Charles was the son of Henry Balls.He served twice as Mayor of Cambridge, in 1858 and 1869.
In 1836 he married Eliza Hopkins who was the same age as Charles and the couple lived in Cambridge and had eight children, six girls and two boys.
Four of his daughters remained unmarried and when Charles and his wife Eliza went to live at Cherry Hinton Hall in the 1870's, the four women came with them.
Eliza died in 1876 at Cherry Hinton Hall and Charles and his daughters lived at the Hall until 1888 when they moved back to Cambridge where he died in his home at Warkworth Lodge.
DEATH OF ALDERMAN BALLS.
One of the most remarkable men that the town of Cambridge has known during this century died early on Saturday morning in the person of Mr. Charles Balls, J.P., D.L., senior Alderman and ex mayor. It is only about three weeks ago that he occupied a seat on the Magisterial bench at the Guildhall, and he was present at the last meeting of the old Town Council, in October, apparently in his usual health. The bulletin we published last week, however, was an indication of the serious condition of the Alderman, who passed away in the early morn of Saturday,at the ripe old age of 82.
Alderman Balls was a native of Cambridge, and was born in October, 1810, in the house attached to shop opposite Corpus Christi College, in which his father carried on the business of a currier. This business was carried on by the son, with much success, until about twenty years ago. Mr. Balls was educated under the Rev, W. Harding, a Fellow of Pembroke College, residing at Linton, Cambs, and, at early age, began to take deep interest in public life, an interest which he sustained to the end of his days. In the pre-Reform days he became member of the Corporation, and was one of the Freemen of the Borough, a body rapidly decreasing, and numbering now exactly four.
After the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act in 1835 he continued to have a seat in the Town Council, and in 1841 was elected on the body now best known as the Improvement Commissioners, but then the Paving and Lighting Commissioners. Mention of the Freemen and the old Commissioners brings up memories of the “good old times” when the members of the public authorities of the town were able to help forward the interests of the ratepayers, dining at their expense and looking well after their own personal interests. But those days are gone, and gone for ever : and according to the present Mayor, there is no public body so free from the taints of questionable proceedings as the Corporation of Cambridge. In the early history of the reformed Corporation the Liberals of Cambridge held power, but with a generosity only equalled by that of the opposite party this year they placed in the mayoral chair the leader of the Conservative party, Mr. Balls.
The Cambridge Independent Press of November, 1858, said; “For the first time since 1847 we have this year a Conservative Mayor. The members of the Council number 24 Liberals and 16 Conservatives, and therefore the choice of a Mayor from the weaker party was a handsome concession on the part of the Liberals; and we heartily wish Mr Balls health to go through his year of office."
The manner in which Mr Balls conducted himself was referred to in the following terms in our issue of November 12, 1859 - "As our late Mayor, C. Balls, Esq., has executed the duties of the high office which he filled both in able and courteous manner and with great credit to himself, it would only have been the due of that gentleman and gratification to his colleagues in the Council that he should have had his merits properly acknowledged by being elevated to the aldermanic bench. And this reward he would undoubtedly have received under ordinary circumstances, but unfortunately on the present occasion certain circumstances exist which were extraordinary, and which compelled the Liberal majority in self-defence and out of justice to themselves withhold from him that honour which they would otherwise have rejoiced to confer upon him.”
This action on the part of the Liberals greatly incensed the Conservative members of the Council, who withdrew from the dinner to the retiring Mayor, at the Lion Hotel, and had a private party at the Eagle.
Mr.Balls, with characteristic warmth, expressed his disappointment publicly declining to be present at the Lion dinner. A few years later was elevated to the Aldermanic Bench. The political complexion of the Town Council changed during the next ten years, change wrought, it is contended, in a large degree, Mr. Balls, who was the leader of the Conservative party, and 1869 he was again made Mayor, but this time by the support of his own party. At the conclusion of each Mayoralty he was the recipient of a piece of plate, and on the first occasion also of a portrait in oils. Shortly after the second term of office, feeling the necessity for rest and partial retirement, Alderman Balls took up his residence at Cherryhinton Hall, but never ceased to have a profound interest in the doings of the Town and Corporation, and in 1885 he accepted the position of Chairman of the lmprovement Commissioners, whose duties have since been undertaken by the Corporation. During this time he was associated with nearly all the public movements of the town. As Mayor it was his duty to take an active part in the formation of the Volunteers in 1859. For many years he has been the principal advocate of the Albert Asylum in Hills road, and he took a very lively interest in its welfare. In both the gas and water undertakings he occupied a prominent position for a long period, being chairman of the Gas Company. was made a Borough Magistrate 1852, and was also a Deputy-Lieutenant of the county. A man of pronounced opinions, he was not afraid of expressing them in public or private. Not seldom has he spoken very strongly on public questions, and thereby offended many of his friends. He cared not for commendation nor for criticism, and, once convinced, he never swerved from what he conceived to be his duty. Oftentimes moved to pity with the cases brought before him as a Magistrate, he was stern and unmerciful in dealing with old offenders, and with those who seriously broke the law. For sixty years a member of the Corporation, for forty years a Magistrate, and all his life inhabitant of Cambridge, bent on doing what he conceived to for the advancement of the town, he did his duty.
