HUDDERSFIELD AND SHEFFIELD JUNCTION RAILWAY COMPANY — GENERAL MEETING.
(Amalgamation with the Manchester and Leeds.)
An extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders in the Huddersfield and Sheffield Railway, was held on Thursday, August 27, at the Guildhall, Huddersfield.
The object of the meeting was to submit a general statement of the accounts of the Company, to the period of amalgamation with the Manchester and Leeds, and for reporting the proceedings of the Directors since the previous meeting.
The meeting was very thinly attended.
At the commencement of the proceedings,
Mr. Thomas K. Rowbotham, the Secretary, read the advertisement convening the meeting, and afterwards the following
In presenting their final Report to the shareholders, your Directors cannot but feel gratified that they are enabled to resign their post at a time when all matters connected with the railway are in so satisfactory a state.
The Directors commenced their labours fully aware of the importance and magnitude of the undertaking, and they have endeavoured so to control the works and the expenditure as to merit your approbation. They look back with pleasure to the harmony which has prevailed at all past meetings of the shareholders, but on no occasion could the Directors meet the shareholders, when the circumstances seemed so much to justify congratulation, as on the present occasion.
On this day the amalgamation of the Huddersfield and Sheffield with the Manchester and Leeds — a state of things which the shareholders must have anticipated with so much interest — becomes consummated.
The Huddersfield and Sheffield is united with one of the most powerful Companies in England; the interests of the two Companies have been wisely blended; and it may with confidence be expected that a considerable portion of south traffic from the Manchester and Leeds district will find its way along the Huddersfield and Sheffield to the south. The alliance which has now been effected, while it secures permanent benefit to the town of Huddersfield, protects the Huddersfield and Sheffield against competing schemes, and renders the shares a safe and permanent investment.
With reference to the works of the railway, your Directors beg to say that they yesterday inspected the whole course of the main line. The works are progressing in nearly every portion, and some of the heaviest earthwork is in an advanced state, and in some parts the rails are permanently laid.
The Directors regret, though the preamble of the Darfield branch was satisfactorily proved before the Committee of the House of Commons, the Bill was thrown out on the third reading. It may however be added, that no line has been ceded which can at all affect the district proposed to be opened by the Darfield branch, and the Directors will not fail to represent to the Manchester and Leeds Board the importance of the communication for general traffic and for coal purposes which this branch will afford, with a view to induce the Manchester and Leeds Board to revive the application to Parliament.
The Directors refer with pleasure to the success of the West Riding Union, and are of opinion that the great railway facilities afforded by that scheme, in combination with your line and others in the district, cannot benefit any town in the riding more effectually than it will the town of Huddersfield.
Huddersfield must become the centre or focus in which all West-Riding south traffic must converge, before it be for warded by the Huddersfield and Sheffield to the south, so that whether they look at the immediate consequences of our amalgamation with the Manchester and Leeds, whether they consider the railway position secured for the town of Huddersfield, or whether they contemplate the increased and general advantages which time must certainly develop, the Directors cannot but expect that the unity of interest now prevailing, and to prevail, in the management of the Manchester and Leeds, the West-Riding Union, and the Huddersfield and Sheffield, must be attended with results every way beneficial to our undertaking, and to this locality.
The Directors cannot close their Report without congratulating the shareholders, that whilst the charge of their interests is being transferred to the hands of others, the gentlemen to whose care they are to be intrusted, gentlemen of ability, so well known, and of such great experience, as to prevent the possibility of any fear being entertained on the part of the shareholders, of their interests being neglected or mismanaged.
And the Directors beg to assure the shareholders, that any information which their position as Directors of the Huddersfield and Sheffield may have placed within their reach, they, individually, will at all times be ready to communicate to the Manchester and Leeds Directors, as well as to give every explanation which those gentlemen may at any time require from your present Directors in their individual capacity.
