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Obituary: William Rhodes 1859 - 1941

Discussion in 'Chesterfield History' started by lucygen, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. lucygen

    lucygen Local

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    I'm afraid there were some words I could not see because of ink & the state of the paper.

    The Derbyshire Times - Friday Januray 10 1941

    CHESTERFIELD’S LAST FREEMAN

    DEATH OF MR. W. RHODES, J.P.

    Mr William Rhodes, J.P., the only surviving Honorary Freeman of Chesterfield and a former Mayor and Alderman of the Borough, died on Saturday night at his home, 161A, Old Road, Brampton, Chesterfield. Mr. Rhodes, who would have been 82 next month, had been in failing health for some time.

    Mr. Rhodes was born in Brampton on February 24th 1859, a son of Mr. Charles Rhodes, builder and contractor. He received his education at St. Thomas’and Bowker’s Schools, and entered his father’s business, the oldest established in the district, but when he was 17 his father died. Thrown on his own resources, he and his brothers worked determinedly to carry on the business, which eventually passed entirely to Mr. Rhodes.

    In 1894 Mr. Rhodes became a member of Chesterfield Town Council, being returned at the head of the poll for the West Ward. He remained a member of the Council until his retirement 37 years later. His particular interests were housing and town planning, and for many years he was chairman of the Highways, Housing and Cemeteries Committees, in which connection it was once said of him that his motto was, “Live happily, walk straightly and be buried decently”.

    EXPERT ON HOUSING

    He was largely responsible for many road and street improvements in the town, and for the acquisition and layout of the Boythorpe Cemetery. It is as work as chairman of the Housing Committee that Mr. Rhodes will best be remembered. He made housing his particular study, and travelled extensively on the Continent in pursuance of that study. Before the war he drew up a scheme for the provision of small cottages for all people at small rents, and on the instructions of the late Mr. C. P. Markham built four in Piccadilly as an experiment. The war held up the development of the scheme, but in more recent years a considerable number of cottages have been built in Chesterfield on similar lines.

    Mr. Rhodes’ expert knowledge of building, his foresight and business acumen were of inestimable value to the Borough when there was such an acute shortage of houses following the last war. He was one of the prime movers in acquiring the site and developing the Boythorpe Estate, and pratically all the other important Corporation housing schemes were carried out during his chairmanship. His name is commemorated by the William Rhodes school at Boythorpe, and Rhodes Avenue, Newbold, and Rhodesia Road, Brampton, were also given his name.

    IMPORTANT CONTRACTS

    Mr Rhodes also contributed largely to the development of Chesterfield as a private builder. He developed housing estates in various parts of Brampton, and was a director of the Chesterfield Housing Company, which was also responsible for a considerable amount of house building in the Borough. His first contract as a young man was the building of the chancel of St. Thomas’ Church, Brampton, and other important works his firm have carried out were Mount Zion Chapel, Brampton, the Old Road schools, the Eventide Almshouses, and the Markham Swimming Baths.

    Mr. Rhodes was one of the first to see the possibilities of the Rose Hill Estate as the site of the new Town Hall. Many years before the Council approved the scheme he advocated the purchasing of the land, and he went as far as to draw up plans for the layout of the estate, plans very similar to those eventually adopted.

    Mr. Rhodes became an Alderman in 1910 and was made a Justice of the Peace for the Borough in 1911. For his work in connection with housing he was elected on the National Housing and Town Planning Council, and when King George V and Queen Mary received a number of prominent representatives concerned with housing schemes for the working classes, at Buckingham Palace in April 1919, Alderman Rhodes was one of those presented to their Majesties.

    After declining on several previous occasions, Mr. Rhodes accepted the invitation to be nominated as Mayor of Chesterfield in 1921. He succeeded Alderman W. Hawksley Edmunds, with whom he was closely associated in public life, and in proposing his health at the Mayoral luncheon, Ald. Edmunds described Ald. Rhodes as a man of fixity of purpose, sterling courage, transparent honesty and big kindness of heart.

    FREEMAN SINCE 1923

    In recognition of his great services to Chesterfield, Mr. Rhodes was presented with the Freedom of the Borough in November 1923. The resolution was moved by Sir Ernest Shentall, who described Ald. Rhodes as an exceptional man, one who runs a straight course, one who has the approbation of every ratepayer.

    When on holiday in Folkestone in 1929, Mr. Rhodes was knocked down by a car and received a fractured skull. The effects of this accident were the cause of his resignation from the Town Council in 1931, and he had been in indifferent health ever since.

    Mr. Rhodes was a Freemason, being a Past Worshipful Master of the Hardwick Lodge, and a Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon. He was one of the original members of Chesterfield Rotary Club, and was an honorary member at the time of his death. He was also for many years a sidesman at St. Thomas’s Church, Brampton, and a trustee of Chesterfield Municipal Charities.

    Ald. Rhodes leaves two sons - Mr. C.W. Rhodes, who is in the Royal Engineers, and Mr. Leslie Rhodes, who is carrying on the business - and one daughter. Mrs Rhodes, who is also a native of Brampton, died in 1933.

