Page 1

ENOCH EVANS 1884 to 2000

John Evans

1


ENOCH

EVANS

THIS PAGE IS BLANK

2


ENOCH

EVANS

ENOCH EVANS INTERESTING MOMENTS IN THE LIFE OF ENOCH AND THE GROWTH OF WALSALL`S OLDEST FAMILY FIRM OF SOLICITORS

Published Privately in 2006 by John Evans For the The Evans Family

3


ENOCH

EVANS

THIS PAGE IS BLANK

4


ENOCH

EVANS

CONTENTS Page No

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .

.

.

.

.

.

7

INTRODUCTION

.

.

.

.

.

.

9

.

.

.

.

.

.

10

CHAPTER 2 .

.

.

.

.

.

18

CHAPTER 3 .

.

.

.

.

.

24

. .

. .

31 31

.

.

40

.

.

47

.

55

.

85

. . . . . . . 1920 Norman Articled and in 1925 joins Enoch and Jack. 1921 The Firm‘s New Offices, 19, Bridge Street.

89

CHAPTER 1 .

.

. 1859 Life in Walsall. Walsall History. The Name.

. . Family Background. The Will of Enoch‘s Father. . . 1884 Enoch starts The Firm.

CHAPTER 4 .

. . . . . PART 1 . . . . . . 1896 Enoch charged and found Guilty of Assault. PART 2 . . . . . . Watch Committee Enquiry. PART 3 . . . . . . Not an End to the Matter.

CHAPTER 5 .

. . . . . . 1899 – 1908 Enoch‘s Court Appearances (For Clients).

CHAPTER 6 .

. . . . 1913 Jack qualifies and joins Enoch. 1914 – 1918 World War I.

.

.

CHAPTER 7 .

CHAPTER 8 .

. . . 1921 Enoch‘s Mayoral Speech

.

5

.

.

.

95


ENOCH

EVANS Page No

CHAPTER 9 .

. 1937 Death of Enoch

.

.

.

.

.

.

101

.

.

.

.

.

.

107

CHAPTER 11 .

.

.

109

CHAPTER 12 .

.

.

119

.

.

.

127

CHAPTER 10 .

.

World War II . . . . . 1944 Betty Spanswick‘s Memories of The Firm . . . . . 1953 John Articled and in 1958 joins The Firm A. Cotterell & Co Acquisition

CHAPTER 13 .

. . . . John (Third Generation) Memories.

CHAPTER 14.

.

.

.

.

143

CHAPTER 15 .

.

.

.

.

150

. . . . . . . Appreciations to Jack & Norman and long serving Staff

160

. . . 1965-1986 John Platt‘s Memories . . . The Office of Clerk of the Peace.

CHAPTER 16 . CHAPTER 17 .

. . . 1984 The Centenary of The Firm

.

.

.

.

177

. . . . . . 1990 The Firm moves Offices to Hatherton Road

.

190

.

.

194

.

.

198

CHAPTER 18 . APPENDIX 1 .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Family Trees

APPENDIX 2 .

.

A Chronological Summary of the Evans History in The Firm

APPENDIX 3. .

.

.

.

.

Enoch Evans Partners 1884 - 2000

6

.

.

.

202


ENOCH

EVANS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I owe a special debt of gratitude to my former partner John Platt for his personal memories of his time with The Firm, set out in Chapter 14. Also my gratitude goes to Betty Spanswick for her most interesting Chapter on her memories of The Firm in 1944 and for a few years thereafter. I must also express my gratitude to the present partners in The Firm for their support and guidance and to several retired Walsall Solicitors and Clerks to whom I have spoken over the past few years and who have each, in some way, contributed to my thoughts. Apart from letters found on old files I have drawn extensively on material published in the newspapers circulating in the Walsall area since about 1890. In particular I acknowledge the contributions I have been able to add to this book from the articles, press cuttings and reports of court cases etc, which have appeared in The Walsall Observer, The Birmingham Post, The Birmingham Mail, The Express and Star, The Rugeley Mercury, The Evening Mail and several more. My thanks are extended to my wife, Sylvia, for tolerating the time spent on research and writing this book and allowing me to leave old dusty paperwork lying around, often for several days at a time. For technical assistance with the computer and for general support I owe many thanks to my son David and also to Keith Goldsworthy for his support with the computer when David has not been available. Another one I really must thank is my sister Jane who spent many hours in ascertaining dates, proof reading and adding to and amending my initial drafts. Lastly I would like to thank those who have provided me with old photographs some of which I have been able to use in this book.

John Evans. ―Yew Tree House‖ Lysways Lane, Longdon Green, Nr Rugeley, Staffordshire. WS15 4PZ. May 2006 E-mail: john.evans.1@btinternet.com

7


ENOCH

EVANS

―The lawyer is dead; long live the law. But in a sense the lawyer does not die. Clients will come flocking into his office as of old, feeling somehow that his friendly spirit is still there. His room may be taken by another, but his mantle will have been taken too. The partner will bear the same impressed stamp of his personality. The advice given will be the advice that he would have given.‖ REGINALD L. HINE Confessions of an Un-common Attorney (1945)

8


ENOCH

EVANS

INTRODUCTION Everyone contributes something to life, but few try to place on record what has been achieved or contributed. Enoch was a well-respected citizen of Walsall, who contributed a great deal not only to the legal profession within the town of Walsall but also to its civic life. Two of his sons, Jack and Norman, joined him in the firm of Enoch Evans and they were joined by myself a third generation. My son David joined The Firm in 1985 and became a Partner in 1988 - the fourth generation. As the third generation of the family practising law within Walsall, I thought I would try to place on record some of the events which have happened since the birth of Enoch in1859, and in particular since 1884 when Enoch first started the practice which continues today in his name. To appreciate the position of Enoch and The Firm in the town, I think it is important also to know something about the town of Walsall, its history, and development over the centuries, since it was first a small hamlet. There are many separate books written on the history of Walsall, and I make no attempt to cover the many events which have occurred over the centuries, but just to touch on a few of the items which have caught my attention. Who wants to know, and who wants to read about whatever I can remember and find out about Enoch? Probably no one other than possibly a few of my more elderly cousins and maybe a few of the older current and retired staff members. But, now that I am retired from The Firm, and whilst I can still remember a little about what I have learned over the years, and been told by my late father and uncle, I thought that it would be appropriate to try to set down a few facts and to recount one or two of the more memorable happenings. People will, I hope, realise that the legal profession has made some progress over the last 100 years! If anyone, who does read this book, thinks that there is some resemblance to something they or their family were involved in, and it causes concern, I apologise. Much of what does occur within a solicitor‘s office is confidential and cannot be referred to and therefore, regrettably, a great deal of my memorable experiences with clients cannot be committed to paper for anyone to read! If someone thinks some event with which they were concerned should have been mentioned please do bear this in mind. In recounting some of the events, I am merely trying to indicate the wide nature of the work undertaken by a legal practice. Finally, I am not aware of any other third generation member of a firm of solicitors, who has attempted to write about the founder of the firm and on the development of their firm over a period of more than one hundred years. Records get thrown away, and lost, but, I hope you will find my writings of some interest. The firm, started by Enoch, continues to grow and prosper and helps many clients each year, and I hope that the firm will continue for many years in helping the people and businesses of Walsall.

9


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 1 1859 LIFE IN WALSALL WALSALL HISTORY THE NAME

1859 LIFE IN WALSALL What was life like in Walsall on the 25 th July 1859 at the time of Enoch‘s birth? I do not know! I was not born! Life did exist in those days and that generation saw many changes just as I have seen changes, as have you, the reader, since your birth. From my readings of various books on the history of Walsall, I understand that Walsall had in 1821 a population of about 11,900, and that that population more than doubled to about 26,750 by the year 1851, just a few years before Enoch was born. The population has continued to rise ever since and by 1901 the population had grown to about 84,400. Living conditions in 1859 were, by to-day‘s standards, deplorable. Walsall at that time was reported to have no efficient system of drainage, except in the principal streets, and there the drains were often in need of repair. Most streams were full of stagnant filth and quite unable to carry off the dirt brought down by the sewers. There was, of course, no electricity supply. Lighting was, where it existed, by gas, heating by coal and of course transport was not as we know it today. The car had not been invented. I understand that it was not until 1905 that the first car arrived in and was registered in Walsall. I do not know what the toilet arrangements were, but understand in the main a toilet consisted of a hole in the ground and that in some instances, there was only one convenience for the use of ten or twelve families. A large number of pigs were kept by the residents of Walsall in pigsties immediately adjoining the private residences. The problems arising from the keeping of pigs, in oftenfilthy conditions, and the accumulation of pigwash in close proximity to the dwellings, were considerable! Many of the streets and alleyways were narrow and unpaved and often two horse drawn carts would have difficulty in passing each other in the same street. The town had no general hospital in 1859. One of the papers of the time described some of the houses in Walsall in 1859 as ―stores of filth, hot beds of disease, ready to receive and propagate any kind of epidemic that may be wafted to the town‖. There was no proper ventilation system for the drains and of course no building regulations, as we know them today.

10


ENOCH

EVANS

Whereabouts in Walsall was Enoch born? His birth certificate states Stafford Street, probably at the end nearest to the town. Some records do indicate that he was born in Caldmore. I do not know and neither do I know what his new home conditions were. He was the fourth in a family of eight children. He, and his five brothers and two sisters, with the exception of one sister who died when she was about 38 of T.B., were well, able and healthy people. Do bear in mind that there were some better areas of Walsall. Lichfield Street was described as a street of, ―remarkable beauty‖ and some of the properties still stand to day. The town was a manufacturing town and has, since 1859, continued to grow and develop. As the town grew so did the diversification of leisure opportunities. The public house and beer house were regarded as the main recreational centres at the time of Enoch‘s birth. In 1859 Walsall had about 170 public houses and 120 beer houses amounting to about one for every 125 people. By 1900 there were, I gather, some 176 public houses and some 178 beer houses amounting to one for every 238 people! As for transport most of the canals we see to day and a number of further canals had been constructed well before 1859. Horses were used to pull the narrow boats. One of the last canals to be constructed, just before Enoch‘s birth, was the Wyrley and Essington canal. This was used, in the main, at the time of Enoch‘s birth, for the transport to Walsall of coal. The motorcar, as I have already mentioned had not been invented, and it was only about ten years before his birth that the railway system had been completed. This helped the economy of Walsall industry. Walsall was connected by road, rail and canal to other local towns and on to the ports of England. In 1859 various metal trade businesses were carried on in Walsall. In particular the town was known throughout the world for the manufacture of buckles and saddlers‘ ironmongery. At the time of Enoch‘s birth I understand there were more than 250 firms making saddlers‘ ironmongery. Following on from this industry had grown up the saddlery trade. The tanning and currying trades and the manufacture of leather, saddlery and ironmongery expanded in Walsall during the first forty years of Enoch‘s life. Enough about life in Walsall in 1859.

WALSALL HISTORY Why a few pages on the history of Walsall? Well, I thought it relevant to say a little about old Walsall, so that one can appreciate, hopefully, what has happened since Enoch was born in 1859 and since he started in practice in 1884. Walsall is, and always has been, proud to be an individual town standing on its own. It is not part of Birmingham or part of Wolverhampton and is not part of the Black Country. Just about 25% of the land in the borough, I am told, is used for agriculture. If you go to the top of Barr Beacon, as I did one June day in 2002, and look out in any direction you really cannot see anything of any industrial area and can see very little in the way of housing.

11


ENOCH

EVANS

Walsall has a large number of parks and open spaces in addition to the agricultural usage of a great deal of the land. Going back, I gather that there was no mention of Walsall in the Doomsday Book of 1086 but a settlement existed in Anglo Saxon times and is probably older. As for the name, I have set out its origins and details of its spellings over the years. It is thought that the first part of the name owes its origins to a Welshman, and that the second part means a house, hall or resting place. Around the area are several old towns with the same end to the name. Rushall, Willenhall, Blakenall, Pelsall, Tixall and Tettenhall for example. The town‘s market was established in 1219 by Royal Charter and this document, I am told, is the oldest document preserved by the borough. It is in Latin and so cannot be read by many! Because of this document, and because the town was incorporated as a Borough in 1627, we of Walsall can boast that the town is far more ancient than Birmingham or Wolverhampton, which were not created Boroughs until 1838 and 1848 respectively. By the seventeenth century there was a flourishing industry in Walsall. Its growth continued through the eighteenth century and by the nineteenth century the leather trade was predominant. The town was known as ―The Town of One hundred Trades‖. Now the Metropolitan Borough, after Local Government Re-Organisation in 1974, consists of the Districts of Walsall, Aldridge, Brownhills, Bloxwich, Darlaston and Willenhall. The total population is over 270,000. When Enoch first started in practice the population of Walsall itself, had increased to about 60,000, of whom two thirds were in the hamlets of Birchills, Walsall Wood, Shelfield, Goscote and Caldmore. Walsall is in the middle of England and is now well served by the motorway system. In 1884 Walsall was well served by the roadway system, the rail system and in particular by the canal system. Sadly, in my opinion, Walsall missed out on the railway system, now centred on Birmingham. I understand that in Enoch‘s day the Borough planners were concerned to look after the leather trade of the town and the manufacture of buckles, bits, spurs, stirrups and harness, horses still then being the main means of transport and travel and refused to allow the railway companies to set up Walsall as the centre for the rail system. A lack of foresight by our forefathers but do bear in mind that when Enoch was a boy transport by horse was the main means of transport and that trains had only been running a few years. Electricity and the car were unknown. As for Walsall itself and the Town Hall, records show that the original municipal buildings were situated on the corner of Goodall Street and High Street. These buildings were replaced by the Guildhall and Police Headquarters and Gaol in 1857, just two years before Enoch was born. After forty years the building became inadequate in coping with the increase of the administrative tasks which had to be undertaken as the Borough grew and so in May 1902 H.R.H. Prince Christian of Schleswig laid the foundation stone of the present Town Hall and Council Chambers. These, standing between Lichfield Street, Leicester Street and Tower Street were opened in 1905. The cost of construction, £101,000. By 1974 with the enlarged Borough, a more modern larger Civic Centre was necessary and the new centre was built to the rear of the old Town Hall to complement the Council House.

12


ENOCH

EVANS

As for the Guildhall, it continued to serve as the Walsall courthouse until replaced by a new purpose built courthouse in 1982. Incidentally, my partner John Platt was the last advocate to speak in the Guildhall and the first to speak in the new courthouse. The Guildhall still stands to-day and in 1987 alterations and renovations from the empty building it had been since 1982 were completed, converting it into the present shopping area. Externally it still looks as it did in 1857. Besides Enoch, what other famous people have lived in Walsall? Possibly the most famous was Jerome K. Jerome. He was born on the 2 nd May in the same year as Enoch. The family moved to London however in 1861. Funnily enough before he became a writer and in his younger days he was a clerk in a solicitors office! He would not have known Enoch as after his family left Walsall, I understand, he only returned on a couple of occasions, once to research his family history and on the second occasion to receive the Freedom of the Borough.

JEROME K. JEROME

Jerome K. Jerome, world famous author of ‗Three Men in a Boat‘ was born in Walsall in 1859. His family moved away when he was only two and he rarely visited the town. He did however return in 1927 to receive The Freedom of the Borough and to unveil a plaque at his birthplace and is seen here in this picture with his wife, listening to a speech by the Mayor, Joseph Leckie.

13


ENOCH

EVANS

The other famous person was, of course, Sister Dora. She came to Walsall in early January 1865, nearly six years after Enoch was born. When she arrived in Walsall the only hospital in the town was the new cottage hospital, which had four beds. It was a house at 4 Bridge Street and before this hospital was opened anyone with a bad injury was taken on a cart drawn by a horse to Birmingham Hospital some nine miles away. At that time there were many saddlery injuries in the 200 plus saddlery workshops and in the area there were some 39 collieries, many clay pits and a number of blast furnaces. The cottage hospital was over crowded! Whenever an accident occurred Sister Dora was there to help. Enoch as a boy knew well of her activities in the town. When he was thirteen more than twenty men were trapped in a Pelsall colliery after floodwater poured in to the pit. In 1875 sixteen men were seriously burned when a blast furnace exploded. Eight died in the two weeks following the blast and it was sister Dora who nursed them. In addition she was able to check the spread of smallpox as the people of Walsall trusted her and would take the precautions she suggested. She died six years before Enoch opened his office. Walsall has a great history. Much has been written about old Walsall and if you are interested in the few comments I have passed I do recommend that you read some of the other most interesting and fascinating books that have been written. I have only touched on the history to indicate what a short time Enoch spent in the life of the old town and in the hope that you will feel proud of your association with the Town. Finally to give some idea of the development of Walsall and before going into the history of the family and the past one hundred and sixteen years I cannot resist writing a few lines about the name.

14


ENOCH

EVANS

SISTER DORA

Sister Dora was born Dorothy Wyndlow Pattison in Yorkshire in 1832. She is by far the most respected figure in Walsall‘s history. Her pioneering work in the field of nursing and the energy with which she developed the little Walsall Cottage Hospital are legendary. She died in December 1878.

15


ENOCH

EVANS

WALSALL (The Name) How did the name originate? See my suggestion at the end of this chapter! By some authorities the syllable Wal has been derived from a weald, a wood or forest. The latter part of the name ‗hal‘ corresponds, as I have already mentioned, with a hall or house or residence of some importance. It is known that forests existed in the Midlands centuries ago. Was the name derived from ―The House in the Wood‖? All the old towns mentioned earlier on in this chapter finishing with the letters ―all‖ once had ancient homes or ancient homesteads. But, the name has been spelt in many ways over the years and how it came by the name of Walsall is not known. Research suggests that the name has been spelt in so many ways mainly due to the mistakes of the Norman (no relationship to my father) scribes. It appears that the following have all been used 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21 22. 23.

Walesho Walveshull Walesala Wallshala Walisham, Walishala Walesale, Walessall, Walesalle Wellyall, Wellehall Waleshill, Walleshill Walesall Walsale Walsahall Waleshale Waleshall, Walleshalle Walsholma Walshale Walsshale Walssale Walleshale Walshal Walshall Wallsale Walshalle, Walsalle Walsall

Anno 1004 25 Henry 1. (1125) 5 Henry 11. (1159) 15 Henry 11. (1168) 21 Henry 11. (1174) John. (1199-1216) John. (1199-1216) 16 Henry 111. (1231-2) 12 Ed. 1. (1283-4) Ed. 1. (1272-1307) 4 Ed. 1. (1275-6) 7 Ed. 1. (1278-9) 2 Ed 11. (1308-9) 6 Ed. 11. (1312-3) 13 Ed. 111. (1339-40) 26 Ed. 111. (1352-3) 31 Ed. 111. (1357-8) 16 Henry V1. (1437-8) 29 Henry V1. (1451) 36 Henry V1. (1457-8) 8 Ed. 1V. (1468-9) 17 Ed. 1V. (1477-8) Rich. 111. (1484-5)

Since the name took the above shape the following forms have appeared and no doubt many more. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28 29. 30.

Wallsall, Wallsalle Walshehall Walsaill Waulleshal, Walleshaul Walson Wosall Wallshall

1487-8 1485 1527-8 1545 1609 1643 1667 16


ENOCH 31. 32. 33.

Wallsal Walesale Walleshall, Walleshull.

EVANS

1776 . .

There are I understand many further variations on the name that appear in documents of Public Record and other old documents, such as: Walsal, Wallehalle, Walsahalle, Wulshall, Walesall, Uleshall, Wadsall, Waleshal, Washale, Wassall, Wallashall and others!

BUT, how did Walsall really come by its name? The tale I was told many years ago about how the town came by its name, however, is as follows: In about the fourteenth century, a landed gentleman sent his manservant, on horseback, to ride from somewhere down in the South of England to the North, and his instructions were that his manservant was to make a note of the names of each and every hamlet, village or place of occupation through which he passed. In the early evening he came to a place with a small river running by and a few homes and there saw a local farmer leading his mare, by the name of ‗Sally‘ down to the stream for a drink of water after a day‘s ploughing in the fields. As he rode past the farmer the manservant called across and shouted: ―My man, what is the name of this small hamlet” The farmer, to stop the rustling of his feet and the tramp of his mare‘s shoes on the gravel and to hear what the manservant had shouted, decided that he needed to bring his mare to a standstill, and, pulling on her bridle, shouted up to her: ― Woo Sal‖. At that, the manservant rode on, he having got, he thought, the name of the hamlet, and that was the name that appeared in the gentleman‘s record book of towns, hamlets etc that he had to pass through on a trip up North!

17


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 2 FAMILY BACK GROUND THE WILL OF ENOCH‟S FATHER

FAMILY BACK GROUND Where did Enoch‘s father come from, and why to Walsall? Why the family originally came to Walsall cannot be answered, but, the family tree has been traced by my father Norman and the relevant parts are set out in Appendix 1. Walsall was the heart of the leather and horse trade in the 1800‘s making saddles, bridles etc. for the horse. The train overtook the horse and later the car overtook both. Enoch's grandfather, Thomas Evans, was baptised on the 24 th February 1799 at St Michael's, Ashton-under-Lyne, just east of Manchester. He married Mary Ann Holden on the 6 th June 1824 at Manchester Cathedral and they lived at Bollington, Cheshire, where he was a corn dealer and a man of substance. He died at Bollington on 26 th July 1868. He and Mary were the parents to three boys and six girls. Large families were the norm in the past before methods of contraception became available. The eldest son of Thomas was John Evans, born on the 4th November 1824. Like his father, he was a corn dealer in his early days. When he was 26 he married Ellen Harrison on the 30th May 1850 at Rostherne Church, three miles south of Altrincham. Ellen was living at the date of her marriage at Moss House Farm, Millington, which continued to be the Harrison family home until at least 1914. In 1851 the young couple were still in Cheshire, in Dunham Massey, but soon after, John decided to seek work in the industrial Midlands, where there were better prospects. Whilst he was journeying south in 1851, probably on foot, he was robbed and lost all his money. For his first week in the Midlands, before he received his pay packet, he lived on a penny loaf (old currency). He soon found work and Ellen joined him, but he never told any of his family what had happened until he was established. On the 20th March 1853, when the first child Wesley arrived, they were living in Villa Street in Aston, a suburb of Birmingham, and John's occupation is described as a merchant's clerk. By the time the third baby was born in mid 1857, the family had arrived in Walsall in Littleton Street, the first of four addresses before they really settled. John was now a wholesale stationer, the same description being given on the 1861 census when they were living in Sandwell Street. This is curious because, on Enoch's birth certificate of July 1859, when they were living in Stafford Street, John gave his occupation as ironmonger, and ironmonger it is for James' birth in 1861. However, when Mary Jane arrived early in 1863 he describes himself as a spurs manufacturer, still living in Sandwell Street.

18


ENOCH

EVANS

At last John was poised to set up in business on his own in his chosen field. When Benjamin was born, at the end of 1866, the family was living in Lichfield Street, and John was described as spurs manufacturer. He was still there in Kelly's Directory of 1870, but by April 1871, he had established himself at 5 Whittimere Street where he was to remain for the rest of his life. On the census return he is described as a bit manufacturer employing 24 men, 10 boys and 1 woman. Wesley John, the eldest son at 18, is a clerk in a warehouse and Thomas Harrison, at 16, a clerk to a solicitor. Enoch, aged 12, is still at school. The family had one 15 year old servant. By the time of the 1881 census John Evans is described as a manufacturer of South American horses' furniture, employing 60 men, and 20 boys. His son Frank is with him in the business, and James (19) is an electro silver plater, presumably in the business. Thomas Harrison and Enoch are both solicitor's managing articled clerks. Mary Jane, 18, is described as a Professor of Music. Wesley is the only child not living at home, having probably moved to Market Harborough. John Evans died quite young at 58 from bronchitis, on 17 th November 1882. His two sons, Frank and James, carried on the business which had traded as John Evans & Sons probably since before his death. In the 1891 census Wesley, as a Wesleyan minister, has returned home to live with his widowed mother, his two sisters, Mary and Emily, and Benjamin, who, at 24, is a bridle cutter. Frank was living next door in Whittimere Street with his wife Louisa. By 1901, only Wesley and Benjamin are living at home with elderly Ellen. Benjamin, at 34, is described as a bit manufacturer's clerk. Precisely when the business of John Evans & Sons took on the name of River Plate Works is not clear but it certainly bears this name on the 1885 first edition Ordnance Survey map. The entry in Kelly's Directory for 1900 reads: "John Evans & Sons, manufacturer of bits, spurs, stirrups & lasso rings, River Plate Works, Whittimere St". Why was it called "River Plate Works"? I am told it was given that name because of the great trading connection with Argentina and the River Plate area for the supply of horse ironmongery such as bits, stirrups, spurs and lasso rings. Walsall loriners had built up a tradition of supplying the Argentine market since the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815. The foundry, which was situated on the north side of the street nearly opposite the old Drill Hall of the former Territorial Army, closed in about 1928, trade declining with the rise of the motor car. Thereafter, the premises were altered, extended and used for various businesses, latterly for the manufacture of ladies' and children's clothes. In 1988 all of the old buildings on the north side of Whittimere Street were demolished and a Morrison‘s supermarket built in their place. So much for Enoch's father but what about his mother? Norman, my father and a second-generation partner in the firm, recalled that he and his sister Edith Mary known as Mollie, used to visit their grandmother together. The one thing that stuck in their memories is that Ellen used to smoke a clay pipe. Norman also recalled visiting his grandmother just before she died in October 1908 and that he and sister Mollie aged 6 and 4 respectively were made to sing verses of hymns to her as she lay there.

19


ENOCH

EVANS

John and Ellen produced eight children: 1. Wesley John born on the 20th March 1853 in Villa Street, Aston Manor, Erdington, Birmingham. He never married and became a Methodist Minister and he died on the 1st June 1927. 2. Thomas Harrison born on the 22nd March 1855, married but had no children. He was a solicitor and for many years was solicitor to the Walsall Mutual Benefit Building Society. That Society later changed its name to Walsall Mutual Building Society and eventually amalgamated with the Rugby and Warwick Building Society and they together formed the Heart of England Building Society. That Society was taken over by the Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society, now merely known as the Cheltenham & Gloucester following the Society being taken over by a bank. He died in 1926. 3. Frank born on the 17th June 1857 at Littleton Street, Walsall married Louisa (known as Lillie). Frank died on the 15 th October 1927 without issue. Frank assisted his brother James who ran the family business in Whittimere Street until it ceased trading. 4. Enoch born on the 25th July 1859 in Stafford Street, Walsall. He married Edith Dorothy Dawe of Menwenicke, near Launceston, Cornwall on the 27th March 1890. He had six th children. He died on the 14 March 1937. It is he on whom I shall dwell in more detail later. 5. James born on the 12th April 1861 in Sandwell Street, Walsall. He married Alice Amelia Holloway on the 30th July 1887. They had four children and it was James who became head of J. Evans & Sons, the family business, until it ceased trading in about 1928. The business was running at a profit but the car trade had taken the place of the horse and turnover was dropping. James died on the 24 th September 1942. 6. Mary Jane born on the 7th February 1863 in Sandwell Street, never married and died of T.B. Her date of death is not known but she was still alive in 1901 7. Emily born on the 5th May 1865, married Harry Hateley a manufacturer of leather goods in Walsall. They had two children. Emily died on the 25 th December 1938. 8. Benjamin born on the 25th December 1866 in Lichfield Street, Walsall. He never married and died on the 27th March 1949. He was a good cricketer and wrote a book on The History of Walsall Cricket Club 1833 - 1909. Benjamin did various things for a living, including helping in the family business. On one occasion he sailed to Australia with a view to making his fortune. On the trip out he became homesick and on arrival decided, very quickly, that he did not like the country or the people and so sailed back to England on the same boat as he had travelled out on!

20


ENOCH

EVANS

What about Enoch's children? Of the six, two became solicitors. For the purpose of the record: 1. John Dawe born on the 1st May 1891. He joined Enoch in the firm and more about his activities in due course. His first marriage was on the 20th October 1915 to Muriel Alice Mary Jowett. They had one daughter Muriel Joan born on the 14th September 1916 who died on the 17th November 1932 when the party dress she was trying on at school to show her friends caught fire. His first wife had died on the 20th December 1919. ― Jack,‖ as he was known, married his second wife Marjorie Hinksman known as Peggy on the 8 th May 1928 and they had two daughters. Jack died on the 20 th June 1975. 2. Dorothy born on the 8th December 1892 married Robert Lambert on the 17th October 1925 had two daughters. She died on the 6 th April 1977. 3. Winifred born on the 26th April 1894 died on the 20th June 1956. She had two children, a son and a daughter having married Edgar Wassell on the 11th July 1922. 4. Enoch Vernon born on the 9th September 1896. Known as Vernon, he married Ethel st Cottrell on the 1 June 1922. They had 2 daughters and twins, a boy and a girl. His first wife died in December 1938 and he married his second wife Blanche Parsons. They had no children. He died on the 11 th July 1984. 5. Norman Harrison born on the 29th September 1902 joined Enoch in The Firm. He married Katharine Mary Husbands (known as Bunty) on the 18 th February 1933. They had two sons and a daughter. Norman died on the 4 th February 2000. 6. Edith Mary (known as Mollie) born on the 28th April 1924. She married Stanley Ashton on the 8th September 1928, had two sons and died on the 13 th November 1994. Moving to the third and fourth generations in the firm, Norman John (myself) was born on the 21st March 1935 and David John (my son) on the 30 th April 1960.

THE WILL OF JOHN EVANS, THE FATHER OF ENOCH EVANS I have set out the will of the late John Evans, who died shortly after the making thereof, for two reasons. Firstly, his son, Enoch, was then practising as a solicitor in Walsall but is not mentioned specifically by name, although most of his other sons and daughters are mentioned by name, and I do wonder therefore whether my namesake and great grandfather, had fallen out or had had some specific reason for not appointing Enoch as Executor and Trustee, and if anyone reading this chapter knows of any reason why Enoch was not specifically mentioned and would like to let me know I would be most interested to hear from them. He did receive a share of the residue. Secondly I have set out the will in full because it really is a most concise and accurate document and I do think that modern day draftsmen have much to learn from the old school.

21


ENOCH

EVANS

As a matter of interest to all, from the note on the will, it does appear that it was proved in the Lichfield District Probate Registry (there being now no Lichfield District Probate Registry), and it does appear that the Estate was sworn at ÂŁ4,040.12s.11d i.e. my great grandfather must have been, in those days, regarded as a very wealthy man.

Will of John Evans: THIS IS THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT of me JOHN EVANS of Walsall in the County of Stafford Manufacturer I APPOINT my Son WESLEY JOHN EVANS (hereinafter called my Trustee) to be the Sole Trustee and Executor of this my Will; I APPOINT my Wife ELLEN to be Guardian of my infant Children; I GIVE all my plate linen china glass books pictures furniture and other household effects to my dear Wife absolutely; I DEVISE unto my said Wife the sum of Thirty pounds to be paid to her immediately after my decease; I GIVE AND DEVISE all my real and personal estate not hereby otherwise disposed of unto my Trustee his heirs executors administrators and assigns UPON TRUST to pay out of the interest and profits thereof but not out of the capital the sum of Three pounds per week to my said Wife during her life if she shall so long continue my Widow she maintaining my infant Children until they attain the age of Twenty one years or marry under that age and also maintaining my Daughters as long as they remain unmarried and desire to reside with her but if she shall remarry then to pay her the sum of One pound and Ten shillings only per week and to pay Two pounds per week between my Daughters Mary Jane and Emily and my Son Benjamin until my said Son Benjamin attains the age of Twenty one years then to pay the said Two pounds per week to my said Daughters share and share alike PROVIDED NEVERTHELESS that on the marriage of either or both of my Daughters the said weekly payment to her or them shall cease and her or their part or share of the said weekly sum of Two pounds shall go to and form part of the residue; I GIVE unto my Sons Frank and James my business and the goodwill thereof on their taking to my stock in trade patterns and plant at a valuation to be made by my Trustee I DIRECT my Trustee to let to my said Sons Frank and James my house and premises called River Plate Works at the annual rent of Ninety pounds they keeping the same in proper repair I empower my Trustee to allow my said two Sons Frank and James to retain the amount or any part thereof which shall be found to be due to my Estate on the said valuation being made on their paying interest thereon at the rate of Five pounds per centum per annum; I empower my Trustee to lay out in such way as my Wife shall think fit the sum of One hundred pounds for the advancement in life and benefit of my Son Benjamin and if the said sum of One hundred pounds be not so laid out before his attaining the age of Twenty one years then I BEQUEATH unto my Son Benjamin the sum of One hundred pounds to be paid to him on his attaining that age; I DIRECT my Trustee to pay unto each of my Daughters the annual sum of Five pounds until the division of my Estate between my Children and I BEQUEATH the said annual sums of Five pounds to them accordingly; I DIRECT my Trustee as soon as possible after my decease to pay off any charge or encumbrance affecting my said house and premises called River Plate Works and also to pay off the whole or part of any charge on it or encumbrance affecting any other of my property at such 22


ENOCH

EVANS

time or times as he shall deem expedient but should any mortgage money be called in then I empower my Trustee to raise the same by mortgaging any property or any part thereof; I DIRECT my Trustee after the death of my Wife to sell my real and personal estate either by public auction or private contract and at such price or prices as he shall think fit he giving my said Sons Frank and James the first refuse of purchasing my said house and premises called River Plate Works and to divide the proceeds arising there from and all the rest and residue of my Estate between all my Children share and share alike except that my said two Daughters shall receive One hundred pounds each more than my other Children; I DECLARE that any money coming to any woman under this my Will shall be for her sole and separate use and benefit from the debts control or engagements of any Husband; I DEVISE all estates vested in me as a trustee or mortagee until my Trustee his heir‘s executors and administrators subject to the trusts and equities affecting the same respectively; IN WITNESS whereof I have to this my Will set my hand this Ninth day of November One thousand Eight hundred and Eighty two: SIGNED and acknowledged by the said JOHN EVANS (the Testator) as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses, the words ―the other‖ in the twentieth line of the first page and ―seventeenth‖ in the last page of this my Will having been first struck out and also the word ―Evans‖ at the foot of the Will having also been previously struck out:

Signed John Evans

Attkins 3, Park Street, Walsall. Grocer.

..Cooper Whittemere Street, Walsall. What have the legal profession learnt about Will making over the past 120 years, I ask myself?

23


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 3 1884 ENOCH STARTS THE FIRM Enoch was born on the 25 th July 1859. I have in the first two chapters tried to give some indication as to the family, as it then was, and the Walsall as it was at the time of his birth. Why he decided to enter the law I do not know. The Law Society Records Department have been unable to help. They have no record as to whom he was articled or where. It does appear from family notes, however that he served his articles in Wolverhampton. In those days he would either live in lodgings in Wolverhampton or have to travel by train or horse daily to and from Wolverhampton. I believe he was articled to a Robert R Rhodes who was according to the records a solicitor in Wolverhampton. My cousin Pamela, Jack‘s eldest surviving daughter, has a pocket watch with inscribed within it, ―Presented to Enoch Evans by Robert R Rhodes on termination of Articles Xmas 1883‖ The Law Society has confirmed that he practised as a solicitor from 1884. The first copies of the letters he wrote indicate that he started in practice on the 12th February 1884. In Walsall in 1884 there were thirty-five practising solicitors, according to the law list. In those days the law list indicates that most had a second office at Bloxwich, Aldridge, Wednesbury, Cannock, Wolverhampton or Birmingham. Ten years later the number had risen to thirty-six but by 1965 there were over eighty. From the records I have been able to trace I believe that Enoch‘s first offices were at No 6 Bridge Street, Walsall. The legal practice started by Enoch (hereinafter referred to as ―The Firm‖), has always carried on business within Walsall, only, and has never had any branch office. I personally always held to the view that one could not be in two places at once and used to find that those with two offices could never be traced. They had always just left one and on trying the other they were not there. Maybe they did not want to speak to me! One office run efficiently within Walsall, with solicitors and managing clerks available to meet, whenever possible, with clients and deal with their problems quickly and efficiently has always been one of the objects of the Partners within The Firm. I have not been able to trace any old photos showing No 6 but understand that it was situated where Tudor House now stands in Bridge Street. No 4 next door was used for Walsall‘s first cottage hospital from October 1863 until mid 1868, and was where Sister Dora started her work. So far as I can gather The Firm soon moved from No 6 across the road to offices at Oriel Chambers. Those offices still remain to-day the name ―Oriel Chambers‖ being inscribed in the fan light of No 11 Bridge Street. From Oriel Chambers the practice by 1892 transferred to ―Bank Buildings‖, No 20 Bridge Street, which would be just on the

24


ENOCH

EVANS

Bridge side of the offices of Hadens and where now (2006) stands the West Bromwich Building Society. Without doubt, in 1884, No 6 Bridge Street had no electric heat or light. There was no telephone system in the town and of course no intercom or phone from one office to another. Heating would have been by coal fire and light would I presume be from gas, oil or candle. No computers, word processors or even typewriters. Every letter and deed was hand written. I have Enoch‘s first two letter books with copies of his early letters. Letters would be written out and then placed in a hand press and a wet copy made for the letter book. That copy then had to dry. No carbon copy paper was available in those days. It had not been invented in 1884 and of course no photocopiers. I have arranged for one or two of the earlier letters to be reproduced in this book. I really cannot find anything of great interest in the earliest two books of letters written by Enoch to and on behalf of clients. I would merely say that he was concise and brief in what he said and it was clear as to what was meant. To-day similar letters written would, I fear, extend to a full page or so! The first will traced bears date 12 th January 1886. Please see copy in this book. It was very concise and brief and would not be accepted today as it failed to deal with any residue or anything else that Maria Arnold might have owned at the date of her death. I.e. it only dealt with Maria Arnold‘s Post Office Savings Bank account and the one Policy specifically mentioned and numbered. What happened when Maria Arnold died and when she died I have no idea. The other interesting thing I noted about the will is the second witness; Edwin Irwin Miller qualified as a solicitor and set up his own practice in the town. That practice was continuing when I qualified. It later became Slater Miller & Co. There have been no third, let alone, fourth generations in any other Walsall practice. The firm started by Enoch in 1884 still continues with a member of the fourth generation a Partner therein.

25


ENOCH

26

EVANS


ENOCH

.

27

EVANS


ENOCH

28

EVANS


ENOCH

EVANS

COPY OF ONE OF ENOCH‟S EARLY LETTERS

29


ENOCH

EVANS

DUNDRENNAN HOUSE Where Enoch lived 1888 to 1937

Dundrennan House was situated on the Wednesbury Road, Walsall at the junction with Corporation Street. The above photograph was taken in about 1880 before Enoch‘s purchase. My father, Norman, told me that this was before the coach house and stabling were added. He also asked me to look at the hay, or straw rick, in the distance beyond the house. No fields there to day. He also told me that after the above photograph was taken the iron railings shown were replaced by more ornamental iron railings, by Mr William Kirkpatrick who built the house and from whom Enoch purchased in January 1888. My father told me that he, Mr Kirkpatrick, was in that trade. William Kirkpatrick named the house after a village and abbey of that name in his native Dumfries and Galloway. He died on the 4 th December 1887, at which time he was Mayor of Walsall, and Enoch purchased the property from his Executors, and lived there until his death on the 14th March 1937. After Enoch‘s death the house was sold and used as a nurses‘ home for the staff at the Walsall General Hospital. Later it was converted into flats and used by Doctors at the hospital. It was subsequently sold and demolished and today three detached dwellings stand on the site of the old house. As at the 4 th March 1986 Norman told me that there were even then no buildings erected on the old tennis court to the right of the house or on a large portion of the garden ground to the rear of the house.

30


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 4 PART 1 1896 ENOCH CHARGED WITH, AND FOUND GUILTY OF, ASSAULT ON A POLICE CONSTABLE With hindsight, probably one of Enoch’s most worrying moments, as a solicitor, was when he was charged with assaulting a Police Constable. The alleged assault took place on the 17 th November 1896. In those days anything involving a prominent professional man caught the eye of the press in a big way. The press made much of the event for many months and if you want to learn more then look at the papers and press, particularly in the winter of 1896, until the matter eventually died down in December of 1898. You will be pleased to know that I am not going to set out all the press reports, letters etc but those that made the most interesting and amusing reading are here set out for posterity! I have not, in some instances, been able to set out the exact date of the newspaper report as not all the cuttings preserved in Enoch’s Newspaper Cuttings Book state the newspaper from which the cutting was taken or the date thereof.

SOLICITOR SUMMONED FOR ASSAULTING A POLICE CONSTABLE Extract from Newspaper appearing on 21 st November 1896 At the Walsall Petty Sessions on the 20 th November 1896 it was reported that Mr. Enoch Evans, Solicitor, Walsall, was charged with assaulting P.C. Reddick (45) on the 17 th November 1896, with a poker. The Town Clerk, (Mr J. R. Cooper) appeared to prosecute, and Mr. R.E.C. Plumptre of Wolverhampton, personally instructed by Enoch, defended. The Town Clerk, in opening said that Mr Evans was a well known local Solicitor, who resided at ―Dundrennan House,‖ Wednesbury Road, Walsall and that the facts of the case were as follows. He said that the Police Constable went on duty in that neighbourhood at 10 o‘clock at night on the 16th November and was working a beat which led from Wednesbury Road, along Corporation Street and Rollingmill Street, into Pleck Road, and round into Wednesbury Road again at the Pleck. At 4.55 a.m. the Constable observed a light at the back of Mr Evans‘s house, and, as was his duty, went to see the reason for the light at that time in the morning. He found two of the servants in the kitchen the door of which was open. He made a remark to them about being up very early, and they said they had not been to bed. It was a raw cold morning and

31


ENOCH

EVANS

the Officer made a comment to them about a cup of tea and one of them invited him in and gave him a cup of tea. He did not sit down and was not in the house for more than about seven minutes. After drinking the tea he left, and as he went out of the door someone called out of an upper window, and just then the Defendant ran through the kitchen and out into the yard, and struck him twice with a poker which he held in his hand. Mr Evans asked him for his number and told him to go and report what had happened to his Sergeant. The Officer did go and tell his Sergeant. On the following day the Chief Constable wrote to Mr Evans for an explanation. Mr Evans replied: ―As I entered one door the Officer went out of the other. I rushed after and struck him, and told him what a cur he was. His visit was, I believe planned, as neither of the maid‘s beds had been occupied and they had obviously not undressed. You will deal with your officer as you think best. I have dismissed both my maids.‖ This, the Town Clerk remarked, was a very proper letter assuming the Defendant‘s facts were correct, but he was altogether wrong in insinuating that the officer had made any arrangements to be there, or that anything improper had taken place. He could only believe that he had been aroused out of his sleep and having been haunted by some hideous dream that someone was making an attack upon the chastity of his servants ran downstairs with the poker in hand where he astounded the man and then discharged his duty by striking the man twice with the poker. The Town Clerk went on to say that the man‘s shoulder was swollen, and the poker was bent. The Town Clerk said his object in conducting the prosecution was so that the whole of the facts should be brought out, and for that purpose he should call the servant girls and other witnesses who would prove that the Officer could but have been there for a short time. The police were bound to see what was going on when they noticed anything suspicious and though the officer might have been indiscrete in going into the house and having the tea that could not, surely, require punishment by means of a poker. He went on to say that he believed that when all the facts came out the Defendant would be the first to say that he had laboured under a wrong impression. The servants had indeed not been to bed but had been in the day nursery until about 3.30 a.m. and had then gone into the kitchen, made up the fire, made some tea and then got on with some crotchet work. At about 4.50 a.m. they had heard footsteps and opened the door and saw the officer. On his suggestion they invited him in for a cup of tea. In cross-examination they denied that they had invited the officer to call and see them, or that there was anything between them whilst he was there. They stated that the officer did not sit down and remained standing in the doorway, whilst he had a cup of tea and whilst admitting that it had not been a proper thing to do denied that any impropriety had gone on. P.C. Reddick (45) was called and deposed that Sergeant Curtis met him at various times on his beat, as did Inspector Gore. He said he passed Dundrennan House at about 4.50 a.m., and was attracted by a light. He went towards the back door and it was opened as he approached, by one of the servants. He asked why they were up so early and one of them said they could not sleep. He asked if they had a cup of tea and one was poured out, and after he drank the cup of tea he said: ―I must wish you good morning,‖ and walked to the door. He said he stood up all the time he was in the house. As he left the taller girl said ―Au revoir, I‘ll see you at the Sessions‖ (laughter), and the witness said in reply: ―Oh, don‘t,

32


ENOCH

EVANS

- see me at the Assizes‖ (laughter). He then heard a bustling noise from inside the house and a female voice from an upper window shouted, ―Stand Back‖. He looked towards the window and Mr Evans then rushed out of the house and asked his number, and then struck him a blow over the right shoulder. He turned and gave his number and the defendant then told him to go and report himself to his Sergeant. On turning to do so the defendant struck him another blow and ran back into the house and locked the door. In evidence he said he had not seen the servants before that night although he had been working that beat since the previous Sunday night. Under cross-examination P.C. Reddick did say that it was not permissible when on duty to go into a house and to have refreshments. To constitute burglary the felonious entry must be made between 10.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m. He did suggest it might have been burglars. A burglar might have been and left the light on. There was no light burning in the front of the house that he had noticed and neither had he taken sufficient notice to say whether a light was burning in the front nursery window. He said he went as quietly as possible and did think it funny that the kitchen door was opened as he approached but thought one of the girls must have noticed his light. He denied that he wore an oilskin cloak or cape. Yes, he did ask the girls for a cup of tea. He said he had been in the force for three years and he did not think there was any impropriety in asking the girls for a cup of tea, which was their master‘s property. He did not suggest that he had any business to be off his beat for ten minutes. He suggested that the only temptation in committing a breach of duty was the cup of tea. He did not think it was free and easy to go at that hour of the morning and have tea in a respectable gentleman‘s house, with girls he had never seen before. He considered it was merely a kindness on the part of the girls. He did not know who made the tea but he knew it was the smaller girl who poured it out. He would swear he did not know their names. While in the house he was talking to them about the work they were doing, but he could not remember everything that was said. The girls had not got their caps on and their hair was hanging down, being tied with a piece of ribbon. The bustling noise he heard was like someone rushing through the house and seemed to be coming towards the kitchen. He did not doubt it was Mr Evans coming down stairs but he denied that he bolted in consequence, as he was already at the door and leaving. He did not know whose voice he heard at the window, or that it was the voice of Mrs Evans. He denied that the words were: ―I see you. You are seen.‖ He had not time to answer the voice before Mr Evans was on top of him. He did not hear Mr Evans say ―You infernal scoundrel.‖ He could not recall Mr Evans words or whether he said ―What‘s your number,‖ He recalled he did say: ―Report yourself to your Sergeant and I shall tell the Chief about it.‖ Under re-examination he said he did not run away from the house. Inspector Gore and Sergeant Curtis were called to prove having met P.C.Reddick at various points during the night in question. Eunice Brittain said in evidence she was the nurse at Mr Evans‘s. The cook was a Miss Alice Shingler. On the night in question they had both gone to the day nursery and had not retired to rest. They both came downstairs at about 3.20 a.m. and sat down to crochet. When the officer arrived he asked what brought them up at that time in the morning. One of them replied that they could not sleep and had not long come down stairs. He asked if they had a cup of tea, and the cook replied, ―Yes,‖ and gave him a cup of tea. They were both crocheting mats at the time and evidence was given that the officer fell in

33


ENOCH

EVANS

SERVANTS INVITE A POLICEMAN TO AN EARLY CUP OF TEA. IT RESULTS IN HIS BEING TAKEN FOR A BURGLAR.

