Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (28/Aug/1891) - Huddersfield Corporation Waterworks: Cutting the First Sod of a New Reservoir


  • The reprint of the article in the Saturday edition included a section missing from the original version, which has been incorporated into the following transcription.

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.

Amidst depressing climatic conditions an important step in the stage of waterworks extension for the borough was taken, on Thursday, by the cutting of the first sod of the Butterley Reservoir in the Wessenden Valley. It had been arranged that the members of the Council, accompanied by a number of invited guests and the chief borough officials should visit Blackmoorfoot and, after viewing the existing works, proceed to the Wessenden Valley and there see the initial ceremony of what promises to prove a most important extension of the water works belonging to the town. Given fine weather the carrying out of this programme bade fair to prove a relaxation from the ordinary labours of the Council, and the day was looked forward to by all concerned as one when they would have a chance of better appreciating the waterworks' scheme of the Council than by hearing or reading accounts of the work. Unfortunately the day turned out very wet, and interfered seriously with the enjoyment of those who attended the ceremony. Not withstanding the rain, which was falling steadily as the hour of noon approached, there was a good muster at the borough offices, and the large party proceeded in closed conveyances to Blackmoorfoot, where a sandwich luncheon was partaken of. The wet and mist prevented much sight-seeing during the drive, but the grounds of Blackmoorfoot were found in good condition, and, despite the rain, most of the visitors had a short look round. Leaving here the route was taken to the Wessenden Valley, rain falling continuously. This spoiled the view the visitors would otherwise have had, of the capacity of this valley for the new reservoir. Two streams, swollen by rains, were rushing down to the Colne, making it evident to all that the site of the reservoir is well chosen, and one promising an abundant supply of water. Considering the extent of Butterley Reservoir, the work to be done is not great. When completed it will have an area of 41½ acres, and will contain 400,000,000 gallons of water. The positions of the banks were marked with small white flags, and the excellent natural position of the reservoir was thus conspicuously shown. The length of bank will be 220 yards ; width at base, 236 yards ; height of top water above ordinance datum, 770 feet ; height of bank, 775 feet. The bank is nearly due east and west across the valley, and the reservoir, which is fed from the Wessenden moors down natural streams, is intended to supply the low-lying levels of the town and district. This will make the eighth reservoir on the system, and another, to be called the Blakeley Reservoir, is eventually to be constructed at its tail. There are also 10 service reservoirs. The Butterley Reservoir will be the second largest in the possession of the Corporation, Blackmoorfoot coming first with 700,000,000. The rest are considerably smaller. Deerhill contains 160,000,000, Wessenden old reservoir 107,000,000, Wessenden Head 82,000,000, Long Wood upper reservoir 50,000,000, Longwood compensation reservoir 40,000,000, and Longwood old reservoir 23,000,000. The excavation of the puddle trench is in hand on the north side of the Wessenden Brook, and the widening of Wessenden Road is completed, together with drains, culverts, pitching, and cattle approach connected with the same. A temporary wooden bridge has been erected over Wessenden Brook at Lower Bank Bottom Mill. Workmen's dwellings are well advanced and will shortly be ready for occupation, and the stone-work of the new stabling is rapidly progressing. The ceremony took place about what will be the centre of the reservoir. Here a small piece of turf had been roped off. Notwithstanding the downpour Mrs. Crosland and Mrs. J.B. Crosland, together with three young sons of Alderman Crosland, were present, and apparently took great interest in the proceedings. It may be here stated that the presentation spade is of solid silver, with an ebony handle, and bears the following inscription :— "Huddersfield Corporation Waterworks. Presented by the Corporation of Huddersfield to Mr. Alderman James Crosland on Thursday, the 27th day of August, 1891, on the occasion of his cutting the first sod of the Butterley Reservoir." Underneath this are the borough arms, and on the left side of the arms appears "Godfrey Sykes, Mayor. Henry Barber, Town Clerk." On the right side is engraved, "Alderman Wright Mellor, chairman of the Waterworks Committee." The spade was supplied by Mr. W. Lockwood, jeweller, Victoria Lane. Everything being in readiness it was decided to proceed, and cut the ceremonial short, as the rain continued to descend in full force, making it extremely uncomfortable for all.

