BOUNDARY COMMISSIONERS AT HUDDERSFIELD.
The Assistant Commissioners, Lieutenant-General Sir Richard Dacres, R.A., K.C.B,, and H. Tindal Atkinson, Esq,, Sergeant-at-Law, appointed by the Boundary Commissioners for England and Wales, under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1867, attended at the Improvement Commissioners' Rooms, Huddersfield, on Thursday morning, "For the purpose of enquiring into the boundaries of the borough of Huddersfield, with the view to ascertain whether the boundaries should be enlarged so as to include within the limits of the borough all premises which ought, due regard being bad to situation and other local circumstances, to be included therein for the purpose of conferring upon the occupiers thereof the Parliamentary franchise for such borough." The enquiry was opened at eleven o'clock, and the evidence tendered in the course of the day, especially in support of an extension of the Parliamentary borough boundary, and partly in favour of the Parliamentary and the proposed municipal borough being co-extensive, will be found replete with interest, and may be perused, voluminous as it is, to advantage. The room in which the enquiry is being conducted, was well filled throughout the opening day, and the witnesses were not only treated by the Commissioners with unbounded courtesy, but the greatest attention was paid by the spectators. When the court was opened,
and during subsequent portions of the day, we observed amongst those present Robert Skilbeck, Esq., constable and chairman of the Improvement Commissioners; A. B. Beaumont, Esq., M.P., Bentley Shaw, Esq., Major Greenwood, Captain Graham, Messrs. W. Keighley, T. H. Battye, T. W. Clough, N. Learoyd, Jos. Wrigley, jun., John Day, Jos. Turner, Jos. Batley, R. Porritt, John Haigh, solicitor; Geo. Harper, William Shaw, Henry Barker, F. R. Jones, sen., R. Hird, Geo. Dyson, J. Jordan, Geo. Mallinson, T. Hirst, J. E. Willans, R. Jackson, E. J. W. Waterhouse, D. Bums, J. H. Abbey, G. Dyson, Linthwaite; E. Walker, S. Dawson, J. Booth, J. Craven, C. Mills, Geo, Gelder, B. Hanson, &c.
Lieut.-General Dacres, in opening the court, said that he and his learned friend had been sent down to Huddersfield by the Boundary Commissioners, appointed by the House of Commons, to ascertain whether the boundaries of this borough should be enlarged, so as to include in its limits all places, — due regard being given to situation and other local circumstances, — which ought to be included within this borough, with the idea of improving the franchise of the people generally. They had no power to decrease the present parliamentary borough, but had the power of increasing it, by adding to it townships and small villages of similar pursuits and occupations to those of Huddersfield. They had, as he had remarked, no power decreasing the present parliamentary boundary; but it should also be borne in mind that, whatever was added, must be in one continuous line; and it should not be divided by any place between the place proposed to be added and the present parliamentary borough. It must all be in one line. Let it be thoroughly understood that they had nothing whatever to do with the municipal boundary; the business of the commissioners was entirely with the parliamentary boundary, and, as he had said before, adding as much as they considered right, or rather recommending to the Boundary Commissioners any place that had similar pursuits to Huddersfield, and which lay not any very great distance from it. Let it be thoroughly understood, too, that they had nothing whatever to do with political interests; they had come down to do the best they could for Huddersfield and its neighbourhood, and the whole population; but had nothing whatever to do with politics. The commissioners would be much obliged for any information which could be afforded, and after having received all the evidence they could get, they would then make a personal inspection of the environs of the borough boundary, in order that they might see for themselves the desirability of adding any of the townships. His learned friend, Mr. Atkinson, would, now examine any person who desired to give information to the commissioners.
Mr. Atkinson—The clerk would be the best person to begin the examination with.
Mr. Batley stated that a committee had been formed with special reference to this particular question, himself and Sir. Learoyd being joint secretaries thereof.
Mr. N. Learoyd, solicitor, was the first witness examined, and he said — The parish of Huddersfield comprises a great deal more than is contained in the present Parliamentary borough, which is confined to one township only. The parish consists of Golcar, Lindley-cum-Quarmby, Long wood, Scammonden-with-Deanhead, Slaithwaite, and part of Marsden, The acreage of the parish is 13,060, but that does not include Scammonden. The population of the parish in 1831, was 31,290; in 1861, 51,147; and now it is about 60,000. The rateable value of the parish is £177,050, of which the township of Huddersfield contributes £133,000. The present Parliamentary borough contains 4,050 acres; 7,800 houses; the population was 34,847 at the last census; and in 1867, 39,855. In 1832, the number of voters was 608; and the number of electors at the last election 2,138; and there voted 1,806. The proportion of electors to population is greater in this borough than in any other part of England, having only £10 household votes, and no scot and lot voters, showing the thrift of the people. We are not on the municipal register at present, but are before the Privy Council for that purpose. The gross estimated rental, in 1856, of the borough was £120,041, and at present it is £171,795, giving an increase since 1856 of £51,754 on the rental. The rateable value in 1856 was £95,362, in 1862 it was £124,000, and at the present time it is £133,011. The Compound Householders' Act has not been adopted here. With regard to the Parliamentary borough, the operative families, as a rule, live in separate and distinct tenements, and the number of working classes on the present register is 268. We have an Improvement Act and an amended Improvement Act, the first being obtained in 1820, and the latter in 1848; which Act gives power for lighting, cleansing, and improving. We have 18 commissioners elected by the ratepayers, and three by the lord of the manor. The extent of petty sessional division, which is a very large one, comprises a population of 11,725. The petty sessional division is divided for convenience, the magistrates sitting at Holmfirth and Huddersfield; but the above figures relate to the population of the townships that have to attend at the Hud-derefield Court. The magistrates sit three times per week at Huddersfield. There have been frequent movements in the borough for the purpose of obtaining an enlargement of the present limits. In the Reform Bill of 1831, the schedule included the parish of Huddersfield and provided for two members; but by the Government Bill of 1832 the word "township" was substituted for "parish," and "one" for "two" in the number of members. I believe it is the only borough in Yorkshire which comprises only one township. This caused disappointment in the borough, and frequent efforts were put forth to obtain an extension of the borough boundary, the feeling being in the borough that a change had been made at the last moment without the opinion of the people being given thereon. About the close of the year 1865, having then in contemplation the Reform Bill of the Government, a meeting was convened by circular of many of the leading and influential inhabitants, composed of both parties, in equal numbers, and resolutions were passed in favour of an extension of the limits, and the meeting appointed a deputation to attend upon Government and present a memorial. A copy of the memorial will be given with the other documents. The parliamentary deputation waited upon Earl Russell, and laid the facts before him, but very shortly afterwards that bill ceased to be. However, when Lord Derby's bill was introduced, the matter was again taken up by the same committee, which met and determined to convene a public meeting by placard. At that public meeting a committee was appointed, chiefly of the old committee, and it was appointed also as a deputation to wait upon the Government and present a memorial substantially the same as that presented to Earl Russell. The result of the deputation was that the case of Huddersfield was brought before the Government, but we were unable to improve our position, having a population under 50,000. That committee has still prosecuted its labours, and are prepared to lay before you the facts connected with the movement. Many of the members are present. A public meeting has also been held, and resolutions unanimously passed, in support of the extension of the borough. The committee desiring that the limits should be enlarged, it was requested that the resolution should be laid before you. There was not a single dissentient to it. The resolution which was passed was to the effect that, considering the contracted limits of the present borough, and several centres of population being immediately contiguous to Huddersfield, and virtually forming part of the town, which are now excluded, the meeting was of opinion that efforts should be made to obtain an enlargement of the present parliamentary borough. It devolved the details upon a committee, which arrived at the following resolution "That, on the part of the committee, the boundaries to be submitted to the Boundary Commissioners be the same as those submitted to the crown for a municipal corporation; but in case Milnsbridge desired to be included the committee would be perfectly willing for them to be so included." As far as their wishes go, the desire of the committee is that the municipal borough should be conterminous or co-ex tensive with the parliamentary boundary borough.
