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Friday, 25 April 2014

George Livesey on South Met's Pension Scheme


The following article comes from Copartnership Journal in 1905
Please remember the monetary figures are pounds, shillings, pence.  Hope I have got them all right!!
 
SOUTH METROPOLITAN GAS COMPANY
 
THE SUPERANNUATION FUND.
                .
Recent questions relating to this Fund show that a statement of its origin, object and history may be useful.     
Sympathy for and a desire to help the Company's workmen in times of difficulty from sickness or old age originated both the Sick and Superannuation Funds. The Sick and Burial Fund was started in 1842 on the suggestion of the Company's Secretary, the late Thomas Livesey, and its' success led him in 1855 to advise the 'Creation of a Superannuation Fund for Workmen and Officers; ,but the latter did not then respond, and it was nearly 40 years later 'when their Fund came into being. On the 1st of December, 1855, the Workmen's Superannuation Fund began, and for exactly 50 years it has continued its beneficent work. It is therefore appropriate that this statement should appear on .its jubilee. . I may here say that t last year when giving evidence before a Government Committee on the Accident Fund, reference was made to our other Funds, and the Chairman of the Committee said, 'You have followed the lead of the' Germans,' and my reply was to give the above dates and to say we led the Germans. I think the South Metropolitan may claim to have been amongst the, earliest of public companies, and r believe the first amongst Gas Companies, to found these and the Accident Fund with its Jury system, as they were the first to grant a week s holiday with pay to their Workmen, and to introduce the Co-Partner- ship. I must say a word for the Directors of the Company; as far back as I can trace their history, because without their consent none of the Funds or other benefits to Officers and Workmen could have been introduced. In all these matters the Directors have always been unanimous' and more than willing to do anything in their power to benefit their Employees.      
 
