Aberdare Chamber of Trade. FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING, Wednesday, February 5th, 1913. Hon. Secretary's Report of the Proceed- ings of the Chamber and Executive Council, and of the Mutual Plate Class Protection Society for the Past Year. (Submitted in accordance with the Rules.) Mr. President and Gent-lenicn,- I have much pleasure in presenting my Fourth Annual Report, and in stating that the Chamber is still carry- ing on some very useful work and up- holding its prestige in the Town and District. As to Membership the following are the liaures:- First Year 99 Members. Second Year 137 Members. Third Year. 142 Members. *Fourth Year. 132 Members. Ending 31st January, 1913. In spite of the fact that several Mem- bers have dropped out, new Members hnve joined, the result being that the numbers are pretty evenly maintained. The following is a record of the year's transactions :— District Council and Education Authority. The subjects upon which correspond- ence has passed between the Chamber arid the above bodies during the past year are as under:— As to the work of widening the ap- proach from Monk Street into Victoria Square, this could not be undertaken by the Council because of the heavy expense that would be entailed. The dangerous condition of the bye-road from Commercial Street (near the Iron Bridge) to the Riverside Forge, could not be dealt with by the Council as the road referred to is private property. The regulating of the traffic at the junction formed by Commercial Street, Gloster Street, and Duke Street, was, we were informed, a matter for the police. The charges for Electric Light were fully explained by Mr. Morgan (of the Electric Light Department) when he attended a meeting as a sub- stitute for Mr. A. J. Abraham. Thr, Council could not see its way to supply the Chamber with prints of the Coun- cil's Minutes, and 1 was informed that these were deposited in all the Public Libraries in the district, to which the Members of the Chamber had access. The reason for our request was so as to b-i put on the same basis as the Cardiff Chamber, to which copies of all the Cor- poration's Minutes are sent. As to warning boards to motorists, etc.; thepe, as you are aware, have been fixed at different parts af the town, through the efforts of the Chamber. The resolution which was sent to the Council suggesting the direct payment of rates by all occupiers was ignored. Deputations have attended before the Council as to the Shops Act, etc. A suggestion that the question of giving Geography greater prominence, if possi- ble, in the list of school subjects has been made to the Education Authority, and correspondence as to this is pend- ing. The desirability of improving the condition of the chapels at the Ceme- tery has been brought to the notice of the Council and has been referred to the Cemetery Committee. Correspondence has also passed as to the Shops Act and Closing Order, and also as to the filthy state of the cab and brake stands, the latter subject having been relegated to the Surveyor.
Post Office. With this Department (G.P.O. and Local), correspondence has passed rela- j tivo to the establishing of a Public Tele- I phone Call Office at Cwmbach, and s to the crushing of parcels carried through the post. I, however, regret to say that the Post Office is a difficult Department from which any Concession ,ca\i be obtained, the result being that a successful issue cannot be recorded under this heading.
National Insurance Act. 'the Chamber having decided to invite an Official Lecturer to address the Members and others upon this Act, Mr. Russell Jones, M.A., attended a meet- ing in April, when he dealt with those clauses of the Act that specially affect- "1.1 Traders. Several discussions as to this Act have taken place and various pamphlets sent out during the course of the year, and it is to be hoped that the members have derived much enlighten- x itient therefrom. Congratulationswvere offered to our Senior Vice-President (Mr. C. R. Vicary) on his election as a Member of the Provisional Management Committee for the County of Glamor- gan under the Insurance Act.
C.W.R. Company. Efforts have been made to procure in- creased facilities from this Company. These related to running "through" coaches on certain days from Aberdare to Cardiff; the service between Hir- wain and Abernant; the establishment of a better service from Aberdare Val- ley to Porthcawl; the "tapping" of the express train from Merthyr to Swansea at Abernant or Hirwain oil the outwajd and return journies; and the better lighting of the approach to the G.W.R. Station from the outer gates. The Company have not yet granted any of the facilities asked for except as to the better lighting, which it is believed will very shortly be done.
Shops Act. The arrangements connected with this Act have entailed a vast amount of work during the year. Several meet- ings and joint conferences with repre- sentatives of the assistants have been held and deputations received from the Trades and Labour Council and Cwm- aman Chamber of Trade. A deputation from the Chamber waited upon and was cordially received by the District Coun- cil. Besides being heartily thanked for his excellent address on the Shops Act at one of our meetings, your President (Mr. David JEvans) was warmly compli- mented upon the tact which he dis., played at the joint meetings of the Chamber's Committee and the Shop Assistants. A deputation also recent- ly waited upon the Clerk to the District Council in reference to the position as k to "sweets" and "confectionery" shops.
