John Buckingham Pope (b. 14 February 1807, d. 20 March 1878)
John Buckingham Pope (son of Samuel Pope and Ann Titt) was born 14 February 1807 in Newton Bushel, England., and died 20 March 1878 in Rocklands, Isle of Wight, Southampton, England.109.He married Maria Law on 17 March 1829 in St Giles, Camberwell, London, England.. Notes for John Buckingham Pope: The West Riding coal trade received a considerable boost from 1850 when the completion of the Great Northern Railway opened for the first time on any large scale the great and increasing coal-hungry markets of London and the South of England to West Riding coals. Already, during the 1840s the construction of railways within the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire, with rail links into the coal-producing West Riding, had given collieries lying within easy access to the new local steam railways an advantage in competing with the older canal or navigation-linked pits for the supply of the regional coal markets. It was against this background of changing and expanding markets occasioned by the opening of the new railways that the collieries worked by the Popes at Crigglestone and later by Pope and partners at Altofts arose.The first members of the Pope family to appear on the West Riding scene were Richard and John Buckingham Pope, coal factors and co-partners of Lower Thames Street in the City of London. Richard Pope had had dealings in property in London from at least as early as 1827. In November 1841 the partners are referred to as agents in London for the sale of coal from the Cliffe Colliery at Crigglestone, near Wakefield, where pits were being sunk in 1838-41. The owners of the Cliffe Colliery had some difficulty with the availability of liquid capital and by 1842 they owed 2,300 Pounds to the Popes on a balancing of the accounts so that the Popes took over the new colliery, sinking number one shaft deeper and completing number two to the Winter seam. The colliery had four shafts in 1841 and in 1846.The Popes continued their London coal business, maintaining their Lower Thames Street offices and trading in coal from Abbey Wharf, Westminster. Richard Pope lived at Camberwell and J. B. Pope, who had been born at Newton Bushall in Devon and was thirty-five years old in 1842, lived at Mornington Crescent, Hampstead Road. The Popes continued to develop their Cliffe Colliery which supplied coals to London by water, and a railway was built (largely a self- acting incline and in part in tunnel) down to the Calder and Hebble Navigation under wayleaves granted between 1843 and 1846. Coke ovens, a fireclay works, a stoneware manufactory, brick and tile kilns and drying sheds and a chemical works were all run along with and close to the railway. The firm had a fleet of twenty-seven keels, the Yorkshire river barges, to carry their products.A series of highly complex legal and financial manoeuvres were ultimatelyunsuccessful in assisting the Popes in a difficult period of trade depression in the coal industry in the middle and later 1840s and a fiat in bankruptcy was issuedagainst them at the very end of 1 847.Ultimately, in June 1849, the collierywas put up for sale by auction and was purchased by J. V. Broughton for23,050 Pounds.The financial difficulties of the colliery had brought J. B. Pope to the WestRiding and some four months after the sale of the Cliffe Colliery a draftpartnership deed was prepared under the provisions of which J. B. Pope, by nowof Castleford and described as a coal merchant and earthenware manufacturer,was to join Joshua Skidmore, commission agent, and William Shaw, railway building contractor, both of Wakefield, in the operation of a colliery at Whitwoodand of a pottery and clay works at Castleford, late lsaac Fletcher's. Pope was todevote his whole attention to the new business and was to receive a salary of250 Pounds a year. A new partnership deed was entered into in 1850, Pope beingjoined by George Pearson and John Woodhouse, railway contractors residing inPontefract. (Pearson could only sign the deed with a mark and Woodhouse hadvery poor handwriting!) A first lease of coal was agreed in 1850, the lease beingtaken from an absentee landowner,the Rev. Sir T. G. Cullum, Bart., M.A., J.P.,D.l., of Suffolk (1777-1855) Richard Pope, J. B. Pope's eldest son, cut the first sod of one shaft of the new colliery on his twenty-first birthday in February1851.The new pit was named California, after the then-recent California GoldRush.One shaft was sunk close to Altofts railway junction, giving access to allparts of the country. Another (probably for pumping) was sunk near to the presentWheatsheaf