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1890 Statement

Wellingborough News, 19th September 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

Trade Matters at Rushden
Much interest was evident amongst operatives of Rushden on Monday, owing to an expected reply of the arbitrators, fixing the date for the statement to come into force. Anxious faces peered into our window in search of the expected news, it having been decided at a meeting of the Union on Saturday evening that the intelligence should be posted there as soon as received. We received information about mid-day, that the arbitrators had disagreed regarding the date, and that it was probable the services of a referee would be called in. The arbitrators, however, dispensed with this proceeding, and information was received that they had fixed upon Monday, the date asked for by the men. On Tuesday morning we posted in our window a letter from Mr. Manfield, who is staying at Llandudno, confirmatory of the above, the news being read with much satisfaction.

The satisfaction, however, was short-lived, for some of the men assert the masters had classified their boots lower than they should have done, and without consultation with their employees. This caused a little friction, and we understand the men at one shop in Higham came out on Tuesday, returning to their work, however, at the instance of the Union secretary. As the result of this alleged classification below standard the men, on the statement being paid up to, were surprised to learn that they would receive in some lines a reduction on their present rate of wages.

Mass Meeting
A meeting of the men was convened on Tuesday Mr. Sinfield presided, and said he was quite in the dark as to the object of the meeting.—The Secretary, after a few questions of a personal nature had been asked and answered, read a letter from Mr. Newman, the secretary of the Manufacturers' Association, to the effect that it was probable some of the standards would have to be altered and fresh patterns and samples submitted to the arbitrators. It was thought advisable that this should be communicated to the Men’s Union, and their consent obtained. The meeting had been called that night to consider that letter.—A long discussion ensued on the matter, one member asking if they were to be sat on by the manufacturers: they treated them like a lot of children.—The Chairman said it appeared the manufacturers wanted them to settle a question in 10 minutes which it would take the Association three weeks to decide. Various sentiments were expressed, and eventually Mr. Kent proposed they adhere to the samples as classed; if the manufacturers had put their foot in it, let them keep it in. (A voice: It is us who have done that.)—Mr. Freeman would like to know what the samples were really like. He had been to shop that day with a boot for which before the state¬ment he got 11d., and he had had an Irishman's rise of ½d. per pair.—Mr. Skeels also wished to know the position of various boots, and in reply the Chairman described the boots which represented the various standards as follows:— First, a calf golosh, kid leg, manufactured by Messrs. Cave & Sons; Second, calf half-golosh, manufactured by Mr. E. Claridge; Third, calf half-golosh, kid leg, by Mr E. Claridge; Fourth, kip half-golosh, kid leg, by Mr. Lilley, of Irthlingborough; Fifth split half-golosh, kid leg; Sixth, split half-golosh satin leg; by Mr. Wm. Claridge ; Seventh, split half-golosh, common levant leg, by Mr. W. Claridge.—Mr. Field (one of the arbitration board) said it was misleading; it was only the standards which were classified.—Mr Skeels asked if the boots were not classified on the same lines as at Kettering?—The Secretary in replying to a question as to whether the samples were as good as at Kettering, said he honestly thought they were a good deal better.—Mr. Blundell (Higham) proposed that the standards be adhered to which was carried, an amendment that they be altered finding no support, Mr. Skeels expressing his opinion that the arbitrators had done their work fairly, and they ought to abide by their decision.—Some discussion took place respecting the best mode of classifying the goods, the Secretary mentioning it was necessary the men working on the shop should have a voice in the classification. He also reported that at Higham and Irthlingborough he had arranged with small committees of men and the manufacturers to classify the various boots, and that anything not agreed upon would be brought before the Arbitration Board. In reply to a further question as to how men working on shops not belonging to the Association would go on under the statement, he said they were working under protest. Ultimately it was arranged that committees from each shop should act with their employers in classifying the goods, and the election of representatives to act in this capacity lasted until a late hour.

On Wednesday morning any casual observer would have noticed the unwonted excitement. Large numbers of men congregated outside the Coffee Tavern, a large proportion being the Committees chosen the previous evening to represent the different factories, and classify the goods in conjunction with the employers. The primary cause of the commotion was their inability view the standards, which were located in the office of Mr. Newman, the secretary of the Manufacturers' Association. It appears that application was made to see the goods, but in the absence of instructions to that effect, Mr. Newman’s clerk, (Mr. Newman himself being absent) declined to accede to the request, at the same time informing them that if they got the consent Mr. F. Knight he would do as they wished. After waiting about some hours the men marched in a body to the factory of Mr. F. Knight, having been preceded by their secretary (Mr. Wills), president (Mr. Sinfield), and Mr. Abrahams and Mr. Freeman. These gentlemen interviewed Mr. Knight, who declined to grant them the key, and they left with the understanding that no one either manufacturers or representatives of the men, were to see the standards until the meeting of the Arbitration Board the following (Thursday) evening. The men then held a meeting on the Pikehills, and some very warm feeling was manifest amongst them. Several speeches were made, and it was obvious that in consequent their inability to view the standards the men were very dissatisfied, especially, (as some assert), that the manufacturers had had the privilege of inspecting the boots the day previous. As the result of the meeting in question a telegram was despatched to the Council at Leicester asking that an investigator might be sent down, and Mr. D. Hawgood, of Northampton, arrived on Thursday morning to act in this capacity. [There is more to this article]