34


ENOCH

EVANS

love with them-meaning the mats (laughter) saying they would do for him when he got married (laughter). Shingler, the maid said: ―If you are not married now you never will be‖(laughter). The Town Clerk here mentioned that Reddick was a married man and a very respectable man. The witness, proceeding, said she said ―Au revoir‖ as the officer went out, the cook loosing him out by the door, when Mr Evans came down stairs with the steel poker in his hand and followed him out. She said that when Mr Evans came back and into the house the poker was bent, and that Mr Evans had said he did not care now he had bent the poker over the policeman‘s back. Under cross-examination she denied that there had been any impropriety. They confirmed they had been dismissed the following day from Mr Evans‘ employment. Dr Wilson (police surgeon) spoke as to examining P.C. Reddick, who had two swellings on the shoulder, one appearing to have been done by the thrust of a poker. Mr Plumptre, addressing the court for the defence, said that there was a little friendly tea party downstairs, and Mr Evans, waking from his sleep and hearing a man‘s voice, thought there were rogues in the house, went downstairs with the poker to protect his own property, and, seeing one of his servants with her hair down, and a big burly man escaping from his house, he dealt him two blows with the poker. It was fortunate the policeman was not hit on a more serious part of the body, and that more trouble had not come of the affair. He did not suggest impropriety of such a grave character as to amount to actual immorality had occurred, but he did suggest that being in the kitchen at such an unseemly hour, and the officer drinking the tea, which he must have known the girls had no right to give him, was very wrong indeed, and it was they who had led Mr Evans into the situation he was now in. The Bench after retiring for a short time fined the defendant (Enoch) 5s. and costs. (5s. old currency, pre decimalisation is to-day 25p).

A Fine and to pay costs. That was not the end of the matter.

A Paper the following day read: We are quite prepared to accept the statements of Police constable Reddick in explanation of his casual entertainment to breakfast by the maid servants of Mr. Enoch Evans early on Thursday morning; but the revelations made yesterday during the hearing of the summons brought by him against Mr. Evans for assault come at a particularly unfortunate time for the credit of the Walsall police force, and will only aggravate the criticism which has lately been directed against that body. Without discussing the merits of that case - which will no doubt form the subject of a fresh enquiry by the Watch Committee - we can only say that Mr. Evans has our sympathy for the disturbance he suffered, and express our opinion that if he had held his hand after learning that the disturber of his peace was a constable the case would probably have had a different ending.

35


ENOCH

EVANS

AND another read: It used to be the ―bottle of the man I met in the street‖ that got the unsuspecting policeman into trouble; but this time it is ―the cup that cheers and not inebriates.‖ Police constable Reddick was unwise enough to go into Mr. Evans‘s house to take early tea with two maidservants about five o‘clock in the morning, and just when he was going away Mr. Evans, who had been awakened by the party, went after him with a poker, with the result that Mr. Evans was summoned yesterday for assaulting him. The Bench, we suppose, could not avoid a fine of some sort, as Mr. Evans admitted using the poker, but they made it so small as to show that it was merely in obedience to the law that it was inflicted. The verdict of the public will, again be that the law ―is an ass,‖ and that Mr. Evans deserves praise and not blame under the circumstances disclosed by the police court enquiry. In the high esteem of his fellow-townsmen, Mr. Evans will have more than compensation for the annoyance and expense he has suffered.

An extract from another column: ……He smote as Mr Benson smites in the Merry Wives of Windsor, and caused a weal and also some woe. Then the constable summoned him, and he was fined 5s. and costs. The case shows that the Walsall policeman‘s lot is not one of unmixed bliss, and to that extent is instructive. But the chief point of interest is, what were the servants doing downstairs at twenty minutes to five in the morning? They will have the Domestic Servants‘ Union down on them for working overtime.

Before the matter went to the Watch Committee the following appeared in the Editor‟s column of another newspaper, under the heading: A CUP OF TEA FOR A POLICEMAN The partiality of policemen for cooks has often been burlesqued in screaming farce and Christmas pantomime. The popular belief is that constables have a weakness for the good things of life, and that the belles of the kitchen provide them with savoury morsels from the larder. No doubt the average policeman would say that such is not the case, and that the popular belief is only a baseless legend and cruel superlative. We are frequently reminded, on the authority of that inimitable ballad-maker, Mr. W.S. Gilbert, ―a policeman‘s lot is not a happy one.‖ But there are compensations, even in the life of a policeman. He is not always moving people on in the street; nor is he forever chasing burglars in the dead of night. The slow tramping along the pavement may become a trifle monotonous; but he knows that he enjoys the goodwill of all law-abiding citizens, and sometimes he has friends who cheer him on his beat. True, he is rather desolate and lonely when on night duty; still, he manages to struggle through the silent hours, and does not rail against the stern Fate that has doomed him to be a night policeman. Indeed, we can quite believe that constables would rather be employed after dark than in the daytime if they could only be sure of obtaining similar delicate attentions to those that were recently lavished on P.C. Reddick by two ladies of the kitchen at Walsall.

36


ENOCH

EVANS

The ladies in question were Eunice Brittain and Alice Shingler, and they were in service at the residence of Mr. Enoch Evans, a solicitor, living in the Wednesbury Road. Miss Brittain, who is described as ―a comely- looking‖ young person, was the nurse; while Shingler filled the all-important position of cook. Now, on Monday night last, for some reason or other, these servants did not go to bed. They sat in the day nursery until 3.20 a.m., and then came down to the kitchen and lit the fire. They were most industrious girls; they were fond of crotchet work; so, instead of going to bed after the manner of ordinary mortals, they sat up crocheting little mats. Naturally, a vigilant police officer like P.C. Reddick, on seeing a bright light burning in the kitchen at an unusually early hour, would be attracted to it. The moth is always attracted to the candle. But in the case of P.C. Reddick his wings were not immediately singed, for there were no armed burglars furtively packing up Mr. Evans‘s silver plate prior to hurrying off. There were no formidable and dangerous persons in the kitchen; only the busy domestics, who, with a sweet smile, welcomed the gallant officer and handed him a cup of steaming tea. Then there was a little bantering gossip – one of the girls threatened to see the policeman at the sessions, whereupon he playfully retorted that he would prefer to see her at the assizes. No doubt the word ―assizes‖ has a very professional sound as coming from the mouth of a policeman. Yet Police constable Reddick should not forget that there is a Nisi Prius Court as well as the Crown Court, and that policemen who carry on flirtations with cooks incur some danger. A cook has even been known to sue a policeman for damages for breach of promise of marriage. It is evident that Police constable Reddick has a tender heart, for he fell in love with the mats, which the servants were making, and hinted that they would just do for him when he got married. It may be nice to call on servant girls ere the break of day, but such a pleasing variation in the dull, common round is not without risks and perils. At any event that is the experience of P.C. Reddick, and his interview was rudely disturbed by the unexpected appearance of Mr. Evans, who was armed with a poker, and did not hesitate to strike the intruding officer across the back. The enraged Mr. Evans also dismissed the servants and wrote a letter to the Chief Constable of Walsall complaining of the behaviour of P.C. Reddick. And we fancy that most people will agree with Mr. Evans in the course he adopted. What earthly reasons had his servants for sitting up all night, and thus depriving themselves of the sleep necessary to enable them to do their work properly the next day? Mr. Evans was under the impression that the visit of the policeman was a planned job, and that the servants had purposely remained up in order to see him. Perhaps, Mr. Evans was not justified in striking the intruder with a poker; yet we think the Magistrates might well have dismissed the case. It will become extremely difficult to preserve order and propriety in the better class homes if servant girls are to be allowed to sit up all night for the purpose of entertaining policemen who are guilty of a dereliction of duty in leaving their beat. It is to be hoped that P.C. Reddick will be suitably dealt with by the Chief Constable and the Watch Committee.

37


ENOCH

EVANS

ENOCH himself wrote to The Editor of the Walsall Observer on the 27th November: Sir, Permit me to thank you for the very kind remarks you made concerning me in your issue of last Saturday. It has been a great consolation to my family and myself to know that not only the press, but the public generally, have so unmistakably shown their sympathy with us. I was placed in a situation, which I trust none of your readers will find themselves in, especially if they consider that I had a wife and several little children under my protection. From the numerous expressions of goodwill towards me, I am glad to know that there are today in Walsall many gentlemen who would adopt the course I did if they should unfortunately be placed in the same position that I was. I think I may reasonably complain that neither the Chief Constable nor our worthy Town Clerk adopted the course, which I pointed out to the latter, before the summons was issued, of bringing the matter before the Watch Committee, so that both my wife and myself could give evidence; and I believe the people of Walsall generally will consider their conduct ―un-English‖ in issuing a summons, which practically shut the mouths not only of myself, but also of my wife, the only person who could give evidence on my behalf. If the course suggested did not meet with their approval, a civil proceeding in the County Court would have fully elucidated all the facts of the case, and all the evidence could then have been heard upon oath. Without in anywise reflecting on the magistrates, I may say I naturally regret, under all the circumstances, their decision. It is very repugnant of me to have to move further in the matter; but, as the magistrates did not think fit either to ―commend‖ or ―reprimand‖ the officer, I consider it a duty I owe not only to myself, but to my fellow townsmen, to formally call the attention of the Watch Committee to the facts so that they may judge for themselves what the conduct of the police has been in the matter, and have accordingly addressed a letter to the chairman, of which I enclose a copy. Yours Truly ENOCH EVANS

38


ENOCH

EVANS

Letter to the Chairman of the Watch Committee c/o J.R. Cooper Town Clerk. Sir, Before five o‘clock on the morning of the 17th inst P.C. Reddick (45), instead of being on his beat, was admittedly for some 10 minutes in my kitchen with my two maidservants, who had not been in bed through the previous night, drinking my tea, which my servants had no right to give him. The discovery was made in consequence of my wife being awakened at half past three o‘clock by hearing one of the children crying in the nursery. She went up to the second floor, and into the night nursery, where there are three beds, one of which should have been occupied by the nurse, but her bed had not been slept in that night. My wife returned to our room, but could not sleep for thinking where the nurse should be, as both the servants always retired before I did. At that hour there is a full night light on in the night nursery fronting the street and a smaller light burning in the day nursery, which also fronts the street. Sometime afterwards my wife again left her bed to ascertain if the nurse was sleeping with the cook, and as she was crossing the landing she heard, to her horror, a man‘s voice in the kitchen. Thoroughly alarmed now, she again came back to our room, but for some time was unable to speak in consequence of the fright. When she recovered herself somewhat she awoke me, and told me the nurse was not in bed, and that she had heard a man‘s voice in the kitchen. I at once slipped on some portion of my dress, and, picking up the bedroom poker, which was the only defensive weapon at hand, I hurried downstairs. As I opened the door leading from the hall to the kitchen I saw the door on the other side of the kitchen on the swing, and, passing quickly through, I observed in the darkness of the morning a big man hurrying down the sidewalk. My wife, who had opened the bedroom window over the kitchen, screamed at the man, ―I see you; - you are seen,‖ as I came through the door. He took no notice, his intention evidently being to get away without being identified, and hurried underneath the window out of my wife‘s sight. I was after him as fast as I could go, shouting at him, ―You infernal scoundrel,‖ and almost in a moment overtook him halfway down the walk. Not knowing but that he might possibly be armed and have a confederate, I struck him quickly twice. He then stopped, turned round, and I for the first time saw that he was a policeman. Astounded at such conduct by a policeman, I seized him by the collar and demanded to see his number. He replied, ―Here it is; take it then.‖ I told him what a cur he was, and that he must report himself immediately to his Sergeant, as I should tell the Chief about him. He offered no explanation whatever of his conduct. At the Police court last Friday the officer stated I struck him again after I had taken his number. I hereby pledge myself, and am ready to state on Oath, that this statement of his is not true. I did not strike him at all after taking his number. The officer also swore that he was not in my house more than ten minutes, and that all he received was a ―cup of tea.‖ This will be for the committee to enquire into. He further admitted that he heard a ―bustling‖ noise in the house, and I submit to the committee on hearing this, if he had been so innocent as he would have the public believe, he should have waited to see what it meant, and not tried to ―sneak‖ away. If he had waited but for a few seconds longer, he would still have been in my kitchen when I entered. I should have seen who he was. He could have given his explanation, and I could then have enquired into the truthfulness of his statement. My wife, in consequence of the fright she received, was compelled to put herself under the care of her medical adviser; but if she is well enough, she will attend before the committee to give any information that may be required from her, and I shall only be too glad to have the opportunity of doing so. In making this request for an enquiry by the Committee, I do so on public grounds, believing that such an enquiry will be the means of bringing about a better state of affairs in the good government of the town and in the police force in particular. Yours obediently. Enoch Evans. Dundrennan House. Walsall. 27 th November 1896.

39


ENOCH

EVANS

PART 2 WATCH COMMITTEE ENQUIRY SOLICITOR AND CONSTABLE Following the complaint to the Watch Committee made by Mr. Enoch Evans, solicitor, Dundrennan House, of the conduct of Police-constable Reddick, for assaulting him and when he (Mr. Evans) was fined by the magistrates a fortnight ago, a special meeting of the committee was held in the Council Chamber, Guildhall, on Tuesday evening. The Mayor (Councillor W. Smith) presided, and the other members present were Alderman Roper and Councillors J. Noake, Brownhill, Dean, Hughes, Clare, Pearman-Smith, and Cotterell. Mr. Evans and Reddick were in the room throughout the hearing. The Town Clerk (Mr. J. R. Cooper) opened by reading Mr. Evans‘s letter asking for an enquiry into the case (published in the Advertiser last week), and the correspondence up to the convening of that meeting, which, he explained, was ―called at the earliest possible meeting because it is considered that after your (Mr. Evans‘s) letter to the press there should be no delay in the hearing of any complaint either as to the conduct of the police or as to the course I (the Town Clerk) took‖. In common courtesy an opportunity should have been given to me of replying to your charge against the police, and myself, of un-English conduct before you sent it to the press. As we want the whole facts to come out, may I ask for Mr. Plumtre‘s brief to be produced? To that letter Mr. Evans replied that he had never been wanting in courtesy to the Town Clerk, but by the course he took he had formed an opinion, which he could not refrain from expressing. He could hardly expect him (the Town Clerk) to admit the charge he made, but he ventured to think that if he had undergone the experience of himself and his family since the occurrence he would have used a stronger word. Mr Evans now said it had been passing through his mind throughout those proceedings that he had not been dealt with fairly by the officials. He read the letter from the Chief Constable stating that the officer, who had been found in his house admittedly not on duty, complained that he had assaulted him. He replied in the terms stated by the Town Clerk during the magistrates hearing, and said the next thing was a visit from the Town Clerk, who had been meanwhile, seen by the Chief of Police. He suggested that the proper course would be to bring the matter before the Watch Committee, but the Town Clerk suggested that the better course would be to issue a summons, in the hearing of which the evidence would be taken on oath. He reminded him that he himself would not be able to speak on oath, but he replied that he would have an opportunity of cross-examining Reddick. Eventually on the 18th he received a letter from the Town Clerk, stating that the Mayor thought the best course would be to issue a summons, but three hours before that letter reached him he had actually received the summons. Councillor Pearman-Smith: Do you suggest that the summons was issued before that conversation? Mr. Evans said he simply mentioned the fact as bearing upon the position taken by the officials, and continued that at the hearing the Town Clerk, in opening, practically admitted in so many words that proceedings were not instituted to gain a conviction against him, and said that it struck him as unfair to himself that he should be hauled up as a common convict simply because a constable had admittedly done wrong. What then happened? The Chief of Police used all his influence by calling a number of witnesses to prove that the man, at some totally different time, was not in his house-simply because, replying to his letter written

40


ENOCH

EVANS

―without prejudice,‖ he had expressed his belief that the visit had been planned. The Town Clerk aided him in this plan, but he believed that the Mayor simply, and as a matter of course, was guided by his legal adviser. Mr. Evans was proceeding to comment upon the Town Clerk‘s request that he should produce his brief to Mr. Plumtre and enquired why? The Town Clerk explained that in Mr. Evans‘s letter he denied having struck the officer after he obtained his number, whereas the officer in the police court swore that he did, and Mr. Evans‘s counsel did not cross examine upon that point at all. That, he thought, was a very remarkable fact, and his sole object in asking for the brief was to see whether Mr. Evans instructed his counsel on that point. Mr. Evans in answer to Councillor Hughes said it was a most unusual thing to produce a brief, and so place one‘s case entirely in one‘s opponent‘s hands. He read from the document, however, his first account of the proceedings in which he clearly stated that he struck the man twice before he knew he was a policeman and not afterwards. In it he also detailed the conversation he had with the girls, whom he taxed with having previously entertained men on occasions he then named. He also stated that three of the front rooms were lighted up and must have been seen by the officer who, if he suspected that anything was wrong, should have rung the front door bell. Why, he put it to Mr. Plumtre, did the man bolt on hearing him coming, after putting the girls up to saying that they did not know who he was? What a fool he should have been if, hearing the noise, he had opened the window and called for the police! The constable, who was in the house, would simply have gone round the garden, and through the side door into Corporation Street West, answered the call, and helped to search the house (laughter). Eighteen months ago he found a drunken man in his house and was scouring the neighbourhood to find an officer, and when he complained about that difficulty the Chief Constable coolly remarked that he was lucky in finding one then (laughter). Surely, the brief included reference to the subscriptions he had always given to the police sports and concerts which should have influenced, in some degree, the police to do their duty faithfully towards him. Mr. Evans added that he had the transcript of a shorthand writer‘s note of the policeman‘s cross-examination if the committee wished to hear it. Councillor Hughes: The only point is, did Mr. Evans know the man was a constable when he struck him. If he did not he ought to have finished the job whilst he was about it, but if he did he ought to have left him to us? Councillor Cotterell: We are not trying the assault. Mr. Evans: No, it is a question of the veracity of the officer. The conviction was obtained by perjury, which was the word I conveyed in my letter. The Town Clerk: There are practically two complaints - the first against the officer for not doing his duty by being in Mr. Evans‘s house drinking his tea; and the other that the officials-meaning myself and the Chief Constable, have behaved badly towards Mr. Evans. On the latter he was quite prepared to leave the public to judge when they knew the facts. A dialogue here ensued between the Town Clerk and Mr. Evans as to the exact terms of the conversation, which took place between them prior to the issue of the summons. Mr. Evans remarked that among the rumours (upon which the Town Clerk based the necessity he saw for action) was one that he had a poker in one hand, a cutlass in the other, and that he seized the officer by the throat with the third (laughter). The Town Clerk said he told Mr. Evans he had no desire to do anything unprofessional or unfriendly but the matter must be cleared up. The Town Clerk: Did you make any complaint to the Chief Constable before you received his letter? Mr. Evans: The letter was at my office when I got down.

41


ENOCH

EVANS

Did not you believe the man was the same one who came to your house on Saturday night? The Chief Constable told me he had heard there was still another man. But did not you tell me you had reason to believe he was the man? Yes, I said so in my brief. My impression was that he had been before that night. That he had been there all night? I don‘t think it is possible for a man to be off his beat all night but I know it is possible for him to dodge his sergeants. My impression was that if he had not been there before, someone else had. The Town Clerk said he told Mr. Evans that if he apologised to the officer there would be an end to the matter, but he refused. He quite thought Mr. Evans would be able to cross-examine Reddick, and did not know until he came into Court that he would be represented by counsel, although it was the practice of the profession always to acquaint the other side with the intention to instruct counsel. Mr. Evans: I never tell the other side if I am going to instruct counsel, and they never tell me. As a matter of fact, it was not until I saw how you and the Chief Constable were putting your weight against me that I thought it would not do for me to be left alone. Mr Cooper: Did not I say that a defendant is always allowed to make any statement he likes to the Bench, and that the Bench would believe whatever you might say? Councillor Hughes: It would not be listened to. The Town Clerk: It is an English man‘s birthright, and neither counsel nor a solicitor has a better right to be heard in a court of justice than the defendant himself. Councillor Hughes: It may be his birthright, but I would not say he is always listened to. The Town Clerk: Didn‘t I try to get you to admit that your version was wrong? Mr. Evans: Didn‘t I ask you to call a Watch Committee meeting? Didn‘t I say the Watch Committee could not summon witnesses? Didn‘t I reply that the girls didn‘t see the assault? I wanted the girls to explain the facts- that the man had not been in the house all night. Didn‘t we discuss what would happen if the summons were issued? You said what would be the result if the verdict were in my favour-that the man would be discharged, and yet he is not even suspended. Mr. Evans said the course taken was most unjust-simply to clear the officer of the charge of having been in the house all night. The Town Clerk: Not unjust at all, bearing in mind the injustice you would do to the policemen by circulating such a rumour, when the man was prepared to swear that the rumour was false. We must have justice all round. The Town Clerk added that with regard to the suggested County Court action, no such cause could be sustained unless actual injury and damage was proved and that such injury incapacitated him.. Mr. Evans: The medical officer stated that the man was incapacitated from work. The Town Clerk: He didn‘t lose his pay. Mr Evans: A man has a right to be awarded compensation for pain. The Town Clerk: Unless it was a serious matter the County Court will not grant compensation. Mr. Evans: I know I have a right of action against this man for stealing my tea. The Town Clerk: And I hope for the credit of the town you will bring the action. Mr. Evans: It is a technical offence. The Town Clerk: If you do the Judge will tell you his opinion. Mr. Evans: I prefer the Judge‘s to the magistrates‘.

42


ENOCH

EVANS

The Town Clerk said it was of the utmost importance that the best of evidence should be obtained and the whole matter thrashed out on oath. Mr. Evans: For the benefit of the police force, and not of me. The Town Clerk: For the benefit of justice and truth. There was such divergence of testimony that it was necessary to have the matter tried before a duly constituted tribunal. He explained that in order to secure the attendance of an additional witness a detective was stationed on Pagett‘s Bridge all night to find the man who saw the constable on his beat there twenty minutes before Mr. Evans found him on his sidewalk. Mr. Evans said he knew he was put to a lot of expense by the calling of a lot of witnesses. The Town Clerk: How many? Would it not be better to say that there were two? Mr. Evans: I object that an outside element was introduced for the benefit of the constable. The Town Clerk asked if Mr. Evans did not think some effort should have been made to find the whereabouts of the nurse between the first discovery that she was not in bed at 3.30 and 5.00. Mr. Evans: I hope your wife will never have to go through the experience. The Town Clerk: My wife would not have rested a moment before finding out. Mr. Evans: When she had not occupied her bed a fortnight previously my wife thought she was up for the same reason. There are people like myself, who are too prompt. Councillor Clare: If a man came to my house I should be prompter than that, and I guess he wouldn‘t live to tell the tale. Mr. Evans: A medical man met me in the town to-day and told me he always kept a revolver and that if he found a man in his house like that he should shoot first and enquire afterwards. Councillor Clare: And he‘s a good judge, too; don‘t you forget it. Mr. Evans said he particularly objected to the officer‘s statement, which was an absolute untruth, that he struck him after he took his number. As a matter of fact the officer did not turn away from him to tell his chief, but towards him (Mr. Evans) to make some explanation, probably after he had recovered. In fact Mrs. Evans afterwards said she thought the man was drunk, because he staggered after him, but he replied that that was probably the effect of the poker. Reddick: I didn‘t know that Mr. Evans lived in the house. I turned to ascertain his name and see who he was, but he had gone into the kitchen, so I turned away from the house and took the name of it, and afterwards Sergeant Balance told me who lived there. The last I knew who lived there was Mr. Kirkpatrick. The Town Clerk explained that the officer had only gone on that beat that day. Councillor Hughes: Then who did he think he was-the lodger? Mr. Evans said it was difficult to get anyone to appear against a policeman. The police would not now tell him the name of a man who was known to have watched him off the other afternoon and then go up to the house by the same back road. The Town Clerk: A policeman? - Yes. The Town Clerk: I know a young man who says he has been there, but he won‘t give his name. Councillor Brownhill: Supposing one man has been there before. We know officers get talking to one another, and they might have told him it was a good place to go to. Mrs Evans, who had waited in the Mayor‘s parlour, was here called in. Her statement, given very clearly, was to the effect that the man was not outside the kitchen when she opened the window just above. She heard the two blows struck and was quite sure tha t there

43


ENOCH

EVANS

was not another after the officer had given his number. Both blows were struck before the number was given. Mr. Evans: I may say I was so excited I did not know the number till my wife told me afterwards. She declared that from the spot at which the officer said he stood and looked up at the window, the window was hidden by the chimneybreast. The Town Clerk: If the officer has committed perjury you can take out a warrant. Mr. Evans said that he had since put that to Mr. Plumtre, and from all hands he had received offers of monetary assistance to almost any extent, but Mr. Plumtre had simply replied that he must have two witnesses, and where was he going to get them? The Town Clerk: Yourself and Mrs. Evans. Councillor Cotterell: It‘s a most difficult offence to prove. Councillor Brownhill: This inquiry is to find our opinion on the case, and we have nothing to do with any perjury. Councillor Hughes (to Reddick): Why did you clear off when you heard Mr. Evans coming down? – I was outside the kitchen before I heard the noise. When you heard a man shouting after you, why didn‘t you stop? Mrs. Evans shouted to me, and I stopped then. The Town Clerk: The officer was in front of Mr. Evans, and if he had wanted to get away it would have been an easy thing for him to have done so. Mr. Evans: Another half minute, and he would have done it. Councillor Hughes: Reddick tells us his only object was to see that all was safe. Assuming that was true, and he was there for a bona-fide purpose, why did he not stand his ground instead of doing a bolt? The Town Clerk: He knew he had done wrong. Having satisfied himself that there was no burglary and nothing requiring his services he ought to have gone off without having anything. Councillor Hughes: Precisely. He was wrong from beginning to end. The Town Clerk: He was wrong. Councillor Hughes: It‘s a pity Mr. Evans didn‘t finish it. I know many people who would . The Town Clerk said he should be sorry to find Mr. Hughes or anyone else in that position. In answer to questions, Reddick said the door opened before he knocked. Councillor Hughes: The biggest fairy tale I have heard in all my life. Reddick: I don‘t think, sir, seeing the position I‘m in as a married man I should be making an arrangement to court single girls. The Town Clerk: You and the girls have all sworn that you have never seen each other before? – Yes, sir. Councillor Hughes said that Mr. Evans would get no sympathy from him if he knew at the time he struck the man that the man was a constable. That was a very material point, and made all the difference between his being right or wrong. The officer should have stood his ground, and then there would have been nothing wrong. The Town Clerk: Except that for which he is to be punished to night. Reddick, asked to make his final statement, said he was very sorry he ever entered Mr. Evans‘s house. The tea was only mentioned in joke, and he thought there was no harm in standing inside the open door and having a cup. He had nothing to eat, nor did he say a wrong word to the girls, and he was very sorry he went into the house. He assured the committee he would never enter another. Mr. Evans: After hearing the evidence of myself and my wife that she heard me strike you twice as soon as I reached you, do you still persist in the statement that after our

44


ENOCH

EVANS

conversation, and I had taken your number, you were going off without any explanation, when I struck you again? - I do. Councillor Cotterell: That he struck you three times? - No, once before he got my number, and once after. The second was more like a feint. The Town Clerk: He stated in Court it was a kind of thrust. The committee deliberated in private some twenty-five minutes, when the Town Clerk announced that they had come to a decision that Police-constable Reddick be severely reprimanded, fined a week‘s pay, and reduced a class in rank, for having been on Mr. Enoch Evans‘s premises for a period of ten minutes, during which time he should have been on duty; that the committee expressed their regret at the trouble and annoyance Mr. and Mrs. Evans had suffered; and that the committee exonerated the Town Clerk in his action in the matter. Mr. Evans thanked the committee for the consideration they had given to the case, and expressed his entire satisfaction with the result. He should have been sorry if the officer had been dealt with more severely, because from his general behaviour he preferred to believe that, although he still stuck to his story that he was struck after giving his number, he was somewhat dazed with the punishment he had received, and therefore did not really recollect what had taken place. The Mayor announced the decision to Reddick, and told him that if he came before the committee again he would be discharged.

FROM A NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL the following day: The episode of the policeman and the cooks, and the poker is now finished. The Walsall Watch Committee has readjusted the balance of justice, which the police court proceedings against Mr. Evans, the solicitor, rather upset. For after Mr. Evans had found the policeman sipping tea in the kitchen at five o‘clock in the morning and had hastened a departure from the premises by applying a poker to that portion of him which presented opportunities for attack during flight, the constable had the hardihood to summon him for assault, and the Bench considered they had no option but to convict. Thus Mr. Evans, the aggrieved party suffered. Yesterday the Walsall Town Clerk made the situation worse when he said that he had induced Mr. Evans to apologise to the constable for objecting to his surreptitious visits to the kitchen. In their wisdom the Watch Committee then apologised to Mr. Evans, and reprimanded, fined, and reduced in rank the constable for his misfortune in being discovered in delinquency. So Mr. Evans triumphed after all. The case shows how great a storm may originate in a small and inoffensive teacup.

AND Another Comment: Not the storm in a tea cup, but the storm over the cup of tea at Walsall has now ended, so far as the Watch Committee of the borough are concerned. We think the decision they arrived at, last evening was a very reasonable and justifiable one, and we should say that most Walsall people would be of the same opinion. It is not desirable that servant girls should entertain policemen on the sly, even when the entertainment does not extend beyond a cup of tea.

45


ENOCH

EVANS

THE POLICE AND THE PUBLIC Mr. Enoch Evans is a gentleman well known in Walsall. He is a solicitor in good practice, and is highly respected by all classes. An incident which took place at his residence a fortnight ago seems to have placed him in an awkward position, and to have occasioned him some trouble, as well as to have caused in the town some considerable surprise. The facts are these: Between four and five o‘clock one morning he and his wife were disturbed by sounds of conversation going on in the house. He at once got up, and, arming himself with a poker, went downstairs to see what the origin of the noise he had heard in his bedroom was. On opening one door he found his two servant girls partaking of tea, having been up all night, and someone going out of the back door. He rushed after the intruder (a man), and dropped heavily two strokes of the poker upon him. He then saw he was a policeman, and he at once bade him to be off as quickly as possible and report himself to his sergeant. The two girls he dismissed at once. The incident gave rise to many rumours in the town, and the policeman took out a summons for assault against Mr. Evans, the case being heard by the magistrates last Friday week, when a fine of 5s. and costs was imposed, after a very long hearing. This did not at all satisfy Mr. Evans, and he wrote down in a memorial to the Watch Committee of the Town Council his own statement of the case, and asked for an inquiry into the policeman‘s conduct, stating that Mrs Evans would attend if it were needed. It also happens that in Walsall, as elsewhere, the magistrates and the Watch Committee may be held to be separate authorities, and the conclusions of the two bodies are not always identical. The decision of the magistrates, after an eloquent appeal from Mr. Plumptre on behalf of Mr. Evans, was to impose the fine of 5s. and costs upon Mr. Evans. Last night however, after a wider investigation and discussion of the whole facts, the Watch Committee came to a decision, which seems to us to practically deliver Mr. Evans from all blame. For the Watch Committee last night Mr. Evans gave a plain unvarnished statement, which to all appearance was credited. Mrs Evans corroborated her husband‘s testimony in every point. The Town Clerk confessed that the police constable was undoubtedly wrong in staying on the premises after he had ascertained that he was not wanted, and said that the man was now sorry for the course he had taken. Mr Cooper went on to say that the only thing, which was practically denied, was that Mr. Evans struck the policeman after the latter had told him his number. The Watch Committee evidently thought the whole business was a serious one, and after five and twenty minutes spent in discussing the matter in private, after all the evidence had been given, they gave the following as their decision: That the police constable be severely reprimanded for neglect of duty in taking tea with Mr. Evans‘s girls; that he be fined one week‘s pay; and reduced a grade in rank. Further they expressed regret that Mr. and Mrs. Evans had been so much annoyed, and the Town Clerk they exonerated from all blame. The Mayor, who presided, reprimanded the police officer, informing him that if the committee heard of similar conduct again he would be dismissed from the force. Mr. Evans expressed his entire satisfaction with the result of the inquiry, especially that the officer had not been more severely punished. It seems to us all now a mistake that so much of hurry should have been taken in appearing before the magistrates when none of Mr. Evans testimony could be heard. However, as all interests are now satisfied nothing further need be said.

46


ENOCH

EVANS

PART 3

DESCISION OF WATCH COMMITTEE NOT AN END TO THE MATTER!

PETITION BY 46 MEMBERS OF THE POLICE FORCE. The Town Clerk at a meeting of the Watch Committee held in December 1897 said that the following memorial had been received, signed by 46 members of the Police Force: -

To the Watch Committee of the Borough of Walsall This petition of the Police Force humbly showeth that they have learned with regret the decision come to by you in the case of Police-constable Reddick, and most respectfully request you will kindly re-consider that decision, whereby three punishments have been inflicted for one offence—namely, a reprimand, a fine of one week‘s pay and a reduction in grade, making together a sum of £14 to £15—and all that for the simple offence of accepting a cup of tea and being off his beat for a few minutes. Your petitioners would most respectfully point out that the offence charged was only supported by the evidence of a person who had been fined for assaulting the officer on the occasion when the offence was said to have been committed, and his wife, and that their statements were at variance with the evidence given on oath when the case was heard by the borough justices. Under all the circumstances your petitioners would most respectfully submit that the officer having been reprimanded by your honourable body and assaulted by his accuser, has been sufficiently punished, and that therefore, they sincerely hope you may see your way clear to temper justice with mercy by reinstating the officer and returning him the sum he was fined. And your petitioners in duty bound will ever pray etc. Councillor Hughes: Who initiated it? Town Clerk: I have not the slightest idea. The Chief Constable: I do not know; I was at home ill. In reply to questions, the Chief Constable said that there were 74 members in the force. Alderman Baker said he had not happened to take part in the enquiry, so he could say nothing about it. Councillor Pearman Smith said that he hoped for the credit of the force in so far as their respect for respectable burgesses of the town they had not read that before they had signed it. Otherwise he should have something very strong to say about it. When gentlemen in the borough were referred to as ―persons who had been fined‖ and such language, it was altogether wanting in courtesy to the committee. Councillor Hughes said that at the enquiry he had moved that Reddick be dismissed, and it was seconded, but not put. If it came up again he certainly should move the same resolution, and should press it.

47


ENOCH

EVANS

Councillor Cotterell said that he should not again support what he had supported at the inquiry, as he thought the punishment was too great. He had been prepared to support the Mayor‘s proposal of a reprimand only. The Mayor said that that was not his proposal. The Ex-Mayor said that he had proposed that the man be reprimanded, and that an apology be made to Mr. and Mrs. Evans, and then he was induced to alter it to a fine also, but he did not vote for the threefold resolution. He thought that though the officer had committed an offence to fine him 27s., reprimand him, and lower his grade was a great deal too severe for what he had done. Councillor Brownhill said that he thought that this was a most remarkable meeting. It took three hours and five minutes to hear all the evidence in the inquiry, and then it was decided by the committee to consider its judgment in private, and to decide what sort of punishment they thought necessary. Now because the force had sent a memorial they were discussing the matter in public, and each one seemed to think it was right to say what he had thought, and said what was the use of having public meetings and deciding on a judgment in private if each one was to say what his opinion was at the time. He thought they ought to have some dignity- (applause)- and he did not think the dignity of the committee could be upheld if they did not stick to what they had done- (hear hear). They did not arrive at a decision rashly, for he saw from the papers that it took them 25 minutes to decide. Some thought they were too lenient and some that they were too severe, but when a body of gentlemen had done their best under the circumstances, which he was sure, were very painful to all he thought that they must uphold what they had done. He did not say that if this police officer behaved himself that his case might not be considered at some future time The Mayor said that as the Ex-Mayor had referred to him he might say that the committee would have dismissed the man if he had not taken the course he did- (hear, hear, ―you saved the man‖). There was no doubt the man ought not to have gone into the house. Alderman Baker said he could not help thinking that to discuss the judgment and all the votes on it in public was a very extraordinary course. He took it that the object of a private meeting was that a conclusion, might be come to after all the gentlemen had expressed their views freely, and they had found a course in which all could concur and stand by. When that conclusion was come to he thought it was the duty of the minority to stand by it. He thought it rather astonishing that each member of the private meeting thought it incumbent on him to come forward and state what he said and did. Councillor Brownhill said that was just what he objected to, especially as the conclusion was the result of a compromise. Councillor Clare said that he was the one who seconded Councillor Hughes‘s resolution, and he should do the same thing if it came up again. If a person had done wrong to the extent some thought this man had, he ought to be ―sacked.‖ If he had not been sacked he ought to have been let go. He said in the private meeting as he said now, that he ought to have been ―sacked‖ or let go on as before. It was unanimously agreed to pass on to the next business.

48


ENOCH

EVANS

NEWSPAPER COMMENT the following day: Now, at least, it may be presumed, we have heard the last of the unfortunate disagreement between Mr. Evans and the police constable. The petition of the members of the force in the disgraced officer‘s favour was unfortunate from every point of view. It betokened, undoubtedly, sincere sympathy with their comrade, but it was ill advised. Its phrasing was injudicious and disrespectful-so evidencing, perhaps, its disingenuousness-and revealing the apparently natural ability of the writer (who he was we do not know) to throw prejudice upon any case. He referred to Mr, Evans as ―a person who had been fined for assaulting‖ Reddick-thus imputing malice- and compared the officer‘s evidence on oath with the deliberate statements of Mr. and Mrs. Evans-referring to the latter, not being given on oath, were less worthy of credence. The committee acted very properly in refusing to entertain the petition; but we fancy it will be Reddick‘s own fault if the degradation be not removed in a few months.

The Etiquette of Morning Calls To The Editor of the Walsall Observer.

28th November 1896.

Dear Sir, The following extract from a little manual of etiquette, entitled ―How to act like a gentleman on all occasions ― may be of interest to householders in Walsall at the present time: On finding a member of the force in your kitchen at 4.30 a.m. it is unnecessary to remark that it is a most ungentle manly proceeding to lose your temper under any circumstances. The use of ‗language,‘ pokers, or other expressions of feeling must never be resorted to in any case. The true gentleman on hearing conversation in masculine tones issuing from the lower regions at the town above mentioned will proceed as follows: Giving audible waning of his approach by knocking or coughing. He will enter the kitchen with an apologetic smile, and address its occupants thus: ―Good evening, ladies; good evening Robert. Pray don‘t disturb yourselves. I only stepped down to inquire whether you find everything to your liking in my culinary department. (Looks on the table). Tea? Surely, Robert, you would prefer something a little stronger? Cook, where is the key to the beer barrel? You must look after your guest (and mine) with more attention; or, perhaps, a little wine, or say a nip of ‗Scotch,‘ would be better for keeping out the night air. Pray, make yourself at home – that is, as much as possible in such a brief snatch from your arduous duties. The sergeant, you know – slave to discipline – might possibly object to a very long absence from your beat. And nurse – excuse me mentioning it – your mistress has been sitting with the children for some time, could you – would you mind, when our friend finds that he really must go – step up to relieve her for a while. Good night, Robert; good night, ladies. Oh, I forgot about breakfast. You will naturally feel disposed for a little extra sleep. Please don‘t trouble to get up; I will see to it myself‖. Here the master will withdraw, with a graceful bow, and return with a quiet conscience to his repose.

49


ENOCH

EVANS

A STAGE DRAMA

SCENE I. Is the Family Mansion of Mr. Enoch Evans, Solicitor. Time, is the unusual hour of 4.50 in the morning. And Two young ladies, a Miss Eunice Brittain, a Nurse, and a Miss Alice Shingler, a cook, are discovered in a room doing ―fancy work‖. Enter Police Constable Reddick who enquires what is the meaning of the light in the room at that hour in the morning. The young ladies reply, like Macbeth, that they cannot sleep. The constable accepts the explanation, smiles, and asks for a cup of tea. The ladies supply this beverage. He drinks. Then exit the constable, the ladies crying after him to slow music – ―Au revoir, we‘ll meet you at the Sessions‖

SCENE II. Is the exterior of Mr Evans‘s mansion. It is a bitterly cold morning. The constable is seen groping his way carefully along. Suddenly Mr Evans rushes forth with a poker in his hand. He assaults the constable, severely. Screams and groans are heard and the constable endeavours to get away. As he does so Mr Evans hits him with the poker again then exits quickly into the house. The constable limps off wounded but not mortally.

SCENE III. Is Walsall Police Court. Mr. Evans and the Constable are in the foreground. Mr. Evans is with his Solicitor Mr Plumptre and the Constable is with the Town Clerk. The Constable and the young ladies give evidence The Magistrates fine Mr. Evans 5s.and costs. Tableau. Curtain. The Band plays again.