Inn in Whitwood township.Coal had been mined at Altofts in earlier times - the writer has a deed of the1330s which refers to pits of sea coal in Altofts, and there are references of about 1600 - but no modern coal shafts existed in 1851 in the tawnship. In any case, Pope and his partners were preparing to work in the much deeper and hitherto unexploited Stanley Main seam. The potential of the deeper seams had, it is interesting to note, been first exploited by Henry Briggs and Charles Mortonwho had taken a lease of coal in Whitwood in 1841 from the Earl of Mexborough. The colliery at Altofts was early given the name of West Riding from its principal shafts' situation within the angle formed by the railway junction, already known as the West Riding junction. One of Pope and Pearson's letterheads with an engraved illustration and used in 1860 shows a busy scene at the coiliery. Richard Pope senior died in January 1853 and a few months later Woodhouse left the colliery partnership. The firm now became Pope and Pearson, the name under which it traded until Nationalisation - and under which it does still trade (1977).By 1855 Richard Pope, the son of J. B. Pope and the young man who had cut the first sod in 1851, had joined the partnerships and it was his energy which both established and developed the colliery and its trade. The only early account book which survives begins in 1850, presumably during the period when coal was being merchanted but not mined too: much coal was sold in the northern parts of Yorkshire via the York and North Midland Railway (one end of which is at Altofts Junction) and there were smaller local sales to potteries (at Leeds and Castleford), to limeworks, to Carter's Knottingley Brewery and so forth. Other local markets included a windmill, a flintmill, a bank and a workhouse. Small and distant sales were made to Chatham and even to Newton Abbot, to which place there was an established water connection for the transport of china clay. Newcoal leases were negotiated in 1851, when a lease was taken from Hugo C. M. Ingram, Lord of the Manor and a large landowner in Altofts, and coal was sub-leased from Henry Briggs. Sidings were put in to the York and North Midland Railway in 1853, the year before it became part of the new North Eastern Railway, and communication was made with the conveniently close and accessible Fairies Hill Cut of the Aire and Calder Navigation. John Buckingham Pope remained managing partner of the concern until his death in April 1878 but his son took a very active part in its affairs and in the coal industry in a wider context. In 1885 he and his partners were negotiating for a lease of coal at Rawrnarsh near Rotherham. In 1858 he and his partnersestablished the modern Sharlston Calliery. He and his partners sank the great Denaby Main Colliery from 1863 (he, his father and Pearson were all members of the partnership there), and from 1889 Cadeby Main developed as an adjunct to Denaby. George Pearson, who lived in the Pontefract suburb of Tanshelf, was the senior partner in a group of pontefract men who sank Darfield Main Colliery near Barnsley, in 1856-60. The partners kept the West Riding Colliery's pits up-to-date technologically. In 1858 they agreed with the patentees to make use of a coal washing machine, which necessarily resulted in the unusually early development of collierypitheaps at Altofts and the neighbouring part of the Whitwood township. In 1860William Wood of the nearby Foxholes Colliery, Methley, recorded in his diary that he went to Balaciava Colliery, West Ardsley, vvith Mr Pope, Mr Locke and MrWarrington (of Kippax Colliery) to see a coal-cutting machine there. In August 1869 Pope and Pearson agreed to continue the use of an experirnintal coal-cutting machine in their colliery which was worked by compressed air. The firm was constantly a leader in the field in regard to mechanical coal-getting. WilliamGarforth, then only recently appointed manager, introduced two undercuttingmachines in the Haigh Moor seam but these, and all other early machines onlyundercut to about half the depth which was possible with hand holing. In about1888 an electric-powered bar machine was introduced, although Garforth wasconcerned at the possible effects of the flashes which it made. About 1892Garforth's own Diamond deep undercutting machine was brought into regular useat the colliery and from that time the machines became of increasingsignificance: mechanical failures decreased and the new machines were able to contribute towards a shift output per man of six tons as against a manually-gotoutput of some three and a quarter tons. Garforth set up