Ossett - the history of a Yorkshire town



Northfield Mill and the Wilsons: 1851 - 1913

The following is a short history of Northfield Mill, the Wilson family's woollen mill in Church street, Ossett. John Wilson (1794-1851), the founder, was my G.G.G. Grandfather and James Wilson referred to here was my G.G. Grandfather. On the death of James Wilson (1821-1884), the business was run by eldest son Ellis Wilson (1844-1919). My Great Grandfather, also James Wilson (1854-1939) was in partnership with another brother Arthur Wilson (1848-1922) as woollen cloth manufacturers at the mill, until their partnership was dissolved in 1881. James eventually sold out his share to Ellis and became the engineer at the mill until the business was sold in 1913.

The business had been weakened considerably in the 1870s and early 1880s with the shipment of mill machinery from Northfield Mill to establish a woollen manufacturing business in Ballarat, Australia. Two of the sons of James Wilson, Albert Wilson (1845-1896) and Bunting Wilson (1858-1916) had moved to Australia in the 1870s, where Albert had established Doveton Mills in Ballarat. The first shipment of mill machinery from Ossett was lost in the Bay of Biscay in a violent a storm during Albert Wilson's passage on the ship "Calcutta" in 1877. In addition, two disastrous fires in 1891 and 1910 contributed to the ultimate demise of the business.

James Wilson and Family in 1898

Above: James Wilson (my Great Grandfather) with his wife Mary Ann and his family in 1898 when they lived in Dale street, Ossett. James Wilson was a co-owner of Northfield Mill and later the engineer at the mill.

The mill has now been demolished, but was sited where the Doug Ellis Engineering factory is now located, on the corner of Crownlands and almost opposite the Church Street recreation ground. The Northfield Mill opposite Northfield Avenue was built in 1888 for the Speight family and the duplication of names is unfortunate.

Northfield Mill, originally called Field Lane Mill, was built in 1850-1851 for John Wilson, an Ossett cloth manufacturer who died aged 57 in 1851.1 The mill was then occupied by his sons, Joshua and James, who traded as J. & J. Wilson. The partnership between the brothers was dissolved in 1861 and Joshua took over the running of the mill, although the brothers remained joint owners of the premises. Joshua went bankrupt in 1869 and his new house, the mill and their contents were advertised for sale.2 In 1870 Joshua's brother, James purchased the creditors share in the mill and Joshua was discharged from bankruptcy.3

Joshua moved to Leeds where he set up a new business with his sons. By 1885 he had taken over Bean Ing Mills and he was able to pay off the £6,000 he still owed his creditors.4 James remained in Ossett and ran the mill with his sons until his death in 1884.5

After the death of James Wilson, Northfield Mill was run by his son, Ellis Wilson. The firm suffered a setback in 1891 when a fire at the mill resulted in the loss of buildings and stock worth £1,500.6 The damage was only partially covered by insurance and in the following year the business was in financial difficulties, but Ellis Wilson was able to retain control of the mill.7 He retired from trade in 1896 and leased the mill to tenants. In 1910, when the mill was badly damaged by a fire, the tenant was J. Lomas Wylde, cloth manufacturer.8 Three years later the town council's building committee approved plans for the restoration of the mill drawn up on behalf of Glover and Ellis.9

Northfield Mill on fire in 1891

The mill was sited in what was in the 1850s, Field Lane and is now Church Street. To its north, and separated from it by Crownlands Lane, was another mill also called Field Lane Mill and later Northfield Mill. This was an older mill and was built for John Speight in 1848-1849. It burnt down in 1853 and again in 1888.13 The stone mill building in Church Street dated 1888 and called Northfield Mill was rebuilt as a result of this fire.10

Local rate valuations give some indication of the buildings making up the Wilsons' mill. The 1855 valuation, for example, refers to the mill, a 32 horsepower steam engine, two warehouses, a rag house and a cottage. The reference to a rag house shows that the Wilsons were making reclaimed wool, either shoddy or mungo.11

The advertisement placed in the local newspaper in 1869 offering the property and its contents for sale mentions the mill, an office, a burling room, a tentering room, rag machine sheds and a reservoir. There were two steam engines of 16 horse power each and two boilers. Joshua Wilson's house had on its ground floor a kitchen and dining, drawing and breakfast rooms, while on the first floor were five lodging rooms. There was also cellaring and an out kitchen.12

OSSETT - TO BE SOLD BY PRIVATE CONTRACT

All that excellent stone-built MESSUAGE or DWELLING HOUSE with commodious WAREHOUSE and outbuildings situate in the North Field, at Ossett:  AND ALSO, ALL that CLOSE of GRASSLAND adjoining thereto and containing with the site of the Buildings, 1 acre, 0 roods, 8 perches (more or less).  All which said premises were lately occupied by Mr. Joshua Wilson, the elder.
           