The Mayor :— Ladies and gentlemen, we are met to-day to witness the performance of a very interesting ceremony ; and although it consists in the simple process of digging a sod, it is nevertheless intended to celebrate the commencement of active operations in a large undertaking by the Huddersfield Corporation of constructing the Butterley Reservoir and intercepting the streams of water that flow down this lovely and picturesque valley, and thereby utilising that water which is collected and stored for the use and benefit of the inhabitants of Huddersfield and the surrounding districts. (Hear, hear.) No more important, no more imperative, duty could devolve upon a municipal body than that of providing for the inhabitants a plentiful supply of pure and wholesome water. (Hear, hear.) Because that is an essential requisite for the health and well-being of the people, and it is in pursuance of the duties thus imposed upon us that we have obtained, at considerable cost and labour, an Act of Parliament by which this great watershed has been secured and placed at our disposal. (Hear, hear.) The obtaining of that Act of Parliament was, both to myself and to my colleagues, a time of extreme anxiety and labour. Very few people are aware of the difficulties that have to be surmounted in successfully carrying a bill of this description through the Houses of Parliament. (Hear, hear.) But I may say this, gentlemen, that whatever difficulties we have had, whatever labour has had to be performed in this case, we are amply repaid by the immense benefits that have been secured to us. (Hear, hear.) The feeling that we are absolutely safe for generations to come of a plentiful supply of water is enough to reward us for all the labour and the cost that have been incurred. (Hear, hear.) Gentlemen, we are all of us, I am sure, extremely sorry that we are on this occasion deprived of the presence and the assistance of our worthy chairman of the Waterworks Committee, Alderman Wright Mellor. (Hear, hear.) No man, during a long and active public life, has laboured more incessantly and more zealously to secure a water supply for Huddersfield than Alderman Mellor. No man had he been here would have taken a livelier interest in these proceedings. But if we have not got the chairman of the committee we have the vice-chairman — (hear, hear) — who by his exertions and by his long acquaintance with the business of this department has proved himself worthy of that distinguished position which I am about to ask him to occupy to-day. I now ask Alderman Crosland to step forward and perform the ceremony of cutting the first sod in the construction of this reservoir. And in order, sir, to enable you to do that work well and manfully — (hear, hear) — and somewhat in accordance with the great importance of the occasion, I have, on behalf of the Huddersfield Corporation, sir, the honour of presenting you with this spade, which I hope you will treasure as a memento of the events of this day. I now ask you, sir, to perform the ceremony. (Applause.)

Alderman Crosland :— Mr. Mayor and gentlemen, I am exceedingly obliged to the Mayor for the kind manner in which he has alluded to myself, and also for the honour which the Council has conferred upon me in asking me to undertake this duty. But I cannot forget, gentlemen, our worthy chairman, Alderman Mellor. (Hear, hear.) He has served the Corporation so long and so earnestly that I thought it was his duty and his right to perform this ceremony. Had his health been sufficiently good no doubt he would have undertaken this duty. And no gentleman would have had greater pleasure in assisting him than myself. It is only because he is not able to be hero that I consented to occupy the position. I should have been very, very glad indeed if our worthy Mayor would have undertaken it. No man has worked harder for the Corporation than he has done, and I should have been glad if he could have seen his way to have performed this little ceremony. But the moment when our friend Alderman Mellor said he could not attend, our worthy Mayor proposed that I should do it. Had he been half a minute later I should have proposed him for the office. Not, gentlemen, that I did not recognise the great honour that was conferred upon me, for no man in England could be more proud of his position than I am to-day. (Hear, hear.) I have been in the Huddersfield Corporation ever since its commencement, except with a short interval, and during the whole of that time I have been on the Waterworks Committee, and I have striven earnestly to do my duty, to see that Huddersfield got a good supply of water. And as for this spade I shall treasure it as one of my most valued possessions. I shall hang it up in a very prominent place in my room, and when my time to depart comes — which I hope won't be yet — (hear, hear) — I shall hand it down to my children as an heirloom, and tell them that if there was anything in my life which gave me more satisfaction with the Huddersfield Waterworks. (Hear, hear.) I will now perform the ceremony. I am only sorry that the weather has been so bad. I have heard it said that he is an idle man who uses a spade with his coat on, but considering the weather I hope you will excuse me from taking my coat off. (Hear, hear.)