50


ENOCH

EVANS

NURSERY RHYMES VERSUS CHRISTMAS CARDS A letter was written to the Editor of the Walsall Advertiser. Dear Mr. Editor, I have been studying the above subject lately, and wish to know if you can tell me their true origin. For my own part I have come to the conclusion that the ―rimey weather‖ prevalent at joyous Christmas must contribute partial solution of the problem; and the events historical, and momentous impulses, such for instance, as those recently added to the annals of Walsall by the exposition universal of the engrossing topic of the hour, viz., the S.P.C.K. fiasco or farce (not the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge), but the Solicitor, Poker, Cook, Konstable Cat-ass-trophy, which by an unforeseen coincidence, generates the following heterogeneous social mass, or mess: - The policeman becomes solicitor to the maids; the lawyer turns policeman and administers the ―cat‖ portion of the ―cat-ass-trophy‖; and the poker bends to the irony of fate. This conglomeration of events rather confuses one‘s ideas, and it is therefore pardonable if at this festive season one selects for our more sedate friends a few Christmas cards.

CHRISTMAS CARDS

Christmas Card for The Maids Hark! Hark! Prepare for a lark, His footstep‘s familiar to me, I fear ‗tis my dear, in search of some beer, Tho‘ I only can offer him Tea.

Christmas Card for the Policeman. ―Bobby‖ feeling rather chill, And disinclined for water, Ascends the hill, to get his fill, From someone else‘s daughter. He thinks maybe a cup of tea, Sweetened by smiles and laughter, Might smooth his lot, but quite forgot What might come tumbling after.

51


ENOCH

EVANS

Christmas Card for Solicitor The Lawyer he went hunting, The Bobby he stood grunting, He could not find sufficient skin, To keep the pain from coming in.

Christmas Card for Solicitor Hey diddle dumpty, a Lawyer hired a Plumtre, He paid a crown for climbing down, Besides the costs of Plumtre.

Christmas Card for Watch Committee This difficult riddle, without sides or middle, Most strongly resembles the Moon; The people will laugh as we trash out our chaff, For surely no grist is our doomWe‘el twist it and turn it for better or worse, There‘s nothing so good as a change; We‘ll strive with an effort our best to reverse What others may choose to arrange.

New Year‟s Card for All The New Year is coming, then let us forget, All foils and all foes of the past; May life in the future more friendship beget, ‗Tis love that for ever will last.

Newspaper Comment: The Local Storm in a Tea Cup has blown over The local ―storm in a teacup‖ has now blown over, but it must candidly be admitted that the interested parties have not come very creditably out of it. Mr. Enoch Evans had undoubtedly good cause for complaint, and the Watch Committee could scarce do other than express regret that he should have been so much inconvenienced. This admitted there are a good many people who are inclined to sympathise with P.C. Reddick. His sentence, to say the least, was unduly severe.

52


ENOCH

EVANS

A Further Comment: We have now it is to be hoped, heard the last of the difference between Mr. Enoch Evans and Police-constable Reddick. At the enquiry by the Watch committee on Tuesday – an enquiry lasting over three hours – Mr. and Mrs. Evans declared that the former did not strike the officer after he had taken his number – and to our mind this constituted the gist of the charge of assault – and the severe judgment passed by the committee shows that they accept this statement, despite the constable‘s reiteration. Reddick‘s punishment, though smart, is by no means vindictive, and its effect upon the force generally can be salutary, though we should be sorry to believe that the peccadillo to which Reddick pleaded guilty is but of the rarest occurrence.

AND A Further Comment about the Press! On Tuesday night the last scenes of the domestic drama, entitled ―The solicitor and the police-man,‖ were played at the Council Chamber at the Guildhall. With the result of that scene, Mr. Evans has every reason to be gratified. Not only did the committee express its regrets that Mr. and Mrs. Evans should have been annoyed and inconvenienced as they have been, but several members of the committee individually expressed their approval of Mr. Evans‘ conduct. From these remarks the other members did not dissent – indeed, they appeared to thoroughly agree with Councillor Cotterell‘s remark that Mr. Evans had everyone‘s sympathy. We suppose, considering all things, we may take it that the whole incident is at an end, and that everyone has come out of it as well as they could have hoped to do, except the press men. This was a judicial enquiry, a sort of thing – even when only inquiring into the Police Band – which has hitherto been conducted in private, but this time it was open to the press, and we suppose would have been to the public if any of the public had requested admission. No doubt, this was as the Town Clerk put it, ―an unusual inquiry,‖ but, if it is to be a precedent, the very object with which judicial inquiries have hitherto been held will be defeated, and there will be a new danger for newspaper proprietors in the largely increased opportunities for libel actions which are sure to crop up. We trust that in the interests of the parties concerned and everyone else, we may have no more public judicial inquiries. If they are all conducted in the way this one was, we may make an appeal for the sake of the Watch Committee itself also.

POLICE CONSTABLE REINSTATED As at February 1899 it was reported: Your committee have reinstated Police constable Reddick, who was reduced a grade in rank in December 1896, to his former rank, in consequence of Mr. Enoch Evans who preferred the complaint on which the constable was reduced in rank, having intimated that if the committee should be of the opinion that the officer‘s subsequent conduct entitled him to consideration at the hands of the committee, he would be pleased to see him reinstated.

53


ENOCH

54

EVANS


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 5 ENOCH‟S COURT APPEARANCES (For Clients) (1899 to 1908) and NEWSPAPER REPORTS of a FEW of the CASES IN WHICH ENOCH WAS INVOLVED I have managed to trace a number of reports of cases in which Enoch was involved, particularly during the above years. I set out a few of the reports. To many they will make interesting reading. There is much similarity with the cases of to day. i.e. criminals were just as active in those days as to-day even though cars were not there for ease of get away and of course speeding in those days was anything over 15 miles per hour – a fast gallop on horse back. Some of the reports do not bear an actual date, but the one thing, which is most apparent, is the time then taken to bring a matter before the Courts. A matter of days, whereas to-day you are lucky if the case arrives in court within weeks and it usually seems to take a month or two! What progress? No computers in those days, no electric typewriters, not a large number of telephones, and only a few cars, but, I believe, by to-day’s standards a good cheap postal system. You may feel I have mentioned too many cases but as the book is about Enoch and The Firm, I thought it right to mention as many cases as reasonably practical to indicate what a busy man he was and what a varied and interesting life he led.

THEFT from RIVER PLATE Works 1899 (The Factory Premises of Enoch‟s Father) George Wilson, (11), of 6, Court, 17, House Stafford Street, Walsall, was charged with stealing £13 from the River Plate Works, Whittimere Street, the property of Messrs Evans and Son on December 16th 1899. Mr. Enoch Evans prosecuted – From the evidence it appeared that the prisoner had been in the habit of taking work to Messrs Evans‘s for his grandfather. He again went to the works about one o‘clock the same day, and had to wait at the office, the door of which was locked, but the key was in the lock. The Prisoner was subsequently taken to the office by his mother, and he pointed out the cabinet from which he said he had taken thirteen sovereigns. Two

boys spoke to having been to the theatre with the prisoner, who stood ―ex‘s,‖ and to having visited an herb beer shop in The Square, where the Defendant paid for some ―hot tom‖ and bread and butter. One of the boys, named John Walker, said that the prisoner asked him if he wanted any money, and gave him six-pence. After the witness had spent it the prisoner told him that the money was stolen from Messrs Evans in Whittimere Street. The Prisoner pleaded guilty, and was ordered to be sent to a reformatory school until he was 16 years of age.

55


ENOCH

EVANS got to the accident the two defendants were there and no other traps had passed the witness. Mr Enoch Evans, in defence, said the first thing that took place in this matter was not a summons, but an application through a lawyer threatening proceedings for killing a horse unless they compensated him. Naturally the answer was that if proceedings were taken they would fight them. They did not do that, but a fortnight afterwards they got a summons for furious driving. The animal Webb was driving was a fat pony only some 12 hands, and it was utterly impossible for it to go more than seven miles an hour as any donkey that ever galloped. He should show that they were never going more that seven miles an hour, and the two conveyances were never neck and neck - there were 30 or 40 yards between the defendants‘ conveyances the whole way. The singular thing about the matter was that there were two conveyances also coming from the direction of Walsall. One passed them all right, but the other driver was ―flustered‖ and pulled the right rein, bringing his horse across the shafts of Webb‘s horse. Had he not done this Leigh‘s horse could not have been struck in the left shoulder in the manner it was. Both defendants were put into the box, and Alfred Hitch, Stephen Henrick, John Thomas Cowley, and Jesse Edwards gave evidence for the defence. This showed that the two carts were not travelling abreast or more than seven miles an hour, and the witnesses in Morris‘s cart, so far from being abreast with West‘s cart did not actually see the accident, only coming up a few seconds after it took place. Dr Cook said he was in favour of a conviction in the case, but his colleagues were of the opinion that there was considerable doubt about it, so the case would be dismissed.

A WALSALL BREWER & A MUCKLEY CORNER GENTLEMAN 1897 The Rushall Justices on Monday were occupied for a considerable time in hearing charges of furious driving, against George Henry Webb, publican‘s brewer, of 5, St John Street, Walsall, and John Morris, miner, of Walsall Wood. Mr Enoch Evans defended and Mr T.H. Harrison Evans held a watching brief on behalf of one of the witnesses, George Leigh, a gentleman of Muckley Corner. The case for the prosecution was that between 7.30 and 8.00.o‘clock on the evening of October 1 st, Leigh was returning from Walsall. He was driving between the top of Lichfield Street and the railway bridge on the Lichfield Road at Rushall, when he was met by the two defendants, each driving a horse and cart. They were driving very furiously, and appeared to be racing. Leigh was on his proper side close to the kerbstone, when the horse driven by Webb ran straight into that driven by Leigh, the left shaft of Webb‘s cart piercing Leigh‘s horse between the collar and the shoulder, and going in ten inches, entering the left lung. The horse fell, got up again, staggered across the road, then fell down and died. The horses of the defendants were being driven abreast, and it was said they were going at the rate of 15 miles an hour. Leigh and his wife gave evidence to the above effect, and it was supported by Alice Jackson and Edith Yates, two Rushall young ladies, who were on the footpath at the time of the accident. Frederick Kibble, grocer‘s porter, spoke to being passed by two horses and traps at about 7.30 on the same night. He was driving at about the rate of six miles an hour, but the two were driving much quicker - so fast as to be dangerous. He could not say who they were, but when he

56


ENOCH

EVANS foreman and that if he did not show that he was a master over the men things would reach a state of chaos. It was not desirable that this man should interfere with the steamroller and all that defendant did was to catch hold of the man and put him gently on the ground. Undoubtedly an assault was committed, and the defendant had made a magnanimous offer, viz., to give the complainant thirty shillings. This class of men undoubtedly were delighted to ―go at‖ men in responsible positions. The bench said that owing to the provocation received they should dismiss the case

ALLEDGED WIFE DESERTION at WALSALL Express & Star 27th March 1899 At Walsall to day (Monday), George Morrall, baker and grocer, 22 Peal Street, was summoned for deserting his Wife – Mr E. Evans appeared for the Defendant. - Complainant, from whom evidence was obtained with difficulty, desired an order for £1 per week. Asked what her husband had done to her, she replied that they ―could not live happy together.‖ He gave her plenty of food, but did not speak to her for days. He has accused her of taking his money to her parents, but had never assaulted her. - In reply to Mr Evans complainant stated that she had left her husband for six months before, but had returned to him in response to a letter. She took £4 out of a jug in the shop when she went away, and there had been no quarrel. The money was put away each night, but she did not think this a reasonable thing to do. She denied that she had taken money to support her parents. - The magistrates declined to make any order, and the summons was dismissed.

DESERTION Alpheus Allcock, 57 Stamford Road Handsworth, was charged with deserting his wife and child, she being desirous of obtaining a maintenance order. Mr E. Evans appeared for the prosecution. Jessie Allcock, 83 Bloxwich Road, said that she summoned her husband for persistent cruelty about a fortnight ago, and the case was dismissed. After the case had been tried complainant and her brother and another man went down to her house, and having heard that he was going to sell the furniture she asked him what he was going to do for her. He swore at her, and would have struck her but for his brother who prevented him. The same day he stripped the house of furniture and went to Birmingham. She had never had a penny from him since. – Defendant said he tried to find her since he left her, but had been unable to. – Mr Evans applied for 12s.6d.per week on behalf of complainant. – Defendant said he would pay nothing and would live all his life at Stafford first, but afterwards offered to take the child and pay the wife 5s. - The magistrates made an order for 10s, per week.

ALLEGED ASSAULT Albert Leach, a road foremen in the employ of the Corporation, was summoned for assaulting Thomas Draper, of Teddesley Street. Mr H. Jackson (Messrs Stanley & Jackson) represented the Plaintiff and Mr Enoch Evans defended. The Complainant alleged that while he was speaking to the steamroller man in Forster Street, the Defendant came up, caught him by the neck and threw him to the ground. - Cross examined he said he had been in the employ of the Corporation but he did not know there was a rule that workmen should not waste their time by talking in the street to their friends. - The defence was that Leach was a road 57


ENOCH

EVANS Mr Stretton‘s son. She was in the room at the time Farmer was in bed with the complainant. He was not there all night but stayed for about an hour. On the evidence the magistrates decided to adjourn the case for a week.

ALLEGATIONS against a LANDLADY October 1901 At the Police Court on Friday John Wynn (34), 55 Dalkeith Street, was charged in custody, with being £54 in arrears, on an Order to maintain Angelina Wynn his Wife and two children. Mr H.H. Jackson (Messrs Stanley & Jackson) prosecuted and Mr Enoch Evans defended. - Mrs Wynn gave evidence as to the money, which owed her, and she said her husband was previously a presser at Messrs Shannon‘s factory and could earn £2 per week. Cross-examined by Mr Evans, she said that two years ago she was managing the Swan Inn at Shareshill. She had a young woman named Beatrice Kurnock with her; but it was not true the young woman Kurnock, who was sleeping with her, got out of bed and that a Mr Farmer took the girl‘s place. The young woman was capable of saying anything; the witness dismissed her because of her wrongdoing. – Beatrice Kurnock, Newland Street, Walsall, said that she was employed at the Swan Inn, as domestic servant. She swore that while she was sleeping with Mrs Wynn, the man Farmer got in to the bed. Witness also asserted that two men named Harold Stretton and ―Bob‖ had come into the room, and that Stretton got into bed with Mrs Wynn, while ―Bob‖ sat at the foot of the bed. Regarding another man George Stevens, she said, ―he became a regular sleeper‖ with Mrs Wynn. – Cross examined: she stayed nine months with Mrs Wynn, in spite of these men going into the bedroom. She was 21 years of age, and knew that such conduct was not right, but she liked her situation as it was in a nice country place - In answer to Mr Loxton she said the men were stone masons, working on the church at Shareshill. That was when the church was being repaired. Farmer was a married man and she did not know where he lived but he worked for Mr Stretton in Ablewell Street. Harold was

I cannot trace what happened a week later!

A DISHONEST EMPLOYEE Benjamin Hawkins (28), carter, Prince Street the Pleck, was charged with stealing two packets of tea valued at 9d. the property of George Roper, grocer, of Stafford Street, on the 8 th Inst. – The prosecutor stated that he had employed Hawkins for four or five weeks and in consequence of his suspicions being aroused he marked a number of packets of tea (about 40 in all) and put them in the tea room over the shop. He afterwards left two police officers concealed in the room and later sent on the prisoner in the room for an article he wanted. The police officers then saw the prisoner put two of the packets of tea into his pocket, and the police officers followed and arrested him, and found the tea upon him. Mr Enoch Evans for the defence said he could hardly offer any explanation of such a ridiculous act. The man was sent for some plums, but while in the room he was seized with a sudden temptation and he yielded to it and took the tea. Sentenced to two month‘s hard labour.

58


ENOCH

EVANS several statements made by the prisoners whilst in custody. They said they did not know the fowls were in the boat until they got to Walsall Wood, and they then refused to go an inch further until they were taken out. The other man who was known as ―Hunchy,‖ then took the fowls away. They did not know what he did with them. P.C. Jackson also spoke as to the arrest of the prisoners and as to finding feathers and a portion of cooked fowl in the boat. P.C. Riley also gave evidence, chiefly relative to the statements of the prisoners. Mr. Evans for the defence, objected that the only evidence against the men was their own statements. He complained of the tactics pursued by the police in obtaining evidence. The prisoners were sentenced to a month‘s imprisonment with hard labour without the option of a fine.

ROBBERY FROM GREAT BARR 1899 Ralph Higgins, and Thomas White, alias Kelly, boatmen, of Birmingham, were charged with stealing seven fowls and two ducks, the property of William Boonham of Great Barr. Mr H. Jackson prosecuted on behalf of the Great Barr and Perry Barr Association for the Prosecution of Felons, and Mr Enoch Evans defended. From the statement for the prosecution, it appeared that the fowls were missed in the night of the 6 th May. The prisoners, and another man who was unknown, but for whose arrest a warrant was issued, were at the Bell Inn on the night in question. Their boat was visited at Walsall Wood by two police officers, who found feathers and remnants of a cooked fowl in the cabin. Whilst in custody the prisoners had said that the other man had ―done the job.‖ William Boonham gave evidence as to the fowls and ducks being safe at night but missing on the following morning. The value of the fowls and ducks was £1.7s. Mabel Boonham, daughter of the prosecutor, gave evidence. She saw the prisoners and another man in her father‘s house on the night named. John Male of Beehive Inn, Walsall Wood, saw the two prisoners and another man at his house about 8.30 a.m. on the morning of the 6th inst. P.C. Shirley stated at 4.30 a.m. on the morning of the 6 th inst he was at the canal side. He saw White steering a boat and Higgins driving the pony. There was a third man with them. P.C. Lovett said he and P.C. Jackson went to Walsall Wood at about 4 p.m. on the 6th inst. They saw the defendants and the other man but the other man ran away. The prisoners were arrested and taken to the Rushall Police Station. He further gave evidence of

The prisoners were then charged with breaking into an office and stealing two coats and a number of boat lines, ropes, etc on the 4th May. John Arthur Harrison, coal merchant, of Yardley, Worcestershire, said he was the proprietor of the City Wharf, of Brewery Street, Birmingham. He identified the coat produced as his property, and said there was also a driving coat missing. There was at the wharf a quantity of ropes, lines, straps, etc., similar to those produced. The property missing was worth £14 or £15. He last saw the goods on the previous Thursday week. He knew the prisoners, one had worked for him and they had both been on his premises. That morning at the Court, White had said if he could get bail he would tell him where the remainder of the property was. Ellen Day, clerk in the employ of the prosecutor, spoke to locking up the office and seeing the goods there. She

59


ENOCH could identify the coat but there had been no distinguishing mark on the ropes. Adam Wood, carter, in the employ of Mr Harrison, said he slept on the wharf near the office. On the date in question he left the wharf between 7 p.m. and 7.30. He returned about eleven o‘clock. He tried to enter the wharf by a small door of which he had the key, but he could not get in. He got over the wall and found a piece of wood placed against the door. In going to his room he passed the office and noticed a light inside. He went to the door where he was met by a man who struck him knocking him down. When he got up he saw two other men in the office with their backs towards him. The safe had been taken from its place and was on the floor. He raised an alarm but the three men absconded before he could obtain assistance. He saw a truck propped up against the wall. John Male, landlord of the Beehive Inn, Walsall Wood, said the prisoners came into his house about 8.30 a.m. on Saturday morning, May 6 th. Higgins said they had ten straps and a line and asked him if he wanted any. Witness said he would have nothing to do with them. P.C. Jackson deposed to finding the property produced in the cabin of the boat of which the defendant was in charge. P.C. Lovatt and P.C. Allcock gave evidence. The later found two boat straps in a hedge of a stack yard of the Dairy Farm adjoining the canal. P.C. Riley deposed to charging the men with the theft. Higgins said he was innocent. The magistrates committed the prisoners for trial at the Stafford Quarter Sessions.

EVANS

ASSAULT of a DOMESTIC Walsall Observer 8th April 1899 Daniel Jones of 36, Stafford Street Walsall, was charged with assaulting Alice Parr, of 37, Stafford Street, on March 27 th 1899. Mr. Enoch Evans appeared for the complainant, and Mr J. Armstrong for the defence. Mr. Evans said that the complainant was a domestic servant at 36 Stafford Street, and on the 27 th ult. the domestics‘ of the two shops at 36 and 37 Stafford Street were in the yard, and that there was some dispute between them as to hanging clothes out, when Mr Jone‘s ran out of his house, pulled complainant‘s hair, and struck her about the face several times. He then went into the house by the veranda door. The girl then threw a bath at the door, and he came out again and similarly assaulted her, and knocked her down. He returned to the house but came back and pulled her up by the hair, and struck her in the face. The girl was so ill she had to go home and could not return until the following afternoon, when the defendant admitted in the presence of a constable, that he had assaulted her.Complainant and others gave evidence in support of this statement. Mr J. Armstrong contended, on behalf of the defendant, that Mr Jones‘s girl went to hang out the clothes on their own line. Immediately on seeing this the complainant came out, pulled the clothes off the line, and threw them on to the floor. This she repeated several times, and ran towards defendant‘s servant girl to strike her. Defendant then came out to interfere. Complainant, turning to him, struck him on the shoulder. He then pushed her away, using no more violence than was necessary to protect himself and the girl. He then went into the house, and hearing the girl throw a brickbat at the door went out again. The girl then picked up a bath, 60


ENOCH and to prevent her smashing the glass of the veranda, he rushed to her, and again pushed her away. He did not go out a third time, neither did he pull her hair, or use any unnecessary violence; but whatever he did was in self-defence, and to prevent complainant beating his servant girl, which she had done on previous occasions. The magistrates inflicted a fine of 2s.6d. and costs, stating that there had been provocation.

EVANS Mr Evans, at the commencement of the case, said that this was not a denial of liability, as the full amount of the debt and costs had been paid into court. The defendant however had raised a counterclaim. The case of the defendant was therefore first heard, Mr Sproston stating that the action was brought for payment of bacon and a ham supplied to the defendant by Caddick last November. This claim had been paid into court and the counterclaim instituted on account of the goods not being according to sample, or description, and not fit for food. In November last a William Garner called upon the plaintiff on business, and saw him cutting up some bacon. He told him that a friend of his wanted some good bacon, and asked him the price, and was told 7d a lb. for the side and 8d for the ham. Garner tested it and found it to be exceedingly good, the plaintiff representing that the pig had been 15 months old. Garner said he would have the fellow side at 8d a lb., which was an exceedingly good price to pay for it. It was, however not a question of price but a question of principle. The bacon was ordered and sent to Nuttall on November 19th. It took seven days in carriage, and when it arrived the defendant thought it looked very peculiar, and on having some cooked he found it was bad. He tried it again and it made the whole family ill. He sent a sample of it to a person who knew the quality of bacon, who said it was not fit for food. Another person also tried it, and pronounced it to be off an old sow and not fit for food. It was then sent back to Caddick, and had since remained at the railway station. The money had been paid into court in case it should be decided that after he had accepted the bacon he had kept it an unreasonable length of time, and had therefore made the counter-claim. The question to be decided was whether the bacon was the same, which was bought by Garner, and sold to him in the same condition.

RUGELEY COUNTY COURT March 1899 AN EXPENSIVE SIDE OF BACON The Rugeley Mercury 3 rd March 1899 Wednesday, -Before B.C. Brough, Esq. (Deputy Judge) There was an unusually long list of plaints at this court, nearly all of which, however, were disposed of by the Registrar, Mr J.W.Gardner. Judge Jordan being unable to attend on account of indisposition, his place was taken by B.C. Brough, Esq., who acted as his deputy. Nearly two hours were occupied by the hearing of the following cases:-

AN EXPENSIVE SIDE OF BACON: Thomas Caddick, landlord of the Ash Tree Inn, Armitage Road, sued Moses Nuttall, insurance agent, of Hanley, for £3.13s.4d, the price of a side of bacon supplied to the Defendant last November. Defendant had paid £5 1s.4d into Court, but instituted a counter-claim of £5 5s. for damages sustained by the bacon not being up to sample. Mr E. Evans, solicitor, of Walsall, appeared for the Plaintiff, and Mr Sproston for the defendant.

61


ENOCH William Garner then gave evidence to the above effect, saying he was in the employ of Mr Nuttall, and purchased the bacon for him, as he found it was very good, and plaintiff told him it was off a pig 15 months old, and he could have the fellow side to it. He did not see the fellow side, but trusted to the plaintiff‘s word as to its quality and condition. He afterwards saw the side of bacon after it had been returned to Armitage Station and he was sure it was not the fellow side of the bacon he saw at the plaintiff‘s. It was very much thicker and not fit to eat. He should not have liked to have given anything for it. He afterwards saw the plaintiff, and asked him if anything could be done to settle the matter, but the plaintiff said it was out of his hands. He told him it was not the side he had ordered. Plaintiff took him into the kitchen and showed him a side of bacon, and said he had sent the fellow side. He refused to sell him any of this side. Cross-examined by Mr. Evans: The bacon that Mr Caddick showed me the sample of was white in appearance, sweet to taste, and appeared to be from a pig about 15 months old. I don‘t know when it was returned, or when it reached the station. I went to see the bacon in consequence of a letter from Mr Nuttall. By the Judge: I believe the side I afterwards saw in the kitchen was the fellow side of the one I saw him cutting when I first went to the house. Thomas Oldcroft stated that he was in the plaintiff‘s house at the time, when Garner tasted the bacon, expressed himself satisfied with it, and said he would have the fellow side to it. Plaintiff said it was from a pig 15 months old. The bacon produced did not look like the fellow side to that he had seen. Mr Evans: - I went into the kitchen but all I saw was some bacon cut up into two pieces and placed on the table. Moses Nuttall then gave evidence as to receiving the bacon, which was for his own consumption, and tasting it. It

EVANS made both him and his family sick. He asked two wholesale provision dealers to try it. Caddick wrote to him asking if he had received the bacon, and he wrote back stating that he was not pleased with it and wished to return it. He then received a letter asking for payment by the next post. When he was told what was the matter with the bacon he at once sent it back, and it had since remained at Armitage Station. By Mr Evans; I returned it on December 13th, and since that time it had been left kicking about the railway station. Mr Sproston said that the bacon was consigned on November 19 th and returned on December 13th. John Edwards, wholesale provision dealer, of Hanley, said he had examined a sample of bacon, and should not care to eat much of it. It was old, gross, and coarse, two or three years old, and not fit to eat. He would not have given more than 3d a pound for it. Eight pence per lb. was the price paid for high-class bacon. It was apparently off a sow, which had had four or five litters. George Birch, another dealer of Hanley, gave similar evidence, and said the bacon might have been good if used earlier. By Mr Evans: I should think it had been killed about twelve months. Its condition depended on how it was kept, and it is not in as good a condition now as when I first saw it. Mr Evans then addressed the judge on behalf of the plaintiff, stating that Garner after tasting the bacon was so pleased that he had secured it, that he treated those in the bar to a whiskey and said what a good bargain he had made. The bacon was sent on by rail, and plaintiff had then done with it and had no other side of bacon to send. He then called Thomas Caddick, the plaintiff, who in the course of his evidence, said he had sold the bacon at Garner‘s request, who went with him into the kitchen to look at it, who was highly pleased with it, and would pay for a glass

62


ENOCH of whiskey. He had handled the bacon several times, and said that it was just the thing that Mr Nuttall would like. He accordingly sent it to the defendant. At the second interview Garner said it was not the bacon he had bought and wanted it, and he told him he could not as it was out of his hands. By Mr Sproston: I told him it was the fellow side to what was hanging up in the kitchen. What I had in December was the same side I was selling in November. I had sold 30 or 40 lbs of it. Garner asked me at the second interview to sell him some, and I would not. The pig was killed on the first or second month in March, when it was salted. I killed two pigs, and both were about 14 months old. By the Judge: The pig we killed first was the fellow pig to this. We only had one side left when Garner came. We had eaten the other pig, and had began on the second. John Wright, butcher, of Horse Fair Rugeley, deposed of killing the pigs, and believed that the bacon produced was off the second pig It was a maiden pig. Eight pence a lb was a fair price for the best quality of bacon. The pig would be 14 or 15 months old. Mary Clews, servant to the plaintiff, was called to prove that Garner went into the kitchen to look at the bacon before he bought it. His Honour, in summing up, observed that it was a somewhat unfortunate case to have to try, inasmuch as upon one or two points there was direct conflict of evidence. He commented upon the fact of the bacon not having been at once returned instead of being kept till December 13th, and weeks allowed to go by. Taking all the circumstances into consideration, and the fact that Garner was not the best agent to select for the purchase of bacon, he gave judgment for the plaintiff, and against the defendant in reference to the counter-claim.

EVANS

ANOTHER PIG CASE William Yates, of Colton, in the same court on the same day, sued the Defendant John Phillips, of Stonyfield Cannock for £7 15s 0d for a pig. Mr Orgill appeared for the Plaintiff and Mr Evans for the Defendant. Plaintiff said on December 6 th he sold defendant a pig for the amount claimed, who promised to pay in a fortnight, and afterwards sent him a promissory note. He returned it to him, and the defendant sent it again. Mr. Evans said that this was only a question of payment, and defendant was not in a position to pay at once. He applied that time should be given him, and suggested that payment should be ordered in two monthly instalment, which his honour agreed to, and made the order. I was surprised to note that Enoch was appearing in Rugeley Court. The Walsall – Rugeley railway line was opened in November 1859.

EJECTMENT ORDER OUT OF ORDER 1899 An ejectment order was applied for against James Doody, of Lichfield Road Walsall Wood. George Roberts, agent for William Roberts, Station Hotel Brownhills, and the owner of the property said the defendant was tenant of a house and shop and was subject to a fortnight‘s notice. Mr Enoch Evans defended. The Clerk held that the notices were not in order, and the Bench said they had no jurisdiction, and dismissed the case.

63


ENOCH

EVANS into contact with moisture to give off a highly inflammable gas‖ and with the name and address of the Vendor at the bottom. Mr Enoch Evans defended. The Chief Constable gave evidence, stating that the company applied to him some time ago for a license to store calcium carbide. At the outset he thought it came under the Explosives Act. After issuing the licence he called upon the company and cancelled the licence. He had ordered them to construct a properly tin-lined cupboard, which they had done to his entire satisfaction. In due course of time they applied for a proper licence to store 1 cwt. He then informed them that the carbide would have to be stored in 1 lb. hermetically sealed tins. On the 12th January he visited the premises in Bradford Street and found the large drum produced containing a large quantity of calcium carbide, which he put down at 70 lbs, although it was over that amount. Mr Evans addressed the Bench for the defence, and said that when the company first decided to sell carbide they applied to the Town Clerk‘s office, but they did not seem to know anything about it, but thought it was a new kind of fireworks or something similar. The Chief Constable knew but little more. This tin he considered perfectly safe, as it was kept in the same manner as when received from the manufacturers, who were under the same restrictions. The carbide was perfectly harmless unless water was added to it, and his clients had done everything possible to ensure safety. The first licence permitted them to store this carbide to the extent of 1 cwt., and nothing was said about hermetically sealed 1 lb. tins until the second license was granted, and at that time the carbide had been ordered in a 1 cwt vessel. The magistrates imposed a fine of £10 and costs on one charge, and ordered the defendants to pay costs in the other case.

RUSHALL PETTY SESSIONS Monday- Before Messrs E.T. Holden and T.A. Hill

THREATS of Murder William Johnson, miner, of Walsall Wood was charged with using threats towards William Clarke, also a miner of Walsall Wood. Mr Enoch Evans appeared for the complainant, and Mr H. Jackson defended. The alleged offence took place a month ago. The threats complained of were that the defendant would kill the complainant. John Parr and William Painter gave evidence for the complainant. Mr Jackson urged that any threats that might have been used were but idle threats. He called the defendant who said he had no enmity towards the complainant. Samuel Powell of Walsall Wood, gave evidence for the defence. The Bench decided to order the defendant to pay the costs, 10s. Mr Hill expressed the intention of the Bench to put this practice down.

HEAVY PENALTIES FOR WRONGFUL STORAGE OF CARBIDE Walsall Observer 22nd January 1899 At Walsall Petty Sessions, on 21 st January 1899 the Vanguard Cycle Company, Limited, of Bradford Street, were summoned for having on their premises 70 lbs of calcium carbon without having a licence on January 12 th, and also with having in their possession a vessel containing 70 lbs of calcium carbide, such vessel not having a label attached bearing the words ―Calcium of Carbide—Dangerous if not kept dry. The contents of this package are liable if brought

64


ENOCH

EVANS By another Juryman: He seemed to have the horse tight. In answer to Mr Smith, witness said that at this point it was rather dark, the street lamp on the corner not being lighted. A box of empty bottles lay by the boy in the road. This would be the road for the man to take the horse to the stables after the day‘s work, and he thought it probable that if the man had lost control of the animal he might not be able to prevent the animal going that way of its own accord. By Mr Evans: It was a large powerful horse, and they made a tremendous clatter as the vehicle came down Lichfield Street. By the Coroner: He should say the pace was about 16 miles an hour. George Boffey, a boy of 12, living at 77 South Street, gave evidence that on the night in question he was on the mineral water dray with Alfred Thomas, the driver. They started from Lord‘s at nine o‘clock in the morning, and were out all day, having been round Rushall and Pelsall. The last place they called at coming back was at Rushall. When they got near the Arboretum the horse started galloping and as they were turning into Walhouse Street the horse pulled the wagon onto the footpath. The deceased boy was on the pavement near the Falcon, and was knocked down by the front of the dray and the wheel went over him. He heard the boy cry out ―Oh, my back,‖ and the horse rolled over and the driver went over his back, witness jumping from the dray as it was going along. The driver tried to loose the horse by cutting the traces, but he was kicked and knocked down senseless. As they came down Lichfield Street the driver was pulling the reins to stop the horse. By Mr Evans: The driver had a brake on the dray, but he did not put it on. The horse had not been out for a fortnight before the previous day (Monday). Alfred Thomas, the driver of 6, Bank Street appeared with his face badly bruised, said he was a drayman employed by Messrs Lord. On Tuesday he took

FATALITY IN LICHFIELD STREET February 1900 The shocking fatality which occurred in Lichfield Street, Walsall, on Tuesday night, when a boy named Benjamin Cope Hodson (13), an errand boy, of 45, Margaret Street, was killed by being run over, was investigated by the Borough Coroner, Mr T.H. Stanley, on Thursday afternoon, at the Engine Inn, Wolverhampton Street. Mr. F. Wilson Smith appeared for Messrs Lord Limited, the owners of the vehicle, and Mr Enoch Evans appeared for the boy‘s parents. George Cope Hodson, a chain maker, of 45 Margaret Street, stated that he was the father of the deceased boy and gave evidence of identification. Henry Bates, 28, Upper Walhouse Street, a currier, stated that at about twenty minutes after seven on Tuesday night he was coming down Lichfield Street, when he saw a mineral water dray belonging to Messrs Lord, Limited coming along at a terrific pace. It swerved round Walhouse Street, witness expecting to see it go over. He, however, heard a smash, and as he turned into Walhouse Street he heard the deceased boy crying out. He was lying in the middle of the road, and the horse was down some ten yards further on. He picked the deceased up, and carried him to the footpath. Witness knelt down and asked deceased where he was hurt, but all he exclaimed was, ―Oh, my back‖. Witness waited two or three minutes for some conveyance, but seeing none he, with assistance, carried him to Dr Hawley‘s surgery in Lichfield Street, but he died in a few minutes. He afterwards saw the driver, who was near the vehicle, and found that he had been kicked by the horse. By a Juror: From what he could see the man who was driving, was trying to stop the horse.

65


ENOCH out a horse and dray, and as they were returning down Lichfield Street the horse seemed to get into the collar and dash away. The animal was an Irish horse, and very funny tempered. He galloped, and witness tried to stop him as well as he could. With a rein in each hand he tried to turn the corner of Walhouse Street, taking a good sweep round, but the wheel caught the kerb, and one went onto the footpath. After going a few yards further on the horse went down, throwing witness out headfirst. He tried to get the horse out, but was kicked on the leg, and was carried into a neighbouring shop. By Mr Smith: Witness had driven the horse for five years and he had bolted before. By the Coroner: He did not see the boy, and until he was told he did not know that he had run over anybody. In answer to Mr Evans, witness stated that he had the brake on in Lichfield Street, but it slipped off when the horse bolted. He had told his masters that the animal was dangerous, but they would not dispose of the animal, and none of the other men would take her out. Dr Hawley, stated that the deceased was brought into his surgery at about half-past seven. His clothes, face, and hands were splashed all over with mud, the lower part of his body was severely bruised, and the backbone completely broken, and probably extensive internal injuries as well. He died in about quarter of an hour, the cause of death being shock consequent on the injuries. The Coroner having summed up, the jury returned a verdict of ―Accidental death.‖ Mr. Smith, on behalf of the Limited Company, expressed their deep sympathy with the father of the unfortunate boy. They did not admit any liability, but would be pleased to hand the father £5 towards the funeral expenses.

EVANS

THEFT STEALING and RECEIVING STOLEN HORSE SHOES 20th February 1904 Thomas Benfield (58), blacksmith, was brought up charged with receiving 74 horseshoes, value 13s 6d. the property of the London and North-Western Railway, on February 15th, being at the same time aware that they were stolen. The Chief Constable explained that the thief was brought before the magistrates the previous day, when he was remanded till Friday. He now asked that the case against the defendant might be adjourned till Friday, so that both men might be brought up together. Mr Enoch Evans for the defendant, consented to this, and the Bench adjourned the case. FRIDAY: William Tuft (47), carter, of 125 Farringdon Street, was charged with stealing 74 horse shoes, value 13s 6d., the property of the L. & N.W. Railway Company, on February 15 th; and Thomas Benfield, blacksmith, of 108 Bridgman Street was charged with receiving the horse shoes on the same day, knowing them to have been stolen. Mr Johnson (Birmingham) appeared to prosecute on behalf of the Company; Mr E. Evans defended Benfield. Mr Marten represented Mr Tuft. Tuft was seen to take the bag of horseshoes and put them on his own vehicle. He drove to Benfield‘s premises, where the articles were received by the other prisoner. Tuft was fined 40s. and costs or a month, and the charge against Benfield was dismissed. (How Enoch managed to get the charge against Benfield dismissed is beyond my imagination. I cannot find the case reported in any detail!). 66


ENOCH

ENOCH & FAMILY involved in a Road Accident

EVANS

A QUESTION OF AUTHORITY 17th January 1900

Express and Star 31st March 1902 At the County Court on Wednesday, before His Honour Deputy Judge Dorsett, an action was brought by James Fenton & Sons, house furnishers, against Edwin James Diver, of The Priory Hotel¸ the well known Warwickshire cricketer, to recover £9 1s. 5d. for goods supplied to The Priory Hotel. Mr. Enoch Evans was for the plaintiff, and Mr H.H. Jackson for the defence. There was no dispute as to the goods having been supplied, and the only point seemed to be as to whether the defendant or The North Worcestershire Brewery Company, for whom he acted as manager of the hotel, should have been sued. It was admitted that there had been previous transactions, and the accounts had always been rendered to the company, and the reasons given for now suing Mr Diver was the issuing of a circular by the company, intimating that they would only recognise orders which had come from themselves direct. It was, however, shown that in this case nearly all the goods were supplied before the circular was issued. The Deputy Judge said it was clear from the fact that the authority was revoked that the defendant had previously been authorised to act as agent for the Brewery company, and the latter were the only parties against whom plaintiffs could have any claim. A verdict was given for the defendant.

st

It was reported on the 31 March 1902 that just before 10.00 a.m. the day before a collision had taken place on the Bridge at Walsall. A youth by the name of Ernest Dickenson was riding down Park Street on a cycle at a rapid rate with another youth named Hunter on the step. Turning into Bradford Street they met a horse and waggonette driven by Enoch Evans. It was reported that Mr Evans came along gently on his right side and that the cyclist rode straight under the horse. Dickenson was very badly cut about the head and left ear and the other youth sustained injuries to the left wrist and leg. Mr. Evans‘ wife and children got out of the waggonette and Mr. Evans drove the two injured youths to the hospital, where they were attended to and later discharged. Many persons witnessed the accident, and said the cause was entirely with the cyclist, who was lucky to escape with no worse injuries.

67


ENOCH

EVANS contended it was, for it was limited both as regards time and space. Enoch for the defendant argued that the agreement was put to an end many months before the defendant left the plaintiff‘s employment. He said that the defendant had entered into the plaintiff‘s employment without any agreement, but that after he had been there for some time he was told he was required to enter into the agreement, and, in fact was threatened that unless he did he would not be allowed to go his round again. The defendant had a starving Wife and family, and there was no doubt that he did enter the agreement. Before doing so he enquired what would terminate the agreement and was told by a Mr Lawton the Manager ―theft, direct disobedience or drunkenness.‖ The defendant at the time said ―Of course if there is any alteration in my terms I shall consider the agreement null and void‖ to which Mr Lawton replied ―Yes, of course.‖ The agreement said nothing about termination or dismissal. Enoch contended it had been put an end to by the Plaintiff who gave the defendant a week‘s notice. Enoch stated that until the agreement was signed the defendant had not had the exact sum each week - £1. 1s. He pointed out that he was paid a halfpenny for every dozen bottles brought back and because he brought too many back, instead of congratulating him, they said ―We shall put you back to the standard wage of 30s. per week‖ The defendant had said that if they did that then the agreement was at an end to which Mr Lawton assented.

MASTER and WORKMAN CONTRACT Advertiser 18th March 1899 In March 1899 Mr Francis Joseph Zeller, trading as Alfred Simms, mineral water manufacturer, of Station Street, sued Albert George Johnson, drayman, of 23 Emery Street, for £12. 9s.10d., damages and costs for breach of Agreement, dated 6th January 1897, and also applied for an injunction to prevent Johnson from working as a drayman within a certain radius for a period of two years from the date of leaving the plaintiff‘s service. Mr R.C.E. Plumptre (instructed by Messrs Loxton & Newman) appeared for the Plaintiff and Mr E. Evans for the Defendant. In opening Mr Plumptre said the Plaintiff claimed for an injunction against the Defendant for breach of agreement of service. In consideration of being employed by the plaintiff, the defendant undertook that for the space of two years he would not act in the capacity in which he was employed by the plaintiff for any firm within a radius of 20 miles of Walsall Guildhall. The Defendant had admitted he was at the date of the Court hearing employed by Messrs Lord‘s Limited, mineral water manufacturers who were within the radius under the agreement, and in his capacity of drayman, he believed, solicited orders, and was acting in exactly the same terms as when in the plaintiff‘s employment. Mr Plumptre said that those facts being admitted he submitted that he was entitled to his injunction. He then produced the agreement, which stated that the defendant was employed as drayman and traveller at a weekly wage of £1. 1s. and he said that the only question that could now arise was as to whether it was a reasonable agreement which he

In evidence the defendant stated that he started employment with Simms in November 1887, at a salary of 18s. a week and that after about a month a round was given to him and his wage increased to £1. 1s.0d. a week plus a commission of a halfpenny for every dozen bottles brought back. On average an additional 10s. to 11s. per week was made. He said that one

68


ENOCH week he made 37s. and because of this his wage was then put back to £1. 10s per week. The agreement was later produced and he was told he would not be allowed to go out on the round unless he signed the agreement. The agreement was signed which stipulated £1. 1s.0d. was the salary but he was verbally assured he would receive commission on empty bottles returned. He worked for about five months under those terms and was then told he was to be put back on a standing wage of 30s. per week to which he replied that he thought that unfair and that he should consider the agreement as terminated unless they conformed to the terms of the agreement. He accepted the money and subsequently received notice and left on 26th August 1898. He asked the manager for the reason for dismissal and was not able to learn the real reason although Mr Zeller had said at a later date that the real reason was the fact that he had not done sufficient. He then went to work for Lords but told the court that he had made a point of not soliciting any orders that would injure his late firm‘s trade.

