Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,244 pages of information and 235,402 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

John Smith (b.1813)

From Graces Guide

John Smith (c1813- ) of John Smith and Sons (Chard)

1837 Married at Chard to Jane Bonifas

1846 Death of his wife Jane

1851 Living at White Hart Inn and Iron Foundry, Combe Street, Chard: John Smith (age 38 born Taunton), Iron Founder and Moulder employing 12 men and Widower. With his daughter Sarah Smith and sons John Smith, Junr., and Robert Smith.[1]

1861 Living at White Hart Inn and Iron Foundry, Combe Street, Chard: John Smith (age 48 born Taunton), Iron Founder employing 9 men and 3 boys and a Widower. With his two sons John Smith (age 21 born Taunton), Moulder, and Robert Smith (age 14 born Taunton) Work with father.[2]

1893 'CHARD COUNTY COURT, .... SMITH v. RUSK.— The plaintiff, who was described as an ironfounder, of Chard, claimed £so for wrongful' dismissal from the service of the Phoenix Engineering Company, Limited, of which Mr. Edward Rusk is the managing director. ....—Mr. Clarke said the action was brought by Mr. John Smith in respect of his wrongful dismissal from the service of the Phoenix Engineering Company, Limited. For many years Smith carried on the business now held by the company, and some 5 or 6 years ago Mr. Rusk became associated with him in the concern. In 1891 some correspondence passed between them, and arrangements were made for forming the business into a limited company. Smith agreed to sell the business to the company upon certain terms, one of which was an arrangement with Mr. Rusk (who was the chief promoter of the company) to be employed as foreman at the works. Mr. Rusk gave him an undertaking that he would be engaged as foreman for 12 months, "upon the usual mutual conditions of such an engagement," at a wage of 30s. per week and one shilling per ton bonus on all sound castings turned out at the works, and the engagement to be determined at six months' notice. The company was formed, Smith entered the service, and things went on very smoothly and comfortably for about six months. In January, 1892, for some reason or other, the company seemed to get the idea that they must get rid of Smith, and looked round for an excuse for doing so. They asked him to sign an agreement to receive an appointment as working foreman, and to come to work at six in the morning. This was contrary to the first arrangement, that he was to be an ordinary foreman, and he declined to sign the agreement. Things went on until the following July, when the company dismissed Smith and paid him his wages until August. Plaintiff's contention was that he was to receive a twelve months' engagement, that he was to have six months notice, and that there were not sufficient grounds for his dismissal. Plaintiff was then examined. He said in June,l89l, a difference arose between Rusk and himself as to money matters, and the result was the agreement of the 3rd August, when he entered the service of the company. His duties were to superintend the work at the foundry, and he was on the premises at 7 o'clock in the morning.
—Counsel — But the factory was not opened for work until the following February. —Cross-examined — He had carried on the business with his father for 50 years. Before he became acquainted with Rusk, he had borrowed £300 on the plant, and Rusk took over the debt, the plant then being his (Smith's) subject to the claim.— Counsel — And afterwards your landlord distrained for rent, and Rusk, in order to help you, bought the freehold of the property? — Plaintiff — No, I bought the freehold of the property, and he advanced money for a consideration.—Q : But Rusk paid the £750 ?—A Yes. —Q. : After that was done, Rusk was your landlord ? A: No, he was to come into partnership, but no partnership was arrived at, because it fell through for want of money.—Q: Not for want of money on his part, but on yours. Rusk paid £750 to buy the freehold ?—A: He only advanced £100. —Q : But you never found a single farthing. If he paid £100, who found the other £650 ?—A : I bought the property for £1,100.— Q: The conveyance was made out to Mr. Rusk and he paid the money.— Examination continued : He paid no rent for the premises from 1884 to 1891, but he supplied Mr. Rusk with goods to the value of £150. When the company was started he was engaged as foreman, not as working foreman.— Q: When the company came in he refused to give up possession unless they paid you £25? A: I received £25.— Q: You blackmailed Mr. Rusk for £25.