Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 02 January 1931
Trade In 1931.
The Local Outlook.
No Great Expectations
That the year just closed has been an unsatisfactory one from the point of view of local trade is a melancholy fact of which no one needs to be reminded. We are well content to let the dead past bury its dead, and to hope for better fortune in the newly arrived year. That there is little immediate ground for optimism is apparent, but we “live in hope if we die in despair.”
The staple industry of this district is coal mining, and it is a district with great potentialities of wealth and prosperity under favourable conditions. Will those conditions return in 1931? There are few so bold as to prophesy that they will. We have, however collected a few representative opinions on the subject from responsible representatives of local industries, and we set them out below.
Baker & Bessemer, Ltd., Kilnhurst Steel Works.
“We cannot say at the moment that the prospects are bright; indeed, just now things are at their blackest. There are no substantial orders in sight, and we have no real reason to expect them. Still, the year which has just ended did not open promisingly, and yet on the whole it was not a bad year. Indeed, by comparison with some of the people in our own trade, we did quite well. Our tyre mills were working full time all through the year, though other departments were slack. We certainly hope that conditions will permit of our doing much better in 1931
Kilner Bros., Ltd., Glass Bottle Manufacturers, Conisboro’:
“At the moment the outlook is not bright. and I cannot say with any confidence that we are expecting good trade in the new year. At the moment bussiness is very slack. Last year was, on the whole disappointing, though in the first half we certainly had a brisk trade, which fell off later for various reasons. We are a good deal dependent on weather, and on the whole the weather was unfavourable to our particular lines. Still, considering the general depression, we kept quite a good proportion of our plant and staff occupied, with very little short time until the latter end of the year. if trade generally improves we may hope for a good year, but at the moment no have no definite ground for expecting it”
Hattersley Bros., Ltd., Queen’s Foundry, Swinton:
“Although the general outlook may not be good, we are hoping to do as well in 1931 as we did last year, and possibly in some lines, electric cookers and hearth furniture, even better. Considering how bad trade is generally, we have no reason to complain of what we did last year. We maintained production on the level of previous years, and kept steadily going five days a week, which is something to be thankful for.”
Dale, Brown And Co., Ltd., Swinton Glass Bottle Works:
“I cannot say that the prospects in our, industry are very bright, but we are hoping for the best, and preparing, by the installation of more modern machinery, to take advantage of whatever opportunities the New Year may bring us. On the whole we cannot complain of the year that has just passed. Trade was quite good until June, and then it fell away under the influence of the general depreesion. In any case ours is, to some extent, a seasonal trade, and we must reckon with fluctuations. Our chief hope is in a general revival of trade, through which we are bound to benefit.”
Yorkshire Amalgamated Collieries (Denaby, Cadeby, Maltby, Rossington, and Dinnington):
“The outlook for the New Year is uncertain, and cannot be said to be promising. There are possibilities of improvement, but they depend upon an improvement in conditions generally. The Yorkshire Amalgamated Group last year worked 220 days, or an average of a little more than four days a week, and probably did better than some of their neighbours. At any rate, we might have done worse, but we certainly look for a time when they will do a good deal better. Short time is a great factor in increasing overhead costs and that applies particularly to our collieries. A revival of the export trade by the re-adoption of an export subsidy or by any other means would be a great advantage to us, and, indeed, to all the collieries in the area for those not directly benefited by increased export sales would benefit from the relief of the greatly congested inland market.”
Hickleton Main Colliery:
“The outlook is dark and uncertain. No one knows what will happen to the coal trade this year. We can only hope for the best. If the industry can settle down, things may improve, but we are really dependent on a general revival. All things considered, last year was not so bad, there was a higher output than in the previous year, and at the end of the year we were employing more men than in the previous year.”
Manvers Main Colliery:
“It is quite impossible to predict the course of the coal trade in the coming year. So much depends on factors which are either unknown or beyond our control. If the voluntary export subsidy is restored it will probably mean an extra five million tons from the area of the Central Collieries’ Association, and we shall share in the benefit of that directly or indirectly. Considering the depressed state of trade generally, the year just closed did not work out so badly. The pits have worked four days a week throughout the year. We temporarily closed the “Bright” seam on account of the reduced quota. We are awaiting a general revival of the heavy industries. It and when that comes we shall go full steam ahead.”
Wath Main Colliery;
“The position at the moment is very black, and so far as we can see there is no real prospect of a substantial revival of the coal trade apart from the revival of the heavy industries, and indeed all trade generally. The restoration of a coal export subsidy would certainly help matters, both by stimulating exports and relieving the inland market. Wath main was at one time very largely an exporting colliery. The year just concluded was one of difficulty and disappointment, our colliery did not average more than four days a week, which is about the same as the previous year. During the year we installed by-product plant in order to take advantage of any increased demand which might result from a general revival of trade.”
Yorkshire Amalgamated Products.
“We are hoping for a good year, and think there is a fair chance of though 1930 was certainly disappointing.
We were affected by the general depression, and, of course by, the decline in building activity, which touched us at almost every point.”