Friday 17 March 1916
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Co-op keen to hang on to bootmaker, slaughterman and drivers
More than a page of the newspaper was given over to reports of recruiting tribunals held across the district. In Shipley, 31 cases were heard, ‘mostly of unmarried men.’ Of these four were upheld as the men were in certified occupations, six were dismissed, seven postponed to a later hearing, while the rest had their enlistment put back between two and five months. Among the cases heard were seven presented by the President and Secretary of Windhill Co-operative Society on behalf of seven employees – a boot maker, slaughter man, branch manager, two bakers, a motor-wagon driver and a motor driver. As well as giving an insight into the workings of the tribunal, they provide a fascinating glimpse of retailing 100 years ago. In addition to the individual cases, the Tribunal had asked the Board of Directors to come up with a plan that would see some of their smaller shops close so that the managers would be free to enlist. ‘The secretary, Mr Morton, observed that the boot maker so far as he understood, was engaged in a reserved occupation. He did some most important and essential work in boot repairing and manufacturing. Scientifically ‘The society did from 800 to 1,000 repairs per week, the whole of which had to be done by this man. There was not another man to do it and it was very difficult to get a man to replace him. In fact the work was very highly skilled and of a technical order. ‘Mr Burton: I understand that it is a machine which this man super- intends. ‘Mr Morton: That is so. The soles are cut out scientifically from the leather. If they were cut in cardboard the process would be simple and a child could do it. ‘A man who is too old to be a soldier could learn how to use this machine, could he not? – Yes, in a few years. ‘One would judge from the
application that a man only required skill to attend to an ingenious machine, now you tell us that it would require a considerable time to learn and that it also involves knowledge of the material that the machine has to work upon. Is this work left entirely to this man? – Yes. ‘How many men are dependent upon what he turns out? – At present we have 15 repairers and if we could get them we could do with considerably more. In addition we have four men who work on the finishing machine ‘Mr Illingworth: What do you mean by scientifically cutting this leather out? – It will perhaps not be unknown to you that some parts of the leather are much better for soles than other parts. If a man cut the leather any way he would waste pounds, apart from the unsatisfactory state of the work.’ After a little more discussion it was decided that the job was a certified occupation so the man was exempt. The Tribunal then turned its attention to the slaughter man, who was engaged upon that particular work four days a week and spent Friday and Saturday in the shop selling. They decided to wait and consider the matter when the Co-op came back with its store closing plan. The two bakers, who ‘spend most of their time in baking bread’ had their enlistment postponed until 1 August. ‘The motor wagon driver whose duties were said to consist of conveying flour from Halifax and Sowerby Bridge etc., was declared to be in a certified occupation. The man described as a motor driver was said to be engaged in delivering goods from the warehouse to the branches. ‘Cllr Rhodes: Have you only one driver? – No we have four. ‘It is possible you may have less to do – I was going to say, we could do with another four and we shall have to get them. ‘Mr Illingworth: Is it a fact that you have instructed your customers to
fetch their own goods? – We have asked them to help us in this direction. ‘Mr Burton: Have you tried persistently to get a motor driver? – Yes, whenever we’ve wanted one ‘But surely you want one now? There is no scarcity of motor drivers if you look about. There are men coming back from the Front who can drive splendidly and even if they have a finger injured they are still able to work as mechanics. – Well, I daresay we could find one a job. Yes, but a man who has not lost a finger is more valuable as a soldier. – We are absolutely at the last pinch. It is not a case of being put to a little inconvenience. ‘If you were to enquire in the right quarter you would find you could get a motor driver for your purpose. It is the duty of the Tribunal to reject every application where they can get a substitute. – If we can find a substitute we shall be only too ready to help the Government in any shape or form.’ The Tribunal decided this driver could be replaced but gave the Co-op until June 1st to find a replacement. Postponed The meeting then had a discussion about the shop-closing proposal and the Tribunal said that because the Co- op had been helpful, they were willing for them to submit a list of men who the company could most do without rather than have the Tribunal make the list for them. While accepting that offer, it was clearly going to be a difficult decision because as Mr Morton revealed they had already postponed opening two new shops and expanding others so to have fewer shops would be a test. Mr Burton, the Army’s representative on the Tribunal said they ‘wished to inflict the least possible hardship upon your undertaking but men have to be found and the suggestion is that if you carefully consider which men should be kept at home and those whom you can do without and bring your conclusions before the Tribunal I am sure the latter will consider it most carefully and sympathetically. I will do so also.’
