Railway Times (13/Mar/1847) - Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal

The following is a transcription of a historic article and may contain occasional errors.


The half-yearly meeting of the proprietors in this undertaking was held on Saturday week, in the Guild Hall, Huddersfield, and was only thinly attended. W. Aldam, Esq., M.P., occupied the chair, and was supported by the Directors.

Mr. Gilmer, the Secretary, read the advertisement convening the meeting, and afterwards the Directors' Report, and also the Engineer's Report. We give a few extracts from the first, as much of it refers to matters spoken of in the Engineer's Report.

Referring to the balance-sheet circulated among the shareholders, the Report says, in substance—

The quantity of goods conveyed on the Canal during the half-year amounts to 81,358 tons, an increase over the last half-year of 6,819 tons; the expenditure having been reduced from £3,616 17s. 11d. to £2,957 2s. 2d. as compared with the preceding half-year. The Directors hope that by continued vigilance over the expenditure, and by granting increased facilities to the carriers, this source of revenue may be considerably improved. Since the last meeting two calls had been made, in order to meet the large expenditure going on for some time past; but as the Company were now in a position to borrow money, under their Act, considerable relief will be afforded to the shareholders. The Directors acknowledged with satisfaction the promptitude with which the cats had been responded to. Some difference of opinion had arisen as to whether the interest on the calls should be 4 or 5 per cent., but 5 had been paid. The negotiations and settlement for land had been effected in a satisfactory manner. The Standedge tunnel (the key to the opening of the main line was now in an exceedingly good position for future operations. The contract for the Cooper Bridge branch had been let on very favourable terms, and was expected to be opened in September next. Contracts had been made for the supply of engines, carriages, waggons, horse boxes, &c., for the opening of the Cooper Bridge branch. The Huddersfield station was proceeding satisfactorily, and some of the wings would, no doubt, be ready in time to accommodate the Cooper Bridge branch traffic. The building of engine sheds and workshops had been constructed for, and the works were being pushed forward. Messrs. J. Lees, W. L. Brook, T. Frith, and Wm. Bayley, four of the Directors, and Mr. Samuel Oakes, one of the Auditors, retired from office, but were eligible for re-appointment. The Directors had also to submit to the meeting for its declaration of the forfeiture of the shares on which the first and subsequent calls are still in arrears. The Engineer's Report stated generally that all the works on the line were in a state of satisfactory progress. The “Standedge tunnel” is reported to be “in an exceedingly good position for future progress.” “At No. 4 shaft, where the rock is so strong as not to require lining, 100 yards have been completed. The work is expected to be completed in the specified time.” But “very little progress his been made with the Huddersfield tunnel, owing to the delay in obtaining possession of the ground; and, therefore, this is a point which will require to be pushed forward with great energy, which I am happy to say the contractors are preparing themselves to do. The building at the Huddersfield station has been going on, and a portion of it will be got ready for the opening of the line to Cooper Bridge. The viaduct of 47 arches at Huddersfield has proceeded well, and great exertions are being made by the contractors to get this work finished at the earliest possible period, so that the opening the line to Copper Bridge may take place at the time specified. About three miles of single road has been laid, and nearly the whole of the earthwork on this length finished. The masonry is nearly complete, and the Colne viaduct is expected to be finished in a month from this time.” 2,600 men are employed on the line.

The Chairman began by congratulating the shareholders on the circumstance that a saving of 19 per cent. had been effected in the working of the canal, as compared with the last half-year, and of 27 per cent. as compared with the preceding. It had been supposed that the line from Cooper Bridge to Huddersfield would be opened on the first of May; but, if the weather was not favourable, it might be the first of June before it was opened. The branch referred to, as being recently let, was a western branch to effect a junction with the Manchester and Leeds. He then referred to the other works mentioned in the Report, and assured the meeting that the Directors would use every endeavour to expedite their completion ; so that the whole line might be opened throughout in May, 1849. Having the power to borrow, that power of course would be exercised, according to circumstances; if the proposed amalgamation with the North-Western took place, it would be necessary to consult their convenience. He concluded by moving that the balance sheet and the Report read be received and adopted.

Mr. Joseph Brook seconded the resolution.

Some conversation arising as to the required capital, necessary to enable them to borrow, being paid, Mr. T.A. Heaps addressed the Directory on the necessity of their exercising the power of borrowing as speedily as possible, because they would be able to do so much more advantageously, in the present state of the money market, than when other Companies, who obtained their Acts last year, came into the market to compete with them for these necessary loans. He said that they might take it for granted that the amalgamation would be fully carried out; and he urged the Directors to lose no time in exercising the power they had of borrowing.

The resolution was carried unanimously.

Resolutions, re-electing several of the retiring Directors, also one of the Auditors, and declaring some 24 shares, on which the calls had not been paid, forfeited, were then submitted seriatim and passed. With respect to these shares, it was stated that they were strictly of the nature of mortgages, which, having been sold with a view to pay off the arrears, reverted back to the party who previously held them; so that they could only obtain upon them just as much as would pay the arrears.

The meeting was then resolved into a special meeting, for the purpose of receiving and sanctioning the draft of the Bill for the amalgamation of the Huddersfield and Manchester with the London and North Western.

The marginal notes, and some of the clauses of the Bill were read; and, in the course of this reading, Mr. T.A. Heaps informed the meeting that he found, from a Report of the prospects of the London and North Western, that the minimum amount of new stock issued by that Company amounted to one million sterling, and provided the amalgamation took place, the proprietors in the Huddersfield and Manchester would be entitled to £25 or thereabouts for every share they held jointly with the proprietors in the London and North Western, and on that sum they would be entitled to receive 10s. per cent., which was equal to a premium of £5.

Mr. Joseph Brook said that they were entitled to receive their share in any new creation of stock taking place after November, 1846; and receive the same dividend as the London and North Western upon those creations.

Mr. Heaps urged the shareholders to hold fast to their stock, showing them, as it was simply a question of double rule of three, that if a £100 share in the London and North Western was worth £185, be cause it obtained 10 per cent., a like share in the Huddersfield and Manchester, which was to receive 7 per cent., was worth a premium of £29 10s. on account of the relations it bore to the London and North Western.

The Chairman and several of the Directors expressed their acquiescence in Mr. Heaps' views as being a correct and proper one.

The Chairman then addressed the meeting as to the favourable prospects before them on uniting with such a large and powerful Company as the London and North Western, commanding, as it did, a large and extensive traffic; and, in conclusion, he moved the sanction of the draft of the Bill for their incorporation with the London and North Western. Carried mem. con.

Thanks were then voted to the Chairman, and the compliment acknowledged.

On the motion of Mr. W. Moore, a vote of thanks was given to Mr. T. A. Heaps, for the lucid and able manner in which he had shown the true position of the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway and Canal Company.

The meeting then separated.