|Rushden Echo, 29th January 1904, transcribed by Kay Collins
Higham Ferrers M.R. Employees’ Supper
The employees of the M. R. Co. at Higham held their annual supper on Saturday evening at the Queen’s Head, and excellent meal being served by Mr A D Horn.
Mr E Jones was in the chair, supported by Messrs F G Sugars (chief clerk), J J Peck (Mr H Nicholls, Raunds), C W Perkins (Mr C Parker, Higham Ferrers), Evans (Mr T Sanders, Higham Ferrers), Hector, Allen, Ambrose Marriott (Higham Ferrers), Anderson (station-master’s clerk), Rowley (assistant goods clerk), Wyman (Newark), Greenhill (Wellingborough), M Keep (foreman), Knight (horse-keeper), G Shortland (Irthlingborough), A Pack (Co-operative Boot Society, Higham), T Beresford (representing Mr T Lilley, Irthlingborough), Cooper and Berrill (Bayes and Son, Irthlingborough) and others, about 40 being present.
The loyal toasts were duly honoured after dinner on the proposition of the Chairman, who referred to the Royal support given to the Railway Servants’ Orphanage.
Mr G Perkins gave a pianoforte overture and Mr F G Sugars sand “Sheeting the moon.”
Mr J J Peck in proposing “Success to the Midland Railway,” said that as a member of the travelling public he could bear testimony to the courtesy shown by railway officials and especially by the officials of the Midland Railway Company. He would specially refer to Mr Jones and the members of his staff. It was 32 years since he (the speaker) attended his first Midland Railway dinner, and great changes had been seen during that time. In those changes and improvements the lead had been taken by the Midland Railway, and the public were greatly indebted to them. He felt, however, that railway companies were very conservative, not in the matter of the fiscal question, but in the matter of rates. He considered it absolutely wrong that it should be possible to send cheese from Chicago to London cheaper than from Cheshire, and produce from 10 miles beyond Paris at 10s. a ton less than from Gravesend. If this question was dealt with by the business men of the country, it would be better than trying to do away with Free Trade and questions of that kind. He coupled with the toast the name of Mr Jones, station-master at the Higham station.
The toast was musically honoured, and hearty cheers were given for Mr Jones.
Mr Jones in reply, said that of course there was an answer that could be given to Mr Peck’s remarks, but he would not enter into that now. It had always been his endeavour to do what he could, not only for his employers, but for the travelling public. He was greatly assisted in this by his staff. He would leave the question of railway rates for another occasion. (Laughter)
Mr F Brazier sang “The Gorgonzola cheese” and Mr W Daniels “The horse the missus dries the clothes on.” Mr Cooper recited “The Dandy Fifth,” and Mr C W Perkins sand “A soldier and a man.” Mr F G Sugars sang “If the missus wants to go” (encore “Something to be thankful for”), and Mr F Brazier sang “That’s what I’m weeping for.”
Mr M Keep proposed in high terms “The Secretary” and said all knew how well he looked after them, and did his best to give them a pleasant evening on those occasions.
The toast was received with musical honours.
Mr Sugars, in reply, expressed gratitude for the generosity of the gentlemen in the town and district which had enabled them to have that evening together, and said he himself was always pleased to do what he could.
Mr W Daniels sang “The volunteer organist,” Mr M Keep “The Rhine wine,” and Mr Geo Knight “Far, far away”; and Mr Cooper recited “The Lifeboat.”
Mr Rowley gave “The visitors,” coupling with it the names of Messrs C W Perkins and George Shortland.
Mr Perkins, responding, said it was always a pleasure to meet the staff of the railway company, and he never wanted to meet a better set than those at Higham.
Mr Shortland also replied.
Mr Sugars sang “A girl wanted there,” and Mr Harlow “The sailor’s farewell.”
Mr Sugars gave “The Press,” which was duly responded to, and “The host and hostess” concluded the toast list.
Other songs followed, and a very enjoyable evening was spent by the company.