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CHESTEU TOWN ^OUNCIL. I

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CHESTEU TOWN ^OUNCIL. I The monthly meeting of -Ae Council was held on Wednesday, the MPYor (Alderman H. T. I Brown) presiding. THE L'1'E MR. DUTTON. I The Mayor %,id he was sure the Council would join _th him in expressing regret at the loss wb'.eJi had fallen upon the Council since their last meeting in the death of one of their members-Mr. Cha-i). Wm. Dutton. He had not been very long a member of the Council, but he always proved himself a regular attendant, both at the Council and committees. He moved a vote of condolence with Mrs. Dutton and family in their bereavement. The Sheriff (Mr. Edgar Dutton) seconded, and it was carried. AN IN rERESTING GIFT. I The Mayor announced that he had received a letter from Mr. P. Ironside Bax forwarding an engraving of the City of Chester in the 16th Century, and asking the Council to accept it to be hung in the Mayor's Parlour. Mr. Bax, in his letter, said he found it at Frankfort, Germany, and so far had been unable to find a duplicate of it. The Mayor said the print had not been known in Chester before, and it was very interesting. It was taken from the Brewers' Hall, and shewed the river Dee flowing up to the Watergate on one side, and up to the Water Tower on the other. He moved a vote of thanks to Mr. Bax for his gift to the town. The Sheriff seconded, and it was carried. MR. CARS AND THE FAIR WAGE I CLAUSE. I THE POLICE CLOTHING CONTRACT. I SOME DISCLOSURES. I Mr. Carr asked a question which gave rise to a lengthy discussion anent the Council's en- forcement of the fair wage clause. The minutes of the Watch Committee set forth that seven tenders to supply the City Police with new uni- form clothing were opened and considered, and it was resolved that the tender of Messrs. Hebbert and Co. (London), at X137 19s. 4d. be accepted. Before the minutes were passed Mr. Carr asked whether any local tradesman tendered for the contract. Mr. Holmes There were no local contracts. The Clerk of Committees (Mr. Peers) There was one two miles outside the city, but none in- side. Mr. Carr Can we have the names ? Mr. Holmes: Is it usual to have the names ? The Mayor The committee do not have the names, and I am afraid we cannot have them. Mr. Carr I will have to vote against it, as they do not work to the fair wage clause, and if the other shop is a fair wage shop, or anything approaching it, I would move an amendment, but, in the absence of the information, I cannot do so. Mr. Holmes said he thought they had to study the ratepayers in a matter of that kind. Adver- tisements went out to the city and elsewhere, and the committee, of course, were obliged to take the lowest tender after knowing that the firm named could carry it out satisfactorily, and he understood that the firm named had, on many occasions, carried out the orders of the Council very satisfactorily indeed. If the Council wanted to spend considerably more of the ratepayers' money it was for them to decide, but the committee certainly recommended a reliable firm who had done work before. Mr. Carr said he would just like to say that he would have liked to have known whether it was one that came under the fair wage clause, and he would have known better how to have acted. It was all very well for Mr. Holmes to say that they would be spending more of the ratepayers' money, but, if it was spent in the town they were spending it to advantage, and they were then carrying out the principles of the fair wage clause. In the present case they were not doing so, and it was simply a farce. Mr. Holmes .said, subject to the wish of the Council, he did not think there was any reason why the amounts should not be given to the Council. He would say that the firm were Government contractors, and he did not presume that the Government would employ a firm that did not carry out the work satis- factorily. Mr. Lamb: I move that the names and amount of each tender be given to us. Mr. Moss, M.P.: I second it. The Sheriff thought they were opening a wide door if they did this, as there were many contracts in connection with other matters. Alderman Churton said this matter was entirely under the control of the committee, and the Council had nothing to do with it, as the Council had passed a resolution some time ago giving the Committee authority to accept these tenders. The Clerk of Committees That is so. Mr. B. C. Roberts said he wanted to point out .for the satisfaction of Mr. Carr that the firm whose tender had been accepted was a firm who had been employed by Government, and if that was so-and he knew it was so-they would be working up to the fair wage clause in supplying the Government, and he took it that they would do the same with the Corporation's