Glossop Heritage Trust

Theo Walter Ellison's Glossop Dale Reminiscences.


Edward Partington, First Lord Doverdale (published 15 February 1935).

Paper mills existed in Glossop Dale before 1800 but were overshadowed by the numerous woollen and cotton mills, until there came from Bury the man of phenomenal energy, exceptional powers of perception and judgement, whose exertions and perseverance placed the paper trade, and especially the manufacture of paper from wood pulp, in the foremost rank of commercial undertakings.

Edward Partington – successively styled Captain Partington, Sir Edward Partington, and finally the Rt. Hon. Edward Baron Doverdale – was born in 1836; became partner in Olive Bros. at Woolfold Paper Mill, Bury in 1863; came to Glossop in 1873: and purchased from Cassell, Potter and Galpin the Turn Lee Mill, which had belonged for some twenty years to Thomas Hamer Ibbotson and previously to John and Joseph Bennett, and had been used partly as cotton mill and partly as paper mill. Later he acquired from Ibbotson the Dover Mill, formerly known as Bury-me-Wick Mill, which also had been similarly used for cotton spinning and paper making.

Ibbotson’s trading had proved unfortunate, but under the new ownership a paper making business alone was carried on and became well established; new inventions resulted in remarkable improvements in the manufacture of wood pulp paper; the mills were extended and the trade flourished immensely. In 1886 he acquired the share of the late William Olive and thus became sole proprietor.

The Broughton Bridge Mill, Salford, had also been acquired and rebuilt and in connection with Dr. Kellner of Vienna, the Kellner Partington Paper and Wood Pulp Co. Ltd., was founded, in which many Glossopians and others made profitable investments.

There were also mills at Barrow-in- Furness, Norway, Sweden and Austria, and pulp works and an extensive timber forest at St. John’s, New Brunswick, Canada, over the destinies of which he presided.

In 1898, to celebrate his Jubilee as a mill owner, he entertained 900 of his employees at the Victoria Hall, and received from them a silver model of a wood pulp machine, in appreciation of his services.

The Company of Olive and Partington Limited was formed in 1901 to which the Turn Lee Mills, Dover Mills, and Broughton Bridge Mills were transferred. The Late E.W. Allen was Managing Director, and Joseph Walton secretary – positions now held by C. Snelling and R.J. Sutherland.

The present Lord Doverdale, who retired from the Directorship, is still a shareholder, and Lord Howard of Glossop is a director of the company, the company being now one of a group controlled by the Inveresk Paper Company.

The District Bank Limited, appreciating the advantage to be derived from his extensive financial interests, his controlling power in these undertakings, and the confidence he inspired, added him to the Board of Directors.

The magnitude of the operations and engagements, industrial and financial, the expanding, consolidating and placing on a sound basis the mills he owned or controlled, were far more than sufficient to occupy the time and provide physical and mental employment for any one man, unless possessed of exceptional powers; nevertheless, during a period of nearly fifty years the management of public affairs also received the constant close attention and active participation of the late Lord Doverdale.

Entering the Council in 1874 as Councillor for All Saints’ Ward he continued a member (with the exception of two years, 1880-81 and 1884-5) until his death in 1925; was Alderman from 1907; Mayor for two years 1903-4; Justice for the Borough 1887; and for Derbyshire County Council; and created the first Honorary Freeman of the Borough in 1906.

His municipal activity was comprehensive, but it was in extensive and costly schemes he excelled. As chairman of the Waterworks and Sewage Committees, the all important questions of water supply and sewerage and sewerage purification works, were ably and successfully piloted by him through debate, and the work of construction and expenditure constantly scrutinised. Conscientious devotion, sound and equitable decisions distinguished his magisterial work. Together with members of a committee inspecting reservoirs, roads, Corporation properties, with the Justices inspecting licensed houses, he viewed and investigated with an untiring energy at which his colleagues and the officials marvelled.

The scope and number of his benefactions to institutions and deserving objects were so extensive as to preclude detailed enumeration.

