Presentation to Mr. Thomas Parker on his 46th
An interesting ceremony took place on Saturday evening at the
Drill Hall, Wolverhampton, where the employees of the Electric
Construction Company (late Elwell-Parker Company, Limited)
presented a framed and illuminated address, together with a
beautiful silver tea service, as a mark of their esteem, to Mr.
Parker, manager of the works.
There was a large attendance of employees and others, The Mayor
(Councillor John Marston) presided and amongst those, present
were the Rev. C. A. Berry, Colonel Thorneycroft, Messrs. T.
Parker, T. Bantock, T. Graham, G.H. Stranger, J. Brotherton, L.
Morton, T. G. Bennett, G. Freemantle, Price Lewis, and J.G.
Smith (managing director). Letters of apology were received from
Sir D. Fox (chairman of the Board of Directors), Mr. H.H.
Fowler, M.P. Colonel Tudor, and Mr. J. Oddie (formerly Mayor of
The Mayor said it was with pleasure that he presided at a
gathering to do honour to a gentleman who had brought so much
intelligence and introduced so much business into Wolverhampton.
Mr. Parker had been instrumental in founding in the town a new
industry, for it was by his energy and perseverance that the
large Electrical Construction Company had been established,
greatly to the advantage of the town and neighbourhood.
Wolverhampton was very proud to have men of such ability in
their midst. Mr. Parker had mentioned to him he was a Shropshire
gentleman, and being himself also of that county, a fact which
had been pretty freely proclaimed, one newspaper especially
having fully interviewed him, he had on that account double
pleasure in greeting Mr. Parker.
In the endeavour which the Corporation was making to obtain an
order from the Board of Trade, Mr. Parker had rendered great
assistance in giving advice and in dealing with technical
matters, and he (the Mayor) therefore took that opportunity of
publicly thanking Mr. Parker for the great public service he had
rendered to the Wolverhampton Corporation (cheers).
library and archives of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, at Coalbrookdale.
Courtesy of Andy Rose.
The drill hall, as it was in 1889.
Mr. G. Freemantle (formerly secretary of the Edison Light Company)
said that when he first made the acquaintance of Mr. Parker, they
were at his works, there were a couple of girls and maybe a couple
of men, and the machinery was of a most “ramshackle” character.
Gradually the undertaking had grown until the old place had become
entirely inadequate. He hoped Mr. Parker would live long to enjoy
the handsome present, and the institution of which he was the
founder would in five years hence be a hundredfold greater today
than when he first knew it.
Jones (one of the employees) then made the presentation to Mr.
Parker, reading the address which was as follows:-
|To Thomas Parker Esq.
We the employees of Messrs. Elwell-Parker Limited being
desirous of showing our appreciation of your great
abilities and devotion to the progress of electrical
engineering take the opportunity offered by your
birthday and the recent changes brought about by this
firm being merged into the Electric Construction
Corporation to ask your acceptance of this address and
We have watched with admiration the
manner in which you have conducted both the scientific
and commercial branches of the business and the rapid
growth that it has made under your able management, and
we hope and believe that in its proposed new home it
will grow into a concern second to none in the United
We therefore heartily wish you
health and strength to enable you to continue the work
so successfully begun.
Signed on behalf of the above:
Chairman. R. P. Jones, Treasurer. J.
Westwood, Secretaries: J. H. Woodward and E. S.
Committee: S. Antwis, W. Cadwalender, A. Dodd, J.
S. Dudley, A. Fowler, A. G. James, J. A. May, and
Mr. Smith (managing director) expressed great pleasure in
finding Mr. Parker and his workpeople so well in touch with each
other. He hoped this feeling would continue, and he wished the
employees to understand that Mr. Parker was still, to all
intents and purpose, their employer. He had personally the
highest appreciation of, and confidence in Mr. Parker’s great
Mr. Parker, who was received with loud and prolonged cheers, in
acknowledging the presentation was deeply moved. He thanked them
very sincerely for their kind expressions of goodwill, which
were a great help in the management of so large a concern as
that under his care. He had to acknowledge a great deal of
gratitude to the workmen, and especially to the older ones, for
the way in which they had assisted him by their sympathy, their
earnestness and their patient perseverance.
The success of the future depended largely upon the generous
support of the employees of the directorate. Seven years ago he
was receiving presents like those he had received that night, at
Coalbrookdale, where he was known to everybody. He was leaving
that place to come unknown to Wolverhampton. He invested in the
electric business not only his health and strength, but all he
had – his first £1,000 (cheers) and he had a great deal to be
thankful for in the success which he had achieved. In the
attainment of this success he had been greatly assisted by Mr.
Freemantle and his Manchester friends. There was now plenty of
work to be done, and they had only to do it. Having a powerful
and united Corporation, they could with patience and careful
hard work, bring to Wolverhampton such a splendid addition to
its business as very few people dreamed of (cheers). The
interests and welfare of the employees had always been as much
in his care, as the success of the company, and so they would
always continue to be (cheers).
Colonel Thorneycroft also spoke, and in the course of his
remarks strongly advised the employees of the company to study
chemistry, stating as an instance of the value of that science,
that by its application Messrs. Baird and Co., ironmasters of
Scotland, had discovered a means of utilising their smoke. It
had been calculated that had this discovery been made 60 years
ago at the establishment of the business, something like four
million pounds would have been realised.
Alderman Bantock said that he believed electricity was destined
in the future to play a more important part in the business of
the world than steam had played in the past. Mr. Parker had been
described by a very high authority in applied electricity, as
the Edison of England (cheers) and his success had quite
justified that remark.
The Rev. C. A. Berry wished Mr. Parker many happy returns of his
birthday. The interest to him of this occasion was that it
exhibited such a cordial good feeling between Mr. Parker and his
employees. Mr. Parker’s business had been spoken of as a new
industry, but it seemed to him to have called forth a new spirit
between worker and director. He trusted such a feeling might
continue, and that the works might continue to develop and to
assist in the solution of one of the most critical and
perplexing problems of the day; how employer and employed should
be so related so that
both might fairly get that which was their due. They were not
assembled to worship mere vulgar success. They recognised in Mr.
Parker’s character, a strong personality, rich in all vigorous
elements, and he (Mr. Berry) had discovered that night richer
than he had before imagined in the gentler and emotional
elements of a true man (cheers). In conclusion Mr. Berry
proposed a vote of thanks to the Mayor, which was heartily
The proceedings then terminated.
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