Mr. Atkinson — That is to say, if any neighbouring centre of manufacturing population have any desire for parliamentary representation, they have no wish to thwart them in their application.
Mr. Learoyd (continuing) — The number of electors under the new Reform Bill within the present limits will be 7,000, while there are only about 2,000 under the old Act. We have no statistics of lodgers. The number of lodgers would not materially add to the number of voters. There are 7,800 inhabited houses. Neither the parish nor the township, we think, could properly constitute the parliamentary boundary; the parish, because it includes large districts which form no part of our urban population, but are purely agricultural, and more properly belong to county representation, going as far as Marsden, miles away, and excluding portions of large centres of population, some of which are within a few hundred yards of our own Market Place. Lockwood, which is one mile of the town, contains a present estimated population of 8,445, but is neither in the township nor the parish. In Almondbury, the parish church of which is within probably one mile and three quarters of our own Market Place, and which contains a population of 11,000, is neither within the parish nor the township; Dalton, which is within about the same distance of Almondbury, and one portion of which is virtually part of our town, contains a population of about 5,000, but is neither within the township nor parish. In 1861 the population was 4,092. What we propose to include is Lindley, within the parish but not in the township of Huddersfield, and which contains a present estimated population of 5,050; Lockwood, which is in the parish of Almondbury, containing an estimated present population of 8,445, and which comes within a few bundled yards of the Market Place; Almondbury, which is not in the parish, but which is within a short distance of the Huddersfield Market Place; and Dalton, which is also only a short distance from the Market Place.
J. Batley, solicitor, and clerk to the Improvement Commissioners, said:— I have very little to add, I may explain the legal position of the town. The present
borough is divided for municipal purposes.
Mr. Atkinson — I think we have got, for our purpose, enough to show that the town is under a certain form of government.
Mr. Hatley continued — The borough of Huddersfield, within 1,200 yards from the Market Place, and bounded by the township on the one hand and the parish boundary on the other, is governed under a Local Improvement Act, passed in 1848. The other portions of the borough are divided into four districts, three of which are under local boards, and constituted under the Local Government Act, namely, Marsh, Bradley, and Deighton. The union for poor's rate purposes is very large, comprising 131,334 population according to the census of 1861; 34 townships, and also comprising four parishes, — Huddersfield, Almondbury, Kirkburton, and Kirkheaton. I represent the commissioners, and they have come to a resolution, which I will hand in, following the plan that has been adopted in other towns. The Burial Ground Act was obtained in 1842, and the Improvement Act in 1848. The commissioners, who are elected by the ratepayers, under the Commissioners Clauses Act, and with the cumulative vote, represent 24.100 ratepayers within their district; and the rateable value is £100,108. The resolution was generally in favour of an extension of the town of Huddersfield into the adjoining townships.
Mr. H. Barker, solicitor, stated, with regard to the proposal to include part of Longwood, that, on the 25th September, the inhabitants of Longwood township, at a public meeting, decided that it was entirely undesirable that any part of the township should be included in the Parliamentary borough.
Mr. Atkinson — We will take the places as they appear on the plan, and when we come to the particular township of Longwood, we will take facts from yourself or any one else.
Mr. Barker — Very well, sir.
Mr. R. Skilbeck, chairman of the Improvement Commissioners and Constable of Huddersfield, said — The office of constable extends to the whole of the township; and the chairman only to the Improvement Commissioners' limits, which are confined to 1,200 yards from the Market Place. The town of Huddersfield is situated not in the centre of the borough, but towards Lockwood and Moldgreen, to the extreme southern edge. It has extended rapidly since it was created a Parliamentary borough, and has almost doubled in population in all directions, but principally within the limits of the Improvement Commissioners. In addition to this extension, the town has extended across the river Colne, in the direction of Almondbury, Lockwood, and Dalton; and these are now connected with Huddersfield by continuous lines of houses, and form virtually portions of the town. In the direction of Lindley buildings are rapidly extending; and there are good classes of villas and houses between the higher and lower parts of the neighbourhood ; and these houses are principally occupied by persons having business pursuits in Huddersfield. Two lines of omnibuses connect Huddersfield with Lindley. The industrial pursuits of the inhabitants are identical in all the townships. The town’s delivery of letters extends to Moldgreen, Lockwood, and Lindley. There is a strong feeling amongst the inhabitants of Huddersfield and the adjacent townships that the limits of the Parliamentary borough should be extended, so as to embrace the adjoining townships of Lockwood, Almondbury, Dalton, Lindley, and Milnsbridge; and that the same district should also be constituted a municipal borough. I have attended many meetings in Huddersfield on this question, and I believe the feeling arises neither from party nor political motive. I presided at the meeting where the resolutions produced by Mr. Learoyd was passed. They were passed unanimously; and a deputation was sent to London, of which I was one in my official capacity. We had an interview with Sir J. Ramsden, the lord of the manor, and the principal landowner here; and he expressed a general concurrence in the object of the deputation.
Mr. Batley said Huddersfield was supplied with gas by a company, and the works were situate close to the river, and were in the borough. Moldgreen was supplied with gas privately, and other districts were supplied by mill-owners.
