PAGEANT OF LETCHWORTH

EARLY INDUSTRIAL LIFE

LXXXV

The Heatly Gresham Co's works were the first to be built in the town. The Letchworth works followed operations at Bassingbourn. where they constructed the engineering work for the first motor-cabs on the London streets. Vickers and Field have been succeeded by the Mastic Roofing and Paving Co. and the Idris works is now absorbed by Shelvoke and Drewry Ltd. The Garden City Press, beginning as a co-partnership concern under the management of B. Williams, became a limited liability company. Mr. Williams left in 1913.

G. H. Ewart, the head of the well-known geyser works, was often in the town. He was a g-enial looking, tall, iron grey man of fine bearing. T. H. W. Idris was an early supporter of the movement and one of the first directors of First Garden City Ltd. At one time a Liberal M.P., he was a Welshman of medium height, a florid complexion and pleasant manner. In the early days H. Heatly was a familiar presence. He was a member of the first Parish Council and
as a flautist in the Margaret Fowles Orchestra appeared at many concerts. He lived in Hitchin.

LXXXVI

In a previous article we have shown that wages in the printing trade at this period varied from 32s. Od. to 34s. Od. per week in the skilled branches. Similarly the wages for "good skilled mechanics2 (we quote from a pamphlet, London and the Manufacturer, issued by the company as an advertisement) (" averaged from 28s. Od. to 34s. Od. per week ; for unskilled labour from 19s. Od. to 23s. Od. ; and for good handy men 25s. Od. to 26s. Od." These figures were considerably below those obtaining in London and under those at Luton, the nearest manufacturing town.

This caused considerable criticism in progressive circles, and an increase in Trade Union activity, and on June 26th, 1908, the unions combined to form the Trades Council, of which G. H. Pateman and T. G. Came were prominent members.

LXXXV1I

J. M, Dent, the founder of the firm of J. M. Dent and Sons, cut the first sod of the Temple Press on August 8th, 1906, his clergyman son offering a dedicatory prayer. The works

63

BOOK NAVIGATION 
PAGE 62 
PAGE 64
Home