All the buildings are nearly new and the purchaser can have immediate possession if required.  To view the property, and for price and other particulars apply to:

THOMAS HAIGH
Solicitor, Horbury Bridge
Horbury Bridge, June 10th 1869 

Ossett Observer: Saturday October 9th 1869

NORTH FIELD MILL, OSSETT

VALUABLE MILL, DWELLING HOUSE, LAND & MACHINERY

FOR SALE

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, BY MR HOWGATE, at the House of Mrs. Jaggar, the ROYAL HOTEL, in Ossett, on MONDAY the 25th day of October 1869, at 6 o’clock in the evening (by order of the Mortgagee with power of sale), subject to conditions.

All that excellent
W O O L L E N    M I L L
lately occupied by
Mr JOSHUA WILSON, called NORTH FIELD MILL, situate in North Field Lane, in Ossett aforesaid with OFFICE, BURLING ROOM, TENTERING ROOM, and RAG MACHINE SHEDS, and RESERVOIR adjoining.
Also 2 STEAM ENGINES of 16 Horse Power each, 2 BOILERS of 40 Horse Power and 30 Horse Power respectively, SHAKE WILLEY, TENTERHOOK WILLEY, RAG SHAKER, 2 pairs of MULES 580 spindles each, 4 RAG MACHINES with Shaker, 2 GIGS, ROLLING MILL, PREENING BRUSH, STEAMING MILL, PRESS PUMP, STEAM OVEN, 3 WNITEY MACHINES, 2 SCRIBBLERS, and 2 CARDERS 48 inches with condensers thereto, 2 horses 100 Spindles each, PIECING MACHINE, 36 inch SCRIBBLER, 42 inch SCRIBBLER, Two 48 inch SCRIBBLERS, two 48 inch CARDERS with condenser, and Pair of Mules 700 spindles.

Also all that recently erected stone built
M E S S U A G E    O R    D W E L L I N G    H O U S E
Adjoining the last mentioned premises, containing on the ground floor Kitchen, Dining, Drawing and Dressing Rooms, with 5 Lodging Rooms over the same, and good Cellaring.
There is also an OUT KITCHEN or WASH HOUSE adjoining.
Also all that VACANT LAND or YARD adjoining the said MILL and MESSUAGE and containing with the site of the Buildings and Reservoir 3 roods and 23 perches.

There is a never failing supply of water from two wells sunk on the premises and the buildings are in good repair and the machinery is of modern construction and in good working order.
For further particulars apply to Mr. JAMES WILSON, Manufacturer, Ossett, or to
Mr. ELI MITCHELL, Solicitor, Ossett,
Or to
Messrs HARRISON & SMITH
Solicitors, Wakefield.

Honourable conduct of Leeds manufacturer
We have much pleasure in stating that Messrs Joshua Wilson and Sons, worsted coating manufacturers of Bean Ing Mills, Wellington Street and 2 York Place, Leeds have this week forwarded cheques to the creditors for the balance of 20 shillings in the pound amounting to about £6,000 on the old debts of Mr Joshua Wilson, late of Ossett, now senior partner of the firm.  Mr Wilson was in consequence of adverse circumstances in trade, obliged in 1869 to petition the Bankruptcy Court; he then received a full discharge from all his debts and liabilities.  After his failure, Mr Wilson took a situation as a manager for a well-known firm of manufacturers in Leeds; he left them about ten years ago and commenced business in partnership with his sons, they agreeing at the time that as soon as the firm were in a position to pay his old creditors 20 shillings in the pound they would do so.  The cheques have been forwarded to the creditors through Messrs Wilson's accountants, Messrs John Routh and Co., Leeds.

