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Mayors of Wigan   Views: 1068
John Cheetham Mayor 1918   Comments: 10
Photo: RON HUNT   Item #: 30758  
John Cheetham Mayor 1918

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  Alderman John Cheetham receives the Freedom of the Borough of Wigan in 1925. Presented by Mayor Holland.  

 [<< Back] 10 user comment(s) below:-  [Leave a comment]

Comments by Mac, 25th September 2018  
Nice joinery donít you agree Philip ? A time when a skill was bedded from seed and turned into wonderful works of timber . In the trade , you never called timber wood , it was always called timber . What I miss in todayís world is detail , as this picture is full of . Sirs , you sit in a special
room of timber , built for you by the most highly skilled men . A trade now
will be watching a robot , until even they question our purpose and function..

Comments by RON HUNT, 25th September 2018  
Just found this information :-

1918-1919, John Cheetham, Mayor of Wigan
John Cheetham
Mayor of Wigan November 1918 to 1919
Born: 2 August 1858
Died: 10 July 1934
Baptised: 12 September 1858, St. John the Devine, Pemberton
Parents: Thomas Cheetham and Elizabeth Rylance
Wife: Elizabeth Ashcroft
Married: 7 December 1877, United Methodist Free Church, King Street, Wigan
Children: Henry, Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Ellen, Ethel, Thomas, Fred, Clara
Appointed Justice of the Peace: 1892
Elected to Pemberton Urban District Council December: 1894
Elected to the amalgamated Wigan Council: 1904
Appointed Alderman: 10 November 1913
Appointed Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Wigan: November 1925
John Cheetham was born on 2 August 1858 in Pemberton. His parents were Thomas Cheetham and Elizabeth Rylance. He had five brothers Richard, Thomas, Absalom, James, Samuel and one sister Mary. His father was a collier. He was baptised on 12 September 1858 at St. John the Devine in Pemberton.
Ald. Cheetham attended the Wesleyan School in Lamberhead Green. The Master of the school, Mr. William Lord thought highly of the young John and asked his father when John was 12 if he could find him a more promising job than minework.
John became a mine worker like the rest of his family, starting as a pony driver in the Arley Mine of the old Orrell Colliery. He moved on to become a colliery drawer for his father and elder brother Thomas, he witnessed the death of his brother from a roof fall whilst working in this capacity. While working as a drawer, he attended the old Wigan Mining School and was successful in gaining several certificates in mining. In later life he became a member of the Governing Body of the Wigan & District Mining and Technical College.
At the age of 21 John became a fireman at the Orrell Colliery and then moving to the Pemberton Collieries. In 1884 Ald. Cheetham became a checkweighman at the Pemberton Collieries, a position he held throughout the rest of his working life. On 26 November 1883 he was elected Secretary of the Pemberton Minersí Association. He was so well regarded that he held this position for over 50 years and in recognition of his service to the Association, was presented with a silver tea set in 1933.
Ald. Cheetham was a part of mining history. He was the representative for the Pemberton Minersí Association at the conference which resulted in the formation of the Minersí Federation of Great Britain in 1888 and 1889. He was President of the Wigan & District Minersí Permanent Society for over 20 years and was the first President of that Society. Ald. Cheetham was also a minersí delegate in the trade union world.
Whilst working as a checkweighman in 1885, Ald. Cheetham and Charles Whitburn were accused of fraud and committed to take their trial at the Liverpool Assizes on the charge of conspiracy. The trial came before Mr. Justice Henn Collins and a jury on 29 November 1895. The charge read Ďat Pemberton between the month of January 1894 and the month of August 1895, unlawfully, fraudulently and wickedly did conspire, confederate and agree together to make certain false entries in the papers or weigh sheets used for showing the weights of coal gotten from a certain mine called the King Coal & Cannel Mines of the King Pit of the Pemberton Collieries, belonging to Henry Blundell Hollinshead Blundell, a Colonel on the retired list of Her Majestyís Army and a Member of Parliament carrying on the business as a colliery proprietor under the style of Jonathan Blundell & Son with the intent thereby to cheat and defraud the said Henry B H Blundellí. The charge was that they conspired together to increase the weights represented upon the weigh sheets to increase the colliersí wages. After the Prosecution case was concluded, the Jury Foreman asked the Judge if they could end the case as they felt that there was insufficient evidence to convict the men and moreover thought that the case against Ald. Cheetham should never have been brought. Both men were acquitted of the charge.
Ald. Cheetham was held in such high regard by the people of Pemberton and they felt that he had been unfairly treated by the charge laid against him that they made two public presentations to him as a way of showing their support. In January 1896, a concert was held at Mount Zion School in Lamberhead Green with the proceeds of the concert used to buy a gift. Ald. Cheetham was presented with a gold albert and pendant as a token of the respect and esteem in which he was held and as a memento of the recent trial he had just gone through. In February 1896, he was also presented with a marble timepiece with the inscription Ďpresented to Mr. John Cheetham JP by his friends in Pembertoní.
Ald. Cheetham was said to be the first working man to be made a Justice of the Peace in England. He was appointed in 1892 aged 34 and working as a checkweighman at Pemberton Collieries. In 1917, he celebrated his silver jubilee as a Justice of the Peace and was presented with an illuminated address and a National War Bond worth £50 by Mr. Stephen Ward MP. His wife received a gold watch and a chain to commemorate the event. The members of Wigan Town Council also paid tribute to him on his 25 years of service as a Justice of the Peace to the Borough. A resolution of thanks was passed for all his hard work. Ald. Cheetham acknowledged their thanks and spoke of his appointment in 1892. He said that he had a family of 6 children and found it a struggle to keep up the position as a JP and a wage earner at the same time but had been honoured to be asked and very proud to accept and had always tried to do his duty fairly. He sat as a JP in the Borough for 42 years.
At the age of 60, Ald. Cheetham was selected to become Mayor of Wigan in November 1918 by the Mayoral Selection Committee. At that time, he was leader of the Labour Party in the Town Council.
Ald. Cheetham served on the following numerous committees during his time with the Council:
1. Tramways Committee
2. Vice-Chairman of the Water Committee
3. Chairman of the Sewage Disposal Committee
4. Food Control Committee
5. Advisory Committee
6. Pension Committee
7. Fuel and Lighting Committee
8. Watch Committee
9. Sanitary Works Committee
10. Finance Committee
11. Library Committee
12. Member of Wigan Education Authority
13. Member of the Governing Body of the Wigan & District Mining and Technical College
14. Overseer for the Pemberton Township
15. President of the Wigan & District Minersí Relief Society
16. Representation of the Council on the Lancashire Sea Fisheries Board
17. Representative of the Council on the Police Committee of the Association of Municipal Corporations
18. Member of the War Relief Committee
19. Member of the National Service Committee
20. Member of the War Pensions Committee
21. Member of the Local Military Tribunal
Ald. Cheetham gave 40 years as a representative of the people of Wigan and Pemberton.
Ald. Cheethamís mayoralty took place after the First World War. He urged the people of Wigan to subscribe to Victory Loans which were used to help the Government clear up war debts in the hope that they would bring about better trade, more employment and reduce the cost of living. A State visit was paid to Wigan Parish Church in July 1919 to give thanks for peace. Also in July 1919 the Mayor unveiled a shrine in Mesnes Park in memory of the Wigan men who had lost their lives during the war.
In November 1919, members of the Pemberton Minersí Association held a complimentary dinner in honour of Ald. Cheetham retiring as Mayor. It was held at the Associationís headquarters, the Halfway House Hotel in Pemberton.
Ald. Cheetham married Elizabeth Ashcroft at the United Methodist Church, King Street, Wigan on the 7 December 1877. The family lived at several addresses in the Pemberton area. They had nine children; three sons, Henry, Thomas, Fred; and six daughters, Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Ellen, Ethel and Clara. Their eldest son Henry lost his life in a colliery explosion in America in 1894. Their youngest son Fred died in 1926, he was the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Pemberton. Thomas lived in Australia. Latterly the family lived at 541 Ormskirk Road, Rose Hill, Pemberton. The couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1927.
In 1925 Ald. Cheetham was made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Wigan and in honour of the event was presented by the Town Council with a silver gilt casket which contained a scroll on which the worthy record of his public work was inscribed.
When Ald. Cheetham found time he was a keen gardener with a special interest in the cultivation of roses.
Ald. Cheetham died aged 76 on the 10 July 1934. His funeral took place at St. Johnís Church, Pemberton, a church he had a long association with. He was buried at that church. Elizabeth Cheetham, his wife died in 1937.