Alderman Crosland then cut the sod, the conclusion of the task being signalised by cheering, and proceeded :— Now, Mr. Mayor and gentlemen, just a few words. I was told when I was at Blackmoorfoot that I was not to make a long speech. Well, you know, I am not in the habit of making long speeches for I am not a speaker at all. But I do take a great interest in these Huddersfield Waterworks. I have been associated with them for a long time, and I am sorry that the day has turned out so wet, but it has shown you one thing, and that is that we are not building a reservoir where there is no water. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) I remember at Blackmoorfoot, when we were constructing the reservoir there, we had a lot of those wise men from Huddersfield who are always finding fault with everything the Corporation does, and endeavouring to bring discredit on the town and those who manage its affairs — they tried to bring discredit upon us ; they said, "you are building a resorvoir bank, and you are doing it yourselves and without employing a contractor. You are sure to make a mess of it." We built it, and when we turned the water into it, it was held there. We had our good friend Mr. Hawksley at our head — (hear, hear) — and we knew that we should be right, and that if we turned the water in it would stop there. Other Corporations have made their reservoirs by contract, and when they have turned the water in, it has run out like running through a sieve. They have spent thousands and tens of thousands of pounds on the work and have not done with it yet. Then these great wise men also said "you are building your reservoir on the top of a hill. Where are you going to get your water from ? Are you going to fill it with water-carts ?" They could not say that to-day for we have plenty of water to fill it. And now as regards this bonny valley, I have known it for 20 or 30 years, if not more ; in fact I can remember before the Wessenden Reservoir began to turn any water down. That is a long time back, for they built it in 1836, and it took several years to construct. I can remember when we occupied a small water mill at Paddock that our workpeople in some dry summers could not start work before three o'clock in the afternoon. I have seen them march up the stream to meet the water, and they could then go bilberrying and blackberrying on the way. After the reservoir was made the water came down regularly, and we never saw that again. I had intended to give a history of this valley, and of our waterworks, had the weather been fine, but under the circumstances I forbear. I hope this reservoir will be as successful as our other waterworks have been. While we have Mr. Hawksley on the bridge directing the movements of the vessel I have not the slightest doubt about that. I hope the works will be completed without accident to any of our workpeople. (Hear, hear.) We will do our best in every way to prevent anything of the kind, and I hope we shall be successful. (Applause.)

Alderman J. Brooke, in proposing a vote of thanks to Alderman Crosland, said that the latter had endeared himself to his colleagues by his manly straightforwardness on all occasions. He had won their admiration by the enthusiastic devotion he had shown in Corporation work, and especially in his own department — that of the waterworks.

Alderman Brigg seconded the motion, remarking that he had worked with Alderman Crosland from the very commencement of the Corporation, and they had never had a word of difference during the whole time. There was one honour they would like to confer on Alderman Crosland, and that was to make him Mayor of Huddersfield. (Applause.) It was an honour they trusted he would accept from the Corporation whose interests he had served so well. (Applause.)

The motion was carried amid "three times three," led off by the Mayor, one being added for Mrs. Crosland and family, and the Mayor added : Gentlemen, I thank you very much for your attendance on this inauspicious day.

During the whole of the ceremony the rain descended in torrents, and those present were glad to regain the shelter of the carriages and waggonettes. The return to Huddersfield was by way of Manchester-road, and this proved the most enjoyable part of the outing. Soon after starting the rain ceased, and did not resume till the Town Hall was reached, about an hour before the expected time.