his own firm tomanufacture coal cutters: he built twenty-one in 1899 and fifty-six in 1901 andthe firm still flourishes(1977).As with many of the new rail-orientated collieries of the 1840s and,(particularly) the 1850s, the West Riding Colliery was sunk in what had beenhitherto a predominantly agricultural area. Men had to be recruited to work in the new colliery - often from far afield - and houses had to be built for them andtheir families. The population of Altofts increased to a small extent as a result ofthe immigration of railway workers but largely as a result of that of collieryworkers and their families, and especially of those employed by Pope andPearson.Some colliery families did, however, live just outside Altofts, where other colliery and industrial developments make any assessment of the influence of Pope and Pearson's employment impossible of determination. The 1871 census returns indicate places of birth, and the colliers who were heads of households in the largely-completed colliery village of The Buildings at lower Altofts, where the entire village was the property of the colliery partnership. Pope and Pearson's cottage building accounts begin in September 1852, but deeper sinkings and increased outputs demanded more and more workers and more and more houses for them,. in the mid 1860s the three collieries in which the Popes had interests all began the development of specific collieryvillages, two of which (those at New Sharlston and at Lower Altofts) still survive in 1977. The Silkstone seam of coal, lying at some 414 yards below the surface and 4ft.7in. in thickness, was leased by Pope and Pearson in July 1863, and the new sinking was paralleled by the building of the new and model colliery village. Theexact date of the erection of The Buildings at lower Altofts is uncertain, but thesite for the houses was bought by the partners at an auction sale at the Horse andJockey Inn in Attofts in April 1864 at the price of 460 Pounds for some 5.5 acres.:" A letterof July 1864 refers to a proposal of the firm's concerning their "commencing tobuild". The sinking to the Silkstone seam apparently occurred in 1864-65, andthe newly-opened seam gave its name to the new village, Silkstone Buildings. Thedating of the village is further elucidated by a reference in the 1871 censusreturns to a boy born in Silkstone Row who was then aged six, and by the stablishment of the colliery community's own Altofts and Normanton Co-operative Society in about September 1866. By 1871 the streets in existencewere: Silkstone Row, North Street, South Street, East Street and Prospect Place. In both 1889 and 1899 Henry Briggs, Son and Co. were the largest producers of coal among the members of the West Yorkshire Coal Ovvners' Association, with Pope and Pearson coming second in both years. The question of early labour relations and troubles at Pope and Pearson'scollieries is a difficult subject to deal with, largely on account of the lack ofadequate documentation. Machin's book The Yorkshire Miners details some ofthe disputes which affected the collieries from as early as 1853, but gives themen's views only. Certainly some disputes led to severe conflict and even ejectionof colliers from their houses," although relations never deteriorated to the extent ofthose at the sister colliery Denaby Main, which was constantly and bitterly rivenby industrial disputes. The recollection of old employees of Pope and Pearson isdefinitely at the present of a sympathetic relationship between masters and menwithin the last fifty years of the private ownership of the concern. As was so frequently the case in regard to major colliery owners in the WestRiding, the Popes were nonconformists, a situation which to some degreecernented the interests of capital and labour as many of the colliery workmenwere nonconformists by conviction and even before their coming to work at the new collieries in Yorkshire.J. B. Pope was a member of the Plymouth Brethrenand, not surprisingly, two of the meeting houses of that denomination arose inAltofts: one was dated 1891 and the other was built in 1906. There is noreference to the existence of this denomination in the 1878 trade directory, but inthe February of the following year the Brethren were using the collierycompany's Pope Street School for a tea, and by May 1882 they had a SundaySchool. Religious provision did not, of course, emanate entirely or even largely from the Plymouth Brethren. The Wesleyan Methodists had established a preaching place in Altofts in 1809, and the Primitive Methodists opened a chapel inLock Lane, halfway between Lower and Upper Altofts, in 1871. Curiously, itwas