Conisborough Parish Council – Mr Baker in Charge – Another Entertaining Meeting

May 1907

Mexborough and Swinton Times May 4, 1907

Conisborough Ratepayers.
Another Lively Council Meeting.
The Chairman and His Brother Councillors.
Mr Norwood Urged To Be Quiet.

The 50 ratepayers gathered together on Wednesday evening, in the infants Department of the Station Road school, got that of which they were evidently in search of – an evening of entertainment.

The occasion was the monthly meeting of the Conisborough Parish Council, and the whole event was distinctly funny. Mr Baker talked to his brother councillors, not exactly as a brother, but rather as a father. And they all accepted his dictum with meekness with the possible exception of Mr Norwood, whom the chairman characterised as a disappointed man. Mr Henry Baker presided, and others present were Messrs. W. W. Norwood, H. L. Smethhirst, J. Greathead, W. Appleyard, G. Kilner R. J. Clarkson, A. Hulme, S. Arch, G. Keys, I. Hirst, and G. Brooks, with the clerk (Mr J. Hawksworth), and the cemetery caretaker (Mr. A. Hodgson)

A Misunderstanding

The chairman took exception to an item on the minutes. He was under the impression that they had appointed at the last meeting five members of the district subcommittee, and not, as appeared from the minutes, three members recommending to the county council to others. Were you, he asked of the council, under the impression that we selected Messrs, Brocklesby, Appleyard, and Norwood, and only took Messrs. Arch and Brooks, as recommended?

The Clerk protested that he had set the matter before the council very clearly, and according to the official document received from the county council.

Also a Breeze.

He was supported by Mr Norwood, who said the Clerk had said distinctly to the gentleman would have to be recommended

“you wouldn’t hear anybody but yourself, he said to the chairman.

Mr Baker: Now, sir, if you come here to disturb the meeting I must ask you not to do it. Whatever was said then I must ask you not to mention it. You are talking like a disappointed man.

Mr Norwood: I shall do what I think fit, and I shall not be dictated to by you.

Mr Baker: Is that what you say? That you will not be dictated to by me and that you will not bow to my position as chairman

Mr Norwood: As chairman, I shall bow to your ruling.

Mr Baker: Very well, I don’t want to dictate to you, I want to help you. Your conduct is that of a disappointed man. Instead of causing ructions you should try and help your chairman and the council.

Mr Norwood: I always abide by the decision of the chairman, and try to help the council. I tried to tell you that only three would be appointed by the council, but you would not have it. You told us all to sit down and said you would take it all on your shoulders. Is that fair?

The Chairman: Mr Norwood, are you going to be quiet? Very well, do, please. Now I really want the feeling of the Council on this.

A good deal of desultory decision followed during which is transpired that two gentleman who had received six votes each, one had been set down by the Clerk as appointed and the other was recommended to the County Council for appointment.

The chairman said if they like to alter the resolution he had no doubt they could do so. The proper course of procedure would be to sign the minutes and then rescind the objection to the resolution.

Mr. Appleyard asked if there was any doubt about the two gentlemen recommended being appointed.

The Chairman replied that those appointed by the parish council were safe for the office, but there was merely recommended were not safe. The Clerk again urged that they might only appoint three, and recommend two.

The Chairman and The Clerk.

The Chairman: Quite so. But unfortunately, Mr Hawksworth, when I asked you for information you said, “I know very little about the school work.” The clerk protested that he had given the necessary information.

The Chairman: You never gave it to me.

The Clerk: well, I read it out, Mr Chairman. The information was attached to the paper.

The Cat and The King.

The Chairman: Very well, Mr Norwood you may laugh, but that won’t alter it.

Mr Norwood: Oh, you won’t stop my laughing. A cat may look at a king.

The Chairman: Oh, but I hope you remember your position. I simply want you to vote if you like, gentlemen, to propose that the members are not rightly named I will take it so.

Mr Clarkson moved that the matter be allowed to stand until the decision of the County Council was known. This was carried, the chairman remarking that it was a most unfortunate affair, there was no mistake about it. However, perhaps it was best.

Chairman’s Affection for the Clerk

The Clerk said he would be sorry if any member thought he had anything to do with the matter. There was a general negative, the chairman remarked: what I think is that it was an oversight You had no other motive I think too much of you for that (laughter).

Election Expenses.