At six o'clock in the evening dinner was partaken of in the Mayor's Reception-room at the Town Hall. His Worship the Mayor (Alderman Godfrey Sykes) presided, and there were also present the following members of the Council :— Aldermen J.F. Brigg, J.P., Joseph Brooke, George Brook, J.J. Brook, J. Crosland, C. Glendinning, A. Haigh, B. Hanson, E. Heppenstall, R. Hirst, L. Hopkinson, and J. Taylor ; Councillors J. Addy, A. Ainley, J.H. Aston, E.A. Beaumont, H. Blamires, T. Bland, James I. Brierley, Joseph Brierly, B. Broadbent, T. Brook, F. Calvert, J. Clark, Joseph Crosland, J.W. Denham, W. Dyson, J. Firth, G. Garton, J. Goodwin, G.W. Hellawell, G. Hesketh, B. Hirst, R. H. Inman, W. Jepson, W. H. Jessop, J. Jordan, John Lee, T. Littlewood, P. MacGregor, Ephraim Mellor, J. Moorhouse, D. W. Orr, E. Poole, H. Pullon, W. Radcliffe, W. Schofield, R. M. Shaw, B. Stocks, J. Sutcliffe, J. Taylor, E. H. Walker, J. L. Walker, and R. Welsh. Guests:— Messrs. T. Hawksley, C.E., G. II. Crowther, C.E., Charles Hawksley, Joseph Hirst, Thomas Denham, J.P., Alfred Walker, J.P., H.F. Beaumont, M.P., Sir Joseph Crosland, Knt., J.H. Sykes, J.P. (president of the Chamber of Commerce), James Kilburn (chairman of the Board of Guardians), J.W. Robson (chairman of the School Board), G.D. Moxon (borough treasurer), Charles Mills (clerk to the Borough Justices), J.N. Sykes, J.P., G. Jarmain, Edward Armitage, J.P., G.B. Nalder, B. Brown, Joseph Bottomlev, William Marriott, and the Rev. M. Bartram. Corporation officials :— Messrs. H. Barber, LL.B. (town clerk), William Owen (deputy town clerk), R.S. Dugdale, C.E. (borough surveyor), S.C. Potts (borough accountant), J. Burgess, C.E. (gasworks manager), J.W. Schofield (waterworks manager), J. Ward (chief constable), J.R. Kaye (medical officer of health), John E. Hughes (superintendent of new waterworks), and J. Pogson (tramway manager). The dinner which was beautifully cooked and promptly served by a large corps of waiters, was provided in excellent style by Messrs. Johnson Brothers, of New Street. At the conclusion of the dinner, the loving cup was handed round to the gentlemen present. In consequence of the position of the seats reserved for the representatives of the press, the remarks of most of the speakers were heard by them with great difficulty, and some were quite inaudible.

The Mayor proposed the toast of " The Queen " in appropriate terms, and that of "The Prince and Princess of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family," both of which were drunk with musical honours.

Sir Joseph Crosland, who was warmly greeted, thought they would agree that the toast he had to propose, viz., the health of Alderman Wright Mellor, was the toast of the evening, for they all knew how very much of his time and abilities Alderman Mellor had given to the service of the town. (Applause.) He thought they would also agree with him in expressing their very sincere regret that they had not had him with them that day. (Hear, hear.) He was sure Alderman Crosland would have been as much delighted as any of them if Alderman Mellor had been in his place. (Hear, hear.) Alderman Mellor was one of the oldest friends he (the speaker) remembered. He knew Mr. Mellor when he (the speaker) was in his "teens." He fancied Mr. Mellor was something like 10 years his senior, but he never had a more sincere, upright, or judicious friend in his life. (Hear, hear.) Referring to the time before the charter of incorporation was granted to the town, Mr. Mellor was associated with himself (the speaker) and other gentlemen on the Improvement Commissioners, and did good work at that time. He (Sir Joseph) knew him also as one of the commissioners for the old waterworks, which were established, really, for the good of the town at large — (hear, hear) — by those who were interested in its success and prosperity. He need not mention any of the names of those who were associated with Alderman Mellor and himself on the Waterworks Commission, but when the time came, although they made an attempt to obtain increased supply of water for the town, Mr. Mellor was one of the first, along with the speaker, to see the necessity for the transference of those waterworks powers to the Corporation. (Hear hear.) In looking back through all these years one felt a sense of sorrow that their friend and fellow townsman, Mr. Mellor, was at present laid aside from the performance of his duties through failing health. (Hear, hear.) He hoped and trusted that the change he had been seeking would be of benefit to his health, and expressed a wish that a message should go from that meeting to him — (hear, hear) — telling him how much they valued the services he had rendered to the Corportion and to the town. (Hear, hear.) He was sure Alderman Mellor's heart was with them. He had written a letter to the Mayor in which he stated that he should only have been too glad to be present, but that he was unable to follow out this wish of his heart. He gave "The health of Alderman Mellor, the first free burgess of Huddersfield, and one of the most honoured citizens, if not the most honoured citizen, of our town." (Loud applause.)

