Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page

Mr. Fred Noble
Boot Manufacturer

MEETING OF CREDITORS—Considerable surprise has been caused at Rushden by the difficulty which has arisen in the affairs of Mr. Fred Noble, boot manufacturer, and, in the interests of his employees, if for no other reason, the hope is expressed that the suspension may only be of a temporary character. A meeting of the creditors was called for Wednesday afternoon at the Victoria Hotel. Mr. W. B. Skinner, of Messrs. Lilley and Skinner, presided over a large attendance. The statement of affairs, which had been prepared by Mr. A. C. Palmer, showed liabilities £6,051 14s 3d., and net assets £3,685 14s. 5d. A loss on trading was given as the primary cause of the failure, it being shown that Mr. Noble did the greater part of his trade with wholesale houses, and that when the price of leather advanced he was unable to obtain a corresponding advance in the price of his goods.—Mr. Palmer said that the gross profits had been absolutely inconsistent with what they should have been to cover expenses. The gross profit on the past two years was only 6¾ per cent., a rate at which boot manufacturers (said Mr Palmer) could not live. Prior to the advance in the price of leather the gross profits were 12½ per cent. The debtor was formerly in partnership with Mr. Hewitt, who, when he left the firm, was paid more than he should have been. Losses on plant and machinery were given as further reasons for Mr. Noble's position.—In this connection the Chairman said there could be no doubt that the conditions under which machinery not sold outright was held were a little stringent, and the Federation were doing what they could to obviate what was considered an unjust state of things.—Mr. G. S. Mason (Messrs Simpson and Mason) offered, on behalf of the debtor, a composition of 10s. in the £, payable in four instalments—three, six, nine, and twelve months—the last to be secured. The estate showed 12s. 2d. in the £, but, considering the nature of the assets, it was thought that not more than 10s. could be offered.—In reply to questions the debtor stated that the property in the name of Mrs. Noble—the house they lived in and twelve cottages—purchased at the time when she carried on a business in machine closing. She had not invested in property since Mr. Hewitt left him. When Mr. Hewitt was paid out everybody came down on him for money, and if they had not been able to raise funds on this property he would have had to stop then.—The Chairman said they must all regard Mr. Noble as a hardworking and perfectly straightforward man. They knew manufacturers were passing through a very bad time, and many had been able to make scarcely any profit except those who were able to pay 25s. and 30s. in the £, and had a good reserve behind them. He would like to see the debtor have another lease of life in business, and he would recommend them to accept the offer, subject, to the last payment being guaranteed.—The offer was eventually accepted, subject to the security meeting with the satisfaction of a small committee.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the History index
Click here to e-mail us