Sections of Traders. I, am of opinion that it is not well enough known\that any particular class of traders (for instance, grocers or drapers) can at any time procure the holding of a meeting to discuss any question concerning their own trade. The subject cropped up during one of the strikes, and all that is necessary to be done is to communicate with the [ Hon. Secretary, who will immediately convene a meeting. k
Street Traders' Bill. A Special Committee has been ap- pointed to consider this Bill and to go into local complaints. Such committee will meet as soon as convenient after the annual meeting.
Town Tenants' League. We have this subject in hand, one of our ex-Presidents (Mr. llltyd Williams) having recently attended a large confer- ence in London as a delegate.
Loss of Members Through Death. It is my painful duty to record the loss, through death, of two of our members during the past year, namely, Mr. F. W. Caunt and Mr. A. S. PJeaec-hoth prominent townsmen. The late Mr. Caunt was a member of the Executive, his successor thereon being his son. Incidentally, it may' not be out of place to state that these are the. only members of the Chamber who have died since its formation over four years ago.
County School Scholarship. For the above, () children of members of the Chamber competed, the winner of the Scholarship being Master Felix Eschle, son of Mr. Leonard Esehle, jeweller, Victoria Square. Some of the candidates being already pupils at the County School a proposi- tion was made that the scheme be amended so as to confine the competi- tion to children who. prior to the ex- amination, attendod Elementary Schools only, but it was decided that such amendment be not made. The winner on this occasion wa>. an elemen- tary school pupil. In passing, it is interesting to state that Mr. J. E. 'SIiden. M.A. (an old and valued member of the Chamber and the founder of this scheme) who took up an appointment at Portsmouth, has since accepted an excellent position in Egypt.
Picnic. In spite of the rather bad weather pleasant memories arise as to this. It is, of course, difficult to please every- body in the choice of a place for our out- ing as tastes differ so widely. Never- theless it must be admitted that the Elan Valley Water Works stand pro- minently among the wonders of the whole world, and a sight of them and a few moment reflection concerning the marvellous feats of engineering which they present is an education and is something to be remembered. 127 members and friends formed the picnic (the largest number yet), but notwith- standing this, there was a slight finan- cial loss owing (amongst other tilings) to the fact that the long journey made the outgoings heavier than on previous occasions. I would respectfully remind the Chamber that we shall shortly have to consider the question as to whether children under ).2 years of age shall be allowed to join any future picnic.
South Wales and Monmouthshire Federated Chambers of Trade. Delegates from this Chamber attend- ed the two Conferences of the Feder- ation which were held at Neath and Cardiff respectively. Motions brought forward by us were passed as to the crushing of parcels carried through the post and as to Sunday Trading. The latter subject has created widespread interest, the Federation having sent the n' I. resolution to the Cabinet Ministers con- cerned, to the M.P.'s for Wales and Monmouthshire; to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York; and to the Bishops of Llandafi', St. David's, St. Asaph and Bangor, besides having also sent to the various affiliated Chambers. Your delegates at the forthcoming Conference to be held at Port TaJbot will move a resolution that, as far as possible, Education Authorities, should purchase all goods that may be required iu their Schools from local traders. They will also propose a resolution as to the unfairness to Traders of the com- petition openly set up by the "Salvation Army Supply Stores," which will be run oa co-operative trading lines, whereas the Army continues to collect subscrip- tions from business people. I mav be pardoned for stating with great pleasure that at the Annual Con- ference of the Federation (to which arc affiliated 38 Chambers of Trade) I was elected Junior Vice-President, and in that capacity also elected as a Member of the National Chamber.
Mutual Plate Class Protection Society. I am pleased to state that this Society is in a very flourishing condition. There are now nearly oO policies in existence, and since the formation of the Society three years ago, a profit has been made each year in spite of the fact that we have paid out a considerable sum of money in breakages. The expense of working the Society is, I am jileased to say, absurdly small, but in this respect I have made a suggestion to the Com- mittee of Management, which will, in the near future, hold a Special Meeting t discuss the whole situation. The profit made last year was £ 1^ lis. 7d.. the aggregate pi-ofits for the three years being £ 31 18s. 3d.
