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The Rushden Echo, 1st January, 1904, transcribed by Gill Hollis
A Rushden Baker’s Finances
Curious Business Methods

At the Northampton Bankruptcy Court last week the public examination of William A. Rogers, baker, 57, Moor-road, Rushden, revealed some strange business methods. Gross liabilities £308/6/11; net £306/1/11; assets, £7/12/6; deficiency, £298/9/5.

Mr. J. T. Parker appeared for the petitioning and other creditors.

Debtor said he began business on his own account 14 years ago. He had been in Moor-road four years. He had no capital, and kept no books. He did not put down what his customers owed him. He kept an account in his head. Nor did he trouble to know what he owed to other people. He never could pay 20s. in the £, and always knew that. As long as millers let him have the flour he kept on, and should have been in business now if he could have got the flour. He also did some horse dealing, and lost £100 through horses dying.

The Official Receiver: And now your wife’s going on. As soon as you found you were being pressed by the millers you handed over this business to your wife?

Debtor: Yes.

The Receiver: Is your wife doing a flourishing business?

Debtor: I don’t know.

The Receiver (warmly): Do you realise your position? Do you understand that you are asking the Court to relieve you of your debts? Ought a man to pay his debts?

Debtor: Yes.

The Receiver: Didn’t I write you a letter to ask if you proposed to set aside any part of the money you earn to pay a dividend, and you replied that you wouldn’t?

Debtor: I didn’t say I wouldn’t.

The Receiver: You wrote: “As for offering anything, that would be impossible for me to do.” Why? Don’t you earn anything?

Debtor: I’ve not had anything yet.

The Receiver: Does it not occur to you that you’ve been living on your creditors for some time past?

Debtor: No, I never thought about it.

The Receiver: And so you don’t propose to offer anything to your creditors?

Debtor: No.

The Receiver: And your wife’s got the business, and things go on much the same as usual at home?

Debtor: I hope so.

Mr. Parker: Have you told the other bakers in the town they should go and do as you have?

Debtor: Nothing of the sort.

Mr. Parker: You had a horse and cart; where is it?

Debtor: The horse is going round with bread now.

Mr. Parker: Who owns it?

Debtor: My wife’s mother, who took it under a distress of rent.

Mr. Parker: There were only 10s. worth of trade utensils on the premises. Could you carry on your business with 10s.worth?

Debtor: Less than that.

Mr. Parker: Impudence goes a long way, and does not fetch much when realised.

Debtor said the furniture was the landlord’s. The landlord was his wife’s father.

Mr. Parker: So your mother-in-law has got the horse and cart and your father-in-law the furniture?

Debtor: My wife pays 2s. a week rent for it now.

The examination was adjourned.

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