Comments by Philip G., 25th September 2018  
Wizardry, on the backs of those two 'thrones' Mac; most magical - I wonder what old 'Gibbons would have made of it. I also wonder why the majority of those in the room seem to have been taking not a 'grain' of notice of Mr. Cheetham's actual presentation.

Comments by Philip G., 25th September 2018  
Great piece on Mr Cheetham, Ron.

Comments by TD,., 26th September 2018  
Philip, I agree and one or two of the ladies on the left appear to be covering up in fear of there lives! Flash bulbs were in use by 1925, but perhaps the ladies had experienced the explosive flash powder used previously. Apparently the technique was not without its obvious dangers, apart from killing a few photographers it also released a lot of smoke, smell and a fall-out of white ash. Great piece Ron.

Comments by Veronica, 26th September 2018  
There doesn't seem to be any 'heckling' going on or 'braying' all very polite and proper. Is the wooden panelling still in situ or indeed the building I wonder!

Comments by Dave K, 26th September 2018  
Where(what source)did you find this information Ron?

Comments by Donald Underwood, 27th September 2018  
The gentleman in the butterfly collar, facing the camera & seemingly indifferent to the proceedings is Alderman Harry Farr for many years leader of the Conservative party on the old Wigan Council

Comments by GW., 30th September 2018  
Yes, great article on no doubt one of life's gentlemen Ron.If I think my week busy I'll think of Alderman Cheetham.

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