Most Devoted Of Public Men – Mr J Brocklesby J.P. (picture)

December 1927

Mexborough and Swinton Times December 30, 1927

Mr J Brocklesby J.P.
A Most Devoted Of Public Men

Mr John Brocklesby, J.P. died at his home in Holywell Lane, Conisborough at the age of 68.

On December 15, following a presentation to him marking the completion of 50 years service as a local preacher in the Wesleyan Methodist Society, Mr Brocklesby had a slight seizure in the vestry. He was assisted home, but never recovered, in spite of the hopes that were entertained of complete restoration.

Mr Brocklesby was born in 1859 at Holton le Moor in Lincolnshire, where his father was a farmer. As a youth he was apprenticed with Mrs Guy and Brocklesby, grocers of Hull, Mr Brocklesby in the firm been a relation. He served the firm for 10 years, and then took a position with a Sheffield firm. He was married in 1884, the first three years of his married life being spent in Sheffield.

Coming to Conisborough in the Jubilee year, Mr Brocklesby purchased the grocery business of Messrs Booth, brothers and three years later acquired adjoining property, opening a boot and shoe department is rapidly growing store. He retired from business in 1914, went to live at Carlton House, Conisborough, removing into his last address, 11 weeks before his sudden illness.

Mr Brocklesby had been interested in local government ever since he came to Conisborough. He was a member of the Conisborough Parish Council from its inception in 1894, and tried hard to get a local Board formed before then. If he had been successful in this endeavour, Conisborough would have been spared a long fight, extending over 20 years, for urban powers, for with the passing of the local Government Act of 1894, the local Board would immediately have become an urban authority.

However, although his project was then defeated by fellow townsmen, he willingly gave them his services in the extended fight for an improved status, and took over the duties of secretary to the first Urban Powers Committee formed between 20 and 30 years ago, and composed of 30 members of the Parish Council and 13 other ratepayers. The County Council granted the first application, but on an appeal being lodged by the Denaby and Cadeby Collieries Co Ltd at the Doncaster Rural District Council, who were opposed to the application, an inspector of the Local Government Board held an enquiry, and the appeal was allowed, the decision of the West Riding County Council being reversed.

The township then put forward another scheme, which met with precisely the same fate as the previous one. Mr Brocklesby and his colleagues never ceased fighting, however, but before their further plans were mature, the Great War intervened. Some years ago another Urban Powers Committee was formed, with Mr Brocklesby as its chairman, and this time the appeal by the opposition was unsuccessful. The district became an urban district, and for the first year, Mr HC Harrison was elected chairman, Mr Brocklesby being chairman for the second year of the new Council’s existence.

Mr Brocklesby had been chairman of the parish council for five years, and retired from that position been appointed a Justice of the Peace for the West Riding in 1907. In 1910 he was elected a member of the County Council for the old Tickhill Division in succession to the late Mr C.D. Nicholson. He was senior overseer for the last 25 years, and was a member of the Don Valley Assessment Committee.

Mr Brocklesby also displayed a great interest in the administrative departments of the educational life of the district. He was a member of the oldest School Board throughout its existence, and was chairman for three years. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Mexborough secondary school from the very commencement to the time of his death.

Throughout his life Mr Brocklesby supported the Wesleyan Methodist Church, and had held every position in that church which it was possible for a layman to hold. He preached his first sermon in Waltham Street Chapel, Hull, 50 years ago, when he was only 18 years old, at the time of his death he was a local preacher of the Oxford Place plan at Conisborough. He had held the office of circuit steward for four years and was a trustee of the Hexthorpe, Bawtry, Misson, and Wadworth chapels.

He was often at church conferences, either as a representative of the circuit, or as an ordinary layman. Between them, Mr Brocklesby and his father put in 100 years of preaching services for the Wesleyan Message Church, and it is in the nature of a coincidence that Mr Brocklesby’s father’s last illness also occurred in the Wesleyan Chapel, this being at the Norfolk St, Chapel Sheffield.

In politics Mr Brocklesby was a member of the Liberal Party and he took a prominent part in a number of Parliamentary elections.

Mr Brocklesby leaves a widow and four sons. Mr George Brocklesby is a chartered accountant and clerk to the Edlington Parish Council; Mr John Herbert Brocklesby is an assistant schoolmaster at Anston near Sheffield. Mr Philip Brocklesby is a chemist in Hull; and Mr Harold Brocklesby is in partnership with a cousin in the tile business in Bedfordshire.

A funeral service was held at the Wesleyan Church, Conisborough, yesterday, the remains afterwards being taken to Sheffield for cremation.