Mr. John Day, manufacturer of woollen and cotton fabrics, chairman of the Moldgreen Local Board, said — I am owner of extensive mills, and a large employer of labour. The Moldgreen Local Board district was formed in 1858 under the Local Government Act, and comprises parts of the townships of Dalton and Almondbury. The Local Board act as surveyors for a portion of the township of Dalton outside the district of Moldgreen; and simply lay highway rates over those portions. We come within 500 yards of the Market Place of Huddersfield. The portion of Almondbury outside Moldgreen was governed by another Local Board. The river Colne divides Huddersfield from Moldgreen, with the exception of one part, where, by some means or other, the Moldgreen district extends over the river into the town of Huddersfield. It is connected with Huddersfield by a county bridge, which crosses the Colne; there is a street of continuous buildings; and there are buildings for more than a mile on the Wakefield Road. The industrial occupations of Moldgreen are identical with those of Huddersfield. In my judgment the boundaries of the parliamentary borough ought to be extended so as to embrace Moldgreen. I may say, at this point, that when the movement took place for a corporation, they applied for Moldgreen to be included. A public meeting was called with regard to both municipal and Parliamentary boundaries, and a resolution was passed unanimously that the township of Dalton and that part of Almondbury in the Moldgreen district should be included in the municipal boundary. At a meeting of the Local Board the matter was fully discussed, and the members quite agree with the resolution passed at the public meeting, and also that the municipal and parliamentary boundaries should be conterminous.
Mr. Atkinson — It is most extraordinary.
Mr. Day — The rateable value is £17,875 for highway purposes; district purposes (lighting, &c.), £11,885. Eight years ago the rateable value was only £8,930. The number of inhabited bouses, 1,728; there are 15 mills, 2 iron works, 1 church, 4 chapels, 5 day schools, and 5 Sunday schools in the district. The population is eminently urban in its character, and engaged in manufacturing. Very few females have houses, but I cannot tell the number.
Mr. Atkinson — They marry here, do they? (Laughter) Are the houses inhabited by clerks and operatives?
Mr. Day — We have many villa residences. We have very few lodgers. We are a mixed population. We have some handsome mansions and shops in the district. Hie staple manufactures, wool and cotton, have much increased during the last few years. Huddersfield is one of the hugest markets for wool. I believe the Huddersfield buyers purchase as much wool as the buyers from Leeds. The wool is brought to Huddersfield and re-sold to the manufacturers, to be worked into cloth. Huddersfield is the market for the whole district sought to be included. The number of county voters in the township of Dalton is 116, under the old statute; but I cannot say what the number will be under the new act. In the township of Almondbury there are 105 voters under the present statute.
Mr. Atkinson — There will be a new franchise created by the new act, and we have to furnish information to London as to the number that will be taken from the county under such an addition as will be made to Huddersfield, and the number of household voters that will be created for the borough.
Mr. Learoyd promised to furnish the statistics required of the number of county voters under the present act, and of the number that will be included by the new statute.
Mr. Atkinson — That has a most important bearing on the present inquiry.
Mr. Hird, solicitor, applied to the commissioners for Milnsbridge to be taken last, as there would be some strong objection to its being included in the proposed parliamentary borough.
At one o’clock the enquiry was adjourned, and resumed at two o’clock.
Mr. George Gelder, member of the Moldgreen Local Board, said — I am a considerable employer of labour, and am engaged in the manufacture of woollens. I was appointed by the Local Board, with Mr. Day, to give evidence before this commission. The district of Moldgreen is a populous and improving one, there being a considerable number of new erections, consisting of mills and dwelling-houses, during the last two years, the ground in the neighbourhood being chiefly freehold and held on long leases, offers great inducements to all classes, especially the operatives, for the building of houses. There are building societies, but their offices are at Huddersfield. The working men take advantage of these societies to a considerable extent. There are very few of the inhabitants who possess votes in the borough, and those who have votes have warehouses in town, and villas within seven miles. The bulk of the inhabitants, not being entitled to vote, consider a great injustice is done to them, especially when they see parties residing at a distance of four miles, in an agricultural district, enjoying the privilege of the elective franchise, while they themselves, immediately adjoining Huddersfield, do not enjoy that privilege. The township is co-extensive with the upper end of the borough, and divided only by the river. From the lower part of Moldgreen to the extreme end of Dalton it would be about three or four miles. The county franchise will not place many on the register at Moldgreen, hence the inhabitants generally are more anxious that they should be included in the Parliamentary borough of Huddersfield. We consider ourselves part of the town of Huddersfield; and, of couse, if we are left out, we shall be excluded from the franchise. The inhabitants of Moldgreen desire that the Parliamentary boundary and the municipal boundary should be co-extensive. That is the general feeling of the inhabitants of Moldgreen; and it has been expressed at a public meeting.
Mr. Wm. Keighley, woollen manufacturer, carrying on business in Huddersfield, said — I am one of the largest ratepayers in the borough. A few years ago I occupied the position of constable of Huddersfield, and chairman of the Board of Improvement Commissioners. By an arrangement the offices are now joined together. It is most desirable that the borough should be extended, and I believe it has been a growing feeling for years. The limits proposed represent fairly the population of the town, and naturally the population for Parliamentary and municipal purposes. I believe the town has suffered both in position, in influence, and in a material point of view in consequence of being a restricted locality and not being incorporated. I simply wish to add that I can confirm all Mr. Skilbeck, the present constable, has said; I was one of the committee appointed to inquire into the subject, and I concurred in their proceedings. I held the offices of constable and chairman of Commissioners from two to three years. The trade of the town is increasing, and particularly in the places outside, which may be said to be part of the borough itself. As far as I am aware, the movement is not of a party character; it has been a movement to obtain for Huddersfield a position and rank according to its size and importance amongst other towns.
Mr. Joseph Turner, gentleman, said: I was formerly Constable of Huddersfield, and Chairman of Commissioners, which offices I held for two years. I concur in what has been said by the preceding speakers. The town is in a very anomalous position; mute inconvenience has been caused in consequence. The feeling for the extension of the Parliamentary borough is general. We may be considered as the first manufacturing town for fancy woollens in England; and yet we rank in the eyes of the law as only a village. We have one market, and it is to the interest of the districts outside to be included in the proposed boundary. We have had many important undertakings on foot, more especially the one to procure a better water supply; and it is desirable we should be combined, in order to carry them out. I attended in my official capacity with the deputation which waited upon Earl Russell. The movement is not one of yesterday. After the first deputation waited on Earl Russell, his lordship said the application should receive consideration.
