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The Rushden Echo, 19th May 1911, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Rushden Shoe Trade Failure

Public Examination of Mr. R. W. Noble

A Big Deficiency

The public examination took place at the Northampton Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday of Robert William Noble, trading as F. Noble, Moor-road, Rushden, shoe manufacturer. The statement of affairs showed :

Gross liabilities




Net liabilities





£   777







The causes of failure stated by debtor were: “Bad debts this year, insufficient business, and heavy factory expenses.”

Mr. J. F. Stops represented the trustee.

Debtor said he began business in January, 1908. He learned his business with his father, who made an assignment. Mr. Denton then took over the business, employing the debtor and his father. Since 1907 debtor had been the principal, and he had employed his father at £2 a week. Debtor had saved £250 and began business with that. There was also an overdraft with the bank, his mother and an Edinburgh firm of leather merchants guaranteeing him to the extent of £1,500. His brother-in-law was a partner in this firm. There had been

Net Losses

in the business from the end of 1908 to December 31, 1910, and at the latter date there was an overdraft at the bank of £1,514. On March 31 last the bank overdraft was reduced to £82 14s 2d. The Purchases and the sales were normal. In the same three months the stock had been reduced from £1,369 to £561.

The Official Receiver questioned debtor at length regarding this reduction.

Debtor admitted that the accountants had finished their work on the December balance sheet, except for the stock sheets, on Feb. 8., but they did not get the stock sheets until March 22. The balance sheet then showed he was £62 to the bad. It was during that time the bank balance was reduced.

The Official Receiver: And your mother and your brother-in-law then practically got out? Why did you reduce this bank balance then?

Debtor: It would be a natural thing to do to let your friends out.

Do you admit you did it with that end in view? – As a matter of fact, some time ago they both asked me to get down the overdraft.

When was that? – In February. They asked me to

Reduce The Overdraft

and get in further capital myself. That was what I was trying to do.

Debtor admitted that in July last year he owed his brother-in-law’s firm (Porter and Son) £600 for leather. In December, 1910, it was only £16.

The Official Receiver said, as subsequent events showed, he was then £62 to the bad. He had reduced his bank balance, and thus defendant let his mother and his brother-in-law out, and all the time he was insolvent.

There was some discrepancy in regard to the value of the leather which should be in stock, and Mr. Ewen asked what had become of it.

Debtor said he did not know what had become of it.

The Official Receiver: I submit then that before the examination is closed he must tell us what has become of the leather.

In reply to Mr. Stops, debtor said he was married in October last year. Some of the furniture was settled on his wife; other furniture was given to her. His brother-in-law, acting for the firm, had asked him in February to reduce the bank balance. He could not say if his mother were present.

The examination was adjourned to June 13.

16th June 1911

Re Mr. R.W. Noble - Adjourned Public Examimation

At Northampton Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday, Robert William Noble, trading as F. Noble, Moor-road, Rushden, shoe manufacturer, came up for his adjourned public examination. The statement of affairs showed gross liabilities £4,311 18s 11d, with £3,559 1s, expected to rank for dividend; assets £777 10s 10d. ; deficiency £2,781 19s 10d.

In reply to the Official Receiver, debtor said at the end of December the stock was taken at £1,369, and on April 1, 1911, it was put at £560. Of the difference there was £299 he could not account for.

The Official Receiver: I tell you perfectly frankly I am going to report that against you if ever you apply for your discharge. Do you admit that difference or will you take another adjournment and try to account for them?

Debtor said he would rather not have another adjournment. He had gone into the matter closely, and had done the best he could.

At the request of Mr. Stops (for the Trustee), debtor handed in his

Marriage Settlement

It was dated Oct. 20, 1910 and, he said, was signed on that date. The witness was his sister.

Mr. Stops: The writing of the witness seems to be more recent than your signature? Debtor: I think it is in the ink.

Was there any reason for using different ink? – I think I used a fountain pen and she used one of those cheap bottles of ink.

Debtor added that he did not buy much in February, and none at all in March, but the reason was not that he knew in February he was not going to continue the business. He advertised for fresh capital.

Was not your whole endeavour in selling at a sacrifice and using superior leather to reduce your bank overdraft? – Not altogether.

The case was formally closed.

Rushden Echo, 19th July 1912

First and final dividend of 3/3⅞ in the £ has been declared in the estate of R. W. Noble, boot manufacturer, Rushden.

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