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Rushden Echo, 26th June 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins
Death of Mr. W. Banks Skinner
A Native of Rushden – A Many-sided Personality

A well-known and highly respected native of Rushden passed away on Monday in the person of Mr. W. Banks Skinner, of Woodside Park, Finchley, at the age of 66 years. The deceased gentleman, who was a brother of Councillor G. H. Skinner, Rushden’s veteran church-warden, had recently undergone an operation for stomach trouble, and this was apparently successful. Complications, however, subsequently supervened and culminated in his death.

Mr. Skinner was thrice married. His first wife was Miss Lilley, a sister of Mr. Thomas Lilley, J.P., and his second, who died about five years since, was Miss Rea, daughter of Mr. Thomas Rea, tanner, Godalming. Three years ago he married Miss Adams, of Mold, who survives him.

Deceased, who leaves a widow, four sons, and two daughters, to mourn their loss, was for 40 years partner in the firm Lilley and Skinner, leather merchants, of Rushden, London, etc. He was also a director of the Scottish General Accident Insurance Company. Although it is many years since the late Mr. Skinner resided in Rushden, the town of his birth, he was well known amongst the older residents of the town. He was a J.P. for Hertfordshire and a staunch Liberal and Nonconformist.

The funeral took place yesterday at the Congregational Church, High Barnet, London, N.

Biographical

The late Mr. W. Banks Skinner, aged 66, whose death occurred on Monday in a London nursing home, following an operation, was one of the best-known members of the shoe and leather trades of this country. He resided at Flindon House, Woodside Park, and was the third son of the late Mr. George Skinner, of Rushden, who death at an advanced age we recently recorded. Mr. W. Banks Skinner was born at Rushden in 1848, and was educated at Higham Ferrers and Eaton Socon. He was apprenticed to the drapery trade at Northampton. After serving his time he went to Messrs. Debenham and Freebody’s, London, as an assistant.

Later, he joined the business of Messrs. Lilley and Skinner, formerly of Paddington Green, and now of King’s Cross, with whom he was connected for thirty-five years. He was at one time a partner with Mr. Thomas Lilley, J.P., and subsequently, when the concern was converted into a limited company, he became one of the managing directors. The deceased was mainly associated with the firm’s leather department, in connection with which he paid several business visits to the United States.

Besides his connection with the business of the concern bearing his name, Mr. Skinner was a director of the General Accident Assurance Co., and he took a great interest in various charitable organizations, having as president presided in 1887 over the annual dinner of the Boot Trade Benevolent Society and also some years later over the Commercial Travellers’ Institution’s annual festival. An attractive after dinner speaker, he was frequently in request at trade functions. He often delivered interesting speeches on shoe and leather trade questions, brightened with anecdote.

He took a keen interest in technical education. One of the original members of the committee of the Boot Manufacturers’ Association, he was for many years chairman of the organisation’s technical education committee. In that capacity he took a prominent part in the negotiations which took place with such technical education experts as Professor Marshall and Professor Foxwell. These negotiations ultimately resulted in the framing of the scheme under which, in 1897, the Leather Trades School, Bethnal Green Road, E. (now the Cordwainers’ Company’s Technical College), was established.

In the work of establishing the school Mr. Skinner displayed great activity, and he was successful in securing the support and assistance in bringing the school into existence of Alderman Sir John Staples, who was at the time Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Leathersellers’ Company. Deceased retained up to the last his interest in technical education and in his most recent speeches at dinners and other gatherings frequently urged the importance of it upon all concerned for the prosperity of British commerce.


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