Wellingborough News, 3rd October 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Rushden Wages Question
The work of classification at the various factories is still in progress. Shop meetings have been held at various places, and in most cases satisfactory results have been attained. In one or two factories, however, there has been considerable friction, and a deal of irritation on the part of the men. Matters reached an acute stage at Messrs. Cave's on Tuesday morning. The attempt at classification here had proved very unsatisfactory, and it was also alleged the firm would not submit their boots to the arbitration board. In this state of affairs the men, who were joined by the pressmen, instead of going in to work after breakfast, held a meeting in the Hall, and passed resolutions which if unaccepted by the firm would have had the effect of striking the shop. Happily, however, this was avoided, Messrs. Cave agreeing to the wishes of the men, who returned to work after dinner.

The Meeting
Messrs. Cave and Sons' rivetters and finishers held a meeting in the New Hall on Tuesday morning under the presidency of Mr. A. Sinfield (the local President).—The Chairman said it was one of the objects of the meeting to get all the advantage they could out of the statement as regarded Messrs. Cave's shop.—Mr. Wills said they all knew the difficulty they had in getting the goods classified at Messrs. Cave's. They had attended for that purpose, and had been very unsuccessful,, and in the disputed lines the firm had simply said they would not get the boots up.—The Chairman said when he was there with the men they were told the firm did not make any best, and if the men said anything was unfair, they were told that the shop would be closed. He asked if that was fair between man and man? Appealing as to the truth of his statement, the Chairman was supported by five out of the six who attended. Mr. Cave had also said he would prosecute any man whom he found carrying their boots again. Mr. Sinfield subsequently stated that when boots were brought before the Board the objectors would have to attend and state their case.—Mr Skeels said it was about time this state of things was put a stop to, and proposed a resolution to the effect that if the firm did not submit their goods to the Board they should finish up their work and come out.—This was seconded by Mr. Denton and carried unanimously.—A second resolution was also passed requesting that the work be booked out at its proper price and it was resolved that the resolutions be submitted to Messrs. Cave, the meeting appointing Mr Wills and Mr. Skeels to perform this duty.—Before the deputation left, however, a question was asked as to whether it would be understood that if the resolution was not acceded to, the men would be called out, which was answered in the affirmative, and the Chairman said the secretary had full power to call the men off if necessary.—The deputation then left to communicate the resolution to Messrs. Cave and Sons' and returned with the report that Mr. P. Cave had gone to the station; the meeting therefore decided not to disperse until an answer had been received. Later on, however, the deputation met Mr. Cave, and then returned to the Hall, and were received with cheers.—Mr. Wills announced as the result of the interview that with regard to the resolutions Messrs. Cave had agreed as follows:—We are quite prepared for all boots in dispute to be brought to the Board as per rules and agreement. We will also give price with all work given out at the wicket.—J. Cave & Sons." In reply to a question by the chairman as to when they would submit them to the Board, the Secretary said it would be done as soon as the Board met.—A proposition that Messrs. Cave's be made a trade shop was also carried unanimously and a second deputation appointed to put this before Messrs. Cave and Sons' for their acceptance. On the return of the deputation it was announced that the firm asked for time to consider the matter, and though at first this was unfavourably received, the suggestion was adopted on the advice of Mr. Skeels, and the meeting terminated.

The event referred to in a contemporary as a crisis amongst the clickers at Mr. Fred Knight's as been easily and amicably arranged.

The committee chosen to classify on Mr. Denton's shop met their employer last week, but were not very successful. Several lines were disputed. These were brought before the Arbitration Board, but no progress was made, and the boots,—some 12 or 14 samples, were forwarded to the arbitrators for their verdict.

At Mr. Wm. Claridge's the boots were classed to the mutual satisfaction of employers and employed.
A shop meeting of Mr. Jos. Knight's men was held at the factory on Wednesday evening, when the goods were mutually classified, every line being agreed upon. This being done, Mr. Knight treated his men to a coffee supper. Great satisfaction is expressed by the men, who now regard the statement as a substantial advance upon past wages.

* * * * * *

Mr. Amos Wright has also been successful in his classification. Only one boot was disputed, which will go before the Board.

