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Thursday, 29 May 2014

South Met Co-partnership Committee

The following report is taken from Co-partnership Journal in 1908. George Livesey had died a few weeks earlier - and the committee is discussing how representation of gas workers on various boards needs to be changed.
Our Co-Partnership Committee held its first meeting on May 21, 1890, and at that and every meeting until October 14, 1908, Sir George Livesey-presided, but, as we all too well knew, death had ten days previously taken our President from us. This present gathering was, therefore, presided over by the new Chairman of the Company, Mr. Robert Morton, who, after the minutes of the previous meeting (September) had been accepted, and a letter had been read from Mr. Charles Carpenter, the Chief Engineer, in answer to a kindly word sent him by the Committee when he was ill, thanking them for their thoughtful message, referred to our sad loss in the death of Sir George Livesey, whom he had known intimately for over forty years. As we were sharers in grief so, said he, were we sharers in consolation to the widow, who was still in our memories and heads. Letters of sympathy had been sent to her from all directions, but he was sure none would be more appreciated than those sent by the workers in the Company. He hoped that we should perpetuate Sir George's memory by carrying on the work in which our late Chairman had spent the last years of his life, and make Co-Partnership a continued success. Mr. Morton concluded his touching reference to Sir George by quoting from a letter that he had received during the fatal illness: "It may be the beginning of the end, and if so, God's will be done". It was afterwards proposed and unanimously agreed to send this letter of condolence  to Lady Livesey :-
"The members of the Co-Partnership Committee of the South Metropolitan Gas Company desire to express to Lady Livesey their heart-felt sorrow and sympathy in her sad bereavement. They hope it may be some slight consolation to Lady Livesey to be assured that the memory of Sir George will ever affectionately and gratefully remain in the hearts of all of the employees of this Company as one who in the midst of his multiplicity of great tasks, invariably found time to study their best interests, and never tired of using his fertile mind for developing schemes for their benefit, the greatest of which was his world-renowned Co-Partnership system. The members of-this Committee have enjoyed the high privilege of- coming in close contact with Sir George, who presided at the meetings since their inauguration in May 1890, and it is with the profoundest grief they mourn the loss of his unique personality, of his wise counsel and his friendly guidance. They feel that although his call to higher service leaves the world the poorer, yet" the influence of his splendid example and noble character will live on, and continue to animate not only themselves, but vast numbers of their fellow employees and others, to carry out the principles which he so' practically demonstrated.... It is the Committee’s sincerest wish that Lady Livesey may be endued with special strength to bear her heavy trial and irreparable loss".   
Mr. Carpenter brought up the following' proposal of the Sub- Committee· appointed to go into the question of the enlargement-of the-Committee, with the object of making it more representative of the Employees: - ,-   
(Increase from 3 to 4).
Cawte,T. A.  Coke Worker, Coal and Coke Dept   
Robertson, J... Fitter, Yard and Chemicals   
Middleton, W. W. Fitter, Repairing Shops   
To be elected from Carbonising   
OLD KENT ROAD   Outdoor  
(Decrease from 3 to 2)
Clarke, H. Slot Meter Collector, Slot Meter and Index Readers
Cox, G.  District Fitter, Old Kent Road Outdoor

Streatham Depot    
Greenwich Depot  
Woolwich Depot    
Clapham Depot     
Lee Depot          
Brixton Depot     Chandler J.
(2 representatives, same)
Brown, H.   Carpenter,    Yard   
West, H.J.  Fitter , Carbonising, Coal and Coke   
(3 representatives, same).  
Ryder, A.C.   Stoker,  Carbonising,
Fox, A. Coal Filler,  Coal and Coke
Parker, G. Labourer, Yard   
OLD KENT ROAD (Works).   
Froude, G. Fitter, Works Repairing Shops
Doling, J Stoker, Carbonising
Seage, F., Stove Shop, Stove; Meter and Lamp Shops and Stable
Peedle, G., Repairing Shop,  Yard, Chemicals, Coal and Coke   
(2 representatives).   
Westerland,  S.  Driller , Mechanics, Lightermen   and Labourers   
Simmonds, J., Fireman Carbonising, Coals  and Coke   
Beard, W.
As it seemed to the subcommittee that it would be better for the number of signatures upon a Candidate’s nomination paper to have some relation to the number voting, they recommend as follows:-
That where the number of voters:
does not exceed 100 - 3 signatures   
where it exceeds 100 and  not 200 -  6 signatures
where it exceeds 200  - 12 signatures
 Each nominator still to hold not less than £15 Stock.   They also recommend that each department vote only for its own representative.   
This report was adopted, as well as a further proposal that the three Employee Directors should receive invitations to be present at the meetings of the Committee.   
After a few remarks regarding the New Rules of the Superannuation Fund, copies of which have been posted up for some time at the various works and depots of the Company, and will soon be issued in book form, the proposed statue to be erected in the vestibule of the Chief Office, Old Kent Road, was mentioned, and a general feeling was expressed that the employees would wish to  subscribe. This desire has since been carried out with very gratifying results.
With a reference to the imposing magnitude and fine appearance and bearing of the men at Sir George's funeral the previous Saturday the Chairman declared the proceedings at an end.   
In accordance with the scheme Mr. Manley retired by rotation and the usual election took-place, resulting in the return of Mr. W. H. Cupit, of Old Kent Road. Seven Old Kent Road candidates entered the contest, and the grouped stations (Bankside,Greenwich, and Rotherhithe) had two candidates,  the first voting for selection of candidates on October 16 the :results were-
Old Kent Road
Ashdown, C .98
Cooley, J. J .941
Cupit, W. H . 1725
Froude, C. E    242
Harvey W.  338
Manley, H.T.  1365
Redman J.T.  6
Beard, W. C. (Bankside) 541
Brown H. (Rotherhithe) 1885
As neither of the candidates at Old Kent Road polled a clear majority of votes, the names of Messrs. Cupit and Manley (the two highest) were again submitted to the vote on October 23, with the following result:-   
Cupit, W.H.  2961
Manley, H.T, 1980
This narrowed the contest to a duel between Messrs. Brown and Cupit, and at the final election on October 30th 9538 votes were polled, viz.:--
Brown, H   4407   
Cupit, W. H.  5131
Thus returning Mr. Cupit by a majority of 724 votes.   Mr. Cupit has requested us to convey his thanks to the Employee- Shareholders for his election, and we have had the following letter sent to us for publication:-   
Fellow Co-Partners,-I thank you all very much indeed for the votes you kindly gave me at the recent election for a Workman Director.-Yours faithfully,