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Black & Driver's Factory

Strike in the Hosiery Trade at Barrow-on-Soar 14/8/1893

An unfortunate dispute has occurred at Messrs Black and Driver's hosiery factory. It is stated that some of the men, with the assistance of an extra boy or girl, have managed more than one machine. This being contrary to the rules of the hosiery union, the union men have left work. Last week there was considerable excitement, and three men who refused to come out had to be escorted to and from work by the police. Pickets were stationed at all the approaches to the factory, and meetings held daily. On Saturday the men received strike pay, also the girls who have as a consequence of the strike been thrown out of employment .
Up to Wednesday no settlement of the unfortunate dispute had been accomplished. Mr Jabez Chaplin, one of the officials of the Amalgamated Union, visited Barrow in the afternoon, and addressed a. meeting of workpeople at one o'clock. He urged them to stand firm, and intimated that those who had gone in would have to comeback before a settlement was effected.

The Strike at Barrow 14/9/1893

An open-air meeting in connection with the strike at Messrs Black and Driver's was held at Barrow last (Wednesday) evening. There was a fair attendance, and Mr G. E. Hartshorn (Leicester) presided. - The Chairman said the strike was not so much against the wages paid to the men as against the means taken to enforce that standard. He Asserted that two men who were previously on strike had gone in on the old terms. - Mr J. Chaplin severely criticised the action of these men and said Messrs Black and Driver would never be able to defeat the Leicester Union. If the men at Barrow were defeated it would be because of their own disunion. The firm would never be able to go on with eight men, four of whom could only smash the machines. He urged the men to stand firm, as everything depended on their own efforts. - Mr. J. Holmes, of Leicester, also advocated union among the strikers, and said the firm had neglected the first principles of reason. He blamed the men who had gone in. - Mr Barclay of Leicester, delivered an address on Socialist lines, and the meeting terminated soon afterwards.

The Dispute at Barrow-on-Soar 28/9/1893

In connection with the hosiery strike at Barrow a public meeting was held ou Tuesday evening on the recreation ground. Mr Hickling, of Leicester, presided, and strongly urged the men remain firm, and sooner or later success would reward their efforts. Mr Thomas Cook (member of Loughborough School Board) next gave interesting address, in the course of which he, said if one man was allowed to employ a number of boys and girls, and so managing two or three machines, the position of a skilled workman in five years time would be a sorry one. Mr Kemp, of Leicester, also spoke. - A second meeting was held in the large club room at the Bishop Blaize, and was largely attended, Mr Hickling again presiding. Mr Chaplin, local secretary, gave an address of an hour's duration, which was repeatedly applauded. Messrs Ogdon, Thurman, and Hartshorn also spoke.

The Dispute in the Hosiery Trade 5/10/1893

In connection with the hosiery dispute at Messrs Black and Driver's a mass meeting of strikers was held on the recreation ground on Sunday afternoon, when addresses urging the men to remain firm were given by Messrs Chaplin, Ogden, and Cort.