We have received the following letter:-Dear Sir,—Seeing in your columns last week that Mr. Leyland said at Earls Barton that "Rushden people had such a statement that the masters dare not encroach upon." I should like to know how Mr. Leyland got his information? I, for one, am prepared to prove that there is not a manufacturer in Rushden paying to the statement. If Mr. Leyland would pay a flying visit to Rushden, it would not take him long to prove my statement to be correct. And again, he said when they wanted a statement at Earls Barton, the Council would be prepared to maintain their legal right. If they do this for Earls Barton it will be more than they have done for Rushden, as we have had a statement a fortnight, and the masters are encroaching upon it up to the present time.—Yours truly,

Rushden, October 2

Wellingborough News, 17th October 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

THE SHOE TRADE—Progress has been made on the Arbitration Board this week, and affairs have generally been quieter. At Mr. Samuel Skinner's shop, however, upon which some 20 rivetters and finishers are employed, matters between employer and employees became so strained that the men were called off on Thursday morning, and the shop, picketed. The cause of this step is said to be the refusal of Mr. Skinner to acknowledge the statement. Last night the Manufacturers' Association held a meeting at the Coffee Tavern, and Mr. T. Horobin (President of the National Union), Mr. E. Leeland (Council member), and the local officials of the Union, also attended with reference to the edge question. We are informed the rivetters are to make the edge ½-inch before the extra can be claimed. A mass meeting is to be held on Tuesday.

Wellingborough News, 24th October 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Edge Question in The Rushden District
A crowded meeting of shoe operatives was hold in the Public Hall, Rushden, on Tuesday evening, to again consider the question of the edge. The nature of the dispute is well known, and the terms of the Kettering statement, and also of that bearing the signatures of the arbitrators and representatives of the disputing parties have been quoted in these columns.

The President (Mr. F. Skeels) said they had now come to the most critical time in the history of their branch. After dealing with the question at issue, he expressed the hope that the finishers would support the makers on the point, for if they were divided they would fall, but if united they would win. He hoped that night they would come to a right conclusion upon the matter. (Cheers.)

Mr. D. Hawgood said he attended the meeting at the instigation of Mr. Inskip, who had not yet recovered from the accident he met with a short time ago, and was there to ask their members on the Compilation Committee to set before them the evidence of the truth of the statement. They had given up the 3-8 edge, which was at first proposed, and accepted the 7-16th, and he congratulated the Committee on the manner in which they fought for the 3-8 edge.

The Chairman said he well remembered the masters said "Will you forego the 3-8 edge if we give you the 7-16?" and they did so.

Mr. E. Leeland was the next speaker. He mentioned that he had learnt that day for the first time that the negotiations had been going on since May, and it was time something was done. (Cheers.) He would remind them first that, though their Council member, he had no power to enter into negotiations without first consulting the workmen. Reports had got about that he had "sold" the workmen, but what he had to say would prove that he intended no wrong. If they intended to win they must be a united body of workmen, and Mr. Leeland characterised the conduct of a certain section of the men as foolish. When he came to the district he found the men in a state of discontent, and he could not, seeing the great responsibility upon him, take action without re-consulting his colleagues. He had done so, and had received full power, if necessary, to call out the men. (Loud cheers.) But it was also his duty to use every conceivable means of settling the dispute without a man losing a single hour. (Hear, hear.) He stood before them with clear head; he was a workman himself, and he would do them no wrong. With regard to this particular question he met the manufacturers on Thursday night, and asked them to strikeout the obnoxious words in their minutes, "when full finished," for the men would on no terms accept the clause. Secondly, he asked for an intermediate substance between the 7-l6th and half-inch, for he contended they had to look upon both sides of the statement and defend one as well as the other. The masters had made them a magnificent offer, and one which took them by surprise. Mr. Denton, speaking for the masters, suggested the edge 9-16ths. (Laughter.) Of course that was declined. As he wanted something definite to lay before the Association, he suggested a half-inch edge. The masters accepted that, and the question now "Would they accept it?" ("No.") He described the difference of the minutes of the two parties. The employers said their minutes read, "when finished 7-16ths inch edge, 1d." to the maker; on the men's side it was "7-16ths inch edge, agreed." He had thoroughly investigated the matter, and then produced a copy of the statement which had been handed him by Mr. Hawgood. This had not been tampered with, for it was a fac simile of the one in Mr. Wills' possession. (Cheers.) That being so, he thought it his duty to see Mr. Manfield, whose veracity no one dare deny. Mr. Manfield said the 7-16 edge was never in dispute. When a gentleman like Mr. Manfield gave such an opinion, he thought it was worth something, and he began to think the men were speaking as truthfully as the other side. Mr. Manfield had said to him, "Leeland, the men stand upon a rock." (Great cheering.) Mr. Manfield had also asked to see the original statement he had signed, and upon which he would stand or fall. He (Mr. Leeland) had sent for this, and it would probably be before them ere the meeting was over, and they could then form their own opinion upon it. The employers had forgotten to state that the proof had been before them three days. The men only wanted their legitimate rights according to the agreement honourably contracted between the two parties. Mr. Manfield advised, them to fight from a moral standpoint, and use every means to obtain, their ends peaceably. Such advice, coming from Mr. Manfield, himself an employer of labourer, was worth listening to. He claimed that whenever the Council put their hand to the plough they would not withdraw until they were successful. If it came to a crisis there must be no tinkering, but every man must stand for himself. (Great cheering.)

