When we were clearing out my late grandparents house we found a number of interesting documents. One of them was a handwritten recollection of my Great Grandfather being shot during the First World War see this blog to read it https://sudniheritage.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/a-brush-with-death-in-wwi/ The second was a typewritten piece which starts like this…
Written by Mr. Wm. Potter typed by his daughter Brenda. So technically it has now been digitally published by his Great Grandaughter Hannah. I’ve left all the nuts and bolts in. Perhaps you will recognise names and places of Bolton past.
Having been asked to write this history of Blackshaw Sykes and Morris Ltd after much thought I have decided to write about my life in the printing trade, and thereby giving the history of Critchley & Co Ltd, Blackshaw, Sykes and Morris Ltd and Robert Kenyon Ltd the firms I have been Managing Director.
I commenced working at the Bolton Chronicle in January 1910 at the age of thirteen. The hours of work being 7am – 8am 1 hour then ½ hour for breakfast, 8.30am to 12.30pm 4 hours 1.30pm to 6pm 5 1/2 hours total 10 1/2 hours by 5 days 50 1/2. Saturday morning 5 hours total 55 1/2 hours a week for 5 shillings always overtime on Saturday afternoons 2pm to 6pm for sixpence. After three months I moved into the reporters room as a copyholder and reporters runner, attending all the court proceedings everyday, Town council meetings, civic functions, church activities, attended the Pretoria Pit disaster December 1910 and early 1911, never missed a day at the government enquiry which lasted five to six weeks. Attended Bolton Wanderers Matches at Burden Park on a Saturday following with matches at Bury Gigg Lane ground, left the games at half time to carry the copy from the reporters to the office in Knowsley Street Bolton, always on a bicycle from Bury to Bolton about half an hour. My job was to call at the Post Office each morning and have the post on the Sub-Editors desk for 7am, and the sweep and dust the office ready for the reporters.
A Short History of Critchley & Co (Bolton) Ltd.
1890 (approx) Lewis & Co was formed with works on the south side of Town Hall Square Bolton.
1903 the firm were taken over by two Brothers in law – Mr Fred Critchley who previous worked as a compositor at Bolton Chronicle Office, Knowsley Street, Bolton and Mr Harry Hoyles who worked as a machineman at George Gledsdales Ltd, Printers and Stationers in Bank Street and Deansgate.
The Firm changed to Critchley and Hoyles with premises in Howell Croft South, adjoining the Central Library.
1911 I, William Potter joined the firm as an apprentice after being employed in the Reporters Room at the Bolton Chronicle.
The staff at Critchley and Hoyles in 1911 comprised
- Mr. Fred Critchley office and compositor wage 35/- shillings
- Mr. Harry Hoyle as Machineman wage 35/- shillings
- Mr Walter Howell as Compositor wage 33/- shillings
- Mr Tom Blackburn (age 20) Apprentice Comp/Machineman Wage 15/- shillings
- William Potter (age 14) Apprentice Comp/Machineman Wage 6/- shillings
- Errand boy Wage 5/- shillings
Total wages being £6 11 0 per week. The yearly turnover was £750
Plant consisted of Arab Platen size 13×8 Demy Wharfedale size 22 1/2 x 17 ½ Quad Demy size 36 x 46
1916 The partnership between F.Critchley and H.Hoyles was broken. After only thirteen years the firm nearly went bankrupt and it was only by the help of Mrs Critchley that kept the firm going. In fact the families being very divided. Mr H Hoyles worked for Robert Kenyon for two years and for Hopkins and sons for thirteen years as a machineman. Mr Walter Howells left the firm in 1912 for America and Mr Tom Blackburn followed in 1913.
In May 1915 I joined the Army and was away until January 1919 and in 1920 made foreman at the firm. The staff being then
- Mr F. Critchley, Comp/Machineman,
- Mr Wm. Potter Comp/Machineman,
- Mr. Holland Compositor,
- Mr F. Robinson apprentice,
- Girl feeder
- Errand boy.
In 1922 T. Blackburn came back and worked for about three years, left to work at Tillotsons (Bolton) Ltd and back to us until he started his own business in 1926.
From 1916 to 1928 the firm traded as F. Critchley. On the death of Fred Critchley in 1928 the firm traded as Critchley & Co. Ltd 1929 was formed with a capital of £400 being the value the Estate Valuers stated.
The yearly turnover in 1928 was £1850 the staff being
- Wm. Potter Managing Director (comp/machineman)
- W.Stockton (Compositor)
- Birchall (apprentice)
- Girl feeder and make up
- Errand boy
- interval casual labourers were employed.
- Mr. F Robinson left in 1928 and returned in late 1929.
1929 Critchley & Co Bolton Ltd
- Capital £500, Shares issued £400 as follows
- Mrs. Amelia Critchley 100 £1 Shares
- Dr. Samuel Critchley 100 £1 shares
- Mrs. Constance M. Platt (daughter of Mr Critchley) 100 £1 shares
- Mr. Wm. Potter 100 £1 shares
At the first meeting Mrs. A Critchley appointed chairman and Wm.Potter Managing director. It was decided at the first meeting that the profits be divided between Mrs. A Critchley and Mr. Wm. Potter but Mrs Critchley to allow payment of £5each to Dr. S Critchley and Mr C Platt. That the wage of Mr Wm Potter to be 10/- shillings per week over men’s rate but no overtime to be charged. The hours worked in 1929 was 48 hours but Mr Wm Potter averaged 58/60 per week on most weeks of the year the men drew at least one pound a week more.