Transcribed from the Ossett Observer: 17th Jan 1885

1891 - Alarming Fire at Ossett Mill yesterday - Northfield Mill
Shortly before two o'clock yesterday afternoon, an alarming fire broke out at Northfield Mills, Church Street, Ossett belonging to Alderman Ellis Wilson (Ellis Wilson and Co., Cloth Manufacturers) It originated in a four storey brick building, half a dozen windows long and five wide - the oldest part of the premises. The boiler house with a couple of boilers occupied the principle part of the ground floor and over this was a fireproof drying house for drying rags. The only machinery in the block consisted of two rag shaking machines in portions of the first and second floors, which were let to Mr. Levi Mitchell and Mr. Geo. Wood (B. Wood & Son), both mungo manufacturers. Most of the space in the building was used for warehousing rags and mungo, but the top floor is said to have been empty. It is not certain exactly how the fire was caused, but it was suddenly discovered that the second storey was in flames. Fortunately, some iron doors, for communication with a two-storey building end-way to Church street (also occupied by Mr. Wood) were closed, or doubtless the flames would have soon spread hither. The engine house and rag grinding shed parted the burning building from another large four-storey block filled with looms and various other kinds of machinery, but the wind blew away from those.

On the alarm being given, numbers of work people employed on the premises and at the adjacent mills of Mr. Abraham Pollard (Messrs. Speight & Sons, Mungo Manufacturers)and Councillor Pollard went to assist, but as is commonly the case on such occasions, there was first a certain amount of delay and confusion. Two hosepipes were attached to hydrants connected to the town's mains water supply - one in the mill yard and the other at Councillor Fothergill's; and a third was brought from the powerful double-action steam pump at Messrs. Speight & Sons under the direction of their engineer, Mr. Wilfred Harrop. The latter pumped a splendid jet of water upon the flames and was said to be capable of supplying two other jets if sufficient hose had been available to carry them from one mill to the other. In the meantime, a call had been made to the Healey Mills brigade, who arrived little more than half an hour after the outbreak. They were in command of Mr. J. Pollard, and soon got to work, playing water on to the fire from one of the dams at Northfield Mills. A few seconds later, the Victoria Mills brigade (Messrs. Ellis Bros, Woollen Manufacturers), who had been summoned by mounted messenger, galloped up with their engine in command of Mr. J.E. Wilby and accompanied also by two of the junior representatives of the firm. They too began to pump water from the dam, and there were now four good jets playing on the burning buildings from the mill yard. This had a perceptible effect and in half an hour after the arrival of the brigades, the danger of fire spreading to other buildings was practically over. The burning block, however, was completely gutted. The roof, the floors and fireproof arching over the boilers having all fallen in. The firemen continued without interruption to pour volumes of water on the flames and smoldering ruins until 4pm. The outer walls were then in a very tottering and dangerous condition.

We hear that the damage sustained Messrs. Ellis Wilson & Co. to buildings and stock is roughly estimated at £1,500, partly covered by insurance in the Norwich Union, Scottish & National Union Fire Offices. Messrs. R. Wood & Sons loss is estimated at about £250 covered by insurance in the Norwich Union Office. Mr. Levi Mitchell's stock, damaged to the extent of about £150, was uninsured.

Transcribed from the Ossett Observer: 10th October 1891 and 30th January 1892

1910 - Dangerous Mill Fire in Ossett: Damages estimated at £5,000
A disastrous fire occurred on Thursday night at Northfield Mill, Church Street belonging to Mr. Ellis Wilson and occupied by Mr. J. Lomas Wylde, cloth manufacturer and Messrs. J.M. Briggs and Sons, mungo manufacturers (as sub-tenants).  Before the fire was extinguished, damage estimated at £5,000 was done to the buildings, machinery and stock.  The outbreak appears to have been discovered by several persons simultaneously about a quarter past ten.  Smoke was seen to be coming from some of the buildings, but owing to the mill being in close proximity to Temperance Mill, belonging to Mr. F.L. Fothergill, it was difficult to at once ascertain to which part of the premises the outbreak had occurred.

Northfield Mill - burned out

Mr. Fothergill was aroused, his buildings inspected and the fire was found to be in the adjoining premises.  The yard gates of Northfield Mill being closed and locked, a little delay occurred in forcing them open.  In the meantime, one of the workers employed at the mill, Richard Halley and E.H. Spencer, tinsmith, had gained entry through some of the buildings.

