Parishioners' meeting 1924

Buckingham Advertiser, 29 March

WINSLOW WAKES UP.
Live Committee Appointed to Boost the Town.
Mr. Wigley Carries the Banner of “Progressives” to Success Despite Mr. Monk’s Onslaught
THREAT OF INJUNCTION OVER SEWERAGE NUISANCE.

The Oddfellows’ Hall, Winslow, was packed on Tuesday evening, when a parishioners’ meeting was called for the purpose of considering what preliminary steps should be taken for the advancement of the town’s interests.  The outcome was the appointment of a strong committee of 17 business men, who will consider suggestions for the betterment of the town and make recommendations which will be submitted to further parish meetings, which, in turn, will decide whether to pass on the recommendations to the Parish and District Councils.

One of the first questions the committee will consider will be that of the provision of a water supply for Winslow.

Mr. S. P. Wigley gave an exhaustive statement of the purpose for which the meeting had been convened.

Amongst others present were Captain and Miss Lambton, Messrs. J. C. Hawley, J. Colgrove, W. H. Stevens, H. A. Paine, D. Walker, A. G. Walker, J. G. Wynne, J. E. Mynott, W. G. Wise, W. M. Neal, S. R. Holden, W. Emerson, W. N. Midgley, D. Sanderson, E. A. Byford, W. E. Woodman, E. A. Illing, JP, CC, and Mrs Illing, L. J Hawley and Mrs. Hawley, F. Walker, E. W. Green, T. D. Curtis, W. T. George, W. R. Monk, E. Parrott, W. T. and R. J. Matthews, F. J. M. Coates, H. Croft, A. J. Illing, G. O. Long, A. O. Fulks, R. Benbow, A. Coates, A. Meanwell, A. Moores, S. P. Wigley, A. J. Clear (Chairman of the Parish Council), W. Wise (Vice-Chairman), and H. J. Ray (Clerk), Mrs. Shapland and Miss I. M French.

HOW IT STARTED.

Mr. Ray first read the notice convening the meeting and the requisition, which read as follows:-

Winslow, Bucks.
February 25th, 1924.
To the Clerk of the Parish Council.

Dear Sir.- We, the undersigned ratepayers in the parish of Winslow, beg to call the attention of your Council to the following matters:

In consequence of lack of organisation for the betterment of the town as exists in the majority of towns within such a short distance of London, the trade and character of the town are seriously suffering …

… We would advocate the formation of a special committee to consider the report to a public meeting what steps should, in their opinion, be taken for the betterment of the town, whether that involves the institution of a water supply, electric lighting or advertisement, with a view to the development of the town and district generally, whether as a residential district or with a view to getting a factory or factories opened up here to find more employment.  We would point out that the lack of a water supply in Winslow has in the past been the cause of preventing factories opening, and at the same time has prevented the building development generally which would otherwise have taken place.

If the town can be made to develop, bringing in its train an all-round improvement in trade, then something should be done, and we feel that if the competition of adjoining towns is to be met some steps must be taken at once, or the town will go down to posterity and become nothing more or less than an over-grown village, the benefit of whose trade will centre in the surrounding and more progressive towns.

Yours faithfully,

Thomas G. Dickson, Isabel M. French, E. R. Neal, S. R. Holden, A. O Fulks, R.J Matthews, J. C. Hawley, E. A. Illing, S. P. Wigley, P. H. Walton, F. French, Herbert A. Paine, Joseph Colgrove, W. E. Woodman, S. R. and D. F. Midgley, Arthur Meanwell, Dennis G. Smith.

Mr. Clear was voted to the chair, on the motion of Mr. A. Moores, seconded by Mr. W.R. Monk.

“OPENING THE BALL.”
MR. WIGLEY’S STATEMENT.
COMMITTEE OF BUSINESS MEN.

