Notice of Edward Brind, an Adelaide
[Glen Ralph, formerly librarian of CPA Australia, and now retired, has a book collection called the Wilmar Library and has published books on local history and other matters. He is a member of the Book Collectors Society of South Australia and is currently engaged on a book about South Australian booksellers of the past for the Society.]
St Valentine’s day, 1890, was not a good day for Mr Edward Brind. He had a bookshop at 27 North Terrace, Adelaide, near the Bank Street corner, only one room, but well stocked with an estimated 13,880 books as well as stationery. He had a small living area partitioned off at the back where he kept his few worldly possessions and made his bed. He usually went out for meals. On this day, having secured the premises, he took his new walking stick (cost 1 shilling) and walked up Bank Street, and down Hindley Street to the popular Milikan Diningrooms at No. 166. There he collapsed.
Police were called and an ambulance came to take Mr Brind to the hospital, where he was found to be dead. A police constable, John Wilson Rea, went to the shop and drew up an inventory of the possessions of the deceased:
“£9-3-0 in cash, one pair of spectacles, cheque book and papers”; at his late residence:
“Key in possession of the Police, 54 bottles of ink, 8 Brushes, 20 Balls of twine, 32 old Boxes, 1 sofa frame [?], 1 Meat Safe, 2 buckets, 2 Tea pots, 1 Kettle, 1 Billy Can, 1 Frying Pan, 1 Fire Shovel, 3 Chairs, 2 Tables, 3 Forms, 2 pr. Steps, I hair broom, 7 Cash Boxes, 1 pr. Scissors, 1 Hammer, 1 Mallet, 2 wire traps, 36 school Slates, a large Quantity of Stationery, Envelopes, Paper, Pens, Pencils and about 13,380 Books of different sorts, 12 doyleys, Split Rings & 36 curtin [sic] pole rings.”
The “papers” included a bank draft, No. 12579 to the Bank of South Australia, drawn up in London on 3 April, 1889, for £20 stg. Dr H T Whittell, city coroner, decided, after hearing police reports, that it was not necessary to hold an inquest. There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
On 19th February William David Scott was appointed under the Testamentary Causes Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to handle the affairs of the deceased. He obtained an estimate from F J Botting & Co, Auctioneers & Valuers, who valued the stock of the shop at somewhere between £45 and £50.
Mr Brind had a few creditors. The shop was part of the premises owned by the Australasian Implement Company, and the account for rent submitted by them to date of death was £23-8-7, and there was a further £5-12-0 for the period to 4th March. Funeral expenses due to J B Siebert, Builder and Undertaker of Gouger Street, were £6-10-0 for coffin covered with black cloth, trimmed and lined inside, grave, and minister. The interment was at West Terrace Cemetery. Smaller accounts came in from Mrs Kerford, washing lady, £1-0-0, and F Hellmam, hairdresser, for sundry items such as walking sticks (2 at 1 shilling each), pair of spectacles, and 12 haircuttings and shaves. His modest demand was for a total of 6 shillings 6 pence.
Mr Scott placed advertisements in the newspapers, that of The Advertiser on 21 February 1890, being as follows:
TENDERS will be received by the undersigned up to the 1st March 1890 for the PURCHASE of the STOCK IN TRADE and Goodwill of the old established business of EDWARD BRIND, late of North Terrace, bookseller, deceased. The stock consists of about 13,880 books and a quantity of stationery and sundries which may be inspected on the premises.
Dated this 20th day of February,1890. 52,5,7,9 W. D. Scott, Public Trustee
The notice attracted a number of interested people, and seven tenders had come in by 1st March, and another a short time later. At the lower end of the scale was Mr William Silver, described as “publisher, S.A. Advertiser”, of Thebarton who proposed a mere £39-8-6. A good offer was made by Port Adelaide bookseller George Eustis, but at £50 it was far short of the £105 offered by another tenderer, Sidney, whose surname is illegible. Presumably the last was accepted by Mr Scott. A rough calculation shows that Sid acquired the stock at slightly less than tuppence a volume and had the stationery and goodwill of the business thrown in for good measure. He had made a good purchase, for it is evident that Mr Brind was not selling rubbish. Among the papers found at the shop was a letter from a person named Benson, who was stationed at Anna Creek Hospital, replying to a notice Mr Brind had sent:
You wrote last week & told me you had a Taylor’s Medical Jurisprudence, price 12/-. Will you please send by next train. Enclosed you will find 13/- allowing for postage. Perhaps it would be advisable to register it as a postage parcel which will cost 4d extra. Should the amount I send not be sufficient let me know and I will send you extra.
