Obituary - Thomas Aspinwall (Miners Agent)


picMr Brighouse, county coroner at a colliery inquest at St. Helens on Friday morning said he wished to express his deep regret at the death of Mr. Thomas Aspinwall of Skelmersdale, the miners' agent of the Wigan district. It was always a pleasure to him to have the interest of the miners looked after at his inquiries by an accredited representative, and Mr. Aspinwall carried out the duties of his office most efficiently and well, and showed no signs of partisanship; and if all interests were represented as he represented the interests of the miners and in that judicial and calm manner which was part of his nature, he felt certain there would be nothing to complain about. He regretted very much that an able man had gone from them.

Mr. Hall, the Government inspector, endorsed all the coroner said. He had met Mr. Aspinwall a great many times, and he was always struck by his shrewdness and impartiality, and his general fairness of all that he had to consider.


picAt the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners' Federation, held in Manchester on Saturday, Mr. S. Woods in the chair, a resolution of sympathy with the family of Mr. Thomas Aspinwall, miners' agent for the Wigan and Skelmersdale districts, was adopted. A special deputation was appointed to represent the Federation at the interment.


picThe funeral of the deceased gentleman took place on Monday afternoon amid signs of universal mourning and respect. Seldom, indeed, if ever, has Skelmersdale witnessed such a scene as that which was enacted when all that was mortal of its distinguished townsman was laid to rest in the graveyard of the old Parish Church, at which, in life, the deceased had been a frequent attendant and had been honoured with the position of warden.

picThe interment had been delayed until late in the afternoon, so that the men that the deceased had so ably and zealously represented whilst with them might follow him after their day's work was done to the grave. And that this policy was a wise one was demonstrated by the long line of something like six hundred miners of the Skelmersdale district who joined in the funeral procession. These men wore, as a buttonhole, a white and black rosette, and the effect was most solemn. But the last tokens of respect were not confined to any one section of the community, for the elements of mourning were manifest on every hand. All along the route of the cortege, from the residence of the deceased to the graveyard, places of business were closed, and the windows of the houses were draped with drawn blinds, while a double line of eager and sympathising spectators marked the way of the dead in the streets, and quite a multitude of followers thronged the neighbourhood of the church, The long procession of mourners was headed by two local brass bands who played funereal music to the grave. It was a sad and solemn spectacle. There were something like fifty representatives from the Wigan district, and these for the most part journeyed from Wigan to Skelmersdale in coaches. The Lancashire and Cheshire Miners' Federation, of which the late miner's agent was a valued member, was represented by Messrs. Sam Woods (president), T Ashton (secretary), R Isherwood J.P. (treasurer), T Greenall (miners' agent Pendlebury), T Glover (miners' agent St Helens), Jesse Butler (Manchester), E Hickman (Pemberton), J Davies, W Jones, C Collier, S Heaton, J Taylor, D Macgowan, W Gallimore and W Siddall. The Wigan Miners' Association was represented by Messrs. Edwin Yates (president), Joseph Parkinson (secretary), Thos. Partington (treasurer), Emmanuel Taylor, Joseph Freer, C Collier, S Heaton and others. Messrs. George Sutherland J.P., John Hayworth, J Foster, J Fishwick, G Barton, Noah Hodgkinson, W Kersley, all of Wigan, were present. The Pemberton Miners sent Messrs. J Cheetham J.P. (secretary), Jonathan Banks, William Briant, John Atherton, John Taberner, William Black, Thomas Wilcock, George Stevens, Thomas Smallshaw, Alex Simm, and Joseph Cowley as their representatives, and the Park Lane Miners were represented by Mr. William Catterall, the Blackrod Miners by Mr. George Worthington, and others, the Standish miners by Messrs, Robert Simm (president), John Davies (secretary), W Harrison, and John Davies, and among other representatives were picR Latham (Skelmersdale secretary), D McGowan (Blackburn), J Taylor (Pendlebury), J Davies (Standish), W Gallimore (Tyldesley), W Siddall (Hyde), Mr J Knowles of Messrs. Pearson and Knowles, Ince and Mr Will Taberner, secretary of the Wigan Infirmary, of which institution the deceased was a vice president, were also in attendance, and amongst others present were Superintendent R Jervis, Inspector Barnes, Dr. O'Reilly, Messrs. Paul Lea, J A Aspinwall, W T Egan, W Rotherham J Hall, H Hunter, J Pearce, J Phillipson, P Dickinson, T Hulme, J Butcher, H Vallis, R Mercer, W Corns, J Corns, M Hallet, W Garner, T Ashcroft, R Cottom, R Kirkpatrick, P Loughran, J Ramsey. The various local bodies, such as the District Council upon which the deceased had served in a representative capacity, were well represented. The Miners' New Permanent Relief Society was represented by Messrs. R Roughley (president), E Walkden (secretary), John Norcross (treasurer) and Wm. Blackledge. The chief mourners were Mr John Aspinwall, Mr Thomas Aspinwall, Mr James Aspinwall and Mr Robert Aspinwall sons of the deceased; Mr. J Lawrenson, Mr. Thomas Roughley and Mr R Marsh brothers in law, and Inspector Fyfe. The funeral service was fully choral and the officiating clergy in the church and at the graveside were the Rev J. J. Hulley vicar, the Rev D Greene, the Rev S Gasking, and the Rev W Skone. The funeral took place about six o'clock. Among those who sent wreaths and floral tributes were the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners Federation, and the Wigan, Blackrod, Standish, and Pemberton Miners' Associations; Skelmersdale Miners' Permanent Relief Society, Crown Tontine Society, workmen of the Rainford Colliery and others.

Transcribed from the Wigan Observer 27th March 1901.

"In his prosperous hours he had but this pride to be the weak man's help, the poor man's guide"

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