contract. Alderman Jones said the question was as to the Council having something to do with observing whether the fair wage clause was being honourably carried out. If he remem- bered correctly, when the name of the firm to whom the contract had been given was mentioned in the committee, certain enquiries were made with regard to them, and it was stated for the information of the committee that some two or three years ago this same firm had received the contract to supply the police clothing, and exception had been taken to it on the fair wage point. A deputation of the present High Sheriff and Mr. Vernon went to London and spent a few days making enquiries with regard to this firm, and they could find nothing but that the firm was observing the fair wage clause. That was stated in the committee and mainly on that ground, and that they did the work satis- factorily, the committee were guided in giving them the tender. He did say this, that while the Council had nothing to do with the giving of the contract, it had something to do in find- ing out whether the firm was honouring the fair wage clause. Mr. Vernon said it was proved up to the hilt that they were not working up to the fair wage clause. They went to London and made enquiries of Messrs. Hebbert, and from their own statement they certainly did not admit or did not say, at any rate, that they were carry- ing out the fair wage clause. He asked per- mission to interview their workmen, and they readily consented because it was the Jewish • holiday, and they (the firm) knew that they could not see them. (Laughter.) Instead of interviewing them then, however, he went a fortnight afterwards, and tipent several days in London, for he was determined to get to know the truth. He tried to get at several of these tradespeople, and he at last met the very man who made part of the clothing, and from the information he got from him as to the way in which the work was done and the conditions under which it was done, he was firmly con- vinced that at that time, whatever they were doing then, they were not carrying out the fair wage clause. That was his impression, and that was the report that was presented to the Council. Alderman Jones: Alter a report was presented to this Council like this, with regard to the firm in whose hands the Council had placed the contract, I am at a loss to understand how it was that Mr. Vernon and others should have allowed it to go on. Mr. Vernon: We could not help its going on. We were given to understand that the Watch Committee had a perfect right to let any contract like this. Mr. Haswell: Why should we come here to whitewash any committee's work ? It is a waste of time. Mr. Carr said that up to the present the fair wage clause had not been carried out. How were they to be guided in voting in respect of the fair wage clause if they did not know the names of those who tendered ? The Mayor pointed out that a resolution was passed in November authorising the committee to provide the police constables with the usual winter clothing, and they had done so. It was hardly fair to be making these random state- ments in the Council. Mr. Carr: I beg your pardon, Mr. Mayor, they are not random statements. They have been proved. The Mayor: That was years ago. Mr. Carr: This factory has not {altered its system of working since that time. The Mayor Then you take upon yourself to make that statement, and if you have any objection you had better go to the committee. Mr. B. C. Roberts said when Mr. Vernon and he went to London they found that Messrs. Hebbert & Co. supplied clothing to the Govern- ment and to the London County Council, and both these bodies inserted in their contracts or estimates the fair wage clause, and Mr. Vernon and himself felt that it was satisfactory in a great measure that that was the case, and they felt quite sure that Messrs. Hebbert & Co. were doing right, and they reported that things were as they should be in regard to the firm. What Mr. Vernon found out afterwards he did not know, as he did not accompany Mr. Vernon, nor did he (the speaker) go in the Jewish quarter. They were quite satisfied at the time. Mr. Vernon said if the report was looked up it would prove up to the hilt the statement he had made. The Mayor: What they were three years ago is no guide to what they are doing to-day. Mr. Holmes pointed out that this special clothing was a speciality among certain firms. Mr. Moss rose to a point of order and asked that the names of the firms who tendered and the amounts should be given. He had not yet been ruled out of order. He did not see why that contract should be on the minutes at all for confirmation. The Mayor: It is not for confirmation. The committee accept the tender, not the Corpora- tion. Mr. Moss Who enters into the contract, the committee or Council ? The