There were quickly plenty of willing helpers on the spot.  The fire was found to be located in the engine house, where at that time it was confined and had there been efficient apparatus quickly available, it is probable that the fire would have been easily extinguished.  But valuable time was lost.  The position of the fire-plug had to be discovered by searching and when a hose was attached to it, the latter burst or was found to be defective.  Hosepipes were obtained from one of the Corporation boxes at the mill of Messrs. Speight and Co.  By the time the jets of water were brought to play, the fire had spread to the four-storey mill adjoining the engine house.  In the meantime, Councillor G.H. Briggs had been summoned, the Dewsbury Corporation fire brigade sent for and a message sent to Mr. Wylde, who must have been leaving Ossett where he attended a meeting about the time the fire was discovered.  Mr. Keywood, the Borough Engineer greatly increased the pressure of the water in the mains by cutting off the water supply to other parts of the town.  A line of hosepipes was also laid from the pump at the mill of Messrs. Speight and Sons, fed from the dam and another from the mains.  The fire brigade arrived about eleven o’clock.  It was then far too late to save the mill for the fire progresses with astonishing rapidity.  Soon the whole of the interior of the main building was seen to be ablaze from top to bottom.  An occasional “thud” told of falling machinery, the slates cracked like fireworks and pieces flew high into the air accompanied by clouds of sparks.  Before long, the roof fell in a body and the building was a white-hot furnace, sending up one huge flare and giving off a heat so intense that the mill yard was quickly cleared of persons who had crowded into it.  Shouts of “come down!” conveyed to a Territorial and another young man who in their desire to assist had climbed on to the roof of one of the buildings so that they were in danger.

A quarter of an hour after the fire brigade arrived, parts of the wall fell with a crash.  The firemen who were in the charge of Inspector Barraclough assisted by voluntary helpers worked hard to save the remainder of the buildings obtaining water from the dam, which closely adjoined the burning mill.  By midnight they had materially reduced the danger of the fire spreading and singularly enough about that time the fire engine broke down and became of no further use.  The dam of Messrs. Speight’s mill was rapidly emptying.  It was replenished from the mains and a second hosepipe was fixed to the pump, which proved of great service throughout.  There was from both the dams and the mains a capital supply of water, but all that could be done was to watch the main building burn itself out and to prevent others from catching fire.  The firemen and many others stayed until 5 o’clock in the morning and left behind them bare walls enclosing a tangled mass of smoldering debris.

Fortunately, there was only a slight breeze and it blew from the direction of Mr. Fothergill’s mill.  There was, however, no little uneasiness as to the safety of the latter upon which a jet of water was played as a safeguard.  Damage was done by the heat to the extent of £80.  The fire attracted a large crowd who watched the progress excitedly.  Among the spectators were several members of the Corporation, some of which rendered assistance.  Inspector Denny and several members of the police force were on the spot soon after the outbreak was discovered, there being no lack of help.  Next morning, the burning mill was still smoldering and water was occasionally poured upon it.  The building had contained on its four floors, mules and carding machines, all of which were of course destroyed.  The engine house and the engine were a complete wreck.  Four of the five rag grinding machines, which were in smaller buildings were also destroyed, while a considerable quantity of shoddy and other material had perished in the flames.  How the fire was caused is so far as we could gather, quite unknown.  The total damage caused by it is estimated by the occupiers as about £5,000, the whole of which is covered by insurance. 

Transcribed from the Ossett Observer: 18th June 1910

Mungo and Shoddy
 
Clothiers would buy rags and convert them into a state where they could be turned back into yarn and eventually cloth. The rags were collected by horse and cart or by packhorse and deposited in a yard. They were then sorted and pulled. The fibres were then ready for reprocessing. At this stage the industry was still a cottage industry with people working where they lived.

Benjamin Law invented shoddy and mungo, as such, in 1813. He was the first to organise, on a larger scale, the activity of taking old clothes and grinding them down into a fibrous state that could be re-spun into yarn.The shoddy industry was centred on the towns of Batley, Morley, Dewsbury and Ossett in West Yorkshire, and concentrated on the recovery of wool from rags. The importance of the industry can be gauged by the fact that even in 1860 the town of Batley was producing over 7000 tonnes of shoddy. At the time there were 80 firms employing a total of 550 people sorting the rags. These were then sold to shoddy manufacturers of which there were about 130 in the West Riding.

The shades of recovered wool produced by the shoddy trade, especially in the early days, tended because of the nature of the process, and the source of the garments, to be dull. There were lots of greys, blues, and blacks obtained from old uniforms. A lot of this went back into uniforms producing a complete cycle of use.

