Parish Meeting at Conisborough – Stormy Proceedings

April 1886

Mexborough and Swinton Times, April 16, 1886

Parish Meeting at Conisborough
Stormy Proceedings

A parish meeting was called at the Church schoolroom on Friday night, by the overseers, Messrs G.G.Nicholson and Thomas Appleyard, for the purposes of:

  1. Taking into consideration the advisability of forming a local board.
  2. The lighting of Station Road with gas, and extending the same to the streets of Conisborough.
  3. The making of a proper footpath from the station.
  4. The widening of Station Road.
  5. The question of the Brook drainage.

The meeting was well attended by ratepayers, only standing room been available for some.

Mr J Wigfall was elected to the chair by the unanimous vote of the meeting. There were also present Mr Nicholson, solicitor, Doncaster, the clerk to the Lower Office and Tickhill I Recap Board, and Mr Thomas Appleyard (Overseer) and Messrs S Walker, C Kilner, WH Chambers, WR Horsefield, H Wilson, A Senior, H Glasby, J Twibey, E Crawshaw, G Crawshaw, F Ogley, G Appleyard, C Balmforth, JW Crossley, D Barron, H Earnshaw, W Guest, JK Bateson, T Stacey, J Kitching, J Downing, RJ Clarkson, S Whitfield, J Fowler, S Harrison, F Oxley etc.

From the commencement of the proceeding it was evident that partisans of two conflicting opinions were present in about equal numbers, and it was expected, and, unfortunately, the prediction was verified that the proceedings would not be of a quiet or orderly character.

Very few speakers who listened to with any degree of respect, and the majority of them found it utterly impossible to make themselves heard except to their immediate neighbours. The Chairman’s attempt to restore order were rendered futile by loud tone conversations which were carried on the different parts of the room, and for the greater part of the evening the proceedings were only intelligible to those who occupied a seat near the chairman.

The gas question seem to be the debatable point amongst the ratepayers present, and during the progress of the meeting little groups of animated debaters were to be seen discussing the various aspects of the question, regardless of the conduct of the meeting or of the ruling of the chairman.

No very great enthusiasm was manifested were Mr Horsfield rose and proposed that a Local Board be formed for Conisborough, and as there was no seconder the proposition fell through, the inhabitants of the village thus demonstrating that they have no desire for an extension of local government, were quite satisfied to remain as they were, under the control of the Doncaster Highway Board.

This question being disposed of in such an unexpected manner, Mr Blyth rose to propose that the village be lighted with gas, and dwelled for some time upon the advantages that will accrue to the township were the proposition carried into effect.

Mr Kilner seconded the proposition, and strongly commended the project, holding that it was an essential thing that a village of the size of Conisborough should be sufficiently lighted.

Then an amendment was proposed by Mr Ogley, seconded by Mr Barron (on behalf of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company) that the question of the lighting of the village with gas being adjourned to that day 12 months.

This decided opposition to the scheme involved much adverse criticism on the part of the support of the question, and for some time the matter was warmly discussed.

Mr WH Chambers (on behalf of the Denaby Main Colliery Company) supported the amendment for obvious reasons, and this further opposition was the subject for more comment. After the meeting had thrashed out the contending points to their own satisfaction, an appeal was made to the Chairman to declare whether the resolution or amendment was carried.

Mr Wilson rose and said: If you will hear me – (Cries of “Sit down” and uproar) – Mr Chairman, I should like to ask, has there been a resolution and an amendment put before the meeting, and if so which was carried.

Mr Appleyard: I am surprised at Mr Wilson putting a question of that kind.

Mr Harrison: Mr Chairman, I propose an adjournment for taking a poll.

A Voice: Who’s going to pay the expenses?

A Voice: Anybody can demand a poll.

Mr Kilner remarked that anyone could demand a poll.

Mr Nicholson read from the Act of Parliament, which said that any voter had a right to demand a poll. The chairman could act as he saw fit whether he took a poll then or adjourned it.

After more disorder amongst which several nonlegal gentlemen were her to express the opinion that nobody could demand a poll unless they bore the expense. The Chairman answered that Mr Crawshaw had demanded a poll and it had been suggested that that meeting be adjourned until that day week.

A man named Wilson eros from the body of the hall and said: Are you going to adjourn this meeting? If you do you will have so much money to put down according to an Act of Parliament. (Laughter)

The Chairman: The next business is the making of a footpath.

Wilson: I have got the chair, and I’m not going to sit down until I have got an answer stop. (Laughter)

The Chairman: The matter is settled.

Wilson: If Mr Crawshaw is going to demand a poll, according to act of Parliament, (great laughter)

Mr Kilner: You don’t know anything about the Act of Parliament. (Laughter)

Wilson: You must allow a novice to know a bit about the Act of Parliament. (Laughter). If Mr Crawshaw demands this poll, he will have the money to deposit according to Act of Parliament. (Laughter)

Mr Kilner: Every gentleman in this room is willing to abide by the ruling of the chair, and you ought to sit down.

Wilson: It is not right, and I can’t stand it. (Laughter.) This persevering gentleman then waved his legal rights, and sat down, content with explanation of Mr Kilner’s.

Mr Kilner then moved that the meeting be adjourned until the following Friday. Chairman explained that as the time was so late, it would better to adjourn the meeting, leaving other matters to be discussed next Friday.

The meeting then broke up, having lasted over two hours.