|The Rushden Echo, 20th July, 1906, transcribed by Gill Hollis
The Affairs of Messrs. John Cave & Sons Limited
The Firm In Liquidation - Receiver And Manager Appointed
Circular To The Creditors - A Hopeful Outlook
We have pleasure in stating that we have the very best authority for announcing that a reconstruction of the Company is not only possible but is almost certain at an early date.
At a meeting of the directors of the firm of Messrs. John Cave and Sons, Limited, boot and shoe manufacturers and exporters and Government contractors, of Rushden, held on Friday last, it was decided to voluntarily wind up the Company. The news was not made public until Saturday afternoon, the first intimation being contained in a telegram to the “Rushden Echo,” which reached us between two and on Saturday. Then came the following telegram from the Press Association :-
The case of Pettit v.
His lordship appointed a receiver and manager of the defendant Company, which carries on business as boot and shoe manufacturers at Rushden. The plaintiff is the holder of £10,000 first mortgage debentures out of an issue of £28,000. The debentures became payable owing to the intimation of the Company that they intended to cease carrying on business.
The Company did not oppose the application, which was supported by the Capital and Counties Bank.
The Receipt of News in Rushden
The publication of this telegram in an early edition of “The Northampton Daily Reporter” caused the utmost consternation throughout the town of
Messrs. John Cave and Sons are the largest employer of labour in Rushden, and many of their workpeople come into Rushden from Higham Ferrers, Irchester, Wymington, and other places. When work was suspended at the ordinary time on Saturday at mid-day the employees were informed that the factory would be closed on Monday for “intermediate stock taking”; but even then there was no suspicion that this meant that the Company was contemplating ceasing business. The statement that a Receiver had been appointed came, therefore, as a great shock. The rise and progress of the firm has been closely allied with the development of Rushden from an agricultural village into a thriving manufacturing town, and the founder of the firm the late Mr. John Cave was always regarded as one of the men who had helped to make Rushden.
Mr. George S. Bankart, of the firm of Hopps and Bankart, of
Mr. W. B. Keen, of
Notice To Callers
The following notice issued by the firm was on Monday placed in the entrance to Messrs. Cave and Sons’ factory:--
TO CALLERS A circular will be issued by Messrs. John Cave and Sons, Limited, by to-nights post, which will give creditors of the Company all information which is at present available. The Receiver and Manager appointed by the Court has now entered into possession, and is empowered to carry on the business for a time. A meeting of the Company has been called to pass a resolution for voluntary winding up, and immediately the liquidator is appointed he will communicate direct with all parties interested.
Mr. Charles Pettit, of Harrold, on behalf of whom the application for a Receiver was made before Mr. Justice Joyce, is not only one of the creditors of the Company, but is also a debenture holder, having £10,000 worth of debentures.
Mr. George S. Mason (of the firm of Messrs. Simpson and Mason, solicitors, of Rushden and Higham Ferrers) and Mr. Lewin (of the firm of Messrs. Barnham, Son and Lewin, solicitors, of Wellingborough) acted on behalf of the debenture holders.
The Company’s bankers are the Capital and Counties Bank, Rushden branch.
Dr. Hewitt, in the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice on Saturday, before Mr. Justice Joyce, said he applied on behalf of Mr. Charles Pettit for the appointment of a receiver and manager of the assets of the firm of
Counsel for the Capital and Counties Bank supported the application.
Mr. Owen Thomas, for the Company, consented.
Mr. Justice Joyce asked if the debentures were overdue, or the interest in arrear.
Dr. Hewitt said the debentures were payable because the Company had threatened to discontinue its business.
Mr. Justice Joyce : I do not think it can do any harm.
Dr. Hewitt stated that the plaintiff was the holder of the £10,000 first mortgage debentures. The whole of the issue of the debentures amounted to £28,000.
Mr. Justice Joyce : You may take the order. The manager will not act beyond November 1st without the leave of the Court. The receiver must give security forthwith, the plaintiff undertaking for his receipts in the meantime.
