Article by Mrs John Taylor (continued)
For a few years after the war, trade was booming and in the cotton industry there was mad speculation. Mill shares, especially in Spinning Mills, were selling for fantastic prices. This was one of the things which helped in the decline of the cotton trade. People bought shares and paid say 10/- in the £ for them and when later the rest was called up many people went bankrupt and they could not pay. John [inset] bought a few but sold out, and he hadn't many.
As the mill carried on in their steady way, Grandpa Taylor began to ease off. He died of cancer in 1925. When he died, John and Uncle Harry became Joint Managing Directors. They both had a salary but as John was salesman he was working on a commission basis, so he was soon earning much more than Uncle Harry. He did not think this was at all fair so they made an arrangement whereby they both had the same salary.
I had almost forgotten to mention that in 1916 John and I were married and we lived at Southfield, Carlton Road, and Ken and Nancy were both born there, Ken in 1918 and Nancy in 1919. When Nancy was 6 weeks old we moved to Albert Road, where Margaret was born in 1921. In 1923 we moved to Earlesmere in June and Joyce was born in August that year. To complete this part of the story, Joan was born there in 1926 and Michael in 1932. We moved to Burnside in 1954.
By this time the mill had 1,200 looms and they were the largest towel manufacturers in the British Empire and second in the world to Cannons (or Canons) of the U.S.A. It was a wonderful achievement from such a small beginning. The success was built on hard work and integrity.
It was in more senses than one a family concern. Some families worked there all their working life. Abraham Goodwin was one of the earliest tacklers, and he was there until he died. His two eldest sons started there. Wilfred later became a tackler, and Harold the second son was killed in the first world war, and you know that the youngest, Arnold, became John's right hand man and eventually became a Director.
Then there was the Leigh family, four brothers of them, Jim, Sam, Joe, and Jack. He joined the Air Force in the 1914-1918 war and invented gadgets for aeroplanes. They all worked at the mill until they died or until retiring age.
There was Sam Corley, who I think was a tackler. His son Leonard was the cashier. He was in the 1914-1918 war and a few years after he came back he became Manager of the Manchester Office, a post which he held until he retired.
One of the most trusted and loyal members of the firm was Mr Kent. He was Manager of the Manchester Office and later of the London Office. Mr Elliott worked under him and became Manager of the London Office when Mr Kent died suddenly in his early 60's. Mr Kent's elder son worked for a time as a salesman in Glasgow, but he was a wash out and was sacked. The younger son worked at the Stockport Mill, but worked for himself when it closed. He died fairly young.
Later there was the Wilkes family, the elder brother Billy following Jim Leigh as Inside Manager. He in turn has been followed by his son Harry. His brother Jimmy and sister Lydia and Jimmy's twin daughters all worked for the firm.
I could go on a long time about different employees, but I will just mention three who were not employees, but Agents. In the early days there was Mr Creasy who was the London Agent. He was a flamboyant character, with in some ways very modern ideas for those days. He was a strange mixture. When John went to London he would take him into St Paul's to pray before they started their business, yet in the end they dispensed with his services because of suspected shady transactions.
Then there was Mr Farrow, who was the shipping agent. He was a Londoner through and through. He knew his London inside out and when I went up to London in my early married days he used to take me round and show me corners of London which the ordinary tourist would never see.
After Mr Creasy left, the mill opened their own London Office with Mr Kent as Manager, and when Mr Farrow retired, his staff was taken over by the London Office, the main person from there being Mr Ewing. Mr Farrow lived to be 93, and until the last year or two swam in the Thames every morning, winter and summer.
He would have liked John to marry his daughter, and until we were married constantly invited him to his home at Surbiton. He often came to stay with us and was an interesting little man.
The third Agent was Mr Morrison, who used to work for Arthur and Company in Glasgow, but he had a nervous breakdown and when he recovered he became an Agent and the mill was one of his agencies. As you know, he and Mrs Morrison became great friends of the family. He died suddenly when he was about 65.
Ken left school in 1935 and went to Manchester Technical College and then for a short course at I.C.I. after which he went to the mill and later took charge of the Dyehouse. He continued in this line until he joined up in the second world war, after which he took a degree (P.P.E.) at Oxford. While he was in Belgium he met and married Francoise Wauters and they lived in Oxford until he came back to the mill in 1948.
I have forgotten to tell about Jack, Uncle Harry's son. He had a lot of illness and suffering during his youth, and has had recurring trouble ever since.
I do not know exactly when he came to the mill but I should say about 1928 he went to a warehouse (Sparrow Hardwicke's) in Manchester to gain some experience in the Textile Trade. He came to the mill on the selling side and became head of the selling in due course.
There are so many things that I want to tell, but cannot decide in what order to tell them.
Mr Hulton stayed at the mill for several years. He was very charming, but really no use in a business. When his father died he inherited a lot of money so he retired. He married a girl from the Office, a Miss Calvert (I cannot remember her Christian name). They have both been dead for some years. She had two brothers who worked in the Office, but one of them was rather a mischiefmaker and after a time there was some unpleasantness and they left. I think they are both dead. I know one is.