… I ought to draw a certain amount of contrast between what the town was and what it is.   For a number of years – and, at any rate, in my lifetime – there was a friendly rivalry between this town and a neighbouring town.  They were going ding-dong, and for a number of years they kept more or less apace.  That neighbouring town pretty nearly cut its head off twice by refusing to have the railway through it.  Winslow has cut its head off many times, but we are still alive, although we are what I might term a puny child.

OPPORTUNITIES MISSED.

Forty years ago, we had the opportunity of getting a big factory here which is now at Aylesbury [Nestlé].  I only want you to bear this in mind, that if that factory had come here it would have employed a great many hands; it would have necessitated an increased number of houses, and the tradesmen would have benefited from that increase in building development.

On the question of population, the town has decreased by 166 persons, according to the last Census …

RULED BY VILLAGES.

If we go to the District Council, we find that we have two representatives on that body, and what can two men do with all the rest of the members against them?  It means that the town of Winslow is practically ruled by the villages surrounding it, instead of by the town and what the town wants.  (Applause.)  At the present time, I am afraid that our population is too small to think of our having an Urban District Council for the town …

ELECTRIC LIGHT.

Now I come to matters to which I want you to pay particular attention.  There is the question of electricity.  If we were going to ask you to put your hands in your pockets to form a company, or if we were going to tell you that there was going to be a charge on the rates as regards electric lighting the signatories to that letter would never have probably put their names to the requisition, but in consequence of what the Government are advocating and the creation by the Government of statutory undertakings throughout the length and breadth of the land, the Aylesbury Borough Council have written to our District Council a letter following on the recent conference held by representatives of various Councils, giving them three alternatives by which we might get electricity here.  The first of these alternatives I will not deal with.  The second alternative suggests that there should be a Joint Electricity Board, which would necessitate the District Council putting up contributory funds.  The third alternative is a very different matter, and is in the following form on the questionnaire sent to the District Council by the Aylesbury Corporation:   Would your Council prefer to allow a supply of electricity delivered by the Aylesbury Corporation to the premises of consumers in your area?

Is that not just what we want?  If this meeting expresses its views on that question, it must have a bearing on the decision of the District Council …

LOST TRADE.

Another matter which this committee should consider is the question of shopping hours, but I am not sure that that is a matter which concerns parishioners and ratepayers, and if it does not then I hope that your committee will strongly recommend to the tradesmen of the town that they should do something to retain and get back trade which I for one am confident they have lost.

It is impossible for anyone to stand at a certain place in the Market Square, where people come in and go out, and listen to what they have to say without knowing that trade is being lost to Winslow.  You cannot go into the villages around without hearing other complaints, and you cannot go about with your eyes and ears open without knowing that trade which used to come to Winslow is going to other places…

THE BONE OF CONTENTION.

Now I come to the bone of contention – the question of water works.  Here, the committee are very anxious that you should not be committed to an undertaking;  you should not commit yourselves this evening to anything until you know the facts of the matter.

In order that full particulars may be placed before the committee and in order to enable them in turn to report very fully to another parish meeting, a number of gentlemen have subscribed towards the fees of an engineer whom they are inviting down to make a preliminary survey and report regarding a water supply for the town….

..The question of whether it will be practical to go in for a water supply on that report, I am not prepared to go into this evening, because until I, for one, as well as the rest of the committee, and in conjunction with you, have the full facts before us and know whether the benefit to be derived will warrant the expenditure, will not give approval to a water scheme. We can only reach a decision when we have received the engineer’s report…

COST £8,000 TO £12,500.

Supposing we did find from the engineer’ report that a water scheme was practicable and that it could be carried out at a certain cost.  In the circular you have all had, or should have had, I have dealt rather exhaustively with that and the question of its relation to certain properties.

My idea was originally confined to the whole of the houses on Avenue Road, but somebody told me that there was a certain gentleman living at the top of the town who would be very dissatisfied if he did not find set out what his rates would likely be in a water scheme.  Therefore, in order to oblige him, particularly having regard to the interest he took in the last parish meeting we had on the water works, the Piccadilly houses were put in. (Laughter.)

