HUDDERSFIELD AND EAST AND WEST COASTS RAILWAY – RETURN OF THE DEPOSITS.
A meeting of the shareholders in this Company was held at the Guildhall, Huddersfield, on Friday week, for the purpose of receiving the Report of the Provisional Directors on the position of the Company, and of taking the opinion of the shareholders on the future course to be pursued. There was a very large and influential attendance of the shoreholders. Joseph Starkey, Esq., the Chairman of the Provisional Committee, presided.
At the commencement of the proceedings, Mr. Jacomb, solicitor, read a lengthened Report of the Provisional Directors. This document entered into the origin and progress of the scheme, and the various negotiations into which the Company had entered. It made especial reference to the negotiations which had taken place with the Huddersfield and Manchester Company for an amalgamation, and to the failure of those negotiations in accomplishing a corporate arrangement between the two Companies After the preliminary announcement, it appeared that the shares applied for exceeded 300,000, which amounted to 40 times the number of shares at the disposal of the Directors. The failure of the negotiations with the Huddersfield and Manchester Company had placed this Company in a position of great difficulty, owing to the non-payment of the deposit on a large proportion of the shares allotted to the Huddersfield and Manchester proprietors, even some of the Direciors of that Company not having taken up their shares. The deposits unpaid amounted altogether to £16,281. It was to be regretted that the Huddersfield and Manchester proprietors had not taken up the shares allotted to them, because the Directors of this Company were of opinion that they might have been disposed of in a satisfactory way to other parties. This circumstance had rendered it impossible for the Provisional Committee to proceed to Parliament for the whole of the scheme (including the eight branches) without a further capital of £3000 or £4000. It would therefore be necessary either that the additional amount should be subscribed, or some of the branches abandoned. The Directors entertained the same good opinion of the undertaking they had ever had of it, and as a proof of the general estimation in which it was held by the owners of the land through which it would pass, it was stated that out of 410 only 114 had expressed their dissent to its formation. In conclusion, the Report stated that if the meeting should decide to proceed to Parliament the Directors would do their best to obtain an Act of Parliament.
In answer to a question from Mr. Barker,
Mr. Jacomb said, that the deposits paid were sufficient, for going to Parliament for aſ the scheme, with the exception of the Huddersfield, Flockton, Silkstone, and Midland branches.
Mr. Laycock inquired what was the estimate of the expenses already incurred?
Mr. Jacomb roughly estimated them at between £5000 and £6000, which would amount to about 8s. a share on the shares which had been taken up. (“Hear, hear,” and sensation.)
In answer to a question from Mr. Lee,
Mr. Jacomb said, the chief defaulters were those who were shareholders in the Huddersfield and Manchester.
At length, with the view of placing the question fairly before the meeting,
Mr. Laycock proposed a resolution recognising the incalculable importance of railways, and expressing the opinion of the meeting that the locality of Huddersfield was very favourable for through traffic, yet it could not be insensible to the fact that the sanction of Parliament had already been obtained to several railways connected with Huddersfield, and the responsibility of Huddersfield was already very great; therefore, the opinion of the meeting was, that all further proceedings with reference to the East and West Coasts Railway should be suspended.
Mr. W. Moore seconded the motion, observing that, although he was a repudiator, he held a larger number of shares than had been allotted to him.
Mr. Oatson, of Halifax, moved, as an amendment, “That the Directors be authorised to proceed to Parliament for their Bill.”
Mr. W.B. England seconded the amendment.
Mr. Barker spoke in favour of the original resolution. It was also supported by
Mr. Joseph Brook, jun., who took the opportunity to observe, that Mr. Riley, one of the alleged defaulters, was willing to pay his proportion of the expenses.
Mr. Leigh Brook stoutly resisted the original motion.
On a division, the original motion was carried by a very large majority.
After the show of hands had been taken, a scrutiny of the number of votes took place amid the greatest excitement and confusion. Of the numbers of shares represented by those presented there were upwards of 100 majority in favour of the original motion.
The remarks of several shareholders evinced a deep sense of the excellent manner in which the Directors had conducted the affairs of the Company.
The meeting then separated.