EVANS take that portion of the agreement, which suited him and ignore the rest. He said he had come to the conclusion, from the facts of the case, that the agreement was put an end to by the mutual agreement between both parties and that there were no legal characteristics to consider. He found for the defendant. Mr Loxton, in asking for a case, was told by the judge that he had strong views on the matter, and should not give the plaintiff any assistance whatever to make an appeal. Mr Loxton then asked that a copy of His Honour‘s notes might be supplied. His Honour remarked that no judge was bound to take notes, except at the request of advocates and that any notes he had made for his guidance would not be made available! Similar procedure etc to to-day.

COUNTY COURT HUMOUR Nominal Damages Awarded Express & Star 4th April 1906 The hearing of a case at Walsall County Court to-day (Wednesday), in which the Plaintiff, Henry Jackson, a Walsall chain maker, brought a claim against Charles Craddock, farmer, of Walsall Wood, for the value of a pair of chains, which it was alleged, the defendant ordered, was the occasion of some humorous remarks on the part of his Honour Judge Howard Smith. On behalf of the Defendant it was urged by Mr E. Evans that the chains were given to the defendant for services rendered, but that the defendant would send the chains back if the plaintiff repented his generosity. The best way out of the difficulty, His Honour now suggested, would be for the defendant to return the chains, and he (the Judge) would allow the plaintiff nominal damages – one penny.

Discussion then took place and His Honour pointed out that the defendant might have been dismissed after one week‘s service only and then was prevented from working within 20 miles radius. Was a restriction of that kind reasonable in all the circumstances? His honour also pointed out that on the evidence the defendant‘s wage had been reduced from a guinea and commission- an average of 34s. per week-to 30s. per week and did that not invalidate the agreement? Mr Plumptre maintained that a simple reduction of wage did not invalidate all the terms of the agreement. In giving judgment His Honour said it was repugnant to all thoughts of justice and equity in a case like this, to think that one party should be allowed to

69


ENOCH On the penny being tendered by the Defendant to the Plaintiff, the latter declined it, whereupon his Honour remarked that it could go towards the national revenue. There would be a surplus on the Budget of one penny, and there would be a reduction in the National Debt to that extent.

EVANS dragged into court without a chance of preparing a defence. Dr Lynch asked if, in the event of the adjournment being granted, assurances would be given that the practice would cease. Mr Evans said that he was prepared to advise the proprietor of the circus, Harry Davenport, that he could continue the circus providing there was no music, singing, or dancing. That, of course would be like having a whisky without the water, or the other way about, but he could not advise John Davenport to give any similar undertaking, because he was not the proprietor of the circus, although he had been already convicted on that assumption. Dr. Lynch said that under those circumstances, if the music and dancing were continued, Harry Davenport would place the responsibility on to his father. Mr. Evans: I think that is a very unfair remark. The Chief Constable said that the offences happened on Saturday and Monday and it was not possible to serve the summons any earlier. Mr. Evans said, that there was an impression in the minds of the magistrates, or they would not have convicted him, that the defendant, John Davenport, had been acting in defiance of the law and of the magistrates. He assured their worships that that was not so, although it did look like it. They, as business men, knew that in the running of the circus large expenses must be incurred in the engagement of artistes, and that those artistes must be paid whether there was any performance or not. The defendant did not wish to break the law, and of course it was true that he need not live. If he did not run the circus he must starve. They all did wrong at times, and if all their little faults were hit at, they would be very sorry. He said that when a man came before the court he should have some mercy extended to him. Mr. Beebee said he was exceedingly sorry to hear what had

WALSALL CIRCUS DILEMA LICENCE AT LAST GRANTED It is apparent from a number of newspaper reports that Enoch was involved in an application for a Circus Licence, which in the first place had not been applied for and later, had not been granted. Initially: John Davenport of The Circus, Whittimere Street was summoned for using the Drill Hall on the 14 th, 15th and 16th January 1903 for the purpose of public music, singing, and dancing, without previously obtaining a licence from the magistrates. Mr. Enoch Evans appeared for the defence. The Magistrates found the case proved and imposed fines. A LATER NEWSPAPER ARTICLE: John Davenport was again summoned that he did allow public singing, music and dancing without a licence on the 17th and 19th January and his son Harry was summoned on similar charges for the same days. Mr. E. Evans defended and applied for an adjournment. He said, the defendant, John Davenport, was served with a summons on Tuesday. It was left at the Drill Hall, and as it happened the defendant was in Birmingham, and so did not get the summons until that morning. The police had had the whole of the time to prepare the case, but his client was

70


ENOCH happened, and asked if John Davenport would give an undertaking that he would not allow any breach of the law in connection with the circus. Mr Evans said that he could not advise his client to give any such undertaking, because it would prejudice him in his appeal against the magistrates. Defendant said he had not caused any breach of the law, and was quite willing to give an undertaking that he would not. Mr. Evans said that if his client did that it would be against his advice. On the required undertakings being given the case was adjourned till Monday next.

EVANS had been honourably kept and the summons issued against Harry Davenport had been withdrawn. He therefore came before the Justices with a perfectly clean sheet. A circus without music was a very flat affair. Notice of appeal had been given by John Davenport against convictions for carrying on the circus without a licence, but that had been dropped altogether. Mr. Jupp asked if Mr. Davenport had an unqualified certificate from the Borough Surveyor Mr. Evans replied that the only stipulation the Borough Surveyor made was that not more than 700 people should be admitted to the circus at any one time. The Chief Constable intimated that with this restriction the arrangements were perfectly satisfactory. Mr. Jupp said that personally he should have voted previously for the licence being granted if Mr. Davenport had an unqualified certificate. He had no desire to keep the circus out of the town. After retiring to consider the matter the magistrates granted the application.

Dates of newspaper reports do not seem to fit in. At the Walsall Police Court to-day (Wednesday) Mr. Enoch Evans applied to Messrs B. Beebee, G. Gill, R.T. Jupp, B. Dean, J. Clare, H.D. Clark and J.J. Lynch, for a temporary authority for music, singing, and dancing at The Drill Hall for the Circus. Mr. Evans explained that the application was made under the regulations of the Municipal Corporation Act. He did not think for a moment it was ever intended by the framers of the Act, supposing a building was passed as suitable for a circus, that the act should be used to keep a circus out of the town. It was made more directly against dancing and singing in public houses, and, unless there was very good reason, the licence should be granted. The application had been made before and refused, but no suggestion had been made from the Bench why it was refused. Mr. Harry Davenport was under very considerable expense with regard to the circus. A week ago he was before the magistrates, and undertook that the circus should be continued without music, singing, and dancing. That undertaking

Amongst the newspaper cuttings traced is the following, which appears to be a follow up of the last reference to a licence being granted

NOW THE BAND PLAYS Mr. Enoch Evans applied for a music licence for the circus at the Drill Hall, which had been granted for a fortnight now expired. The Mayor: Are you aware that the fines have not yet been paid? Mr Evans replied that he had just received an intimation to that effect. He was prepared to guarantee payment. Mr. Loxton produced a handbill, which had been issued, headed, Fiat justitia, ruat coelum (―Let justice be done though the heavens fall‖), ―And now the band plays‖ (laughter).

71


ENOCH “Circus, Drill Hall, Whittimere Street, licence granted at last” The justices wished to know if the bill was issued with the consent of Mr. Evans‘s client?

EVANS asserted that it was such a common ring that he would not demean himself by selling it. The ring (produced) was about 20 years old. His Honour here asked how the plaintiff could tell the age of the ring. The Plaintiff replied that he could tell by the stuffing of the stone. They did not stuff them in the same way now. Mr Cooper was about questioning the plaintiff as to the profit made on articles he had sold to the defendant, but His Honour refused to allow the question of profit to be gone into, remarking that it was well known that there was a profit on jewellery of this sort of about 80% (laughter in court). His Honour argued that he could not accept the evidence that the plaintiff had disposed of this ring knowing it to have been hollow, as it was a serious thing which was equal to branding a man as a rogue. His Honour also went into the evidence showing the different reasons why he could not take that view of the case, and gave a verdict for the plaintiff, with costs, on both claim and counterclaim.

Mr. Evans: Which client? Mr. Loxton said whoever was responsible. Mr. Evans said he believed it was issued with the knowledge of the person who applied for the licence. It was a good advertisement. Several applications had been made and no objection could be taken to the words, ―Licence granted at last.‖ Subsequently a cheque was produced for payment of the fines recently imposed on Mr Davenport. This the Chief Constable declined to accept, until Mr. Evans guaranteed the cheque. The licence was granted for a month.

JEWELLERY DISPUTE Express & Star 1st December 1904 The attention of Judge Roberts was, at Walsall County Court, called to a dispute regarding jewellery. A Birmingham jeweller, named Louis B. Tuchman, was the Plaintiff and Edward Naylor, of Bridge Street, Wednesbury, the Defendant; Mr Enoch Evans appeared for the former and Mr F. Cooper (Messrs Addison and Cooper) for the latter. Plaintiff‘s claim was for £4.5s. (balance of an account) for a gold watch, and this part of the case was admitted, but a counter-claim for £1.5s. had been set up by the defendant, who appeared in court with a ring, which he said had been sold him by the plaintiff as solid (together with another ring), and which was proved, owing to the stone coming out, to be hollow. The Plaintiff positively denied, however, that the ring in question had been supplied by him to the defendant, and

72


ENOCH

EVANS good care of, and when it is your wish to take it away, send word by Jim and you can rely on my sending it.‖ The Judge: ―Perhaps he was smarting under his rejected addresses.‖ Mr Evans: ―He says in his letter they parted on the best of terms; they mutually agreed to separate. I don‘t know the reason at all.‖ Birch: ―The agreement was on one side.‖ The Judge: ―She would not have you.‖ (Laughter). The Judge suggested they should settle their differences, and added (to Miss Duffield): ―He is a finelooking man you know.‖ (Laughter) Mr Glover (defending) said they might change their minds again before ―the fatal day.‖ (Laughter) Miss Duffield in giving her evidence, said that Mr Birch told her he had lost everything, and did not see why he should give up the machine. She told him she had only one thing belonging to him, the ring, and that he should not have. The Judge; ―Is it in remembrance of him?‖ Birch: ―It was the engagement ring.‖ (Laughter) Miss Duffield: ―I did not know I was going to become engaged at the time; it was given to me on my birthday.‖ Mr Glover here stated that the married sister of his client had died, and that his client had expressed his willingness to give the machine up. There had been some feeling, which he did not wish to refer to and the friends had taken up the cudgels on one side or the other. His Honour said he should give a verdict for the Plaintiff for £5 without costs, to be reduced to 1s.if the machine was returned, and if the young woman gave up the ring Miss Duffield said she would return the ring. The Judge: ―Then the finish is like the last act in ―The Merchant of Venice.‖

A COMEDY OF LOVE Amusement in the Walsall County Court. A case came before Judge Howard Smith in which a stylishly dressed young lady, Miss Phoebe Duffield, of Wednesbury, sought to recover £6.10s.0d. (value of sewing machine) or the return of the machine from William Henry Birch, a young man, residing at The London and North-Western Hotel, Wednesbury. Mr. Enoch Evans said the young lady was engaged for about seven years to Birch. The engagement was broken off about twelve months ago. The sewing machine was one, which was in the possession of Mrs Cooke (the young man‘s married sister). After the rupture the young man appeared to have shown considerable good feeling, but he would not return the sewing machine, and the only reason seemed to be that the girl had a ring which was given her on her twentyfirst birthday by Birch, and would not give it up. Judge Howard Smith: ―No ring, no sewing machine.‖ (Laughter) Mr Evans here read a letter from the young man which was as follows:- ―I feel it my duty to write to you to express my sorrow for the hasty words I said to Nellie (a sister) with reference to the machine. No doubt you will understand my feelings when she mentioned the matter; it came so suddenly. I scarcely knew what I was saying. I deeply regret it. It is against my feelings to do anything unpleasant, even if it were possible. I would scorn the idea. We parted on the best of terms and the last thing I should wish is that I should be capable of an action which will always be a barrier between us; and not only that, it would mean you always treating me with contempt. I should not like that to happen, for I still have some feelings left and many happy recollections of the past. So you can take it from me, Phoebe, that the machine is all right, and being taken

73


ENOCH

CRUELTY CASES

EVANS

KEEPING A DANGEROUS DOG January 1900

William Cockbill, of 5½ Short Acre Street, was summoned for causing a horse to be ill treated and William Knight, of 10, Birch Street, was summoned for ill treating a horse on October 8 th. Mr E. Evans appeared to defend and Inspector Ruane, R.S.P.C.A., prosecuted. Evidence was given that the defendant Knight was driving a horse which was going very lame. It was stated that the horse was suffering from ringbone, and was quite unfit for work. Cockbill was fined 40s. and costs and Knight 10s. and costs or 21 days each.

Henry Thomas, of Bridge Street, Clayhanger, was charged with keeping a dangerous dog. Mr Enoch Evans, Walsall defended. P.C. Lockley said that at 2.30 p.m. on the 26th ult he was passing down Bridge Street Clayhanger, and when passing the defendant‘s house the defendant‘s dog flew at him and bit him on the leg. Witness saw the defendant who offered him sixpence for a drink but witness said he would not be bribed. Cross examined he said he had cautioned the defendant about the dog as he had received complaints that it had bitten other persons. The dog‘s teeth did not penetrate his clothing. John Poxon deposed that he was bitten by the same dog as he was passing the house on the 18 th November. Mr Evans said that this man had brought this dog up as a pup. They had no children and this dog was their ewe lamb as it were. Fanny Salt was called by the police and deposed to seeing the injury caused to the previous witness. She had seen the dog snap at people and run after bicycles. She believed it to be a dangerous dog. The next door neighbour to the previous witness also gave evidence. The defendant was then called and said he kept a shop into which a great number of children came, but the dog had not bitten any of them. He was willing to keep the dog under control. The Bench ordered that the dog be muzzled in public, and ordered the defendant to pay 16s. costs.

(To day it would be an unroad-worthy vehicle)

Thomas Russell (15) was summoned for ill treating a dog on October 4th. The evidence was that the defendant threw a piece of coal at the dog, striking it on the shoulder. The animal after the blow was unable to walk, and the defendant then threw it into the canal. It was about an hour and a half between the time the dog was struck and the time that it died. Fined 20s and costs or 21 days.

74


ENOCH

EVANS

A HORSE WARRANTY

STREET OBSTRUCTION

7th December 1901

Importance to Shopkeepers

At the County Court on Wednesday, before his honour Judge Howland Roberts. Phoebe Ann Jones, of Bloxwich brought an action to recover £5.12s. from Messrs Tanner and Havenden of West Bromwich. Mr Enoch Evans was for the plaintiff and Mr S.E. Loxton defended. The plaintiff‘s case was that the defendants sold her at the Walsall Market on Whit-Tuesday 1901, a pony which they warranted to be sound in wind and limb, undertaking that if it did not suit they would return the amount paid for the same-viz., £9, less 10s. The plaintiff said the pony was found to be broken-winded and a roarer, and with a bad cough. It was returned to the defendants but they did not repay the £8.10s. They induced the plaintiff to take another pony, which was also found to be worthless. Defendants refused to take the pony back, and it was sold at public auction on July 23rd for £3.17s 6d., of which 19s 6d. was paid for auctioneer‘ expenses. The defence was that the original pony was purchased with a knowledge that it was broken winded, and that the price was reduced on this account. Otherwise the pony was according to the warranty. A verdict was given for the plaintiff for the full amount claimed with costs.

Arthur Jennings, fruiterer, etc, Bradford Street, Walsall, for whom Mr Enoch Evans appeared, was summoned for obstructing the street by allowing a wagon to remain in front of his shop on the 20 th ult. Police constable Lloyd said that on the day named a cart belonging to the defendant was in front of his shop for fifty minutes. The horse had been taken out of the shafts, and the wagon was not being unloaded at the time. When he spoke to the defendant he was most insolent. The Defendant had before been convicted of this sort of thing. In answer to Mr Evans witness said he had been in the police force three years, but did not know that he had no right to prejudice the case by referring to previous convictions. Mr Loxton (magistrates‘ clerk) said he had told the witness once or twice about this before. Lloyd said the reason he mentioned the previous conviction was to show that it was no use cautioning the man. Mr Evans, in defence submitted that the policeman was vindictive. The sole reason for the delay was that a wagon of bananas came to the shop sooner than expected, and they were unloaded as soon as it was possible to do so. The Mayor said the bench were of the opinion that there was unreasonable delay about unloading the van, and the defendant was fined 5s and costs.

75


ENOCH

EVANS Whilst he was on the ground defendant kicked him in the side and broke the glass of his watch. Eventually, by means of holding a bush, he was able to get upon his feet, when defendant again struck him twice. He then ran away, leaving his hat behind. Complainant produced a gravel-stained waistcoat, the condition of which he said was due to defendant dragging him along the ground. There was also blood upon it. Cross-examined, complainant admitted that although the police station was only on the opposite side of the road he did not call and report the matter, because he thought it best to go straight to his Solicitor. Complainant‘s wife and a boy named Horace Harriman gave evidence as to the state of complainant after the assault. Defendant denied that he assaulted Horsfield. He declined to give complainant money, and asked him to leave the ground. He refused to do so, however, and he then caught hold of his arm and attempted to put him out. The man then squirmed about and sat down on the ground. A fine of 20s. and costs (13s 6d.) were imposed.

ASSAULT by AN EMPLOYER 20th July 1905 Charles A. Howle, wine and spirit merchant of Rushall was summoned for assaulting Charles E.R. Horsfield, of Walsall on July 8th. Mr Enoch Evans appeared for the complainant, and Mr F. Cooper defended. The case for the complainant was that he was a traveller in the employ of the defendant until a short time ago, when he was summarily dismissed. On the following Saturday, in accordance with his Solicitor‘s advice, he went to the defendant‘s residence for some wages that were due to him. He saw the defendant in the bottling stores, and told him what he had come for. Defendant then shouted, ―Where‘s my money? If you don‘t give my money I‘ll kill you,‖ and accused him of appropriating money which he had collected for him. This, he added he had previously sent to the defendant by registered letter, but he refused to receive it. Complainant remarked that he thought defendant meant to kill him and throw him into the road, and say that he had not been there. He managed to get in front of him, but then defendant struck him in the neck, and he fell down upon the gravel path.

76


ENOCH

WALSALL MAN‟S TRAGIC END

EVANS Mr. James Evans, (a brother of Enoch’s), a junior member of the firm of John Evans and Sons, Whittimere Street, in whose employ the deceased had been, said deceased had been a good and faithful servant, and pleasant relations had existed between the man and his employers. During the last few years the deceased had been in failing health, and had become irritable and excitable of late. On the day previous to the man‘s death he (Mr. Evans) had occasion to complain to the deceased of not carrying out his instructions in the way in which he wished them to be carried out, and the deceased then carried them out as required. There was, also explained Mr. Evans, no wish to discharge the man. The Jury returned a verdict of ―Suicide whilst of unsound mind‖ and added that no reflection was cast upon Mr. Evans by what occurred on the day previous to the man‘s death.

February 1906 The circumstances connected with the death of John Purchase (70), of Moncrieffe Street, Walsall, were the subject of an inquest at the Walsall Hospital this (Tuesday) afternoon. The deceased was on Friday last found at Gillity-Greaves Fields with his throat cut. Deceased was on his knees bleeding very much from a gash in his throat, and leaning against a post near the footpath. A razor was lying near him. He tried to get hold of the weapon again, but a man named James moved it out of his reach. When the police arrived with the ambulance the man was dead. From the evidence of the widow of the deceased it appeared that her husband on the night before had been much upset owing to something that had been said to him at the works, where he had been employed for a period of 45 years. Mr Purchase tried to console him, but was unable to do so. Deceased could not sleep and sat up in bed all night. He left next morning as if going to work.

77


ENOCH

DISPUTE ABOUT A MILK SUPPLY

EVANS

FACTORY ACT CASES at WALSALL A SOLITARY MAN WITHOUT HIS SOLITARY MASK. Express & Star 5th May 1905

Action at Walsall Settled by Mutual Arrangement Express & Star 6th June 1907

At Walsall County Court, Messrs J.W. James and Co., Ltd., of Hope Works, Selbourne Street, were summoned for failing to have a boiler examined by a competent person at least once within the previous month, on April 8 th; also with having failed to keep a register which showed the result of every examination of the boiler, on the same date. Mr. J. Jackson (Inspector of Factories) intimated that as the boiler was only used a third of its time he had agreed to ask for the withdrawal of the case on payment of costs. The boiler had been inspected but he was assured that the insurance company had failed to give the usual certificate. Defendants were ordered to pay costs. Edwin Whitehouse, a young man, 27, Reeves Street, Bloxwich, was summoned at the same court for having while engaged in bottling aerated waters neglected to wear a mask and gauntlets. In this case Mr J. Jackson (H.M. Inspector) visited the factory of Mr A. Ford, at Bloxwich, and found a man working without a mask or gauntlets, though the articles were near to him. Defendant now admitted that he did not wear the mask and gauntlets because he had only one case of bottles to finish, and was working at low pressure. Fined 40s. and costs.

To-day, (Thursday), at Walsall County Court before His Honour Judge Howard Smith, a case was heard in which the plaintiff was Richard H. Ashmall, farmer, of Tuppenhurst, Armitage, Rugeley; and the defendants were Sidney Turner and Major Turner, trading as the Walsall Creamery Co., Portland Street, Walsall. The claim was to recover ÂŁ17.14s.4d. for milk sold and delivered to the defendants up to Lady Day 1906. Defendants counterclaimed for ÂŁ20.13s.3d.- Mr Burke (Burke and Pickering, of Stafford) was for the plaintiff and Mr Enoch Evans for the defence. Evidence given by the plaintiff was that the milk was supplied under contract by which he was to provide a certain quantity, not less than 50 and not more than 60 gallons. Plaintiff, in answer to Mr Evans, admitted that in October, 1905, he had notice that he was not sending the proper quantity. Mr Burke urged that it was at the request of the defendants that Plaintiff did not send the stipulated quantity. On a number of occasions during the summer months the plaintiff at the request of the defendants had sent less than 50 gallons. Correspondence, which had taken place on the matter, was now read, and Mr Burke submitted that the contract was broken by mutual consent, and that being so broken could not be reverted to. His Honour eventually suggested that a consultation should take place between the parties concerned, and this having taken place it was announced that a settlement had been arrived at. The terms were not mentioned in court.

In the next case Alfred Ford of Beechdale Works, Reeve Street, Bloxwich, was summoned for neglecting to enforce the special rules for bottling aerated waters. Mr J. Jackson (H.M. Inspector) argued that Mr Ford only engaged a boy and this solitary man Whitehouse to bottle the aerated water, and as Whitehouse had 78


ENOCH four times been cautioned in the last five years, it was proof that the employer had not enforced the rules. Mr Enoch Evans defending asked the Inspector whether Mr Ford had not repeatedly cautioned his man Whitehouse that he must wear the mask and gauntlets. The Inspector: Mr Ford has told me he warned him. Mr Evans: Come, come Mr Jackson; be fair, even if you are prosecuting. You know Mr. Ford is a man of repute who has been in business in Bloxwich for over 20 years. Do you not know that?

EVANS The Inspector: No; I did not know there was such a place as Bloxwich 20 years ago. Mr. Evans: Do you mean to say this solitary defendant has got to stand over his solitary man while he wears his solitary mask? (laughter) The Inspector: Will you repeat that question? – (laughter). Mr. Evans: I am afraid I can‘t in the same sequence – (laughter). The Inspector: I expect the defendant to use due diligence in carrying out the Act. The case was dismissed.

79


ENOCH

EVANS accept that. The Official Receiver intimated he would accept that and His Honour Judge Roberts made an order for the immediate discharge of the debtor.

BANKRUPTCY CASES 1899 to 1904 From the newspaper reports it would appear that Enoch Evans had a substantial knowledge of bankruptcy law and dealt with a large number of bankruptcy cases over the years.

A WALSALL APPEAL IN BANKRUPTCY On Monday, the Divisional Court sitting in bankruptcy, composed of Mr Justice Bingham and Mr Justice Darling, had before them in re a debtor ex parte petitioning creditors v the debtor, which was an appeal from a County Court in Staffordshire held at Walsall. Mr Lushington (instructed by Mr Enoch Evans, of Walsall) appeared for the appellants and Mr Cave (instructed by Messrs Nicklin and Wylie of Walsall), represented the respondent. Mr Lushington stated that this was an appeal by the petitioning creditors from the refusal of the Registrar to make a receiving order upon the joint petition by one Barton for £25. 10s., and Messrs Fleming and Co. for £24. 18s. 1d., these two sums making a little over the necessary £50. The debtor counterclaimed against Barton for the sum of 30s. which brought the amount below £50. The petitioners thereupon asked that a further sum admitted to be due to Fleming and Co of £11. 15s. 8d. should be added in order to bring the amount of the joint debts to over the £50. The Registrar refused to make the amendment and it was against this refusal that the present appeal was brought. Without calling upon Mr Cave, Mr Justice Bingham said the matter was entirely one of discretion on the part of the Registrar, and it was not shown that the discretion had been wrongly exercised, or that the Registrar made any mistake. The appeal must be dismissed with costs. Mr Justice Darling delivered judgment to the same effect.

There are many reported cases where he acted for debtors but few reported cases where he acted in applications for discharge! APPLICATION FOR DISCHARGE One case in 1902, which I came across: Mr Enoch Evans applied before the County Court judge, for an order of discharge to be granted to Samuel John Carter, who carried on business at 23 High Street, Walsall, as a glass and china dealer in the year 1891. He explained that the debtor was adjudicated bankrupt for the sum of £120 that year, and that he had applied for a discharge a few months ago. A dividend of 2s.11d in the £ had been paid to creditors. It was reported that he had not kept proper books of account and had traded after knowing of his insolvency. It was contended he had contracted debts without reasonable or probable grounds of expectation of paying the same. It was also contended he had absconded to America. Mr Evans said that with regard to the debtor‘s departure to America, that this had arisen entirely from a dispute with his wife and that this had not prejudiced the estate, as the whole of the statement had been prepared before he left. Mr Evans, contended, that after ten years he thought the debtor should be discharged. The application was opposed at that time by the Official Receiver, who suggested that the debtor should pay a sum of money to enable him to pay a further dividend to the creditors. It was reported the debtor had consulted with his friends and was willing to find a further £16 if the Official Receiver would 80


ENOCH

WALSALL BANKRUPTCY COURT

EVANS

PROPERTY MARKET 1906

th

20 July 19On Tuesday evening M. A.C. Fraser Wood (Watkins, Powell & Wood) sold by auction at his Property Sale Room, 28, Bridge Street, six dwelling houses, Nos 50 to 60, (even Numbers inclusive), in Moncreiffe Street, the weekly rentals of which amount to £85. 16s. per annum. The property is leasehold for 90 years from September 1901, at an annual ground rent of £8.8s.. The initial bid was the substantial one of £700, and the property changed hands at £805. Mr Enoch Evans was the solicitor for the vendor.

A Solicitor in Trouble At this Court, on Tuesday, before Mr Registrar Clarke, the following cases came on for hearing, the Official Receiver (Mr Sam Wells Page) attending in each case:James Armstrong, solicitor, Bridge Street, Walsall, again failed to appear for public examination, and the Official Receiver asked the court to adjourn the examination sine die- Mr Enoch Evans, who appeared for creditors, said he did not know what steps he had taken with a view to the debtor being traced, but he thought it very desirable that every possible effort to this end should be made, both for the sake of the profession and the creditors. The Official Receiver said as a matter of course he should prepare his report as soon as possible and lay the facts before the Board of Trade, but it would be for them to say what should be done.- The examination was adjourned sine die. Harry Shaw, of Bradford Street, Walsall, surgeon. Mr Jackson appeared for the debtor and Mr Enoch Evans for the creditors. The Debtor was examined by Mr Evans as to the payment of insurance premiums to Mr Armstrong, and as to a greenhouse, claimed by his wife as a gift from his brother and not under the terms of the marriage settlement. He was also examined by Mr Evans and by Mr Jackson as to the purchase of his father‘s practice, and as to his own starting in practice in opposition and his giving up at the request of the family.- Ultimately, however, the Official Receiver pointed out that these family quarrels had nothing to do with the question at issue in the bankruptcy, which appeared to have been brought about by the debtor‘s transactions with Armstrong.The examination was adjourned to a later date.

PROPERTY MARKET 20th June 1901 The properties sold last Tuesday by Messrs Watkins, Powell & Wood, were as follows: The five freehold dwelling houses at Summer Hill, Muckley Corner, producing £49.8s per annum, quickly found a purchaser at £550. Nine dwelling houses forming the corner of Blue Lane West and Newland Street Walsall, producing together £101.3s 6d per annum, leasehold for 99 years from the 25th March 1855, at an annual ground rent of £4 5s. sold for £850. Six houses, Nos. 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 and 26 Scarborough Road, producing £78 per annum, leasehold for 99 years from the 29th September 1899, at the annual ground rent of £8.10s. sold for £880. A freehold ground rent of ££3 15s 11d. on Nos 65 and 67 Pargeter Street, Walsall realised £102 10s. The total of the whole sale thus being £2382 10s. Mr Enoch Evans was the solicitor for the Vendors.

81


ENOCH

DISPUTE ABOUT A PAWN TICKET

EVANS

AN ALTERED BANK BOOK Serious Allegation at Walsall. Evening Despatch 18th June 1908

ACTION AT WALSALL COUNTY COURT

Serious allegations respecting the forging of a Post Office document were made at Walsall County Court to-day in a case in which Elizabeth Glover, of Cheslyn Hay, sued Moses Whitehouse, also of Cheslyn Hay, for £10, money advanced. Mr Enoch Evans, solicitor for the defendant, said the case had previously been before the court, and had been adjourned in order that his Honour should get to know what amount of money the plaintiff had drawn out of the Post Office bank. The attested copy of the Post Office account which had been received by the plaintiff from the Post Office was put in, and showed that the amount drawn out of the bank was £5, and Mr Evans pointed out that someone had altered the document since it had been received and put £10 in place of £5. Judge Smith (to plaintiff): Do you know that this is a forgery? The Plaintiff protested that she did not alter the Post Office document, but the Judge said that someone had altered it as £19 was in different ink to the whole of the statement. Mr. Evans said that by altering the £5 to £10 whoever had forged the document had thrown the balance of the account wrong. Whoever had made the alteration, the plaintiff had sent the document to the Court, and she was responsible for it. A verdict was given for the defendant with costs.

A case was heard at the Walsall County Court, before his Honour Judge Howard Smith, in which Emma Hammond, wife of an engine driver, of Mill Street, Walsall was the plaintiff, and the defendant was C.A..J. Bickley, auctioneer and registered bailiff of Walsall. Mr E. Evans was for the plaintiff and Mr J. Wylie (Nicklin and Wylie) for the defence. The action was to recover £4, value of rings, which, it was alleged, had been wrongfully taken out of pawn, and £1 for detention. The case for the defendant was that Mr Bickley distrained for rent, and subsequently a pawn ticket was missed. It was contended that Mr. Bickley had no right to the ticket, and that on enquiry being made it was found that the rings had been fetched out of pawn. The defence was that Mr. Bickley was asked by Plaintiff to buy the pawn ticket, and he purchased it for 2s., and afterwards redeemed the rings. On the th 19 November he put them up by auction, amongst other goods, and got £1.2s.3d. for the rings. One of them was bought by a policeman. On the whole transaction he made 8 ½ d profit – (laughter). The case ended in a verdict for the defendant with costs.

82


ENOCH

EVANS met as a political body, but as burgesses of that large and growing ward. In Councillor Burt they did not recognise either a political friend or enemy, but simply their representative. He thought he was speaking the mind and feeling of all when he said that in the three years Mr. Burt had represented them on the Council they had never known him to fail in his work, or to do a shady thing for any party. If they had he (Mr. Evans) would not have been there that night to occupy the chair(applause). So far as he was concerned, he thanked Mr. Burt for the services he had rendered and the time he had devoted to the service of the town, and to the ward he had represented in particular-(loud applause). He did not think there ever was a time when they had more need of men on the Council who would devote their time and their business capacity to the interests of the town. With the large undertakings they had before them, and the ever-increasing population, they needed men not only with business ability for the good of their fellow townsmen-(applause). That their representative (Councillor Burt was willing to do-(loud applause)

COUNCILLOR BURT IN CALDMORE ANNUAL ADDRESS TO THE BURGESSES. 1899 Besides many appearances in the various courts around the area Enoch also paid a strong part in the local community and there are many reports of his activities in the various wards in the area and reports of his being in the chair. On Monday evening a meeting of the burgesses of Caldmore Ward was held in Palfrey Board School for the purpose of hearing from Councillor Burt an account of his work on the Council during the past three years. The chair was occupied by Mr. Enoch Evans, who was supported by Councillor Burt, the Rev. A. Hampden Lee, Dr. Riorden, Messrs W.T. Cotterell, Fulford, C.H.Burton, S. Allsop, R. Chambers, &c. THE CHAIRMAN, in opening the E.S. Hildick, Mr. A. Jagger, the Rev W.T. Tutton, Mr. Clews and others. He afterwards went on to say that they had not

83


ENOCH

EVANS

Enoch and his transport pre First World War

85


ENOCH

EVANS

ALIEN INVASION A London Ex-Detective. Interesting Facts 20th November 1905

Under the auspices of the Liberal Unionist Association, Mr Stephen White, ex-chief of Whitechapel Detective Force, delivered an interesting lecture at Walsall last night, on ―East End Life‖ illustrated by a number of limelight views. Mr. Enoch Evans said the lecturer would deal with the evils arising from the unrestricted alien invasion, which he said was such a positive curse to the workingmen of this country. The Lecturer at the outset dealt with the Scotland Yard museum, and told the history of the many relics which were exhibited and views of which were shown on the sheet, He enumerated a number of crimes, most of which had been committed by aliens. As instancing how the aliens were driving out the English population in the East End of London, he said he knew a square near Thames Street Police Court consisting of 98 houses, which a few years ago were occupied by respectable people. Now they were entirely occupied by aliens, and the rents had risen from £32 per annum to £95 per annum. It was most extraordinary that when the neighbourhood deteriorated the rents went up. A view of a group of Chinese in Stepney was shown, and the lecturer said that some of their radical friends whilst they objected to Chinese going to South Africa yet obstructed measures to prevent their coming to England. Pictures were shown of thousands of men waiting outside the docks with the hope of getting work to do, and also of the shiploads of aliens continually coming into England. On the one hand, therefore, they had thousands of unemployed; and, on the other thousands of aliens-who were paupers when they arrived-arrivals every week. Thirteen ship loads arrived every week, and during the present year 102,000 aliens had arrived in London. The Radicals ought to be ashamed of themselves for obstructing a Bill which was introduced with the object of shutting out these undesirables. There were so many aliens in East London that they had taken absolute possession of certain areas, and occasionally one would see a sign, ―English spoken here‖. In an eightroomed house, which he (the lecturer) knew, there were no fewer than eight foreign families living, whilst thousands of honest British working men were starving. These aliens consisting, for the most part, of the scum of Europe, thieves, forgers, cardsharpers, and pickpockets-were given bread at the shelters provided for them. The workingmen of England, however, were not only injured in this way, but they were deprived of employment by reason of the foreign manufactured goods coming to England free. One hundred years on, we still have immigrant problems and goods manufactured abroad coming from abroad. Has much changed in the past hundred years?

86


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 6 JACK joins ENOCH in PARTNERSHIP THE 1914 – 1918 WORLD WAR I PERIOD John Dawe Evans – Jack – born on the 1st May 1891, was articled to Enoch. He qualified as a solicitor in 1913 and joined Enoch in Partnership immediately. One does wonder how worrying a time 1913 was, just before World War I. I have no records of The Firm, then Enoch Evans & Son, at this time and cannot trace any newspaper cuttings relating to the activities of Enoch and/or Jack. Times, I do think, could not have been too hard, as Jack before being called up to serve in the Army during the War, married his first wife, Muriel Alice May Jowett on the 20 th October 1915 and their only daughter, as mentioned in Chapter 2, Muriel Joan, was born on the 14 th September 1916. At the date when Jack joined Enoch in Partnership the offices were at ‗Bank Buildings,‘ 20 Bridge Street, Walsall and there is within this book a photograph of that building. The move to Bank Buildings had taken place by 1892 and The Firm stayed there until March 1921 when it moved to 19 Bridge Street, across the road from Bank Buildings. I describe the Bank Building offices in a little detail in the next chapter. One of Enoch‘s biggest upsets, caused by the War, was that he had his best horses requisitioned for war work. One of his rather splendid show horses, used to pulling the family four-wheeled trap and wagonette, and often being ridden by Enoch was requisitioned and sent to pull guns in France. Enoch was, I was told by my father before he died, paid £60 for the horse, a lot of money in those days. He had to make do with an ―old hack,‖ and a two-wheeled cart. Jack, part way through the War, was called up to serve and joined the Army. Before that he had joined the local auxiliary Special Constabulary Force and I understand he remained in that for many years. In the Army he became an ambulance driver, and I think ended up being in charge of a fleet of ambulances just behind the front line in Northern France. Enoch was left at home to manage The Firm and bring up the other children. War was declared on Tuesday 4th August 1914. This was the day after the Bank Holiday and in those days only one day was taken away from work for each Bank Holiday. So most people were back at work! There was great enthusiasm to enlist at the outset of

87


ENOCH

EVANS

War and queues formed outside the recruiting offices. So successful were some of the recruiting officers, who went around the streets trying to get men enlisted, that it was reported that in one street there was not a man left between the ages of 18 and 45. Bearing in mind that in 1914-18 there was no wireless, no national telephone system, no radio or television, I wondered how people found out about what was going on. Daily newspapers were the main source of information and people also found out from those sent back home through injury or on leave. Soldiers were seen getting off the trains caked in mud wearing jerkin type sweaters, made of fur, and wearing tin hats. . Walsall was a manufacturing area for munitions. The men having gone to War, the women folk came out of domestic service and started to work in factories. Walsall itself was in the news, in particular, on Monday the 31 st January 1916. It was on that day, that Walsall, in the heart of the Midlands, and well away from coastal areas, realised it was in the War zone. Other areas, and in particular London, had been raided but Walsall people never expected a raid on Walsall. There was no warning. The trams were running and business was as usual and suddenly before the townsfolk realised what was happening Zeppelins had come and bombs were falling. The War had descended on Walsall. The first bomb is reported to have fallen at 8.05 a.m. on the Congregational Church in the Wednesbury Road. Enoch at that time lived at Dundrennan House on the Wednesbury Road not far from the church. That first bomb fell on the centre of the high arched roof of the church, shattering the structure of the church. Church walls were left standing in part only. At the time a school class was in the church parlour and the leader of the class was reported to have said that at 8.05 a.m. a piece of ceiling first fell from the roof and then there was a blinding blue flash more vivid and fearsome than any lightening she had ever seen. Remember, that this was a period in time long before television and radio and many had not seen reports of fighting or bombs falling, as we do so often see on the news these days. There was then a terrific explosion. She and her class escaped without injury from the parlour, which was slightly removed from the main church. The second bomb, an incendiary bomb, fell inside the hospital grounds, lit up into a large flame but was put out fairly quickly. The third dropped on the garden of a house in Mountrath Street, doing a lot of damage. Another fell in the front of the Municipal Institute. The building was crowded but, despite falling plaster and shattered windows, no one within the building was reported as injured. That cannot be said of those in the street and in particular flying glass penetrated a passing tramcar and struck down the Lady Mayoress who was travelling in the tramcar at the time. Her injuries were such that she was taken to the hospital immediately and despite the efforts of the nursing staff died three weeks later. The raid itself lasted only a short time. People had taken cover quickly, lights had gone out and many houses had suffered damage. At about 12.30 p.m. that day further bombs were dropped in the Pleck and Birchills districts doing a great deal of damage. This was the only time in the 1914-18 War that Walsall came under attack. But, many people were traumatised and suffered shock. In

88


ENOCH

EVANS

Bradford Place all the shop windows were shattered. signs of shrapnel having struck walls.

In various parts of the town there were

Very few people were killed. Where Enoch and his family were that day and what the Evans family experiences were I cannot report because I can trace no records but I thought a few lines, about the only raid on Walsall during the First World War, were worth adding. The Firm survived through it. There are no reports of damage to the premises occupied by The Firm or the family home ―Dundrennan House‖. I was told by my father, Norman, that one of the managing clerks in the employment of The Firm at the outset of War joined up and was killed in action in Northern France. Some foods became in short supply and a Local Food Rationing Scheme came into force on the 28th January 1918, late on in the War. From the consequent registrations within Walsall it was ascertained that while the resident population at the time was 88,001, the shopping population was 99,450. There were some 25,150 families in the Town. I do not know why the difference between resident population and shopping population but presumably shoppers came to the town from outside areas. In the Official Programme about peace celebrations published in July 1919 there was no mention of Enoch‘s father‘s business or The Firm. Solicitors could not advertise in those days but I have seen a print of the advertisement from the magazine of The Walsall Mutual Benefit Building Society, which confirms that at that time T. Harrison Evans, brother of Enoch, was solicitor to that Society. I understand that Enoch and Jack undertook a great deal of legal work for that Building Society. So much for the First World War years. Yes problems continued till after the War. In 1920 because he, Enoch, could still not purchase a good horse he did purchase his first cara Humber saloon.

JACK‟S FIRST CARAVAN Jack in his early days in The Firm became interested in caravans and on his return from the 1914-18 War bought a Morris Oxford car and a caravan and started a lifetime of towing caravans around Great Britain. He did not venture on to the Continent and I always understood, that after his war time experiences, he had no wish to return to France. He kept a log of miles towed and before he parted with his last caravan, only shortly before his death, he had towed various caravans a total of more than 50,000 miles.

89


ENOCH

EVANS

20 BRIDGE STREET WALSALL about 1925

90


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 7 1920 NORMAN ARTICLED TO JACK THE FIRM MOVES OFFICES to 19 BRIDGE STREET Norman Harrison Evans – Norman - born on the 29th September 1902, was educated at Queen Mary‘s School, Walsall, and later went away to boarding school, Rydal, at Colwyn Bay, North Wales. Why he went away to boarding school, I do not know. Enoch must have had some strong reason or strong connection with that school. It was a Methodist school and Enoch was a strong Methodist. To visit Norman for half term must have necessitated a train journey to North Wales via Crewe. Enoch did not have a car until 1920 by which time Norman had just finished at Rydal. Norman, with the concurrence of Enoch, was, on the 2 nd January 1920, articled for five years to Jack. In that Indenture completed by the three of them, Jack covenanted with Norman and Enoch that he would ―by the best ways or means he may or can and to the utmost of his skill and knowledge teach and instruct Norman in the practice or profession of a Solicitor.‖ Having been taught by Jack all his bad habits Norman qualified as a solicitor on the completion of his articles and joined Enoch and Jack in Partnership in January 1925 although the actual Certificate issued by The Law Society stating that he had passed his Law Society Finals bears date, 3rd April 1925. . My father, Norman, before he died did tell me that he remembered ―Bank Buildings,‖ No 20, Bridge Street and he described the office in 1993 in an interview recorded by Walsall Local History Centre. Remember that this was before the days of central heating and indeed before the days of electric fires. There were no photocopiers, no carbon paper and certainly no computers. Norman told me that Enoch, and brother Jack ―kept good coal fires burning most of the year,‖ in the building. When Norman joined in 1920 he occupied a very small room on the first floor, with a foul smelling gas fire-one of the earlier gas fires! The picture of Bank Buildings, reproduced in this book, was not taken when Enoch was in practice there, and, I believe, it was taken after Enoch‘s time in the building. Looking at the picture my father told me that the room shown as being occupied by a ―Mr Jackson solicitor‖ was occupied in 1920 by a Mr Herbert Sargeant Brookes who was an assistant solicitor with Enoch and Jack. I remember being introduced to him many years later in about 1947. He died in about 1952.