Mr. Ed. John Wood Waterhouse, colliery owner, residing in the township of Lindley, said: The township of Lindley adopted the Local Government Act in 1860, and there are two good turnpike roads, one from Huddersfield to Halifax, the other to Manchester. The frontages of these two roads, near Huddersfield, are rapidly being taken up for building purposes. Two lines of omnibus ply to Lindley, one up each line of road. Gas is obtained from the Huddersfield gas works, and water from the Huddersfield water mains. The water only extends to a portion of the township, owing to the elevation; and a part of the gas is supplied from Longwood. It is one township for all purposes; but previous to 1861 there were two highway districts. The district is connected; forms one homogenous population; and is rapidly increasing. In 1861 the population was 4,259; and the present estimated population is 5,050. The character of the population is a mixed one; and the staple trade is woollen. We have many masons and other classes of workmen in the township. It is not an agricultural district. All the families are connected with the trade. The township contains about 14,000 acres, and the rateable value is now upwards of £12,000 per annum. In 1857, the rateable value was only £8,200 per annum — having increased nearly five per cent in ten years. The number of householders at present is 1,088; number of £12 occupiers and upwards, under the new act, 155. A great many villa residences have been built during the last 14 years, and the occupiers of them have places of business at Huddersfield. The boundary of the township is about one mile from the Market Place at Huddersfield. The occupations and industrial pursuits are identical with those of Huddersfield; and in my opinion, Lindley ought to become part and portion of the Parliamentary borough. It is proposed to include us in the municipal borough. There is no extent of land for agricultural purposes; it is all held for purposes of trade. The land in the township is divided into small holdings, and the dwellings of the operatives engaged in the woollen trade are scattered amongst them. The land in the township is divided amongst a great many owners. Land can be had on moderate terms, on long leases, for building purposes. Huddersfield is also the natural market for produce; and is our market town. The general feeling of the inhabitants is that we should be included in the municipal and Parliamentary boundaries. I believe the feeling in Lindley is unanimous; and there is no political or party object to be gained. We are separated from Milnsbridge by a part of Longwood; and between Lindley and Lockwood, across the valley, there lies a manufacturing district. The population is increasing in Lindley, and it is a steady increase. Going to the west is Longwood, the lower portion is densely populated; while the upper portion is moor land, and thinly populated.
Mr. David Birins, woollen manufacturer, and a member of the Lindley Local Board, said, I don’t know that I have much to add, with the exception of a remark on the water question. We are deficiently supplied with water, especially during drought. We are not in a position to supply ourselves at Lindley; and I think the present opportunity of joining Huddersfield will afford us the advantage — one of the greatest advantages — of obtaining a supply of water; and good drainage is another — in fact, we look for all the advantages arising from central government for sanitary and other purposes. I do not know that I have anything more to add. That is the feeling of the inhabitants, and the opinion of persons with whom I have come in contact every day.
Mr. Learoyd said there was other evidence respecting Lindley, but it would only be of a similar character to that already adduced.
Mr. Atkinson thought it would be sufficient for the purpose of the Commissioners.
Mr. W. R. Croft, grocer, Rashcliffe, said — I have lived at Rashcliffe between six and seven yean, and have a thorough knowledge of the locality. The township of Lockwood, with a portion of South Crosland, formed the Local Board district; and the latter is subject to the Local Board for rating purposes. It was formed in the year 1864 into a Local Board district, under the Local Government Act. Lockwood joins the township of Huddersfield at Engine Bridge; and the boundary line approaches within 600 yards of the centre of the town. Mills, shops, and dwellings, extend across the river into the district of Lockwood; the town delivery of letters extends across the district into Lockwood; the gas mains are also laid across the river for the supply of gas; and supplies of water also come from Huddersfield, which supplies at least quarter of the whole of Lockwood. Lockwood is a rapidly increasing district; buildings are extending in numerous directions for a mile from the boundary line, and the land is rapidly being taken up for building purposes. The land is mostly leasehold on the Lockwood estate, the length of the leases being 999 years. In 1831, the population of Lockwood was 3,134; 1841, 4,303; 1851, 5,556; 1861, 6,755; and in 1867, 8,445.
Mr. Atkinson — That is a very rapid increase.
Mr. Croft — The township contains 869 acres, including South Crosland. The township of Lockwood has 793 acres, leaving 67 acres for South Crosland, over which we exercise control. The rateable value of the township has increased correspondingly, and now amounts to upwards of £20,000. I may say the proportion of population is ten people to the acre; and in Huddersfield it is about the same, taking the Parliamentary borough. I cannot give the number of houses at £12 per year. The number of houses is 1,698. The dwellings are chiefly of the artisan class, and the residents find employment mostly in their own district. The population is not of a migratory character. In the portion of Lockwood nearest the boundary line, within 600 yards of the Market Place, there are 14 mills for the manufacture of woollens, three cloth finishers, two iron foundries, two large machine shops employing nearly 500 hands, one smith’s shop, one millwright's shop, one logwood mill, one lead rope manufactory, employing, in the aggregate, about 2,200 hands. With regard to the character of the inhabitants at Rashcliffe, there have been built 63 houses by artisans alone through the medium of two societies held at one house in the period of five yean.
Mr. Atkinson — The general character, then, is thrift, industry, and moral conduct.
Mr. Croft — Yes. There is a community of interests, and similarity of pursuits. The present member for Huddersfield (Col. Crosland) has his works at Lockwood, and employs Lockwood people. They are large works, and a great number of men are employed them. The Crowthers' are also large manufacturers. All these are in the ambit described. Lockwood is not well supplied with water.
Mr. Atkinson — That comes within the power of the enquiry respecting the corporation.
Mr. Croft — We believe the only way we can get water is by joining Huddersfield, and the general opinion of the artisan class is that they would like to be joined to Huddersfield, municipally as well as for Parliamentary purposes. In regard to the Reform Bill, the meeting was pretty evenly balanced. One argument was that, under the Government bill, Lockwood would be included, and that had a great influence. The most influential portion of the ratepayers have signed the petition, and some are members also of the Extension Committee. Under all the circumstances which at present exist, I believe it is desirable that Lockwood should be included in any portion which you may recommend for addition to the present borough. There is no extent of purely agricultural land within the district of Lockwood itself. The outlying land, situated south-west, is divided into very small holdings, and the dwellings of operatives and others engaged in the woollen trade are scattered amongst them. It is frequently the case that members of families, who are occupiers of these small holdings, are themselves also engaged in other works connected with the trade of the district. Huddersfield is also the natural market for the produce of the land, so that there can be scarcely said to exist any purely rural or agricultural population in the township; and I consider it unnecessary to make any division of the township on that ground, as such division may cause inconvenience in the administration of other local affairs. It would be impossible for a stranger to say where the dividing line of the township began, and where it blended itself. A turnpike-road runs through Lockwood proper to Holmfirth and Buxton, and there is another turnpike-road which runs through Lockwood to Manchester. I have expressed the feeling of the great mass of the people, industrial and otherwise. A memorial signed by 152 ratepayers and householders, had been drawn up, and it prayed that Rashcliffe might be included in the Parliamentary borough.
Mr. Atkinson — The memorial is signed by every description of operative in the district.
Mr. Croft — If Lockwood be included it would give 1,387 the franchise, from a calculation which I have made.
Mr. Atkinson — Notwithstanding the ratepaying clause.
Mr. Croft — The Small Tenements Act is not in operation. The poor rate is collected once a year.
Mr. Learoyd — The leakage is very small, and sometimes worked up entirely.
Mr. Atkinson — It is very creditable, if that is so.
Mr. John Henry Abbey, surveyor for the Improvement Commissioners, and several Local Boards, said, I have heard the evidence of Mr. Croft, and can confirm it in a great measure from my own knowledge. I reside in Lockwood. With the statistics of Mr. Croft I am not acquainted, but there is an almost continuous line of buildings from Huddersfield to Lockwood proper.
