South Yorkshire Time, July 16, 1937
To celebrate their 60th Anniversary the “Times” did potted histories of the Dearne Valley Village. These are extracts from the Conisborough and Denaby ones.
Urban power struggle
Of the questions which have aroused interest in Conisborough during the life of this paper, and there are many, one stands out very prominently. I refer, of course, to the long continued struggle for Urban Powers.
By common consent one must regard the late Mr. John Brocklesby, J. P., as the champion of the cause of the promoters. He was well versed in local government law and practice, patient when victory, apparently within sight, was frustrated by local quibbles. Nothing could shake his belief that the cause advocated was right and just and therefore must prevail.
“The chief a of the opposition was, of course, the representative of the colliery company, the late Mr. W. H. Chambers, a strongman, or he would not have occupied the position he did. He was devoted to the interests of his company, and, as in his view, the grant of urban powers with an extended area which would embrace the Cadeby pithead works across the Don, would adversely affect the finances of his company, he felt it his duty to oppose, and opposing did such effect that the grant of the powers sought was delayed several years, the first Urban District Council being elected in 1921.
“Notable among able advocates briefed by the opposition was Mr Rufus Isaacs. His brilliant and witty arguments made a great impression on those who heard him, but no one at the time imagined that they were listening to a future Lord chief justice, Gov general of India, and Foreign Secretary, all of which positions he occupied in turn.
“There can be no doubt that the conferment of urban powers on the area has resulted in very definite improvements in the district, particularly in sanitation. The retched, malodorous middens, so thoroughly ventilated at the various enquiries, have almost disappeared, and many of the older houses had been scheduled for demolition, not before time. The council has pursued a bold housing policy, and I am not concerned to can comment on the contract or direct labour controversy; the point to the good is, much-needed houses have been built.
“Through the highly appreciated courtesy of the management of this paper I receive a copy of each weeks issue of all the major happenings, and so I keep in touch with Conisborough’s affairs and people. Good luck to everyone who is striving to make Conisborough a better place to live
“In conclusion may I express my very best wishes for the continued prosperity of the South Yorkshire Times.”