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Knottingley and Ferrybridge Local History

HISTORY OF THE KNOTTINGLEY
CHAIN OF OFFICE


by RENEE P. HUBY (nee Fozzard)

Investiture Ceremony - Click for a larger image

The Investiture Ceremony on December 8th 1954

In May 1954 my father George Fozzard was duly elected as Chairman of the Knottingley Urban District Council, having served as a councillor since 1946 representing the East ward of the town.

For many years the question of the purchase of a chain of office had been discussed but no action taken and so upon his elevation to the Chair he obtained the Council's permission to launch an appeal for funds to purchase such an insignia.  In August of that year he addressed a personal letter to the rate payers and industries and other interested parties of the town requesting their support for such a fund.  The appeal was a success and Messrs Herbert Brown were commissioned to craft the chain for the princely sum of 185.00; the badge of office bearing the coat of arms was donated anonymously.

The ceremony took place on 8 December 1954 in the Council Chamber in the Town Hall at 6.30pm and after being dedicated by the Chairman's Chaplin, the Rev. A. E. Beaumont, the chain was invested upon my father by the County Alderman Sir Thomas Tomlinson B.E.M.

The proceedings continued with a dinner held at the Winston Hotel on Womersley Road where 52 guests, including fellow councillors and their wives, were served with a meal consisting of grapefruit juice then either tomato or chicken soup.  The main course consisted of  halibut and cream sauce, roast chicken and vegetables, followed by either apple tart or mince tart and cream, cheese and biscuits and coffee.  All of this deliciously cooked by Mrs. Bernard Featon, the landlords wife, for the sum of 10s 6d each [52p in today's money]  Also 12s 6d for 70 Players cigarettes, something that wouldn't happen today, and 11-17s for drinks for the toasts.

My mother, the Chairman's wife, was presented with a tortoiseshell travelling clock suitably inscribed to commemorate the occasion.

The evening was brought to a close after the Royal toast followed by a toast to the council proposed by Bernard Kenyon Esq. (Clerk to the West Riding County Council) and a response given by my father and supported by his Vice Chairman, Councillor J.E. Durkin J.P.  The final toast to 'Our Guests' , proposed by Councillor A. Reynolds J.P was responded by County Alderman Sir Thomas Tomlinson B.E.M.

It was a very enjoyable evening for all who attended and my father was very proud to have been the Chairman who obtained such a status symbol for the town.

Mr. & Mrs Fozzard - Click for a larger image

Mrs. Elena Fozzard and Mr. George Fozzard wearing their Chains of Office

As there was some money left over from the appeal it was agreed to purchase a finer chain with a miniature badge to be worn by the Chairman's wife and it was presented to my mother at a smaller ceremony in March of the following year.

Sadly, my father died in November 1972, a few months before Knottingley Urban District Council was incorporated into Wakefield Metropolitan District under the local government re-organisation thus making the Chain of Office redundant and it is now kept in the Museum in Wakefield.

Renee Huby (nee Fozzard)
February 2004


 

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