Mr. Croft — Mr. Abbey is the agent for the Lockwood estate.
Mr. Abbey — I believe the estimate of the present population to be correct; the acreage is correct; and also the rateable value.
Mr. Batley said, by a diversion of the river, part of Huddersfield was thrown on the Lockwood side of the water (which ceases to be the natural boundary), and it was covered with buildings.
Mr. Croft said, in correcting part of his previous statement, that in 1864, there were 1,598 houses in Lockwood; and in 1867,1,787 houses.
Mr. H. Barker, solicitor, was called next, and said, the Huddersfield Waterworks had the sole supply of water to the town. The water is derived from reservoirs in the township of Longwood; and the Commissioners have power to supply the town and neighbourhood within the township and parish. A great many villas were in the parish but out of the township, and the Commissioners thought they could supply them, but they have no power to supply districts out of the parish. Part of Lockwood, however, was supplied under the Act of 1845. After describing the constitution of the Waterworks, Mr. Barker concluded by stating that an increased area for water supply was required.
In a short conversation which took place at this stage of the proceedings, the Commissioners made inquiries as to the situation of several distant places.
Mr. Atkinson said these were incidental inquiries, for the purpose of enabling them to judge how far it was right and proper to extend the Parliamentary limits, so as to embrace centres of manufacturing population within the enlarged ambit.
In answer to Mr. Atkinson, Mr. F. R. Jones, senior, said — Rastrick was rather nearer Huddersfield than Halifax, as far as position went Mr. Learoyd — Its connection is more with Halifax.
Mr. Skilbeck — I think Huddersfield is the proper market town for Rastrick. Manufacturers come to the Huddersfield market from Rastrick.
General Dacres said they merely asked the question for their own guidance; and the better to judge how far outside districts should be joined, to the parliamentary boundary.
Mr. Learoyd — It has never been suggested with regard to Rastrick.
General Dacres — It will be then known outside that we have taken the matter into consideration.
Mr. Jones — It is out of the parish altogether.
Shortly before four o'clock, the evidence for the Lockwood district having been concluded,
General Dacres said the inquiry would be adjourned until eleven o’clock to-morrow morning (Friday.) The Commissioners were much obliged for the information they had received, and should be glad to be furnished with as much general information on the matter under consideration.
The Commissioners resumed their sitting yesterday morning at eleven o’clock. Many of the gentlemen who attended on the previous day were present; and at the opening of the court, and at other periods of the day, we noticed Messrs. G. Armitage, EL Armitage, N. Berry, J. Craven, J. Hall, F. R. Jones, jun., W. R. Haigh, J. Priestley, T. Haigh, R. Houghton, J. Berry, J. Pickles, A. Walker, and others whose names we could not learn.
Mr. Josiah Berry, manufacturer of woollens, and member of the Lockwood Local Board said — I carry on busmen at Lockwood, hut have a warehouse in town.
Mr. Batley — He is the owner and occupier of extensive mills.
Mr. Learoyd — And a huge employer of labour.
Mr. Berry — All my neighbours are engaged in manufactoring. My mills closely adjoin the town, being within 300 yards of the boundary of Huddersfield. I am the late chairman of the Local Board. From the boundary up to our works the river is studded with mills, all the owners of which have warehouses in town. Speaking for myself, I was one of the committee who undertook the extension movement, and, with others, waited upon Earl Russell in 1860. I think I may say the feeling is general for an extension of the Parliamentary boundary, and I think the majority of ratepayers are also in favour of being joined municipally.
Mr. Atkinson — That will come within the enquiry into the incorporation question.
Mr. Berry said there seemed to be a different opinion existing — that both were being taken together.
Mr. Atkinson — Our enquiry is strictly limited to the extension of the Parliamentary boundary. The municipal enquiry will be conducted by distinct Commissioners.
General Dacres said he tried to explain the nature of the enquiry when he opened the court on the previous day.
Mr. Atkinson — It is of importance that we should have the state of public feeling represented. Perhaps what we took gave some colour to the idea that the municipal and Parliamentary enquiries were connected; but that is not the fact. We should have to report that, although in the township of Lockwood, there was a general feeling to be included in the Parliamentary borough, but the feeling to be joined to the municipal borough was not general.
Mr. Berry — It emanated from our constable, I think. That was the reason I named it. I am glad you have disabused the mind of the public of the idea.
Mr. Skilbeck — I don’t think I have made any such remark. I certainly am innocent of any intention to have done so.
General Dacres — We will exculpate you altogether; it is no crime. I tried to explain that we had nothing to do with municipal boroughs, except casually that we may hear what you have got to say on the Parliamentary borough.
Mr. Atkinson — We wish it to be understood that our conditions are these: We find that since 1832, on the borders of many boroughs, there have sprung up large centres of population connected with manufacturing, being essentially, in the character of that population, a borough constituency, and not a county constituency. We have to report upon these facts to the commissioners how far it is advisable to take in these outstanding places and extend the borough, without any regard to what may take place with regard to municipal institutions; and while Parliament in its wisdom should think it advisable to take in some of those centres for parliamentary purposes, the Privy Council might deem it inadvisable to take them in for municipal purposes. We have only to enquire into facts, and report thereon for Parliamentary purposes; and I hope I have made myself understood.
Mr. Berry — The population of Lockwood would fairly form part of a borough constituency; and I have long thought it should be connected with Huddersfield. I don’t know that I have anything more to add.
Mr. Atkinson — Mr. Croft has given us very valuable information, and nearly exhausted the subject, so far as Lockwood is concerned.
Mr. Berry — I quite agree with his statement, which I have seen in the papers.
Mr. Learoyd suggested that the Commissioners should proceed to take evidence with regard to Almondury.
William Roulaton Haigh said — I am a woollen merchant, having a warehouse in Huddersfield, but have resided at Berry Brow five years. I was once a member of the Newsome Local Board, and the district is governed by the Local Government Act. The character of the whom of the Newsome district is a manufacturing; and the district is intimately connected with the trade of Huddersfield. There are a great many small holdings of farms, and the occupiers gain a subsistence partly by farming and partly by their families being employed in manufacturing. There is little grain grown; it is principally pasture land, and the produce comes to Huddersfield.
After a plan of the place had been examined,
Mr. Haigh continued — It would bring within the pale of the franchise a large population. The holdings are so
small the average would be about £3 or £4 rental; and therefore it would be the means of the population becoming enfranchised. The only means of the inhabitants being represented as citizens would be by the proposed extension of the Parliamentary borough. I think the balance of opinion would be in favour of including that district. I estimate that there are 1,276 houses in the district of Newsome, and calculate that there will be about 1,200 householders who would not have votes at all except they were brought into the borough. The avenge value per annum of the houses is about £3 15s. The Small Tenements' Act does not apply to Newsome.
Mr. Learoyd — Nor to any of the townships in our plan.
