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Maskell William Peace

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Maskell William Peace (1834-1892)


1892 Obituary [1]

MASKELL WILLIAM PEACE, who died at Southport on 9th November 1892, was the son of the late Mr. William Peace, who was formerly the mineral agent for the late Earl of Crawford.

He was born in Wigan on 3rd April 1834, was educated at Rossall School, and, on leaving that establishment, was articled to the late Mr. John Mayhew, solicitor, of Wigan. On completing his articles, Mr. Peace was admitted a solicitor in Trinity Term 1855, and commenced business on his own account in an office in Standishgate, Wigan. Subsequently he removed to 10 King Street, and having taken into partnership Mr. Herbert Booth Bell, the firm was carried on under the style of Peace & Bell. This partnership was dissolved after a few years, on Mr. Bell removing to London. Mr. Peace then entered into partnership with Mr. Henry Ackerley of Wigan, and Mr. William Appleton of Oswestry, and this partnership was carried on under the style of Peace, Ackerley & Appleton, at Leader's Buildings, King Street. Mr. Appleton shortly afterwards retired from the firm, and the business was conducted under the style of Peace, Ackerley and Co. About 1883 this partnership was dissolved, and Mr. Peace joined Mr. Thomas Ratcliffe Ellis, the surviving partner of the firm of Scott and Ellis, ant the combined businesses have since been carried on under the style of Peace & Ellis.

Mr. Peace held numerous public appointments, and filled them with ability. His services as secretary of the Wigan Mining and Mechanical School, from its foundation in 1858 to the present time, will long be remembered in the local history of technical education. He was appointed law clerk and secretary of the South Lancashire and Cheshire Coal Association on the 3rd April 1861, and acted in that capacity up to the time of his death. He was appointed solicitor to the Mining Association of Great Britain in February 1866, becoming secretary of the Association in February 1870, and he acted as law clerk and secretary up to the time of his death.

He was for many years identified with the municipal life of Wigan, first as a councillor, and subsequently as town clerk — a position he filled for a period of more than eighteen years, viz., from 24th September 1866 to 31st March 1885. On the occasion of his retirement from this office, he was presented by the members of the Town Council, and the leading officials of the Corporation, with a beautiful piece of plate and an illuminated address. He was shortly afterwards appointed an alderman of the borough, and was more than once invited to accept the Mayoralty, which he was compelled to decline owing to the state of his own and of his wife's health. On the day of his death he was appointed returning alderman of one of the wards, and his name was placed on several committees. He represented Wigan on the County Joint Committee to enforce the provisions of the Rivers Pollution Prevention Act, 1876, in relation to the river Ribble. He was returned unopposed to the Lancashire County Council as the first Councillor representing the Standish Division, and, on his term of office expiring, was again elected without opposition. He was also appointed Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of the Council, a position which his abilities and reputation eminently qualified him to fill.

Mr. Peace was the author of several books relating to mining law, and his works on the Coal Mines Regulation Acts and the Truck Acts were accepted as authorities on these subjects. On all questions affecting the law of minerals he was an admitted authority, whilst on questions arising on Private Bills in Parliament his opinion was frequently sought in the interests of coalowners, property owners, and traders generally, with the view of obtaining protective clauses. In connection with the Railway and Canal Traffic Act, 1888, Mr. Peace was actively engaged, as representing the Mining Association, on the Board of Trade inquiry into the revised schedules and classifications of the various railway companies, and, subsequently, on the inquiry before the Joint Select Committee of Lords and Commons on the Provisional Order Bills which were brought in to confirm those schedules. Mr. Peace was engaged up to the time of his death in the Board of Trade inquiry into the revised schedules of the various canal companies, and railway companies owning canals. As a conveyancing lawyer, particularly as regards mining leases, he was also an authority. He was the Secretary to the Board of Examination for mine managers certificates for the districts of North and East Lancashire and. Ireland, and West Lancashire and North Wales. He was appointed solicitor and secretary to the Lancashire and Cheshire Coalowners' Defence Association on the establishment of that organisation in June last.

At the last annual meeting of the Manchester Geological Society, Mr. Peace was appointed President of that body for the ensuing year. Amongst his numerous other appointments he was the solicitor for the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners' Permanent Relief Society, the Central Association for dealing with Distress caused by Mining Accidents, and the Colliery Managers' Association, while in addition to his public appointments, he was the secretary of the Wigan Coal and Iron Company, Limited, from the beginning of 1870, as well as secretary to the Cossall Colliery Company, Limited, Nottingham, since its formation in 1877, and to the Colliery Guardian Company, Limited.

Mr. Peace was a prominent Freemason, and when the Volunteer movement was originated in the Wigan district, he interested himself in connection with it, and was appointed Lieutenant of the Haigh corps. He had been a member of the Iron and Steel Institute since 1876.


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