in the course of the sermon, which was listened to with great interest by the congregation. The collection, which was in aid of the funds of the Shipwrecked Mariners and Fishermen's Society, amounted to £7 10s 5d.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 27 July 1896


1 August


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday afternoon, the 1st August, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 July 1896


5 September


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 5th of September, at 6 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 September 1896

23 September


MEMBERS are Requested to Assemble at St. Stephen’s Schools Mile End Road, in Uniform, on Wednesday Next, Sept. 25rd, at 2 45 p.m. prompt, in order to be present at the Unveiling by the Lord Bishop of Durham, of a Brass Tablet in memory of the gallant men who lost their lives in connection with the Tyne Lifeboat Service

S. MALCOLM, Honorary Secretary

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 21 September 1896

24 September 1896

The Lifeboatmen’s Memorial
Unveiling by the Bishop of Durham
Re-opening Service at St Stephen’s

Yesterday afternoon a special service was conducted in St. Stephen's Church, South Shields, to mark a two-fold purpose. The primary object was the unveiling by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese (Dr Westcott) of a beautiful memorial tablet, erected in the west wall of the church by the trustees of the Tyne Lifeboat Institution, to commemorate the bravery and self-sacrificing work of the Tyne pilots. The tablet, which is of brass, was prepared through the agency of Messrs Swan, and Morgan, and is inscribed with the names of the coxswains of the Tyne lifeboats since 1849, also the names of the crew the lifeboat Providence, who lost their lives under circumstances memorable to the people of South Shields. The full text of the tablet, together with history of the lamentable disaster appeared in our columns yesterday.

The occasion also marked the re-opening of the church after thorough renovation and internal improvements, which have been carried out at a cost of £600. The Church was built in 1846 and latterly was in urgent need of repair. The seating and general arrangements were of an uncomfortable and unsatisfactory character, while the roof was sorely in need of repair. The scheme which has been carried out embraced all that was required, and the improvements in every sense are at once most favourably apparent and pleasing. The nave and north aisle have been entirely fitted up with open benches and a handsome pulpit has been placed at the respond the north-east of the aisle arcading. The sanctuary floor has been laid with tiles, the walls panelled in woodwork to the height of six feet six inches, and an elaborate traceried and carved reredos have been added. The chancel now contains new choir and priests' stalls with carved poppy heads. The decoration of the walls is of a cheerful and appropriate character, executed m warm tints, and the wood fittings throughout are finished with green stain and varnished. Specially designed new wrought iron pendants supersede the crude and old fashioned standards. These have the effect of relieving the former bare appearance of the nave. Mr W. J. Robertson was the contractor for the work, the decorations being in the bands of Mr Holme, and the reredos and carving Mr Ralph Hedley, of Newcastle. The whole of the work has been carried out from the designs and under the supervision of Mr Morton, F.R.I.B.A. It is intended at some future time to place screens at the entrances and organ, and to provide new lectern, altar-rail, fall-stool, &c., so as to complete the restoration.

The sacred edifice was crowded to overflowing, large numbers being unable to get inside. Special places near the spot where the unveiling of the tablet took place were reserved for the lifeboatmen and members of the Volunteer Life Brigade. The latter were dressed in their uniform, and among them were Captains G. R. Potts, J. W. Buckland, and J. Page; deputy-captains J. Henderson, and T. Newby, and Mr Malcolm, hon. secretary and treasurer of the institution. Chief Coastguardsman Collis and his staff were also present. The congregation was largely made up of the wives and families of pilots who are the principal community in the parish, large number of pilots being also present, including Mr J. Purvis, pilots' superintendent, and the officials of the Tyne Pilotage Commission.

The Lord Bishop was attended by the following clergy:—Rev. A. M'Cullagh, rector, and the Revs C. S. Richardson and P. Linton, curates of the parish; the Revs C. E. Adamson and J. Knight, St. Michael's, Westoe; the Revs. G. L. King, H. E. Bilborough, and A. Ramsbottom, St. Mary's, Tyne Dock; Rev. L. D. Evans, St. Aldan's; Rev. R. C. Page, St. Jude's ; Rev. J. T. Brown, St. Mark's ; Rev. E. M. Wolstencroft, Simonside ; Rev. Watson, Hartlepool ; Rev. G. Halford, St. Peter's, Jarrow ; Rev. G. Pybus, Christ Church, Jarrow ;  Rev. E. Foster, St. Hilda's, South Shields Rev. P. H. Moore, St. Peter's, North Shields;  and the Rev. H. Plummer, St. Stephen's, Sunderland. The service was conducted the Rev. M'Cullagh and the Rev. C. S. Richardson, the lessons being read by the Rev. L. Evans and the Rev. C.E. Adamsson. After the second lesson, the hymn, Eternal Father, strong to save,'' was sung, during which the Bishop, clergy, and choir proceeded to the west end of the church, where the unveiling took place.