91


ENOCH

EVANS

The cashier in 1920 was a Mr John Addison Wincer and he shared a room with Herbert Brookes. John Wincer, I met and he was still working in the office when I joined The Firm as an articled clerk in 1953. He was a very good pianist. In his day he was known to be a master at shorthand and he was an excellent cashier within The Firm. He never ceased to work and continued with The Firm until shortly before his death. Interestingly he had designed a cash journal with a special lay out for solicitors‘ office accounts, which had been adopted by one of the law publishers and many copies of ―Wincer‘s Cash Journal,‖ as it was then known, were in use throughout the profession in the 1950‘s and the early 1960‘s. I still have a clean unused copy at home. No use today and thrown out by The Firm when we went over, initially to a mechanised accounting system, before moving on to a computerised accounting system, for all the account records for both The Firm and client accounts. One final comment about John Wincer was that he always kept all his notes of clients‘ instructions and all records of what had been done on each matter and why, in shorthand. By 1959 there were few people trained in shorthand, and, when he died we, within The Firm, had quite a considerable amount of difficulty in understanding and getting his shorthand notes typed up. Another interesting titbit this calls to mind is that, many years later, when Mr. Wincer made his will, he wrote it himself – in shorthand – and it was eventually, I understand, accepted by the District Probate Registry and proved - and that must be unique. Also in 1921 in, I think the same room as Herbert Brookes and John Wincer, was an engrossing clerk by the name of Charles Norman Skett. What happened to him I know not but I presume he died of old age and was probably still working up until shortly before his death. But, I have moved on a bit. Back to Bank Buildings in 1920. One of the front rooms was of course occupied by Enoch himself but which one I do not remember having been told. Behind the room occupied by Enoch, and looking out of the back of the building, and facing the Parish Church, was the general office. In 1920 that room was occupied by Harry Watson who was one of the first clerks to Enoch, he, Harry Watson having joined Enoch as a lad. No girls in the office in those days. Harry Watson was the senior shorthand secretary and clerk. There were two further clerks in the same room, the one acting as a switchboard operator and junior, and the other was clerk to John Dawe Evans, ‗Jack‘. Jack‘s room also led from the enquiry office and faced towards the Parish Church. A staff in 1920 of about, I believe, eight. In 1920 the telephone number was Walsall 67. No private residences were on the phone in those days and few businesses. Look at the position to day. Mobiles, many homes with more than one line, multi lines and diversion of call systems that lead you from one department to another. But I bet most calls nowadays take longer to be answered than they did in 1920! I await a letter or two from to-day‘s telephonists reading this chapter! Yes, you have many lines to answer, not just one. By 1920 there was even an intercom within the office. The intercom was by means of a ―speaking tube‖ between the rooms occupied by Enoch, Jack and the general office. One would blow down the tube, which would make a whistle sound in the other two rooms. One blast down the tube by Enoch was for Jack, two blasts for the general office. At the receiving end of the tube a plug would be taken out and one then spoke into the tube. By 1921 The Firm was in need of further accommodation. No 20 Bridge Street was vacated in March 1921 and The Firm then moved across the road to No 19 Bridge Street

92


ENOCH

EVANS

at which address it remained for the next seventy years. A copy of the announcement of the move is included in this book showing Enoch and eldest son Jack as the Partners. In 1921 the accommodation at No 19 consisted of two rooms on the first floor and four rooms on the second floor. Those of you who recall No 19, or who take a look at the premises to-day, have to remember that as one climbed the stairs the rooms facing one at nearly first floor level and looking out of the back of the building and before one turns back towards the front of the building, had not been built in 1921. Having passed along the entrance passage at ground floor level and having climbed the stairs, there on the first floor landing of No 19 Bridge Street stood a large coal chest. All heating in No 19, in those days, and until the early 1950‘s, was by coal fire. The room facing you on the first floor, being the room over the entrance hallway, was the enquiry office. This was occupied by three clerks one of whom operated the telephone. To the right was the room occupied by Enoch. On the next floor up, on the landing, also stood a coal chest. The room facing you as you came on to that landing was occupied by Herbert Sargeant Brookes and John Addison Wincer the cashier. The room to the left was occupied by four clerks and the room to the right, being the room over Enoch‘s office, was occupied by Jack and Norman who was at that time still articled to Jack, according to his articles of clerkship. In 1921 that was the extent of the accommodation occupied by The Firm save that there was a single W.C. on the ground floor under the stairs. This was kept under lock and key. The key was in the front room on the first floor. There were no separate loo‘s for men and women in 1921 or shortly thereafter. Please see Chapter 11 for the memories of Betty Spanswick concerning the loo and the offices twenty plus years later, namely in 1944. In 1921 the staff was up to about 12, an increase of four in one year. In 1921 the room to the left of the enquiry office at first floor level and the room at the back at first floor level on that side were used by the shop below. At first floor level the back room to the right, to the rear of Enoch‘s room and the back room to the right at second floor level and all the top floor accommodation were used by the ground floor shop below Enoch‘s office. Over the years The Firm gradually took over all the office space above ground floor level-first the room at the front to the left of the enquiry office and then at second floor level the back room and two of the third floor rooms. That was the position in 1953, when I started my articles, with the enquiry office middle front first floor, with up to three girls in it, Jack in the room to the right and Norman in the room to the left. On the second floor in the middle room facing one was I forget who but to the right was the then cashier, Arthur Louch, (and I still contact his son occasionally), and also John Wincer who by 1953 had ceased to be chief cashier but undertook an amount of tax work for the partnership. By then an elderly man, his shorthand was still excellent and all notes re The Firm‘s insurances and ground rent collections etc that he dealt with, were kept in shorthand. Yes, and as previously mentioned, we did have problems in trying to understand some of his notes when he died. The front room to the left was occupied by up to six secretaries. The back room which had been occupied by Herbert Brookes was then occupied by Laurence Edward Skan (known as Les), then an assistant solicitor, and on the top floor were two rooms, one of which was used as a store and the other was occupied by Roy Bate then a junior clerk, and myself,

93


ENOCH

EVANS

as an articled clerk. I seem to recall that there was still a toilet on the ground floor kept locked but I think by that time a ladies‘ toilet had been installed on the second floor. Gradually over the years the whole of the top floor was taken over for the office, the back room on the left at first floor level and then out to the back was built a strong room at ground floor level with enquiry office and waiting area above and later two extra offices at the next level up. Jack and Norman had purchased the freehold of the block in 1948 from the Unitt family who owned, at that time, a number of properties in Bridge Street, Walsall. The timing of the purchase was geared to a completion date just before an increase in Stamp Duty was announced by the Government of the day. When Jack was trying to slow down he and Norman wished that I and/or the other partners should purchase the premises from them. We all had our commitments to house purchase and education of our children and in those days finance was not as readily available for the purchase of office accommodation, as it is to-day, so we the then partners did not purchase the freehold but the then partnership did take a twenty-one year lease of the premises before Jack and Norman sold their freehold interest in the premises. More about the offices and No 19, Bridge Street, and the continued growth of the firm appears in subsequent chapters. The next move, after The Centenary of The Firm, is also covered later on in this book.

94


ENOCH

EVANS

COPY of NORMAN‟S LAW SOCIETY FINALS CERTIFICATE

95


ENOCH

EVANS

The Office Moves 1921

96


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 8 ENOCH‟S MAYORAL SPEECH NOTES 1921 ―You have conferred a great honour upon me to-day in electing me Mayor of my Native Town and I can assure you that I shall endeavour, in every way, to uphold the dignity of that high office, and in this I shall have the same whole hearted support of my Wife, the Mayoress, that she has always so cheerfully and ungrudgingly given me throughout the whole of our married life. I feel that the all too kind references that have been made by . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to myself concerning my past work will make it very difficult for me to live up to the reputation they have given me. I should like to say that on the Committees over which it has been my pleasure to preside I have always been assisted by Ladies and Gentlemen who gave their services cheerfully, and thus enabled the work of the Committees to meet with that measure of success which they have enjoyed. Under the National Health Insurance Act, cases for Sanatorium treatment were formerly sent away for treatment, and it was not until the Town Council opened the Sanatorium at Pelsall that I could feel that the best was being done for the men and women suffering from the White Scourge and to-day not only have we children there with every hope of the cases being successfully treated, but I trust shortly that the Ministry of Health will allow the building of a children‘s wing to the Sanatorium, so powerfully advocated by Councillor Stanley, to be proceeded with so that the little ones suffering from this dreadful disease may have the opportunity of growing up into healthy Citizens. With regard to my work on the Pensions Committee I believe that that Committee by the action taken in the early days, were with other Committees instrumental in obtaining for the Disabled Soldiers greater benefits than they would otherwise have enjoyed. When I mention that after that Committee had read, marked, and learned and inwardly digested about 2000 Circulars, a new Royal Warrant scrapped the lot and another issue of Regulations commenced which has reached the creditable number of 2067, it will give you some idea of the heavy work that that Committee has been called upon to perform and their only regret is and has been that bound as they were by so many Rules and Regulations they have not been able to do all they would have wished to do had they had a freer hand. 97


ENOCH

EVANS

With regard to the work of the Council during the ensuing year, we hope to see the completion of the Electricity Undertaking accompanied with cheaper Electricity and greater profits on the Undertaking. As to unemployment. the expenditure of £ direction.

This Council has already introduced schemes involving and this is well ahead of many towns in that

I hope also that work will be found for many Walsall men in connection with the alterations at the L & N W Railway Station as the Company will shortly commence the long needed alterations there, which will involve an expenditure for them of about £50,000. I am glad that the ratepayers of Walsall are taking more interest in the work of the Council than they formerly did and this Council will always listen to good honest criticism whether it be from the Tradesmen‘s Association – the Ratepayers Association or the Press. If there is one thing more than another needed in this England of ours to day it is more of the ―Nelson‖ touch. The spirit which won the battle of Trafalgar is still alive to-day in our Navy and Army and if only that spirit is lived up to by the civilian population, if the men will trust the Masters more, and if the Masters can obtain confidence in the men, then as our Admirals and Generals had confidence in and obtained the trust of their men and by such means obtained glorious victories against overwhelming odds on Land and Sea, so will come a time when Strikes, Lockouts, Boycotts and unemployment will be unknown, when Capital and Labour no longer be the opposite camps suspicious of one another, then and not till then shall we have this England of Ours for whom so many thousands of the best Sons gave their lives to preserve, once again bright happy and prosperous. I believe that the Members of this Council are imbued with this spirit and that they are determined to do all they can to promote the welfare of the Citizens of this Ancient and Loyal Borough, that they are in the time of the Country‘s need determined to keep down all unnecessary expense, and that they will make my duties as pleasant and easy as possible. Believing this, and with able assistance and counsel of our Town Clerk who is a Tower of Strength in himself, I look forward with every confidence, to a year‘s work by this Council which will redound to its credit, and meet with the approval of the Citizens of Walsall of whom we are the trusted representatives‖.

98


ENOCH

EVANS

A NEW DRIVER OF THE OLD “BUS”

99


ENOCH

EVANS

ENOCH PHOTOGRAPH as MAYOR

100


ENOCH

EVANS

PROGRAMME of ARMISTICE DAY ARRANGEMENTS

101


ENOCH

EVANS

PROGRAMME of ARMISTICE DAY ARRANGEMENTS continued

102


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 9 1937 DEATH OF ENOCH I was born on the 21st March 1935 and Enoch died when I was nearly two. I regret I have no memories of my grandfather, but now that I have carried out some research into his lifetime activities, realise what a great deal the people of Walsall and The Firm, owe to him, and how proud I am to be a grandson of such a well loved genial gentleman.

DEATH OF EX-MAYOR of WALSALL ALDERMAN ENOCH EVANS COUNCIL MEMBER SINCE 1911

The above was the heading in one of the local papers on the 14th March 1937. The report stated that Enoch had died at, ―Dundrennan House‖, Wednesbury Road, Walsall in his 78 th year. The paper concerned went on to say: Alderman Evans had been a prominent figure in the public life of Walsall for many years and was in attendance at the Town Council meeting a few weeks ago. A son of the late Mr. John Evans who carried on business as a bit and spur manufacturer in the town, Alderman Evans became a Solicitor and was in practice in the town for more than half a century. Head of the firm of Enoch Evans & Sons of Bridge Street, he continued his interest in the business right up to his last, although his sons Messrs J.D. and N.H. Evans have carried on the major portion of the work of the firm for some years. A third son, Mr. Vernon Evans, is engaged in agriculture at Fradley, near Lichfield.

Alderman in 1927 Alderman Evans was first elected to the Council as one of the representatives of Caldmore Ward, in October, 1911, and he was raised to Alderman rank in 1927. He

103


ENOCH

EVANS

rendered particularly valuable service as a member of the Finance Committee - of which he was vice-chairman, - the Free Library and Art Gallery Committee, and the Property Committee and served on a number of other committees.

In 1921, he was Mayor of the Borough and had a most successful year of office. In many other directions Alderman Evans rendered great service to the town. He was a former chairman of the Naval and Military War Pensions Committee and also of the National Health Insurance Committee. In politics a Conservative he was at one time chairman of the Caldmore Conservative Club. Over a long period he was associated with Trinity Methodist Church Corporation Street, and was also associated with the work of the Palfrey Sunday Morning Adult School. A lover of animals Alderman Evans‘s chief hobby years ago was horse driving and he was one of the last to give up a horse in favour of a Motor Car. Mayoress Sister Mrs. Evans who survives him is one of two sisters who have been Mayoresses of Walsall, the other being the wife of Mr. H.H. Tucker. Alderman Evans also leaves three daughters all of whom are married. COUNCILâ€&#x;S RESOLUTION OF CONDOLENCE At a meeting of Walsall Town Council, today, a resolution of condolence was passed with the widow and family of Alderman Evans. The Mayor (Councillor A.J. Stanley) moved the resolution and remarked that Alderman Evans had been a very genial member who had rendered valuable service to the town. Seconding, Alderman Sir William Pearman-Smith declared that a more sympathetic kindly and cheerful man than Alderman Evans no one could have wished to have had for a colleague. The resolution was carried in silence, all the members standing. The above appeared in one of the local papers on the day after the death. Very few people could have had such a glowing testimony. The weekend paper went to great lengths to report the funeral, which must have been one of the largest in the Borough. Here follows the report from one of the local newspapers.

104


ENOCH

EVANS

A photograph of Enoch taken shortly before his death

DEATH ENDS LIFETIME OF PUBLIC SERVICE _________________ Striking Tributes To Alderman Enoch Evans _____________________ MOST DISTINGUISHED AND USEFUL CITIZEN ______________________ By the death of Alderman Enoch Evans, which occurred at his home, ―Dundrennan,‖ Wednesbury Road, on Sunday, March 13 th 1937, Walsall has lost one of her most outstanding personalities of the passing generation, and a vacancy has been created in the ranks of public benefactors which will be extremely difficult to fill. Despite a lifetime of public work, Alderman Enoch Evans did not look his age of 78 years, and until a few weeks ago was still actively engaged in his office and outside work. There were some wonderful floral tributes at the funeral which took place on Wednesday, the

105


ENOCH

EVANS

interment at Ryecroft being preceded by a memorial service at Trinity Methodist Church, Caldmore, where for many years he was a regular worshipper and a great benefactor. In a short address, the Rev Clifford Caddy (Circuit Superintendent) referred to the late Alderman as a ―true citizen who died as he would have wished to have died-working, thinking and loving.‖ A son of the late John Evans who for many years carried on the business of bit and spur manufacturer in the town, the late Alderman was born as long ago as 1859. At the age of 10 years he went to Queen Mary‘s Grammar School where he remained until 1873. At first it was thought that the boy would automatically follow in his father‘s footsteps and enter the spur business, but Mr Evans, as he grew older, preferred to take up the legal profession and it was not long before he gained the necessary qualifications. At the time of his death, Mr Evans had the distinction of being one of the oldest solicitors in the Borough – having been in practice for more than half a century. The greater portion of the practice has in recent years been carried on by two sons, Messrs J.D. and N.H. Evans, while another son, Mr Vernon Evans, in engaged in agriculture at Fradley, near Lichfield. Alderman Evans will always be remembered for his work on the Town Council. He was elected as one of the members for the old Caldmore ward in October 1911, and his excellent work and handling of important matters and level headedness in debates brought him promotion to the Aldermanic bench in 1927. In the twenty-six years he has been on the Council it would be impossible to point to any particular work with which Alderman Evans was outstandingly prominent for he had sat on most committees and did his share of the work in every direction. In later years he had done invaluable work as a member of the Finance Committee-of which he was Vice Chairman-the Free Library and Arts Gallery Committee, the Property and Watch Committeehe was also Vice Chairmen of the latter body. In 1921 the Council by a unanimous decision appointed Alderman Evans to the Mayoral chair and his year of office was particularly successful. It was an honour well deserved and he and Mrs Evans delighted the citizens with their devotion to duty, which gave them very few free nights during the year. When the Naval and Military War Pensions Committee was inaugurated, Mr Evans‘ services were immediately requisitioned and he became Chairman - a position he also held on the National Health Insurance Committee – for a long period and was vice chairman at the time of his death.

An Ardent Conservative By politics a Conservative – or ―die hard Tory‖ as he so often reminded his audiences – Mr Evans played a big part in the revival of Conservatism in the Caldmore area, and apart from being President of the club in West Bromwich Road, he was also a Trustee. Though he had not been seen so much of as late, Alderman Evans was a very keen bowler some years ago and was often to be seen on the club greens where he showed more than average ability. Even when increasing age called for a cessation of such active sports, the President never lost touch with the beloved game and each year he ―footed‖ the bill for the annual supper of the Club members, and when business permitted, he never lost an opportunity of being present at any of the club functions. Being a Caldmore born man it was only to be expected that Alderman Evans should be closely associated with the Old Trinity Wesleyan Church after short connections with the Ablewell Street and Dale Street Methodist Church. 106


ENOCH

EVANS

But for the support of Alderman Evans and his family the present Trinity Church would have had a much harder struggle to have reached the present position. Nothing was too much trouble to him and his daughters were the inspiration behind the May Festival, which used to be one of the greatest events of the year. A great lover of animals, the late Alderman Evans was a popular figure in pre War days riding his favourite mare, and even after the introduction of motor cars, he was to be seen proudly riding along the main streets of the town. Alderman Evans leaves a Widow, three sons and three daughters. It is of interest to note that Mrs Evans is one of two sisters – the other marrying Mr H.H. Tucker who was Mayor of the Borough on two occasions.

Borough Pays Respect The Memorial Service at Trinity Church was attended by representatives of practically every organisation and section of the Borough‘s life. Accompanying the Mayor (Councillor A.J. Stanley) was the Deputy Mayor (Councillor H.G.J. Fletcher), the Town Clerk, a number of Aldermen are named and a large number of Councillors are specifically mentioned by name as well as The Chief Constable. Members of various societies and organisation are specifically named. Members of the legal profession mentioned as being present included F. Platt, E.W. Haden, A.V. Haden, H. Keits Lester, W.F. Stretton, J.N.F. Cotterell and A.W. Cotterell. The bearers were Messrs Watson, Brookes and Wincer (members of Alderman Evans staff), H.A. Tucker, F Harrison, J. Fitzmaurice, R.W.N. Dawe and P. Cotterell. The service was conducted by the Rev. Ernest Brown (Minister) and the hymns sung were ―Abide with me,‖ and ―Hark my Soul,‖ which were two of the late Alderman‘s favourite hymns. Mr H. Boulter was at the organ. In his address the Rev Clifford Caddy (Circuit Minister) said they were gathered to remember one who for many years had been a familiar figure in the life of the town; one of their most useful and distinguished citizens. They could say of Alderman Evans that he endeavoured to serve his generation faithfully and well. Of a cheerful disposition, Alderman Evans was optimistic in outlook, facing difficult situations hopefully and ever seeking to be the spirit of encouragement in others. When they had met him within those walls they remembered him by the twinkle in his eyes, the broad smile, and the hearty handshake with always a few words of encouragement accompanying. He backed whole-heartedly the causes of which he approved and if they showed signs of failure he did his best to reprieve the situation. ―Alderman Evans knew the art of inspiring others to do uninspiring work; people went to him to be nerved afresh, and to receive encouraging words,‖ the Rev Caddy continued. ―He served his native town in hundreds of ways and I think we all will agree he served it well. There was no time for retirement in his life; he was a worker all his life and continued to be so right to the end.‖ In conclusion Rev Caddy said that at such a time their sympathies went out to the relatives and more particularly to the one who had been by her husband‘s side through all the years.

107


ENOCH

EVANS

A touching Incident At Ryecroft Cemetery the cortege was met by a contingent of the Walsall Transport employees who led the procession to the graveside, where the burial service was conducted by the Rev Brown. A touching incident occurred when the eldest son plucked a single carnation from his mother‘s wreath and dropped it on top of the lowered coffin. There were floral tributes from The Mayor and Walsall Town Council, Messrs Addison and Cooper, Palfrey Association, the Walsall Permanent Building Society, members of the office Staff, Walsall Insurance Committee, Caldmore Conservative Club, Queen Mary‘s Old Boys Club, Trinity Methodist Church, the Chief Constable, Officers and men of the Borough Constabulary and the Transport Committee besides countless others from relatives and friends.

Council‟s Condolences A vote of condolence with the widow and family of the late Alderman Enoch Evans was moved by The Mayor at Monday‘s meeting of the Council who said they all regretted the sudden death of their old colleague. He had served for many years on the Council and only one or two members remained who were on the Council when he first became a member. They would miss him there; he was a genial gentleman and had rendered faithful service to the town. Seconding, Alderman Sir William Pearman Smith said that no one could wish for a more sympathetic kindly or cheerful man. He had served the Borough for many years and had served it well. He would be missed in the town for his generosity; any movement, which had for its object the welfare of the community, had received his support. Reference to his work on Walsall Watch Committee was made at the monthly meeting of the Committee on Tuesday when the members stood in silence for a moment as a mark of respect. The Chairman (Alderman Sir William Pearman Smith) said Alderman Evans had been vice chairman for many years and had rendered great service. His loss would be found to be accumulative because the more they dwelt on the matter the more they would realise the loss sustained by the town. He was a cheery colleague with whom it was always a pleasure to work, and they always looked upon him as a friend. ―He has done great work for the town, and has been a good friend to Walsall Police Force,‖ said the Chief Constable ( Mr T. Mark Watson) at the fourth annual dinner of the Police Social and Athletic Association on Monday when he referred to the death of Alderman Evans. He was not a man who said a lot, but his heart was in the right place and he was a staunch supporter of the force. The company stood in silence for a moment as a mark of respect.

ENOCH was not only very highly thought of in the town but was much loved by his family. I am told in addition to all his achievements already referred to that he loved reading poetry and Shakespeare. He had pocket editions of the Shakespeare plays measuring about 4 inches by 3 inches which he would take out of his pocket and read at odd moments during the day.

108


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 10 WORLD WAR II As I sit, and try to remember something that was said about The Firm, or its Partners during the Second World War I do wonder why I chose this heading for a chapter. Jack and Norman were well established as solicitors in the town and running The Firm from No 19 Bridge Street, at the beginning of the War. I can remember little if anything in 1939. I do remember that my father – Norman – was called up. He was one of the later men to be called up due to his age. Jack was left to run the firm during the War. What business was undertaken, I know not, but I do seem to recall reference to there being little income from the practice. Jack was on regular look out duty at nights and spent many a night on the roof of No 19 on look out duty. Norman following upon being called up in 1942 to serve in the forces joined the R.A.F. He rose to the rank of Flying Officer. He was not a flying crewmember but was in radar and often found himself up with the front lines of the army on the ground getting signals from the enemy and relaying information back to the R.A.F. flight controllers. He sailed to Algiers on the 16 th June 1943, served in North Africa, crossed with the front line troops to Sicily and followed up Italy through Bari as the German army retreated. When the War on that front ended he was expected to go to Russia and carry out the same duties on that front but ill health prevented him from being despatched there. Eventually he returned home on the 7 th December 1945 a very ill looking worn out man. I remember being told off, for using as a pretend tank, during the War whilst he was away in North Africa and Italy, his Standard 14 car which had been jacked up at the outbreak of War and left in the garage at home. I think he had left one of the doors or the sliding roof open by mistake! I do not recall being told of any incidents affecting The Firm during the War years. Jack, as I have said, carried on and on his return Norman rejoined The Firm I can recall food rationing and during the War visiting my mother‘s parents, who then lived at Crawley, Sussex, and hearing the sounds of aircraft overhead and the V bombs passing over, going silent and they eventually landed on London. After the War, Jack and Norman rebuilt The Firm. Their workloads grew. In those days petrol rationing meant one did not use the car unnecessarily. Holidays were limited to two weeks in the summer, at most, and there were fewer Bank Holidays. One day off at a Bank Holiday was all that one expected. I do recall that two years running 1951 and 1952

109


ENOCH

EVANS

Norman had taken Bunty, his wife, and the children, including myself, to Cornwall for our annual holiday, to Port Gaverne. On the return he met up with Jack somewhere near Bridgwater, he, Jack, being on his way off on a caravan holiday. The two of them, Jack and Norman, spent a couple of hours and maybe more, going through many office files, Jack briefing Norman on what had happened whilst he had been away and what the clients were expecting to happen over the next couple of weeks. Yes, they each knew what the other was doing and were able to help each other out so that no matter came to a standstill at holiday times. It helped that they looked alike and many clients could not distinguish one from the other! Different today I hear some one say. Well yes, far more holiday and the speed of life. Workloads generally throughout the whole of the profession do not give one time to undertake another‘s workload when that person is on holiday. Neither Jack nor Norman undertook any court work after the War. The Firm specialised in conveyancing and probate work although Jack did also undertake an amount of commercial work. There was not the amount of commercial work around as there is today. I was sent away to boarding school. Norman had been to Rydal and I was sent there. I enjoyed my time at boarding school. I did not do well at work and indeed had to have more than one go at trying to get sufficient passes to enable me to enter the law. My housemaster advised against the law for me, telling me I would find that the exams were too demanding! I cover my qualification difficulties in Chapter 12.

NORMAN in his R.A.F. War Time Uniform NORMAN in his R.A.F. War Time Uniform

110


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 11 1944. BETTY JOINS THE FIRM THE MEMORIES OF BETTY SPANSWICK (known as SPANNER) OVER MANY YEARS WITH THE FIRM WRITTEN BY BETTY HERSELF These are my own personal memories and impressions from the time I joined the staff on 15 th August 1944 until I finally left it in 1972 to move to Windsor. During this period I had an eleven-year break from 1955 to 1966 in order to enlarge my family by a son and a daughter; thus, altogether, I worked there for a total of seventeen years, covering a span of 28 years, which saw incredible changes.

Looking back Scanning back, at the age of 73, from the time I joined the firm from school at 15, it might have been better for my career had I moved around to other firms and professions in order to broaden my horizons. When I eventually did, many years later, I discovered a whole new business world outside the area of the Law, which rejuvenated my interest in and extended the kind of work for which I had been trained. However, I have been very grateful, as my life has moved on, for that training and insight into the legal world, which has been invaluable to me in all kinds of ways. When I look back and wonder why I stayed so long with `Enoch Evans & Sons`, which was its business name all the time that I was there, I can only conclude it was because they were such absolutely lovely people. So nice were they, that I couldn‘t have borne to leave them. (This of course, rather presumptuously assumes they were not at the same time privately wishing that I would). In those days people were inclined to remain loyal to one employer and certainly, in the case of E.E. & S, many people remained for the whole of their working lives. In 1944 many young women were still in the Forces, so shorthand typists were thin on the ground. Therefore, if one had half a brain, one moved upwards at an alarming rate and before I knew it, at the age of about 16 and with loads of enthusiasm but very little experience, I was promoted to what would probably today be rather grandly called `Legal Secretary/PA to the Senior Partner` but was then known as Solicitor‘s Clerk.

111


ENOCH

EVANS

The Interview My Father and my Headmaster, both having ruled that to be a nurse or a kennel maid was not the best career for me, propelled me into an interview with Mr. John Dawe Evans, at that time Senior Partner of the firm. With an RSA certificate for 50 wpm shorthand and about two hours` typing experience, I entered the front door of 19, Bridge Street Walsall (originally a town house) to be faced by a dark hall, a tall flight of stairs ahead of me to the left, and on the right-hand side a passage terminating with a door, which I later learned was the entrance to a dark lobby from which one entered the single lavatory by means of a key hanging on a nail at the side of the inner door. If the key was missing, it either meant that the lavatory was inhabited or that the oldest member of staff, Mr. Watson, the Engrosser, who worked on the second floor, still had it in his pocket. At the far end of the lobby yet another door led to the cellar, used during the war as an air raid shelter (though I never remember using it). In the yard outside, next to a wall bounding a tributary of the River Tame (which, from there, ran on and under The Bridge in the middle of the town) was a brick outbuilding from which Mrs. Gould, the cleaner, (who remained with the firm for the whole of her working life, later joined by her daughter, Dolly) filled endless buckets of coal. These she carried up three flights of stairs, to light five fires, and leave a supply of coal for the rest of the working day. All this before the office staff arrived at 9 a.m. These fires produced an incredible amount of dust for the redoubtable Mrs. Gould to grapple with in her efforts to keep the offices clean. However, she fought a losing battle. As I pounded up and down the stairs between the General Office and Mr. Jack‘s office, the dust would rise beneath my skirt until, at the end of the day, the white petticoat beneath would turn grey to waist level. Dust would rise every time one disturbed a file – in those days, letters folded into half inside each other and secured by pink tape. Mrs. Gould was never allowed to disturb the mountain of paper on my boss‘s desk, so the dust remained there until it eventually went out with the paper to whatever its destination might be. But the worst battle I had with dust was when I was asked to collect something from the archives, which, unfortunately for me, were housed in the loft of an old disused building located half way between my home and the office. Having climbed a precarious stairway, unlocked a door and entered, facing spiders with their webs and dust which rose with every step, I would search through numerous shelved boxes, puffing off dead flies as I went, to find whatever file one hoped would be there. I stood this without complaint for about two years I think, but one day, when I was wearing a half-decent coat, it became too much. I protested, and the job was given to Roy Bate, the long-suffering office boy, from then on. He had joined the Firm on the 1 st May 1946. But I digress. Back to my interview for the job: I climbed the stairs, full of trepidation, finding myself on a big, square, landing with a passage to the left and three imposing doors to right, left and centre. With amazing perception, I entered the one marked `Enquiry Office` which led into a small room, with an open fire in the corner and divided by a wooden screen, from behind which emerged a tall, dark girl, whom I later learned was Stella Heath, the Junior, no less. This Very Dignified Personage disappeared for a moment through a door

112


ENOCH

EVANS

covered with green baize on my right, quickly returning to usher me into the presence of `Mr. Jack`. All I saw at first was the back of a huge, roll-top desk over the top of which peeped a bald head, unsuccessfully disguised by a trail of grey hair grown long on one side and combed over its shining, pink dome to the other. Plucking up my courage I moved forward, to find a welcoming, smiling face beneath the dome, together with half of the rest of this very important person. I judged him to be fiftysomething. `Good morning, Miss Jenkins`, he said pleasantly. For a moment I was bemused, never before having realised that I was `Miss Jenkins` and not sure if I could live up to a title like that at the age of only just fifteen. But in those days and for many years after, that was the form of address commonly used, not only between hierarchy and lower staff, but between the minions too, until they became on a sufficiently intimate footing to use Christian names. I cannot pretend to remember the first part of the interview, but I do know my handwriting was examined and then a letter dictated, which I took down in shorthand and read back. Mr. Jack then rang a bell beneath his desk and very quickly another elderly gentleman appeared, whom I learned was Mr. John Wincer, the Cashier. Among many other skills, this gentleman was an expert at short hand and was required to appraise my notes. His dry comment was that he `had seen worse`. Mr. Jack said I had read it back all right, which brought forth a sort of grunt from Mr. Wincer. This apparently, with staff being almost impossible to find, was sufficient to earn me the job. Mr. Jack said would £1 a week be all right, the firm to pay all my National Insurance? This rather took me aback because I had completely forgotten I was going to be paid. So I said yes and there I was, with my first job. Perhaps at this point, I should mention the method of payment of wages in that office in those days. The bell would ring from Mr. Jack‘s office, one would walk in and he would be sitting with an open cash box on his desk. He would wave his hand vaguely towards it, say, ―help yourself‖, and that was that.

Life in the Office. My Job. The memories come rushing in – all in the wrong order. The last one reminds me of a client I used to visit with Mr. Jack for the purpose of witnessing his Will. He was a very large, elderly, man with a bright red face, who lived with his current mistress and their two small children. He was constantly changing his Will. Mr. Jack would take his instructions; make a new Will (which would be long and complicated) and when we returned with the new engrossment for signature he would have changed his mind again. In one of the Wills I had engrossed for him, he wished to be buried with his mistress one side of him and his wife the other. But before burial he wished to be stabbed with a dagger to make sure there was no danger of him being buried alive. True to habit, when we arrived with the Will for signature, he had changed his mind again. (I think he was keeping his mistress on her toes). Mr. Jack would have to change several paragraphs in handwriting, which would each have to be initialled by the client and both witnesses, and then at the end, another clause added, setting out exactly which paragraphs had been changed before the Will

113


ENOCH

EVANS

was executed. Every page had to be signed by the client and witnesses at the bottom. All this took a long time and Mr. Jack‘s writing was not the easiest to read. It was then over to me to re-type on three pages of an expensive, pale green, probably handmade paper. Absolutely no mistakes or rubbing-out were allowed. No way! (except that we typists got awfully good at rubbing out on this lovely thick paper so that not even Mr. Norman Evans, holding it up to the light and looking along it, could spot them). The sheets were then joined at the corner by lacing a broad shiny green ribbon through slots in the paper. The ribbon would be arranged in a kind of flat knot, which would then be secured with sealing wax, and a seal applied. All of which reminds me that when a Conveyance, Assignment or Lease was engrossed (the copy for signature) it would be on `parchment substitute`, which was a thick, good quality paper. The typist was required to write at the beginning of the deed and on the endorsement (the latter was handwritten) the words `THIS CONVEYANCE` – or whatever was appropriate, in German Script with a special pen. Sticky-backed seals were always added to the attestation clause and the whole document was then sewn together with thin green tape, in the middle, like a book. In some special cases I have engrossed the whole deed in handwriting – or perhaps added a memorandum to a parchment deed, which had to be scoured with chalk to make a suitable surface on which to write. In many cases a plan was attached to the deed and this had to be traced from the draft plan, with a mapping pen and Indian ink, by the typist, onto tracing paper made from linen. I was told that if one washed off the dressing, one could use it as a handkerchief, but never tested the theory for myself. Which brings me to ……the preparation of deeds. One took the whole deed down in shorthand and typed it onto thin, draft, quarto paper. The solicitor would then probably amend it in red ink and it was re-typed on better quality paper. This was the copy for `approval`, which was then sent to the Purchaser‘s solicitor in order that he could amend it again in green, return it to the Vendor‘s solicitor who would probably then use purple ink for further alterations. Some of them ended up as an incredibly colourful mess. The intention must have been to prevent the typist getting bored when she was eventually required to `engross the document for signature` on parchment substitute without any mistakes. Leases were the worst. Maybe about seventeen pages of foolscap. They were very, very long but for some reason more straightforward to type. Eventually one could dose off during the typing of a lease without making any more typing errors than usual. If you did make a mistake, somehow, you knew straight away. It was a good time for daydreaming about the weekend when one‘s soldier boyfriend would be home on leave, or discussing the latest film with the girls. In fact, in later years, when John Evans (junior, Norman‘s son) joined the office to begin his training, and came in to chat up the girls, I remember him remarking that he couldn‘t understand how we girls (there were six of us then) could carry on a discussion about some unrelated subject, or even continue transcribing from shorthand without hesitating in our typing. My own theory is that it was our fingers that were programmed. Even now, I can spell much better when I type than when I write by hand.

114


ENOCH

EVANS

No Photocopiers – How to produce copies. There were two other ways of copying in those days. One was by means of carbon paper, which was messy and crinkled if you didn‘t get it exactly right between the pages – and when three or more copies were required it was dodgy. The other was by means of a `Roneo` machine. This involved disengaging the typewriter ribbon and typing on to waxed paper, thus creating a stencil. This was placed very carefully, again without creasing, on a hinged framed mesh, beneath which blank paper was laid. The next part was fun, especially if you were dressed half-decently. You took a large tube of thick, gooey black ink, which you squeezed into a tray and spread around with a roller. You then transferred a large amount of the ink onto the mesh, by means of the roller, as evenly as you could, and made merry with the roller. If you were skilled, or lucky, when you lifted the frame a perfect, though gooey, reproduction of the stencil would be revealed on the paper beneath. Oh yes – we lived in the fast lane in those days!

Contrast of work in those days with work in 2000. What I can‘t really come to terms with is that although, in these technological times, Legal Secretaries only seem to fill in gaps on forms by means of their pre-programmed computers, nothing seems to get done any quicker. Something like getting to the office, I suppose. In some areas a horse and cart or a bike would have got there quicker in the old days than your modern commuter in his state-of-the-art motor. I remember Mr. Jack could drive into town, park his car outside the office in the main street of Walsall and leave it there as long as he liked. But then again, at home the milk was still being delivered by horse and cart to which you took your jug to be filled from the churn.

LOVELY CHARACTERS Jack Evans. Jack Evans, as I knew him, (through many years of experience I have come to the conclusion that the man his secretary knows at the office may show no resemblance to the man his wife knows at home) was always courteous, invariably pleasant, genuinely interested in others, completely without class prejudice (and there was a lot of that in those days) kindly, generous in spirit; an eminently lovable character with a great sense of humour. He was also completely without system or method. The surface of his huge roll-top desk was always hidden beneath a mountain of paper. Up to a point, I suppose he did have a system. I would file the previous day‘s post in his office each morning while he was discussing the morning post with his then Senior Clerk, a qualified solicitor we knew as Mr. Brookes. After that I sat in his office to take dictation, listen to jokes, daydream while he took phone calls (after which he would say `where were we?` and I would have no idea because while I was taking dictation my mind was wandering anyway). As he dealt with the day‘s post, he would toss various items over his shoulder, hopefully into the enclosure basket, which sat beside the filing basket. Sometimes the enclosure was not to hand anyway and that would be my problem later.

115


ENOCH

EVANS

When he had dealt with as much of the day‘s post as he could, he would look vaguely around his desk and then dive into the middle of the pile and pluck something out. If the bureaucratic workings of whatever department it was waiting for had by then responded he might be able to deal with it. More difficult knots to untie were thrown into what I had christened `the horrors basket` to await the time when I would reposition them beneath his nose again and insist that something be done. From time to time the arrival of a client would give me the chance to escape to my office and begin typing the day‘s letters, deeds, wills, etc., until I was interrupted by the electric bell from his office to mine and ran downstairs again to continue. At 1 o‘clock I would be free to go to lunch (either a two mile ride home and back on my bike or a bus ride) and then type like mad all afternoon to get all the letters typed in time for `Sir` to sign and return to me for mailing. By 5.45 p.m., with the office junior by now anxious to get to the post office with her armful of letters, registered packets and parcels, I would be running up and downstairs in a panic, trying to find missing enclosures and always feeling that somehow I should have arranged things better. However, this kept my weight down to 7lbs 12 oz (which in this day and age would apparently have been enviable). It also did wonders for my typing and I got three medals for speed typing by the time I was 19. It was also marvellous practice for my shorthand. When I left school at 15, I had only had shorthand tuition during my last year and hardly any typing at all. I continued these subjects at night school. The amount of shorthand I was using at the office and the large number of deeds, wills, Memoranda and Articles of Association – to say nothing of endless, lengthy leases, was wonderful practice for rapid progress in these skills. I never did understand how it was that Jack did not set fire to the offices. When dictating in the early days, before the introduction of electric fires, he would stand with his back to the coal fire and in winter the secretary did not get the benefit of any warmth there from. I used to shiver and freeze. Jack was oblivious to this! Often in keeping himself warm he would singe or burn his trousers. When the smell of burning was considerable he would be aware of the reasons and would comment, that he would ―be in trouble with Peg, again‖ when he went home that evening. In his later days he was inclined to drop off to sleep after lunch and would be seen slumped across the desk fast asleep, with his cigarette still burning in his hand and near to all the office papers. Often pencil lines would appear on documents, which he had been examining just before falling off to sleep. With the pencil in one hand it would slip across the document! On one occasion, when he had fallen asleep, I was disturbed by John Platt just after he had joined the Firm who rushed into my office declaring: ―Come quickly, I think Jack is unwell and has passed out.‖

Norman Evans The youngest son of six children and, although they looked very alike, he and Jack in character were as different as chalk from cheese. Although, in my own way, I adored Jack,

116


ENOCH

EVANS

he nearly drove me to dementia many times with his muddling, confusing ways. Partly my fault because (a) I was too conscientious and (b) I was a worrier. Mr. Norman was in the RAF when I joined the firm and it was some time before he was able to return to the office. When he did he was quite diffident and unassuming and brought out all our motherly instincts. He had been away from E.E.&S several years and it must have been an enormous trauma for him when he returned. However, we soon found that `fortunate was the secretary who worked for him`. He was thoughtful, kind, efficient and easy to work for. Sometimes, when Norman‘s Secretary was away I was called on to work for him. I would go down to his office (summoned not by a bell but by a polite request on the telephone) where his desk would be in immaculate order, pens, pencils, etc, all in neat rows; list of letters to be written which would be ticked off as dealt with and again when signed. I recall one day in particular. Solicitors` letters are rarely short. Many go onto two pages. Two carbon copies are required, one for the letter book and one for the file. This particular day Mr. Norman dictated 25 letters without interruption and let me go at once to begin transcribing them. I did so, took them to him for signing, received a compliment for my excellent work and they were all in the post, enclosures and all, in plenty of time to keep the office junior happy. This, remember, was on a circa 1940 Imperial typewriter. And it was easy! I didn't go home that night feeling a nervous wreck, but glowing from his compliment.

Watson (Harry) Elderly when I joined the firm. At my age of 15 he looked about 80. He shared an office with John Wincer, the Cashier, who had a lot of longish grey bushy hair and looked `arty`. In fact, he was an excellent, self-taught, pianist of mostly classical music. Mr. Watson was an Engrosser, which meant that he wrote certain deeds by hand on parchment substitute – a leftover from a previous era, but Enoch Evans & Sons didn't get rid of their loyal staff when they got elderly. I haven‘t very many memories of Harry Watson because he died about a year after I joined the firm. All I remember is (when he wasn‘t busy engrossing) of him sitting in front of the coal fire with a long, long scarf around his neck, picking his toes. (I have a terrible suspicion it was the beginning of gangrene but I won‘t elaborate on that!) I do remember him congratulating me on my rapid promotion, saying I was a `good girl` (tough) and remarking on the rate at which I ran up and down the stairs, two at a time, and the premonition he had that one-day I would land at the bottom quicker than I intended. (This I only did once, at the age of 15, the day after attending a wedding as bridesmaid having been initiated into the perils of too much alcohol – three glasses of sherry to be exact - which curiously had a delayed effect).

Wincer (John) I very much admired Mr.Wincer because I was struggling to learn to play the piano. I had all the natural interpretation but unfortunately found the technical and music-reading skills hard to learn; a very frustrating situation. Mr. Wincer was self-taught and when I was eventually

117


ENOCH

EVANS

invited to his house to hear him play his Bechstein piano (he played so much the ivories were worn down to the wood) I found out just how good he was and I was completely enthralled. Unfortunately, poor Mr. Wincer (who used to tell us that his was a `shotgun` wedding) had a somewhat turbulent relationship with Mrs. Wincer, involving the propelling of missiles – notably saucepans and carpets – and the ordering of the piano tuner to `tone down` his piano to an unacceptable level. Since she was almost stone deaf, I can‘t imagine why she bothered – unless of course, his constant practice was the cause of her deafness. Apparently however, Mr. Wincer got a certain amount of comfort from playing piano duets with the coalman‘s wife and, I gather, comforts from other sources, which I couldn‘t quite get the hang of. At this time I was about 17 and when I unwisely enlightened my father as to the nature of Mr & Mrs. Wincer‘s relationship and he tumbled to the fact that I only went there in her absence, he put a stop to my visits – leaving me to explain why to Mr. Wincer!

