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The Rushden Echo, 10th May 1929, transcribed by Jim Hollis.

James Edward Taylor

Rushden Newsagent’s Bankrupcy

Creditor Negotiates For Business - Debtor’s Losses Through General Strike

The affairs of James Edward Taylor, a newsagent, confectioner, and tobacconist, of 18, Rectory-road, Rushden, were inquired into at the Northampton Bankruptcy Court on Friday last.

  Debtor’s liabilities were estimated to be £254 11s; assets at £49 7s; and the deficiency at £205 4s. He attributed his failure to the illness of his wife and to keen competition, which lowered his takings.

Rushden Echo, 3rd June 1927

Shop Window Smashed—The window of Mr J E Taylor’s shop, facing the station, was smashed on Tuesday afternoon by a coal cart which was being drawn up the slope to Beaconsfield-place, the horse slipping and letting the cart go backwards. The window measures 10ft., by 12ft. A crowd quickly gathered owing to the noise of the crash.

  In reply to the Official Receiver, Taylor said he had been trading since January 1st, 1912, at Rectory-road, Rushden, an entirely new venture at the time. He was formally a cabinet maker, and continued that employment till 1919-20, his wife looking after the shop business. A similar business was opened in 1915 in High-street, Rushden, and this was the joint property of his wife and her sister, the latter superintending it until she died.

  Debtor supplied the goods for the shop, and was paid for them out of the takings. From May of last year his wife had been ill, and one of the businesses had to be closed. He added that the question of supplies for High-street, and payment for them, was a matter of weekly settlement. His wife was the tenant of the High-street premises.

  When he filed his petition, five creditors were pressing him, and during the year he had paid out four executions. The first process he received was in 1927. The general strike in 1926 lost debtor £40 in a fortnight, and during that period takings were only about 5s. a day, and there were no newspapers. Several new shops had been opened, and there was severe cutting of confectionery prices.

Creditor After Business

  His wife’s business in High-street was advertised for sale, together with the newspaper goodwill of the Rectory-road shop. He had an offer of £250 of these, but the landlord of the High-street premises had promised them to a Mr. Robinson, and with the latter negotiations were opened. At first these were on a basis of valuation. Robinson was a creditor at the time for £54 17s. 11d. The negotiations were originally through an agent, and the final settlement was that Robinson should pay £40 for the High-street business and £35 for the Rectory-road goodwill, and that Robinson should bring him a receipt for the £54 owing. There was no mention in the agreement of this £54, but debtor would not agree, with the suggestion that the omission was due to the likely effect on the agent’s commission. He was at the time paying instalments on several other debts, and a few days afterwards was sued in the Wellingborough County Court for further debt. He did not offer any other creditor the businesses.

  Asked it Robinson suggested the deduction of £9 1s. for a further sum due to him, debtor said he did not. Debtor denied having any special friendship with Robinson.

  The Official Receiver asked whether the debtor did not think that Robinson had a “strangle-hold” on him, having secured the promise of the High-street premises, and the debtor agreed that this had something to do with it.

  Asked what became of the £75 paid by Robinson, debtor agreed that none of it was handed over to the Official Receiver. He said his wife took £40 for her business, other sums went on solicitors’ charges and the cost of the petition, and he gave his wife £19 to pay household expenses.

  Taylor was further questioned as to his newspaper round books.

Account Book Destroyed

  There was an account book in February, 1928, but this came back from the accountant in a rough brown paper covering, and was accidentally taken away in some rubbish and burned he said. In further explanation as to his wife having paid a bank overdraft, he said she did so by borrowing from another bank.

  It was stated that a balance sheet of the affairs of J.E. Taylor was prepared for income tax purposes. Taylor did not tell the income tax people that one of the businesses belonged to his wife, but the High-street premises never were his property. He agreed that on a number of occasions goods invoiced to him were delivered at High-street, but he said, that was only for the consignors’ convenience.

  Notwithstanding certain summonses which were sent to J.E. Taylor, 132, High-street, debtor still claimed that that business was his wife’s. He said he had never seen the name of Mr. Taylor chalked up on the facia of the High-street premises which he had heard it said had been done recently.

  A lengthy examination took place as to the wife’s claim to the furniture. In the main debtor said, they were wedding presents. Some were from his relatives and were given to her. He did not think the Taylor people had ever given him anything.

  “Then they did not think any more of you than the Official Receiver does,” remarked the Registrar.

  Answering questions with regard to a (words missing) as to the furniture, debtor (words missing) a signature, apparently his, which had been rubbed out.  He said this was not, as suggested, a will, but merely a list for the guidance of his wife when, in 1915, he proposed to go into munition work.   

  In regard to a complaint of debtor’s having stored goods in a barn at the rear of his house near the Co-operative Stores, he denied having done this, or that there was a barn there, but admitted that in a bedroom his wife for a short period kept some oddments of sweets, which were subsequently sold.

  The examination was adjourned to the June Court.

14th June, 1929

Rushden Bankrupt’s Examination

Affairs of Local Newsagent

  The affairs of James Edward Taylor, newsagent, Rectory-road, Rushden, again came under examination at Northampton Bankruptcy Court on Friday last before the Registrar, Mr. G. Hicks.

  The Official Receiver, Mr. A. J. Rogers, questioned debtor regarding an application by his wife for membership of the Newsagents’ Association.

  Taylor said his wife applied for membership in January.

  The Official Receiver : When your troubles were coming in thick and fast and you were going to the wall?

 Taylor : No.

  Debtor said his wife was selling her High-street business and thought if she obtained membership it would carry a guarantee that no newsagent’s business could be opened in the district.  It was not until January, after 14 years’ trading, that she applied for membership.

  Debtor said his wife was not in a newsagency business for 14 years.  She did not become a newsagent until 1916 or 1917.

  The Official Receiver : I must put it to you that it was only shortly before your bankruptcy that Mrs. Taylor is put forward as the owner of this business.  She applied for membership when she knew you were going to the wall? – No.

  And in the knowledge that the claims of your creditors were in respect of goods in the High-street business? – No, not at all.

  Goods which had been supplied by creditors in the belief that the High-street business was yours? – No, sir.

  Debtor was also questioned concerning the storage of a stock of confectionery in a bedroom.  He was asked whose bedroom the stock was placed in, and received permission to write the name and address.

  He was then asked why the confectionery was placed in a lady’s bedroom.

  He replied that the confectionery, which was being transferred from the High-street to the Rectory-road premises, was placed there for two days because shelves, etc., were being fixed in the Rectory-road shop.  He did not put it into a bedroom at Rectory-road because all the bedrooms there were occupied.

  The examination was adjourned until July 5th.

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