the more staid and respectable Westeyans, as against the Prims, who built awooden chapel at Silkstone Buildings in 1877 at a cost of 25 Pounds, replacing thedenomination's use of a room in Silkstone Row itself. A new Wesleyan Chapelwas erected in 1891, costing a further 701.18.1 Pounds. and is still in active use (1977). The Church of England, as was again common, was late on the industrial scene,W. E. Garforth being behind its interests at the Buildings: the Mission of the GoodShepherd at Lower Altofts, housed in a corrugated iron structure to seat twohundred, was opened in February 1903, and for some years it had its ownminister, operating under the umbrella of the Vicar of Altofts. An early ScoutTroop was formed at Lower Altofts in 1908. Educational facilties were provided by the colliery owners: in 1867 or 1868 aschool was built at the end of Silkstone Row by Pope and Pearson"and the building was used as an infants'school from February 1872 when log books werefirst kept as a result of the first obtaining of a Government grant in aid. The logbooks refer to visits made by the school managers and by the owners - MrsPope visited, for example, on several occasions in 1873 - as well as referring tothe frequent outbreak of infectious epidemics. On the outbreak of an infectiousdisease, the company put out posters advising precautions which could be takenby the tenants against its spread, while the houses infected were fenced off. Thisschool was enlarged in 1895 and its gallery was only removed in 1924. It was not until as late as July 1942 that the management of the school was transferred totrie West Riding County Council, all although the building had been leased to theCounty at a peppercorn rent in 1903. A school house was also part of themodel village. The school celebrated its centenary in 1972 - apparently quitewrongly.A school was in fact run by the colliery partners from about 1856, and this became the Aftofts Colliery School in Pope Street, the log book of which dates from November 1872. A new school was built here in 1875 and old J. B. Pope visited the new buildings on the occasion of the re-opening in September 1875. The H.M.I. did not think much of the natural abilities of the children: in December 1875 he wrote that "The general intelligence of the scholars is low and they are very irregular attenders". This school's management was also transferred to the County in 1942, and the school was closed in 1946. There is an interesting reference in the log book in May 1888, when the headmaster refers to his scholars' parents setting-off to see their relatives near Bristol and Gloucester and in Shropshire and Staffordshire - the areas from which they had originally come.Further social facilities were provided in the form of a recreation ground; thedate of its establishment is uncertain, but is possibly in the 1880s. The printed rules of the recreation ground survive, headed "Silkstone Row Recreation Ground" - its location being at the north end of the Row. The Ground was forthe benefit of the tenants of Pope and Pearson, their families and persons livingwith them (it will be recollected that there were many lodgers). A huge committeeof sixty persons was to be elected from the inhabitants, and the Ground, which laybetween Silkstone Buildings School and the canal, was to be open from 6 a.m. to9.30 p.m. from 1 May to 31 August, and during the winter from 8 to 6. No gameswere to be played on Sundays, and fines on adults and exclusion for children for various periods were provided for misbehaviour.A new recreation ground orsports ground was opened in September 1924 in a different location. Many colliers had - and still have - a delight in gardening and (incidentally)in supplementing their wages by growing vegetables. In 1896 Pope and Pearsonsupplied some seventeen acres of land for the use of their workmen at a reducedrental of 25 shillings an acre and the Altofts Allotments Association was formed forits management: In 1915 the Co-op committee was asked to allow the use of a roomfor the Allotment Association's meetings.Another typical model colliery village development, backed by the collierycompany, was the establishment of the Altofts Co-operative Society. The minutebooks of the Society which have survived date from June 1877, but by that timethe Society had been established for some ten years. It was originally The Altoftsand Normanton Co-operative Society, Ltd., and was formed at the height of interest in the development of co-operative retail outlets by individual societies inthe new colliery villages of the West Riding. No store was opened in Normantonitself, and a