Mr. H.F. Beaumont proposed " Success to the Butterley Reservoir." Although it had required some exertion on his part to be present, he was glad to be able to render such services as he could on an occasion like that. It was always a pleasure to him to come there to meet old friends and, he hoped, to make new ones. (Hear, hear.) He expressed his regret at the absence of Alderman Mellor, to whose services to the town he paid a fitting tribute. He referred particularly to the part he took with respect to the Blackmoorfoot Reservoir, in regard to which, he (the speaker) was able to be of some slight service. (Hear, hear.) They had a man of great ability, however, in the person of Alderman Crosland — (applause) — who gave his evidence on behalf of the recent Water Bill before the committee of the House of Commons in a manner that was satisfaction to everybody, and in respect to which private remarks were made by more than one member, including the chairman, who said that the best evidence was given by Alderman James Crosland. (Hear, hear.) It was not for him to say who gave the worst evidence, nor would he — it might be invidious. (Laughter.) The remark at the inauguration ceremony to the effect that they looked forward to Mr. Crosland being the future Mayor of the borough — (applause) — was a very proper one. He hoped he had that future before him, and that if he (the speaker) were here he would be asked to be a guest on that occasion. (Hear, hear.) He spoke of the necessity, in a large and increasing population like this, of having a plentiful supply of water. He trusted the provision they were making would supply the demands of the future, and that there would be no ingredients in the water from Butterley which might affect the lead in passing through the service pipes. They had had trouble in this respect in the past, and he thought the Corporation had wisely and very properly succeeded in getting out of their difficulties. They knew it had been a costly matter to the Corporation, and, therefore, he trusted that in the quality of the water they would have no such trouble in the future as they had in the past. With such a man as Mr. Hawksley at the head of affairs, there was no possibility of accidents through leakages such as they had seen in other waterworks, and he felt sure they would make the new reservoir a success. (Applause.)

Alderman James Crosland responded. After thanking them for their reception, he said when he went before the House of Commons Committee he did the best he could in the absence of the chairman. He was in an unfortunate position. He had been a Wessenden Commissioner for many years, and many of them thought he was going to turn his back on them. ("No, no.") He had done nothing of the kind. He knew it was a valuable property, and told his friends on the Council that if they paid £50,000 for it he thought it would be good value for the Corporation and good for the commissioners. He remarked that in 1827 the first Longwood reservoir was made. It held 20,000,000 gallons, which at that time was thought a wonderful thing for a town. In 1845 another bill was obtained, and another reservoir made with a capacity of 50,000,000 gallons. In 1872 the income was £6,800 or £6,900, no water being taken for manufacturing purposes at all. In 1875 it had increased to £10,000, in 1885 to £41,000, and in 1891 to above £48,000 per annum. In 1872 no water was taken for manufacturing purposes. The revenue from this source in 1873 was something like £437, and last year it was between £14,000 and £15,000. Some people said the water was deficient in lime, and did not make good bone and muscle. He could have found them three men, who together measured 19 feet long, weighed 50 stone, and had plenty of muscle and bone. The residents in this valley had as much bone and muscle as anyone else. It was nonsense to say the water was not fit for domestic use. It was splendid water, good and wholesome, and if some people would mix less whisky with it it would be better. (Laughter.) The Huddersfield Waterworks had been his hobby, and as long as they gave him their support and encouragement he should continue to take the same interest in the work.

Councillor W.H. Jessop (in the absence of Mr. J. Woodhead, M.P.) proposed the toast of "The Engineers," speaking in eulogistic terms of Mr. T. Hawksley, Mr. G.H. Crowther, and Mr. Crowther's father, and of their work in connection with the Huddersfield Waterworks. Mr. Hawksley stood preeminent in his profession as a waterworks engineer, his reputation was world-wide, and they had a proof of his kindness and generosity in the loving cup that had been passed round that evening. (Applause.)