After the Directors gave consent the proposal to establish the Fund was submitted to the Workmen. I was present at the Meeting, as were also, I believe, John Surman, our worthy Storekeeper and John Durrant, now well over 9O years of age, our oldest pensioner, who, with one of the Keelers and perhaps one or two other pensioners, are all, alas! that are left of our comrades of that are left of our comrades of that day.  Our old foreman (2 lines missing) will be remembered by the Workmen as well as by my father and myself, and to whose faithfulness 1 desire here to bear testimony, was also there but all that I can renumber is that my father; explained the proposal, that some questions were asked and remarks made, amongst others by Gray, the Blacksmith, and the Workmen unanimously agreed that the Superannuation Fund should be started. Behind Directors and Workmen stand the masters of both, namely, the Shareholders, who were not only asked to give their consent but their support also. It is true only a small annual sum was asked, £50-which was willingly given-but this small, simple gift committed them to the continued support of the Fund, and involved them in a continuous and increasing annual charge to maintain the Fund and ultimately to guarantee its financial stability in perpetuity. I repeat for the Shareholders what I said for the Directors, that they have been always ready to show practical sympathy for their Workmen, and have never refused any proposal for their benefit which has ' been submitted to them.
The Fund was founded and is maintained for the sole object of making provision for the Company's men when their working days are over to save them from distress in their old age, or, as is stated in Rule 1, 'to provide a minimum pension in order to save Workmen from the necessity of applying for parish relief in the event of incapacity or old age. It was never intended to provide them with a competency to enable them to retire while still well able to work. This being so it was necessary to assume that at a. certain average age work should cease and pensions begin, which was fixed at 65. This is the age almost universally adopted by Superannuation and .Pension schemes. But our Fund goes further. It provided, at the start, in order to take in the older men, that subscribers of ten years might receive a pension at 65, or at 55 if through infirmity, not being due to their own bad conduct, they were unable to continue working, It now, in such cases, gives the pension at any age after ten years' subscription and twenty-five years' service. In 1900 a further step was made by giving the option to the Members to retire as early as 55 on a reduced pension. There was to be a reduction of one-tenth for each year short of the pension age of 65. And now I have the pleasure of announcing a further improvement.
The Directors have lately had under consideration the Officers' Superannuation Fund, and have introduced a simi1a.r rule to allow earlier retirement. Calculations supported 'by professional advice, proved that a reduction of one-twentieth part of the pension for each year short of 65 was sufficient, and a new rule was adopted accordingly. It works thus. Supposing an Officer, entitled to a pension of £100 a year at 65, wishes to retire earlier, he has to give up one-twentieth ((2 lines missing) at 6O it would be £75, and at 55 £50, or half the full pension would be received. I need hardly say that, having done this for the Officers, the Directors at once resolved to do the same for the "York- men, and the new rule now makes the reduction one-twentieth instead of one-tenth. A Workman entitled to 10s. a week at 65 will have Gd. a weak less, or 9s. 6d. at G4, and so on; at 60 he will get 7s. Gd., and at 55, 5s. a week. If he is entitled to 15s. a week pension at 65 he will have one-twentieth part, or 9d. a week, less for each year, or 14s. 3d. at. 64, 13s. 6d. at 63, 11s. 3d. at 60, and 7s. 6d., or half-pension, at 55.
At the Co-Partnership Committee meeting, in October last, the question was put whether, by paying an extra subscription, without increasing the charge to the Company, the pension age could be reduced to 60. The reply is that this would alter the fundamental principle of the Fund, which, as already stated, is to provide pensions when through infirmity, or old age men must cease working, and this principle must be maintained. Moreover, to introduce an additional and quite different scale of payments, varying with the age of the members, would be impracticable. I told the Committee that the [Directors had altered Rule 10, relating to retiring before 65, as explained above, and said that to retire at 60' there would be half a crown a week to make up, which might perhaps be done by a Supplementary Fund worked independently. Mr. Sims was requested to ascertain what weekly payments would be necessary at all ages from 20 to 50 to provide 28. 6d. a week at 6O. calculated at 4 per cent, interest, this .being the rate that may be taken as the average yielded by investments in the Company's stock. I have made an independent calculation, and, both agreeing, they were submitted to the Co-Partnership Committee on November 15.
 We find in Whitaker's Almanack a table giving the average expectation of life at various ages. At 60 a man may expect to live thirteen years; therefore, to provide 2s. 6d. a wee k for life at 60, a certain sum of money is necessary. £67 invested at 4 per cent. will give £6 10s. a year for thirteen years, when it will be used up; it is therefore as near as may be the right amount. The other part of the question is the weekly payment at all ages, which, invested  at, 4 per cent., will amount to £67 at 60.
The following is the scale of payments:-
Age 20 to 23       0 3d a week
24-27                     0  4d.
28-31                     0  5d
32-24                     0   6d
35-36                     0  7d
37-38                     0  8d
39-40                     0  9d
41                             10d.
43                           1  0d.
44                           1  1d
45                           1  3d
46                           1. 5d
47                           1  7d
48                           1  9d
49                           1  11d
50                           2   1d
 
Is there any probability that men will become subscribers in sufficient numbers to justify the trouble and expense of starting and working a new Fund? If so, I am sure the Directors would be willing; but all that such 11 Fund could do is already provided for in our Co-Partnership. It is simply a method of saving, almost identical with the existing method. Any man can now give an order to the pay-clerk to stop any amount the man chooses to name weekly from his wages, for investment in stock, or to be saved for a definite purpose-such as for holidays, or to provide for some expected or unexpected expense in the future. The only difference, in the proposed Supplementary Fund would be that, once having joined, it would be necessary to continue the payments until 60 years of age in order to obtain the object of increasing the pension 2s. 6d. a week at that age. Further, by a right use of the Co- Partnership, much more than half a crown a week can be secured. One pound a year saved and invested in stock paying, 4 per cent will amount in 40 years to £95; and as the stock yields rather over 4 per cent., it will be fair to say that £1 a year so invested, or &40 in all with 4 per cent. interest, will in 40 years reach £100. If a man's total bonus amounts to say £6 10s. a year, and this is well below the average paid last July, he will have in 40 years, not merely £67 to provide half a crown a week, but £650, which. will yield to him 10 half-crowns, or 25s. a week as an annuity for life, or the interest only, without touching the capital, will give 10s. a week. If you save all the bonus you will not want the means to retire at 60; to which, if a man begins subscribing to the Superannuation Fund at 20, there will be added 11s. 3d. weekly by the new rule. Therefore join the Fund as early as possible.
It only remains to give the history of the Fund for the first 50 years of its existence.
By the original rules the pensions were fixed at 10s. weekly for subscribers of 3d. and 14s. for 6d. subscribers, whether a man had paid for 10 years or 40 or more. This was altered in 1887, and now 10s. is the minimum or lowest pension for weekly subscribers of 3d., the scale rising from 10s. after 25 years' subscriptions to 17s., for 43 years' membership, and the 6d. subscribers are dealt with in the same proportion according to Rule 7.
The Company began by subscribing .£50 a year, which 'was increased to £100 in 1862, to £150 in.;1864, to £200 in 1876, and in 1881 to 40 per Gent. of the members' subscription, or £822. Then in 1891 it was increased to 100 per: cent. or £1,232, and in 1900 for a time to 133 per cent. or £3,574.
In 1880 the Surrey Consumers and the Phoenix Companies were amalgamated with the South Metropolitan, and their men were at ((2 lines missing)) increased to 40 per cent. of that of the members. In 1891 it was further increased to 100 per cent., and in 1900, after another actuary had reported that the Fund was not sound financially, the Company guaranteed the stability of the Fund-that is, they undertook to pay the agreed pensions under any circumstances, and they increased their contribution for a time to 133 per cent. ''hey also agreed to secure 5 per cent. on the yearly balances to be invested, by adding the necessary amount of money, which is shown in the annual accounts. And the Company has also borne all the expense of keeping the accounts and. working the Fund, which is considerable.
 