The chairman, addressing the ratepayers present, said they had a bill for election expenses, which amounted to £16 4s 6d. He did not think there was any alternative but to pay, and it was only right that they should know the amount, he hoped they had got good value for their money. – (Laughter, and hoorah from a member of the audience) details of the bill having been given, the account was passed, as was also that from Mr Wilson for the fencing of Earnshaw Lane.

Proposed Amalgamation of Charities.

The Clerk submitted a draft of a scheme proposed by the Charity Commissioners for the amalgamation of certain charities in Conisborough, to wit, those of Henry Housman, Philip Waterhouse, Marwell, and the poor land. The details of the scheme were set forth, and provided that certain of the trustees were to be elected by the parish council, while the vicar of the parish was ex-officio a trustee.

Chairman Displeased with the Clerk.

The chairman said that although the Clerk had been to his house since the receipt of the letter, he had not mentioned a word of this scheme to him until now had he done so,

Had he done so, said the chairman. “I could have gone into it and looked through the bit of law I have at home.” However he knew nothing about it. He would like to assist them, but they knew as much about it as he did. “Surely,” he said, the chairman of the council wants to be read it with something when he comes before his brother councillors.” (To the Clerk). Was it your way with former councillors, to simply set down this without consulting them at all?

The Clerk. Yes

The Chairman: It was? Then if there is a matter of importance in the future I shall be obliged if you will consult me beforehand – Thank you.

Then suddenly, and without warning, the council switched back onto the subject of the election of the education subcommittee, and finally it was decided that the Clerk be instructed to place the exact position of affairs before the authorities at Wakefield, so that there should be no bias.

In the matter of the administration of charities it was decided to write the commissioners stating that the matter was receiving consideration.

“An Extraordinary Resignation.”

“Here,” said the chairman, “we have an extraordinary resignation.” (Laughter) (reading) –.

“1907. – West Street. – Mr John Hawksworth. Clerk. – This is to see to certify that I, Arthur Moody, tender my resignation of the seat on the above named Council, through failing health and business matters, wishing all a successful term, of office, and thanking all who were interested in my candidature, etc”

“To be plain, gentleman” said the chairman, “this is out of order altogether, and should have been put to the chairman of the parish council.” The act and the standing orders to simply said so, therefore, until they got another communication from Mr Moody they could not accept his resignation. (Laughter)

Mr Norwood: is there any necessity for Mr Moody to resign, when he was not a member?

The Chairman observed that that was a very good way out of the difficulty.

Mr Norwood, continuing, said that Mr Moody had not signed the declaration of acceptance of office. He was extremely sorry to hear of his ill-health. He was told it was a case of heart failure. He sincerely hoped that he would speedily be returned to health and prosperity. Still he was not a counsellor.

The Chairman said that failing health could not be gone against, but in all sincerity (this to the crowd, which was rollicking with laughter) he ruled the matter out of order “therefore,” he said, “we will let this go by and Mr Moody will probably reconsider and turn up to sign the declaration.

Mr. Smethurst out of Order.

Mr Smethurst said there was a proposal at present before the Doncaster rural Council to carry the water main to the residents of Mr H. H. Wray. Near the railway station. Whether the proposal was right or wrong, he did not know.

The Chairman (genially): In that case you must give notice of motion. Whatever you may wish to say on the matter will be heard, but you must put it on the agenda.

Mr Smethurst: We have not always carried that out.

The Chairman: If we have not, I shall do as chairman.

Mr Smethurst: Can’t I say what I have to say?

The Chairman: No

Mr Smethurst: Not to air my views?

The Chairman: They will be aired, because the colliery company’s concern, and I am this represented the all of the inhabitants are not the Colliery Company. (Laughter)

Time of Meetings

The chairman intimated that next month he would bring up the question of the advisability of altering the time of the meeting.

A Ratepayers Complaint

Mr Taylor of the Castle In, once again drew the attention of the Council to the bad state of the footpath known as the Minney mores, which nearly resident, and not been repaired for 18 years.

The Chairman, after hearing this statement of the case comes, observed that something to be done. He then intimated that was all the business, and expressed the hope that that will be their worst night.

Mr Clarkson objected to the summary treatment meted out to Mr Smethurst, as compared with the courteous hearing extended to Mr Taylor.

The Chairman (fixing Mr Clarkson): Gentlemen, the meeting’s closed.