Town Clerk: The contract consists of invitation for tenders sent out by the Corpora- tion and (the acceptance of the tender by the committee. Mr. Moss pressed for the contracts to be read out, as he did not see that there could be any possible objection to it. Mr. Holmes: The committee have no know- ledge of the names, and I do not see why the Council should have the advantage of them. Alderman G. A. Dickson It is quite contrary to the custom of the committee, and I am quite certain the firms themselves would not like them published. Mr. Moss did not see any objection why the names should not be given now. He declined to be a party to the Council stultifying itself by passing a resolution adopting the fair wage clause, and yet not seeing that it was carried out. Alderman W. H. Churton said as long as it had been left to the committee to provide this uniform it seemed to him to be wholly irregular that there should now be a discussion upon it. The committee had simply taken the course every other committee took. Mr. W. Vernon asked whether the committee had any legal power to accept the contract without the sanction of the Corporation. The Town Clerk explained that the power to do so was conferred upon the committee by the resolution passed at the last meeting of the Council. The practice had been to authorise the committee to get the clothing. If it was intended that the committee should not accept any tender, but should only recommend them for acceptance, this time next year the usual resolution should be varied. Mr. W. Vernon: That is exactly what I think ought to be. Every other committee has sent in a tender as a recommendation. Mr. Carr said misunderstanding might arise from what had been said to the effect that that class of trade was a speciality. It might lead people to believe that there was no tradesman in Chester who could do it. There was no speciality about it. Mr. J. Gooddie Holmes: It was taken by a Chester contractor a few years ago, and all the clothing was spoiled. Mr. Carr said they wanted the contract to be given to a respectable iirm who paid fair wages and were not sweaters." That was the principle which ought to be considered in letting the contracts. Mr. Holmes replied that there was no desire on the part of the committee to give the con- tract to anyone who went in for sweating." Whenever any Chester contractor sent in a tender, he regretted to say, his experience was that it was always almost 100 per cent. more than any of the other tenders. Mr. Lamb offered to withdraw his amend- ment, but Mr. Moss (the seconder) did not consent, and it was put to the meeting. The voting was 15 in favour knd 13 against. The contracts were then read out as follow:— Messrs. Dolan and Co. (London), £200 15s. lid.; Messrs. Pearson, Huggina and Co. (London), 1201 8s. 10d.; Mr. Charles Parkin (Kelsall), E373 Os. 8d.; Messrs. Hebbert and Co., 9187 19s. 4d.; Messrs. Voss and Co., zE277 10s.; Mr. C. E. Rawton (Halifax), two tenders, X218 6s. and 42.33. Mr. Carr said with regard to the Kelsall man who tendered, he surmised that it would have been a sub-contract, as he probably would not have the material to supply the clothing. He would not move his amendment in conse- quence. He, however, could not vote in favour of Messrs. Hebbert and Co. having the contract. The Watch Committee's minutes were then formally confirmed. I EXTENSION OF THE SUSPENSION BRIDGE. The Improvement Committee's minutes set forth that a letter had been received from Mr. H. Beswick stating that he had made the suggested alteration in the plans of the pro- posed extension of the Suspension Bridge to the level of the ground by the Park entrance. He also suggested an alternate position which would enable the extension to be carried in a straight line as far as the Park wall over the back road to the Groves. If this alternative line was adopted there would be no necessity to interfere with the tree at the top of the steps. The Committee resolved that as the proposed extension involved interferejace with the I Grosvenor Park, the plans be submitted to the Hon. C. T. Parker before approval.