Miss Pinnock (Iris) Miss Pinnock (I was there long enough eventually to get to call her Iris) had been at the office about nine years when I arrived and was about 28 years old. She had matriculated from The Priory School at Lichfield and was academically bright, but unfortunately extremely introverted and completely without lateral thought. When I arrived she told me that she was already `part of the office furniture` though whose fault she imagined that was I don‘t know. She was short and dumpy, and when we had a `measuring ` as young girls do, one of her thighs measured exactly the size of my waist, which was 23 inches at that time. Her hair was dressed in the manner of the period – dragged from the crown into a roll all the way round the ends. Following a film called `For Whom the Bell Tolls` all the girls copied Ingrid Bergman by having their hair cut the same short length all over and one day Iris turned up with a head full of natural curly hair which was her crowning glory until she died. Every day Iris took the bus from Cannock Chase, the mining village where she lived with her miner father and her mother, into Walsall – a journey of about eight miles – and that is when she did much of her knitting. The output was such it must have been difficult to find people who needed all these knitted garments. This was her routine from the age of 19 until she retired at 60 and I never heard that she had any other interest. The only other thing I can find to say about Iris is that when we girls took to eating our lunch in the office instead of going home, we discovered just how much noise one could make whilst eating a sandwich – or even a humbug. The mind boggled at the thought of meal times in the Pinnock home. Iris never caused any trouble of any kind in the office. In fact, I can‘t think of anything that Iris was the cause of. She was a completely reliable and accurate secretary and in all her years at Enoch Evans, she only worked for two bosses, both as organised and efficient as she.

Roy Bate I still see Roy quite regularly. He has I know a wealth of knowledge about clients but John tells me that his tales are too linked to client‘s affairs to be written about in this book.

118


ENOCH

EVANS

Roy remembers Jack and Norman with great affection and he did tell me of the occasion when Jack really did ―con‖ him. It was on a Saturday morning shortly after Roy had started to work for The Firm and when The Firm used to open on Saturdays and Jack asked Roy if he knew how to make a cup of tea. Yes, of course, he replied and Jack then asked him for a full description of the procedure. Roy replied, empty kettle of any deoxygenated water, fill the kettle with fresh water and put on ring to boil. When water nearing boiling point put a little in the tea pot to warm it up and then empty out. Put in one teaspoon of tea for each cup to be made and take the teapot to the kettle (not the reverse) and when kettle fully boiled pour into tea pot. Leave to stand for two minutes to brew the tea and then pour into cups after putting milk and sugar in the cups. Excellent says Jack and would you like to go now and make us both a cup of tea. He fell for that hook line and sinker. One incident he did remind me of was the occasion, in about 1952, when Mary Allan later Mary Swinnerton had taken Jack‘s lighter fuel from his office to help with the lighting of the fire in the enquiry office. Jack and Norman were reading the morning post in Norman‘s office. The lighter fuel was thrown over the fire but most fell on the lino floor in front of the fire and the lot went up in flames. Mary rushed up to the top floor to fetch Roy to put out the flames. Other girls in the enquiry office opened windows to let out the smell. Rushing down stairs, Roy grabbed a bucket of sand and shouted to Arthur Louch to come and help. Arthur grabbed an old fire extinguisher. On arrival in the enquiry office Roy spread the sand on the fire and Arthur tried to get the extinguisher working. He ended up with spraying himself rather than the fire! The fire was put out. Cost to Partnership, redecoration of Enquiry office and a new suite for Arthur. Did Mary receive a good telling off? I do not know what was said but she recalls Jack saying: ―Do try to be more careful in future.‖ Mary was accident-prone. Typewriters were difficult to come by in those days and like gold dust once you had got one. On at least one occasion she pushed her typewriter back to make space to work on the desk and, yes, it fell off the desk on to the floor. She thought it would be the end of her employment at Enoch Evans & Sons, but no, kindly Jack‘s reaction was to say to her: ―Please, please be more careful, Miss Allen.‖ Roy also remembers that when he mentioned to Jack on one occasion that one of Jack‘s clients had not filed company returns for over two years when the same should have been filed annually and mentioned the penalties for the failure, that Jack‘s reply was ―Lad if all penalties under the company acts were implemented there would be no need for any income tax.‖ He also reminded me that Jack‘s version of ―Never put off till to-morrow what you can do today‖ was ―Never do to-day what you can put off until to-morrow unless it is replacing the toilet rolls.‖

I have set out in full the memories of Betty (Spanner) as sent to me as they really do, in my opinion, give a true impression of life in the office just after the War and before I joined the firm. More recently she sent me a summary of office life with Jack in the office and this is set out on the next page as again I think Spanner has a wonderful way of describing just what life was like in the office in the early 1940’s.

119


ENOCH

EVANS

A SUMMARY of OFFICE LIFE with Jack in the 1940‟s 1. 2.

3.

4.

5. 6.

7.

8. 9.

10.

11.

12,

13.

Don‘t telephone or call when you want to dictate – just press the bell beneath your roll-top desk – it reinforces my place in the hierarchy; When dictating, it is always helpful if you hold a cigarette in your mouth as you mutter. This makes for a particularly specialised form of lip reading and the resultant haze has an amazing effect on my sinuses; Never make a list of the letters or deeds you wish to dictate; this might get me back in my office in time to prevent a rush for the post at 6 p.m. Better to make erratic stabs at the shoals of letters on your desk, which will hopefully keep me in your office all morning. I can always doze whilst you answer numerous phone calls. But please don‘t wake me suddenly to ask what was the last thing you said; Take care, when tossing the enclosures over your shoulder, that some of them land in the filing tray rather than the enclosure tray. It‘s more of a challenge at 5 p.m. when I‘m putting up the letters for post It‘s good for me to race up and down two flights of stairs in a panic; When I‘ve taken down about fifteen letters in shorthand over a period of three hours, suddenly ask me if you‘ve written to so-and-so, you‘re sure to catch me out; When the weather is freezing and we‘re down to burning old books and bits of wood fallen from the desks, stand with your back to the fire, scorching the seat of your trousers and creating a fire screen for me. This is more efficient than air conditioning; Perched on a chair atop three cushions your mother made, your typewriter on a desk designed for a round shouldered engrosser makes a workstation quite beyond the imagination of modern designers. The position is so good for your back when you‘re copying a closely written engrossed parchment dated 1805 which is about three feet wide; On Saturday morning off at four is fine; It‘s great fun for your 15 year old junior clerk to be last to leave a narrow, high, Dickensian building, having to switch the last light off before proceeding down a long flight of steps in unrelieved blackness, carrying all the post and parcels and making sure the door is locked behind her before racing through the town to catch the post office before it closes. Who needs Health and Safety Regs; It‘s almost as much fun to visit the archives in an old barn where the flies lie dead in their dozens and she has to wave away the cobwebs and blow off the dust to find a file. It‘s very good for office clothes too; Another jolly good wheeze is to say – ―Now look here, this bundle of deeds is missing and it has to be found by the time I get back‖. The go off on holiday, leaving your clerk to search through 12 enormous safes – twice in case she missed them – and a strong room. Then, when she‘s finally smashed out – oh my, there they were all the time, in your briefcase on the chair; It‘s O.K. to start her at a weekly wage of £1 and to be told to help herself from the cash box on the boss‘s desk once a week. It‘ll take ages for her to have the courage to ask for a rise; Never praise. An absence of criticism is quite enough. Wait till she‘s left and then you can drop out such comments to her successor as ―Mrs ….. always did it this way – or that way‖ ….. and off you go again. THAT‘S the way to keep the troops in order – all done by kindness!

120


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 12 CHANGES OVER THE YEARS 1935 - 2000 JOHN JUNIOR (THE THIRD GENERATION) INITIAL EXPERIENCES AND THOUGHTS A.COTTERELL & Co ACQUISITION

CHANGES OVER THE YEARS 1935 - 2000 I was born in 1935. That was before television, electric typewriters, photocopiers, computers, and before penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, videos, Frisbees and the Pill. Yes, and before radar cameras, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ball point pens: Before dishwashers, tumble dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip dry clothes and of course before man walked on the moon. In my day we got married first and then lived together, (how quaint can you be?). You thought ―fast food‖ was what you ate in Lent, a ―Big Mac‖ an oversize raincoat and ―crumpet‖ you ate for tea. I was born before the equal rights movement, before green peace and before house husbands, computer dating, dual careers; and when a ―meaningful relationship‖ meant getting along with cousins and ―sheltered accommodation‖ was where you waited for the bus. It was before day centres, group homes and disposable nappies. I never heard of FM Radio, tape decks, artificial hearts, yoghurt and young men wearing earrings and in particular young girls wearing rings in all sorts of other parts of the body. For me ―time sharing‖ meant togetherness, a ―chip‖ was a piece of wood or fried potatoes, ―hardware‖ meant nuts and bolts and ―software‖ was not a word. ―Made in Japan‖ meant junk, the term ―making out‖ referred to how you did your exams, ―stud‖ was something that fastened a collar to a shirt, ―going all the way‖ meant staying on the bus till it reached the bus depot and a rubber was used for deleting written mistakes.. Cigarette smoking was fashionable, ―grass‖ was mown, ―coke‖ was kept in the coal house, a ‖joint‖ was a piece of meat you had on Sundays at lunch time and ―pot was something you cooked in. ―Rock music‖ was a grand-mother‘s lullaby, ―Eldorada‖ was an ice cream and a ―gay‖ person was one who was the life and soul of the party and nothing more, while ―aids‖ just meant beauty treatment for someone in trouble.

121


ENOCH

EVANS

Yes, the world has changed. I think I was hardier in those days, before central heating and before one could fly to the other side of the world for a week‘s holiday, in guaranteed sunshine. No wonder there is what is called a generation gap but by the grace of God I have survived and am now trying to recall life at Enoch‘s over my time there. If Enoch could be brought back for a day or two I do wonder what he would make of England today?

JOHN THIRD GENERATION JOINS THE FIRM INITIAL EXPERIENCES and THOUGHTS I do not remember my grandfather, Enoch, being only nearly two years of age when he died. Norman, my father was away in the R.A.F. during the War years and I suppose I did not really get to know him until I was about 10 years old. During the War I do remember living in a house, ―The Sheiling‖ fronting the Walsall Road, Little Aston, with my mother and sister, Jane, and travelling by bus to Sutton-Coldfield to school at The Convent School. I never did discover what the Nuns wore beneath those big black robes they always seemed to be wearing! Also during the War years at about the age of five I was taught how to ride a pony and having learnt, I then used to ride with my mother and others, in Sutton Park. She and I spent many happy hours riding in the Park and were joined by Jane, after a couple of years or so, she being just a bit younger than I. After the War, and I suppose about two years after Norman had returned from the R.A.F., I was despatched off to boarding school. Was I really so undisciplined that I needed to be sent away? Initially off to Rydal Preparatory School at Conway, North Wales and then on to Rydal itself at Colwyn Bay. I never really shone at school, or maybe I was idle, and indeed when my housemaster learned that I wished to take after my father and become a solicitor, he advised against my trying to become a lawyer, saying that, I would find the exams too hard! I proved him wrong! On leaving school I should then have done two years‘ National Service, National Service still being compulsory in those days, but I thought I would prefer to qualify as a solicitor before spending a couple of years in the army. National Service was postponed. I was articled to my father, Norman, and my articles ran for five years from the 5 th January 1953. A small sum was payable by me to Jack as a premium for articles. I cannot remember how much. I was the last articled clerk in the firm to have to pay a premium! I remember my first few weeks with The Firm. In those days, in the office before 9.00 a.m., just under an hour for lunch, in the office till at least 6.00 p.m., the office being open till 6.00 p.m., and also 9.00 a.m. till 1.00 p.m. on Saturdays. Holidays, two weeks plus a few Bank Holidays. On my first day, I was put into a room on the top floor at No 19, Bridge Street, and was to share an office with Roy Bate, who was about four years older than myself, and who was, in those days, described as a trainee managing clerk. Norman sat me down behind a typewriter, gave me some typing paper and an eraser and also a skin. I hear some of you saying, what does he mean by, ―a skin?‖ In the profession a skin was an old document written out on parchment paper and generally measuring about three feet by two feet. That parchment document would have been folded 122


ENOCH

EVANS

and the folds were permanent. In other words, open it up to read it, let go and it would fold itself. Norman told me he wanted a copy typing of that lengthy, handwritten, difficult to read, document. I had never seen a skin before and neither had I used a typewriter before that day! I proceeded to start. First how to find the spacer bar on the typewriter and then how to do capitals etc. I repeat: ―The skin was hand written and old and hard to follow‖. I struggled, opened it up, read a few words, turned to the typewriter to try to find the correct letters as needed, and having let go of the skin it folded itself up. After typing a few words, back to the skin, open it up, try to find where I should be on that document, read a few words and back to the typewriter! It took me a couple of days before I learned that the trick was to place all sorts of objects on the skin to keep it still, and to prevent it from folding itself when let go and another couple of days before someone said, ―place a ruler along where you are trying to read from.‖ I struggled on and after about three weeks, or maybe four, I proudly placed my attempt at typing a copy of that skin before Norman. He immediately got out a red pen. Not a biro, they had not yet been invented, but a thick nibbed ink pen. I had to read from the skin to Norman and he added in bits I had missed out, amended, and duly corrected my attempt at typing a copy of that skin. When examined the copy, with what appeared to be more red writings on it than typed words, was passed back to me and I was told to go away and type a copy, without errors. At that point I really did think my schoolmaster had been correct and that the law was not for me. If I had had another job I wanted to do, I would have chucked in my articles and indeed left home at that point! I stuck it out and passed my Law Society Intermediate at my first attempt. The Accounts Exam took a couple of attempts, if I remember correctly. After nearly three years I was restless and Norman transferred my articles to John Carr in London. I then lived for six months or so just off the Bayswater Road, in London, travelling daily to the City, on the Central Line, and worked in the offices of Beckingsales & Brashiers then at 34, Copthall Avenue, in the City. I was in the Court Department of that firm with two very able managing clerks, and had to spend a lot of time around the Law Courts. I always seemed to have an excuse to be out, and managed to get to see, at first hand, most of the events that took place in London whilst I was supposed to be working for Beckingsales & Brashiers. Trooping of the Colour and rehearsals, state visits, changing of the Guard and trips round most places of interest. I was also fortunate enough, whilst in London, to be able to go into The Old Bailey, attend personally before Masters in Chambers, and, besides several cases in the High Court, I do remember being involved in one Court of Appeal case. Not a case of great merit. We were acting for a laundry company and a litigant in person, acting for himself, took the case to the Court of Appeal. He lost. I have never been involved in a case which has gone as far as the House of Lords. After six or eight months they had had enough of me, or maybe father, Norman, thought I should return to the Midlands and Walsall and start to think of studying for my Law Society Finals. So back I came. I was however sent to Guildford, for the last six or eight months of my articles, to the Law School, to study for my Finals and I am pleased to report that I just scraped through. By this time it had been announced that National Service was to end within a year or so and because I had then met Sylvia, whom I was later to marry, I did not want to be away on National Service for a couple of years and really wanted to start work as a solicitor. I had had both knees operated on when I was sixteen due to rugger injuries and there was a

123


ENOCH

EVANS

Promissory Note and Receipt

124


ENOCH

EVANS

weakness in the knees. As National Service was coming to an end I played on my knee problem and the medical board failed to pass me fit for National Service! As a matter of interest, at the time when I met Sylvia she was living with her parents at ―Kippen,‖ Crown Lane, Four Oaks. This house was built by Joseph Leckie, who had the biggest saddlery business in Walsall at the turn of the century. He built the house in 1907, when wealthy business men were moving out of the town, and, being Scottish, named it after his home 20 miles west of Stirling in Scotland. He was mayor of Walsall five years after Enoch. As another prominent Walsall councillor, even though he was Presbyterian and Liberal, whereas Enoch was Wesleyan/Methodist and Conservative, it is surely conceivable that Enoch would have visited him at Kippen. The house Kippen was pulled down in about 1964 and flats were erected in the grounds and my father Norman lived in one of those flats for many years after the death of my mother and before he had to move to a residential home. I have digressed. So, I joined The Firm as a qualified solicitor on the 1st February 1958. Terms were to be agreed. I worked as an assistant solicitor for six or seven months on my final articled clerk‘s pay of £500 per annum, and eventually had to say to Norman and Jack that I did not think that was good enough! It was sorted out, pay backdated. I was in the Partnership! I paid Jack £2,434.16.8d. for a quarter of his share in the Partnership. An initial £934.16.8d was paid and the balance was loaned. Copy of initial receipt and th Promissory Note signed on the 30 June 1958 are set out on the facing page. Have I managed to make any impression within The Firm? I would hope so. When I joined the Partnership Laurence Edward Skan, who had been an assistant solicitor for six years or so was also made a Partner. Four solicitors in The Firm and a total including Partners of, I think, sixteen on the payroll. One of the first things I noted about The Firm was that it only undertook convevancing, wills, probate and trust work and whatever commercial work that might happen to come through the door. Criminal litigation and civil litigation was sent either next door to Hodgkinson & Benton or along the road to Tony Cotterell at A. Cotterell & Co. The Firm was turning away good work. So I decided to have a go and very quickly found that court work was not too difficult to undertake. Before too long I was in need of assistance and that was when John Platt joined The Firm. He took over my Magistrates Court workload and built up that side of the practice. Soon the Civil Court work load was getting too much for me and Jack and Norman were wanting more help with the work they were undertaking on the management of The Firm and the conveyancing, and in particular the probate and trust side of the practice. They thought that an Evans should be there to assist them, and that I should spend more time managing the growth of The Firm. So, over the years I dabbled in most types of work- master of none. To-day in nearly all Partnerships one has to specialise from the time one qualifies, and I am one of the last around who can say that he has undertaken most types of work, from defending a murderer to floating a public company and dealing with divorce, all types of matrimonial work, accident claim work, debt collection and of course conveyancing and probate and trust work. I would not have liked to have had to make a decision when twenty four or so, as to what type of legal work I wished to spend the rest of my working life doing.

125


ENOCH

EVANS

A PHOTO TAKEN PROBABLY IN ABOUT 1965 I learnt a great deal from Norman, Jack and also Laurence in the first few years as a solicitor. They encouraged me in doing the work which they had been turning away. The Firm grew. Over the years all the office space at No 19 was taken over. In Chapter 7 I have described the layout of No 19, Bridge Street when The Firm first entered that building and how The Firm expanded up to the time when additional space in other premises was used. Yes, it was some expansion. From sixteen in the Firm when I entered we managed at most to squeeze into No 19 just about thirty people. No Office Shops and Railway Premises Act to contend with in those days! No 19 was not large enough and, in about 1974, Andrew Moon with the expanding civil litigation department moved into three or four rooms on the first floor of Tudor House on the opposite side of Bridge Street. Not an ideal arrangement and we were always concerned about the dangers to the staff having to go back and forth across Bridge Street. In those days it was a busy thoroughfare with traffic passing in both directions. The opportunity arose to take over from a firm of accountants the top floor accommodation they had been using just along the road at No 35 Bridge Street. Room for about fourteen further people. No danger to staff in crossing Bridge Street. One of the adjoining solicitors did however object to my request that we be allowed to tack from No 19 to No 35, along the front ledge of his office, the telephone cables needed for an internal phone system and for the external phone system via one switchboard only. To route the lot via the exchange was going to be an expensive exercise! Problem solved by tacking the lot along his ledge one Sunday morning, when he was not around! Whether he ever realised or was told what we had done, I do not know but nothing was ever said to any of the Partners in The Firm.

126


ENOCH

EVANS

Still we grew and eventually, really for the accommodation, we acquired the practice of Tony Cotterell carried on at first floor level at 35 Bridge Street. Room for a further six or so persons. And I suppose it is convenient to deal with the take over now.

1981 A.COTTERELL & CO ACQUISITION In 1976 we had entered into an agreement with Anthony Cotterell (Tony) as previously mentioned. Tony and his late father had had over the years a close working professional relationship with my father, Norman and my uncle, Jack. Tony‘s father, an ambitious young man who was the son of a wholesale grocer, was originally articled to a solicitor in the firm of Slater & Co of Darlaston towards the turn of the last century. After a few years as an assistant solicitor he started to practise in Darlaston on his own and moved to Walsall a few years later. The records show that he practised from several addresses in Walsall, including Park Street, later from The Bridge and eventually from 35 Bridge Street. Tony himself, after leaving Wolverhampton Grammar School in 1932, where his father had been educated, joined his father as a clerk. He was later articled to his father and thereafter, he took a Bachelors Law Degree at Birmingham University. He qualified as a solicitor in the autumn of 1938 and joined his father in partnership in 1939. The offices were then at 35 Bridge Street Walsall. During the War, having been medically rejected by the R.A.F., Tony volunteered for the L.D.V. (The Local Defence Volunteers later to become The Home Guard) on the day of its inauguration. That was at the time when Hitler‘s paratroops were expected to descend on England any day and he eventually left his father to carry on the practice and he, Tony, then undertook A.I.D. (Aeronautical Inspection Directorate) work including aircraft sub assemblies‘ inspection for a local company at that time. He tells me he had to brush up his knowledge of trigonometry to undertake the work! At the end of the War he returned to the practice, which embraced most spheres of the law at that time. He himself undertook a good deal of County Court litigation and did a great deal of work for Enoch Evans. Neither Jack nor Norman enjoyed court work and were happy to pass County Court litigation over to Tony. Why did we wish to take over the practice of Anthony Cotterell in 1981? Well, we had moved into 35 Bridge Street, as previously mentioned, in 1976 and had expanded and by 1981 more office space was required. The only other occupiers of the office space above the bank, at ground floor level, were Tony and an insurance company. The insurance company had no intention of moving and so, either we acquired the practice of Tony and took over his office accommodation or we had to seek alternative accommodation. Tony, and I am sure he will not mind me saying this, was in practice on his own and reaching the time for retirement although, when I approached him directly in late 1980, he made it clear that he had not the slightest thought of retirement at that time. He drew comfort from the existence of the agreement with the practice of Enoch Evans completed in 1976, which agreement had been entered into following upon the death of his father Arthur Cotterell in 1975. He assumed that Enoch Evans would one day after his death deal with the disposal of his practice, which had been founded by his late father in, he believes, 1910.

127


ENOCH

EVANS

We needed the space he was occupying with the three ladies on his staff. A lady cashier and two secretaries, one of whom in June 2002, is still on the Enoch Evans payroll. We could then store his old files elsewhere in the town away from the more expensive central town office accommodation he was using at the time. The office he occupied on the first floor at 35 Bridge Street was run on old-fashioned lines and comprised a large waiting area, four large rooms and a built in strong room. One of the back rooms was purely used as a dead file storage area and some of the old files went back more than 30 years. One of the front rooms was split by the Enoch Evans partnership into two so that eventually we gained, at first floor, a waiting room, a strong room and five additional offices. Having regard to the foregoing factors and the possibility of spending more time at home with his wife and son and the thought of unrestricted time for holidays, the temptation to retire proved too great so the acquisition agreement was signed on the 20 th March 1981 with a completion date of 4th April 1981. Thereafter Tony was employed by Enoch Evans & Sons as a consultant for 5 years. We took over his practice and he was released from the terms of his lease in respect of the offices. He tells me it took him a long time to come to terms with the domestic change of life. As I type this chapter in the history of Enoch Evans (June 2002) Tony, I can tell you, who is no longer a member of the profession, is still well, in good health and still enjoying life for his age, despite the loss of his wife after an operation in 1994. Lastly, whilst on the A.Cotterell take over, among the old records handed over was a 1920 Solicitor‘s Diary and in that Diary are, what I believe to be, the accounts kept by Tony‘s father. I do not have any accounts for Enoch Evans further back than 1942!! The Cotterell accounts have what look like auditors‘ ticks and that is why I say I think they are the old practice accounts for 1920. Wages 11s.0d. per week (pre decimal currency). Cleaning materials 5d. Cost for a Will £1.11.6. Stamp on Contract 6d, Postages 5s.0d. And although there appears a carried forward figure on each page of postings I cannot work out the annual profit! I have shown Tony the records. He did not recall the records but his immediate comment to me was, ―the records really do reflect the appalling rate of inflation during the last century‖! I regret to add that Tony died at the beginning of May 2006

128


ENOCH

EVANS

CHAPTER 13 A FEW OF MY MANY MEMORIES OF EVENTS AND HAPPENINGS WITHIN THE OFFICE DANCING LESSONS IN NORMAN‟S OFFICE At boarding school I had not been taught to dance. One of the secretaries learnt that I was being sent by my mother for dancing lessons and I suppose this was in the autumn of 1953. Two of the office secretaries, Betty Spanswick, known within The Firm as ―Spanner‖, (see Chapter 11 for her memories) and Barbara Tolliday, (I cannot remember her then surname), decided they could also teach me how to dance! When Jack and Norman were out I would be called down to Norman‘s office and would find the square of carpet lying over the linoleum floor rolled up and a small record player and a few records had appeared. (No tape recorders in those days). Regular lessons when Norman wa s away were given to me, in those days. Whilst the cat was away the mice would play, but I did have to watch out for Barbara‘s, then, boy friend. (See ―Clean Windows,‖ next.)

CLEAN WINDOWS When I first was articled to my father in 1953 he had two secretaries. Sheila Burton and Barbara, whose boyfriend was John Tolliday. He was a partner with his father in a window cleaning business. What has window cleaning got to do with The Firm, you ask. Nothing save that until Barbara and John were married the firm had the cleanest windows in Walsall. Several times a day the ladders would appear on the outside of the building, No 19, Bridge Street, and windows would be re-cleaned. But most time was spent with the ladder at second floor level. Just checking to make sure that Barbara was behaving herself! Some people will go to any lengths to see their fiancée when in love! They became engaged and later married and as I type this note can report that they are still happily together. Their son carries on the business of ‗Window Cleaners‘ with John and still cleans my windows at home and he, or one of their employees, still cleans the office windows. A copy of this book will be sent to Barbara and John if and when printed!

129


ENOCH

EVANS

SUE THE HOSPITAL In the 1960‘s we seemed to have one or two particular clients whom we were never able to please. I well remember one upper middle-aged lady, who used to visit us on a fairly regular basis, probably once or so every two months. She always called without an appointment. Her instructions given to us some years before the events recorded hereafter, were, that she wished to sue the hospital, which, she alleged, had carried out an operation in the region of her stomach. Bear in mind, that these visits were before the days when legal aid was available to cover actions of the nature she had instructed us to take. She used to appear in the office, with what looked like a length of two or three feet of black cotton. She maintained, that following upon her hospital visit, periodically, she was able to pull from the edge of the scar in the region of her stomach, a length of what appeared to be cotton, and she alleged that the hospital must have been negligent and left whatever it was in her stomach following upon the operation that had been carried out. Enquiries of the Walsall hospitals had failed to reveal that she had ever been a patient in such hospitals for any operations carried out in the stomach regions of her body. She could not remember the name of her doctor, or which surgeon, or at which hospital, or when, the operation she described had been carried out. As mentioned before she would call with what appeared to be a length of cotton, which she maintained, she had pulled from her body roughly every two months and these visits went on over a period of three or so years. Within the office I would see her occasionally and sometimes others would see her. She would not let us see the scar and in particular would not tell us who her own doctor was! She came over as a perfectly sensible and reasonable lady. Eventually my then articled clerk, and I, decided that the only thing to do was to test her and see what her reactions were to the plan we decided upon. She was in due course announced. In she came to the office, with sure enough what looked like a length of cotton, and complained that that was what she had pulled from her wound a short time before or the previous evening. I told her, as per the usual on her visits, that nothing had been heard from the local hospitals, and that of course we would continue to press her claim, but that to make any progress we really did need to know, from her, who the surgeon was who had carried out the operation, when, and in which hospital. No information was forthcoming. I then stood up, and said to her, that I had been operated on and thought that I had a similar trouble to hers. I thereupon found the end of a reel of cotton that I had, prior to her being asked into my office, placed down the inside of my trousers, with the end of the cotton coming out between the buttons of my shirt, at about belly button level, and started to pull on that end. I managed to pull about a foot out and then asked her if she felt a little pain, when she was pulling from her scar what appeared to be the cotton she had brought in with her. ―Yes, a little‖ she replied. I then continued to pull on the cotton coming from my stomach

130


ENOCH

EVANS

area with the odd grunt and groan to give the impression that the pulling of the cotton from the alleged wound in my stomach was giving me a little pain. Eventually after about six or seven feet of cotton had been pulled, I declared that I could pull no more as it was causing me too much pain. Still trying to keep a straight face I told her that on behalf of her and myself The Firm would do their best to pursue claims against the hospital authorities. She left my office with a look of surprise on her face, but, I believed a happy woman. She never appeared in the office again after that day. I suppose she thought I must be as mad as she. We had worked out before the day of the above visit that her visits had always coincided with a New Moon!

RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS Those who knew me in my younger days, which includes clients and secretaries, will no doubt wonder what I am going to admit to, when they read the above heading. Let me say at the outset, "nothing". What a disappointment, will say some of you, if you get as far as reading this chapter in this book. What I am driving at is how helpful a solicitor can be to a client and in that connection a relationship is very often developed which can be to the benefit of the client. As I have already indicated earlier on in this book, I was one of the last general practitioners in the law who over the years has undertaken very many different types of work, whereas nowadays those entering the law immediately upon admission tend to specialise in a particular subject and very often do not gain any experience in any other aspects of the law. That, I personally really do think is sad, but that is the way in which matters have progressed in the profession, especially over the last 20 years. There is one memorable dear lady client whom I met when I was about 28 and who will not be named, but let me just call her Ethel, and that was not her first name. Ethel when I first met her was about 40 years of age and was, then, a lady of the streets, and although past her prime was still attracting customers. She had at least two daughters by, I believe, different men and I do not recall that she had in fact ever been married. Let me say immediately, that I never used her services. She was past her better days when I first met her! How did I come across her? I was dealing with the administration of a small estate and she in fact was a beneficiary in that estate. One of her past customers I believe. I cannot remember the extent to which she benefited, but I do recall that she was overjoyed to receive what she regarded as a substantial sum of money. I believe it was in the region of about was paid by her into a bank account and that, I thought, would be that, but to my surprise she came back to see me about two months later, and declared that she had agreed to buy 10 let properties in, I believe, Navigation Street, Walsall. I duly asked for a contract on her behalf 131


ENOCH

EVANS

and made the usual searches and enquiries. The rental income was minimal. The properties were in poor condition, were leasehold with only about fifteen or twenty years left to run on the old long lease, and a search made of the Local Authority, at that stage, revealed that the properties were due for demolition within 12 years. I could see no long term benefit to her in purchasing let properties, which were in poor condition, and due for demolition and where, on the figures, it seemed that it would be doubtful if she received other than a modest return on her investment. I remember telling her that I did not consider that her proposed purchase of these properties was a wise investment. Moreover I could not envisage her as a landlord in respect of some 10 let properties, all on rent control, being able to manage the properties and collect the rents without the help of an agent. She gave me a broad smile and declared that I would have to wait and see. She didn't tell me what she had in mind. Her instructions were quite clear, ―Get on with the purchase.‖ About one month after her purchase had been completed, she came to see me and brought into the office the first immigrant member of the ethnic minority that I had seen in the country other than a doctor or two. Remember this was back in about 1963. She declared that the tenant of one of the houses in the block she had purchased had died, and that that particular property had become vacant and the member of the Pakistani community she had brought in to see me had agreed to purchase the property for nearly half of what she had paid for the whole block i.e. abo buyer, of property. I did insist on an interpreter being brought in and did insist that he the intending purchaser be told that the property had a limited life span. He insisted on proceeding with the purchase and that was just about the start of The Firm's dealings with many immigrants from the far east. He, the purchaser, having moved into the middle of the block of 10 houses, and having moved his family in, resulted in their neighbours not finding them particularly desirable neighbours and the neighbours then found other accommodation, vacating the adjoining properties. The net result was that Ethel managed to sell, over the next two years, each of the remaining properties, in each case at getting on for roughly half of what she had paid for the No capital gains tax was payable in those days. In each case she brought in the prospective purchaser and in each case Enoch Evans & Sons, as it then was, was able to act for her as seller and for the respective purchasers. I remember, in respect of the first property in the block that was sold, that that particular property did in fact pass through The Firm‘s hands on no less than four occasions over the six years after the first purchaser had purchased the property, and on each occasion the prospective purchaser was advised that it only had, according to the Local Authority, a limited life span and on each occasion the new purchaser was paying more than the previous purchaser had paid, so that, in the end, that first property when it only had, according to the Local Authority, about 3 years to stand changed hands I realise that it will be difficult for many to appreciate that a property could be purchased for as little as the figures mentioned but things were very different back in the 1960's. Ethel, having developed a relationship with many immigrants, purchased further blocks of let properties and managed to persuade a tenant in each case to move out, and then managed to sell on the properties as they became vacant, to immigrants coming into this country, and in

132


ENOCH

EVANS

most cases Enoch Evans acted not only for her but also for the purchasers and in most cases those purchasers remained as clients of The Firm over the years following. Yes, I knew what she was up to and understood how she was turning the few pounds she had been left into several thousands and at one stage, I believe, that she was worth well over

Yes, Ethel was a good client of The Firm and The Firm's receptionist Judy Scowron (now Judy Allport) and others enjoyed her sense of humour, and having to deal with the problems she brought in with her concerning the various property deals and some of the purchasers. I now turn back to the question of relationships with clients, and have to say that within The Firm a tremendous relationship did develop with Ethel. Roy Bate dealt first hand with most of her transactions. I do however remember, in particular, one occasion on a Thursday afternoon at about 3.00 p.m. our receptionist Judy telling me over the telephone that Ethel wished to see me. I could hear a certain amount of laughing and giggling going on in the background and gathered that Ethel was suffering from the influence of alcohol. I saw her. She was dressed to kill, and I gathered that in fact she had had to leave her daughter's wedding reception, which was being held at the Co-op Kenmare CafĂŠ, as it then was, in Bridge Street (where the County Court Offices are at present). Why had she left in the middle of the reception? She had come to see me because those at the reception had drunk all that she had ordered and paid for in advance and the restaurant would not let her have any further alcohol without some money up front. The question I was asked, was whether I could let her have some cash to enable her to buy some more drinks for the wedding party. Of course I could and I was delighted to be able to hand her whatever was available in the petty cash tin, on a temporary loan basis, knowing very well that she would be returning the money to me in due course. In any event I also knew that I held deeds to numerous properties in her name, so I had plenty of collateral security but the interesting thing is that she turned to her solicitor for assistance in raising monies on short notice to enable the party to continue. She called in three or four days later when she had recovered from the party and returned the money lent. In those days there was a far greater element of trust than to-day. In those days when one could act for both purchaser and seller on a property transaction, one would just get on with the job one was instructed to do. To-day independent solicitors to act for each seller and purchaser are necessary, and everything has to be confirmed in writing and confirmed by the client in writing before one can get on with the job. In my view a sad position. In the case of Ethel, nowadays I would not dare to lend client monies on such a casual basis. One would have to tell her to get separate advice from another solicitor, and I would have to get a promissory note or loan agreement signed by her, to protect my position. Merely to deal with the matter on the basis of judging character is not acceptable. Parliament has passed laws, which slow down so many transactions and no one seems to wish to trust anyone else these days. Have we really made progress in my lifetime?

133


ENOCH

EVANS

CONTROL of POSTAGE STAMPS Yes it is a problem to stop staff sending off their own personal mail at The Firm‘s expense. Some years ago we had in our employment a junior who used to be responsible for the post. The postage bill was mounting and I could not understand why it was on such an increase. I ensured that a book was kept, and that every letter posted was recorded. The staff member had to enter the name of the person or persons or firm to whom each letter was being posted and add a note of the value of postage stamps affixed. This she did diligently and I used to inspect the book regularly and still the postage bill was on the increase. This was before the days of the present separate private system for mail between offices. Anyway, I decided that a postal franking machine should be installed. Too many visits were having to be made to purchase stamps. It was duly installed. The postage bill halved and that office junior promptly left and took up a position with one of Walsall‘s other firms of solicitors. What had been going on? balanced.

The records looked O.K.

The postage book had

We decided that what she had been doing was to enter the names of solicitors and others in the book on days when in fact nothing had been going to such persons and firms and she had built up a large surplus of stamps. On the next purchase of stamps the stamp money would just disappear into her pocket! We never thought to go through all the mail waiting to go round to the Post Office to see if the names all agreed with the entries in the post book No, I did not tell the opposition what sort of a trick, we believe, she had been playing on us. She stayed with that firm for several years! So far as I recall they did not have a postal franking machine in use in those days!

134


ENOCH

EVANS

FREE DRINKS for ALL STAFF When I joined the practice in 1958 a drink of coffee or tea was made available to all within the office in the morning and the afternoon. The kettle was boiled by the office junior in the area outside the ladies‘ loo on the second floor of No 19, Bridge Street and the tea or coffee then made, in cups, which the junior then took round the office on a tray to all staff. By the time she had managed to negotiate the stairs down to first floor level there was often as much in the saucer, and/or the tray, as in the cup, not to mention some over the stairs. I was then doing an amount of court work and would often return to the office to find that I was too late for the morning coffee, and would have to ask the junior for a cup to be made especially for me. This caused annoyance and I would often have to wait a long time for the drink. About that time, coffee machines were becoming available in fairly large numbers and it was decided that The Firm should install such a machine so that drinks for staff were available when the staff wanted a drink. The machine was installed and each week the staff were issued with ten discs the size of the old 6d. coin, so that they could have two drinks a day free, as had happened in the past, and if they wanted more or a drink at lunchtime then they either purchased from the cashier discs for use in the machine or put in a 6d. (old pre decimalisation) coin. All worked well except that we seemed to have to purchase further supplies of discs on a regular basis to make up for those which the staff seemed to have lost. All was revealed one day when I was in a local gentleman‘s club with my then articled clerk, now a prominent Birmingham solicitor. He was playing the club fruit machine and the jackpot fell. The jackpot was collected up, placed in his pocket, taken to the bar and there he emptied out his pockets. The manager started to count the money placed on the bar and I noticed he was pushing some of the jackpot monies to one side. He was placing to one side a large number of The Firm‘s drinks machine discs. ―I will not pay on those‖, he said. My articled clerk declared, ―They fell from your machine and I expect to be paid‖ He was paid out and the discs disappeared into the club dustbin. I then realised why we had over the months had to buy so many discs, and thereafter, ever since that occurrence and to-day, drinks from the office drinks machines are free to those wishing to have a drink! But what a lot is wasted. You only have to go round the office to see the number of half full cups left on the side at the end of the day!

135


ENOCH

EVANS

DEATH „DUE TO LOVE MAKING‟ That was the Express & Star heading to a case reported on the 26 th April 1967. I was instructed to defend a young man charged with murder. I was only in my early thirties at the time and it was my first murder case. The newspaper report opened: ―Violent love making in the cramped space of a car could have caused the death of Walsall student nurse Joan ………….., a Stafford Assize jury was told.‖ My client a man aged 25 was a married man with, I think, two children. By occupation at the time of the above headlines he was employed as a scaffolding erector. He had attended a dance at one of the local nurses‘ homes and took Joan from the dance to his car for intercourse. Having been instructed to act, and having found out a few facts about the case, I instructed a Professor James Webster, a consultant pathologist, to carry out a post mortem on the deceased girl. ―I will meet you at the mortuary‖ were his comments to me. That was the first occasion on which I had the unpleasant task of watching a pathologist at work on the dead naked body of what had been an attractive young girl. He carried out work on the neck of the body with various comments and then started to examine, in detail, the private lower parts. He declared that she had had sexual intercourse shortly before her death, and that she had not been a virgin prior to that intercourse. With his head between the dead girl‘s legs and his fingers well into her vagina, which he was holding open, he declared a photograph was required. A photographer was present and a photograph taken. Why, I asked is a photograph necessary? ―She has an ulcer there and it might be relevant in the trial‖ he replied. After having observed him at work on the dead body of that attractive young girl, which included an examination of the stomach contents etc, I could not eat steak for at least a couple of weeks after! The newspaper report of the trial went on: ―Professor James Webster, called by the defence, said the girl‘s death, in his opinion was due to partial asphyxia terminated by vagal inhibition. Her heart stopped due to vagal inhibition or excessive effort. It could have been brought on by three acts of intercourse in rapid succession in the front seat of a car, he suggested.‖ Yes, it was admitted to me by my client that he had had sex and climaxed with Joan on three successive occasions, after he had taken her from the nurses‘ dance. She, he said, was sitting on the front passenger seat of his car and he was kneeling in the foot well of the front passenger seat. Not the most comfortable of places for sexual intercourse! He told me that after the third time he climaxed, she went limp her head flopping back over the top of the passenger seat back rest. That was, he said, when he panicked and tried to revive her. The newspaper report went on: ―The partial asphyxia could have been caused by pressure of the hand on the neck or by awkward posture. Dr Webster said any pressure on the neck was not great and that partial asphyxia sometimes occurred in violent lovemaking. 136


ENOCH

EVANS

Strong evidence against cause of death being asphyxia was the lack of marks round the girl‟s neck. He would have expected marks, especially if there was pressure on the neck for two minutes as the prosecution had suggested. Other throat injuries could have been caused after death by someone who thought she had fainted trying to revive her.‖ Mr Justice Stable in beginning his summing up of the trial told the jury at Stafford Assizes: ―There can be no halfway house-it was simply a question of murder or accidental death. The prosecution have alleged that the girl was seen in (my client‘s) company at the nurses‘ dance and the next morning she was found in a shed murdered and raped. (My client) he said has admitted that he had intercourse three times in the front seat of his car and that he squeezed her neck because she responded to it. But, he has said, he did not use a great deal of force. He has also said that she consented to everything that happened and that he did not put his hands round her neck with the intention of killing her. (The Judge said that) the prosecution case was that (my client) strangled the girl and meant to do it and knew what he was doing. The result was that their verdict could be either guilty of murder or not guilty. There was no halfway house,‖ he said The Judge reminded the jury of something that was said to them by Mr Charles Lawson Q.C., defending, about manslaughter. ―If a man is raping a woman and in the course of that rape without intent to kill her and without intending to do her harm, uses force to achieve his purpose of rape, if he killed her then he is guilty of manslaughter. In this case, before you consider manslaughter you have to be satisfied that this man was raping this girl‖ he said. ―As both pathologists had told them, there were no signs on her body indicating a violent struggle; none of the outward indications that they could have expected to find in the course of a rape. It would be a matter of purest speculation to say that that girl was raped. You simply don‘t know. You may say we don‘t think she was and you may say we are sure she wasn‘t. On the evidence as it stands, in this case, there is no evidence on which you can possibly find that this girl was killed by the application of force to carry out the act of sexual intercourse with this girl against her will and with force. That leaves in the field simply the question of murder or accident.‖ At the end of the fourth day of the trial and later on when the jury went out to consider its verdict Inspector George Reed who had been in charge of the case for the police did tell me that he thought my client would be acquitted! The jury found him guilty and the Judge sent him to prison for life! My client, I gathered, some fifteen years or so later, and after his wife had divorced him, was himself murdered in prison. What never came out in the trial was that he had worked in an abattoir and that one of his boasts was that he could kill a sheep with a single twist to the throat!

137


ENOCH

EVANS

DEFENCE OF A FURTHER MURDERER I remember one further sad case when I was instructed to defend a murderer. I have no newspapers cuttings and cannot remember his name. He was about 18 to 20 years of age and was employed as a junior chef in a restaurant in the Birmingham area. On the evening in question he had been asked, and indeed was acting as a baby sitter and was looking after the young child of the restaurant manager. The manager returned to his living accommodation to find the young chef in tears and the child dead with stomach knife wounds. There were no mitigating factors that I could find. murder of a young child for no reason.

No defence.

The cold-blooded

Why add this brief note on to the end of the last before reported case? I reply not all cases that lawyers are involved in can stimulate interest!