Royal Visit. The Chamber did all it possibly could to assist the High Constable in his onerous work in connection with this event, the Ceremonies at the Park and at the Square being unqualified suc- cesses. The occasion is so recent that it is unnecessary for me to deal at length with it, except, perhaps, to say that the part taken by the Chamber of Trade redounds to its credit. It will be remembered that in consequence of the visit, the date originally lixed for the Chamber's picnic had to be altered, and I recall with no little pleasure tIt:' very busy time that fell to my lot in connection with the picnic and the Hoyal Visit. However, the hard work entailed affords very pleasant recollec- tions, and I feel very proud to have been one of those who were ^o actively engaged in connection with the unique event when our King and Queen yisited my native town. The Chamber with gieat enthusiasm passed a hearty vote of appreciation in favour of Lord Mer- thyr relative to his splendid efforts, and the presentation to the Chamber by Mr. n, L. Bei- (one of our active members) of a very fine photograph of the Roj-al Party at the Park was a very happy climax.
Unveiling of Lord Morthyr's Statue. On this occasion again tiie response to my circulars was magnificent, as. al- though the notice to the members was very limited, I was very gratified to find that no fewer than 63 members put in an appearance at the Ceremony.
St. John's Churchyard. The Chamber may well flatter itself upon the part it took in this connection. In consequence of all urgent circular which was sent out by me/ Lord Mer- thyr interested himself in the question with the result that a considerable fur- ther quantity of ground was taken bv the District Council in order to suffi- ciently widen the road at the bend op- posite Mrs. Chew's shop in High Street, which spot has always been a most dangerous one, and although we did not make a very great display as to what the Chamber was the means of achiev- ing on that occasion, it is not out of place that a record should be made here of its efforts-
Meetings of the Executive Council. During the year the Executive Coun- cil has held Ten Meetings. I would repeat what I said in my last report that only those who are Members of the Executive C nincil can appreciate what useful work is being done at tneir pleas- ant meetings. The active interest taken by the members of the Executive iu the work of the Chamber has a very real value. Early last year the Execu- tive had great pleasure in congratulat- ing Mr. J. H. James on his recovery, and in welcoming him back to their racist after his very serious illness.
Improvements at the Taff Vale Railway Station. In December, 1911, a complaint was sent by me on your behalf to the Board of Trade as to the condition of the above Station, and, as the Chamber does not appear to have had its full share of the credit which is due to it in respect of the improvements that are now being made at the Station, I have deemed it only right that a copy of our letter of complaint to the Board of Trade should be fully set out in this Report. The following is a eopy Aberdare, 18th December, 1911. To the Right Honourable Sydney Buxton, M.P., President of the Board of Trade, Whitehall, London. Sir,—At a recent Meeting of the Executive Council of this Chamber (which comprises the majority of the leading tradesmen of the town and district) there was discussed the de- plorable structural condition of, and lack of accommodation for the public at the Passenger Station of the Taff Vale Itailway Company at, Aberdare. which is a terminus of the Company's line. Tire Company was, about 2 years back, approached by this Chamber with a view to affecting some im- provement, but nothing has be^n done. It is -believed that other bodies have also endeavoured to get the Company to do something in the direction indicated, but all efforts have proved futile. Not only is the accommodation totally inadequate, but there also exists a serious element of danger to the safety of the public. There is only one platform although there are double lines. The building covering the platform itself can best be described as a fairly good class cattle shed. One side is white- washed with lime, but even this has obviously not been done for several yearn. Tnere is an evening train due to arrive from Cardiff and the Rhondda Valleys, etc., at 8.53. A few minutes later (namely at 9.3) a train is scheduled to leave for Cardiff and .elsewhere, but owing to the fact that there is only one doorway through which passengers arriving and those intending to leave by the respective trains mentioned are allowed to pass, it is quite impossible to describe the crushing that takes place, the wonder being that serious injuries have not resulted to some of the men, women and children passengers through the I lack of accommodation. One half of the before-mentioned door is kept closed, apparently to prevent rushes, which fact further enhances the dan- ger and means delay. The Company has sufficient land for extension pur- poses adjoining the Station premises. j. may state that the population of Aberdare is now over 50,000, and that a very large number of people arrive and leave by the Company's trains. Under the circumstances this Chamber, on behalf of the public, feels that a serious complaint should be made to your Department, and J am directed to respectfully suggest that an Inspector be instructed to visit the locality on some Monday, Thursday, or Saturday evening, which are the busiest evenings in this district. It has been pointed out to us that we should ask our representatives