His Lordship then delivered an eloquent and impressive address. He said: There is, my friends, a very old and familiar saying that it is" men and not walls which make a city." Its truth has been confirmed, we know, by the experience of all ages, and we to-day in our own happy country are coming more and more to think, to feel practically, that our wealth lies in noble men and women, and when reckon up this wealth of human lives, we must count in our treasure, not only those whom we can still see labouring with us in all the toils and dangers of earthly life, but those also who have passed from our side, who have entered into their rest. They also are still with us, helping us by the recollection of what they have done, helping us also by the effects of their deeds, which will go on for ever bearing fruit whilst the world lasts. But then memory is fleeting and, therefore, it is well that should provide ourselves with some memorials which may recall the past to our sight. It is well that we should commemorate those who have served their countrymen nobly, well that we should commemorate them in our churches, well that those whom God has enabled to do great things in the past should speak to us still from the walls of His house. I can well remember with what deep interest and thankfulness on my first visit to South Shields I saw in the chancel of St. Hilda's, hanging from the roof, the model of the lifeboat and so I say these memorials serve to fill us with gratitude and hope. Fifty years ago most of those 31 men whom we commemorate to-day gave strength and vigour to Shields: and now by this memorial which their grateful townsmen have raised to them, they give strength, trust, to you who will look upon it. And is a great help to us to honour those who deserve honour. Nothing tends to make life nobler or better than to feel reverence duly. Every position, as we knew, offers, if will see them, abundant opportunities for self-denying service. But the work of seafaring men is especially beset by hardships and by perils. The least reflection shows us what debt we owe to them. We owe to them in a large measure our world-wide Empire; we owe to them in a large measure the very means of our subsistence, the necessaries and luxuries of our daily life. But I often think we do not remember sufficiently clearly at what a cost of life these services are rendered. I find that during the last three summer months nearly 500 perished by a violent death, and last year during corresponding months more than 500. That is the cost we pay, and therefore I think, your gathering together this afternoon in such large numbers shows, we rejoice when have the opportunity to give honour where honour is due. I said that every position gives the opportunity for self-denying service, and let us remember that it is just as we use or neglect these opportunities that our character grows richer or poorer. Every day, every hour we are building that which alone will survive us when our work is ended. And let us remember that the hour of trial does not make us or change us; it simply shows us. The brave man does brave deeds just as he lives, unconsciously, without thinking of them, because it is his life to act bravely. And when the last crisis comes we are seen to be what during the long or short years we have grown to be. That is the final judgment. There was one incident in the history of the calamity are thinking of to-day, which specially touched me. I read that a week or two after the great sorrow, when 20 men out of 24 perished in a moment, the same boat was manned to carry succour to a vessel in distress, and its coxswain was one of those four men who had escaped from the terrible and recent catastrophe. Man for self-denying bravery has his reward, you see. In this sense we can say in truth that perfect love casts out fear .This, your parish, is, l believe, specially a parish of pilots—a parish of men to whom is given this honourable and perilous work of which we have been speaking. I trust that this memorial will be to them an encouragement. I trust that in some human fashion it will make this House of God dearer to them. Let me say to them, if there are any here in our congregation, cherish the highest memories, bring here to the house of God your hopes of noble service in times to come, your thanksgiving for mercies which you have received and good deeds which God hath enabled you to do. Bring praises to Him. And those that down to the sea in ships and occupy their business on great waters, these men see the wonders of the Lord and His marvels on the deep. And you will find that your daily work becomes to you preparation for that last revealing, for that appearing before the presence of God which awaits us all. So prepared you may hope, work, pray that He will guide you into that where you will be sheltered for ever from every trial and from every pain.

Afterwards the Bishop preached excellent and appropriate sermon, the Acts, chap. 2, verse 17. The service was full choral and of a very impressive character.

The re-opening services were continued last night, when the preacher was the Rev. Canon Pennefather, Vicar of St. George's, Jesmond, who preached an eloquent sermon to a large congregation, The Rev. A. McCullagh, Rector, Revs. C. S. Richardson and T. Linton, Curates of the Parish, and the Rev. Watson, of Hartlepool, formerly of St. Stephen's, South Shields, took part in the service. Special services will be held on Sunday next, when the preachers will be the Rev. F. L. Cope, Vicar of Bensham, and the Rev. K. R. Ormsby, Rector of Hartlepool.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 24 September 1896


3 October


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 3rd of October. At 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 September 1896


7 November


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 7th November, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 6 November 1896

16 November


THE AMBULANCE CLASS will commence on Monday next November 16th. at 8 p.m. All non-ambulance men are requested to attend. DR CREASE Honorary Instructor

S. MALCOLM. Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 11 November 1896


5 December


THE NEXT DRILL will take place on Saturday Afternoon, the 5th December, at 4 o'clock.