Reference may be made to the establishment of the Partington Convalescent and Nurses’ Home. Viewed with a splendid constitution and usually free from ailments he had occasion in advanced years to undergo an eminently successful operation, and full of thankfulness for his recovery showed his solicitude for the welfare of others in less fortunate circumstances, he gave a sum of £30,000 to provide and endow a residence for poor inhabitants of the Borough requiring rest and care during convalescence, and suitable accommodation for district nurses to be employed nursing patients in their own homes. In order to establish this on the best lines he nominated and defrayed the expenses of a deputation composed of Alderman White, Councillor Tom Braddock, Major R.B. Sidebottom and myself, who visited and obtained particulars of schemes of engagement of similar institutions at Northampton, Windsor and elsewhere. The building and furnishing cost £8000, leaving £22,000 for endowment, and the Home was opened in June 1908.

During the Great War it served for the reception and occupation of wounded Belgian Soldiers.

The contribution of £2000 towards the Victoria Hall and Free Library has been mentioned in the gifts in the 1887 Jubilee year.

Appointed Captain of the 3rd Derbyshire (Volunteers) Rifle Corps in 1874 he gave active and financial support in that direction.

His diffuse hospitality in public life included a Mayoral Banquet at the Victoria Hall; the entertaining of the Friendly Societies in celebration of the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902; a banquet to the Grand United Order Of Oddfellows (Manchester Unity) at the Albion Hotel, Manchester, in 1903; and the entertainment of the Burgesses of the Borough at the Coronation festivities for King George V in 1911.

The new Pavilion on the Glossop ground in 1898 was erected at his expense. His native town of Bury highly esteemed his handsome donation of £4000 towards the cost of their War Memorial.

The well merited honour of Knighthood was conferred upon him in 1912, and the high dignity title of Baron Doverdale in 1916. The title Doverdale was taken from a place bearing that name on the Westwood Park estate purchased by him in 1900, which with additions comprised 300 acres.

He was decorated with the Austrian Cross of St. Joseph by the late Emperor Franz Joseph, an honour of which he was justly proud.

The Liberal Party received his uncompromising support and about 1900 the Executive Committee of the High Peak Division unanimously decided that he or a member of his family should be selected as the candidate for the next Parliamentary Election of the High Peak Division, and I was entrusted with the delicate commission. At a private interview with him in Manchester he expressed appreciation and in a quiet and unassuming way intimated his definite decision that giving regard to the weighty responsibilities of his business commitments and the large sums of money invested, especially by his own friends and townsmen, he felt it his duty to give his time and attention to the carrying on of his business, and must therefore decline to undertake the candidature. Then he cordially acquiesced in the alternative suggestion and nominated his wish that his son Oswald should be selected in his stead, as he required the assistance of his eldest son, Herbert, in the management of his business, and he expressed the care that his son would study and qualify himself for the position and receive the support of the committee and electorate. His decision being conveyed to the committee, the announcement gave the liveliest satisfaction to the Liberal Party.

The relaxation and holidays enjoyed by him were much limited. Extensive travels in connection with the far distant undertakings he had founded, a day now and again with his friends on the Grouse Moors, and occasional week ends on his Baronial estate, were the chief sources of pleasure and recuperation.

Impersonal continuous association of over forty years with the late Lord Doverdale on matters municipal, Magisterial, commercial, professional, political and otherwise have left me with vivid impressions of his remarkable powers. A distinguishing characteristic was his aptitude to listen patiently to, and glean useful information from those with whom he conversed, to lift the grain from the chaff, and to assimilate and utilise to the best advantage all that was useful.

The smoothness of his domestic life was unfortunately marred by three bereavements sustained by the deaths, first of his daughter, Beatrice, the wife of C.E. Knowles, in 1897; then of his first son Herbert, in 1916; and lastly of his wife, Lady Doverdale, in 1917.

For some years his residence was in Hollincross Lane until 1884, when he purchased East View (now Easton) from the representative of the late F.L. Sumner, but during the latter years of his life he stayed at Red Court, the residence of Major and the Honble. Mrs Sidebottom, continuing his attendance at Turn Lee Mills to the day of his death in January 1925, in his 89th year. He was survived by his son Oswald, the present Lord Doverdale, and two daughters, the Honble. Mrs Sidebottom and the Honble. Mrs Bruce Ward.