co-opqrative store was built there in 1872 by an independentNormanton Society, but it was not until 1894 that the Altofts Society dropped thename of Normanton from its title. There was another neighbouring society in theform of the Hopetown and Whitwood Industrial Society. The Altofts Society was probably established in February 1867, althoughaccording to the successive numbering of its quarterly meetings it may date backto 1866. It was intended only for employees of the colliery partnership,and it provided a not atypical range of social facilties beyond those of a shopalone: by 1872 an educational fund was in existence, a library existed by 1877and a reading room was maintained,. a subscription was paid to the Leeds Infirmary to enable members to obtain treatment there, and in the 1870s references also occur to tea meetings, lectures and excursions. The Buildings at lower Altofts had no public house, but the workmen's co-op did sell beer for consumption off the premises, and in 1877 the committee agreed to get a board painted to caution customers to refrain from drinking beer or spirits in the streets or in the shop. In 1900 a separate beerman was to be appointed for the co-op shop - still known as the Top Shop - and tobacco was also sold. In 1894 it was recommended that non-Pope and Pearson workmen should be eligible as members of the co-op for the first time, and in 1917 business was booming to such an extent, despite the War, that the Society had to ask for the tenancy of the adjoining house, number one Silkstone Row. As could be expected with a Society so closely allied to the fortunes of the coal trade, booms and depressions in that industry and in its wages were felt in the co-op: the coal trade slumped in 1874 and only recovered slowly, and the sales figures of the co-op show a similar pattern.Pope and Pearson grew as a large employer of labour: there were 1662 work- men (1316 below and 356 on the surface by 1903, and the firm ultimately became of necessity and design, a major housing owner. By 1928 a list of the firm's property shows them owning a total of 429 houses, 316 of which were in Altofts, 99 in Normanton and 14 in Whitwood; 388 were freehold and only 41 (all in Altofts) leasehold. In 1874 one of the first board meetings of the new company had agreed to buy 38 cottages at Normanton Common which were the property of Mr Pearson. The greatest concentration of company property was, of course, at Lower Altofts, where in The Buildings there were 164 houses; Silkstone Row itself had 52 houses, still in one row without cross alleys in 1904. An undated list of properties shows that the dimensions of the Silkstone Row houses slightly differed:One row, North Street, was of back-to-back houses, the remainder being through. The two Portland rows are probably early examples of concrete houses, similar to those being built (by 1877) at The Concrete near Wombwell, but now demolished. The colliery schoolmaster recalled that the company had built 80 new houses between 1871 and 1875. The company early had its own gasworks, but the supply came from the Normanton Gasworks from about 1898, when the new Silkstone shafts were sunk on the site of the gasworks in the colliery yard. Water was supplied by Wakefield Corporation from 1880, and local government facilities were (slowly) provided for Altofts by an elective local Board, originating in 1872 and providing, for example sewering from 1878-79 and a cemetery in 1878. By 1894 Pope and Pearson were paying some 74% of the rates of Altofts. The colliery village was somewhat altered in the 1890s, when the ashpits were much improved, and in 1927 a loan was made by the Altofts Urban District Council for the conversion of the privies in Silkstone Row.A further social facility was provided at lower Altofts in the form of an institute for men and boys opened in a converted maltkiln in the lower part of the village in 1892; in 1911 a Grand Bazaar was held in the Church Schools in Altafts to raise 800 Pounds for furnishing a new institute, during the presidency of W. E. Garforth, and a Working Men's Club was in existence in the village by January 1916. A yet further and highly important, social facility in the form of a railway station, to serve Altofts and Whitwood, was opened in Septernber 1870. Meanwhile, what of the management of the colliery? The members of the Pope family were, as has been indicated, much concerned in the 1860s with the opening up of collieries at some distance from Altofts - at Denaby Main and at Sharlston - and George Pearson was a senior partner in Darfield Main. Capital for the necessary new developments at Altofts was