Wholesale Prosecutions 9/11/1893


A number of cases arising out of the strike in the hosiery trade at Barrow-on-Soar were do to be heard at the Loughborough Petty Sessions on Wednesday. The magistrates present were Rev. R. Barton, Lord Seymour, and W. Moss, Esq. - Mr R. S. Clifford appeared to prosecute, and Mr Hincks, of Leicester, defended. - Mr Black (of the firm of Black and Driver, at whose factory the strike is in progress) was present. Upon the magistrates taking their seats Mr Hincks said that under the Summary Jurisdiction Act defendants were entitled to be tried by jury, and they elected to be so dealt with. -Mr Clifford said that such being the case the depositions would have to be taken down in each instance, and would occupy good deal of the Court's time. -The Chairman said it would not be fair to the borough to have the time of the Court taken up that day by taking the dispositions. He suggested that the hearing of the cases should be adjourned, till Monday. Ultimately, after a conference between the solicitors and the bench the cases were adjourned till eleven o'clock on Monday.
The following are the charges which will be heard on Monday: - Joseph Smith warehouse man, and George Breffitt, hosiery hand, both of Barrow-on-Soar intimidating and threatening George Marlow, hosiery hand on the 25th October. There is a further charge against Breffitt for using threatening language. Albert Hartshorn hosiery hand, Barrow, assaulting William Wykes, hosiery hand on the 24th ult. Nellie Herbert of Quorn, summoned by Henry Black, who claims 8s, damages for breach of contract. Frederick Stevens (26), William Newby (28) Samuel Birch (24), hosiery hands, for following James Lockwood, hosiery hand of Barrow with a view to compel to desist following his trade at the factory of Messrs Black and Driver on Oct. 24th; also for using violence to him with a view to preventing him from following his employment, Ada Underwood, Olive Hands, Eliza Brown and Ellen Watts, Hosiery hands, all of barrow, for following and threatening Annie brown on the 25th ult. Elizabeth Birch wife of Samuel Birch, and Eliza brown, hosiery hands, Barrow for following and threatening Annie Brown on the 25th ult.

The Hosiery Dispute 9/11/1893

There is no change in the hosiery dispute. The men on strike maintain a firm attitude.

Strike in the Barrow Hosiery Trade. 16/11/1893

Charges of Intimidation Assault and Breaches of Contract

A special sitting of the magistrates for the Loughborough division was held on Monday morning, when several charges arising out of the strike at Messrs. Black and Driver's factory, Barrow-on-Soar, were heard, before F. W. Paget, Esq. (in the chair), and Col. Mansergl, Mr Clifford (Messrs Clifford and Perkins) proceuted, and Mr Hincks, Leicester, defended.


Annie Herbert, hosiery hand, Quorn, was summoned by Messrs Black and Driver for breach of contract, the claim being 7s. - Mr Clifford said the defendant was employed on the usual terms, which required a week's notice on Friday before twelve o'clock. She left on October 24 without giving any reason for so doing. He did not know what the defence would be, but the master must have his agreements enforced. - Mr B1açk. said defendant was in the employ of the firm as a helper. - Col Mansergh 'What is a helper? - Witness: Helping workers with the frames. Defendant was a "toer." When anyone entered their employ it was distinctly understood that they should give a week's notice before terminating their engagement. The printed notice (produced) was put up in the factory. Defendant earned on average 7s. per week. She left on the 24th Oct (Tuesday) without giving notice. - Cross examined: They were put to inconvenience, and claimed the the nominal sum mentioned in the summons. - Mr Hincks, Have you discharged any girls without notice? - Witness ' Yes, last week. - Mr Hincks: defendant's sister for one. - Mr Black : No - By Mr Clifford : Why were the girls discharged without notice? - Mr Black: They were discharged in relation to the trade dispute. - Mr Hincks submitted' that there was no case. The defendant' was an "infant" and there fore could not bind herself in anyway except for her advantage. Plaintiffs could not recover damages for breach of contract against an "infant," and further, no damages had been proved at all. Mr black, when asked how he made out the damages, said, "Oh, we were put to inconvenience" He submitted that they must prove the loss they had sustained, - The Bench found for the plaintiffs, with court costs.


Nellie Herbert, hosíery hand, of Quorn, was summoned for breach of contract. — Mr Black stated that the case was on all fours with the last, defendant's machine was unused for a week through her not giving notice. He claimed 8s. damages. - Mr. Hincks submitted that the contract was bad, - The Bench found for plaintiff for the amount claimed, with court costs.


Annie Mantle, wife of William Mantle, was summoned for breach of contract, Messrs Black and Driver claiming £1 damages. - Mr Black stated that defendant had been in his service for some years. She had left on one or two occasions after giving notice, so was well aware. of the rule requiring a week's 'notice. Mr Hincks that there could not be judgment against woman. The judgment must be against the separate estate of the property of the women, and Mr Clifford had not made out that she had any separate estate. - The Benchfound for the plaintiffs against the separate estate of defendant.