Oswald, Baron Doverdale, was not associated with this Municipal work beyond being a Justice for Derbyshire. He fulfilled the expectations and hopes of his Liberal supporters when he attained the honour of representing the High Peak Division in Parliament. He became a Junior Lord of the Treasury.

The results of his contest are here given :-

1900 Oswald Partington (Lib.) 4591
S Roberts (Cons.) 4432
Lib. Majority 159

1906 Oswald Partington (Lib.) 5450
A Profumo (Cons.) 4662
Lib. Majority 788

1909
 
By Election O. Partington appointed
a Junior Lord of the Treasury
Oswald Partington (Lib.) 5619
A Profumo (Cons.) 5272
Lib. Majority 347

1910 January
Oswald Partington (Lib.) 5912
S. Hill-Wood (Cons.) 5806
Lib. Majority 106

1910 December
S. Hill-Wood (Cons.) 5813
Oswald Partington (Lib.) 5629
Cons. Majority 184

He resided at Westwood Park and has a Town House in Ennismore Gardens.

Herbert Partington, the eldest son of the late Lord Doverdale, was born in 1869, educated at Rossall, and at an early age was initiated in the art of paper making, literally having to ‘go through the mill’ as his father had done, and so acquire a thorough, sound, practical knowledge of the industry, and which when completed fitted him for the position of Director of Olive and Partington Ltd., and of the Kellner Partington Paper Pulp Co. Ltd., and allied companies.

Like the pious Aeneas following with unequal steps in the footsteps of his father, he also embarked upon a Municipal career and placed his business acumen and experience at the service of the Corporation. Elected a Councillor for St James’ Ward in 1896, he was Mayor in 1907-8 and again from 1914-May 1916; appointed Justice of the Peace for Derbyshire in 1902. As Chairman of the Partington Home Committee he exhibited a deep interest in that institution. During his Chairmanship of the Highways Committee considerable improvements were effected on the roads and streets.

His powers of organisation and supervision were remarkable, of which he gave ample proof as Chairman of a three days’ Bazaar in the Victoria Hall in aid of certain local institutions and in the Indian Cotton Famine Fête in the Park.

A strong constitution developed by the bracing sea air and invigorating scholastic sports at Rossall, he proved an alert and tough opponent in Rugby football matches; enthusiastically supported the old Rugby Club; and on the Grouse Moors displayed proficiency with the gun second to none and equalled by few.

Impelled by a generous nature, his hospitality was in accord with the best traditions, and whether in the shape of Banquets, Dances, or minor entertainments, was ever accompanied by a personal interest in the comfort and enjoyment of his guests.

A cruel fate destined the second year of his Mayoralty to be the memorable year in which the Great War commenced, and the community experienced a shock and consternation on the 4th August 1914, when the trumpets of war sounded and the military and naval forces, including the Territorials (successors to the old Volunteers) were mobilised. Nevertheless, the response of the nation was immediate, and an immeasurable amount of help was forthcoming. It is no part of these reminiscences to comment on the incidents relating to or the conduct or consequences of the terrible conflict and slaughter which ensued. Many were led to indulge in the fanciful prophecy, chiefly emanating from business men, that it would be over in six months.