‘There is no scarcity of motor drivers if you look about. There are men coming back from the Front who can drive splendidly and even if they have a finger injured they are still able to work as mechanics.’
‘We understand that a much-needed letter has been addressed to the Tramways Committee by Mr Wm Claridge of Thackley, calling attention to the practice of certain people boarding a car at Forster Square for Idle and Thackley without having taken their places in the queue. ‘A glaring instance of this kind occurred on Monday night. A number of women and children had been standing in the queue for a quarter of an hour when a man came up at the last moment and pushed himself at the head and was the first to enter the car. ‘One of the passengers took his name together with the names of people who had witnessed the occurrence and has brought it before the Tramways Committee. ‘We may add that if this abuse is tolerated the queue system is an actual punishment to women and children because they get within the bars of the queue and are powerless to move except in one direction, whereas newcomers who have not been in the queue at all, have room of action and jump on the car without regard to the rights of others who have been patiently waiting for so long and having loyally abided by the rules of the Tramways Committee. ‘After having stood in the queue for a quarter of an hour some of these people are compelled to stand in the car because of others who have taken the seats and who have not been standing in the queue at all.’
Tramway queue jumpers must be brought to book
Mary Scott wrote to the newspaper telling how she had received a note of thanks from Master Cutlers, Sheffield, thanking the people of Shipley for collecting more than 1,600 old razors which were re- sharpened and sent to the troops. ‘They are repaired and reset free by the Cutlers’ Company, thus helping relieve the pressure of work on manufacturers, besides serving the needs of the army.’ She also included a copy of a letter she had received from Lord Kitchener (above) to the Cutler’s Company which revealed that they had sent 135,000 razors to the troops. He added: ‘As you will realise, the need for razors is still very great, owning to the increasing strength of the army and I hope, therefore, that you will be able to continue your patriotic efforts to obtain further supplies.’
Shipley contributes to keeping troops in trim
Mr E Thorpe has been appointed Scoutmaster of a new troop of Boy Scouts which has recently been formed in connection with the Saltaire Road Primitive Methodist Church. Already about thirty boys have become members. Mr A Carpenter is the president.
On and from the 20th instant, the Head Post Office will not be opened for postal transactions until 9 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. Telegraph business will, however, be transacted as usual, viz., between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Persons wishing to send telegrams before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. can do so on appli- cation at the back door of the Post Office premises. Parcels intended for despatch the same night will not be accepted at the Town sub-offices later than 6.45 p.m.
New Scout troop
Post Office opening
William Henry Thornton, a Shipley manufacturer, was fined 20s and 7s 6d in costs for driving a motor car without a valid licence. Supt Warburton stated that Mr Thornton was stopped driving on the Otley Road towards Shipley on 20 February because his headlights were too powerful. When his licence was examined it was found to have expired five days before. ‘Defendant told the police officer that he had already sent the money to Wakefield for a renewal but on enquiries being made it was found that the money had not been received until 22nd. The man had also sent on his old licence. A new licence was issued and this was dated back to Feb 16th. A clerk from Wakefield County Council Offices confirmed the defendant had been warned that his old licence had almost run out on 21 January.
Bright lights lead to invalid licence fine
Absentee soldiers held
Shipley soldiers Robert Hird of the 3rd West Riding Regt and Joshua Padgett of 20th West Yorkshire Regt were in court charged with being absent without leave. They were handed over to await an escort back to their regiments.