Mr. Haigh — The population of Berry Brow and Salford I consider entirely manufacturing, and they are the most populous portions of Newsome. Salford is increasing, ana likely to be an increasing population ; Berry Brow does not increase so much. I am not aware of any difficulties with respect to the leasing of land.
Mr. Atkinson — I believe that difficulty has been removed in Huddersfield, by some happy arrangement. While that lasted it drove buddings outside the borough.
Mr. Learoyd — To the higher part of Lindley.
Mr. Haigh — The lodger system is not prevalent in New-some. Nothing of that sort applies much here.
Mr. Atkinson — Very little room is left in a £10 house occupied by a family. There may be a few?
Mr. Haigh — It is not an element in the population. If based on purely party grounds, I should think the district would be in favour of extension. If the people value the franchise, the feeling ought to be unanimous, but I am not aware that the feeling has been tested. The people would probably oppose being included in a charter of incorporation.
Mr. Atkinson — We have been told that the population is not of a migratory class.
Mr. Haigh — No. Some families had been employed for generations nearly.
Mr. Atkinson — It is a very creditable state of things ; and speaks for the master as well as the employed.
Mr. Haigh (continuing)—There is a market on Tuesday at Huddersfield, and a supplementary market on Friday. Saturday is also a market day for the supply of provisions. Men send their wives and families to make purchases in Huddersfield. All I have said applies entirely to New-some.
Mr. John Varley, coal merchant, residing at Berry Brow, said — I am a member of the Newsome Local Board. I think I can acquiesce in the main portions of Mr. Haigh's evidence. Mr. Haigh stated there were 1,270. I find there are 1,300 houses in the district of the Newsome Local Board. The annual rateable value is a little over £7,870, population about 6,380 in the district of Newsome, and there are 880 acres. It forms part of the Poor Law Union, but the poor rate is extended over the whole parish of Almondbury.
Mr. Learoyd — There is no separate poor rate for Newsome. The poor rate is taken over the whole parish. It is all under the same Union Assessment Committee.
Mr. Varley — The population is, I should say, increasing. It cannot be questioned that the interests of the people there are identical with those of Huddersfield.
Mr. Atkinson — Is there a desire among the people to become parliamentary voters?
Mr. Varley — There are 300 houses, the occupiers of which pay rates to the Newsome Local Board, and are in favour of being included in the Parliamentary boundary; but not in the municipal boundary. We are near Berry Brow, but separated by the river Holme from South Crosland. There is a village in the township of South Crosland, called Armitage Bridge or Armitage Fold. There are manufacturing establishments at Armitage Bridge on the other side of the river. There are 100 houses there; but I cannot say that the inmease in population is very much. There are two large manufacturers, one being a large woollen manufactory.
Mr. James Priestley, member of the Newsome Board and mill owner said — We have a manufactory at Taylor Hill. I do not concur in what Mr. Haigh has said. Mr. Haigh came to the conclusion that a large proportion of the district of Newsome was of a manufacturing character; but if you analyse the rating you will find that ons-third of the rating is for farm land. The farm valuation is £2,699; valuation of mills, £886; houses, £4,432; and the total amount of rating £7,994. To the south of Berry Brow, the land cannot be used for manufacturing purposes, because it is hilly. There are three mills over an average of 880 acres. Berry Brow, Salford, and Taylor Hill, are the three manufacturing villages; and beyond these the population is engaged in agricultural pursuits. What little coal there was has been exhausted, but it was of little value. The feeling of the neighbourhood is divided about joining the Parliamentary borough. Mr. Haigh told you there had been no means of ascertaining public opinion; but the people were equally divided about coming into the parliamentary borough. Taking the population as a whole, one-half would be for extension, and the other against. No public meeting has been called. We have regarded the parliamentary and municipal boundary movement as one and the same; and a meeting has been held at which it was deemed advisable not to join Huddersfield in a charter of incorporation. The holdings consist of about 20 or 25 acres; but there are a great many under, no doubt. Some of the manufacturers cultivate small farms themselves for their own convenience. In many cases the junior members of families and females assist by working in the mills, and the males are engaged in agriculture. There are only three manufacturers in the district, and each of us have offices in Huddersfield. I think the statement of Mr. Haigh has been exaggerated. I think we may sell the proceeds of our manufactures without coming to Huddersfield.
Mr. Learoyd — But in point of fact do not.
Mr. Varley — We send our goods abroad, but bring them to Huddersfield to be packed.
Mr. Atkinson — You are dependent upon Huddersfield to a certain extent.
Mr. Varley — We are.
General Dacres — But more independent of Huddersfield than people generally imagine. (Laughter.)
Mr. Varley — We are. My own idea is very much against the proposed extension. I think I may state that if the boundaries were extended to our locality I should be a loser myself. I should lose a county vote.
Mr. Atkinson — The old rights are preserved.
Mr. Varley — I was not aware of that.
General Dacres — That alters the matter.
Mr. Atkinson — All the old rights are preserved under the statute, and it is expressly mentioned [Here the clause in the statute was read] All the old rights were preserved except this — that if you have an occupation within the borough, and occupy it, it wont give you a vote for the county.
Mr. Haigh said there seemed to be a fear that the extension of the parliamentary borough might involve the extension of the municipal boundary; and, if that fear could he removed, there would be a degree of unanimity on the parliamentary question.
Mr. Nathaniel Berry, woollen manufacturer, and member of the Newsome Local Board, said — I can mainly corroborate the statement made by Mr. Priestley. I think it is not desirable to incorporate this district for Parliamentary purposes, partly on the ground that it would lead to being included in the municipal corporation. The people generally seem to have considered the two questions together. It was not because they would lose their votes, under the new Act, that some were averse to the proposed extension.
Mr. Atkinson — The opposition must arise from two causes — indifference to the franchise, or from a fear of having to bear a share of municipal burdens.
Mr. N. Berry — It arises principally from the latter. I have conversed with several operatives on the subject, and they have spoken very strongly against both municipal and boundary incorporation. The houses are scattered, and, agreeing with Mr. Haigh in this particular, there were only three mills there. Many of the people went to work out to mills in the adjoining districts.
Mr. Batley — Chiefly to Armitage, Dungeon, and Lockwood wood mills.
Mr. Learoyd — Mr. Crowther, chairman of the Lock-wood Local Board, wishes to say something about Newsome.
Mr. Alfred Crowther, woollen-manufacturer, Lockwood, said — I am a large millowner and ratepayer, paying 1-15th of all the rates in Lockwood. I have seen what Mr. Croft has said, and can confirm all he has stated as to Lockwood.
Mr. Atkinson — Mr. Croft exhausted the subject.
Mr. Learoyd — It was intended he should give the statistics.
Mr. Crowther — At Salford and Newsome, many, of our hands live; Messrs. Crosland, and other millowners, employ people who live in those places.
Mr. Atkinson — What is the feeling of the neighbourhood in regard to two members of Parliament being given to the borough?
