Thursday, December 10, 2009

In search of Mr. Phipps

Post last updated: 16 April 2012, with information from Sheryl Avery.

Way back in 1940, Mr. D. Ringrose included in his recollections of early Avondale that a Mr. Phipps unsuccessfully ran a horse bus service, and the service was taken over by "Mr. Hazel". (Challenge of the Whau, 1994, p. 22) Mr Hazel was likely Mr. Hassall, he of the exploding coke in the fire. As for Phipps, here's what can be gleaned so far from Papers Past.

Frederick Phipps. Courtesy Sheryl Avery.

Frederick Eli (also used the middle initial C instead of E) Phipps (20/2/1838-1920), with his wife Hannah, arrived on the Nelson in 1865. It had looked like he had left Auckland again on the Mary Shepherd, 12 September 1870 (Southern Cross, 6 October 1870), but this was probably another Mr Phipps.

Frederick and Hannah's children were:

Harriet Mary (born in Newmarket 1865, died 1948). Married Ernest Charles Avery.
Elizabeth Hannah (1867-1953)
Frederick William (1869-1915). Married Henrietta Mary Wood.
William West (1872-1943), Married Euphemia (Effy) Pitcenson (or Pitcairn) Saxton.
Eli (1874-1875)
Eli Samuel (1876-1939). Married Hannah Ball Meekan.

Phipps worked as a coachman By late November that year, Phipp’s horse bus was operating between the city (by the Union Bank) and the Whau Hall (Auckland Star, 5 November 1870; SC, 28 December 1870) and he served as agent for the Evening Star in the Whau township.

We beg to intimate to residents at the Whau, and along the line of road leading to that district, that by arrangement with Mr. Phipps, the Evening Star will be forwarded daily to subscribers by his 'bus leaving the city at 3.30 p.m. Mr. Phipps has also been appointed agent for the Star, and will receive advertisements and subscriptions for this paper.
 Auckland Star 5 October 1870

We have been requested by Mr. F. Phipps to state that on and after Monday next he will make two trips per diem to and from the Whau as follows: From Whau, at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and from Union Bank, Queen-street, at 10.30 a.m. and 5 p.m. This will undoubtedly be a great boon to our friends at the Whau, and we trust that Mr. Phipps will receive that amount of support which his undertaking deserves.

Auckland Star 10 November 1870

Mr. Phipps had a store at the Whau by the following year (SC 24 May 1871) but if he was a newspaper agent, it may have been before that.

In 1872, a bit of legal trouble.
Breaches of By-laws of the City Council.—
Ernest J. King was charged with having allowed his vehicle to be used as a hackney-carriage, without a license. Mr. Joy appeared for the defendant, who pleaded not guilty; and Mr. J. B. Russell conducted the prosecution.— Mr. Goldie, Inspector of Carriages, deposed that on the 27th January last he saw an unlicensed, carriage standing for hire. A man named Phipps was the driver. Witness did not bring any charge against Phipps because he was not the owner, and according to the by-laws the owner alone was responsible. Phipps had told him he had hired the vehicle of defendant. --F. E. Phipps, on being called, said he was a licensed driver, and holder of a licensed carriage. His carriage was being repaired, and in the meantime he had hired one of Mr. King’s for one month by the week. He did not hire it for private purposes, but to place it on the stand, and he had given King to understand that such was his intention. He considered the carriage his own for the time being, so long as he gave it fair wear and tear. — The counsel for the defendant addressed the Bench at great length, and stated that, as this was the first case of the kind that had ever been brought before the Court, the decision given now would have to be a guide to future decisions in cases of the kind. He stated that in the strict letter of the law the person who had hired the carriage was for the time being the owner. — The Bench ruled that, as the defendant knew to what purpose Phipps was going to apply the carriage, he (defendant) was responsible. But as this was the first offence, a nominal fine of 1s. would be inflicted, without costs.
(SC, 7 February 1872)

Frederick Phipps was living in West Street, Newton by 1875, his eight-month old son dying there. (SC 10 June 1875)

A Mr F E Phipps was in charge of George Holdship's timber yard in Newton when fire broke out at the Rising Sun Hotel in 1878, (Auckland Star 17 January 1878) but whether this is the same Mr Phipps I'm after isn't certain. By 1880, he was back in the old trade.

NOTICE. Mr F. E. PHIPPS begs to Inform the Public that he will run an omnibus, commencing TOMORROW, starting from Arch Hill at 8.30 a.m. through Newton, Hobson and Albert street, Wharf and National Bank. The correct Time Table will be published shortly. 
Auckland Star 19 March 1880

We notice that Mr Phipps is running a 'bus daily from Queen-street to Wellington street at the low fare of threepence, for the accommodation of persons residing in that district. The enterprising proprietor deserves encouragement.
Auckland Star 17 December 1880

By July 1881, two days a week, he was back to supplying a service to the Whau, according to his timetables published in the Star.

A Mr. Phipps was involved on the board of the Northern Omnibus Company in the early 1880s.

A bad accident in 1883 left Phipps shaken.

A collision between Phipps' Archhill omnibus and a dray took place in Newton Hotel early last evening, with rather serious results. How the vehicles came together, or to whom the accident is attributed, we are not at present informed. Phipps' 'bus was knocked over on one side, and Mr Phipps, who was driving, was thrown violently on the ground, and received some slight bruises about the head. He was picked up unconscious but speedily recovered under the care of a few neighbours, The 'bus was afterwards righted and was driven to the stables, neither it nor the horses having sustained any severe injury. The dray also escaped uninjured. It was very fortunate that the 'bus contained no passengers when the mishap occurred, else the result would have been much more serious.

Auckland Star 15 May 1883

It appears in the 1880s he lived in East Street, Newton (a wooden building and a stable, according to records). 1890, he owned two shops and a cottage in Karangahape Road, occupation bus driver. Hannah Phipps died in 1893, and by 1898, after arriving back from Sydney, Phipps was living in Church Street, Devonport.He died aged 82 in 1920, living in Ariki Street, Grey Lynn.

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