The totals received from all sources and the totals paid out from the start to December 31st, 1904, are here given
RECEIPTS
Members' Payments .                                                                                   £38,031 12 8
Company's Contributions .                                           £33,351 14 3
Ditto to make up investments to 5 per cent.        3,420 6 1
                                                                                                                                36,780 10 4
Interest received                                                                                             24,259 7 2
Profit on sale of Investments                                                                     13,691 6 11
£102,763 5  8
PAYMENTS-
Superannuation allowances.                                                                       43,565 10 7
To Representatives of deceased Members and Members leaving the Company's Service
11,1313 12 4
£54,689 2 11
Balance in hand January 1st, 1905                                                                                             £48,074 2 9
Of this balance £43,798 8s. 5d. had been invested in the Company's Stock, and there was £4,275 14s. 4d. in hand invested this year.
With so much balance why cannot the Fund deal more liberally, some may think. Suppose it were to be wound up, the £48,000 or so in hand would have not only to maintain the present pensions of about £3,000 a year-£2,960 was paid last year to 112 pensioners- but it would also be called upon to provide pensions for, or other- wise to compensate, all the present members. The interest received last year was £1,965, or £1,000 less than the sum paid in pensions, therefore one-third o! the pensions, or £1,000 a year, are taken from current subscriptions, whereas those subscriptions are needed to provide future pensions.
It was this deficiency that led the Directors to propose, and the Shareholders to agree, to guarantee the Fund. ''hey also agreed to increase their subscriptions for a time from 3d. to 4d. a week per member, or to 133 per cent., and to secure 5 per cent. on the investment. It is hoped that by these means the interest on the invested funds will in time pay the current pensions, and then the Fund may be considered to be in a satisfactory  (2 lines missing)
The remark has been made that the Company makes a good thing out of the Fund. I think these figures show clearly that the Company has always been giving and never receiving. It is true the Fund has been a good thing for the Company indirectly, for the Directors and Shareholders have had the satisfaction of knowing that hundreds of their fellow-men, their old servants, have been provided for by the mutual help of Employers and Employed, and the Company has also benefited by their men taking an interest in working for the Company. Of course, no man who thinks could entertain the absurd idea that the Company makes a monetary profit; but, unfortunately for themselves and for others, there are some men who do not think, but they talk nevertheless.
Such is the origin, object, and history of this Fund. At this its Jubilee it stands as a tried and faithful friend of the Company and its Workmen, Some of the young members may live to see its Centenary 50 years hence, and I hope and believe they will be able to bear testimony to its continued beneficence, and to rejoice that there were those who 100 years previously had the good sense and the kindness of heart thus to solve for the South Metropolitan Gas Company's Employees the question of old age pensions in a manly and independent self-help manner; vastly better and more satisfactory than it could have been done, as the Socialists desire, by any Government or State.
GEORGE LIVESEY