Mr. A. Upton moved "That this meeting absolutely refuses to accept the employers' proposal with regard to the 7-16 edge, but adheres to the statement as agreed upon by the Compilation Board and accepted by the men; and again calls upon the Council to at once defend the statement, especially as regards the 7-16 edge."

Mr. Leeland: I should wish the words "and again calls upon the Council" to be withdrawn. The Council are already prepared.

Mr. T. Kent seconded the resolution. He expressed the belief that Mr. Leeland had done well for them. Things had been said about him, but they should not believe all they heard. They did not want one employer to pay to the statement—they meant all should pay to it. Let them stand firmly, and he did not think the difficulty would last many days.

The resolution was then put and carried amid tumultuous cheering.

Mr. Leeland said he would communicate with the Council on the morrow, and also the employers, and would require an immediate answer. He would call them together on the morrow, when it was probable he would have to bring them out. (Cheers.)

In accordance with Mr. Leeland’s promise, a meeting was called for 5.30 on Wednesday, when there was a crowded attendance. The appearance of Mr. Skeels (president), Mr. Wills (secretary), and Mr. Leeland was signified by an outburst of cheering.—The President called upon Mr. Leeland, who said he had carried out their instructions to the letter. He had communicated with the manufacturers that morning, and asked them to convene a meeting, but no reply had been received. He had also, seeing the critical state of affairs, sent a deputation of their own committee down to Leicester, to lay their views before the Council.—Mr. Skeels, Mr. Wills, and Mr. T. Kent then gave an account of their interview with Mr. Inskip, who had expressed his belief that the men were right on the edge question, and that the Council would support them. He advised them to wait until after the Council had met before they took any action. It was pointed out that a full meeting of the Council could not be held before Sunday, and it was necessary to get the consent of the secretaries of other unions before the men could be called out. All the deputation, though extremely anxious, for the question to be settled, counselled patience.—The meeting showed signs of dissatisfaction at this further delay, and complaints were made regarding the length of time which had passed since negotiations were first opened.—Mr. Leeland said if the Council did not support them on Monday, he should have the courage to say he would not sit on a council which did not support the men when their cause was just. (Cheers.)—After several questions had been, asked, Mr. Upton, though feeling as strongly as anyone upon the delay, moved "That the meeting do adjourn until 2 p.m. on Monday.—Mr. J. Howes said he would like to add to the resolution that if the masters did not pay to the statement the men should come out and not take up their kit again until they had obtained, the full Northampton statement, (Vociferous applause.) As to the delay, he did not like being crushed, but they were bound to abide by the decision of their superior officers.—Mr. G. Kent asked whether Mr. Inskip had not known about the dispute long enough to get the opinion of the Council upon it. He considered the General Secretary had not treated them like men.—Later Mr. Leeland said he wished there to be no misunderstanding between them. He would not advise their voting for things there was no probability of getting. If the Council did not support them, he should keep his word and sever his connection with that body.—The Chairman: Is there any seconder to the resolution?—Several voices: No.—Mr. Leeland: Then what is your position?—Ultimately the resolution was seconded by Mr. T. Fields, and carried with but few dissentients; and after a vote of confidence in Mr. Leeland had been passed, the meeting adjourned.

Wellingborough News, 7th November 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Strike in The Shoe Trade
The effect of this unfortunate strike is beginning to be seriously felt. During this week trade has been almost at a standstill, and as a consequence of no money being earned, none is being spent. As we announced last week, the Manufacturers' Association decided on the 29th inst. to close their factories. In reference to this it was rumoured that the masters were by no means unanimous in their vote upon this matter, and that no less than 17 voted against a lock-out. Making enquiries as to the truth of this, we find that the vote as regards the lock-out was absolutely unanimous; but that on the question as to whether this should come into effect on Saturday or Wednesday, Nov. 5th, another vote was taken, with the result that 17 voted for closing on the former date, and 19 for the latter. Following this resolution the Association printed a circular notifying to their customers the position of affairs.