In this example, there are two amounts set out, from £8,000 to £12,500 and the rates it would entail.  You have also had set before you in the circular, as regards the Avenue Road and the Piccadilly houses, exactly what certain rates, if levied, would entail per annum on these houses…

… And if we embarked on a water supply scheme at the present time, we might get a grant from the Unemployment Committee …

POPULATION HIGHEST 60 YEARS AGO.

The Chairman remarked that the population of Winslow was at its highest sixty years ago.  It was then 1,861, and it had now gone down to 1,532.  The peculiar part of it was that the town now possessed more houses than it did 60 years ago.  He would leave it to others who were wiser than he to explain the reason why.

Mr. W. R. Monk asked whether there was any proposition before the meeting.

Mr. Wigley : I propose first that we appoint a committee of 15 business men to consider the whole scheme and report to a further meeting.

Mr. W. T. Matthews seconded.

MR. MONK ON THE WARPATH.
THREATENS ACTION IF SEWERAGE NUISANCE NOT ABATED.

Mr. Monk stated that he did not wish to criticise a great many of Mr. Wigley’s suggestions.  “I am here only on behalf of the ratepayers,” he declared …

… Continuing, he remarked that Mr. Wigley had missed several things. For instance, Winslow was a centre of agriculture, but Mr. Wigley had never said a word about agriculture – (applause) – yet he had more to do with agriculture, or should know more about it, than anybody else.

AGRICULTURISTS’ HARD TIMES.

We agriculturists have gone through rotten times (proceeded Mr Monk) …

...There is another matter I want to bring to your notice.  Twenty years ago we had a sewerage scheme.  That was carried through by a Parochial Committee and Mr. Illing and myself are the only remaining members of that committee.  The scheme we adopted was formulated by Mr. Johnson, who told us that his scheme would last for 100 years.  The work was carried out by Messrs. Curtis, under the supervision of Mr. Wise, and I have every confidence that the scheme, as far as their work is concerned, will last the period stated.

TALKS OF AN INJUNCTION.

But the sewerage farm has been choked up for years.  It doesn’t function.  It doesn’t filter.  Tuckey Farm is the sewerage farm.  (Loud laughter.)  Years ago I could have made the Council spend a lot of money, but I have never put the town to a farthing’s expense, but when we hear of schemes afoot to raise the rates of Winslow, I am going to put my foot down and say that the first charge on the public money is going to be to put the sewerage farm in order and stop my nuisance…

GETS AFTER MR. WIGLEY.

…Mr. Wigley is very kind to come to Winslow and tell us what to do.  Mr. Wigley lives at Steeple Claydon – (laughter) – and if we have a water scheme, electric light and other things, Mr. Wigley won’t come and live at Winslow.  He has the alternative, if he doesn’t like the way we exist, of staying at Steeple Claydon.  I should be very sorry, though, as I like him because he amuses me.  (Laughter.)…

NO EXECUTIVE POWERS.

,,,The Chairman remarked that the Parish Council had no power over a water supply, and that it could only suggest it to the Rural District Council…

74 MORE HOUSES IN 35 YEARS.

Mr. W. Wise said he had a few remarks to make which might enlighten the audience a little.  During the 35 years he had been in the parish there had been twelve houses pulled down in the town, while 86 new houses had been erected, so that at the present time there were 74 more houses in the town than there were 35 years ago.  He could tell them where they were…

WHAT IS WRONG AT THE FARM.

…With regard to building development, he had erected ten of the 74 houses alluded to, and he had raised the ratable [sic] value of Winslow more than another single individual living during the past 35 years.  A water scheme would be very useful and very convenient for many people and many properties, but when they tried to bring on a water scheme 22 years ago it could have been carried out then at a cost of £4,000.  They heard now from Mr. Wigley that the cost would be £8,000 or £12,500, and whether the music could be faced now rested with the ratepayers.  For his part, he was not going to oppose the scheme although he and his son had spent £150 to get water for their property and had overcome the difficulty that stood in their way some 20 years ago …

ROOM FOR 70 MORE HOUSES.