Thursday, 24 April 2014

South Met. Co-partnership Scheme 2

 This extract from my M.Phil thesis (Thames Poly 198something) is a continuation of the posting below - South Met. Co-partnership Scheme Part 1.   Hope to put the rest up soon and sorry for the break in continuity


As the scheme progressed and grew after 1889 it can be seen that its concerns fall into two areas - control of the workforce, the incentive to self-discipline among them, and consultation.
From the start agreements could be used to select and control the workforce, the Co-partnership Committee could be used as a means of participation while holding control of the labour process firmly in management's hands. Later changes included the sales of stock as a means of further control through withholding privileges from dissidents. At another level of participation was the worker director scheme. Such means of controlling the workforce through welfare provision was becoming common in this period. Helen Jones’ study of welfare provision between the Wars remarks on this and describes it as the 'principal motive behind employers' welfare   schemes'. [Helen Jones. Employee Welfare Schemes and Industrial Relations in Inter-war Britain. Business History March 1983

As we have seen, initially agreements arranged for a sum of money to be kept in hand as a guarantee of good behaviour and each employment was made a term of fixed contract which meant that the act of striking would involve both legal proceedings and loss of money. For many workers the risk of these penalties was well worth a guaranteed year's work with the promise of an additional lump sum.
In 1889 Livesey had been to some lengths to say that he was willing to co-exist with unions - 'he had not one word to say against unions which were properly conducted'.  [Times. Report Feb. 1890]

Will Thorne changed all that - or perhaps Livesey was looking for an excuse. In February 1890 Thorne made a speech at Plymouth. He said that the strike at South Met. was a failure but that next time the Company would not get seven days notice, the men would come out at once and risk the law. Livesey then said that he would have nothing more to do with an organisation which was prepared to break the law to further its demands. The agreements were changed and men thenceforth had to sign to 'say' that they were not members of the Gas Workers Union. The two unions banned in this way were the Gas Workers and the Coal Porters. Men were, however, not excluded if they had been members in the past.

In 1889 all who wanted to sign agreements were encouraged to do so but as time went on the granting of agreements to individual workmen as an incentive was used -they were not given to those of whom management, for one reason or another, disapproved.
In the first year of renewal agreements were refused to some men who showed a 'spirit of insubordination' and this policy was continued. In later years agreements were refused to those who 'showed a want of interest in their work' or, as Livesey told the workforce in 1906, through one of two reasons ' careless or   indifferent work and selling stock by withdrawing bonus'.  Refusal   was thus a policy which gathered momentum - it became more progressively easier to be refused as time went on. In the 1890s refusal for lack of interest and insubordination had been extended to refusal for lack of thrift; by the 1900s it was extended to 'men who persistently withdrew their bonuses or who sell their stock to outsiders - publicans or loan offices. [George Livesey. Profit Sharing. A Vindication. Economic Review.  Nov. 1900]

Livesey explained that the granting of an agreement was one of the most important steps that could be taken against a workman and
'the control of agreements must be held by the Chief - it involves the question of absolute justice'. [George Livesey. Employed, Employers and Copartnership.  Labour Co-partnership  Jan/Feb 1901]

These remarks were made in a lecture given in 1906 to fellow gas managers and he used as an example the setting up of a scheme in the South Suburban Works at Bell Green. No provision was made there to renew -agreements discriminately and 'I was greatly disappointed' • Pointing to the carbonising figures he said that .they showed how that if agreements were renewed selectively they 'improved' - thus showing his audience the economic basis of what had become not only an incentive system but a means of selecting only suitable workers. - 'if he gets no agreement his ultimate fate is to leave. [Livesey. Employed, Employers etc.]
This' course of action was, of course, criticised. In "Profit Sharing; a Vindication" Livesey described how he had been tackled on this question by A.J.Mundella during the course of a sitting of   the Royal Commission on Labour. [Livesey Vindication].    In order to demonstrate his point he had called together a meeting of the Profit Sharing Committee to discover their opinion of agreements;  

- 'the earnestness with which they urged me not to interfere with the agreements in any way was almost pathetic - they are regarded as a privilege by the men’ [Livesey. Vindication]
The value to the workers was of course in job security given by the agreements

'I hope so to conduct myself and not to do anything to the detriment of the Company by signing the agreements the Company guarantees to find me  employment for the next twelve months'. [Livesey Vindication]

The question must obviously be asked as to whether this method of controlling and selecting the workforce meant that militants were being deliberately weeded out.