Gradually it was burned in the minds of all that the War might last several years. So we got to work. For a few days the Banks were closed, and difficulties experienced in providing payment of wages and accounts, but these were overcome. Then came important instructions from London, and a confusion of suggestions from self constituted interfering voluntary associations formed in London. The grim and unpleasant work of deciding who should ‘serve’ and who should be exempt was eventually delegated to a Local Tribunal, appointed by the Council, and who performed their services voluntarily. Then a National Register comprising every individual of the nation with the age, status, nationality and occupation, was called for, and this also was entrusted to the Council, who were aided by a body of officials and a number of school teachers, all of whom rendered their services voluntarily and without payment. How well and quickly they did their work was shown by the fact that the Register was completed by the prescribed date, whilst in other Boroughs they were quibbling as to who should do the work, and what payment should be made for it. The work which had been done here gratuitously was in other Boroughs who pressed for payment, remunerated by a grant from Government, but no payment was received or asked for in the Borough. A list of those who assisted in compiling the Register was published in the local newspapers in August 1914, and they received the thanks of the Local Government Board and of the Council. A number of other special committees were appointed either by the Council or voluntarily for various objects, such us: The Mayor’s Christmas treat to children of Soldiers and Sailors, the British Red Cross, the Prevention of Relief and Distress, Comforts for the Forces, Wounded Soldiers, Belgium Relief Fund, Prisoners of War, Christmas parcels, etc. etc.

In the very midst of this came the sad and startling news on the 5th May 1916, that the Mayor, after a short illness, had succumbed to a heart attack. He had undoubtedly intended after the termination of Hostilities to devote much of his time and labours as well as his wealth to local public affairs, and his death was a great blow to the Borough and created a void difficult now to fill.

He left his widow the Mayoress and two infant daughters to mourn his loss.

Outside our official and business relationship we had enjoyed for over twenty years good companionship and trusting friendship. He was the last of a circle with whom I had long been associated.

Mary Alice Partington, who was the daughter of the late Mr. Abel Harrison, had assisted her husband most assiduously in his Mayoralties and especially undertaken a considerable share of work on the special Wartime Committees. She was the one person to whom the Council could best look to continue the good work and combine to positions of Mayor and Mayoress for the remainder of the municipal year. Her election as Mayor would be a graceful and sincere tribute to their mutual service The request having been preferred and an intimation of her acceptance obtained, she was elected at a special meeting of the Council and thereupon courageously undertook and performed in a most satisfactory manner the responsible and onerous duties. So much so, that she was twice re-elected, in 1917 and 1918, thus holding the office for three and a half years. It was generally conceded that she presided with dignity, firmness and tact at the meetings of the council and as Chairman of the General Purposes, Partington Home and War Charities Committees and in the continuance of her activities with the many Burgesses. A total sum of nearly £30,000 was raised by collections and donations towards the various funds established, a list of which was published by her in 1919.

The War ended with an Armistice on 11th November 1918, and the Peace Treaty was signed in the following July. On the signing of the Treaty a Public Holiday was observed, and the festivities held on Saturday July 19th 1919 to celebrate the termination of the War, included the Presentation of Colours by Lord Howard at Glossop Hall to Boy Scouts and Girl Guides; the planting of a tree in the Park by the Mayor; a United Choir Festival in Norfolk Square, and the bands playing in Norfolk Square and at Hadfield Cross. On that day also a Special Meeting of the Council was held at the Town Hall ‘to meet Mr and Mrs Isaac Jackson, the donors of the purchase money for the Town Hall and Market to commemorate the conclusion of the Great War and in memory of the men from the Borough who gave their lives for the country’.

On the 23rd the Inmates of the Workhouse were entertained by the Mayor; on the 26th tea and entertainments were provided for old people over 60, in Glossop by Mayor Sir Samuel and the Honble. Lady Hill-Wood, and at Hadfield by Colonel and Mrs Heywood and Mrs Platt. On 2nd August, Medals were presented by Lord Doverdale to day and Sunday school scholars in the Borough and scholars entertained in the Schools. On Sunday, 3rd August, a United Thanksgiving Service was held in Norfolk Square, and a United Service for Fallen Soldiers on the football ground, and in September Discharged Soldiers and Sailors were entertained by the Corporation.

In recognition of her services, Mrs Partington received the honour of O.B.E. in 1919, and concluded a much appreciated period of service by entertaining the Members of the Council, Justices and Officials at Talbot House on her retirement as Mayor in 1919. Subsequently she was enrolled amongst the Honorary Freemen of the Borough.

TO FOLLOW: Ollerenshaw, Isaac Jackson and Others; Some Account of Administrative Work accomplished.


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