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Dr. Weekes was the parish surgeon for the town of Sandwich. From an early age, he had been fascinated by electricity, especially atmospheric electricity. In the late 1830s, he strung an insulated wire - known as an exploring wire - from the tower of the church of St Peter's to the tower of the church of St Clement's, a distance of about 320 metres. He arranged a connection from the centre of the wire, via a neighbour's chimmey, to his laboratory, at 43 High Street. To erect the exploring wire, Weekes used an archer, who shot his longbow from the tops of the church towers.
Weekes, having diverted into his laboratory a free supply of atmospheric electricity from passing thunderclouds, was able to carry out experiments in comfort-but most certainly not in safety-with voltages that could at times reach more than 100,000 volts. He got used to electric shocks, but that could not be said of his onlookers.
In William Sturgeon's Annals of Electricity for 1841, Weekes records that: "An interesting and intelligent little girl, about 14 years of age and who was in the habit of witnessing scenes of this description, while handing to me some articles of apparatus incident to my purpose, accidentally stood upon the wire and such was the severity of the lateral shock thereby incurred, that she was sent reeling across the laboratory."
The following is his description of some of his experiments with atmospheric electricity -in the Proceedings of the London Electrical Society for 1841.
" When the gathering storm cloud, pregnant with infuriated lightnings, and momentarily gaining additional sublimity from reverberating peals of deafening thunder, lingers over the line of wire, and deluges the Earth with rain, or batters the beautiful foliage with unrelenting showers of hail; then tremendous torrents of electric matter, assuming the form of dense sparks, and possessing the most astonishing intensity, rush from the terminus of the instrument with loud cracking reports, resembling in general effect the well-known running fire occasioned by the vehement discharge of a multiplicity of small firearms. Fluids are rapidly decomposed; metals are brilliantly deflagrated; and large amounts of coated surface repeatedly charged and discharged in a few seconds."
Most biographies of William Horwood state that he was born in Oxford in 1946 and brought up on the South-East coast of England. They don't often mention that the town in question was Deal (just a few miles away from Sandwich) and that he went to school at Sir Roger Manwood's in Sandwich.
One of his books in particular, is set in this part of the world. Stonor Eagles has a storyline of white-tailed eagles trying to re-establish in Scotland, and a parallel storyline concerning the main lead, Stonor, who learns his birdwatching skills in Kent, wandering the dunes as a boy between his home town of Deal and Sandwich after the second world war.
Note: There is a lake in Sandwich called Stonar which is near the site of the old town of Stonar which is no longer in existence. This is also mentioned by birdwatchers as worth a visit in Winter for waterfowl and grebes
Other books by William Horwood, of course, include Duncton Wood and Skallagrigg.
Sydney Greenstreet was a 'Man of Kent', born on 27th December, one of eight children, the son of a tanner in Sandwich. The photograph show's his house (with the steps up to the front door) - Sydney's father owned the tannery to the rear.
He left at age 18 to make his fortune as a Ceylon tea planter but drought forced him out of business and back to England where eventually, he entered the acting profession.
He had been on the stage for nearly 40 years before Hollywood gave him sudden fame. His first part was as a murderer called Craigen in 'Sherlock Holmes' in 1902 at the Marina Theatre in Ramsgate, Kent.