Albert Hartshorn, hosiery hand charged with assaulting William Wykes on the 24th ult. - Complainant, who is 17 years old, and resides at Quorn, said on the 24th ult. he, in company with others, was beating tin pans, and there was a drum and fife band near. Defendant rushed up to him, but before he could hit him he (witness) struck him in the chest. Defendant then collared him, and punched him on the nose. - Col. Mansergh: Why did you hit him first? - Witness: He would have hit me if I hadn't (Laughter) - Cross examined: He did not hit defendant on the hand with the steel he was beating a tin pan with; - P.C. Challoner said there was a band playing various tunes in the road, including the "Dead march" and inside some palings were a number of boys operating on tin pans and other instruments out of which "music" could be obtained. He saw Hartshorn strike Wykes several times. - Charles Roberts, a signalman in the employ of Midland Railway Co. corroborated, - By Mr Hincks: Did you see boy strike the defendant first? - Witness: Probably he did. - Mr Hincks said the boys went out of their way to disturb a lawful meeting, and when asked to desist refused. It was only natural that defendant should request them to stop the noise. The boys were not in the least frightened, and when defendant went to complainant Wykes struck him first on the hand with the steal he was beating the tin pan with, causing blood to flow. he contended that the case ought never to have been brought into court, - The Bench retired to consider, and on their return the Chairman announced that there had been a technical assault without sufficient provocation, and fined the defendant 10s including costs.


Fredrick Stevens, William Newby, and Samuel Birch, hosiery hands, were charged with following James Lockwood, hosiery hand Barrow, with a view to deter him from following his trade at the factory of Messrs. Black and Driver on Oct 24. They were further charged with using violence to him, a view to preventing him from following his employment. - Complainant stated that he was a hand-framework - knitter, but that business having gone out he entered the employment of Messrs Black and Driver in August, nine or ten days before the strike commenced. defendants were also in the firm's employ when he entered, and subsequently went out on strike, but he remained at work. On the 24th October he left work at nine o'clock in company with Henry Lewin. They went on to the Sileby-road, and walked towards Barrow village. As soon as they out of the factory they saw a crowd, of whom three defendants formed part. Defendants followed them up the village shouting "blacklegs." Stevens called him a "rotten ---." He turned on to the foot road near to Mr Whiteley's house in company with Lewin.
This road led to the railway bridge. Defendants followed them across the fields, and when they got on to the railway bridge there were a number of persons. When he getting over the stile into Chapman's field, which adjoins the railway bridge, one of the defendants caught hold of his right leg and tipped him over on to the ground. Having told them they would hear of it, he continued his journey across the field to his home, the defendants following. They all called him a blackleg, he replied that he had not taken anyone's job, and could please himself whether he carne out on strike or not. They urged him to, come out. He replied that he was ignorant of what the bother about. They then said, "You know now, come on out." He then went on his way, but defendants continued their "booing," and followed him as far as the church corner. There were twenty or more females and youths in company with defendants. He communicated with police the same evening. He did not know what became of Lewin after he entered Chapman's field. - Mr Hincks did not cross-examine.
Henry Lewin, in the employ of Messrs Black Driver, corroborated, adding that he did not se what caused Lockwood to fall over the stile. Upon entering Chapman's field he got out of the road as quickly as he could.
Sergeant Coulis, stationed at Mountsorrel, but on duty outside Messrs B1ack's factory at Barrow on the 24th ult., deposed to seeing defendants in crowd following Lockwood and Lewin. The remainder of the crowd went up the road to Freestone-square, and he went with them. Before doing so however, be called o Lockwood. and Lewin to stand their ground. When he got to Freestone-square defendants had gone on, but he subsequently saw them together near the liberal Club.

