Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Hyde In War-Time (1914-16) Page5-6

Near the end of August there was a persistent rumour that Russian Cossacks in large numbers had passed through Hyde Borough, on the Great Central Railway's main line, on their way to a port, to embark for the Continent, in order that they might help the British, Belgian, and French Armies to stem the tide of German invasion in France, - the Armies and big guns of the Kaiser at that time being within 130 miles of Paris. It was not until many weeks after, that an announcement was made in Parliament that no such movement of Cossacks in this country had taken place.

The Stress of War
For some months before the war, the cotton trade of the Hyde District had been somewhat depressed, following several years of prosperity. As many of these mills had trade with foreign countries, the effect was to make the position much worse. It was immediately arranged to run the factories of Ashton Brothers and Co., Ltd, Flowery Field, with about 2,500 hands, from Wednesday morning till Friday night each week until further notice. Slack Mills, the next largest concern in Hyde, stopped on the night of Thursday, August 6th for ten days. It was notified that Kingston Mills would be closed all the following week, and it was the same with Hyde Spinning Co, Edward Hibbert and Co.‘s mill, Manchester Road Hyde, stopped the night of August 6th till further notice; while the factories in Longdendale Valley, with the Wakes holidays close at hand, did little or nothing for several weeks. The staple trade was in a precarious position, for in the Hyde cotton district, including Glossop and the Longdendale Valley, there were probably in all not far short of 20,000 cotton operatives, the Hyde and District Weavers Association alone having a membership of about 8,000.

When the war started, the Hyde and District Weavers Association had between £5,000 and £6,000 available at the bank. The Association’s income was about £3,000 per quarter, and during the previous six months about £6,000 had been disbursed in stoppage pay. In one week immediately following the outbreak, the Association paid no less a sum than one thousand pounds through stoppages. Owing to the extraordinary position, the Members soon had to be put on half-pay as it was impossible to quickly realise the Association’s investments. By the end of 1914 a substantial improvement was noticeable, and this was fairly well maintained throughout the year 1915. While in the former year the local Weavers, Association paid over £10,000 for stoppages, the amount paid in the latter year was only about £4,250. The stoppage pay of the Hyde and District Operative Spinners Association, in 1914 was £2,700; in 1915, only £700. The local Cardroom Operatives' Association paid £3,400 for latter half of 1914, and only £600 for the whole of 1915. Among the male cotton operative the was a patriotic response to the country’s call. By the end of 1915 the weavers had contributed 400 soldiers, or over fifty per cent, of the male members; Spinners Piecers had enlisted to the number of 300, and almost all the remaining members of military age had attested under Lord Derby’s scheme; of the 300 male members of Cardroom Association 90% of the total membership are females about 130 were wearing khaki.

(This photograph was taken in front of the Fire Station.) Photo by A.E. Searle, Hyde.

The Hyde Volunteer Training Corps parade for divine service, Commander Victor at the head , with Miss Cartwright the Mascot of the Corps. Sub-Commander Daniel Pennington, the well-known solicitor, who acted as Secretary and Treasurer, is the outside man of the first row.

1 comment:

Tom said...

This is an excellent picture..
If you found out one of your forefathers could have been stood there what pride it must give you. The fire station looks well.. and I could not help but notice the railings which at some date later would have been removed and melted down for the war effort.. Little Miss Cartwright must have been so proud to be mascot.
More from this fine book tomorrow.