Acting upon this vote, by Wednesday the hands at all the shops were paid off with one or two exceptions. Messrs. Cave drafted some of their men off to the Olney branch, and Denton and Son have retained a few hands to fulfil their army orders, this being by permission of the Association. According to all we can ascertain, the opposing parties are more determined than ever, and the masters' position was considered to be greatly strengthened by the receipt of the Daventry statement, which gives exactly the same reading of the disputed item as the Rushden statement, but the penny on the edge on the making side is not claimed, nor seems to have been even thought of. During the past few days large numbers of men have left and are leaving, with their "kits" under their arms, in search of work elsewhere. In this some have been successful, whilst others have returned. Saturday was indeed a dull day as regarded trade and traffic, which has been conspicuous by its absence. Usually the number of drays loaded with leather, and traps conveying gentlemen connected with the leather trade which pass our office is legion, but the last fortnight has seen a wonderful change in this respect. It is evident to an almost casual observer that the place is under a cloud. Voluminous correspondence has also taken place on the question, and at two Nonconformist places of worship on Sunday the subject was referred to from the pulpit.

At the Old Baptist Meeting on Sunday morning, the Rev. W. J. Tomkins based his discourse on the words "Let your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel of Christ" and referring to the severe crisis through which the village is passing, urged upon his hearers that they should strive to manifest the Christian spirit. In the discussion about rights let both sides see to it that their claims were based on the right. There must be an entire absence of any retaliatory spirit and desire for revenge. It was better, as Garfield said, to be beaten in the right than victorious in the wrong, and no Christian, whether employer or employee, was justified in fighting for fighting's sake. Let them test their conduct by the Gospel, which said "Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye also unto them," and that applied to all men alike. They could not live to themselves if they would—their interests were mutual. Capital could no more do without labour than labour could do without capital. Let them use their interests on the side of peace, and endeavour by all wise and righteous means to bring about a settlement of the unhappy dispute which had arisen in their midst.

At the Independent Wesleyan Chapel reference was also made to the strike by the Rev. T. G. Harper, who preached from the text, "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office : so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another". Towards the conclusion of his discourse, the preacher said they were that day in the shadow of a great gloom: in the midst of a crisis unparalleled in the history of Rushden. Where the responsibility for it rested was not for him to determine. As to the particulars of the dispute, as an outsider not practically familiar with the technicalities of the trade, he would not presume to judge; but it appeared to him that all that was wanted to bring the matter to a speedy settlement was that both employer and employed should meet together in a friendly spirit, with a sincere desire to understand each other and to do right to each other; that mutual confidence should take the place of mutual distrust and suspicion; and that the matter should be calmly discussed and reasonably considered. He then urged that they should avoid the utterance of all insulting and unkind expressions towards each other, and determine to leave no stone unturned to restore friendly relations, so that peace and prosperity might be secured, and this great hindrance to their Christian fellowship and service removed.

For some time past Messrs. Cave and Son, of Rushden, have had a branch factory at Olney, and on Friday a meeting of the employees was held in the factory and addressed by one of the junior members of the firm, with the view of inducing the men to pledge themselves to stay in if the Union should endeavour to get them out. They were assured that if they stood by the firm plenty of work would be found them. The men, it is alleged, evinced a decided inclination to stand by the firm. Messrs. Cave have, we understand, acquired the premises formerly occupied by the late Mr. S. E. Owen, and intend to increase their operations there.

On Monday evening a meeting of the men from Podington and Wymington who work for Rushden shops was held at the "Wheatsheaf," Rushden. About 20 men were present, who were addressed by Mr. Leeland and Mr. Oldershaw. We understand that as the result of the meeting it was decided to cease work if necessary, and 17 of the number present joined the Union.

Of the Union was held at the Public Hall, Rushden, on Monday evening, when the usual business of the branch was transacted. The quarterly balance-sheet showed that £209 9s. had been received in contributions during the quarter, and amongst the items of expenditure were £30 4s. 1d., £26 12s., and £32 0s. 10d., paid to the Council on the 15th of June, July, and August respectively. Grants to Norwich of £10, and Stafford £2, to friends at Bizley £1 5s., and Raunds 6s. 6d., had also been made. The Monthly Report of the Union makes a brief reference to the dispute in this district, and states that the suggestion made by their representative for the settlement of the dispute was rejected by a mass meeting of the men.

A meeting was held at the mens' club-house, the "Swan" Higham, to take steps to organise relief for those who will be the sufferers during the strike. As is well known the two bands of Rushden are almost without exception composed of members of the craft, and the operatives in each have decided to amalgamate and form a band for the purpose of obtaining subscriptions for the support of the wives and families affected by the dispute. It was also decided to visit different towns and villages in the district with this object in view, taking Bozeat, Olney, and Wolverton first. The following were chosen as the Ways and Means Commitee:—Mr. E. Garrod, chairman; Mr. A. Auger, secretary; Mr. A. Mantle, assistant-secretary; Mr. A. Upton, treasurer; and Messrs. C. Bollard, H. Auger, H. Goodliffe, J. Lichfield, T. Jaques, and J. Garley.