— Mr. Clarke objected to the term "blackmailed," and his Honor told Counsel he had no right to use it.—Counsel (to Plaintiff) : You received £25 for going out and giving up possession of the plant.— A: Yes. He did not deny that Rusk had kept a roof over his head for some years. No actual casting work was done between August, 1891, and February, but during that time the premises were got ready for work. He denied calling on Mr. Evans on his own account: He entered the order to the company, but they refused to pay his expenses to Chard Road. Rusk promised to get him £30 worth of shares in the company, but had not done so. The £25 paid him to go out was not in lieu of the shares. Mr. Rusk also promised that the bonus would be 15s. a week.— Counsel read a mass of correspondence between the parties, and continuing the examination of plaintiff, elicited that the castings turned out at the works during four months only amounted to a bonus of 15s. 9d.—Plaintiff — Rusk was going to put on 250 men, and turn out 50 tons of castings every week. He had possession of a piece of garden ground for which he had never paid any rent and never intended to.— His Honour (to Smith) : Can you justify your arrangement to work as foreman for the company when you were not there when the men came into work.— Plaintiff — It was no part of my duty.— Counsel — And when Mr. Laybourne left the workshop in the day-time you went out too ? Plaintiff— I did not go to smoking-concerts, the gymnasium, or to any hotel.— His Honor : If you do not answer questions properly I shall strike your case of the list, and there will be an end of it.— Counsel — Explain to the jury why you were walking about all day with your hands in your pockets. You drew 30s. per week, what did you do for it ?— A: superintended the work. There's no mill in Chard where the foreman takes the men's time.— Q: Is it not your grievance that you wanted to be manager rather than foreman ?— A I don't see any difference between foreman and manager.— In his address to the jury the learned Counsel said ten years ago Smith was ruined, being unable to pay his landlord, and having a bill-of-sale on his business for £300. In 1884, Mr. Rusk paid £200 on the bill-of-sale, and then to make himself secure from the landlord he bought the freehold of the place. Every farthing of the purchase money came from Rusk, who agreed to let the place to Smith at a rental of £50 per annum. From 1884 to 1891 Smith lived on the property, but never paid one penny rent. At that time £187 10s. owing as rent, but to bring the claim within the scope of the County Court, it was reduced to £95, and that sum was counter-claimed from Smith that day. When the company was formed, Mr. Rusk promised to get Smith £3O worth of shares, but that was settled by the £25 given him in cash to go out. Counsel commented strongly on the way Smith performed his duties as foreman, and justified the action of the Company in dismissing him.—
Mr. Rusk was examined, and bore out Counsel's statement.— Cross examined — He knew it was no good to press the claim for rent because Smith had nothing. Plaintiff supplied certain goods, but witness supplied the iron for their manufacture.— Mr. C. P. Laybourne, manager of the Works at Chard, said on the average Smith came to work just before 8 in the morning. At 8.15 the hands went to breakfast. Eight or nine times he might have come at 7.30.— Q — What work did he do? —A: He fiddled about. Often when witness went out he found on his return that Smith had gone out. The blast-boxes caught fire sometimes through Smith neglecting to do what he was told. On another occasion Smith looked on while he (Laybourne) lent a hand to lift some iron-work. Since Smith had left there was a saving in the consumption at the works, and they were doing double the amount of work with almost the same number of hands.—
At this stage, the Court adjourned for luncheon, and on resuming the sitting Mr. Clarke said he was happy to inform his Honor that in the interval an arrangement had been come to between the parties, on the following terms:— Judgment to be entered for the defendant without costs on the claim ; the counterclaim withdrawn without costs; possession of the piece of land to be given up in a month ; no claim to be made in respect of the £30 worth of shares. [3]

1911 Boarder at 7 Pit Head, Aberdare: John Smith (age 99 born Taunton), Widower. In house of Thomas Yemm.[4]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1851 Census
  2. 1861 Census
  3. Chard and Ilminster News - Saturday 28 October 1893
  4. 1911 Census