    On his 80th birthday in 1939, Mr. Rhodes was visited at his home by the then Mayor (Coun. S.T. Rodgers) and several senior members of the Town Council, who took with them as a gift from the Council, an illuminated address in parchment and leather, bearing the Borough’s golden seal. The address which was presented to Mr. Rhodes by the Mayor, stated, “We remember with appreciation the many eminent public services which you have rendered to the town of Chesterfield, particularly during your 37years as a member of the Town Council”. On the same day a deputation of children form the William Rhodes Junior School visited Mr. Rhodes at his home and made him a birthday gift.

    A large and representative gathering attended the funeral at St. Thomas Church, Brampton, on Wednesday afternoon. A service was held in the church, where the coffin had lain during the previous night, prior to the interment in the family vault in the churchyard.

    The service was conducted by the Rector of Brampton (Rev. H.J. Sillito), and other clergymen present were the Revs. H. Leivesey, E. Gardin (St. Mark’s), J.N. Reeder (Holymoorside) and J. Shaw, (Bolsover). The choir was in attendance, and Mr. J.C. Simon was the organist.

    The chief mourners were Mr. L. Rhodes, Mr. R.O. Rhodes, Mr. C.A. Murray, Mr. P Shaw, Mr. J. Shaw, Mr. A. Mitchell, Mr. J. Heath, Mrs. L. Rhodes, Mrs. G_ _ _ ve (Rodley), Mrs. McKay (Romford), Miss Betty Rhodes, Miss Hattersley, Mrs. Smith.

    Others present _ _ represented were Chesterfield Corporation - The Mayor of Chesterfield (Ald. W. Wicks), the Town Clerk (Mr. _ Clegg), Aldermen G. Clark, H. Varley, H. Cropper, H. Hatton, G.F. Kirk, S.A. Sydall, P.M. Robinson, Councillors J.H. Hodkin, T.H. Evans, W. Baines, S.T. Rodgers, H.C. Day, G.W. Cooper, Miss Grace Corner, E. Parkin, R. Kilpatrick, J.W. Thompson.

    Borough Magistrates - Alderman W. Hawksley Edmunds, Mr. G.J. Edmunds, Mr. T, Turnbull, Mr. H. Shentall and the Justices’ Clerk (Mr. C. Proctor).

    Corporation Officials - Dr. J.A. Stirling, (Medical Officer of Health), the Chief Constable of Chesterfield, (Mr. T. Wells), Mr. W.S. Wilson, (Borough Engineer), Mr. D. _. Davies (Electrical Engineer), Mr. R. Haggard (Transport Manager), Mr. A. Greenough (Deputy Education Officer representing the Chesterfield Education Department), Mr. A.S. Carter (Chief Sanitary Inspector), Mr. J. _. Norris (Weights and Measures Inspector), Mr. W. Illingworth (Estate Agent), Mr. S. Thornhill (Cleansing Superintendent), Miss B. Gamble (Property Manager), Mr. J.E. Tindale (Parks Superintendent).

    Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce and Property Owner’s Association, Dr. J.A. Goodfellow; Chesterfield Charity Trustees, Mr. J.T. Spencer (Clerk); Chesterfield Housing Company, Mr. A. Glossop (a former member of the Town Council); Chesterfield Rotary Club, Mr. Wm. C. Coxall (Chesterfield Borough Treasurer).

    Master Builder’s Association - Mr. A.E. White (President), Mr. H. Collis, Mr. A. Heath, Mr. _. E. Gaunt.

    William Rhodes School - Mr. W. Stevens (Senior School), and Mr. H.J. Kerry (Junior School, also representing Miss Mears, William Rhodes Infants School).

    Freemasons - Messrs. A.R. Chaytor, James Austin, C. B_ack, J.W. Hayes, W. Dawson, A.G. Brayshaw, W.H. Wagstaffe, A.J. Be_ey, W.A. Taylor, W. Charlesworth, W.H. Yeomans, J. Stanton, F.S. Mars_.

    Among many personal friends present were Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Wilkins (Commercial Hotel), Mr. and Mrs. H. Hubbuck, Mr J. Austin, Mrs. Shaw and Miss Mary Shaw, Mr. E. J. Marlow, Mr. S.H. Holland, Mrs. H. _. Sillitoe, Mrs. J.C. Simon, Mr. E.P. Johnson, Mrs. G.H. Wall, Mr. L. Knowles, Mr. W. Frobisher, Mr. W. Howard, Mr. A. Flint, Mr. F. Hadfield, Mrs Turton (also representing Mrs. F.E.S. May), Mr. F.C. Stanton, Mr. G.R. _eadbeater, Mr. S. Shemwell (also representing Mr. R. Plowright), Mr. L._. Spouncer (also representing Mr. G.R. Shaw and the Barker Pottery Company).

    The bearers included Messrs. H. Dodson, G. Herring and J. Herring, old employees of Mr. Rhodes.