The amalgamated band mentioned above began their tour on Thursday, starting from the Green en route for Bozeat, Olney, and Wolverton, from whence they are expected home tonight, tomorrow they intend visiting the "Holy Land." They are preceded by a large placard borne aloft stating their object, and a number of "shop-mates" are provided with collecting boxes.

Higham is far less affected by the strike than the neighbouring villages, as not many firms are at present interested in it, the others not being connected with the Manufacturers' Association. The employers affected are Mr. C. Parker, who employs a considerable number of hands, Mr. H. Sanders who has a smaller factory, and Mr. T. Patenall, who does not employ many hands. Those at work are Messrs. Parker & Co., Abraham Groome, and G. Shelton. On Tuesday evening Mr. Owen Parker called the indoor employees of the firm together, and in a short address said that circumstances had arisen which compelled the firm to adopt the extreme measure of locking out their employees. This had been brought about through no fault of their own, and he sincerely hoped it would be of short duration. He, personally, had tried to do all he could to bring about amicable arrangements with the Unionists, but unfortunately without success. He assured them that the factory should be opened to them at the earliest possible moment, when the difficulty with the Union had been removed, and he hoped they would all very shortly get into full swing again.

On Monday afternoon last Mr. Geo. Denton, in compliance with the expressed wish of the workpeople, met the whole of his Irchester employees for the purpose of discussing the wages question, and with the object of arriving at a mutual understanding with regard to the intentions of the rivetters and finishers in the present crisis. Mr. John Letts, shoe manufacturer, of Irchester, also attended, and expressed his readiness to follow whatever course might be adopted by Mr. Denton. About 60 rivetters and finishers attended, and at the outset Mr. Denton said that as he understood Mr. Leeland was in the place, he should be very pleased if he would attend, as he did not wish to say anything behind Mr. Leeland's back, and would prefer him to be present. Two of the workmen at once left the meeting to try and induce Mr. Leeland to attend, but returned saying they could not find him.—Mr. Denton then gave the history of the negotiations with the Rushden workpeople up to the present rupture. The manufacturers had met Mr. Leeland for the express purpose of hearing a proposal which he said he felt sure would settle the matter, and after discussion they agreed to it, and thought the matter was amicably settled. Notwithstanding this arrangement, however, the men had been called out, with the result that a general lock-out was about to take place. In reply to a question from a laster, as to whether Mr. Denton would agree to a statement of prices to be paid by all Irchester manufacturers, Mr. Denton said he was prepared to pay the same as other employers. He had always endeavoured to benefit the working man, and wished to do so now; and if they would say what they thought to be right in the matter, he would meet them and discuss the question any time. With regard to the army work, he was also prepared to pay the price agreed to by other manufacturers. Another laster, having given Mr. Leeland's version of his interview with the manufacturers, asked Mr. Denton to say if this was correct, as on the one hand they had Mr. Leeland's version, and on the other hand the Manufacturers' manifesto; and if they had it from Mr. Denton's own mouth they felt they could rely upon what he said.—Mr. Denton replied that the statement as issued by the secretary of the Employers’ Association was correct in every detail. He was present when the Association met Mr. Leeland, and they could take it from him that the employers' manifesto was the true version.—The employees then unanimously decided that whatever course the Union might adopt they would remain loyal to the firm, and would continue to work as long as they had work to do.

The newly-formed Irchester Branch of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives came to a sudden and ultimately end on Wednesday at Irchester. During the past few weeks the Union representatives of this district have been making strenuous efforts to obtain a footing in the village. Their efforts have so far been successful as to form a branch and elect officers. The members had commenced paying subscriptions; but at a meeting held at Irchester on Wednesday, when all except three members were present, it was decided to wind up the affair and sever their connection with the Union, This being the unanimous opinion of the meeting the funds were equally divided, the men receiving 4d. for each 7d. paid into the branch. The late members decided to keep their 7d. for the future, and to continue working for their employers as usual.—We understand, however, that an effort will be made to resuscitate the branch.

Some dissatisfaction was expressed among smaller firms at one or two of the leading factories being opened on Thursday. One of these, however, stopped altogether yesterday afternoon. As it was, only four or five closers were at work, and these, having joined the Union, were required to come out. We understand that considerably over 100 girls have been enrolled on the Union's books since last week, and will receive strike pay during the dispute. Messrs. Cave and Sons have drafted a number of their employees and also machinery to their branch establishments at Olney and Stanwick.

Up to the 'time of writing no further change has taken place in the aspect of affairs, and there is at present no sign whatever of a compromise being arrived at. It is estimated by good authorities that at least 5,000 people are now out of work in the three places, out of a population of about 14,000.