P.C. Challoner, stationed at Barrow, stated that Lockwood came to him on the evening of the disturbance, and from what be told him he went to the stile in Chapman's field, and saw marks as though some-one had been "spluthering" in the mud. When he served the summonses Birch smiled, and Newby said, "Is it for the stile job?" He saw Stevens in the street, and informed him that he had served a summons at his house, where upon. he said he should be able to clear himself, as he never entered the field. Defendants were then charged, and pleaded not guilty, but left their defence in the hands of their solicitor.- They were committed for trial to the Ašizes, bail being allowed, themselves in £10 each, and two sureties each of £5, of £10.


Elizabeth Birch, wife of Samuel Birch and Eliza Brown, hosiery hands, Barrow, were summoned for following and threating Annie Brown, single woman, at Barrow, on the 25th u1t. - Complainant said she had been in the employ of Messrs. Black and Driver for over two years. Previous to the strike the defendants had an interview with her, but she'' refused fo come out on strike. On Wednesday, tho 25th, as she was going to work down Sileby-road, a little before two, in the company with John James, she saw when near Mr Whiteley's house a crowd outside the factory. She saw the crowd pointing towards her, and when she got nearer defendants came out of the crowd, and Brown said "The scamp is coming down" She did not take any notice, but (Mrs Birch said, "You have brought your man again with you,) you are frightened to come by yourself." She continued her journey, and Mrs Birch came up and asked her whether she coming out, She replied "NO," whereupon Mrs Birch struck at her, but missed she struck her a second time, and missed again. Lizzie Brown who flourished her fists in her face, said "You blackleg ; do you mean coining out ?" - Mr Hincks : You were the instigator of the strike amongst the girls , were you not ? - Witness: No. - Mr Hincks: Are you sure you did not persuade Brown to come out ?_Witness: No. I did not. - Defendant Brown: Yes, you did. - Witness: Brown talked to me about coining out. She said she had been jn most of the strikes at Leicester, and it was jolly to be on picket. - Mr Hincks: You had a jug in your hand ? -Witness: Yes -Mr Hincks: Did not you say you had, got the jug, would see if they dare break it ? Witness: No, I did not.- P.C. Challoner the crowd swarmed round Annie Brown and hooted, groaned, and ba'd. Mrs Birch rushed up to strike her, and complainant lifted the jug up. Lizzie Brown laughed and grinned at her, and if he and Sergeant Collis had not been present the complainant would have been assaulted, - Sergeant Collis corroborated.- Mr Hincks, address the bench, said there was absolutely no evidence against the defendants whatever of using violenceor threats. - The magistrates found their was a prima facia case, and defendants, who pleaded not guilty, were committed for trial. Each defendant wa allowed bail in the sum of £5 and ordered to find a surety each in a like amount.


Ada Underwood, Olive Hands, Eliza Brown, Ellen Watts, hosiery hands, were charged with following and threatening Annie Brown, at Barrow on the 31st ult. They were further charged with assau1tng the complainant - Annie Brown said the defendants were in the employ of the firm until the friction arose. On Tuesday just after two o'clock, as she was being accompanied to work by James, she again saw a large crowd outside the factory. The defendants, who were amongst the crowd, linked arms together refused to let her pass. When she got close to them they tried to get between Underwòod and Brown, but they pushed her back, and Underwood struck her a violent blow in the chest, saying "You blackleg, are you. coming out" Brown put her fist into her (complainant's). mouth and said, "Can,. you do bow to-day.'' They then pressed round her and tried to throw her down.

