Glossop Heritage Trust

Theo Walter Ellison's Glossop Dale Reminiscences.

Francis Edward Lord Howard (Baron Howard) of Glossop (published 22 February 1935).

Succeeding his father Edward George Lord Howard in 1883 as previously related, Francis Edward Lord Howard (Baron Howard) of Glossop was the Lord of the Manor of Glossop until his death in 1924; a Justice of the Peace for Derbyshire in 1885; and an Alderman of the Derbyshire County Council, 1891. With rooted objection to figuring personally in contested elections, distasteful to one so reserved and sensitive, he steadfastly declined all invitations for nomination as a candidate unless assured of an unopposed election.

Wavering between a desire to occupy the position of First Citizen of the Borough and a probably misconceived apprehension of the inability to satisfactorily fulfil the duties, he deferred until an hour before the Council meeting on the 9th November in 1908 his decision not to accept the invitation. The Council inferred from this that his acceptance was assured, and when the decision was received the alternative selection, Henry Hadfield, who was employed at the Howard Town Mills, had not prepared to attend the meeting, and was obliged to hurriedly attire himself suitably for his election as Mayor.

Several valuable and much appreciated gifts to the Corporation emphasised His Lordship’s interest in the welfare of the inhabitants. In addition to his gifts of lands in the Jubilee year of 1887 for the Hospital, Baths, Park and Library, he presented 500 volumes and subscribed a hundred guineas to the Free Library in 1888, and erected and presented the handsome building at Fauvel Road for a Technical School, now the Glossop Grammar School. The Coronation Festivities in 1902 and 1911 received his support, as also did the exploration for and preservation of Roman antiquities at Melandra Castle; the description and value of which benefited considerably by the keen and intelligent interest and assistance by the late Robert Hamnett.

The history of the acquisition of the Glossop Town Hall, Market and Market rights comprises incidents of more than ordinary interest. These buildings were, as I have related, built by Henry Charles Duke of Norfolk, the foundation stone of the Town Hall being laid in 1836. A lack of much needed accommodation for the officials had led to Lord Howard improving the site of offices adjacent to the public entrance to the Town Hall, and with the growth of the municipal undertakings and consequent increased work, the demand for suitable accommodation became acute and irresistible. There was also room for improvements in the Market and as capital money had to be raised by sale or mortgage for improvements on the Glossop Dale estates of which Lord Howard was tenant for life, he offered the Town Hall, Market and rights to the Corporation in 1896 for £10,000 which, after strenuous debate, the Council rejected.

A further incentive was given regarding the appointment of Inspector of Weights and Measures. Lord Howard had power to make an appointment as regards the Town of Glossop by virtue of his Manorial and Market Rights, and the Corporation had also power to appoint for the whole of the Borough under the Weights and Measures Act. A dual appointment would obviously conflict, and the difficulty had been overcome by allowing the Chief Constable to combine the duties on behalf of both Lord Howard and the Corporation. It was considered expedient that the Corporation should have exclusive rights of appointing the Inspector vested in them, which would ensue if they purchased the Market and Manorial rights. Lord Howard had meanwhile appointed Mr Walter Oliver as his Inspector of Weights and Measures.

The Council and Committee rooms at the Town Hall were also both insufficient and unsuitable and led to an unpleasant dispute with His Honour Judge Waddy, who appointed the sittings of the County Court on a Monday on which the Justices held their Courts as they had done for a generation, and much inconvenience was occasioned to Counsel, Advocates and Suitors, which was remedied by His Honour changing the days for his Courts. So in view of these various considerations the question of purchasing the Town Hall and Market and Manorial rights came once again to the front.

A deputation of two or three members of the Council and myself waited upon Lord Howard at Glossop Hall to ascertain whether he would be willing to reopen negotiations. The matter was agreeably discussed and quite frankly he stated he had definitely decided not to sell any more of his estates during his lifetime; he did not know what those who came after him would do; they might wish to sell the entire estates and leave Glossop.

There had been in the intervening time several schemes under consideration for providing office accommodation either by purchasing existing property and converting it or building on vacant land for which plans were prepared, but all these had been rejected by the Council for one reason or another. Then it was learned that the owners of the Norfolk Arms Hotel would consider an offer to purchase the hotel including Norfolk Chambers, and it was considered that the Hotel or part of it could be conveniently adapted and supply the accommodation required. Negotiations were commenced and an offer to sell made. No sooner did His Lordship learn of this than he promptly called on me at Norfolk Chambers and expressed his strong disapprobation and with deep concern, remarked that his father and my father would turn in their graves if the Council Chamber and Court room were moved from the Town Hall. Again he offered to sell the Town Hall and Market Hall and rights and franchises to the Corporation, but not to any private individual, and the negotiations for acquiring the Norfolk Hotel were abandoned. Eventually the Corporation agreed the price of the Town Hall, Market etc., and Mr and Mrs Isaac Jackson, imbued with the best ideas of good citizenship, very generously and patriotically made a gift to the Corporation of £12,000 – the amount of the purchase money in 1919, as presently recorded. A very considerable expenditure was subsequently incurred in alterations, additions and improvements to the Market Hall, and the provision of a new Council Room and Municipal Offices, now known as the ‘Municipal Buildings’.

The coming of age in 1906 of Bernard Edward, the present Lord Howard, was celebrated by a Ball given by Lord and Lady Howard at Glossop Hall, the guests who were received by His Lordship and his sister Mrs Middleton including the Mayor and Members of the Council, Justices of the Peace, and a representative assembly of the principal inhabitants; an historical local event, the remembrance of which recalls the courtesy extended by the noble Host and Hostess to one and all.

Lord Howard having lost his second son Philip, who was killed on active service with His Majesty’s Forces in the Great War, gave to the Corporation a tract of land at Sandhole to be formed into a road and ornamental grounds as a memorial and to be named ‘The Philip Howard Road’. His own death followed in 1924, when he was succeeded by his son Bernard Edward, and prophetic intimation was fulfilled: the Glossop Estates were sold en bloc and Glossop Hall ceased to be the residence of the Howard family.

The Hall and Grounds were purchased by the Glossop Corporation and are now the Kingsmoor School and the Manor Park.

Bernard Edward Lord Howard (Baron Howard) of Glossop married the Baroness Beaumont and they reside at Carlton Towers, Yorkshire, and in Pont Street, London. His Lordship is a shareholder and Director of Olive and Partington Limited.

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