Notes:

1. "Ossett Rate Valuation Books", 1850 and 1851 held at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield.  The year of the death of John Wilson comes from information supplied by Mr Stephen Wilson. John Wilson was alive at the time of the 1851 census and was living in Field Lane. He is described as a mill owner employing six men and ten children.

2. " Ossett Observer", 12.6.1869 gives an account of the proceedings at Leeds Bankruptcy Court, while the "Ossett Observer", 9.10.1869 carries an advertisement for the auction of the mill, the house and their content.

3. "Ossett Observer", 5.3.1870.

4. "Ossett Observer", 17.1.1885

5. "Ossett Observer", 26.4.1884, prints an obituary. It notes that James Wilson died at the age of 63 at Askern Spa near Doncaster and that he had suffered during the previous twenty years from occasional and severe attacks of a painful disease. He had been a "well-known and respected inhabitant" of Ossett and his business interests had included not only cloth making, but he had also been one of the first directors of the Ossett and Horbury Gas Company. He had taken part in public life as a representative of Ossett on the Dewsbury Board of Poor Law Guardians. He had also been a leading member of the Ossett Wesleyan Methodists and had been one of the longest serving trustees of the Wesley Street chapel. Like many other Nonconformists, he had supported the Liberal Party.

6. "Ossett Observer", 10.10.1891 and the "Yorkshire Factory Times", 16.10.1891.

7. "Ossett Observer", 30.1.1892

8. "Ossett Observer", 15.3.1913, notes that Ellis Wilson was in business until "about seventeen years previously." Details of the fire are in the "Ossett Observer", 18.6.1910, while the "Ossett Observer", 25.6.1910 has a letter from J, Lomas Wylde correcting some of previous week’s report.

9. "Ossett Observer", 19.7.1913.

10. The 1922 edition of the six-inch Ordnance Survey map of Ossett, unlike earlier editions, names both mills. "Cockburn’s Ossett", (Ossett, 1987), page 24, has illustrations of the fire and its aftermath.

11. "Ossett Rate Valuation Book", 1855, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield.

12. "Ossett Observer", 9.10.1869.

13. "Leeds Mercury", 23.10.1888

Acknowledgement

Much of the detail in this chapter is from a paper provided by Ossett Historian Mr. David Scriven of Queens Drive, Ossett who has extensively researched the textile industry in Ossett.

 



Ossett Observer 12th June 1869

LEEDS COURT OF BANKRUPTCY

RE: JOSHUA WILSON

An examination of this bankruptcy took place on Thursday when the bankrupt made the following deposition:

I was made bankrupt on my own deposition on the 26th April last.  I had previously been in partnership with my brother James, as cloth manufacturers, at Ossett, under the firm of J & J Wilson.  This partnership commenced perhaps some 17 or 18 years ago.  There were no articles of partnership.  It was not for any term. It was dissolved at the end of 1861.  We agreed to separate and did separate.  There was no notice of dissolution signed or any advertisement placed in any papers.  My brother has had nothing to do with the manufacturing since that time.  We continued as tenants in common of the mill up to 1867 but from 1861 he had nothing to do with the business.  He was out of business altogether. He began in 1866 or 1867 and made a bit of cloth of his own account.  He did nothing at all for several years.  He attended, sometimes at the mill.  He lived at a house adjoining the mill up to 1867.  The name of the firm was altered in 1861 to Joshua Wilson junior, and it remained so up to my bankruptcy.  My brother has had no interest in it.  The invoices went out in my name only from 1861.  It has been my business entirely from that time.  James has not interfered in any way with it.  When we dissolved in 1861 an account was made out showing the affairs of the concern.  It was solvent.  I did not pay James anything for his share.  We divided the stock and paid our debts.  There was nothing for him to take out.  I don’t remember whether I was asked at my meeting of creditors whether the partnership was several thousands worse than nothing in 1861.  I said it was bad in 1857.  James and I became joint owners of the mill in equal shares in 1852 or 1853 and continued so up to 1867.  In April 1867, the premises were subject to a mortgage for £2,000 to a Mr. Dawson.  James and I being entitled to the premises, subject to the mortgage.  On the 1st of April 1867, we gave Mr. Dawson a further security on the premises of £1,000, making £3,000.  James and I still continuing the owners subject to these securities. The £1,000 was advanced in cash when the second mortgage was made.  James got the whole of that money, except what we paid to Mr. Mitchell, solicitor (£215) and the solicitor’s charges.  We owed Mr. Mitchell the money on a promissory note.  On the 2nd of April, James conveyed his share of the equity of redemption to me for a consideration expressed on the deed of £2,200 subject to Mr. Dawson’s mortgage.  The whole premises were valued at £7,400 between James and myself.  I paid my brother no money although a receipt is endorsed on the deed for £2,200, but I gave him a mortgage dated 3rd April 1867 for £1,700.  No money passed in respect of that transaction.  The half of the £1,000 received from Mr. Dawson (which James received) made up the purchase money £2200.  I filed a list of my liabilities when I filed my petition.  I inserted my brother as a mortgage creditor for £1,300 only.  I had paid some money, which my brother and I were owing when he sold me his share of the mill.  This was money owing to different parties amounting to several hundred pounds.  I don’t know what it was for now.  It was for debts belonging to the mill, not for goods bought – for coals used at the mill and different things.  I don’t know what else.  I paid something for interest.  Of course, this was owing to Mr. Dawson.  It is down in the book – my cashbook.  I paid Knowles and Houghton £150, an old account for machinery; I also paid J & J Horsfield something for a new boiler, which came in 1866.  Knowles and Houghton’s account was contracted before 1861.  The coals were owing for to Joshua Wilby for £30 or £40.  We used them in the mill in 1867.  We ran the mill jointly (James and I) from June 1866 to April 1867.  James did a little manufacturing of his own account.  I also carried on my business and we worked up materials for other people.  What we did for others, we each did separately.  We bought the coals to run the mill jointly, but the invoices were made out to my name.  We bought oil and other materials separately.  A quantity of machinery was included in the deeds of April 1867.  It was included in my purchase deed, his share of the whole of the machinery in the mill.  The machinery had been bought by us jointly, except the finishing machinery (including the tentering machine), which I bought on my own account and which formed no part of which I purchased from my brother.  At the date of these deeds, April 1867, part of the machinery was unfixed.  I stated at the creditor’s meeting that it had been re-fixed in January last.  I said it was fixed without my consent, but I bethought me afterwards that Mr. Smith, the solicitor for the first mortgage, sent for my brother and me in December last and insisted on it being fixed.  We told him that it was unfixed as a consequence of the condenser being removed.  My brother James and his sons and one or two of my sons fixed it.  Mr. Smith was solicitor for James as well as for me.  It was my brother James who wanted them fixed but it was through Mr. Smith.  I will swear that Mr. Smith spoke of the first mortgagee.  The fastening was done in January or February, I believe January [The articles fixed were then enumerated].  We commenced to put in condensers in 1867.  The condensers themselves were never fixed before January, but the machines were.  The condenser is a thing that is fixed on the end of a machine.  All the others had stood unfixed for 1 to 2 years.  They were fixed when the mortgage to James was made.  The two condenser carders in the low room were unfixed when the condensers were fixed in May or June 1867 and remained so until January last.  I had a conversation with one of the creditors at the mill in January last about this machinery.  I told him James wanted me to fasten the machinery to make it into freehold.  I told him Mr. Smith wanted it too.  I should say something to the effect that James wanted it fastening so as to make it into freehold and so that he might come into his money.  I do not remember him saying he wanted it fastening so that that the other creditors might do as they could.  I said I would not consent to the fastening, or something to that effect.  I did not say that if anything should happen to me there would be a dividend in the machinery for the creditors.  I said I paid £400 for my brother and myself.  I have always been able to pay my creditors 20 shillings in the pound.  The money has been laid out in the mill.  It is perhaps a couple of years since I was solvent.  I stated at the creditor’s meeting that were in a worse position in 1857 than in May 1869.  I told my creditors that I owed about £5,000 without any of the mortgages and that I had to meet it, the freehold (which Mr. Marriott had valued at £3,500) and the machinery, which Mr. Hodgson had valued at £1,281, but these were undervalued.  In 1857 and 1858, things mended and continued to mend right forward up to 1859.  We made some bad debts in 1864.  I am solvent now – if the mill be reckoned.  I had a conversation with another creditor in May last, about trying to get surety for a composition.  I went to his house with Fearnside.  I don’t remember if he said I had let my brother James fix the machinery.  I don’t remember if I said James had done it without my consent.  I don’t remember saying anything about it.  I will swear I did not say that. I did not say that if I couldn't’t have it, James should not for he had been trying to do me out of it for a long time.  I don’t remember if he said “it looks strange that James should do it without your consent”.  I don’t remember answering, “I never did consent for him to do it, nor I never will for him to take what the creditors should have”.  I don’t remember saying anything about it. I won’t swear that I did not.  I don’t remember.  I will not swear that a conversation of that sort did not take place.  I don’t know that a conversation about this machinery being fastened did take place.  Perhaps something was said about the fastening of the machinery.  I should say that I did not want our James to take machinery that did not belong to him.  I meant by that, the machinery that belonged to me.  I suppose I meant the machinery he had gone and fastened in January.  I did mean that machinery.  The fastening was made with iron bolts.  My brother James got them made.  He said something about getting them made at Horbury.  He did not say who made them.  He told me he had got them made or was getting them made.  They were made for the occasion no doubt.