She was in that predicament until PC. Challoner and Mr. Driver relieved her. She was not well at the time, and the violence she received made her so that she was unable to work. - Cross examined: She did not speak to Watts, she was to ill. There were twenty or more persons who followed her. - John James, a factory hand, residing at Barrow and employed at Messrs. Black and Driver's, said on the 31st he was accompanying the complainant to work, and saw the crowd around th factory gates. The defendants closed round Annie Brown, be being pùshed away from her. - Cross examined: It was the crowd of men and women that pushed him away. - P.C. Challoner said there was a whole string of girls across the road, but the four defendànts were the actual gir1s who obstructed her progress. He had been in constant duty at the factory since the 7th September, and had, had to take the complainant home on several occasions. - The defendants were then charged and pleaded not guilty, - Mr Hincks said this kind of think had been going on for some time, and there "evidently" some confusion. He called Annie Watts, wife of Albert watts, a joiner, and mother of the defendant Watts, who said her daughter went out at half-past one to a Mrs Neal to do some work, and returned about three o'clock with some hose done. - Mary Ann Hands said she was with Elizabeth Brown on the 31st ult., and saw the complainant and James coming down the road. Some people went arm and arm up the road, but Elizabeth Brown was not with them. She stayed with her (witness) close to the factory. - By Mr. Clifford: She did not see Watts there, and the complainant was not touched at all. - Mr Paget: Do I understand that Annie. 'Brown' was not interfered with? - Witness: They bowed to her, - Mr. Paget: How is it you know the date was the 31st. - Witness: That was the only day I went dówn . -Defendants were committed to take their trial at the Assizes, bail being allowed in the same amounts as the defendants in the previous case.

Friday, 30/11/1893 - Before Mr Justice Charles

The Barrow Intimidation Cases.