1930 – Moved to Blackhorse Street Mill (Entrance in Spring Gardens) owing to property due for demolition [later the Octagon Theatre build on the site]. The rest of Blackhorse Street Mill being £150 and we let part of it off to Messrs Yates Brothers Paper Merchants for £80 so our rent was £70. The understanding with Yates was a signed agreement for three years. A verbal option agreement being we should take over their business for the sum of the stock plus 5% for the goodwill in 1933. We had a ten year agreement with Bolton Corporation. Yates Bros owing to suppliers of Swedish Kraft Papers, Swedish Bank and greaseproof papers having two large firms in less than than twelve months so their business folded up and out of existence.
Our removing to Blackhorse Street Mill in 1930, we sold the Quad Demy machine for £19. The Demy machine overhauled for £75, bought a heavy Demy Folio Caxton Planten for £25 and a second hand reconditioned Double Demy Wharfedale for £50.
The plant being
- Double Demy Wharfedale
- Demy Wharfedale
- Demy Folio
- Heavy Platen Foolscap Folio and Platen
- 32” Hand guillotine
- Wiring Machine hand stapler
- Casual Labour Compositor
- Apprentice Woman
- Errand Boy
- Office Girl.
1933 – let off the premises vacated by Yates Bros to a Church organisation for twelve months and afterwards a six year lease to a Messrs Briggs Ltd tyre factors for £85 a year.
1940 – only obtain a three year agreement with Bolton Corporation and after the term finished on a twelve month lease at £110 per year.
During the war years a steady progress was made with the help of an Automatic Demy Folio Platen. Platen bought for £350 in 1939 which we considered very fast at 1900/w per hour. The Arab Platen 1000 hand fed. Heavy Platen Demy 750 Demy 1300 and did at 1000 per hour.
1948 – The Directors of Critchley and Co Ltd bought Messrs Blackshaw, Sykes and Morris Ltd shares as follows. These figures being supplied by Mr H Daniels Accountant
Purchase of shares
- The total cost of all the shares was agreed purchase to vendors £14915.0.0d
- 3000 £1 shares at £4.10.0d
- 1132 £1 shares at £1.5.0d
- Stamp duty on transfers £302.10.0d
- Bank Interest £419.9.0d
- Bank Charges £20.16.0d
The total purchase consideration was provided as follows:
- Cash from the late Mrs Critchley and the late Dr S Critchley – £7500
- Cash from Mr William Potter, further payment by Mrs Critchley this repaid after 12 months – £500
- £4102 10 0d Cash from Critchley and Co Ltd
- £1700 0 0d B.S.M Ltd
Total £13802 10 0d
- £5 8 0d cash returned to Mrs Platt
- £1860 13 0d Cash loan repaid to Mrs Critchley
History of Blackshaw, Sykes and Morris
August 10th 1916 – Articles of Association passed, incorporated and registered.
Mr W Sykes appointed secretary at £3 5 0d per week.
Directors – W. Gordon-French, W Sykes, T.W Morris, P.R Parsons and Herbert Gill
December 30th 1918 – Decided to hold directors meeting once a month. Director’s salary fixed at £4 per week. Audited fees increased from £7 7 0 to £10 10 0 per year plus £1 1 0 d for income tax returns.
6th February 1919 Sales for Dec 1918 £210
6th March 1919 Sales for Jan 1919 £365
2nd April 1919 Meeting to amalgamate with the Bolton Chronicle
4th June 1919 Decided not to amalgamate with the Bolton Chronicle until further information.
6th October 1919 Extraordinary meeting to increase capital of the company to £7000 but only £4000 issued and preference shares (rate of interest 7.5%)
6th December 1920 Purchase of premises mortgage £2000
- Fire Insurance increased £5000
- Salaries – Managing Director £8 10 0d
- Other Directors £6 0 0d all overtime payments to cease
- Traveller employed at £4 per week
At this point the typewritten notes end and attached by a rusty paperclip, is a piece of folded paper in my Grandma’s handwriting where she takes over the narrative which follows.
March 1951 W. Griffiths (Son-in-law to Mr Wm Potter) joined the firm and made a Director in the year 1965
In 1965 the Directors of Blackshaw, Sykes and Morris bought Robert Kenyon’s stationers at Lark House, St Georges Rd.
October 1967 A dinner and presentationto commemorate the retirement of Mr T.A Kenyon and 50 years service of Mr T.F Robinson works manager – held at Smithills Coaching House.
1970 D. Sims (Son-in-law) joined the firm and made a Director in …..
December 1972 Moved to St Marks School (Fletcher St)
Mrs Platt died in 1977. Mr Wm Potter died in 1981. The Directors then being W. Griffiths, D. Sims, B. Griffiths and M. Sims.
S.P Griffiths (son of W. Griffiths) joined the firm in August 1979 and later Paul Close (son-in-law of D Sims) joined the firm. On the retirement of W. Griffiths and D.Sims they and their wives remained directors. Leaving S.P Griffiths and P. Close to see to the running of the business who were then made directors.
FOOTNOTE: The business was dissolved in December 2014