Friday 15 March 1918
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On Tuesday, Mr John Pitts, the veteran Primitive Methodist local preacher, was 80 and received many congratulations. The oldest factory hands at the Old Mill where Mr Pitts had been manager for the past 30 years had subscribed for a present which took the form of a silver mounted umbrella. Mr Joseph Wilcock presided over the gathering and Mr Jowett Thornton handed over the gift to Mr Pitts. Awards Mr Pitts has resided at 13 Chapel Street, Eccleshill, over 40 years. He has a richly upholstered chair for 36 years’ services as superintendent of the Primitive Methodist Sunday
School at Idle; the Bradford Sunday School Union diploma for 50 years’ service in Sunday school work; and an illuminated testimonial in recognition of 50 years as a local preacher. During this latter period, 20 chapels in the Bradford 7th Circuit have been built and he has preached in each with the exception of Great Horton, and even there he has given an address. He is still in great demand as a preacher. He remembers the time when there were no railways, no gas, no waterworks and the only newspaper was a weekly which cost either 3d or 4d. As there was no stationed policeman in the district, it was the duty of the
churchwardens to visit every public house on the Sabbath to see that they were closed during certain hours. In those days woolcombing, spinning and weaving were done by hand in the cottages of the poor. Working 72 years Mr Pitts commenced work at the Albion Mills when eight years of age and he has now been employed in the factory for 72 years. For Smith & Hutton, Tunwell Mills, Eccleshill, he has worked for 40 years during 30 of which he has been manager at the Old Mill, a position he still holds with the new Belgian firm. Mr Pitts has been twice married but has been a widower for the past nine years. Mr Pitts’s father was the local poet of his day and his productions were circulated throughout the Idle district 14 years before the Education Act.
Looking back as he reaches 80 years old
Gas price problem was created by past mistakes
The odds were all against the Shipley Urban Council in their application on Wednesday for powers to increase the price of their gas. Seventeen years ago they succeeded to what is now popularly regarded as having been a doubtful undertaking. Various items such as interest and sinking fund and increased costs one way or another have made it all collar work for them since. And it has been evident for some time past that the only way out of the difficulty was to raise the gas beyond 4s 2d a thousand. Consumers could not be expected to take this lying down, especially seeing that the present cost compares very unfavourably with the prices in many other places but the position is not altogether without its bright side and a good point could have been made of this at the inquiry. Production Shipley is producing gas at 2s a thousand if the charges for interest and sinking fund are left out of the account, and last year the town was in the first 20 in the country for the actual cheapness of production. It is a case of hard lines all round; hard for the present generation of consumers who have to foot the bill but equally hard for the Council who have got to stand the result of what their predecessors did. The brick that keeps things down is certainly in the sack but if the repayments of loan could be spread over a longer period, the load would be eased and posterity would have a chance of liquidating some of the liability. That would be tying it on the dog, as it were, but the consumers of today who are the posterity of yesterday, would not mind passing the responsibility on, judging from their determined attitude on Wednesday.
The Rev William Manning, pastor of the Eccleshill Congreg- ational Church for the last 37 years, was 70 on 8th March.
Pastor’s 70th birthday
The gifts of War Scrip by Sir James Roberts to the workpeople on the occasion of his recent sale of Saltaire Mills, were made on Saturday at the Café Royal, Saltaire. The recipients, who numbered 1,699, had been asked to attend in relays at different times of the day and to further facilitate matters, several distributing tables were provided. The gifts ranged from £1 to £25 according to the length of service and with the exception of those of £1, the whole of the gifts took the form of war bonds. Hired by Titus Salt Those entitled to £1 each received a 15s 6d war savings certificate together with 4s 6d in cash. The oldest servant of the Saltaire firm is Mr Ezra Ellis of Carlton Road, Bingley, who has a record of 63 years’ service, he having been employed by the founder, Sir Titus Salt,  before the present mills were built. Though 82, Mr Ellis still discharges his duties as a clerk in the office without the aid of spectacles.
Long-serving workers rewarded with war bonds
William Hitch of Surrey has been engaged for Eccleshill this coming cricket season. He is of Test Match status and for a few overs he is the fastest bowler in the country, while his curious run up to the wickets make him a bowler not likely to be forgotten. He is also a hard hitter. It is reported that several players from Hunsworth and the surrounding districts are coming into the Bradford League as the Mexborough League is suspended for the coming season. Windhill did well last season when they signed on Sandy Bairstow as their wicket-keeper, for he brought with him Jepson, Parker and Cantrell who all did well. He has been on the look-out for more help annd we hear that he has secured Hesketh (Barnsley), Mackenzie (Featherstone), Rookes and Crapper (South Kirkby) and Cupitt, an old Bradford favourite.
Fast bowler among new signings
We need to be firmer with temperance message not easier
Speaking on Saturday night at Saltaire Congregational School in connection with the Bradford Business Men’s Temperance League, the Rev T Paxton of Bradford said that upon how they settled the temperance question would depend in great measure the health and happiness of the people for many generations to come. They were very much  troubled now about their food supply and they were being told on all hands by the Government that the problem was one of ships and tonnage. It was rather strange when other trades were being put down that the liquor traffic – a luxury trade – was still allowed to continue. If they were to go through a still greater crisis in regard to the carring of food it was absolutely imperative that the Government should deal firmly and strongly with this trade which was unnecessary at the present time. They had been told that the workers would rebel and that there would be a revolution in this country if they prohibited strong drink. Working man He was not so sure of that. He believed that if it was put fairly and squarely to the working man who liked and had his glass of beer that it was a question of beer for him or food for his family, he would rise to the appeal and decide in favour of his family. He advised temperance people to have a little more courage in tackling this question as he thought that too often they dealt with it with gloved hands. The traffic had been so long in their middst that they had become hardened to some of the results and he knew that even today there were numbers of good temperance people who went about as if everything was all right and did not seem to realise the new phase the evil was taking. Women The great bulk of their young men had gone but their places in the public houses had been taken in many instances by women. He thought it was one of the saddest features of life, particularly when they noticed the great efforts that Woman was making for her emancipation in various walks of life, to see that on the other hand many of the sex wer giving way to the temptations of the drink traffic.
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