ADDENDUM: In those days I used to smoke heavily, small cigars, and I remember visiting a client in the cells at Cannock Police station. With me was my then articled clerk to take a statement from my client. In the cells I offered my client a cigar, which he took and we both smoked heavily in that small room. After the statement had been taken and on the way back to the office my articled clerk commented: ―I never thought I would see you offer someone charged with (I think it was breaking and entering) a cigar.‖ My reply ―Cells at police stations and prison cells often smell and the smell of cigar smoke is better than the smell of fear.‖ One of my memories of acting for and defending criminals, and alleged criminals is that so many did not appear to have seen a wash basin for some time previous and in most cases gave off a smell brought on by fright or fear of finding themselves in custody and not knowing where that was going to lead to. I no longer smoke and have no desire to revisit the police cells or prison cells!

138


ENOCH

EVANS

OUR CASHIER‟S MUSINGS ON A CHEQUE ―St. Michael & All Angels‖ said the slip And I began to wonder, have I lost my grip, The cheque is crossed, the usual rule applies, But are there Banks in far celestial skies? ―A/C payee‖ but what a joint account! ―All Angels‖ is an infinite amount Of signatures, but at what Bank on high, Which one deserves a branch up in the sky? Which, behind the pearly gates so glistening, Could it be the one that‘s always listening? Has the Deity been too impressed By all those T.V. adverts from Nat West? Then there‘s Barclays too and Lloyds, of course But no the Devil‘s more akin to the Black Horse. I think the T.S.B. the Angels bless After all it is the one that likes to answer, ―Yes‖

Walsall Observer 30th June 1978

139


ENOCH

EVANS

THE BATTLE OF BRIDGE STREET Express & Star 26th June 1978 ―A two-hour rooftop siege left five policemen injured and £25,000. worth of damage in Walsall town centre. It was as if a bomb had gone off someone commented.” The above was the heading in the Express & Star. Yes, the offices f Enoch Evans & Sons were damaged. All we suffered were several broken windows and damage to paintwork. On arrival in my office I was greeted by a broken window and a couple of damaged roof tiles lying on my desk. The siege started after two policemen went to investigate a burglar alarm that was sounding off in a shop, in Bridge Street, at 11.30 p.m. Two youths tried to escape by climbing on to the roof of the former Walsall Observer building, opposite our offices at 19 Bridge Street. There they started ripping off roof tiles and coping stones and throwing them at their pursuers. Police reinforcements were called and at one point 19 police officers were on the scene. The officers had to take cover in doorways, as the bombardment continued. The fire brigade were called in with a view to trying to get the youths from the roof down the fire engine long ladder. Five police panda cars, parked in Bridge Street, were damaged and the fire engine suffered a damaged windscreen. Streetlights were smashed and the plate glass windows in 8 shops were broken. Five police officers suffered injuries from flying tiles but only one was seriously injured. He was a police dog handler and was taking cover in a shop doorway with his police dog. The dog was struck by a roof tile and in the fright of the moment turned and badly bit his handler in the lower leg! The youths were eventually caught by one police officer who went up on to the roof himself and apprehended the youths. (See photo at foot of previous page.)

140


ENOCH

EVANS .

THE NEWSPAPER REPORT th

Walsall Observer 30 June 1978 Shopkeepers and businesses were yesterday counting the cost of a whirlwind of destruction which hit the town centre in the early hours of the morning. Shopkeepers in Bridge Street almost unanimously agreed they thought a bomb had gone off. ―I could not believe my eyes when I came down and saw the mess. I thought a bomb had gone off,‖ said Mrs Carol Aulton, manager of R. Hayes, jewellers. Clare Travel‘s manager, Miss Christine Stewart said they had suffered a lot of damage. Probably worst hit was Lawleys Limited, china and glass specialists, whose front shop display was completely shattered. ―We cannot estimate how much damage has been done, yet, because we lost our front window and most of the china and glass was on display in the front window,‖ said Mrs Dorothy Everett, shop manager. Mrs Sue Aylett, first sales at Lawleys said she had heard something about the damage on the bus so was slightly prepared. ―Not for what I saw though. I was completely shocked‖ she added. E. Groom, the tailors shop had their first window smashed. ―I thought it was World War Three starting when I came down here last night,‖ said Mr John Holliday, manager Thursday morning saw the big tidy up operation swinging into gear. Police blocked off parts of the street to allow the roads to be swept and buildings cleared of glass. An elevated platform was used to check over the roofs and clear debris from the window sills.

Walsall Observer 30th June 1978

Express & Star 29th June 1978

Walsall Observer 30th June 1978

141


ENOCH

EVANS Friday 11th September 1981 together with photograph of self and two staff members.

MICRO-CHIP LEAD FOR SOLICITORS That was the heading of article below that appeared in the Walsall Observer for Walsall‘s oldest family firm of Solicitors has taken a micro–chip leap into the future. The old and the new go hand in hand at Enoch Evans & Sons, Bridge Street. The firm is the first in the Borough to install one of the world‘s most advanced digital telephone systems in their offices.

COMPACT British Telecom expect more small and medium sized firms in the Borough to follow. It can divert calls to other extensions, and gives out different types of rings so that the receiver can identify the kind of call, before answering. In a busy office extensions can be ―hunted‖ to find a free line.

The system, called the Monarch 120 call connect system, is made up of a compact touch sensitive console controlled by a small computer. ―The central switching system is virtually silent when in operation and is housed in a cabinet. In comparison, the old switching system in the firm‘s offices took up a whole room and was very noisy‖, said Mr John Evans, Senior Partner.

Up to 20 telephone numbers can be stored in the memory. And if callers are tired of trying to telephone someone and finding a constantly engaged tone – the system takes care of the problem. It simply keeps trying until the line is free and lets you know when the call can be made.

PROGRAMMED The system at the firm is programmed for 15 incoming lines and 52 extensions. The internal system also links up to the firm‘s other offices, Prudential Chambers, along the road.

Twenty–four year old Judy Skowron, the system operator, spent a few hours learning to cope with the equipment. ―It‘s fantastic, it takes most of the stress and frustration out of the job of operator, the whole job is so much easier‖ she said.

The system can store instructions in the computer‘s memory bank, and has a wide range of services.

142


ENOCH EVANS

BURGLARS We all dread a visit from burglars, do we not? Even more than a visit to the dentist. It was in about 1986 that Enoch Evans & Sons, as it then was, had a visit from burglars. They must have been clients of The Firm, as they appeared to know their way round. We believe that they must have spent most of the weekend in the offices at 35 Bridge Street. On a Monday morning, the first to arrive found, at first floor level, a hole in the wall alongside the door into the waiting area. Holes had been made in walls alongside doors at first and second floor levels. In all there were eight holes and these were large enough to enable a person to pass through. From the two waiting areas at first and second floor levels the holes led into offices. A number of the holes were through partition walls and would have been easy to make. The one that would have taken more time was the hole through the wall into the strong room at first floor level. That was through some 15inches of brick! In the strong room all paperwork had been left intact but a safe which had been in the strong room when Enoch Evans & Sons had taken over A. Cotterell & Co in 1981 had been turned onto its face and the back had been cut open. What, you ask, was in the safe? I do not know. The safe had been in the strong room when we had taken over the A. Cotterell & Co practice and Tony had told me that he did not recall the safe as ever having been opened and that the keys had been lost many years previously! As the then managing partner I and my secretary had just not got round to getting it opened and removed! A new safe on the insurers was a satisfactory outcome! What about the rest of the losses? What had the burglars found? Yes the holes had to be repaired and offices repainted. Thanks insurers. My partner John Platt, about to go on holiday lost about ÂŁ200 foreign money. One or two secretaries had lost a small amount of cash left in their desks. No files were missing or damaged. The main loss was a bottle, or was it only half a bottle, of whisky, that one of the managing clerks kept in his desk to help him in times of need when working for Enoch‘s. That loss was not covered by the insurers! We were lucky.

TELEPHONES I recall when the telephone system was upgraded, on one occasion, and each staff member was to have a phone on his or her desk, a junior was sent round to find out from each staff member whether he or she, as the case may be, desired a left of right handed phone. What would you have asked for?

142


ENOCH EVANS

CHAPTER 14 JOHN F. A. PLATT PARTNER 1965 TO 1987 A FEW OF HIS MEMORIES Written By John Platt My association with Enoch Evans & Sons, (as The Firm was then named) commenced about forty years ago and could be said to have occurred over a cup of coffee! Before joining Enoch Evans & Sons I had, after a period of private practice, entered industry. To supplement my income as an in-house solicitor I taught evening classes at the then Gosta Green College now part of the University of Aston. My pupils were mainly articled clerks doing what was called "their statutory year" and also on one night a week students sitting the Bankers Institute Examinations, the latter being all very dry stuff! I became acquainted with a fellow lecturer, Brian Harvey, who went on in the fullness of time to achieve a mu ch admired career in legal education eventually occupying the Chair of Law at Belfast and later at Birmingham University, Brian and I shared a great love of music and often chatted during breaks between lectures. One evening, over coffee he informed me of his connection with The Firm where undoubtedly he would have become a partner. He informed me that education was in fact his mĂŠtier and that he was resolved to leave the country and take up a post to found a postgraduate College of Legal Studies in Nigeria. There would be a vacancy at The Firm and would I like him to mention my name to the partners. I agreed, he did so and shortly afterwards presented myself (best suit and shoes shining) at Bridge Street. I was greeted by two men who were a good few years my senior. They were quite obviously brothers and the first thing I noticed was that there was an identical twinkle in their eyes. I also met Laurence Skan and in particular the author of this treatise N John Evans. (N.J.E). I had done a deal of homework regarding The Firm before travelling to Walsall. I had often dealt with The Firm in the past on various commercial matters. I knew well that it had a high reputation and I expected a bit of a grilling but in fact received the most courteous and kindly reception. It was interesting to note that whilst N.J.E. (the youngest person present), took a lesser part in the interview, one was left with an impression that here was a young man of great executive ability and potential. The interview proceeded to an intermission when I was asked to go into another room. I had little opportunity to note the comprehensive library of volumes in that room before I was called back and in effect offered a partnership conditional upon a satisfactory trial period. I was then taken out for the first of very many cordial lunches.

143


ENOCH EVANS As regards N.J.E. the next 21 years was to see my original assessment not only proved accurate but indeed surpassed. There can be no doubt that although his predecessors had laid down a foundation of great strength and indeed had commenced a course of growth and expansion this man was destined to do great things. Within a few years assuming the role of team head he carried forward a wonderful burgeoning and set a pattern of efficiency and competence which I am convinced continues to this day. N.J.E. carried an immense load of legal work and combined with it the task of administration, dealing with staffing and the everyday problems of running an expanding organisation. But more than this, he planned well and wisely for the years ahead. He gained the great respect of not only his partners and colleagues but every professional with whom he came into contact. N.JE. had a great love of the open air and all kinds of sporting pursuits. It was sad that in the course of the sport he loved so much he should sustain an injury and a reversal of health which would have crushed a lesser man. NJ.E. fought back, supported and sustained by his charming wife Sylvia, thankfully to regain in very large measure his former strengthhis administrative abilities and legal skills totally unimpaired. The advocacy side of the business had not always been to the fore as the founders of The Firm had been in the main men of commerce whilst Johns‘ appointment as Clerk of the Peace made it unwise if not impossible for The Firm to accept instructions in local criminal matters in the middle range of severity which might possibly finish up before the Recorder. The abolition of the Quarter Sessions Court presented an opportunity for expansion which we were quick to discern and turn to advantage. I am happy to feel that I played some part in this. In addition to Court work in which we enjoyed the confidence of the Police and the Local Authority, The Firm was instructed in quite a number of important and significant planning matters. These I found particularly engrossing but being open ended cases it was difficult to reconcile this kind of activity with an expanding criminal law practice. One could not be in two places at once and as a result Christopher Loach joined the team initially to assist me but speedily to go on and establish a fine reputation in his own right and to enter into partnership. John Dawe Evans the elder of the two brothers and the eldest son of the founder of the firm was a very fine man. Quietly spoken, immensely able and full of wisdom-I liked him so much. When after some years he died I was privileged to give the valedictory address at his funeral. I remember quoting from John Donne and how each of our lives affects and is affected by the lives of others. I well recall stating how J.D Evans had the wonderful gift of gaining the confidence and trust of others and how to know him was to be enriched. Many years later I discharged the like office when his brother Norman died. Norman was a man who had shown to me and to my then young family an extraordinary degree of supportive kindness. I had been for many years a lay preacher in Methodism and am now a lay reader in the Church in Wales. On many an occasion I would enter the Church to conduct a service and see Norman sitting in a pew. I would say to myself "now you must choose your words with care." Norman lived not far away and we saw a lot of each other both in and out of the office. He had a wry sense of humour and loved a little banter-always emerging the victor. I am happy that he lived to a great age and in particular that he lived to see the dynasty which he and his brother had advanced in succession to their father moved forward with increasing momentum by his own son and grandson. A proud man indeed.

144


ENOCH EVANS

It was not long before Andrew Moon joined the firm and later the partnership. Andrew had an immense sense of humour and was a man of large presence. He specialised in civil law and litigation in all its aspects and did so with incredible skill and application. His abilities particularly in the County Court were widely recognised and his arrival lessened some of N.J.E‘s work load and relieved me of the task of appearing in the County Court. Andrew oversaw a huge expansion in the civil litigation department and was later joined by Graham Jones who happily continues in the partnership team. My most vivid memory of Andrew is seeing him during the lunch break sitting at his desk facing two and often three chess boards and simultaneously playing and defeating his opponents. As N.J.E. mentions elsewhere Andrew is now a District Judge in the West Country and whenever I drive in Devon and Cornwall I do so with the greatest possible care. Laurence Skan occupied a room on the second floor from whence he quietly and efficiently dealt with all manner of property and commercial work. He lived in a genteel environment so different from his criminal brethren! It was always a great pleasure to share his company and to be aware of a depth of legal experience and ability far in excess of the bounds of the work which daily commanded his attention. Laurence had been in charge of Air Traffic control at one of the largest Bomber Command airfields during the 1939/45 war. He spoke of the terrible decisions he had to make to give priority of landing to returning planes some desperately damaged with wounded aircrew. I well remember a lighter story which he told of those times. Despite his senior ranking as a squadron leader he was ground staff, essential, but never a flyer, indeed he had not flown at all with the R.A.F. There was one day however when he granted permission to an American fighter pilot to make an emergency landing away from his own base in order to refuel. Laurence took the pilot a U.S. Colonel to lunch in the mess and received an invitation to take a flight after lunch. The plane in question was a twin fuselage Lockheed 3 Lightning specially adapted (for training purposes) as a two seater. They flew at 300 mph at tree top level-upside down! Sooner him than me. John James was a most able and delightful young man. He was articled to N.J.E. but alas did not remain long with The Firm moving on to City practice and later to a successful and significant commercial career. John James' successor as articled clerk was Ri chard Meere an extremely gifted man. I well remember his initial interview when we all took to him at once. It was inevitable that Richard should join the partnership. When N.J.E. surrendered the reins of Senior Partner it was Richard who took them up and has been the guiding influence ever since. All this occurred after I had retired to my native Wales but I did survive long enough in The Firm to welcome David Evans as a team member. The addition of David represented a significant continuation of what can only be described as a dynasty- "Yea even unto the fourth generation."

145


ENOCH EVANS The Firm was always pleased to afford work experience opportunity to young people interested in the law and busy as they were the staff seemed to find time to fit them into the order of things and to assist and guide. The Firm has always strictly adhered to a non discriminatory stance as regards its employees. Ethnic background was an irrelevance; after all they took on a Welsh partner! I note with great interest The Firm‘s advancement into new and improved and improving offices. Having in my seventies become computer literate I was, on a recent visit, most impressed to observe the high degree of electronic sophistication in use at every level and all in the service of the client. The fusion with the Kenneth Cooke partnership and the addition of that firm‘s clientele to the data base was a most logical step benefiting all concerned. It was unfortunate that recurrent bouts of respiratory trouble forced me to retire early from T he Firm. It had become at times increasingly difficult to manage to get through a long day and I always needed to have medication at hand. I was advised early in 1986, after a particularly severe bout of bronchritic asthma, that a change was necessary. The clearer air of the Welsh Hills did their work and, after a period of rest, I was able to return to practice at a more sedate pace on my own account as a "journeyman advocate" for the next ten years. My former partners, in particular N.J.E. and his br illiant protégé Richard Meere, have always been most hospitable and caring and keep me abreast of all their doings and of the developments which are occurring and will, I am confident, continue. They have my very best wishes. So many memories, so many experiences and anecdotal events that would require a separate treatise but have served me well. I have earned for myself many a dinner many a luncheon recounting them. I think they must be appreciated because the requests keep coming in! It is a pleasure and a privilege to contribute to this volume.

John Platt. Some specific memories It was fascinating to sit as deputy Clerk of the Peace and learn from the expertise of the advocates who appeared in that court. Some were very fine, others perhaps less able, but there was always something to be learned. This stood me in great stead and emphasised to me something which I had learned from my own father namely "it‘s no good having something worthwhile to say unless you can be heard." The ability to project the voice without overpowering and shouting is vital to the advocate. There is a lighter side to this. One afternoon whilst the quarter sessions was in progress in the old Walsall Guildhall, we became aware of a loud voice penetrating through from outside. It was intrusive and disturbing. The recorder ordered me to investigate. I despatched a police sergeant who happened to be in court and soon afterwards the noise stopped. 146


ENOCH EVANS Returning to court the sergeant reported that it was a solicitor Mr x "speaking to his office in Birmingham." Like a flash the Recorder replied "my compliments to Mr x and invite him to use the telephone." I have other memories of the Guildhall which was nearing the end of its useful municipal life and in desperate need of refurbishment. I recall the advocates‘ toilet which fulfilled the additional purpose of a broom cupboard, moreover, as it lacked a pane of glass in one window, pigeons had entered making their nest on the high cistern. Let me at once dispel any misunderstanding, I am not too proud to use a toilet which is also a broom cupboard, I am prepared to stand and endure the gaze of a pigeon in its nest but I do object when the pigeon looks me up and down and says "coo." On another occasion I was seated in number one court awaiting the magistrates return to announce their verdict on an assault case I had just prosecuted. The court usher came in and whispered to me "the magistrates in the court upstairs have just fined you £25 for speeding" (I had pleaded guilty by letter). Soon afterwards the bench returned on my case and pronounced "guilty." When they asked me how much I claimed by way of costs I was sorely tempted to add on £25 but resisted the temptation! I seem to recall that in the main I prosecuted but those were the halcyon days of democracy when you could defend and prosecute in the same court on the same day. One would travel to other courts-some at a distance and some nearby. Many of these courts have been closed in as programme of rationalisation which, alas, diminishes and at times destroys the concept of local justice where magistrates are armed with local knowledge (geographic and otherwise!). At Brownhills we sat around a table in the village hall. I cannot recall whether it wa s a billiards or a table tennis table. If it was the former I suspect the solicitors would have had to sit in bulk. Aldridge on the other hand had its own newly purpose built court and Willenhall too had a specially built court albeit older than Aldridge. I recall my wife receiving a summons for driving through Brownhills at 35 mph and being fined £20. A week later they raised the speed limit at the spot to 40 mph. I entered into a prolonged jovial correspondence with the clerk to the justices asking for my money back only to have it announced in court one morning "Mr Platt this correspondence must now cease". An out of court memory of Aldridge: an octogenarian couple who resided in Aldridge came in to see me to make their wills. I asked a number of questions to assist them in their decisions and encountered a certain reserve. The lady then said "perhaps I ought to tell you that we are not married." They had lived happily together for over fifty years. I said "well why not get married" and the reply was that over fifty years ago she had left her then husband and he was still in the land of the living . "I am the guilty party and he won‘t divorce me." I pointed out that the law had changed and divorce was not only possible but easier to obtain. My partner Andrew rushed a divorce through and our clients were married at the local registry office. I was happy to give the bride away and at the reception they gave me a splendid silver pen. Three days later I successfully defended a young lad in the juvenile court on a shop lifting charge. I know I had the pen on the desk as he sat next to me but I have not seen it since!

147


ENOCH EVANS

I remember making a will for a recently widowed lady who lived near to my home. Later The Firm acted when she sold her bungalow and purchased a McCarthy and Stone sheltered residence in Lichfield. There were several other flats in the "condominium" and all but the finest, which remained unsold, were occupied by ladies. When the last and most expensive flat was sold a bachelor moved in and received a deal of attention from all the ladies save my client who kept apart. A month or so later she phoned me and made an appointment to come in "with a friend". Sure enough it was the bachelor and they declared an intention to marry. This would of course have revoked her will. It is not unknown for widowed ladies to be exploited and perhaps I must have displayed some hesitation because at once he opened his brief case and produced two bundles of deeds: We were instructed to sell her flat and deal with the investment of the proceeds into her name, thereafter to transfer the ownership of his flat into their joint names. To top it all he produced the certificate of title to his property in Bermuda and asked for that to be transferred into their joint names. We were happy to arrange for the latter to be done. I hope they lived happily ever afterwards! Reference has been made elsewhere to the new court buildings in Walsall. These buildings fulfilled a real need and were connected by an underground tunnel to the adjacent police station-all very convenient! Soon after they were opened I was defending a man on a very serious charge. He was brought up the stairs in shirt sleeves from the cells into the dock for a remand hearing. He said he felt faint and asked for a glass of water. One was handed to him by the Magistrates clerk. He smashed the glass and cut his left wrist deeply. Fortunately I was able to get to him and rip off my tie and get a tourniquet around his arm to stem the bleeding. He survived and thereafter no glassware was permitted in court. My jacket was soaked with blood and had to be dry cleaned. The bench adjourned and I was able to change into the spare suit which I always carried in the boot of the car. Why carry a spare suit? The answer is to be found some years earlier when one March day I discovered on entering the Guildhall that the zip on my trousers had broken. I covered my embarrassment by keeping on my overcoat and phoning my wife to rush over urgently with a spare suit. I warned the clerk why I was keeping on my overcoat and he promised to inform the bench and adjourn when the suit arrived. The chairman of the bench could not resist pulling my leg-asking from time to time was I not uncomfortably hot in my overcoat! The person one represents often finds the proceedings mysterious and the interchange regarding overcoats must have added to the perplexity. It is one‘s duty to present the defendant‘s version of affairs however implausible and improbable. A man charged with exposing himself to two young maidens in the arboretum at Walsall claimed that they were at a distance and mistaken in what they saw. His defence was that as he sat with his back to a tree he was using nut crackers and cracking walnuts. What they saw was a nutcracker. Alas, this defence did not commend itself to the bench and he was found guilty. The court then adjourned for lunch and on my return to start the afternoons cases I found amongst my papers on the advocate‘s desk a brown paper bag of walnuts with a note "with the compliments of the justices." Alas, I had no nutcracker and by this time my client had gone home so I could not borrow his.

148


ENOCH EVANS One day I was rushed out of court by the police and taken to a nearby council estate. There sitting astride the roof ridge was a client of mine with the baby in his arms. To this day I do not know how he got there and I cannot recall why the police were interested in him. He had refused to come down until I was there. A social worker was on the scene so it must have been something to do with the child. I had to go up a ladder and bring the child down whereupon he followed. I have a morbid fear of heights but somehow I managed it. One thing I do recall- the baby was very wet. There is a belief that a lawyer‘s life is dull, dry and uneventful. I hope these reminiscences of mine will show that there is a brighter and at times refreshing and rewarding side.

149


ENOCH EVANS

CHAPTER 15 THE OFFICE OF CLERK OF THE PEACE AND WALSALL RECORDERS The Crown Court system was introduced in 1972. Up until 1972 the Town had its own Court of Quarter Sessions dealing with the majority of the major crime occurring within Walsall. In 1965, I was appointed the Deputy Clerk of the Peace and became Clerk of the Peace in 1967. In my capacity as Clerk of the Peace, I was responsible for the running of the Quarter Sessions Court and the organisation of all the Court business, until the Crown Court system as we now know it today was introduced. Not only was I responsible for the preparation of the wording of the charges for the crime for which each person appearing before the Court was to be charged, arranging for prisoners to be brought from Winson Green prison, or wherever, but also fixing the court lists, and liaising with solicitors for the prosecution, and defence, and also counsels‘ clerks to ensure that they were there to represent their clients. One of the most onerous tasks was the taxation or assessment of solicitors‘ and counsels‘ fees. This quite often involved disagreement, as my task was to ensure that they got a fair reward for the job done and often they were of the opinion that my assessment was too low! If they did not like my assessment they would be told to appeal to the Recorder, which I think only happened on a couple of occasions over the years. When I became Deputy Clerk of the Peace, the Court sat for about 13 days a year but between 1965 and 1972, the amount of work to be undertaken by the Court increased vastly and in 1972 the Court sat for 46 working days. Just over 9 weeks spent in a year in Court became a bit much. Whilst sitting in Court, one still had to deal with all the paper work, taxations and organisation of work for the next week etc as well as ensuring that my day-to-day work as a Partner in The Firm was undertaken. Most importantly one still had to look after one's clients within The Firm. Many long hours were spent away from home in those days. My Partner John Platt was appointed my deputy and with his assistance, the assistance of my very able managing clerk, David Emery, and the rest of the Partners and staff within The Firm we managed. I was very proud to have been associated with the ancient office and was sorry in many ways to see the Crown Court system introduced. How was it that I came to be appointed Deputy Clerk of the Peace in the first place? Well you might ask. In 1965 The Firm of Enoch Evans & Sons did not undertake any large amount of Court work. It was large enough to absorb the administrative tasks associated with the running of the Quarter Sessions and I was honoured to be asked to be initially Deputy Clerk of the Peace and, on the retirement of Ernest Haden, who was the Clerk of the Peace, to be appointed Clerk of the Peace in succession to him. It did mean that The Firm of Enoch Evans & Sons could not undertake any criminal type work within 150


ENOCH EVANS the Magistrates Court which was likely to be referred to a Higher Court for sentence or trial i.e. the Court of Quarter Sessions would deal with appeals, trials and criminal work, other than matters of a major nature, such as fraud and murder, which would be referred for trial at Stafford Assizes. The Firm, therefore, only undertook in those days minor criminal work or the very heavy weight murder/manslaughter type of work when the opportunity arose. The Court of Quarter Sessions was presided over by a Recorder, and I was told that the office of Recorder had only been vacant once since its foundation, and that was in Cromwell‘s time, when the original Charter was surrendered to the Parliamentary Commissioners for a short period. In 1966 my predecessor wrote to the Council House asking a Mr. Marshall, who had then carried out a lot of research into Local Government in the previous 150 years, for details of the history of the Office of the Recorder. Mr. Marshall replied as follows:-

_________________________________________________

Room 12, Council House, Walsall. Ernest W.Haden Esq., Clerk of the Peace, Walsall.

Dear Mr. Haden, Walsall Recorders. I have pleasure in replying to your letter of 22nd June. The Office of the Recorder goes back into early days and would appear to be the oldest office in Local Government, apart from The Mayor. The earliest reference to a Recorder in Walsall, so far as I can ascertain, is in the Charter of Charles I, dated 5th October 1627 (which forms the foundation of local government in Walsall), and which provided, (inter alia), for the appointment of a Mayor and 24 Capital Burgesses (Councillors): "who may impose and assess in such manner and in such sort as shall seem requisite and reasonable such pains penalties and punishments of body or by fines, amerciaments, or both, upon all offending against such laws statutes and ordinances so made and established, all such fines and amerciaments appertain to themselves and all such laws are to be observed and the penalties

151


ENOCH EVANS therein contained provided there be nothing therein repugnant or contrary to the laws statutes customs or rights of England. There is always to be a discreet person, learned in the laws of England, or some other discreet person, who shall be Recorder, and he shall be elected by the said Mayor and Capital Burgesses or the greater part of them, and according to their good pleasure to be continued or displaced and put another in his place, which Recorder, before his admission, shall be sworn before the said Mayor to execute all things belonging to the Recordership. A Court of Record was authorised "to consist of the Mayor Recorder and Town Clerk, or any two of them, to be held every Tuesday each week as and when necessary, to hear and determine by plaint made in all actions of debt, account, covenants, contracts and force of arms, and whatever else of the like nature shall be done and other personal complaints within the limits of £2; and £20.‖ The Mayor, Recorder, 2 oldest Capital Burgesses, and the last year's Mayor, by their warrant under their hands and seals, are to commit all persons that are taken arrested or found within the said Liberties, for any treason, murder, felony or robbery or for suspicion of any such offences unto the Common County Gaol of Stafford, there to be detained to answer for their offences before the Justices of Oyer and Terminer and general Gaol Delivery". A Court of Pie Powdre (dusty feet) was to be held on Market Days, to administer ready justice to buyers and sellers. The law is, of course, now altered, and a Recorder is now appointed by the Home Secretary or Lord Chancellor, and is the sole judge at Quarter Sessions. The Mayor or other Justices of the Peace have no judicial authority whatever at the Recorder's Court. I cannot find any Quarter Sessions Records in the Town's Archives. A few years ago I searched for the old Magisterial Records at The Guildhall (where the deeds and documents were kept before The Council House was erected), but I was unsuccessful. I think they must have been destroyed when Mr. Charles Loxton retired from the Justices' Clerkship. I remember attending the Court of Quarter Sessions about 1896 when Mr. E.A. Owen was the Recorder and Mr. W.H. Duignan the Clerk of the Peace. Mr. Duignan was succeeded by Mr. W.C. Checkley and afterwards by Mr. Victor Crooke. I saw the old Records, which were handed over to Mr. Crooke when he was appointed, but I have no recollection of any Notes made by him, except those relating to the Cases at the Court. I have compiled a List of Walsall Recorders from our Records, which I think are fairly accurate, and enclose a copy of the List herewith.

152


ENOCH EVANS The Mayor's Accounts from 1773 contain many items of expenditure relating to the Quarter Sessions. Every year there appears "Paid Mr. Recorder one year's salary £10.10.0" (Increased to £20; in 1813). I trust the foregoing information will be helpful to your correspondent. Let me know if I can do anything further. I hope that you are keeping well and enjoying your partial retirement. The Council appointed me on a Panel at Birmingham University for Research into Local Government for South Staffordshire during the last 150 years, so that I am well occupied. I am happy when I can find the information for which I am seeking. Yours sincerely, ………Marshall

153


ENOCH EVANS

WALSALL LIST OF RECORDERS 1627 1635 1662 1689 1757 1770 1789 1794 1833 1868 1893 1925 1928 1932 1935 1937 1946 1952 1964 1965 1971

John Persehouse John Byrch Edward Byrch John Hoo Robert Aglionby Slaney Thomas Gilbert William Beard Charles Waller Willes George Nathanial Gooding Clarke Nathanial Richard Clarke William Johnstone Nelson Neale Edward Annesley Owen John Lort Williams S.R.C. Bosanquet Samuel Lowry Porter William S. Morrison William Monro Andrews Edward Ryder Richardson Charles Beresford Whyte Leonard Paul H. Layton Edmund H.P.G. Wrightson Q.C. The End of Walsall Recorders ...................

I was only appointed Clerk of the Peace in September 1967, and there is no doubt that until the Crown Court system was introduced the amount of work to be undertaken increased very substantially presenting difficulties in coping with the Quarter Sessions work and my work load within The Firm. There appeared in the Walsall Observer for Friday, 29th September 1967 a tribute to Ernest Haden from whom I took over as Clerk of the Peace and I set out details of that tribute as follows and attach for record purposes a copy of the photograph which then appeared in the Walsall Observer 29th September 1967: -

154


ENOCH EVANS

TRIBUTE TO COURT'S CLERK Walsall Observer 29th September 1967 Tomorrow, (Saturday) Mr. Ernest W. Haden, Clerk of the Peace for Walsall for the past 16 years, retires. At the opening of Walsall Quarter Sessions on Monday, the Recorder, Mr. Edmund Wrightson, said Mr. Haden was known for his charm, courtesy, and human understanding, and deserved a long and happy retirement. He had, Mr. Wrightson said, seen many changes in the Town and in legal life. He had been a central pillar, known to everyone. The Mayor, Alderman J.A. Thompson, described Mr. Haden as a respected citizen, who was highly respected and had served the Town truly and well. Mr. A.A. Cotterell, speaking on behalf of Walsall Law Society, said Mr. Haden had been a patriarch of law in the Town. Acknowledging the tributes, Mr. Haden said it had been a privilege to serve the Town, but what he had accomplished could not have been done without the assistance of everyone in the legal profession in Walsall. He wished especially to thank the probation officers for their work. Mr. Haden was appointed Deputy Clerk of the peace to Mr. Victor Cooke in 1933, and became Clerk to Lichfield City Magistrates and to the Magistrates of Lichfield and Brownhills petty sessional division in 1942. He was appointed Clerk of the Peace for Walsall on Mr. Victor Crooke's resignation in 1950. He is succeeded by Mr. N. John Evans, who was appointed Deputy Clerk in 1965. Mr. Evans who is married with two children, lives at Streetly, and is Secretary of Walsall After War Fund.

155


ENOCH EVANS

The Mayor, Alderman J.A. Thompson shakes hands with the Clerk of the Peace for Walsall, Mr. Ernest W.Haden at the start of his last week in this office. Behind them are, (left to right), Mr. A.A. Cotterell, Mr. Edmund Wrightson, Q.C., Mr. Colin Goode, Chief Superintendent J.H.A. Collins and the new Clerk of the Peace, Mr. N. John Evans.

156


ENOCH EVANS

ON TO 1971 and the End of the Quarter Sessions END OF COURT SYSTEM BEGUN BY CHARLES I Friday November 26th 1971 The Walsall Observer A legal tradition covering the last 350 years – from the time of King Charles I‘s charter for Walsall – comes to and end this month when the town‘s Quarter Sessions close for the last time. The sessions, which have been the town‘s higher court of justice, are to be replaced on 1st January 1972 by a new system of Crown Courts under legal reforms approved by Parliament. On Monday when the final quarter sessions began, the occasion was marked with speeches from representatives from the legal profession in the town, from The Recorder, Mr Paul Wrightson, Q.C., and from the Mayor, Councillor Sidney Wright. Councillor Wright commented: ―This is a very sad occasion for the town, and I only hope the new Crown Court system proves as effective as the Quarter Sessions have been. Our legal system is second to none and we have people coming from all over the world to study it.‖ Mr W. Rathbone, a barrister, said on behalf of Counsel appearing at the sessions: ―For those of us practising on the Oxford circuit, of which these sessions are a part, this is a sad moment, for the circuit comes to an end with the sessions at the end of the year. I only hope that the traditions of the quarter sessions are continued in the new system. From the ashes of Walsall Quarter Sessions arises the phoenix of the Crown Court. We hope the new system will work as well.‖ „CHEAP, EFFICIENT‟ The president of Walsall Law Association, Mr W. B. Brookes, said on behalf of the town‘s solicitors: ―People appearing in these courts have been dealt with by the town‘s own representatives in the past and this will no longer apply after January 1. This court has been run very cheaply and efficiently and it remains to be seen whether the new system will do the same. We must remember the long line of Recorders who have served this town so well.‖ Mr N. John Evans, who as Clerk of the Peace, continues the long tradition of local solicitors holding the office, referred to the Charter of King Charles I, and commented that it called for a ―discreet person learned in the laws of England‖ to be the town‘s Recorder. Describing the work done by the sessions in Walsall he said that a total of 240 prisoners had been dealt with over 46 days of quarter sessions last year in the town.

157


ENOCH EVANS Mr J. Ellison, deputy recorder, thanked the speakers on behalf of the Recorder, who was suffering from a throat indisposition. Under the re-organisation of the courts system, Walsall will have a Crown Court sitting four times a year. The first sits for three weeks from January 31, in the Guildhall, but who will be presiding is not yet known. The Crown Court will continue the duties of the quarter sessions system with certain cases being heard at the central district court at Dudley. A senior circuit judge or High Court judge sitting at Stafford will hear more serious cases, usually heard at assizes. Because of the fact that the Recorder or sometimes his Deputy, who would act in his absence, were not living locally and were living in hotel accommodation they were most anxious to progress the work of the Court as quickly as possible so that they could leave their temporary hotel accommodation and return to their respective homes, and to this end the business of the Court was dealt with expeditiously and with a minimum of delay, pomp and ceremony. Often the Court would sit well into the evening to clear a day's list. Yes, there were amusing incidents. What for example do you reply to a member of Islamic belief, who when asked to take the oath, said, yes, he would be happy so to do but wished to face in the direction of Mecca and which way was that? You must reply with a positive indication as to the direction of Mecca, and that being done, and he was happy to face in that direction and take the oath. Yes, there were complaints that the Clerk of the Peace (myself) always seemed to be doing something other than paying attention to the business of the Court. My task was purely administrative and I was in trouble if there was insufficient work for the Recorder on any particular day, or if I had failed to ensure that the prison officers had brought along from Winson Green the prisoners listed for the day. I was also responsible for ensuring jurors were called when necessary and I do recall that for many years the Court of Sessions were failing to get a conviction on a trial by jury. It had been the practice of my predecessor Ernest Haden to follow through the streets in the Borough, drawing jurors from six or so areas. On investigation and wondering why on one particular clear cut case where the jurors should have found the accused guilty, in my opinion, it dawned on me that jurors were being called from areas where defendants appearing before the Court of Sessions also lived. A switch to calling on people from higher class residential areas in Walsall produced, in the next few sessions a reversal in the trend and one or two findings of guilty and I hold to the view that anyone who is responsible for summoning jurors would have no difficulty, if they knew one of their friends was due to appear in Court, in ensuring that jurors were called from certain areas, which would produce a "not guilty" verdict whatever the evidence! It was not a well paid job but it did get a lot of publicity and one always found oneself in the forefront at local events. Good publicity for The Firm! When finally I ceased as Clerk of the Peace no redundancy or payment for loss of office and no knighthood!

158


ENOCH EVANS Walsall Observer 26th November 1971

..

159


ENOCH EVANS

CHAPTER 16 LONG SERVING STAFF MEMBERS‟ APPRECIATION

ENOCH Walsall Observer 5th November 1954

ENOCH REMEMBERED The Walsall Observer published in The Observatory Column the following: A former Mayoress of Walsall who had the unusual distinction of succeeding her own sister in that office began her 90th year yesterday (Thursday). On her 89 th birthday Mrs. Enoch Evans, received a letter of congratulations from the Mayor (Councillor H.S. Gwinnutt). When Alderman and Mrs. Evans became Mayor and Mayoress in 1921 they followed Alderman and Mrs. H.H. Tucker who had been the town‘s chief citizens for two years. Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Tucker were sisters who had been brought up on a farm in Cornwall. Their ―immigration‖ to Walsall must have been a charming and romantic story. I understand that Henry Tucker first met one of the sisters during a holiday in Cornwall. Afterwards he introduced his old friend Enoch Evans to the other sister. Of the four Mrs. Evans is the only survivor. She is still active and in good health.

Long Exile While Walsall has reason to be grateful to the West Country for providing two charming and gracious Mayoresses, the compliment has to be extended and returned.

160


ENOCH EVANS

JACK

161


ENOCH EVANS

JACK CONVEYING BEST WISHES Express & Star 1st October 1963 A SPECIAL conveyance document on parchment, tied with green tape, dropped on the desk of Walsall solicitor Mr John Dawe Evans to day. But the contents did not concern a property deal. It was a ―conveyance of congratulations and felicitations‖ drawn up by his partners in the firm of Enoch Evans and Sons, Bridge Street. For today, 72-year-old Mr Evans, a past president of Walsall Law Association, celebrated half a century of practice in the town. At one time, Mr Evans was no stranger in the court rooms, but for the past 20 years or so his time has been spent dealing with the affairs of the firm‘s clients in the privacy of his office. And he still finds that so interesting he has no intention of retiring.

Judge Tucker, he is married with two daughters and lives at The Crescent, Walsall. He is keen on the open-air life and has towed his caravan through 50,000 miles of British countryside. A young looking 72, he is healthy and active, and he hopes to be able to carry on, at least for a few more years.

SENIOR PARTNER Exactly 50 years ago on October 1, 1913, he was admitted as a solicitor and joined the firm founded by his father, the late Alderman Enoch Evans. Now he is senior partner. He told the Express and Star: “I have no desire to retire yet, but I do want to take things a little more easily” When Mr Evans started work the telephone was in its infancy and his number was 72.

DICTATING MACHINE Advances have been made in all directions and whereas he once dictated to a short hand-typist, today he was busily speaking into a dictating machine. A Director of Walsall Permanent Building Society, and cousin of the late

162


ENOCH EVANS

NORMAN

163


ENOCH EVANS

NORMAN 50 YEARS A SOLICITOR IN WALSALL ANOTHER REPORT: LONG SERVICE

Walsall Observer 11th July 1975 A Walsall man is celebrating 50 years as a solicitor in Walsall, in a family firm that goes back to 1884.

Mr Norman Harrison Evans now a full time Consultant with Enoch Evans and Sons of Walsall has completed 50 years as a qualified Solicitor, having been admitted on 6th July 1925. He was articled to his father, Enoch Evans, who founded the firm in 1884 and has spent his whole legal career with the firm, only interrupted by service with the R.A.F., in The Second World War. It is of interest that he is the second of the founder‘s sons to celebrate 50 years as a solicitor, his brother John Dawe Evans, who died recently, having been admitted in 1913.

Mr Evans was articled to the Bridge Street firm of Enoch Evans & Son in 1920. He became a Solicitor and partner in the firm in 1925. Mr Evans who lives at Sutton Coldfield, has three children and his son John is a partner in the business. Although he retired as a partner four years ago, Mr Evans has continued full time work, as a consultant. The family business has always been operated from Bridge Street. The late Alderman Enoch Evans entered the roll of solicitors in 1884. Son Norman, whose brother John D. Evans, also once a member of the firm, died on June 20th, says standards in the legal profession are very much higher now than when he first began practising. During the last war, Mr Evans served with the R.A.F. in North Africa and Italy.

164


ENOCH EVANS

JACK and NORMAN

165


ENOCH EVANS

LAURENCE LEGAL HAT-TRICK Walsall Observer 9th March 1979

―Mr Skan, who is an ex-president of the Walsall Law Association and a member of The Law Society, began his career as an articled clerk in London.

A Walsall solicitor has just scored a ―hat-trick‖ for his firm by celebrating 50 years in the profession. Mr Laurence Skan of Beaconsfield Court, is the third partner to reach the halfcentury mark with Enoch Evans and Sons Solicitors, Bridge Street.

Now the 72-year-old solicitor who is a dedicated motor car enthusiast intends to carry on working.

He joined the firm 27 years ago after serving as a squadron leader in the R.A.F. during the War.

―We all seem to carry on working for a long time here at Enoch Evans,‖ said Mr Skan. ―It‘s obviously the Walsall air and the Walsall people that keep us so young.‖

I remember Laurence well. One of my first holidays abroad was with he and his Wife in Austria visiting many members of her family, she having been born in Austria.

Walsall Observer 9th March 1979

166


ENOCH EVANS

LESLIE LIFE BEGINS AT 65 Walsall Observer 7th November 1978

Leslie stays on Legal eagle, Mr Leslie Crosby is 65 and not out, for he has decided he is far too young a man to be thinking of retiring yet! Mr Crosby, who lives at Victoria Road, Pelsall, has been senior legal executive for the Walsall firm of Solicitors Enoch Evans & Sons for the past 18 years. He reached the age of 65 at the end of last month, but said he was too young and fit to consider retirement. ―I get a lot of satisfaction out of my job and I shall be much happier here than sitting at home getting to be an old man,‖ he said. Friends and colleagues joined together in congratulating Mr Crosby on his decision to stay on at a celebration lunch at the Baron‘s Court Hotel.

Senior Partner of Enoch Evans & Sons Mr. John Evans (left) presents a gift to Mr Leslie Crosby, the firm‘s senior legal executive. In the back ground (left to right) Mr Laurence Skan (Consultant), Mr Richard Meere (Partner), Mr Norman Evans (Consultant), Mr John Platt (Partner), and Mr Andrew Moon (Partner).