Mr. Hawksley, who was received with enthusiasm and the singing of "For he's a jolly good fellow," responded on behalf of himself and his coadjutors — Mr. Crowther, Mr. Crowther's father (for whom he had a great respect), and his (the speaker's) son. His life work had been in connection with hydraulic engineering. In the course of 60 years he had made about 150 waterworks — (hear, hear) — and this had given him certain knowledge which he had been enabled to apply, he hoped, with some advantage to the Corporation of Huddersfield, his employers for more than 20 years. The works here were in many respects of an exceptional character. In 1868 or 1869, the town of Huddersfield was supplied with two gallons per head per diem. It was now supplied with 22 gallons per head per diem — (hear, hear) — and they were now in receipt of an income approaching, even if it had not reached (as he believed it had), £50,000 a year. Their income had multiplied seven times within the last 16 or 17 years, and as their expenditure had not increased proportionately, instead of calling upon the rates for a supplementary income, as they did for many years, they were now enabled to give back to the rates that which they borrowed in former years. (Hear, hear.) In 1887, a year of small rainfall, they decided to increase their source of supply, and with great courage brought a bill before the House of Commons twice. They were on the eve of another very considerable expenditure, which, he could assure them would be perfectly reproductive. In a very short time the revenue would become not only proportionate, but more than proportionate to their outlay, and they would be enabled either to assist the rates or still further reduce the charges for water supplied to the public. (Hear, hear.) He hoped with the assistance of Mr. Crowther and of his son, to be able to carry out this very great undertaking, great because the valley from which they were going to obtain this large quantity of water was very steep and to impound the quantity of water the valley held, it was necessary to make an embankment of no less than 112 feet in height. There were very few reservoirs in the kingdom that required an embankment of such magnitude, but he hoped with the great care and experience of his friend Mr. Crowther that they would be enabled to carry the work to a complete success. (Hear, hear.) He again thanked them for the warmth of their reception, remarking that during his 20 years' connection with the Corporation there had never been a cause of dissension amongst them. (Applause.)

Mr. G.H. Crowther, in responding, alluded to his father's connection with the water supply of Huddersfield since 1827. He hoped it might please Providence to spare Mr. Hawksley, Mr. Charles, and himself to see the completion of these two reservoirs, and if the work was carried out successfully he thought they might say they had done something good in their day and generation. (Applause.) He remarked that they had fortunately seen it rain at Wessenden — (laughter) — and knew what a grand gathering ground it was. It might interest them to know that it would take a week of rain such as they had had that day to fill the reservoir with 400,000,000 gallons of water, or 5½in. of waterfall on the watershed.

Mr. Charles Hawksley, in response to loud calls, also thanked those present for drinking the toast.

The Town Clerk read the following copy of a telegram which was being sent from that meeting to Alderman Wright Mellor :—

The Mayor and his assembled friends desire to express their sincere recognition of your long-continued and valued services to the town of Huddersfield, and their earnest wishes for your speedy restoration to health. Town Hall, Huddersfield

(Loud Applause.)

The Mayor received the following reply :—

To the Mayor of Huddersfield.

I have received a telegram from your Worship and assembled friends, and am thankful for the high appreciation you express of my humble services to the town of Huddersfield, I am proud of such a testimonial from such friends, and sincerely hope that great success will attend the undertaking just inaugurated. I also warmly thank you for the good wishes expressed for my speedy restoration co health.

Wright Mellor, Imperial Hotel, Blackpool.

Alderman J.F. Brigg proposed "The Town and Trade of Huddersfield." He was afraid they could not congratulate themselves upon the prosperous state of the trade of the town, he thought this was not to be wondered at considering the high and prohibitive tariffs placed against us in all parts, particularly in America and in parts of Europe. We had adopted a policy in this country, however, which enabled us to put on our counters all kinds of goods and material cheaper than any other country in the world, and by this means we were able to meet those highly protected countries in neutral markets and beat them. He hoped this policy would not be departed from despite the spirit of retaliation there was abroad which he thought would be a fatal policy for this country. He had faith in his native town, having been for 53 years actually engaged in business here, and when the depression passed away they would have an efficient supply of water for all the requirements of an increased trade.