    The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. Hattersley, undertaker, 211 Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield. Telephone 2820
    ____________

    MAYOR’S TRIBUTE

    A tribute to Mr. Rhodes was paid by the Mayor of Chesterfield, (Ald. W. Wicks), at Tuesday’s meeting of Chesterfield Town Council, when a resolution was passed recording the “deep sense of loss” by his death.

    Ald. Wicks said that Mr. Rhodes’s(sic) chairmanship of the Housing Committee would be his memorial. As a humble member of an Advisory Committee he, (the Mayor) sat under Ald. Rhodes in 1917, and for two years they were planning and scheming the future housing policy of Chesterfield. Month by month they advanced until a plan was conceived for erecting houses, not anyhow as in the past, but in spacious areas with not more than 12 houses to an acre. Chesterfield’s various housing estates stood out as a lasting testament to the work of Mr. Rhodes. He recalled travelling with Ald. Rhodes over waste tracts of land in the early days of the Boythorpe Estate. Now there stood a well-planned housing estate, and attached to it a beautiful school, which bore Mr. Rhodes’s name. As the first Chairman of the Regional Planning Committee he did an immense amount of work which would only be noted in the future.

    The members stood in silence.
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Tribute to the late Mr. Rhodes was also paid at Chesterfield Borough Police Court on Monday by the presiding Magistrate (Ald. G. Clark), who said that by his public work Mr. Rhodes had left his mark on Chesterfield in its recent development. The name of William Rhodes was commemorated in Chesterfield in several ways, and it was not only by the work he did but for the man himself that he would be long remembered. Had he been a less honest man he might have made himself a rich man, but his one idea was the betterment of the town and the service of those he represented.

    On behalf of the _ _ _ _ _ ors, Mr. W. Charlesworth associa_ _ _ himself with the Chairman’s rema_ _ _. Mr. Rhodes was for many years a familiar figure on that Bench, he was most kindly in dealing with everybody who came before him and upheld the greatest traditions of the Bench in every way.

    Speaking for the police, Chief Constable (Mr. T. Wells), said the best tribute those who were left could pay Mr. Rhodes was to try to emulate his example. When the war was over there would be plenty of room for men like Mr. Rhodes.


    From the Chesterfield Year Book & Directory 1922
    William & his wife Kate [nee Shaw] Rhodes

    [​IMG]
     
  2. kingkobra74

    kingkobra74 Local

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    ... and then they went and renamed the school so it sounded like a prison.
     
  3. lucygen

    lucygen Local

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    It makes me so angry when people decide it's better to rename a building or street. They're wiping away the town's history - & for what!? :swear:

    Why is it better to rename The Spire pub the 'Slug & Piddle'?.....& yes I know it's named something else but my brain won't remember it on principle! :D
     
  4. poppy

    poppy Member

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    Edwin Swale and Violet Markham school names also disappeared with the reorganisation. :(
     
  5. Henri07

    Henri07 Local

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    Agree Lucygen, names should remain unless for a very good reason. Full credit to what William Rhodes achieved in life, for himself and others.

    Does anyone know why the council changed these names? Have my suspicions but not sure.
     
  6. indalohombre

    indalohombre Local

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    and I disagree with naming buildings after people - long dead.

    That's not to say I don't appreciate what some of those people have contributed - and would want that contribution to to be recognised and remembered in some other way.

    It's more about 'who owns' those buildings today!

    For me the only way local people (and especially young people) can own a community building - a community resource - is, if that building has the name of that community on it.

    For several years I managed the Hunloke Centre - an Adult Education Centre that provided all kinds of learning opportunities, that was named after the landed gentry that used to own the land in the area.

    It was often criticised for providing those opportunities,s mainly for the residents of Walton!!! - rather than those of Birdholme or Saint Augustine's.

    We did all kinds of things to get local residents involved in learning - some successful - some not so - but I am sure that if we had been able to rename the building the Birdholme Centre we would have had a lot more success.
     
  7. poppy

    poppy Member

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    Not sure why the names got changed -

    When Chesterfield Secondary School education was reorganised in 1991 some schools were merged and others ceased.
    Pre reorganisation we had St Helena, Chesterfield Boys, Tapton House, Violet Markham, William Rhodes, Newbold Green, Manor, Hasland Hall, and Edwin Swale.
    With reorganisation St Helena, Chesterfield Boys and Manor (which had two sites, one on Old Road and also Central Building ) became Brookfield, Tapton House closed, Newbold Green and Violet Markham became Newbold Community School, William Rhodes became Parkside, Edwin Swale became Meadows and Hasland - i'm not sure if they kept the hall bit or became Hasland Community.
    All the staff were reorganised too, some staying at their current schools, others being moved around. It was quite a difficult time for the staff involved. Some schools became multi site (Brookfield operated on four sites, Newbold on two) Perhaps it was felt that by changing the names it would give the feeling of a fresh start for everyone.
     
  8. lucygen

    lucygen Local

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    I don't see why everything needs to be re-named. I can understand if it enhances something or it's changed because it's offensive but other than that... :dunno:
     

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