The Chairman said, in moving the adoption of the Report, it had gone so very fully into those questions connected with their proceedings as Directors, that it was not necessary for him to make any remarks. He had very great pleasure indeed, and satisfaction, in approving of the arrangement which the Directors had made with the Manchester and Leeds Company. He felt perfectly satisfied that that arrangement would be mutually advantageous, and he thought particularly so to the shareholders of this Company. Of course they were now, as a board, defunct. They were actually now a portion of the Manchester and Leeds Company, and he felt sure, that under the management of such men as Mr. Houldsworth, the Chairman, Mr. Hawkshaw, the Engineer, and the Directors of that Company, their affairs would be managed in a way, not only credit able to themselves, but advantageous to the share holders of this Company. He regretted exceedingly that they had been so unfortunate as not to carry the Darfield Branch Bill. They certainly did make out as strong a case as ever was brought before Parliament; and the Directors of this Company, would recommend the Manchester and Leeds Directors to reconsider the question, and it probably would be brought again forward in the ensuing session of Parliament. It would be an important branch, not only to the Huddersfield and Manchester, but also to the Huddersfield and Sheffield Company. They, as Directors, were very glad to give the shareholders any information in their power, and should any question occur to them, he should be very happy to give them the best information he could.
Mr. John Brooke said he supposed they were now one with the Manchester and Leeds Railway, and that the interests of the shareholders of the two Companies were exactly identical.
The Chairman replied that they were now, to all intents and purposes, Manchester and Leeds proprietors.
Mr. Brooke — At what time do you expect the Huddersfield and Sheffield shareholders will begin to receive dividends?
Mr. C. S. Jones, Deputy-Chairman, said it [...illegible...] provided that the Huddersfield and Sheffield shares should become Manchester and Leeds shares of an equal amount, and receive Manchester and Leeds dividend from the time that the Huddersfield and Sheffield was opened. No provision was made as to the times when the calls should be made; but, by the 20th clause of the Act, the calls must all be made within two years after the completion of the Huddersfield and Sheffield Junction. The Manchester and Leeds were not compelled to call up the whole of the £50, but the same amount within two years from the opening of the line, as they would then have paid upon their own £50 shares. The Huddersfield and Sheffield would receive dividend according to the amount paid during the time of making the calls, and after the amount paid by the Huddersfield and Sheffield had become equal to the amount paid by the Manchester and Leeds, the subsequent calls would proceed pari passu with the Manchester and Leeds, and an equal dividend would be paid on each. He thought it very probable that not more than £25 would be called up for some time to come. After they had called up that amount, they had a right to borrow one-third the amount of the gross capital, at interest, and he thought it would be for the advantage of the shareholders of this Company, and the Manchester and Leeds Company also, that they should not make calls more rapidly than was absolutely necessary.
Mr. Brooke — Supposing that at the time the line is opened, the Huddersfield and Sheffield proprietors should have paid £25 per share, and at the same time the shareholders in the West Riding Union are called upon for the whole of their capital, is it in the power of the Manchester and Leeds proprietors to keep back the Huddersfield and so calls as long as they think proper?
Mr. Jones — They must call up within two years after the opening of the line such a sum as will make the amount paid up equal to what is paid upon their own £50 shares. There is £38 now called up on the Manchester and Leeds £50 shares, and before this line has been opened two years it is very likely that the whole £50 will be called up, and if so, then the Manchester and Leeds will be compelled to call in the whole of the Huddersfield and Sheffield £50 shares within that period?
Mr. Hawkshaw said, that according to an arrangement which had been made by the Manchester and Leeds, a great proportion of the half shares of that Company would be called up before this line was opened.
Mr. Jones said the whole of the capital of this Company would of necessity be called up within a reasonable time.
Mr. Hawkshaw (in answer to a question from Mr. Heaps) said that the works were progressing rapidly and expressed his opinion that the line would be opened within two years.
Mr.Brooke inquired whether the Huddersfield and Sheffield Company would participate equally with the Manchester and Leeds in any new creation of stock which might hereafter be made by the latter Company.
Mr. Jones — Yes; in all shares created after this session of Parliament.
Mr. Brooke — Providing the West Riding Union scheme should have more capital to raise, I suppose it would be raised not merely from the shareholders in the West Riding Union scheme, but by ourselves and others in connection with them.
Mr. Jones — We should participate in any additional capital they may require to complete their scheme.
The Chairman here proposed the adoption of the Report.
The motion was seconded by Mr. W. Willans, and unanimously approved by the meeting.
The Chairman then moved the adoption of the cash account presented to the shareholders.