…The resolution was then put and carried by 107 votes to three, and a committee was appointed, as given elsewhere.

ELECTRIC LIGHT.

Mr. Wigley said that he had a further proposal to make, which was that they should request the District Council to agree to Aylesbury’s third alternative scheme for supplying electricity – that was of allowing the Aylesbury Corporation itself to supply direct to consumers in the district.

Mr. H. C. Stock seconded.

Replying to a question, Mr   Wigley said that electricity would be supplied on the same principle as gas, namely, that the company would take it as far as the property of the consumer, who would have to bear the cost of his connections on his own property.

The resolution was carried.

WINSLOW’S CHOICE.
THE MEN APPOINTED TO BOOST THE TOWN.

The following were elected as members of the Town Advancement Committee at the meeting:

            Mr. S. P. Wigley.
            “     G. O. Long.
            “     R. Matthews.
            “     W. Wise.
            “     W. H. Stevens.
            “     L. J Hawley.
            “     E. A. Illing.
            “     W. N. Midgley.
            “     A. J. Clear.
            “     H. C. Stock.
            “     W. Neal. 
            “     W. E. Woodman.
            “     W. G. Chowles.
            “     F. Walker.
            “     J. Colgrove.
            “     E. T. Lines.
            “     Coates (of Shipton).

OUR (HOT) WATER WORKS.
A “Stirring” Ballad from the Winslowites’ Little Garden of Verses.

They called a Parish Meeting, and they fixed the hour at eight,
They said to us come early, or else you’ll be too late
To listen to the sermon – I mean the facts we’ll state
About a better Winslow and its influence on the rate.
So to the City Fathers we will give an urgent call,
To meet the City Mothers at the Oddfellows’ Hall.
We have the “Foot and Mouth Disease,” but, by George, we’ll let you know
That we’re not quite dead at Winslow, and we still have got some “go.”
But the burden of my song is this, - it droppeth like the rain,
We all went into the meeting there – and we all came out again!

(Interlude.)

            We only met one golden day, and then we had to part,
            For you it was an hour or two, with me it was my heart.
            You will forget, and I shall try – but ‘tis an idle dream,
            For I must sing to you again, my one and only theme.

We all went into the meeting there, the fair men and the dark,
The men who are out for progress, and the men who built the Ark.
An hour or two we borrowed, because the time was Lent,
In the midst of Fire and Water the hours were quickly spent.
But, like the Israelitish Children, we came forth unconsumed.
Again to take our places when the subject is resumed.
So matters were debated, restated, agitated
And to a Town Committee at last were relegated.
And here once more I’ll state the fact – your feelings pray restrain –
We all went into the meeting there – and we all came out again!

(Second Interlude.)

            Little drops of water, little beds of sand,
            Make a good beginning for a better land,
            While a few more houses, or a factoree,
            Are the sure precursors of more £ s. d.

The odours from the Sewage Farm were wafted on the breeze,
And whether “public spirited” were quite the men to please.
But at last we got to business and the names were taken down
Of the men who are appointed to “elevate” the town;
But whether their number’s up or not, and whether the water’s cold or hot,
And whether we shall or we shall not, well this deponent knoweth not,
Still, whether we break, or whether we bend,
            we pay our rates “world without end,”
And finally I would append, that from all evil “grace defend.”
But whatever else may be in doubt, there’s one thing I’ll make plain,
We all went into the meeting there – and we all came out again!

(Grand Final Chorus.)

            Waft, waft, ye spicy breezes,
            And you, ye waters, roll,
            Till Winslow much increases,
            Or else it’s “up the pole”!

And now, of course, you’re asking – who can this writer be?
So I’ll at once enlighten you, and thus solve the mysteree,
For it’s Jick, Jock, Jonathan Jock, all in a kind of frenzy,
He is supposed to be lying in bed, suff’ring from Influenzy,
So all the Policemen and Private Detectives are looking in vain for
                                                            JONATHAN JOCK MACKENZIE [actually W.N. Midgley]


Copyright 17 May, 2021