ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GOLDSMITHS - 1907
The annual conference of the National Association of Goldsmiths took place at the Grosvenor Hotel, Chester, on Monday. The late Mr. A. W. Butt took a great interest in this association, and was vice-chairman at the time of his death, just prior to which he had invited the association to hold its 1907 conference here. Out of compliment to their late member the association decided to come to Chester, and the result has been a very successful reunion. The business of the conference occupied the whole of Monday. The meetings were attended by members from all over the country. Mr. Walter Bull, a member of the Corporation of the City of London, presided. The annual report congratulated the association on the passing of the Imported Watch Cases Bill, which came into force on June 1st this year, and which gives absolute protection to the traders of this country. The report also stated that the association's persistent and drastic campaign against the instalment houses and their tallymen was gradually but surely exterminating those "parasites." Mr. J. Hodgson, of Exeter, said the Imported Watch Cases Bill was calculated to do a great deal of good to English trade, and his remarks were corroborated by other speakers. Mr. John Dyson (Leeds) said the importation of foreign rubbish for many years had greatly injured the reputation of their honourable craft, but we should presently get back to the time when a lady or gentleman would be proud to take out his or her watch and show it.
A discussion took place with reference to the practice of auctioneers of good reputation allowing their names to be used in regard to sales of bogus jewellery. The hon. secretary was asked to write to the Auctioneers' Institute asking them to discourage the practice.
The election of officers for the ensuing year took place, with the following result:—Chairman. Mr. J. Dyson, Leeds; vice-chairman, Mr. J. Hodgson, Exeter; hon. treasurer, Mr. Walter Bull, London; hon. organising secretary, Mr. Thomas Field, Aylesbury: solicitor, Mr. Lepper; auditor. Mr. J. Garland Godwin. When the chairman was elected, Mr. Walter Bull, the retiring chairman, invested his successor with the jewel of office. Mr. Richards, of Cork, a genial Irishman, who was the life of the company, came forward, and in his best national brogue begged Mr. Dyson to accept a handsome jade stone, from New Zealand. He said since it had been given to him he had always had good luck. He hoped it would bring Mr. Dyson good luck, although he would still have some luck left for himself. (Cheers.)—The council were re-elected, with alterations, one of the new members being Mr. S. Barnett, of Chester. An animated discussion took place during the afternoon session relating to the new rules. Mr. Levy, of Ply- mouth, rose to speak, and his right to do so was challenged by the chairman. He claimed that he joined the Plymouth branch under a rule which made him also a member of the National Association, but the chairman contended that only members who paid their subscriptions direct to the hon. treasurer could be recognised. It transpired that this disadvantage applied to nearly all the Plymouth members. After an angry debate the meeting allowed the members affected to take part in the proceedings, their position being due to a misunderstanding. The new rules, it was stated, would avoid a repetition of this difficulty. In further debates, Mr. Yeates, of Penrith. advocated that jewellers should take up the optical trade more largely, he remarking that chemists were running them out of a business which really belonged to jewellers.
At the close of the business Mr. R. Marsh raised the question of the new hallmarks for foreign watches, and asked the chairman whether the new arrangement would be beneficial for the trade. He did not think any foreign watch ought to come into this country and receive our official assay mark. Every country should adopt its own mark. The Chairman said the new system was a very good thing for the trade. The foreign hallmark was absolutely different from the English hallmark. He hoped he should not be breaking the rules if he said he was a very strong Protectionist, and he thought the new system was a grand step in the right direction. (Hear, hear.) Mr. G. B. Lowe, at the invitation of the chairman, gave some explanation of the new marks. He said there could not be the slightest mistake in regard to foreign gold or silver which had received a hallmark in England. There was no lion on the foreign hallmark. Each of the halls had adopted their own mark, and the Chester office had adopted the badge of the Cheshire Regiment for the purpose.
TRIBUTE TO THE CITY
The annual banquet was held on Monday evening, when a large company sat down in the assembly-room of the Grosvenor Hotel, under the presidency of Mr. J. Dyson. The manageress (Miss Lockwood) had provided an excellent menu, the most conspicuous course being "Chat de Cheshire," which was a triumph of skill on the part of the chef, who carried the dish around the room. In addition to the members of the association, including Dr. Butt and Messrs. G. B. Lowe, F. R. Brown and S. Barnett, were several guests. The Sheriff (Mr. R. H. Lanceley) sat next to the chairman, and others present were the Town Clerk (Mr. J. H. Dickson), Alderman R. Cecil Davies, the Chief Constable (Mr. J. H. Laybourne), and Messrs. T. Moore Dutton, S. Percy Davies, G. A. Bowers, etc.
The toast of the National Goldsmiths' Association was proposed by Dr. Butt, and the Chairman responded.
Mr. Walter Bull proposed "The City of Chester" in a graceful speech. If he might dilate for a moment on the city, he would say of its antiquity that it seemed to have come up wet with the spray of the Deluge. (Laughter.) In another simile lie would say it was in existence when Adam delved and Eve spun, and he suggested that, as there was no evidence to the contrary, he was correct. Continuing, Mr. Bull said: In this wonderful city of yours—for me it is a wonderful city - I have visited your Cathedral, and I was interested in its magnificent service yesterday morning. (Hear, hear.) I saw your beautiful effigies and statues and monuments, and the magnificent mosaics on its walls, and I looked with admiration upon the beautiful screen which nothing but love could have wrought. It is not the outcome of the labours of men who work for wages alone it is the result of the efforts of men who have worked for the glory of their Creator, and nothing but that can produce such beauty. When I see your wondrous architecture, I say this city stands out pre-eminent throughout the whole length and breadth of the land. (Applause.) I know no other that can approach it, and I know of no place to which so many flock. It Is, as it were, a Mecca for all those who live in America or on the Continent, and who gather here to worship at this shrine. In your glorious history and tradition you stand out far above any other city in this England of ours. (Hear, hear. ) The Sheriff responded, in the unavoidable absence of the Mayor. In thanking Mr Bull, he said he had not told one half the story. (Hear, hear.) Our grand old city stood out pre-eminent without a rival in the land, whether it was regarded from the point of antiquity, or architecture, or natural beauty.
In the subsequent toasts, Alderman Cecil Davies responded for the visitors, and Mr. G. B. Lowe replied on behalf of the ladies. A musical programme was provided by Mr. Benyon's band, and Miss Francis Jones. Mr. J. H. Ditchburn and Mr. A. Armstrong.
On Tuesday the party went for an excursion into Wales, visiting Chirk Castle, Glyn Ceiriog and Llangollen, returning to Chester in the evening. Wednesday morning was spent in viewing the attractions of the city, and in the afternoon by a steamer trip up the Dee to Eaton Hall. On Monday afternoon, while the meeting was being held, the ladies of the party were taken for a drive to Hawarden, returning for tea to the residence of Mrs. A. W. Butt in Curzon Park. Tho local committee consists of Dr. Butt, Mr. G. B. Lowe, Mr. James Lowe and Mr. F. G. Brown, while the local secretarial work was carried out by Mr. S. Barnett managing director Messrs. Butt and Co., Ltd.
Source: The Cheshire Observer - 13th July 1907