Mr. Crowther — Judging by Lockwood, I should think the other districts would be in favour of incorporation. At a public meeting held in Lockwood the people decided in favour of incorporation.
Mr. J. F. Brigg, residing at Almondbury, merchant, and carrying on business in Huddersfield for 14 years, said:— I am chairman of the Almondbury Local Board. In the Local Board district there is a population of 4,500, and in 1861 there was 4,200. We have a large area, and a huge number of roads. Our population is chiefly employed in manufacturing. The mule, eight in number, are principally for the manufacture of woollens. There is a mixed population, and half of the young population are employed at Huddersfield and neighbourhood. The principal portion of the population are weavers, and weave at home. The manufacturing nestles more towards the town, but there is a little scattered. The agricultural holdings are, as a rule, small; and it is chiefly grass land. There is a large number of hand-loom weavers, and they are supplied with work at Huddersfield, Lindley, and other places. Some of the hand-loom weavers cultivate small portions of land. We have no building societies, but a few benefit societies. The secretary of one of the Huddersfield Building Societies lives in Almondbury. I should think the inhabitants generally would be in favour of extension, but there has been no public manifestation of feeling. I was speaking this morning with one of our largest millowners and ratepayers, and he is decidedly in favour of Almondbury being included in the Parliamentary boundary of Huddersfield. There are 885 inhabited houses; the rateable value is £7,750; and there are 1,553 acres in the district, as nearly as we can ascertain. In the whole township of Almondbury there are 249 persona who would be rated at £12 and under £50; and in the Almondbury Local Board district 122 houses rated at £12. We are about to construct a new road, which will connect Huddersfield with Almondbury more advantageously; and this is with the sanction and assistance of Sir John Wm. Ramsdan. The people of Almondbury avail themselves of the Huddersfield market for provisions, but we have a few shops supplied by Huddersfield people. The manufacturers attend the Huddersfield market, and have warehouses in Huddersfield.
Mr. R. Houghton, woollen manufacturer, residing at Almondbury, and carrying on business at Huddersfield, said:— I have resided there some 15 or 18 years, and am thoroughly conversant with the neighbourhood. I am a member of the Local Board, and having heard the evidence of Mr. Brigg, I agree with him. If I were asked the same questions, I should state the same results. I think Almondbury lives by the Huddersfield trade. Its very farmers are dependent upon Huddersfield: they sell their produce here, and the shopkeepers purchase their goods here.
Mr. Atkinson — You believe that Huddersfield is an indispensable neighbourhood for you ?
Mr. Houghton — We should be very poorly oft without it.
Mr. Atkinson — It is your opinion, then, that the inhabitants, from community of interest with the borough, and other local circumstances, may be fairly considered as forming part of the town proper?
Mr. Houghton — Undoubtedly. I should wish to say that, although we have had no means of testing the feeling of the people, I am of opinion that, if the circumstance was explained, that the large proportion of the inhabitants would be enfranchised by an extension, it would bring them to the conclusion at once to claim admission into the boundary.
Mr. George Armitage, J. P., said — I am a woollen manufacturer and merchant. I have lived, since 1829, at Milnsbridge House, and am chairman of the Huddersfield bench of magistrates. We have had no meetings in Milnsbridge or Longwood on the subject, but, from what I have learned by conversation, I should think the people generally are in favour of an extension of the parliamentary borough to Milnsbridge.
A map was produced, and the position of Milnsbridge with Linthwaite shown and explained.
Mr. Atkinson — We must enquire what is the character of Golcar.
Mr. Armitage — Our place is nearer Huddersfield; and that part of Milnsbridge is decidedly a manufacturing locality. There are on the Longwood side three mills, two of which could be worked by water as well as steam. The mills gave employment to a great number of people. I am not speaking of Longwood, but merely of the valley. The character of the population is manufacturing. I have a number of messuages on my property occupied by men engaged in manufacturing. I think it would he an advantage to be joined to the town; we are so close that I think we belong to it. I am aware that the recommendation would, if adopted, take a small portion of a township from the body. With respect to the other part of the township, on the Longwood side, the owner of a large mill at Clough Head is in favour of an extension, but I cannot tell what is the feeling of the people of Longwood, which is one mile and a half in extent. All the people in the valley are connected with manufacture. Longwood has 1,200 acres, and since 1831 the population has doubled. It was then 2,000; it is now 4,000.
Mr. Atkinson — The people connected with the district of which you are speaking are engaged in manufacturing pursuits?
Mr. Armitage — Yes; and may be considered part of a town population; and it would tend to our advantage if we were added to the Parliamentary borough. There are a similar number of mills in Lower Linthwaite, and it is also intimately connected with Huddersfield. The places of which I am speaking ought to be united. What the one has, the other ought to have.
Mr. Craven gave an explanation of the part which it was desirous to take in. It was the ecclesiastical district of the township they desired to include.
Mr. Learoyd said the ecclesiastical district was well known.
Mr. H. Barker said he, on behalf of Longwood, and Mr. Hird for Linthwaite, desired to put a few questions to Mr. Armitage.
Mr. Atkinson — That is not the course we pursue. Any question that is put is put through us. It does not take the form of a municipal enquiry. We don't hear advocates or council but merely persons interested in the enquiry. But any question which you have to ask, I or my colleague, will be glad to ask.
Mr. Barker said he would put the questions after dinner; and it being one o'clock, the Commissioners rose for an hour.
At two o'clock the sitring was resumed, when the examination of
Mr. G. Armitage was continued—I am in favour of an extension, but it is quite understood that I don't speak of districts which I don’t know much about. My wish is to have a line drawn through the township at Clough Head.
The map was examined, and explanations given by Mr. Craven, Mr. Hall, and others.
Mr. G. Armitage, in answer to questions suggested by Mr. Barker, said — I believe, from what I have heard from parries who have influence, that if the two questions had been separated the people would have been in favour of an extension of the parliamentary borough boundary. By taking in the portion of which I am speaking, in no case does it divide a tenement. I have heard that a public meeting had been held at Longwood to consider the question; and I have also heard that, if nothing else were associated with it, a very large majority — three-fourths of the whole district — would have voted in favour of connection with the parliamentary borough; but I am not aware of the actual terms of the resolution. The railway, would be included in the proposal. The Huddersfield Waterworks are situate at Longwood, but the inhabitants of Longwood receive no water power from Huddersfield. Longwood possesses its own gasworks, and is under the jurisdiction of a Local Board.