—The minutes were adopted. I EASTGATE ROW (N.) Mr. G. H. Reynolds said there was a steep incline in this Row, and during recent altera- tions a lamp had been removed from near the Boot Inn, rendering the incline dangerous in the dark. He had been asked to inquire if this lamp could be replaced. The Mayor said he understood there were going to be further alterations there, and probably the incline would be put right. Mr. H. C. Roberts said the Lighting Com- mittee had heard nothing about it, but the matter should receive attention. I CHAIN POSTS AT GORSE STACKS. I mr. uarr astcea whether the chain posts in front of the cottages at Gorse Stacks could not be removed. On Fair days men congregated there and used very bad language in the presence of women and children. It was a cause for complaint. The Sheriff (Mr. Edgar Dutton) quite con- curred. Persons tied their horses there on Fair days. Alderman J. Jones (St. Oswald's) said he was afraid that if the chains were removed on Fair days some accident might occur. He under- stood they were removed after Fair days. It was decided that the Improvement Com- mittee consider the matter and report. A SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENT. I Alderman Churton asked whether it was not possible to continue the present footpath which bounded the Roodee through the archway, along the Little Roodee, and up to the Bridge Gate. It would make a very good improvement. The Mayor: Going to plant it with trees, Mr. Churton ? Alderman Churton (smiling): That may come afterwards. The matter was referred to the Improvement Committee. PAVING IN CASTLE-STREET. I Mr. Rae said there were numerous complaints about the paving stones in Castle-street. Mr. Yerburgh, M.P., nearly met with an accident while driving in this street at the last election. This was also referred to the Committee. THE WATER QUESTION. I MORE REGULAR ANALYSES. I Professor Boyce, of Liverpool, had offered the Public Health Committee 400 bacteriological analyses of the Chester water for 9100, on con- dition that he was paid X30 for each additional 100 analyses. He proposes to make weekly analyses ot the filtered water, weekly analyses of each filter (filtered and unfiltered water), and monthly analyses of the river Dee. After a long discussion the Committee resolved, That it be recommended to the Council that Dr. Boyce's proposed terms for further bacte- riological analyses be accepted." The Chester Waterworks Company has retained Professor Delepine, of Owen's College, Manchester, to analyse the water, and he reports that a sample of water taken from the main is "quite satisfactory," and the water may be classed as good. Dr. Roberts, chairman to the Public Health Committee, said the Council would remember that a few years ago they decided to engage the services of Dr. Franklin, of Birmingham, to make quarterly analyses of the Chester water, as well as the water from the Dee. A few weeks ago the Committee were anything but satisfied with the report sent to them from Dr. Franklin, and in case of emergency the committee thought it would be more convenient to engage a man who was equally competent and to send the water to Liverpool instead of Birmingham for analysis. The committee considered the terms of Dr. Boyce very reason- able, and he had pleasure in moving that Dr. Boyce be appointed at a salary of 2100 per annum. The old city of Chester still stood well in the matter of public health as compared with other cities of the same size. There were 109 fewer cases of infectious diseases this year than last. The figures were 266 last year and 214 this year, the latter including 26 cases of erysipelas which were not notified last year. The Sheriff did not see why the Waterworks Company should not help to pay for the analyses so long as they contracted for pure water. Publicans were brought to book if the beer was not right. and he did not see why the Water Company should not be obliged to give them pure water. Mr. R. Cecil Davies asked if Dr. Boyce's appointment was to be a permanent one. Alderman Churton: What was Dr. Franklin paid ? The Clerk of Committees (Mr. Peers): X97 16s. Alderman Churton humorously suggested that Dr. Boyce should use phraseology, which ) could be more easily understood than that which was to be found in the report before them- He could not tell from it whether the water was good or bad. (Laughter). Dr. Roberts agreed that the Waterworks Company ought to bear a share of the burden. His feeling was that they might have met and conferred together and appointed one man in whom both sides would have had perfect con- ifdence. The Council had every confidence in Dr. Boyce. Perhaps in time an understanding would be arrived at and matured between the Waterworks Company and the Council. Dr. Franklin made quarterly reports, but Dr. Boyce would make weekly analyses, and that would account for the slight difference in the terms. With reference to Dr. Boyce's appoint- ment being permanent or otherwise, he (Dr. Roberts) would not look upon it as a permanent appointment. Alderman Stolterfoth thought the weekly analysis would be a good thing. The motion was carried. FREE LIBRARY LECTURES. I The Free Library Committee recommended that the Council make a grant of,230 out of the funds received under the Local Taxation (Customs and Excise) Act, 1890, for continuing the series of free lectures at the Library. On the motion of Alderman Stolterfoth this was agreed to.

DUKE OF WESTMINSTER'S I WEDDING.

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