Fred K. Stevens, Wm. Newby, and Samuel Birch, on bail were indicted for intimidating James's Lockwood, at Barrow-on-Soar, on October 24th. - Mr. Fordham said prosecuted, and Mr Toller defended, - Mr Fordham said that, the offence with which the prisoners were charged did not, fortunately commonly occur. it arose out of a strike which took place in September last in the factory of Messrs Black and Driver, hosiery manufacturers, Barrow-on-Soar. A strike itself was not unlawful, but an Act called the Conspiracy Act was passed in 1875 to prevent strikers from interfering with those people who wished to continue in their employment. The charges against the defendants were, first, that with a view to compel Lockwood to abstain from working in Messrs Black and Driver's factory, they used violence towards him; secondly, that they persistently followed him; and thirdly, they were charged with following him with two or more other persons in a disorderly manner. A further count charged them with assaulting him. Proceeding to review the evidence to be submitted, learned counsel said that one of the three defendants pitched Lockwood over a stile into a field, which was the violence complained of. They followed him across Chapman's field, "booing" and abusing him in company with about 20 youths, and if he showed, as he was instructed he would do, that these allegations were maintained, and that prisoners were actuated with a desire to prevent Lockwood from working, the jury would have no difficulty in fInding them guilty. - James Lockwood was called. He said he was a hand frame knitter. About ten days after he entered Messrs. Black and Driver's employ a strike took place. He did not himself leave his work, but remained until the 24th of October. He left off about nine o'clock that night, and, in company with Henry Lewin, went into the Sileby-road. There was a crowd assembled, including the three prisoners. They hooted and followed them calling them "black legs,' "knob-sticks," and other names. About 80 yards from the factory is a footpath leading across Archer's field, along which he and Lewin went. Prisoners followed them, but the crowd kept on the main road. They went towards Chapman's field. Lewin got over the stile, and as he (witness) was doing so one of the defendants took him by the legs, and pitched him over. He fell on his hands and knees. He told them "they would know to it again." He also told them that he was working at the factory before the strike, that he did not know, what the dispute was about, and that he was not taking anyone's place. They replied that he knew now what the strike was about, and told him to come out. They continued to follow into the village, and left him at Church corner. He waJked quickly because he wanted to get of the way of them. - Mr. Toller (cross examining): Was not the cause of all this disturbance the fact that Messrs Black and Driver had been employing what was called child labour ? - Witness: I don't know about that. - Would not one man be employed working two machines? There might be odd ones working two machines. - Don't you know as a fact that the reason of all was that other manufactures had complained Messrs Black and Driver employing boys, paying them low wages, and so reducing the wages all round?. i can't say. - Further cross-examined prosecutor said he could not swear that it was one of defendants who helped him over the stile but he firmly believed it was one of them. He would not, swear that it was not a man called Brevet. - Henry Lewin another employer of Messrs Black and Driver, said he accompanied Lockwood home on the night in question. There was a crowd assembled outside the factory, and as they passed along the road they were assailed with shouts of "blackleg" and ' knob-sticks." Witness was in front of Lockwood in the fields, and on turning round he saw him falling over the stile, defendants being then close to the stile. Witness ran away as soon as he saw Lockwood down; he did not want to be in any trouble. - By Mr Toller: He could not swear that a man called Brevet was not with the defendants. - Sergt. Collis said he saw a crowd of 300 or 400 workpeople assembled outside Messrs Black's factory. They made use of epithets towards Lockwood and Lewin when the latter got into Archer's field the defendants followed. Witness did not see what occurred at the stile. - P.C. Challoner gave similar evidence. - This, was the case for the prosecution.- For the defence, Mr Toller called George Brevet, who stated he was one of those who followed Lockwood and Lewin on the night in question. He accepted all the responsibility for ' helping" Lockwood over the stile. He was getting over himself at the same time, and accidentally caught Lockwood's leg, ,with the result that he fell forward to the ground. - Cross-examined: He joined in the hooting at the two men. Witness and some others of them had had a lot of drink that night, - Mr Toller, addressing the jury for the defence, said he thought the evidence must have convinced them that no violence was used by the three defendants. It was not an offence of itself to express disapprobation of the men conduct by shouting, and he contended that that not was not done with a view to compelling Lockwood to come out. - Mr Fordham said counsel for the defendants had practically made no defence so far as persistent following of Lockwood was concerned. It was not even contended that defendants did not follow prosecutor in a disorderly manner, and that was sufficient to prove one of the counts of the indictment. With regard to the act of violence, it would be for the jury to say whether they could believe the story which Brevet had told. - His Lordship, in summing up remarked that the four offences defendants were charged really resolved themselves into two, namely,using violence towards Lockwood, and following him about in a persistent and disorderly manner. These proceedings were taken under an Act of Parliament passed in 1875.
Since that date strikes in themselves had not been unlawful, but the same Act which provide that men might strike if they thought fit also contained provisions for the protection of men who desired to continue in their work and not join the strike. It provided that they should not be followed about by others, and become a more serious matter if violence were used towards them. With regard to the charge of violence against these three men, if the jury came to the conclusion that one of them pushed the man over the stile, all three must be considered equally guilty. But if the jury could trust the evidence of Brevet, who said he alone was responsible for the violence used, then the defendants were entitled to be acquitted on the charge of assault. So far the other counts were concerned, however, he (the judge) could suggest no good reason for the acquittal of the defendants, unless the jury did not believe the object of the following about was to compel Lockwood to join in the strike. - The jury, after five minutes consideration, found the defendants guilty on both counts.

The Barrow Hosiery Strike 15/03/1894

The strike which occurred about 27 weeks ago at the hosiery factory of Messrs Black and Driver, Barrow on Soar, in consequence of the dispute in connection with wages still remains unsettled. It will be remembered that the objection of workman was to the conditions under which they earned their wages, being obliged in many cases to engage as many as from four to eight assistants in performing the work required of them. About 60 men came out at the time, only five of those previously employed by the firm preferring to remain. Most of those who came out were of course unable to obtain other employment during the slack time, and were consequently dependent upon weekly grant from the union. Only one returned to his former work, but several have now found places elsewhere, had had trade been as brisk as usual at this season, others would have started as they have been promised as soon as trade has sufficiently revived o allow of their engagement. The places of the strikers have been filled in the meantime from various sources, but it is stated that the strike has cost both sides directly and indirectly some hundreds of pounds. The union, however, feel that a vital principle is involved, the maintenance of which justifies the expenditure.


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