Management said that grievances should be channelled through   the means set up by them for that purpose.  The Profit Sharing -   later Co-partnership - Committee was set up after the "Interview'. A consultative process was part of the initial plan. Livesey had said:   
'the idea is that as soon as possible a Committee to be composed of equal numbers of workmen selected by themselves and Officers chosen by the Directors presided over by the Chairman of the Company shall be formed to settle all details'.  [Report of the proceedings of an Interview….. pub South Met Gas Co. 1889]
 
This Committee soon became a means of communication between Company and participants in the profit sharing scheme - in due course most of the workforce. Although its structure changed during the succeeding forty years - it included women during the First World War - it remained much as it was set up. Elected members retired by rotation and complicated rules ensured that a quorum must always include a majority of workmen  together with the Chairman's casting vote.   

 It became customary for the workmen representatives to have a pre-meeting without the management representatives who, in any case, must never be in a position to outvote them.
Speaking in 1899 Livesey described its aims as more than merely consultative:   

'it has been a powerful means of promoting mutual confidence and educating the men"    [Livesey. Newcastle Interview]
In his view men always accepted management's view if it was reasonable.   

'if a request could not be granted the Committee had been told plainly and the reasons stated and always with the same result” [Livesey. Newcastle Interview]
Thus the work of the Committee had two aspects - one consultative;   the other the reconciliation of grievances.  In the early 18905   Livesey had asked for the opinions - as we have seen in the instance of the agreements - and in time he enlisted their aid on political questions on which they could provide an effective lobby. Fay says:   

 'it was the Co-partnership Committee which in 1897 settled and presented to the workers for acceptance the rules of the Accident Fund.  its most recent task has been provided by the National Insurance Act'.  [C.R.Fay.  Cop-partnership in Industry.   London 1913]

Emloyers Liability legislation was a matter in which Livesey was concerned to lobby Government and the Co-partnership Committee members duly made a statement against the legislation and lobbied Parliament. –
Once legislation had been enacted the Committee took decisions on its implementation in the Company. In the First World War the Committee took decisions of principle on the way that war work was organised.  [Co partnership Journal] For example, they decided that men in the armed services still receiving full pay from the Company should not get holiday pay but would get holidays when they got back; that death in battle did not count as accidental death in the company’s service for the purposes of the pension fund, and so on. In 1917 they allowed women workers to sign co-partnership agreements.

A more important day to day role of the Committee was in the reconciliation of grievances. Aggrieved parties were expected to take up their problems with their foreman or to their Committee representative. If a dispute could not be resolved through discussion and if it required a ruling on a matter of principle it could then be taken for discussion to the whole Committee. For example, whether Christmas bonus should be stopped if men reported sick after Christmas and how to discover if post-Christmas sickness was genuine illness.
A great deal of the Committee's work concerned disputes on pension and welfare arrangements - in August 1911, for instance, they backed the Company when compensation was not paid to an accident   that had remained unreported for some months,  and in September   1916 they backed the Company when an accident had taken place  ~.  - 163 - while an employee was doing free-lance lighterage work. Often these rulings involved issues of principle. In February 1914 in ~ response to a special case they ruled that a bonus could be paid by post if an employee requested it; in April 1905 they ruled that youths under sixteen could be admitted to the sick fund.

While Fay, writing in 1912 of an earlier period, could say that 'topics such as wages and the cost of living would probably be ruled out of order' by 1918 such matters were discussed by the committee -although management attempted to rule them out of order. [Charles Carpenter. Industrial co-operation LCA 1911/1921]. The First World War had given the Committee a freer hand to discuss matters beyond the routine, and with Livesey and meetings chaired by Charles Carpenter, Committee reports seem to indicate that the Committee was more determined to discuss subjects that management would find controversial. In May 1924, for instance, the Committee asked about wage rises.
As can be seen from the Company’s policy on accidents men were encouraged to take decisions on their own working lives. This worked well, for instance, when the Committee was taking a decision to root out non-combatants in the First World War from the workforce, but rather less well when wages were under discussion. It is too  easy to imagine that the Committee was not in agreement with management on their role - they were quick to establish their positions should they imagine that trade unions might' supplant them. In August 1920 they passed a resolution, in a period of union activity, that they alone represented the workforce to management.

