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First Freeman of Bridlington, Cllr E. Lambert, 1921

Mike Wilson, Local Author and Historian

First Freeman of Bridlington, Cllr E. Lambert

From the Bridlington Chronicle, Friday, 4th March, 1921

The first freeman of Bridlington
Honour conferred on Councillor E. Lambert
Presentations at the Grand Pavilion

Yesterday (Thursday), the Grand Pavilion was the scene of the presentation of the Freedom of the Borough of Bridlington, upon Councillor Ernest Lambert (Mayor) in "Proud and grateful recognition of valuable services rendered by him during the Great European War."

"The proceedings were presided over by Alderman J. R. Collinson (Deputy Mayor), and the Mayor (wearing his robe and chain of office) was accompanied by the Mayoress, Mrs Lambert, with whom sat Mrs J. R. Collinson."

After the introduction of those also on the platform, and the reading of letters of apology, Mr A. E. Matthewman gave "some idea of what is meant by the conferment of the Freedom of the Borough." The Town Clerk then read the inscription on the Scroll, as follows: "At a meeting of the Alderman and Councillors of the Borough of Bridlington, held on the 28th Jully, 1920, presided over by Alderman T. Grimshaw, it was unanimously resolved to confer the Honorary Freedom of the Borough upon Councillor Ernest Lambert, in proud and grateful recognition of valuable services rendered by him during the Great European War." The Scroll was signed by Alderman Grimshaw and Mr A. E. Matthewman, and sealed with the Corporate Common Seal of the Borough.

The Town Clerk continued: "Of him [Cllr Lambert] it could be said he was "gentle in manner - firm in act," and probably he sometimes erred on the side of gentleness." (Laughter and applause). "It was a good thing for any town when men like Mr Lambert were willing to give their time, ability and energy for the good of the community." (Cheers)

Cllr T. D. Fenby, Colonel Y. G. Lloyd-Greame and Sir Alexander MacDonald of the Isles also spoke highly of Cllr Lambert.

The casket containing the scroll of the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Bridlington,
presented to Cllr Ernest Lambert, J.P., 3rd March, 1921.

The newspaper report continues: "Alderman Rennard then handed the Mayor the handsome silver casket. On one side is the Crest of the Borough, on the opposite site the Ancient Monastic Coat of Arms (the Three B's); at one end there is a view of the Priory Church, and at the other end a view of the Harbour. A feature of great interest in connection with the Casket is that the stand has been modelled from a piece of wood taken out of the Old Priory Church. The inscription of the Casket is as follows: 'Presented by the Corporation of Bridlington to Councillor Ernest Lambert of his admission as an honorary Freeman of the Borough. 28th July, 1920'."

After Cllr and Mrs Lambert had been presented with gifts for their silver wedding anniversary, Cllr Lambert gave his speech of thanks. "On behalf of my wife and myself I desire to thank you most sincerely for the honour you have conferred upon me and for the beautiful gifts with which you have presented us. We shall value them most highly not only for their intrinsic worth but because of the generous and kindly spirit which lies behind their presentation." Cllr Lambert spoke at length in giving his thanks.

At this time Cllr and Mrs Lambert living at Kilwarlin on Quay Road. The name of the house is still easily seen when passing. It is situated between the new church and the end of St John's Avenue.

Mrs Lambert died in 1934 and Cllr Lambert married Julia Wilson in 1936. Also in 1936 Cllr Lambert was presented with a silver vase for services rendered and was asked to be Deputy Mayor. Later in the same year he was awarded a gold wristlet watch by the Conservative Club. Early in 1937 he suffered ill health for four months.

Later in the year the "Annals of Bridlington" record that he was then the magistrates' clerk and on 12th June 1937 Ald. E. Lambert was presented to H.M. The King at Buckingham Palace and conferred with the Commander of the British Empire (CBE). On 30th August, 1937, as Chairman of the Property Committee and Deputy Mayor, Alderman E. Lambert opened Queens Park on Queensgate.

January 1938 saw him speaking at a Salvation Army meeting, making pleas for more illuminations in the town. In February he was confined to his house with overstrain, and spent some time in Bournemouth before returning to work. He fell ill again in January 1939 but was back at work in mid-March.

For the whole duration of the war, Alderman E. Lambert joined Bridlington Special Constabulary and presented with a clock, pipes and pouch.

Alderman E. Lambert died on 6th February 1951

Ald and Mrs Lambert had three children: Henry Stuart Lambert (who was lost fighting in the Ypres Salient), Alec Sydney was their second son, with Marjorie Lambert their daughter.

Ald Lambert had suffered food poisoning in Blackpool in September 1929, but in April 1930 he was presented with a gold replica of the coat of arms for the borough as the former Mayor. In September the following year he opened the new sea wall on the south side.

There was controversy in Ald. Lambert's public life too. In late 1921, he unexpectedly lost a two-way vote after he and Cllr Turner had tied. He was therefore obliged to step down from the borough council after 13 years service to the Hilderthorpe Ward and having just finished three years as Mayor.

Local newspapers carried letters from disgruntled individuals and groups at the handling of the situation.

Ald. Lambert's only grandson Alec Stuart Graham Lambert, tells me: "I was given the casket by my father Lt. Col. A.S. Lambert OBE M.C. when he died in 1964. It is a much travelled and treasured family piece of silver. I have worked most of my life overseas and the casket was with me in Hong Kong and New Zealand. It is now back in England and will be passed to our eldest son on my death."