Mr. D. Mallinson seconded the motion, which was also unanimously adopted by the meeting. The abstract of the accounts of the Company to 24th August inst., showed the total receipts (from calls, deposits, &c.) to have been £133,432 16s. 5d., and the expenditure £94,303, leaving a balance in the banker's hands of £39,129, and in the Secretary’s hands of £58 18s. 8d. Not included in this statement, however, was a bill for £22,312 10s., due on the 4th of January, 1847, paid by the Company on account of rails. e principal items in the expenditure were £15,430 17s. 11d. for law charges, engineering, &c., incurred before and in obtaining the Act of Incorporation; £52,369 for works, and £12,535 for land and compensation, by disbursements under the Act; and £2,344 12s. 11d. for engineering, surveying, plans, &c., £1,335 for law charges, and £2,000 17s. for Parliamentary expenses, by disbursements in respect of the Darfield branch.
Mr. Shaw impressed upon the Directors the importance of their calling the attention of the Manchester and Leeds Directors to the Darfield branch, and doing their utmost to prevail upon them to persevere in obtaining the requisite powers for carrying out that scheme. It was a branch which he was sure would be of great advantage to the town of Huddersfield, and a great acquisition both to the Huddersfield and Sheffield and the Manchester and Leeds Company, and he might also add to another.
The Chairman observed that the same feeling with respect to the Darfield Branch pervaded the whole of the Directors, and pledged himself, on their behalf, that every thing should be done in their power to lay its importance to the district before the Manchester and Leeds board.
Mr. Jones thought that they must consider it a very fortunate circumstance that the Manchester and Leeds Company now took upon themselves the responsibility of paying all the accounts connected with the Darfield branch. (“Hear,” and laughter.) Mr. Houldsworth, Chairman of the Manchester and Leeds Company, here entered the room, and was received with considerable demonstrations of applause.
The Chairman subsequently communicated to Mr. Houldsworth the strong feeling, on the part of the meeting that there should be another application made to Parliament for a Bill to construct the Darfield branch.
Mr. Houlsworth came forward amidst applause, and said — I can only say that any recommendation coming from the Company, representing no doubt the feelings of the inhabitants of Huddersfield, and this district in particular, will have the very best and most favourable consideration of the Directors of the Manchester and Leeds Company. There are a great number of gentlemen at our Board capable of appreciating fully the importance of any recommendation that may be made, either from this or any other part of the West Riding, and the decision will lay in part with those gentlemen. We have very heavy responsibilities at the present time. We have extended ourselves very largely, and times are not so buoyant and favourable as they were last year. (Hear.) I do not know with what feelings our proprietors generally will meet us at our approaching meeting, but I feel that what we have done has given stability to the parent Company, and has enabled it either now, or at a later period, to be able to project and carry out those supplemental undertakings, which may be at once necessary for the convenience of the district, and at the same time such as the public wants require. (Hear, hear.), I can only say for myself, and I think I may speak the sentiments of my colleagues, that any recommendation coming from this meeting, either now, or from the inhabitants of Huddersfield at any future period, will always have our most favourable consideration. (Cheers.)
The business being concluded,
Mr. Jones moved a vote of thanks to the Chairman for his excellent services in presiding over the meeting.
Mr. Shaw suggested that, in connection with the resolution, the names of all the Directors should be associated, and he complimented them on their successful and very valuable services. He also expressed his pleasure that they were now associated with a Company which, in its stability and in its advantages for investment, would be second to none in the kingdom. He thought the Directors were all eminently entitled to the united and grateful thanks of the shareholders, not only on the score of ability, but also on the ground of economy.
The resolution was then put by Mr. Mallinson, and carried by acclamation.
The Chairman, on the part of himself and brother Directors, briefly acknowledged the compliment, and the proceedings then terminated.
After the meeting, the Directors entertained Mr. Houldsworth at a costly and very excellent dinner at the George Hotel. The arrangements for the entertainment evinced the judicious management of Mr. Wigney, the proprietor of the hotel, and the princely liberality of the Directors. A large party of gentlemen were present by invitation. Joseph Armitage, Esq., presided; and the vice chair was filled by C.H. Jones, Esq. A good band of music was present, and played during dinner. After the cloth was withdrawn, a series of toasts — loyal, commercial, and personal — were given. The proceedings throughout were of a most lively, convivial, and gratifying character.