New clutch of blue plaques issued for murdered police chief, pioneering railwayman and Brighton Station architect (From The Argus)
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New clutch of blue plaques issued for murdered police chief, pioneering railwayman and Brighton Station architect
A murdered police chief, the father of modern railway signalling and a train station architect are set for blue plaque memorials.
Chief inspector Henry Soloman, who was bludgeoned to death with a poker, will be honoured with a memorial outside his former office on March 14 - the 170th anniversary of his death.
Engineer John Saxby, who invented the interlocking system of points and railway signals, and David Mocatta, designer of Brighton Station, will be honoured at a later date.
Averil Older, chair of Brighton and Hove's Blue Plaque committee, said: “We are really busy at the moment. We get so many requests for plaques all the time.
“However, Henry Soloman has been a really popular request for a couple of years and with the station development it was a good time to try and get the memorials to Mocatta and Saxby.”
Mr Soloman was the much-loved first chief constable of Brighton in 1838, on an annual salary of £120. However, he came to an untimely end after an incident on March 13.
He was in his Brighton Town Hall office questioning a man arrested on suspicion of theft called John Lawrence.
After being sat down near a fire, Lawrence jumped to his feet and bludgeoned Mr Solomon with an iron poker. Such was the force it bent the metal rod.
The chief constable, who was 50, died the following day at home and Lawrence was charged with murder.
He was tried at Lewes and convicted and hanged outside the county gaol in Horsham.
Soloman is buried in the Old Jewish Burial Ground in Florence Place, Brighton.
Ms Older said: “He was the first Jewish chief police officer. He was extremely well thought of and the people of Brighton lined the streets for his funeral.
“Such was the public feeling at the time that Queen Victoria had a collection for his children.
“He was incredibly popular and he remains so today.”
The plaque, which will be fixed outside his former office at Brighton Town Hall, is being funded by Sussex Police and the local Jewish community.
Architect David Mocatta is best known for designing the original Brighton Station in 1839/40.
Born in 1806, his other notable works include Brighton Regency Synagogue and Haywards Heath Station.
Engineer John Saxby is most notable for his invention of the interlocking system of rail points and signals.
At a time when the railways were growing rapidly, his invention ensured the lines could safely accommodate extra trains.
Ms Older added: “Both plaques will be put up at Brighton Station at a yet to be decided date. Our only stipulation is that the plaques are visible to members of the public.”
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