We have received a number of letters concerning the strike, but the pressure upon our space compels us to give a short summary of their contents:—

" A Striker'' writes us an intemperate letter in which he anticipates the Divine judgments upon the manufacturers.

"A Lover of Peace" suggests that the subject in dispute should be referred to three arbitrators, one chosen by the employers, another by the men, and the third a disinterested person.

Mr. H. Knight says that on visiting Rushden Cemetery last Sunday, he was surprised to see that the moss wreaths had been removed from the top of a newly-made grave, underneath which there lie the remains of a relative of a local manufacturer. The wreaths were placed at the head of the grave, and under them was placed one of the bills recently issued by the Manufacturers' Association, with the word "intimidation" conspicuously exhibited. Our correspondent very properly condemns the bad taste of such a proceeding, and we are sure that the men generally will regret such an incident.

Wellingborough News, 7th November 1890

BozeatThe Rushden Non-Unionists
Some members of the Rushden Bands paraded this village yesterday morning on behalf of the strikers at Rushden.

Wellingborough News, 14th November 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Strike in The Rushden District
The strike amongst the workmen in the Rushden district still continues: and though rumours have been and are still rife regarding one side or the other "giving in," such a thing has not yet taken place, nor does it appear, from enquiry, that such is likely to be the case. Suggestions have been plentiful, but as yet none have been acted upon. Correspondence on the question has not yet diminished, but rather increased, and letters between Mr. Inskip and Mr. Newman, representing the Union and the Manufacturers' Association respectively, arising out of a communication from the ministers of the town have been published during the week.

A meeting was held at Irchester on Friday evening, when Mr. Leeland replied to Mr. Denton's letter, which appeared in our columns last Friday.

Regarding the statement contained in Mr. Newman's letter of last week that the 7-16th edge was not paid on at Daventry, it was rumoured early in the week that a contradiction to this had been received, and this is confirmed by a later communication from Mr. Inskip. Another report current was that the men at Messrs. Cave & Son's factories at Olney and Stanwick had been called off, but this requires confirmation.

The efforts of the amalgamated band have met with considerable success. The first tour was to Bozeat, Olney, Newport Pagnell, and Stony Stratford; Wolverton and Beadwell were done on Friday; and on Saturday the musicians travelled to Finedon, Burton Latimer, and Kettering, a large number seeing them off. The total receipts for the three days, we are informed, were £24 0s. 2d.; and after all expenses had been defrayed a balance of about £10 5s. remained to be handed to the Ways and Means Committee.

The Band collected at Northampton on Tuesday and Wednesday the sum of £28 5s., and this amount being chiefly in coppers weighed over six stone.

An opinion was abroad on Monday that the dispute was to be settled on that day, and a large number of men waited about the Coffee Tavern, where it was supposed a meeting of the manufacturers was to take place, but as a matter of fact such a meeting did not come off.

Tuesday evening saw a slight demonstration at the Temperance meeting, against the chairman (Mr. G. Denton), but we need hardly say that the intrusion of a strike into a temperance meeting is generally condemned by the men.

The men were delighted on the arrival of our evening contemporaries on Tuesday, to see a letter from Mr. Inskip, giving the men's side of the case with regard to the edge. On Thursday, a lengthy reply was published from Mr. Newman, who controverted the statements made by Mr. Inskip. With reference to an allusion made by Mr. Inskip, to the possibility of holding a conference between representatives of the manufacturers and the men, Mr. Newman accepted the suggestion on behalf of the manufacturers, and stated that they were willing to appoint six to confer with a like number on behalf of the men.

On Friday evening, a meeting was held in the large room of the Red Lion Inn, under the auspices of the Shoe Operatives Union. The chair was occupied by Mr. A. Upton, of Rushden, who regretted the absence of many who had before....

Wellingborough News, 21st November 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins [part of the article]

The Men Resume Work
We are pleased to report that the question in dispute between the Rushden manufacturers and their employees has been referred to arbitration, and that the strike and lock-out are now at an end,

With a view of re-opening negotiations upon the edge question, a conference, mutually agreed upon, between six representatives of the Men's Union and six manufacturers, was held at the Coffee Tavern, Rushden, on Monday afternoon. The time arranged was two o'clock, but it was about a quarter-past three before the delegates arrived. There were eventually present: Mr. E. Claridge, Mr. Paul Cave, Mr. O. Parker, Mr. F. Knight, and Mr. F. Newman (secretary of the Manufacturers' Association); Mr. W. Inskip (General Secretary)......