Mr J.H. Sykes responded. They all desired to see the town prosperous for a lengthy future. (Hear, hear.) They sometimes grumbled at the Corporation, but he must say he admired the pluck and determination they displayed in carrying out their large schemes. He corroborated Alderman Brigg's opinion as to the state of trade, though business with America was not so bad as they thought it would be, and expressed the hope that with the excellent training given at the Technical School, the trade of this district would improve. (Applause.)

Mr. A. Walker also responded, and after making feeling reference to his pleasure at once more meeting them, and his sorrow at the death of Mr. Stanway — than whom a better servant the Corporation never had — he expressed his disappointment at the absence of the ground landlord. He had large interests at stake, and the time ought to be gone by when communications between a large Corporation like this and the ground landlord should pass through the post. He thought Sir John's presence would be to the interest both of himself and the borough. The speaker then advocated the introduction of the electric light into the borough — (Councillor Hellawell : We are going to have it) — and of a differential rate of charges for water according to the quantity used. He also spoke of the unsatisfactory state of trade, and said that if there was ever another strike — as he fervently hoped there would not be — that any settlement between the masters and men should not be published, and, as was previously the case, a premium given to outside manufacturers to make Huddersfield goods. He ventured to say that but for that the worsted trade of Huddersfield would have had a 10 years longer existence than it had. His worst wish was that the worst was over, and he trusted that masters and men, employers and employed, would have contented times, and that there would be "no complaining in our streets." (Applause.)

Alderman Joseph Brooke proposed the toast of "The Public Institutions of the Borough," which was responded to by Mr. J. Kilkubn (who said that in 20 years the out-door relief paid by the Guardians had decreased from £16,600 per annum to £8,400) and Mr. J.W. Robson (who was afraid that the freeing of the Huddersfield Board Schools would cause an increased rate of ¼d. to ½d. in the pound, unless the result was more regular'attendance, and consequently an increased grant).

After Councillor E. H. "Walker had humorously proposed the toast of "The Press," Alderman Glendinning gave that of "The Visitors." In the course of his remarks the speaker said the Wessenden Commissioners were the last of the race, and the Corporation had now swallowed them all up. The commissioners appeared to have adopted the motto of the town "Juvat impigros Deus," which freely translated, meant "God helps those who help themselves." They thought that the Wessenden Commissioners had been helping themselves to the best of their ability.

Mr. E. Armitage, in response, took exception to the remark that the Corporation had swallowed the Wessenden Commissioners up. Speaking as a Wessenden Commissioner, he thought there was something to be said on the other side. He maintained that they were not swallowed up. They had full control of the drawings of their reservoirs, and they could have those drawings made in any shape or form they liked. No one regretted more than he did that there was the slightest litigation or unpleasantness of any kind either in Parliament or out of it. He had been chairman of the commissioners for the last 20 or 25 years, and could only say that in any negotiations with the Corporation they had endeavoured not only to protect their own interests, but to consider the interests of the town. (Hear, hear.) If an offer they made had been accepted, a great deal of expense would have been saved. He alluded to a letter they wrote offering to have an interview with the Corporation to discuss the question, and see if some amicable arrangement could not be arrived at. They received a reply, he was not going to use any strong language, but they were refused that interview. Whilst wishing the town to have a good supply of water, the commissioners could not lose sight of the interests of manufacturers to whom they supplied water, not for any pecuniary advantage, because they had supplied it at the lowest possible cost. Referring to the pollution of the water he said that manufacturers could not carry on their trade without polluting the water. No doubt the time would arrive when something would be done to mitigate this evil. He mentioned the steps taken by the Wessendon Commissioners to prevent the deposit of solid matter in the river Colne, and hoped a similar course would be adopted in the Holme Valley, of which he had some hopes.

The toast of "The Mayor" was proposed in flattering terms by Mr. Charles Mills, and feelingly responded to by His Worship.

During the evening selections of music were given by Miss Sykes, Mr. F. Haigh, Mr. H.T. Moulton, and Mr. F.B. Crosland (son of Alderman Crosland), and the proceedings closed shortly after half-past 10 by the singing the National Anthem.

The following is a scan of an original article and is made available under the terms of fair use for research purposes.

Huddersfield Daily Chronicle 28 Aug 1891 - Huddersfield Corporation Waterworks.png