Men serving on the Committee had to have an investment of £25 in Company stock and at least five years’ service. They would thus be men with an investment in the Company who would be eager to re-inforce the system and want a measure of power for themselves. It is naive to think, that dissidents would have ever got in a position to be elected.
By 1900 the profit sharing scheme had become 'Co-partnership'. Employees had become 'partners' in that they could buy stock and vote for their own employee directors.

As we have seen the idea of employee shareholders was not a new one in South Met. By 1894 it became possible for employees to buy shares with half of their invested bonus. This system 'gave the Company an opportunity to institute a snakes and ladder like system of rewards and punishments. The virtuous flourished in a world of house purchase while the improvident sank into oblivion
 In 1894 the employees were offered the opportunity to have their bonus increased by l~% if they were willing to have half their bonus invested in Company stock. A few small amendments we~ made in 1898 to accommodate the worker director scheme and then, in 1899, so that more men would invest those who had withdrawn all their bonus over the past five years, rather than invest, were told that unless they deposited a sum of money with the Company each week they would get no withdrawable bonus in 1900. The amount they must save must equal a week’s wages by June 1900. The bonus was raised to a standard percentage for both invested and withdrawable parts and for most men it became obligatory to invest half in Company stock. It was now forbidden to sell this stock. In 1910 a further measure even forbade the withdrawal of the remaining ... free portion and all bonus was to be invested. Withdrawals could only take place under very special circumstances involving special   permission and a weeks’ notice [BOT reports 1891 –1920].

In the early 1900s, the Company under the auspices of the Co-partnership Committee set about purging from the Company those whose stock certificates had not been deposited wisely. Not only was the Company's interest evoked but all the respectable man's horror of pawnshops, publicans and money lenders. 'Co-partnership 30 Journal 8arried comparative figures from the various Company works of numbers of those who had pawned their stock certificates: Bankside (a very small station) had none, while Rotherhithe led the  - 166 - way with 29% of certificates in pawn~ As they said, the Board was very disappointed to find that 14% of the Officers visited pawnbrokers too. Other certificates had been used as down-payments on furniture or as a guarantee to money lenders - some of them ex-employees using their 'nest eggs' to set up in brokerage.
Men 'were warned against pawn shops and obliged to produce their certificates out of pawn. One man, it was reported, re-pawned his the next day and was sacked. Workers ~~re np longer allowed to keep their certificates themselves and they were obliged to leave them with the Company for safe-keeping.

For those workmen who did not mind if their money was piling up unseen in the Company's hands rewards followed. They not only ~ qualified for the Co-partnership Committee and eventual employee directorships but they had the opportunity to become property owners. The Company operated its own Building Society (which still exists) into which members could pay money from their own savings. This investment could be released together with their Company stockholding to purchase a home.
 Co-partnership Journal comments on what it describes as 'rumours' that the newly built Corbett estate in Lewisham was being reserved for gas workers. This estate, even in 1983, constitutes some of the highest quality terraced housing in the district. The Company also provided rented flats and houses.

Emigration to the colonies was another approved reason for withdrawal. Employees were also encouraged to make wills to leave their assets wisely. So that no more money than was necessary left the Company's hands a loan system was instituted so that employees tempted to ask for withdrawal in a domestic emergency could borrow money at preferential rates and not touch their investment. Livesey explained that the accumulation by the middle classes of capital had built up both the class and the stock of capital a century earlier; now the working classes 32 could do the same. [Co-Partnership Journal]

The total accumulation of capital in the hands of the workers was not enough to give them a significant vote at Company meetings to sway policy; in 1921 they were thought to have only about 7% of the total shareholding. [BOT 1921]

Together with this system of rewards and punishments the bonus continued to be paid, albeit in the form of unseen certificates. As the price of gas rose various changes ensured a bonus in most years - in 1901 a different base price was set when gas prices rose to ensure that a bonus would be paid.