After some questions from Mr. Hird, as to the recent separation movement,
Mr. Edward Armitage, woollen manufacturer, residing at Edgerton, said:— We have mills at Milnsbridge, Longwood and Linthwaite (lower division). The piece sought to be added borders on the Parliamentary borough. I do not know the acreage of the part proposed to be added. The character of the population there is almost entirely manufacturing, and any part of the land used for agricultural purposes is used for homes belonging to the manufacturers. I decidedly think the part alluded to could he taken and added without any difficulty; there would scarcely be any county votes out. The land belongs to Sir Joseph Ratcliffe and ourselves, and is let on leases for terms of 999 years; therefore there are scarcely any freeholders. Within the last two years we have leased two acres of land, and it is now occupied by mills for manufacturing purposes. In one case, the roof of the mill is on, and a large number of hands are expected to be employed. The number of mills keeps increasing and this makes it a town population. You can hardly see a field of corn in the district. The whole way from Huddersfield to Milnsbridge there is one continuous line of buildings; and all the offices of warehouses are at Huddersfield. We never dream of selling goods at our manufactories. We used to do so, but have not done so for the last 25 years.
Mr. Jonas Craven, solicitor, Huddersfield, said — The Local Government Act was adopted in Linthwaite in 1861, and prior to that the township has always for highway purposes, been separate and distinct, and divided into three hamlets — upper, middle, and lower. In the lower hamlet, the rateable value has ever been increasing (I speak this from actual knowledge) while the upper and middle have been stationary. The cause of the increase is the contiguity of the lower hamlet to a manufacturing district, and owing to the development of manufacturing processes. The rateable value of the lower hamlet has been doubled in two years, and my opinion is that the lower, and the middle and upper interests are not identical; and that the union of the hamlets or divisions has not been beneficial. I propose to give the acreage of the three hamlets, rateable, and also of three wards. Upper Linthwaite contains 358 acres; 302 ratepayers; and the rateable value is £1,312; Middle Linthwaite, 661 acres; 301 ratepayers; rateable value, £3,575; Lower Linthwaite, 300 acres; ratepapers, 407; and rateable value, £5,369 17s. The lower rateable value is more than the upper and middle, although the latter has double the number of ratepayers and acres. I attribute that to the development of manufactures. In the west ward (farthest from Huddersfield) there are 510 acres, 322 ratepayers, and the rateable value is £2,689 4s.; central ward, 638 acres; 402 ratepayers; and the rateable value £2,986 7s.; East Ward (nearest Huddersfield), 171 acres, ratepayers 316; and the rateable value £4,581. The portion of the lower hamlet added to the Central Ward is rated at £700. All this information is based upon the business I was professionally engaged in last year. The number of voters who would become disqualified would be about 45; while about 320 would be included in the borough franchise under the new Reform Act. After some evidence had been given as to the proposed separation, Mr. Craven stated that Sir Joseph Ratcliffe's possessions in the upper division was 196 acres, middle 285, and in the lower 52 acres; total acreage belonging to Sir Joseph 534. The total acreage of the township is about l,300. The population of the lower hamlet is 2,000, and in the ward 1,7000. No reason was assigned by the Commissioners for not adopting the report of Inspector Morgan.
Mr. Atkinson — A most unusual fact.
By Mr. Hird — Mr. Morgan was sent for by order of the chairman of the committee, at the request of the promoters. I don't know that there is a resolution on the minutes of the Local Board against the annexation. There has been a meeting of the Board; and the members who attended would be against such a resolution. I don't believe a great many of the ratepayers are against the movement. I think it is the reverse.
Mr. Atkinson — We may take it that there is great diversity of opinion. Some might want a vote, and not others; Some appear to think that, if they are drawn to the edge of the whirlpool, they might be drawn in.
Mr. George Dyson, registrar of births and deaths for Lockwood, said: I live at Linthwaite, and have been there 35 years. My district includes the whole of the township of Lockwood. I am registrar of births and deaths for a portion (the east and central wards, Milnsbridge, and Middle Linthwaite) of Linthwaite. The population in 1861 was 3,200; and at present the population for the entire township was 4,6000. Taking the district of Linthwaite, there would be an acre of land to each individual; there is no moorland in the township. I have for three years been chairman of the Local Board of Linthwaite; and in my opinion it would he very unjust to refer any portion of the district either for parliamentary or municipal purposes, inasmuch as the interests of the whole township are distinct from those of Huddersfield, and because the population is scattered ever a district of three-and-a-half miles long, with the exception of three places, — Milnsbridge, in the east, Hoyle House, in the centre, and Kitchen, in the west, all of which are the three most populous parts of the district; the other portions of the district may he termed agricultural. The Local Board of the district have always treated the three
places alike, and they have new a resolution on the books to supply them with gas. It was mooted to light up with gas the populous places by a special district rate, but the proposal was rejected. That is about 18 months ago. The Board were unanimous to light the populous parts out of a general district rate, but not by a special rate. A special meeting was held of the Board yesterday, and they were unanimously agreed, and a memorial was drawn up, praying that the Commissioners would not include any portion of Linthwaite in the Parliamentary borough.
Mr. Atkinson read the memorial, and the memoralists prayed that no part of the local board district be included in the new parliamentary borough, inasmuch as it would create confusion in the district management, and the benefit to be derived might be doubtful; that it was an attempt to get in the "thin edge of the wedge," and would raise a plea for future and more material dismemberment. It was signed principally by cottagers, according to the statement of Mr. Hall.
Mr. Learoyd stated that Mr. Cocking, the clerk to the Guardians had getting up some statistics for Government, and he would furnish them at the request of the Commissioners.
Mr. Atkinson said the Commissioners were acting on behalf of Government, and requested that the statistics referred to should be supplied of all the townships.
Mr. J. Hall, surveyor, said I know the district thoroughly, and am of opinion that it is highly desirable that Milnsbridge should be joined to Huddersfield. It is increasing so much that ere long it will become a small town of itself. There is a continuity of houses, and a community of interests. The increase has been towards Fartown and Lindley. Linthwaite might be advantageously divided by the ecclesiastical district boundary, because it would not divide any tenements. Brighouse is increasing on account of its water power; it is between Huddersfield and Halifax. The manufactures there are woollen, cotton, and cords. In the southerly direction, Rastrick has improved, and it is divided from Brighouse by the river Calder. Holmfirth has not increased to what it was before the flood. With regard to Longwood, the lower portion is a manufacturing district entirely, while the upper portion is agricultural and moorland. It is only an act of justice that Huddersfield should he enlarged for the purpose of parliamentary representation. In the upper and middle Linthwaite there are eight miles of road; while in the lower there is only one and a half miles; so it would be a benefit to us if they would maintain their own roads.
Mr. Henry Brook, woollen manufacturer, said, I am an employer of labour, and have works at Bradley Mills. My view of the annexation of Dalton to Huddersfield is that it ought to take place. The great portion of the population are entirely manufacturing, and those engaged in agricultural pursuits derive great benefit from the manufacturing industry. The opinion is very largely in favour of being joined to Huddersfield for all purposes. I am one of the Improvement Commissioners, and one of the committee for promoting this movement.
The enquiry was adjourned at four o'clock, and tbs Commissioners intimated that they would take evidence this (Saturday) morning with regard to Longwood; and would probably inspect the various districts on Monday.