Mr G B Holdsworth, J.P.
Coming Wedding to Miss Highley

Yesterday an interesting and happy gathering was held on the lawn at Shaw Lodge, where the employees of Messrs. J. Holdsworth and Co. assembled to celebrate the approaching marriage on Tuesday Next of Mr. George Bertram Holdsworth, J.P., elder son of Mr. Clement Holdsworth, J.P.
The conditions were ideal, and whilst the employees were assembling, selections were played by the Shibden Boys' Band. A special platform had been erected, and on the front were a choice selection of ferns and exotic plants.
The proceedings, over which Mr. G.R. Pearson presided, were graced by the presence of Mr. and Mrs. C. Holdsworth, Mr. G.B. Holdsworth and his bride (Miss Highley of Harrogate), Capt. and Mrs.  Hugh Holdsworth, and Mr. C.S. Walker.
The staff and workpeople, to show their esteem for Mr. George, subscribed a handsome sum of money, the present being a beautiful canteen of solid silver cutlery, with ivory handles, each piece being inscribed with the recipient's initials, "G.B.H."
On the lid of the canteen was the inscription "Presented to G.B. Holdsworth Esq. J.P., on the occasion of his marriage, by the staff and workpeople of Messrs. John Holdsworth and Co., Shaw Lodge Mills, Halifax, June 2, 1919." To miss Highley a surprise presentation was made of a pair of solid silver candlesticks.

The Chairman thought the position of the firm of Messrs. Holdsworth was unique. The firm was founded just under 100 years ago by Mr. John Holdsworth, who had four sons - William, George, Thomas and John. The present head of the firm, Mr. Clement, was the son of Mr. George. With Mr. G.B. Holdsworth and Captain Hugh Holdsworth connected with the business, the line of descent remained unbroken.

In all the period of its existence the style of the firm had not been altered, and it had not been made into a limited company. It was noted now as it always had been, for its products from the looms, for its yarns, and for strict honesty in the conduct of its business.
Messrs. Holdsworth were the pioneers of education in this district. They built the Whitegate Schools for the education of their half-timers before the Council schools came into existence. It had always been a puzzle to the speaker why Siddal was called Siddal, and why a place called Holdsworth should be on the other side of Holmfield.
They were all proud of the part Mr. George had played in public life. They were pleased that he was chairman of the local Advisory Committee to the Ministry of Labour - a position requiring great tact. They were also glad he was a justice of the peace for the West Riding. He was probably the youngest magistrate in the district, which reflected credit on himself and honour on the firm.
The employees at Shaw Lodge Mills, from the humblest up to Capt. Hugh Holdsworth, had played a worthy part in the war, and when all the men had returned it was hoped to recognise their services. (Applause.)
He hoped the happy relationship which had always existed between the Holdsworth family and their employees would be continued. (Applause.)

Mr. Harry Smith, presenting the canteen of cutlery, thought the public work of Mr. George during the last four or five years, which had brought him into contact with all sorts of people, had broadened his ideas. Alluding to the respect he had for Mr. George, he did not think it would be possible to tempt him to leave Shaw Lodge Mills for any other engagement. On behalf of all the workpeople, he asked Mr. George's acceptance of the gift, and hoped he would find plenty of use for it, and not to be troubled with the Food Controller. (Laughter and applause.)

Mr. J.H. Pickles well remembered Mr. George commencing work at the mills, where he began his career in the warehouse. He received wages like the others, and if he did not put in full time was "baited." The wages in those days were quite different to those prevailing now. It was the duty of employees today to produce as much stuff as possible for the privilege they now enjoyed. Mr. George began at the bottom of the ladder and had risen to the top. He was a worthy son of a worthy father. (Applause.) And had been a great help to the latter.
Mr. Holdsworth bore a heavy burden for many years before his two sons joined the business. The speaker was pleased that two members of old local families were going to be united.

Mr. Sydney Jackson, supporting, referred to Mr. George's thoughtful care for the well-being and the interest of all the workers of Shaw Lodge Mills. They appreciatively remembered the goodwill and kindness so generously showered upon them by Mr. Holdsworth, and looked forward hopefully and confidently to the same good-feeling being continued by Mr. George. In spite of the dark cloud hanging over the industrial world at the present, if commonsense were shown they could look hopefully to the future. (Applause.)

Mr G.B. Holdsworth's REPLY

Mr. G.B. Holdsworth, J.P., rising to respond, was greeted with singing of "For he's a jolly good fellow." The gift, he said, was an outward sign of the good feeling which existed between the workpeople, his father and himself. It had been foreshadowed by previous speakers that those conditions would continue. (Applause.) Most of them knew his father and himself well enough to know that they would not be interfered with by outside influences, but they would always have the workers' welfare in mind in all they did. It was his personal ambition to make Shaw Lodge Mills into the best place of employment not only in Halifax, but in the whole of the West Riding. (Applause.) They must however walk before they could run. The walking period was now, and there were many difficulties which many of the workpeople knew little about. With their loyal help and support, however, he looked forward to the time when they would be in a far happier condition than they were today. He understood all the employees, even the little doffers, had subscribed to the gift and he thanked them, one and all for that magnificent token of their esteem. (Applause.)


Mr. C. Holdsworth, J.P. assured the company that he and his sons would do their duty to the workers at Shaw Lodge Mills, and he only asked that they would do the same. In all affairs of life there was a debtor and a creditor account. There must be no one-sided effort, but all must work together for their mutual benefit. He had had a big responsibility on his shoulders, being left with Shaw Lodge Mills when he was only 32 years of age. Thanks to the co-operation and willing help of the workpeople they had been able to carry on. They could go ahead if they all worked. It was by working, not by slacking, that business was done today.
Germany was sueing for peace today. As soon as it was signed and she knew what she had to do all her workpeople would join together for the love of the country, and to do their best to get Germany where she was in 1914, without the militarism. They must not think that we were going to be without competition five years hence, because we were not, and we ought to make provision for it now. Concluding, he mentioned that it was 19 years since they had a celebration when Mr. George came of age, and 15 years since Mr. Hugh came of age. He hoped they would all live long and happily together, respecting one another and working in harmony.

Mr. S. Peters made the presentation to Miss Highley, and his words of welcome and good wishes were endorsed by Mr. C.F. Sunderland.

Miss Highley appropriately acknowledged the kindness thus shown. Cheers were given for the bride and bridegroom, and for Mr. and Mrs. Holdsworth.

As reported in THE HALIFAX GUARDIAN, 31 May 1919

© 2024 David W. Holdsworth  

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