in Parliament (viz., Mr. Edgar Jones and Mr. Keir Hardie) to move in the matter, -but we have deemed it ad- visable to communicate with you in the first instance. If there is any. further information which you would like to be furnished with, I shall be happy to send you same upon hear- ing from you. I am, sir, Yours obediently, THUS. W. GRIFFITHS. Hon. Secretary." The Board of Trade forwarded to Mr. Beaslev a copy of this letter, and early in February, 1912, 1 received form Lon- don a copy of his reply to the Board of Trade, which is dated 29th January, 1G12. Mr. Keir Hardie, M.P., having, se\ oral months later (in the House 01 Commons) asked the Secretary of the Board of Trade whether he had received a Resolution, dated 20th June, 1912, from the District Council as to this sub- ject, Mr. Edgar Jones, M.P., also put himself in communication with, and re- ceived a reply from, the Board of Trade to the following effect:— "In reference to your letter of the 15tii instant, forwarding a copy of a Resolution of tHe Aberdare L.D.C. relative to Aberdare Station of the T.V.R., I am desired by Mr. Robert- son to say that an Inspecting Officer of the Board of Trade visited this place in April last, and roported that the Railway Company proposed to double the width of the existing plat- form and to re-construct the Station Buildings. The Company have since informed the Department that they have instructed their Engineer to carry out this work forthwith." In order to secure the credit which is due to the Chamber, I need only draw your attention to the fact that the Re- solution passed by the District Council was dated 20th June, 1912, whereas the Chambers's letter to the Board of Trade was tor warded on the 18th December, 1911 (6 months previously), and, as I will be seen from the reply to Mr. Ed- gar Jones. M.P., the Board of Trade Inspector visited the place in April-2 months before the District Council's Resolution was passed. Whilst fully appreciating the part played by the District Council, it seems clear that the Inspector must have come down in April in consequence of our complaint, and, I venture to think that we can, with confidence, assert that the Chamber of Trade was first in the field.
Miscellaneous. Many more subjects dealt with dur- ing the year could be mentioned, amongst which were the following, namely:-The awarding of a prize of £ 2 2s. competed for fit the Aberdare Vv hit-Monday Eisteddfod for an Essay, when Mr. C. M. Lewis (L. & P. Bank) acted as Adjudicator for the Chamber; Mr. T. Connor's Patent affecting Rail- way Carriages; Suggested Shelter near j Gadlys Bridge for Bwllfa and Nant- melyn Workmen; the Tuberculosis Ex- hibition at Aberdare; County & Police Coprt Buildings the Railways Bill; the Jury System: the enormous increase in the Board of Guardians' estimate for Year ending March proximo; the Na- tional Eisteddfod for 1915; Testimonial to Mr W. U. Lewis (the president of the Shop Assistants' Union) the Inspector- ship under the Factory Act. etc., etc. I avail myself of this opportunity of stating that, with your permission, I intend very shortly to read at one of your meetings a paper I am preparing dealing with the important subject of Local Taxation. Permit me to sincerely thank the re- tiring and each past President for the assistance they have at all times cheer- fully given me in carrying on the ex- tremely interesting and useful work of the Chamber, and, in conclusion, to ex- press a wish that the hafmony and good feeling to which we have become ac- customed shall long continue. I hardly need say that, as long as the Chamber exists, I shall at all times do all that lies in my power to maintain its present high standard. I beg to remain, Mr. President and Gentlemen. Yours faithfully, THOS. W. GRIFFITHS. '1' MR. C. R. VICARY. I Mr. C. R. Vicary, the newly elected president of the Aberdare Chamber of Trade, is the senior partner in the firm of C. R. Vicary and Son, Coachhuilders and Undertakers, Dean Street, Aber- dare. Mr. Vicary has taken a promin- ent part in the public life of Aberdare, and has been a most active member of the Chamber since its inception. He is a splendid organiser; it was he who acted as organising secretary of the monstre Church Demonstration held at Mountain Ash recently. Mr. Vicary hos held high and important positions in connection with Friendlv Societies, and is now a member of the Provisional Management Committee of the County of Glamorgan under the Insurance Act. R__¡ MR. T. W. GRIFFITHS, I The Retiring Secretary. MR. E. HO WELLS EVANS, New Secretary of the Aberdare Chamber of Trade.
Wage Rate Men's Association A deputation of the above Association waited upon Mr. llees Llewelyn, the managing director of the Bwllfa Col- lieries, re the stoppage thereat, in con- sequence of which the members of the Cwmdare Lodge are thrown out of work through the Federationists being out on strike. Mr. Llewelyn said that he had nothing to do with the dispute, that it was a family quarrel between the par- ties themselves, and that he would not favour one party more than another. A meeting of the Day Wage Men was then held at the Trecynon Public Hall, when Mr. D. Hopkins presided. A vote of confidence in the executive in respect of the action they had taken, was passed, and the question of ,settle- ment was left in their hands to arrange matters with the other side consistent with the Rules of the Society. A de- putation is now waiting to hear from the Federation Lodge with a view of having a joint meeting to arrange to come to terms if possible.
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