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How life has changed !

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"Mr Daniel Thompson, one of the clerks in the employ of Messrs Gepp & Sons, Chelmsford, completed on Monday fifty years service in the office of the under sheriff. Mr Thompson entered the employment of Messrs Gepp & Veley on June 5th, 1852 and upon the dissolution of the partnership between those gentlemen, he continued to work under the late Mr T M Gepp, and ultimately under the present members of the firm, Messrs W P Gepp and CBO Gepp. We have seen in office no fewer than fifty one sheriffs of the county; and have been present at every execution at Springfield prison for fifty years. For forty years it has been his duty to attend the trial of every Essex prisoner arraigned for murder at the Old Bailey, and whenever a conviction has followed, the prisoner has been given into his custody as the representative of the High Sheriff, and brought down to Chelmsford by him. In these unpleasant tasks, Mr Thompson has always had the assistance of three wardens, but in one exceptional case, the prisoner had such a bad reputation for violence that the guard was doubled. During his fifty years at Chelmsford, Mr Thompson has naturally seen many changes; and it is not without regret that he finds himself the only survivor of the race of clerks who were employed in Chelmsford when he commenced his career in Messrs Gepp & Veley's office. In these early days there were only two County Parliamentary Divisions in Essex – North and South. The attendance at Magistrates at Quarter – Sessions and Assizes is very different today from what it was in Mr Thompson's youth. Now Justices come into the town by train with no fuss at all, but in those days, the spectacle presented by their many carriages being driven up to the Shire Hall was a very interesting – and even imposing one. Another feature of those old days was that scarcely any Doctor kept a carriage. During their town calls, the medical gentlemen of Chelmsford walked trough the streets flourishing their gold – headed canes; and unless visiting their country patients, they rode on horseback. People were not averse to walking at that period, and Mr Thompson regularly walked home to Braintree each Saturday and back on the Monday early enough to be in his place at the office at 7 am. This was not an isolated case in this respect, for his fellow clerks walked as far, or further, every week. Throughout his life, Mr Thompson has always had a courteous word for all, and his many friends will wish that he may yet have a long and happy life before him".

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