REFERENCE AT THE POLICE COURT.
At the Police Court on Monday Mr. C.J. Clay, the Chairman, said that before the business of that morning was proceeded with he should like to make some allusion to the great loss the town had sustained in the death of their old friend, Mr. Charles Balls. They had known him there for so many years, and he had been such constant attendant, that he was sure they would miss him very much. He was quite sure they would agree with him that his death was serious loss to the town of Cambridge.
Mr. J. Congreve said as the only solicitor present he hoped he might be permitted to say how sorry he was to hear of the death Mr, Charles Balls. Personally, he held his memory in great respect. He had always treated him with the greatest courtesy and consideration whenever he had appeared before him in that court. He was sure that he had the permission of his absent brethren to say that they recognised in Mr.Balls a gentleman who brought to the discharge of his duties a great and varied experience, a great capacity for judging evidence, and, above all, an intense desire to administer justice in the cases brought before him.
Mr. Bonnett, the magistrates’ clerk, said, on behalf of the officials of the court, he had to express his deep sense of the great loss the town had sustained in the death of Mr. Balls. He was ever willing to help, especially in those cases where the attendance of the whole Bench was not required. He alluded to the cases of lunacy. He had always taken a great interest in all matters affecting the welfare of the town, and he (Mr.Bonnett) had to express his great sorrow at the loss the town had sustained.
The mortal remains of the late Alderman Balls were interred in the family vault at the Mill road cemetery, yesterday (Thursday) afternoon. The funeral was of a very quiet character, being private. The coffin was made of oak, with brass fittings, the plate bearing the inscription—
“ Charles Balls, died November 12, 1892. aged 82”
and upon it were a number of wreaths of choice flowers. At the head was a wreath from Henrietta Hamford, Hylda, Charles, John, and Ella,” grandchildren, and made of chrysanthemums and other white flowers and maiden hair fern. In the centre was large cross of geraniums, from the Misses Balls, while at the foot was tribute from Mrs. Rowley. There were also wreaths from several grandchildren, Gilbert, Mabel and Mildred, “With love and sympathy, F. and E,” Mr. and Mrs.W T. Rowley (Harston), Mrs Bidwell, Alderman and Mrs. Waco, Dr. and Mrs. F. Osmond Carr, Dr. and Mrs. Cunningham, Miss Hutchinson, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lucas, Mrs. Wing, Miss Thrower, Mrs.A.G. Ekin. Mr. and Mrs. J. Hamblin Smith. Dr. and Mrs. Garrett, Mrs. C. Porter and Mrs. (old servants). There were two artificial covered wreaths, one from the officers and the other from the workmen of the Cambridge University and Town Gas Lighting Company. The coffin was borne upon a low car, and after it came the carriages containing the mourners, who included Mr. H.G. Balls, Miss Balls. Mr. C. Bunford, Miss Flora Balls. Mr. and Mrs. Rowley. Mr. C. Bidwell, Miss Maud Balls, Mr. Frank Smith, Mr. W. F. Rowley, Masters Gilbert Balls and Sidney Rowley. Mrs. Ekin’s private carriage came next, and there were two carriages containing employes of the Gas Company, and also Mr. Peed. Among those who followed the cortege, were present at the graveside, were the Mayor (Mr. S. L. Young), Alderman Kett (deputy-mayor). Councillors Vinter, J. Burford. J.P.. Dr. Porter, W. Flack, T. Coulson. G. Smith, Clayton, Colonel Caldwell, Mr. C. J. Clay, J.P.. Rev. H. P. Stokes. Dr Adams, Mr. T. Lucas, Mr. W. Eaden Lilley, Mr. W. Peed, Mr. A. Chater, Mr. F. Burwick, Mr. Lyon, sen., Mr. Duesbury, Mr. J. P. Wiles, and Mr. W. P. I. Rowton.
Dr. Cunningham (vicar of Great St. Mary’s) conducted the service. Messrs. W. Eaden Lilley and Co. were the undertakers, and Mr. F. Burwick supplied the coffin.
(Cambridge Independent Press - Friday 18 November 1892)