S. MALCOLM, Hon. Sec.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 3 December 1896

17 December

A benefit concert was held on behalf of Mr James Henderson, a member of the Brigade.

There is no more popular member of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade than James Henderson, who has been identified with the institution for some 25 years, and for some time filled the post of captain until a serious accident made it incumbent on him to take a less onerous position in the brigade. Three years ago, in following his employment as a trimmer at Tyne Dock, he sustained a series of injuries, which completely incapacitated him from work. The officers of the brigade taking into consideration the manner in which he has attended to the duties at the Watch House and during numerous wrecks, have organised a concert, which is to be given for his benefit to-morrow night. A splendid programme has been billed, including some of the very best of local talent, and there should be good response to the worthy effort which is being put forth on Henderson's behalf.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 16 December 1896

The benefit concert, got up by the trimmers of Tyne Dock, assisted by the members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, on behalf of Mr James Henderson, has, I am glad to say, resulted in a substantial sum being handed over to that gentleman. The actual amount realised, after all expenses had been met, was, I am informed, a little over £24. Those who generously gave their services on the occasion are asked to accept the grateful thanks of the organisers of the concert.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 December 1896

30 December

The death of Mr Mathew Cay a prominent member of the Brigade was reported.

Death of Mathew Cay, J. P.
South Shields

Considerable regret will be felt in South Shields and surrounding district at the news of the death of Mr Matthew Cay, J.P., which sad event took place at his residence, Westoe House, about half-past three this morning. Among his own immediate friends his demise was not unlooked for, but his illness, although of a somewhat prolonged character, was not generally known. The deceased was laid down with attack rheumatic lever about month ago, and on Wednesday last heart complications supervened, rendering him in a state of collapse from which never rallied, death ensuing early this morning as mentioned.

The death of Mr Cay removes a well-known personality from Tyneside. He was in his 65th year, and a large share that lifetime was devoted to public and philanthropic work, particularly in his native town. He came of good old Shields stock. His father, Mr Matthew Cay, was a ship captain, and afterwards owned several famous wooden ships. The deceased was the eldest son and inherited many of his father's characteristics. He took kindly to the sea from the first, and after serving a full apprenticeship he rose gradually in position and passed successfully the Board of Trade examination for a captain's certificate. He was in command of vessels for many years, and ultimately became a shipowner and retired from the sea. For the remainder of his life he was closely identified with shipping interests, and was the principal partner in the firm of Messrs Cay, Hall, and Co., formerly South Shields, and now of Newcastle. In shipping circles he was well known all over Tyneside.

His energy and ripe experience, however, were not by any means absorbed by his business pursuits. Very soon after his retirement from an active seafarer's life he became usefully associated with public and benevolent institutions, his sympathies were naturally very strongly linked with every movement and enterprise which had for its object the well-being of the sailor. He was, therefore, one of the foremost of the promoters of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, and became one of the first captains of that institution at its formation in 1865. He held that post with conspicuous merit for many a year, and was one of the most regular attenders at the brigade house in stormy weather. When his growing years made desirable for his retirement from active work he was elected honorary captain, and his sympathies for and support towards the institution ware never relinquished to the last. Among other important appointments was one the trustees to the South Shields Loyal Standard Association and to the Winterbottom Trusts. He was also at one time president of the local Y.M.C.A in whose career he took a warm and helpful interest. In the affairs of the Victoria Home and the local branch the he also performed a useful part, in the latter institution filling the position of chairman of the executive and also the place of representative the Central Council. In a wider sense Mr Cay has rendered distinguished public service as a representative on the River Tyne Commission, which appointment he received in 1875. In the work developing the resources of the Tyne he has taken a not unimportant part all these years, and especially valued has been his service on the Piers Committee of that body. He also sat on the Tyne Pilotage Board for a large number of years, and enjoyed the confidence and esteem of those whom he represented, as well the great body of pilots, for the betterment of whom his practical sympathies were always at command.

In politics Mr Cay was staunch Liberal, and threw into his political life the same energy and consistency which marked his career in other respects. He was an ardent and strong supporter of Mr J. Stevenson, of whom he was also personal admirer, and was one of the original committee which played so prominent part in the election of 1868, when Stevenson was returned member of Parliament for South Shields for the first time. The same principles which Mr Cay then fought for he held throughout life, and was always a strong advocate for them in election times. The honour of Justice the Peace was conferred upon him in 1885, and proved valuable and painstaking colleague on the Bench, where he was very highly esteemed by the officials of the court, well as by those who practised there.

Although not what might be called initiative man in public life, the deceased was a man of strong convictions and fearless express them and this conspicuous trait in his character commanded the admiration and respect everybody who knew him. He was of a particularly charitable disposition. Besides being a supporter all deserving institutions gave of his store almost without stint to the poor and the aged poor in the borough, and gave it unostentatiously. For his good works in this way he will be greatly missed in his native borough.

Source: Shields Daily Gazette 30 December 1896