South Met. were very proud of the lack of restlessness among workmen in years when the bonus was reduced. In the First World War it is not surprising that patriotic workmen did not grumble when the bonus disappeared for years at a time. Changing economic circumstances meant that the original basis of the scheme was subject to constant changes after 1918.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Huddart's Limehouse Ropeworks - gas making plant 1811

The documents below relate to an extremely early industrial gas making plant installed by the Birmingham based Boulton and Watt Partnership in 1811.  It is possibly the earliest such plant installed in London.  As can be seen the gas making plant is designed to be integrated with the engine also supplied by Boulton and Watt (I have not copied plans for this here).
The documents come from the Boulton and Watt archive in Birmingham Reference Library
(I am not aware of any copywrite restrictions on these - please contact me if there is and they will be removed)
 
The plant was installed at the innovative rope and cable works of Joseph Huddart, hydrographer and one of the Elder Brethern of Trinity House.  It stretched north from, roughly the current crossing of Commercial Road of the Limehouse Cut.
 
 





Thursday, 10 April 2014

Livesey's memorial - in £sd

The article below comes from South Met. Gas Co's house magazine Co-partnership Journal in 1908. Anyone who has read their way through the postings on the South Met. Co-partnership scheme (basically my M.Phil thesis) will understand what this is about. But - briefly - in 1889 South Met. under George Livesey had set up a  bonus scheme for their workforce whereby a bonus was paid relative to the then price of gas sold by South Met. This is all tied up with the 1889 gas workers strike and George Livesey's aspirations for society - but never mind that at the moment)

Livesey had died in 1908 and the following article is part of a series of memorial articles to him. 

(having said all that - this has been hellish to scan and type accurately and I hope it is ok.  It was not helped by Microscoft arrogantly crashing my machine half way through on the pretext of 'updates')

- and - note for foreigners and people under 50 - figures  s ..d.  refers to shillings and pence - thus 2s.3d. is two shillings and threepence - (or, as we would have said then 'two and three') just over 10 pence/



THE ENDURING MEMORIAL.

It has been thought good to publish in this issue of our Journal the figures showing the progress of our Co-Partnership up to June 30th last. The table .below gives at a glance some of the first-fruits of our late Chairman's labours in this direction, and we know that these evidences of success cheered him in the last years of his life. Our hope for the future of both capitalist and worker rests on our faith in the principles of which these figures show a portion of the result-the other portion (peace, harmony, and goodwill) cannot be shown in figures:-

Year
Price of gas
Bonus %
Total Bonus
£100 stock
1889
 
Nest egg
£6,863
 
1890
2s.3d.
5
6,037
 
189l
8,653
 
1892
2s 3d-2s6d.
3
7,524
 
1893
2s.6d – 2s 5d.
4
 
 
1894
2s 5d.  2s 2d.
6
11,276
102
1895
2s. 4d.
12,506
110
1896
2s. 3d.
7 1/2
16,217
125
1897
17,332
135
1898
2
2
17,612
137 1/2
1899
2s 2d
81/4
20,664
135
1900
2s. 1d
9
23.734
122
1901
2s. 8d
3 ¾
10,221
 
1902
2s  8d
7 1/2
25,222
123
1903
27,813
121 1/2
1904
2s.8d. -2s.1d
8 ¼
33,212
123
1905
2s.
9 3/4
42,648
131
1906
43,961
1907
45,591
120
1908
2s 3d.
71/2
36,426
120

 

Total paid in Bonuses                                                                                 £419,309.

On June 30th last 5,146 Employees held Ordinary Stock of the nominal value of £210,595, but really worth, at market price £           252,714
They had deposited in Company's hands                                          £ 95,873

A total of                                                                                            £ 348.587

By adding Building Society Investment.                                             £38,000
We get the grand total of                                                                     £ 381,587

A man earning 30s. a week (most of us earn more),  if he had been employed with us throughout the whole period of our Co-Partnership, sharing in all the bonuses and leaving his portion at interest, would now have in the Company £153 17s.10d.

We print these figures, not because we believe that Co-Partner- ship is a matter of pounds sterling, but because the figures mean to those who know our Co-Partners thrift, self-control; increased self- respect, greater interest in work; lessened dread of the future, and a better realisation of the great truth that' we are members one of another.