James Wilson then deposed:

I am the brother of the bankrupt.  I was in partnership with him formerly.  It ended December 31st 1860.  There was no formal dissolution.  We simply separated.  My brother continued the business.  I went out of business altogether.  Joshua sold off the stock and paid the debts.  The concern was solvent, but I took nothing out.  The mill was worth more than we had upon it.  We continued to work the mill as joint owners.  Joshua took the mill from December 1860 and I received rent for my share.  We afterwards worked it jointly for about nine months previous to April 1867.  There was a mortgage of £2,000 on it, which we increased to £3,000, by deed of 1st April 1867.  The £1,000 received then, I got.  This was by our agreement.  The outgoing partner was to have £1,000 to go with and to take a mortgage on the mill for the value of the half share.  I received £662 12s 6d of the £1,000.  £215 was paid to Mr. Mitchell for the money we borrowed from him when we got the new boilers from Horsfields.  I conveyed my share to Joshua for £2,200 by the deed of 2nd April, and he mortgaged the mill to me for £1,700 by the deed of the 3rd April.  No other money passed except the £1,000 from Mr. Dawson.  The machinery in the mill was included in the sale from me to Joshua, and in the mortgage from him to me.  This was originally fastened in 1857.  Some has been fastened in 1869.  The following is a correct list of the machinery, which was fastened in January 1869, namely:  one 36-inch scribbler, one 48-inch carder, one Apperley’s condenser, one 48-inch scribbler, one 48-inch carder, 1 Apperley’s condenser.  Of these, the following had been purchased by my brother since April 1867: - one 36-inch scribbler and one 60-inch scribbler.  The tentering machine was Joshua’s only.  The finishing machinery all belonged to Joshua.  All the machines enumerated in the list above had been, except the two purchased by Joshua since 1867, had originally been fixed in 1859.  I cannot say how long they had been unfixed.  They were unfixed when they were altered into condensers.  They had been loose for year or year-and-a-half before they were fixed in January 1869, but the mortgagees did not know.  I was occasionally in the mill, but I did not think about the machinery being fixed.  In December last, I went to Mr. Smith about it.  He told me that he had no idea but that it was fastened; my brother had promised that it should be fastened.  I think he promised it to Mr. Smith in the presence of me and Mr. Mitchell.  I was uneasy in consequence of not receiving my £500 a year as provided by the mortgage deed, and I went to Mr. Smith about it.  This was in November or December last.  I spoke to Joshua about fastening them.  He agreed at Mr. Smith’s that he would fasten it.  Perhaps he might say that he ought not give me what his general creditors should have, but I did not see any risk in re-fixing what was originally fixed, besides I thought there was plenty in the mill to pay everyone.  It has cost a great deal of money.  I know Joshua has told me, and some of the creditors that he did not agree, but he made no objection at Mr. Smith’s, and he went with me to take measurements with the intention of getting the machines fixed.  I ordered the new fittings from Fisher, a blacksmith at Horbury.  My sons and Joshua’s sons fixed the machines in my presence.  I assisted.  I believe part of the work was done on a Saturday afternoon after the mill was closed.  It was in the back end of January.  I received £82 for interest on my mortgage in the first year, but nothing since.  I claim £1,700 and interest.  Joshua considers he has paid monies for me, but it is not so.  He says he paid Knowles and Houghton and others, but I paid £230 out of the £1,000 received from Mr. Dawson.  There was an account made out between us when I sold out in 1867.  It is in existence.  I have one. 

The further examination of the bankrupt was adjourned.