I remain yours truly
Alice [orAlick (?)] Benson
Anna Creek Hospital
Taylor’s book had first appeared in 1845 and had seen numerous new editions, maintaining its place as one of the leading English texts on the subject.
Tracing beneficiaries was not a difficult task for Mr Scott. A letter which had obviously been sent with the above mentioned bank draft gave him the name of “your brother” Frederick Brind, and the address of 6 Gresham House, Old Broad Street, London, E.C.4. A letter, in fact, came from Frederick Brind, as follows:
London E.C. 5th Sept 1890
6 Gresham House, Old Broad Street
The Public Trustee of South Australia
Understanding from Mr. George L. I. M. Henry of Adelaide that my brother, the late Mr. Edward Brind, of North Terrace, Adelaide, died a few months since without leaving any will & having no legal representative in Australia his estate has been [administered] by you on behalf of whom it may concern. I beg to say that my brother Mr. C. Brind, my sister, Mrs. Nosworthy & myself are his only surviving brothers & sister & as such, he never having been married, consider that we are legally entitled to any property he may have left. I shall therefore feel obliged if you will be good enough to inform me what process is necessary or what documents are required to establish our claim.
I remain, Sir
Yours very faithfully
F. W. Brind
When the final tally had been made it was found that each of the beneficiaries would receive £20-7-4, which they directed should be paid through their solicitor, Alexander Downer. The document verifying this is worth reproducing here:
Know all Men by these Presents that we Frederick William Brind of No. 6 Gresham House, Old Broad Street in the City of London Wine Merchant Charles Brind of the same place Wine Merchant and Susan Nosworthy of 113 Lansdowne Place Brighton England for divers good causes and considerations Do and each of us Doth by these Presents make ordain constitute and appoint Alexander George Downer King William Street Adelaide in the Province of South Australia in the Colony of Australia Solicitors to be one and each of our true and Lawful Attorney for and in the Name and on behalf of us and each of us to ask demand sue for recovery and receive of and from the Public Trustee for the Province of South Australia aforesaid and of and from all and every other person or persons whom it doth shall or may concern and every debt and debt sum and sums of money principal money and interest dividends goods wares merchandise profits proceeds rents and arrears or rent dues duties effects and things of what nature or kind soever which now are or is or at any time or times hereafter shall or may be or become due owing payable or belonging to us and each or any of us as the sole surviving next of kin of Edward Brind deceased who died a bachelor and intestate at Adelaide in the Province of South Australia aforesaid on the fourteenth day of February one thousand eight hundred and ninety or on any other account whatsoever. And on payment or delivery thereof or of any part thereof respectively to give sign and execute receipts acquittances releases or other discharges for the same respectively. And on non-payment or nondelivery thereof or of any part thereof respectively to bring commence carry on and prosecute any action or other proceeding whatsoever for recovering and compelling the payment and delivery thereof respectively. And also to adjust settle compound and compromise all accounts reckonings transactions matters and things whatsoever relating to the said several premises respectively. And generally to do execute and perform any other act deed matter or thing whatsoever relative to the premises as fully to all intents and purposes whatsoever as we and each of us might or could do in our and each of our own proper person in case these Presents had not been made. And for all or any of the purposes aforesaid one or more Substitute or Substitutes under him to appoint and again at pleasure to remove and displace and another or others to appoint. Giving and hereby Granting unto our said Attorney and his Substitute and Substitutes the full and whole power and authority of us and each of us in the Premises. Hereby allowing ratifying and confirming and agreeing to allow ratify and confirm all and whatsoever our said Attorney and his Substitute or Substitutes shall lawfully do or cause to be done in or about the Premises by virtue and in execution of these Presents. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our Hands and Seals this eighth day of August in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and ninety one.
Signed sealed and delivered by
the above named Frederick William Brind Frederick Brind
Charles Brind and SusanNosworthy Charles Brind
In the presence of
6 Tokenhouse Yard
It seems that Edward had not been invited to join his brothers in the wine business and had been persuaded, instead, to go to the colonies. There is no record of his arrival in South Australia