consequently limited, especially after the collapse of the coal boom early in 1874, so it was decided to turn the Altofts collieries into a limited liability company, the Pope and Pearson families taking a majority of the'shares - 301,000 Pounds out of a total capital of 400,000 Pounds. The first meeting of the new company was held at the firm's solicitors' offices in East Parade in Leeds on 18th November, 1874, and J. B. Pope was appointed chairman. Old Mr Pope retired to the Isle of Wight, returning to undertake his duties as chairman until his death in 1878. His son Richard Pope took over after his father's death, with the newly-appointed W. E. Garforth as his strong right hand, Richard was a Congregationalist, unlike his Plymouth Brethren father, but like his father he had a country estate in the Isle of Wight, and he died there in 1903. George Pearson died in 1881, but members of the Pope and Pearson families continued an active interest in the concern.The management of the colliery was largely in the hands of a professional manager, directed initially by the partners and (from 1874) by the directors and with the aid, for a short time, of a consulting mining engineer: the great Jacob Higson of Manchester was appointed to this consulting office, on a part-time basis, in 1874. John Warburton was the colliery manager until about the end of 1872, when he was replaced by John Hopkinson, who lived at Normanton and who saw the colliery through its first years as a limited liability concern; he died suddenly in London on 14th April, 1879, and was replaced by William Edward Garforth in that same year: Garforth was introduced at a meeting of the Board held on 3rd July, 1879 and was paid initially the handsome salary of 500 Pounds a year. No detailed account of the life, activities and significance of William (later Sir William) Garforth is given here, on account of the recent publication of John MacKinnon's excellent biography of that gentleman; the work can be consulted at any local library. By 1875, when the great European coal export trade from Britain was well developed, a major coal sales depot had been established by Pope and Pearson at Calais, and by 1876 the company owned steamships which took the coal from Hull. The use of coal washing machinery resulted in the development of pit heaps and also in the availability of large quantities of coal slack; briquettes from this slack were made at both Altofts and Calais, and in 1880 the Board ordered the building of twenty coke ovens at Altofts. In 1881 the Board was considering the purchase of the unsuccessful Park Hill Colliery near Wakefield, but decided against the project; a few years later, in 1886, the firm sank the Fox Pit as an air shaft but close to the canal, a situation which was considered suitable for the new pit's use as a coal loading place for the waterway. In the same year of 1886 there occurred an explosion in the Silkstone pit of Pope and Pearson at Altofts, where normally some four hundred men and boys were at work: owing to the explosion occurring between shifts, only twenty-one persons were killed. Naked candles had been used in the pit until only six months earlier. The explosion led to the ultimate invention of Garforth's (the WEG) rescue apparatus and to the establishment of a series of experimental galleries near the colliery which cost some13,000 Pounds in experimental expenses and, according to the files of the Colliery Guardian, "focused the attention of the whole mining wold on Altafts". The first mines rescue station in the world is claimed to have been established in connection with Pope and Pearson's Altofts Colliery in 1901, and an Ambulance class was formed in 1884. Pope and Pearson had, of course, their own colliery locomotives, and railway wagons, and by 1893-94 they were using between 114 and 117 horses in and about their pits. Thus there developed at Altofts both a major West Riding colliery and a wide range of social ancillaries; the colliery was to continue to produce coal well into the period of Nationalisation, the last coal being drawn (after the cessation of coal drawing from the colliery shafts) from the Fox Pit drift on Friday, 7th October, 1966, at about 1 p.m. More About John Buckingham Pope: Christening: 9 April 1807, Newton Abbot, Wolborough Street Salem Chapel Independent, Devon, England. IGI C075651. More About John Buckingham Pope and Maria Law: Marriage: 17 March 1829, St Giles, Camberwell, London, England.. Children of John Buckingham Pope and Maria Law are:
+Richard Pope, b. 1830, Camberwell, Surrey, England., d. 8 September 1903, "Westfield" Bonchurch, Hampshire, United Kingdom..