Meeting of the Men
A mass meeting of the operatives was arranged to take place in the New Hall on Monday evening, at seven o'clock. A procession, headed by the combined strike bands, was formed in Higham Ferrers, and from there and Irthlingborough large numbers flocked into the hall, indeed scores had to be refused admission. The large hall was packed in every part, the audience also comprising a good number of females, who have recently joined the Union. Mr. F. Skeels (president of the local branch), was in the chair, and on the platform were Mr. W. Inskip, Mr. E. Leeland, Mr. W. Oldershaw, Mr. W. C. Wills (secretary) and other prominent members of the local section, and the following members of the Wellingborough branch: Mr. E. Hornsey (president), Mr. J. London (secretary), Mr. A. Hester, and Mr. L. Pycroft.

The Chairman made a few introductory remarks, and at once called upon

Mr. Leeland, who said he wished to take the opportunity of replying to the inuendoes relating ...........

End of the Lock-Out
At the meeting of the Manufacturers' Association on Tuesday night it was decided with practical unanimity that the factories be all thrown open on the following Wednesday morning, on the terms of the statement, with the exception of the item regarding the 7-16 edge, which should be submitted to arbitration, as suggested by Mr. Inskip. Should the decision be adverse to the masters they agreed to pay all arrears from, the date on which the statement came into force to the present time. The meeting lasted from 7.30 till nearly 11 o'clock. Upon the members of the Association emerging from the Hall (where their deliberations were conducted), they were received with hissing and hooting from a portion of the crowd, one or two of the principal manufacturers and the Secretary (Mr. F. Newman) being especially singled out for hostile demonstration. Thinking men, however, regret and condemn this uncalled for display of feeling, especially at a time when there is a prospect of a settlement of the dispute.

From Wellingborough & Kettering News 21/11/1890, transcribed by Peter Brown

The Rushden strike band visited Raunds on Monday afternoon and played round the village. A large number, attracted by the music, assembled in the streets, and collections were made along the route for the Rushden and District Strike Fund.

Wellingborough News, 28th November 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

A SUGGESTION—An esteemed correspondent writes as follows:—"The award of the arbitrators in favour of the manufacturers will doubtless cause considerable disappointment to the men, but it is hoped they will show themselves strong and manly enough to accept with equanimity an adverse decision. Would it not be a generous thing on the part of the employers to renew their offer to pay on the half-inch as they expressed themselves willing to do? Such an act would prove their goodwill, and surely it could not fail to produce a good effect upon the men; it would also go far to strengthen the amicable relations which have been so recently restored."

Wellingborough News, 28th November 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Strike in the Rushden District
The arbitrators, Messrs. T. Bird and M. P. Manfield, sat at the offices of the Northampton Manufacturers' Association on Wednesday to take evidence upon the point in dispute. They commenced at 11 o'clock, and the sitting lasted until 7.30. The manufacturers were represented by Mr. F. Newman, secretary to the Association, Mr. F. Knight, Mr. Paul Cave, Mr. E. Claridge, Mr. T. Patenall, Mr. S. Robinson, and Mr. O. Parker. On behalf of the men there were present:—Mr. W. Inskip (general secretary of the Union), Mr. F. Inwood (president of the Northampton branch), Mr. D. Hawgood (late Council member), Mr. W. C. Wills (secretary of Rushden branch), Mr. F. Skeels (president), Mr. Colton, and Mr. Abrahams.

Very full evidence was taken, and the award of the arbitrators was made known to the parties about one o'clock yesterday. The following is a copy of the award:— To the Rushden, Higham Ferrers, and Irthlingborough Branch of the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives.


We have carefully gone through the evidence which was given before us, and our decision is:—

The words "when finished" to be placed on the Statement to No. 27, which will then read:—

“7-16th edge, when finished, given out as square edge.”

We are, Gentlemen,
Your obedient servants,
Northampton, 27th Nov., 1890.

Wellingborough News, 5th December 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Recent Dispute in The Rushden District
A meeting of the members of the Rushden, Higham, and Irthlingborough Branch was held at the New Hall, Rushden, on Wednesday evening, to hear an address from Mr. W. Inskip having relation to the arbitrators' award. The General Secretary's appearance was loudly cheered by the men, and upon the platform were also Mr. F. Skeels (president of the branch), Mr. W. C. Wills (secretary), Mr. D. Hawgood (late Council member), Mr. E. Leeland (Council member for the Northampton district), and the members of the Compilation Committee.

Mr. Inskip was cheered on rising. He said he had been in many difficulties and troubles, which he had thought at times could not be overcome but by looking them steadily in the face they had been overcome. That night he was face to face with one which he hardly knew how to meet, but he would be fair and candid. He perhaps might make personal enemies, not as a man, but as an official, he had taken upon himself to bring this matter to a settlement. "Judge ye what I say." They had not been successful, and it was in his place to come and say what had been the cause of their defeat. It was for them to say of what sins of omission or commission he had been guilty. [There is more to this article]

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