167


ENOCH EVANS

NORMAN AN OCTOGENARIAN – and still practising! Walsall Observer 8th October 1982

One of the best known figures in Walsall legal circles is still practising as he reaches his 80 birthday. th

Mr Norman Evans of Enoch Evans & Sons, is believed to be the oldest and longest – practising solicitor in the town, with a career spanning over 60 years. He works a five day week, driving himself to the Bridge Street offices, and is there shortly after 9.00 a.m. each morning. To mark Mr Evans‘ birthday, the firm‘s 55 members of staff made a presentation to him at a lunchtime celebration at Walsall‘s Roman Restaurant. They bought him a lambs‘ wool cardigan and two books, one a National Trust publication and the other on the heritage of the Cotswolds. The gifts were presented by the firm‘s senior legal executive, Mr Roy Bate, who is the second longest serving member of staff. At a private ceremony at the offices, the firm‘s six partners presented Mr Evans with a gold inscribed pen and pencil set. Mr Evans who lives at Streetly, is now employed as a consultant, having been senior partner until about 1975, a position now held by his son, Mr John Evans. A dinner party for 30 of Mr Evans‘ close relatives and friends was held at his son‘s home at Longdon Green, Rugeley. He said: ―My father still looks after many of his old clients, in particular dealing with conveyancing and trust work.‖ Octogenarian, Mr Evans, son of the founder, the late Mr Enoch Evans, started as an articled clerk at the age of 19. The firm was then on the opposite side of Bridge Street, moving to its present location in 1921. Mr Enoch Evans died in 1937 and Mr Norman Evans and his brother Jack then became joint senior partners. During the Second World War Mr Evans served in the R.A.F. in North Africa and Italy.

168


ENOCH EVANS

Roy Bate Senior Legal Executive proposing best wishes to Norman .

169


ENOCH EVANS

NORMAN REACHES HIS 80th BIRTDAY

IRIS PINNOCK puts into Verse her memories of the old Firm I have set it out so that when reading this book you will all realise that within The Firm Partners and Staff enjoyed a unique relationship. Iris started work there in 1936. ―To N.H.E.‖ On this unique occasion My Best Regards I send, And hope that with your family A happy day you‘ll spend. I know you have shared with Mr. Skan My ―odd odes‖ down the way, So thought I‘d just do one for you To celebrate this day. Though many years I‘ve known you, It seems but yesterday That I came to 19 Bridge Street And really came to stay. At that time when I joined you The firm was very small, With Partners and the Staff all told A dozen folk in all. I was but a ―Teenager‖ My years not reaching a score, While you were then a bright young man Of nearly 34. There were you and Mr. Jack, Your Father too was here, With Mr. Watson helping him, Mr Wincer was Cashier. Mr. Brookes was here as well And C.P. Rylatt too, Little Laurence Green was the office boy, That‘s all the males I knew. Four Girls made up the office staff, Miss Butler worked for you, Miss Turner and Miss Yates were here And I was then quite new.

170


ENOCH EVANS

Enquiries were where you are now, Your Father was next door, Mr. Jack sat where sits Mr. John While you were up one floor. Then we had no intercom And I would here relate That we were summoned by a bell When you wished to dictate. We each knew our own signal, ‗Twas easy as could be, You‘d ring just once or twice or thrice And I was Number 3. When the office tea was made A spirit stove was used, We sometimes pumped for half an hour Before tea was infused. We only had one office loo For use of he and she, ‗Twas on the ground floor neath the stairs And under lock and key. We had no central heating No carpets on the floor, But we had coal fires every day So who could ask for more. Creature comforts fell far short Of what they are to-day, But we, as we knew everyone, Were happy in our way. The girls left when they married, It was the thing to do, A rule that‘s long gone by the board As well you know is true. Some years I worked for Mr. Brookes, Much more for Mr. Skan, I really did enjoy my stay O‘er 42 years span. As office Staff kept growing We used up all our space But knew it would be very hard To find another place.

171


ENOCH EVANS

First we found some extra rooms By knocking down a wall, We built extensions at the back But hadn‘t room for all. Then we found in Tudor House An empty office suite, And so we thought that for a while This would our problem meet. Our litigation folk moved To try to ease the strain, But after several years had passed We‘re on the move again. ‗Twas to Prudential Buildings At last they came to stay, It‘s just a little up the Street On our side of the way. And so from small beginnings Has grown a great big tree, I wonder if the founder could Have known how it would be. Machines have taken over, It really had to be, A button now we have to press To get a cup of tea. We know not one another So large the Staff has grown, And sometimes we can only speak By means of telephone. I hope I haven‘t bored you With this my history Of showing how the firm has changed From what it used to be. In spite of all the changes Some things remain the same, We still keep to old principles And honour the old name. So please enjoy your birthday Now you have reached four score, I wish for you the best of health And many birthdays more.

172


ENOCH EVANS

In the picture are seen (left to right) Norman then a consultant, Henrietta Gould, Mrs Dolly Jones her daughter and myself the then senior partner.

173


ENOCH EVANS

HENRIETTA

Henrietta cleans on - - at 80! Walsall Observer 29th October 1982 A Coalpool woman celebrated her 80 th birthday at the firm where she has spent the past 45 years keeping the offices spick and span. And Mrs Henrietta Gould has every intention of carrying on with her job at Enoch Evans & Sons, Solicitors, of Bridge Street Walsall. A 5.30 a.m. bus has carried her into the town every working day since 1937, and when she reached the fine age of 80, the firm‘s partners got together and presented their much appreciated cleaning lady with a hamper of food and wine. Partner Mr Richard Meere said Mrs Gould now widowed, was very pleased to receive the gift on her birthday. ―We are delighted she‘s still working here. She‘s very kind and helpful. She‘s got no intention of retiring, and she is in exceptionally good health.‖ A surprise celebration meal was organised for Mrs Gould by members of her family at the weekend, and she also marked the occasion with a toast in the week. Her daughter Mrs Dolly Jones also works as a cleaner at the firm and Mrs Gould‘s late husband used to work as a firewatcher at the building during the last war.

Yes, I do remember Mrs Gould well. She was always ready and willing to clean up building alterations mess and kept the offices clean and tidy. I do not remember her taking any holidays. She was always there with the front door open for the staff at 8.30 to 9.00 in the mornings.

174


ENOCH EVANS

In the picture (left to right), David, John, Norman and Enoch in the picture on the wall. Four Generations Together.

175


ENOCH EVANS

DAVID The Fourth Generation

FOLLOWING IN FAMOUS FOOTSTEPS Evening Mail 1st December 1982

Three generations of the Evans family have established a remarkable legal lifeline in a Walsall solicitors‘ practice. Mr Norman Evans, aged 80 still works as consultant for the firm of Enoch Evans & Sons of Bridge Street, Walsall. His son, Mr John Evans, is senior partner and now his Grandson, 22 year old David Evans, has passed his Law Society final examinations and is poised to join his father and grand-father. The practice was founded by the late Mr Enoch Evans in 1884, and he became Mayor of Walsall in 1921. The latest solicitor off the family tree, David was educated at the Guildford College of Law and Wolverhampton Polytechnic.

176


ENOCH EVANS

CHAPTER 17 THE CENTENARY of THE FIRM 1984 100 YEARS YOUNG I wonder what Enoch would have thought of The Firm he founded? The Partners decided to take the opportunity to celebrate the Centenary but firstly there was the problem of advertising. The position in 1984 was not the same as it is today. The profession had not yet entered into the age where firms could advertise, but in real terms that is what we wanted to do. Yes, to promote ourselves within the town. To this end the Law Society were written to for guidance. In my letter to the Law Society, dated the 1 st November 1983, I specifically mentioned that my grandfather had started The Firm and the partners wished to celebrate the occasion. I asked to be directed to articles written, and for copies of guidance notes, issued by the Law Society. In particular I asked whether it would be in breach of the rules if: a. Letter heading mentioned the fact that The Firm was ―founded in 1884‖ b. Small star-like stickers were added indicating ―Centenary Year 1884-1984‖ c. The logo on the franking machine indicated The Firm‘s Centenary was in 1984.

The Law Society replied on the 30 th November and their reply was:

30th November 1983.

Dear Mr. Evans

Thank you for your letter of 1st November received on the 4 th. delay in replying.

I do apologise for the

I was most interested to learn of your firm‘s approaching centenary. First of all, I am enclosing a copy of the Council Statement entitled ―Interviews about Solicitor‘s Practices‖. This would be relevant if you were approached by the media for, for example, an article in the local newspaper. Whilst solicitors must not inspire publicity in these circumstances, if approached by the media they can agree to the publication of the firm‘s name, the names of the partners and other biographical and historical details. The article should not refer to the type of practice of the current

177


ENOCH EVANS firm nor suggest that they are specialists in any field. press to publish a photograph of the partners and staff.

They must also permit the

There would also be no objection to your circularising your established clients to inform them that your firm will shortly be celebrating its centenary. In this respect, I am enclosing a copy of the Council Statement on Announcements, which appeared in the Gazette on the 11 th October 1979 and would refer you to Section 7. Furthermore, there is no objection to the celebration of such an event by the entertainment of clients and other business acquaintances with whom you have established relationships or who are personal friends or acquaintances. Some firms like to mark the occasion by producing a booklet detailing the firm‘s history. The emphasis should be based firmly on the firm‘s history, including the founders of the practice, past partners and members of staff, the buildings occupied and major events in the life of the firm, rather than on the achievements of the present-day partners. Only general biographical details should be given about the current partners and only those clients who are no longer living and who have played an important part in your firm‘s history should be mentioned. Photographs may also be included, for example ones of historical interest and past partners and the buildings you have occupied over the years. If you decide to produce such a booklet, its circulation should be restricted because of its promotional nature. It should only be offered or sent to established clients of your firm, employees, fellow members of the profession and the Bar. I do not think it should be displayed in your reception area or waiting room. Personal friends could also be offered a copy. Whether or not a charge is made is, to my mind, unimportant. May I now turn to your three specific enquiries? The Council have recently been considering the information that a solicitor may state on his notepaper and I am afraid that they disapprove of an indication of the date of a firm‘s establishment. It follows that they would also disapprove of any kind of sticker referring to this on the stationery. As for your firm‘s franking machine‘s endorsement, the ruling remains that at paragraph 4:21 on page 98 of the Guide to Professional Conduct, which restricts the information that may be given to a solicitor‘s or firm‘s name, address and description. I am afraid that I must again disappoint you by advising you not to refer to your centenary on the logo. I hope that you will find these comments helpful. Yours Sincerely,

K.N. Quin. Executive Officer. Professional Purposes.

178


ENOCH EVANS We had our guidance: We decided that we would: 1. Hold a Centenary buffet evening with The Mayor, other solicitors, accountants, bankers, estate agents, insurance brokers and members of other professional bodies known to us invited along. 2. Invite the staff, their other halves and others closely connected to the office along to a ―works outing‖. 3. Publish a Centenary booklet for all invited along to the above functions and 4. Write to as many clients as possible with a copy of the Centenary booklet. I believe that both the functions were enjoyed by all that attended. I do know that the Birmingham Law Society did take a dim view of our activities and did consider whether we should be referred to the Law Society for a breach of the advertising rules etc. In the end, because we were an old established practice, and because it was apparent that, in the near future at that time, there was going to be further relaxation on the advertising rules, and further that as we had till that time kept our noses clean, they decided it would not be appropriate to take action! The staff party outing was on Saturday the 11 th day of February 1984 and we ate at the Night-out Theatre and Restaurant in Birmingham and saw the show ―The Grumbleweeds.‖ Numbers 120, in total DRINKS bill alone over £600. Quite a lot on drink at 20 years‘ ago prices! Staff did well! What we ate, I do not remember, but, I do recall that the lighting was not too good and Norman, and my sister Jane, found a torch to see what they were eating of great assistance! As for the show again I do not recall anything much about what we saw but I do recall it was noisy. The staff all enjoyed the evening. Coaches were arranged for transport for all. The cocktail party was held on the 14 th February 1984 at The Three Crowns Hotel, Walsall, and approximately 140 persons were in attendance.. Approximately 150 clients / contacts were written to in addition to those attending the cocktail party. Photographs were taken on both the occasion of the cocktail party and the ―staff outing‖ and I still have a copy of most of the photographs taken. Photographs were sent to most who managed to be caught on film. As mentioned above many enjoyed themselves as was apparent from the letters of thanks received by the partners.

179


ENOCH EVANS

THE PARTNERS 1984

The Partners (left to right) Graham Jones, Richard Meere, John Platt, John Evans, Andrew Moon, Christopher Loach

180


ENOCH EVANS

PARTNERS AND CONSULTANTS AT THE COCKTAIL PARTY

In the fore ground (left to right) John Evans, Norman Evans, Laurence Skan, and David Evans as the fourth generation present. In the back ground (left to right) Graham Jones, Richard Meere, Andrew Moon, Christopher Loach, and John Platt.

181


ENOCH EVANS

SOLICITORS SCORE A CENTURY Walsall Observer 24th February 1984 A trio of Evans‘ and 85 years‘ service were two of the topics of conversation when Walsall solicitors, Enoch Evans & Sons, celebrated their centenary. A total of 240 people, representing the town‘s solicitors, accountants, bankers and estate agents, gathered at the Three Crowns, in Sutton Road, to toast the 100-not out-health of the Bridge Street practice. Among those present for a centenary cocktail were Mr Christopher James, President of The Birmingham Law Society, the Mayor and Mayoress of Walsall, Councillor and Mrs Stan Ball, and other Law Society representatives. Fourth Generation But stage centre, of course, were three generations of Evans‘: 81 years old Mr. Norman Evans, now a consultant, who joined his father‘s practice in 1925; his son Mr John Evans who joined in 1958 and is now senior partner; and the latest in line, 23 years old David Evans. David, who represents the fourth generation, passed his final law examinations and is currently articled to Mr James of the Birmingham Law Society – preparing to join The Firm. Enoch Evans founded the practice in 1884, which at that time was housed in Bank Buildings Bridge Street- the site of the old Observer offices. His youngest son, Mr Norman Evans joined in 1925 and is now the oldest practising solicitor in Walsall. Enoch Evans & Sons moved across the road to No 19 Bridge Street in 1921, and to-day the 60 staff are employed there and in Prudential Chambers further up the street at No35. At present there are three consultants: Mr Norman Evans, Mr Laurence Skan (who joined in 1958), and Mr Tony Cotterell, whose practice amalgamated with Enoch Evans in 1981. Mr John Evans is the senior partner and is joined by Messrs John Platt, Andrew Moon, Richard Meere, Graham Jones and Chris Loach as partners. ―The celebrations at The Three Crowns were very much enjoyed by everyone, and my father was there to keep us all in order - as he does in the office‖ said Mr John Evans. ―It was also one of the few occasions when so many members of the various professions that serve people in Walsall were gathered together,‖ he added ―I have my grandfather‘s first letters from 1884 to 1886, which make interesting reading because the problems of those days are just the same as those we experience today,‖ Mr Evans said.

182


ENOCH EVANS

THANK YOU Here I quote extracts from some of the interesting and the amusing letters received from clients and some of those who attended one of the celebratory functions or to whom invitations were extended. In particular a rhyme was received and I do not recall from whom but I believe it was written by Laurence Skan: 1884/1984 In Eighteen Hundred and Eighty Four A large brass plate was affixed to the door, The premises have long since gone, The name upon it still lives on. Two of the children took up the call, Had their names then added to the wall, Became as famous, if not more, As the name on the plate which was still on the door. The years then slipped by – some sixty had gone When a Grandson arrived – to keep the name on, To update and uplift - to keep the name great, But never to change the name on the plate. And now One Hundred Years have passed by, Places – and people – and memories die, The name does not fade – it remains to the ‗fore, When people consider the names in the Law. Perhaps when you look at this glass paperweight, You‘ll think of that name on the old brass plate, How it‘s stood out so proud for all to see, ―Enoch Evans & Sons‖ – A true dynasty.

Firstly from one of the oldest then serving staff members Iris Pinnock: ―Thank you and the partners for the enjoyable evening we had at the ―Night Out‖ last Saturday to celebrate the firm‘s Centenary. It was nice to meet up with old friends…. Thank you also for the booklet regarding the centenary of the firm. It is particularly interesting as I remember your grandfather, he still being with the firm when I came to work at 19 Bridge Street in April 1936. I didn‘t know then that I would spend the next 42 years there. I can say that they were happy years and I have many pleasant memories of my time on the staff. I would like to wish………‖

183


ENOCH EVANS

From the area manager of Midland Bank, with whom again the firm had had an excellent relationship for many years. It was this bank, which wrote to me shortly after I had opened my own personal private account and was running up a hefty overdraft: ―We would remind you of the arrangement made that you Bank with us, not us with you.‖ At the party time the letter from the area manager, a Yorkshire man, read: ―……………It is an achievement for a family firm of Solicitors to have been in business for such a long period with the family name still continuing. It must also be pleasing that this name will continue in the future. We in the Bank have always been proud of our association with your firm and do hope that the next 100 years will show a continuation of the amicable business relationship. At one time I would have said that only Yorkshire men should be entitled to achieve centenaries but I appear to be Boycotted from making that statement! We have looked in our records and find that the first mention of Enoch Evans is on All Fool‘s Day 1885. I am not sure what the significance of this is but certainly for the firm to continue for so long it shows that the day did not have any significance for the future. As a matter of interest I enclose a copy of our first entry, which in fact is a specimen signature of Enoch Evans. Thank etc………..‖ I still have the copy of the first entry, ―a specimen signature of Enoch Evans‖ forwarded with that letter. From the local branch bank manager: ―….. Thanks etc…. and thanks for the photograph now to hand. I have never found difficulty in holding two glasses in one hand, particularly if they are being provided by a generous host. I have been known to have two in each hand when there has been an abundance of fluid around.‖ The Firm‘s accountant who was obviously concerned that he should not drink us dry: ―It was most kind of you to take an uncharacteristic photograph of me at your Centenary celebrations. I am not normally found with an empty glass in my hand, but it will prove to be most useful evidence when I join Alcoholic‘s Anonymous.‖ From the general manager of The Royal Insurance Company with whom at local level we had an excellent relationship: ―……doubtless the family records will chronicle in detail the original little which has grown to so much over the successive generations. Whilst I can only claim a personal association for sixteen of the one hundred years, the branch files open in 1926 with correspondence about Mr. Enoch Evans – at that time he was described as

184


ENOCH EVANS ‗a very old agent who had originally been an agent of the Queen Insurance Company‘. The ‗Queen‘ amalgamated with the Royal in 1891! My relatively brief span of acquaintance with the legal peers of Walsall is something which I treasure – you are a remarkable group, unique in many ways and sometimes refreshingly awkward! Hopefully our successors will be able to claim a mutuality of respect over the next one hundred years also. Thank you for such a demonstration of personal loyalty and my personal regards to each one of you ……‖ From the general manager in Liverpool of the same Insurance Company: ―……Royal has enjoyed a long and happy association with Enoch Evans & Sons going back almost sixty years with the appointment, in 1926, of your Uncle John D. Evans, as a local Director and we are delighted that this association continues to-day through you. We value greatly our business connection with you and are happy to join with you in celebrating this special landmark in your history.‖ From a past registrar of the Walsall County Court on acceptance of the invitation: ―Although tradition demands that I should reply to your invitation in the third person, I find it impossible to bring myself to do so. So I beg to accept…. Although I cannot claim a recollection which extends back to 1884, I can recall nearly half your firm‘s history. Apart from the then Town Clerk, Herbert Lee, your Grandfather was the first person to greet me on my initial arrival in Walsall, and when he was kind enough to support my ambition to join the legal profession here, I did not dream that I should have such a long and rewarding association with the firm which he founded. With every good wish for the next hundred years‖. He attended and did write thereafter a thank you letter. From a local solicitor: ―… May I quickly take this opportunity to congratulate your firm on its continued success which nuclear holocaust notwithstanding I am sure will endure for another one hundred years although of course by then both you and I will be practising before the one Supreme Court of Justice in the eternal skies.‖ From another solicitor: ―On behalf of us all at Willenhall, my very sincere thanks to you and your Partners for a splendid function on the 14 th February. It must have made you, and especially your Father very proud to appreciate the warmth your Professional colleagues, friends and other professional parties, have for you and your Partners in your firm.

185


ENOCH EVANS I think the history booklet prepared is superbly done and bears the hand of N.J.E. – how you managed to get firstly the Partners looking so professional, secondly the Cashier‘s office so tidy, thirdly the Word Processing machine going without any paper, fourthly the Library paid for and with all the books in place, and finally a photographer capable of taking the photographs and making the middle aged Partners look so young, is quite beyond all our belief. However, you did it and that is an achievement of Enoch Evans & Sons and modern technology. Congratulations from us all. Some of us hope that shortly we will join your league.‖ From a local accountant: ―I have just recovered from the photographic evidence you have placed before me. The conclusions you will draw from the evidence are, as usual, wide of the mark. I will ensure in the future that my friends in the legal profession are well catered for in various directions. I will leave you to decide where that leaves you. ……. Now to finish on a serious note, it was very kind of you to forward the photograph to me and it will serve as a memento of a very pleasant evening shared with you all.‖ From a Building Society area manager ― Delighted to receive your letter enclosing a photograph of ―The Rogues Gallery‖. It was kind etc.‖ A local J.P. wrote; ―…… As you may recall you have never had the ‗pleasure‘ of defending me on a drunk and disorderly charge, but by the look of me on the print you have kindly sent to me it is as near as we are likely to get.‖ From a local estate agent ―Thank you very much for the splendid photograph that you have sent and I fully appreciate the embarrassment I may have caused you by being pictured with such a large plate of sandwiches. However, you will recall that you were also generous with the drinks and therefore my recollection is somewhat hazy. I seemed to have the idea that the plate of sandwiches was for me to distribute to the other guests! In other words I deny everything except to say that I had a splendid evening and good cause to remember your firm‘s Centenary.‖ And another estate agent: ―Thanks ….etc and for the photograph which you kindly forwarded to me. Unfortunately the photographer didn‘t catch my better side which is perhaps not surprising.‖ From a now retired Judge: ―Thanks etc……. I think I must be unique in the history of the practice. My family and I have been faithful clients for many years. But in addition I claim to be the cousin three times

186


ENOCH EVANS removed of the Founder, to have worked for the practice in a humble capacity for a few months in 1948 and to be the honoured recipient of instructions from time to time to represent the more (or less) respectable clients of the practice in the courts. Moreover when sitting as Recorder to have dealt with cases handled by the practice. ………. With all good wishes for the future.‖ An aunt, of mine, to whom the booklet was sent, wrote: ―Many thanks for your letter and for the Centenary Booklet which I am delighted to have. I think you are to be congratulated with all the time it must have taken to put together 100 years. Dad, (this was Enoch) would have been proud of you. My first recollection of the Office, is each lunch time on coming out of school, my friend Eileen O‘Meara and me running up the stairs to your Uncle Jack‘s office where he always kept a drawer of pennies, in his roll top desk, for us to buy sweets! I was pleased to see David mentioned and delighted he will soon be joining the firm…………… Again wishing the firm all the Best for the future.‖ From the son of my late grandmother‘s chauffeur; ―Thank you very much for your letter and the booklet of your firm‘s history, which I have found most interesting, if a little short. When do you propose expanding it to make a book? I think it would make fascinating reading.‖ In response to his comments and other similar comments pen has now been put to paper at more length! I hope he and others who get this far with their readings are not too bored! From clients to whom the booklet was sent: ―Thanks for your letter enclosing the booklet concerning the history of your firm, which I have read with great interest.‖ ―You have a very successful team built up by hard work and integrity over several generations and I do congratulate you and wish you and the Firm all success for the future.‖ ―I can well understand how proud you must be having your son, David, follow you into the Firm now that he has passed all his Law Finals: you are extremely lucky to have a son like this, I can say this with all sincerity because my own son followed me in the Company during a very difficult time and this has given me great satisfaction.‖ Another client: ―………….. It was good of you to send me information about your firm‘s Centenary. Your Grandfather set up his practice only a few years before my Father was born and it pleases me greatly that, although my career has taken me away from the Midlands, I have retained the link with Walsall through your handling over the years my fairly numerous property transactions. Putting it bluntly I have kept the link because of the interest and good service you have always provided. As far as I am concerned your

187


ENOCH EVANS firm fully deserves its success and I believe much of it must stem from the standard you personally have set. May I send my best wishes to you, your family and partners for continuing success far into the future.‖ Another client and a letter to ―Norman‖: ―Thanks …..etc From a small child I heard the name mentioned in my home, and I remember the year your father was Mayor. He acted for my maternal Grand-father and my Father when the property on Lord Street was purchased in about 1905, and so three generations have been involved on both sides. Since my Father died in 1944, my late Sister, Lillian, and I appear to have taken over family affairs, the carrying out of which has always been to our complete satisfaction. Your Son, John, visited my home to make Jessie‗s Will shortly before she died etc It is great to know that some of the old traditions still survive in Walsall.‖ Another client: ―Many thanks for sending me the copy of your Centenary booklet and may I offer my congratulations to you all in the successful growth of the company. To tell the truth I am envious in many ways of the family growth you have achieved and look like continuing to enjoy with David coming along shortly. My late Grandfather‘s Company was 9 years behind you and followed a similar family pattern until taken over in 1970. It will be difficult for my Sons to join that company. You have my envy and good luck to you! Long may the Evans family reign.‖ A client commented: ―Congratulations on 100 years-only wish your charges were the same as your Grandfather‘s.‖ And from ANON ―The first hundred years is a fine achievement. Your Grandfather dealt with my Father‘s Probate. Is there any chance of it being concluded in the 2 nd 100 year spellby the 2nd Centenary?‖ The Centenary was recorded, but people‘s memories are short. Was the expense justified? Well our name was definitely on the map. I think it was justified as many of those who attended still recall the occasion but nowadays people move on and with hindsight possibly less emphasis on who and who not to entertain would have been appropriate. Why other solicitors. Times have changed and now it is a more dog eat dog situation than it was. In 1984 one would still make a courtesy call or receive such a call if you or the other party thought something had been overlooked. Now it is a matter of let the other party get itself into a mess and he/she can sort himself/herself out in due course. I think this is regrettable.

188


ENOCH EVANS

THE PREMISES 1984 A page reproduced from the Centenary booklet

CHAPTER 18 1990 THE FIRM MOVES OFFICES TO HATHERTON ROAD

189


ENOCH EVANS

CHAPTER 18 1990 THE FIRM MOVES OFFICES TO HATHERTON ROAD The Firm continued to thrive and grow after it had reached its Centenary in 1884. Just before the Centenary Graham Jones had joined the firm to help Andrew Moon in the civil litigation department with his workload and he, Graham, became a partner in 1982. Christopher Loach, helping John Platt in the Magistrates Court type work and the criminal department became a Partner in 1983. Yes, the workload particularly in the Court departments was increasing rapidly. It was unfortunate that, in the winter months, and in particular in the winter months of 1985/86 and again the following year, John Platt‘s health suffered. The severe cold and damp affected his breathing and eventually he decided he must live away from the Midlands to help his health and he eventually left The Firm in 1987. A great loss. The four of us, myself, John Platt, Andrew Moon and Richard Meere had been together in Partnership for nearly fifteen years. We had all worked hard and The Firm had developed and grown considerably over that period. We each seemed to know when one of us was in need of help and help was automatically forthcoming from the others. John was a great advocate and character who would always find something to say whatever the circumstances. Often he had a ready answer to the most unusual problem. I remember, at the time when petrol was expected to be rationed, it was debateable whether we would all be able to travel by car to work each day. At one of the Partners meetings he said he had solved the problem for us. ―I have bought four electric second hand milk floats, one for each of us.‖ ―Fine,‖ one of us said but ―how do we get the batteries charged?‖ ―Oh, I had not thought about that,‖ he said. So we had for a number of years four electric milk floats on the books of The Firm! John was a fine advocate who could get himself out of most troubles in which he might find himself. On one occasion he was appearing before the Magistrates, and being a little late in arriving in Court, had immediately to pick up his papers and address the Magistrates. After a few moments the chairman of the Bench addressed John and said, ―I do not think those facts, Mr Platt, are relevant to this case.‖ John looked at the papers in his hands and realised that he had picked up the papers for another case. He managed to switch those facts over to the case he was dealing with and no one realised, certainly not the accused, what had happened! Andrew Moon came to the civil litigation department of The Firm and built up a tremendous workload. He ended up working all hours of the day and night. The County Court Judges before whom he appeared on behalf of clients, found him most thorough and able but I fear the workload was just getting too much for him and he decided he wished to become a District Judge. He left in 1988 and still, as I type this chapter, is a District Judge

190


ENOCH EVANS THE OFFICE PREMISES in 2003 in HATHERTON ROAD WALSALL St PAUL‟S CHAMBERS, No 9 Hatherton Road.

No 11 Hatherton Road

191


ENOCH EVANS at Exeter. He thoroughly enjoys the rather more relaxed task he now has as against the dayto-day rush of office work. Graham Jones carried on the civil litigation work within The Firm until he was joined in Partnership by Andrew Pointon in 1993. Richard Meere from before the Centenary had been building up the commercial department, leaving me to deal with the office administration and look after the wills, probate and conveyancing departments. The administration task was quite considerable. In those days no office manager, as to day. Staffing problems and all administration problems fell on my desk. My son David (fourth generation) joined The Firm fully qualified in September 1985. He quickly carved a niche for himself in particular in commercial work and in things technical. In 1988 my son David and David Roberts, joined the Partnership. In 1989 I unfortunately, had a bad accident which left me in hospital for some three months and unable to work properly thereafter. It was two years after the accident before I was able to drive a car. Because I was away from the office full time for I think about fifteen months, and not able to undertake any major job for at least two years, it fell to Richard, who is now, and has, since 1995, been the Senior Partner in the Partnership, to take over the management of my workload and the administration of the office until he appointed Keith Goldsworthy to the position of accounts manager and later office manager. So, my knowledge, and indeed interest in work and The Firm dropped off after 1989 and whilst I did return to the office in late 1991 I was not able to undertake many of the tasks I had previously undertaken and in any event many of those were by then in the hands of others. The Firm still continued to grow and in 1989, Richard learnt that the premises now known as ―St Paul‘s Chambers‖ No 9, Hatherton Road, previously used for a small manufacturing business, were to come on the market. Our lease of No 19 Bridge Street was due to run until 1993 and we would then have had either to vacate those premises or renew the lease. We really had grown out of No 19 and Prudential Chambers, No 35 Bridge Street, and wished to get under one roof. Yes in 1990 we could just about manage to get into 9 Hatherton Road but very soon we needed a portacabin in the car park area, to the right of the building. That portacabin is still there and is now used as a staff rest room. We did have planning permission to add on some 3500 to 4000 square feet of office accommodation on the car park to the left of the building but to increase No 9 Hatherton Road by further office space would have meant the offices were just about the largest single office premises in Walsall and the layout would not have lent itself to easy division for the letting off of part if need be. Also building costs were on the high side when one considered the possible return on a letting. We crammed ourselves into 9 Hatherton Road, called the premises ―St Paul‘s Chambers‖ and used the portacabin for offices. Then the next-door premises came on the market, No 11 Hatherton Road, and the Partnership was able to purchase those premises. The criminal law department and civil litigation departments were moved next door. No problem in running telephone and computer connection cables to the adjoining building.

192


ENOCH EVANS The office had, in the meantime, thanks to the hard work of David (fourth generation) and Keith Goldsworthy, installed one of the most efficient office computer systems on the market. The number of secretarial staff needed was reduced, but the number of solicitors and executives employed continued to grow. We had capacity for a greater workload on the computerised systems installed and room for more fee earners with the additional space, and in April 2000 the practice of Kenneth Cooke & Co was amalgamated with the business of The Firm. Jeremy Cooke and Barry Guest joined the Enoch Evans Partnership. I remember when I was first articled to my father, that Kenneth Cooke was carrying on a practice in offices at the top of Bradford Street, Walsall. In those days he had in his employment an assistant solicitor or managing clerk by the name of Sillitoe, Jack Sillitoe, I think. He undertook property transfer work, and one of the first out of the office jobs I was let loose on by my father, was to visit the office of Kenneth Cooke & Co, to attend on Jack Sillitoe and complete the purchase of a house on behalf of one of The Firm‘s clients. So my memories of the firm of Kennth Cooke & Co go back a long way. The Enoch Evans Partners and the Kenneth Cooke & Co Partners all seemed pleased to be together and The Firm continues to grow. There was no doubt that Kenneth Cooke & Co needed access to a modern up-to-date computerised office system and, at the size they were, did not wish to be involved in the expense of the type of system they needed. Enoch Evans having installed an advanced computerised system had capacity thereon for more work and room within the premises for the Kenneth Cook & Co partners and staff. When purchased part of No 11 Hatherton Road was let off. Having acquired the Kenneth Cooke & Co partnership the premises of the Firm were full again! The tenants in part of No 11 Hatherton Road moved out in 2003, thus leaving a little space available for The Firm‘s continued expansion. Because I retired, in April 2000, fully from the Partnership and because I had been a Consultant only from 1995 up until my complete retirement, this book ends in the year 2000. Norman had retired in 1983, although it was another nine years before a decision was taken to change the name of Enoch Evans & Sons back to Enoch Evans. At the great age of 97, Norman died on the 4 th February 2000 which is another reason to end this book about The Firm in the year 2000. Despite having outlived many of his contemporaries, staff, colleagues and friends, there were many at his funeral with recollections of "the old days" at The Firm. Enoch Evans, founded in the nineteenth century with Enoch alone, grew and developed through the twentieth century as Enoch Evans & Sons with Jack and Norman predominantly at the helm for much of the century. Mid century they were joined by myself, as third generation, and, near the end of the century, by David the fourth generation. My son David is now the only one in The Firm bearing its founder's surname. Currently boasting ten Partners, The Firm goes from strength to strength as the technological era advances into the twenty-first century and the work load continues to increase. Enoch himself would, I am sure, be amazed and proud.

193


ENOCH EVANS

APPENDIX 1

THE ENOCH EVANS family tree (back nearly 300 years) AND THE FAMILY TREE for Edith Dorothy Dawe The Wife of Enoch Evans (back over 250 years)

194


ENOCH EVANS

ENOCH WITH HIS FAMILY in about 1907 Dorothy(Sis), Jack, Edith, Enoch, Winifred, In Front Norman, Mollie, Vernon

195


ENOCH EVANS

THE EVANS FAMILY TREE JAMES EVANS | JAMES EVANS 1716 Married Hannah Garnett 5th April 1746 at Manchester Cathedral | JAMES 1748 ________|______ | | JAMES THOMAS 1795 1799-1868 ________________________________________| __________________________ | | | | | | | | | JOHN, MARIA, SARAH, MARY ANN, ELLEN, ESTHER, MARY, SAMUEL, WESLEY 1824-1882 1829 1830 1833 1835 1840 1841 1843 1846 __|_______________________________________________________________ | | | | | | | | WESLEY , THOMAS, FRANK , ENOCH , JAMES, MARY, EMILY, BENJAMIN JOHN HARRISON JANE 1853-1927, 1855-1926, 1857-1927, 1859-1937, 1861-1942, 1863-, 1865-1938, 1866-1949 ____________________________|____________________________________ | | | | | | JOHN DOROTHY WINIFRED ENOCH NORMAN EDITH DAWE VERNON HARRISON MARY 1891-1975 1892-1977 1894-1956 1896-1984 1902-2000 1904-1994 __________________________________| | | | NORMAN KATHARINE PHILIP JOHN JANE MARTIN 1935 1937 1947 |________________________ | | DAVID CAROLYN JOHN BRIDGET 1960 1963 ______|__________ | | | | OLIVIA KATIE-JANE IAN 1998 2000 1998

Maybe there will not be a Fifth Generation in The Firm founded by Enoch in 1884?

196


ENOCH EVANS

THE NANSCAWEN DAWE FAMILY TREE (Enoch‟s Wife) CHRISTOPHER NANSCAWEN 1710 He rebuilt Trevadlock and was Descended from John Nanscawen 1648 of Trevadlock | MARY NANSCAWEN 1734 Married 10th August 1766 at Lewannick to RICHARD DAWE (Probably brother of Dawe of Trenhorn) ____________________________________|________________________________ | | | | | | | (Twins) | JOHN RICHARD WALTER THOMAS ISAAC ELIZABETH ANN HONOR NANSCAWEN NANSCAWEN NANSCAWEN

1767-

1769-

17721781-1860 17751777- 1777________________________|________ | | | RICHARD DOROTHY JOHN DOWN NANSCAWEN 18201822-1899 1826-1911 (of Menwenicke) ____________________________________________________|________________ | | | | | | | |

LOUISA ANNIE ISAAC EDITH WILLIAM JOHN MARY NANSCAWEN DOROTHY CLAVERDON 18601862- 1864-1940 1865-1959 18671869-

(Married H.H.Tucker 1884) Note 1

EMILY LILLIE 1872-

FRANCIS RICHARD 1875-1880

Note 2

(Married Enoch Evans 23 rd March 1890) | Now onto the EVANS Family Tree on the previous page

Note 1 Henry Howard Tucker was of Walsall. He married and had 3 sons and 2 daughters. His son Archie lived on the Mellish Road and I remember visiting his home. He was a County Court Judge, married and had two children. His son Richard a barrister became a Queen‘s Counsel and before retiring was a High Court Judge. Note 2 Isaac married and had one son and two daughters. The son Walter was a farmer and the two daughters Edith and Doreen each married farmers. I remember regular visits to the farms Alrewas Hayes and Blakenhall during and just after the Second World War.

197


ENOCH EVANS

APPENDIX 2

A CHRONOGICAL SUMMARY OF THE EVANS HISTORY IN THE FIRM

198


ENOCH EVANS

CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY of Evans' History in The Firm 30 May 1850 John Evans (born 1824), a corn dealer in Bollington, Cheshire, married Ellen Harrison of Moss House Farm, Millington, at Rostherne Church, 3 miles south of Altrincham. In 1852 they moved to the Midlands 1853

Living in Villa St, Aston Manor, Erdington. John is a merchant's clerk

1857

Living in Littleton Street. John is a wholesale stationer

25 July 1859 Enoch (4th child of 8) born in Stafford Street, Walsall. His father John Evans was an ironmonger 1861 census

Living in Sandwell Street. John is wholesale stationer & business agent, but describes himself as an ironmonger on James' birth certificate.

1863 Feb

Still in Sandwell Street.

1869-73

Enoch attended Queen Mary‘s Grammar School, Walsall

1867 Dec

Living in Lichfield Street. John is a spurs manufacturer

1870

Directory entry - living in Lichfield Street. John Evans, bit & spur manufacturer

1871census men,

Living in Whittimere Street. John Evans, bit manufacturer employing 24

John is a spurs manufacturer

10 boys and 1 woman 1881 census In Whittimere Street. John Evans, Manufacturer of South American horse furniture employing 60 men and 20 boys Enoch Evans, age 21, Solicitor's managing Articled Clerk 17 Nov 1882 John Evans, father of Enoch, bit manufacturer, died of bronchitis, aged 58 12 Feb 1884

Enoch started in practice at No 6 Bridge St, Walsall (demolished and Tudor House, built 1926, occupies the site)

27 Mar 1890 Enoch married Edith Dorothy Dawe of Menwenicke at Trewen Church near Launceston, Cornwall Late1880‘s

Enoch Evans, The Firm, moved to Oriel Chambers

1891 census

Enoch and Edith living at Dundrennan 82 Wednesbury Road

1 May 1891

John Dawe - Jack - first of Enoch and Edith's 6 children, born

199


ENOCH EVANS By 1892

Enoch Evans moved office to Bank Buildings, No 20 Bridge Street

1901 census

Enoch and Edith living at Dundrennan, Wednesbury Road with 4 children and 1 servant

29 Sep 1902

Norman Harrison (5th child) born

11 Oct 1908 Enoch's mother, Ellen Evans, died aged 81 1908

Jack started articles with Enoch

Oct 1911

Enoch elected Council member for Caldmore Ward

1 Oct 1913

John D (Jack) qualified. The Firm became Enoch Evans & Son

20 Oct 1915

Jack married Muriel Jowett (she died Dec 1919)

Jan 1920

Norman started articles with Jack

Mar 1921

The Firm moved from No 20 Bridge St over the road to No 19 Bridge St

May 1921

Enoch became Mayor of Walsall

Jan 1925

Norman qualified. He joined Enoch and Jack in Partnership and The Firm's name became Enoch Evans & Sons

1927

Enoch became an Alderman

8 May 1928

Jack married second time to Marjorie (Peg) Hinkman

18 Feb 1933

Norman married Bunty Husbands from Sussex

21 Mar 1935 John (N.J.E.) was born 13 Mar 1937 Enoch died, aged almost 78 1952

Laurence Edward Skan (Les) joined The Firm

5 Jan 1953

John started articles with Norman, continuing in London

Feb 1958

John qualified and joined The Firm

1958

Laurence (Les) Skan became a Partner

30 June1958 John became a Partner, joining Jack and Norman in Enoch Evans & Sons 13 Mar 1959 Enoch's widow, Edith Dorothy Evans, died aged 93 20 June 1959 John married Sylvia Blanckensee

200


ENOCH EVANS 30 Apr 1960 David John was born (fourth generation) 1965

John Platt joined The Firm as a Partner

1967

Jack retired as a Partner and became a consultant

1969

Andrew Moon joined The Firm as a Partner

1971

Norman retired as a Partner and became a consultant

1974

The Firm expanded into Tudor House opposite

20 June 1975 Jack died aged 84 1976

The Tudor House department moved to part of No 35 Bridge Street

4 Apr 1981

Acquisition of A Cotterell & Co and remainder of No 35 Bridge Street

Sept 1983

David John, after gaining a Law degree in 1982, started articles with Christopher James, Johnson & Co, Birmingham

Feb 1984

Centenary celebrations (6 Partners: N.J.E., John Platt, Andrew Moon, Richard Meere, Christopher Loach, Graham Jones)

1984

Norman retired as consultant

Sept 1985

David qualified and joined The Firm

Aug 1988

David became a Partner

1990

The Firm moved to No 9 Hatherton Road and gave it the name "St Paul's Chambers"

1992

All links with No 19 Bridge Street severed on assignment of lease

1992

The Firm's name was changed from Enoch Evans & Sons back to Enoch Evans

1993

No 11 Hatherton Road acquired for additional office space

Apr 1995

John retired from the Partnership and became a consultant

22 June 1996 David married Nichola Jane Wheeler 4 Feb 2000

Norman died aged 97

Apr 2000

Kenneth Cooke & Co joined the Enoch Evans Partnership

Apr 2000

John (N.J.E.) retired

201


ENOCH EVANS

APPENDIX 3

ENOCH EVANS PARTNERS WHO CONTRIBUTED TO THE BUILD UP OF THE FIRM 1884 to 2002

202


ENOCH EVANS

ENOCH EVANS PARTNERS who contributed to the build up of The Firm 1884 to 2002 ENOCH EVANS (Enoch)

.

.

1884 - 1937

JOHN DAWE EVANS (Jack).

.

.

.

1913 - 1967

NORMAN HARRISON EVANS (Norman).

.

. 1925 - 1971

LAURENCE EDWARD SKAN (Les) .

.

.

1958 - 1982

NORMAN JOHN EVANS (John)

.

.

.

JOHN FREDERICK ASHWORTH PLATT (John)

.

.

. 1965 - 1987

ANDREW DAVID MOON (Andrew)

.

.

.

.

.

1969 - 1988

RICHARD MEERE (Richard)

.

.

.

.

.

1972 ---

GRAHAM ROBERT JONES (Graham)

.

.

.

.

1982 ---

CHRISTOPHER THOMAS LOACH (Chris)

.

.

.

.

1983 ---

DAVID JOHN EVANS (David)

.

.

.

.

.

1988 ---

DAVID HENRY ROBERTS (David)

.

.

.

.

.

1988 ---

ANDREW LAURENCE POINTON (Andrew) .

.

.

.

1993 ---.

SUSAN KINSEY COMRIE (Sue)

.

.

.

.

1998 ---.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

2000---

LAURA HELEN WALDRON (Laura) .

.

.

.

.

2002---

.

.

.

JEREMY GEORGE COOKE (Jeremy) BARRY STUART GUEST (Barry)

203

1958 - 1995

2000 ---


ENOCH EVANS

LASTLY a PAGE for the making of NOTES. .

204

The History Enoch Evans LLP  

Interesting moments in the life of Enoch and the growth of Walsall's oldest family firm of Solicitors