The Firm’s Troubles
The financial troubles of the firm date back to the time of the South African war. When the war was over the Army shoe trade naturally fell off.
Then came the disastrous fire of July 19th, 1901, over which the firm made losses first through the fact that they were not sufficiently covered by insurance, and secondly through the loss of business consequent upon the way in which the firm were hampered by having to carry on their operations in numerous small premises scattered all over the town, and it was nearly two years before they got into working order in their new premises. This, of course, was a big dislocation of business, and it resulted in a very serious loss of trade. Contracts which could not be executed went to other houses.
Since then there has been the terrible slump in
Added to this there has been the excessive competition in
As if these things were not enough there came with them another serious factor, namely, the rapid rise in the price of raw materials. Almost everything that goes into a boot experienced a great rise in price, and at the same time there was no commensurate increase in the price of boots. This increased price of boots, which would have been the salvation of this and other firms Messrs. Cave and Sons could not obtain because of the present day keenness of competition: and, as a mater of fact, some of the large retailers of boots are making a science of the “sweating” of manufacturers.
There is another point which must not be over-looked. Messrs. Cave and Sons were somewhat heavy losers through their South African shops being looted during the South African war. Their shops at
Perhaps as the whole explanation of the crash we may point to the heavy losses made in
The Firm’s Orders
At the present time the firm have a fair number of orders in hand in fact, they are fairly well off for work. Messrs. Cave make for the English market and also for the South African and
Circular To The Creditors - A Hopeful Tone
The following circular was on Tuesday issued to the creditors by Messrs. Pakeman and Read, solicitors, of Selborne House, 11, Ironmonger-lane, London, E.C. :-
Dear Sirs, - We have been consulted by our clients, Messrs. John Cave and Sons, Ltd., of Rushden, with regard to their financial position, and particularly in view of the fact that the Debenture Holders have found it necessary to apply for the appointment of a Receiver, and after fully considering all the circumstances we have felt constrained to advise them that liquidation is necessary.
Resolutions will accordingly be passed for the purpose of appointing a liquidator, who will in due course communicate with you; but in the meantime the Directors authorise us to say that with favourable and judicious realisation they have excellent grounds for believing that the assets will satisfy not only the Debenture Holders but also all unsecured creditors, and they have moreover every hope that, relieved of the present pressure, they will be able to resume business under more favourable conditions.
The present position and the necessity for the appointment of a liquidator, has arisen in consequence of a series of business misfortunes, beginning with a disastrous fire, followed by heavy losses in South Africa, due to the commandeering of goods during the war, and culminating in the present inability to realise the value of assets in South Africa owing to the lamentable condition of affairs in that country.
We need hardly say that the Directors feel great regret at having to make this announcement to you, but you will, we hope, believe that they have not done so except under pressure of circumstances which left them no alternative.
The Trade Papers
As a manufacturing firm that of Messrs. Cave is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in Rushden and surrounding districts, and a probability of a suspension of operations can only be regarded in the light of a calamity. Later information, however, discloses the fact that this is not likely to occur, in spite of the alarmist rumours which have appeared in the Press. It is true that the Company has gone into liquidation, but only we understand with a view to its reconstruction. I understand that a meeting of the shareholders has been convened for Saturday, the 21st inst., and the result will be awaited with interest. It is understood there are no shareholders outside the family…… Everyone will hope that under new conditions the firm will be even more successful that at any period of its long and honourable history. It will readily be believed that the directors would not have taken the action they have done except under pressure of circumstances which left them no alternative, and which may be regarded as being thought expedient alike in the interests of the Company and its creditors.
The Standard Rotary Co.
The Standard Rotary Machine Co. is not in any way affected by the liquidation of Messrs. John Cave and Sons, Ltd., being in every sense a separate concern.
On Wednesday morning, after breakfast, the girls were able to resume work, but, as the stock-taking was not completed, the men could not make a start.
During the day a notice was put up stating that the clickers and pressmen should apply to their respective foremen after breakfast on Thursday morning, and adding that it was hoped the makers would be able to start on Friday morning.
According to notice, the clickers and pressmen presented themselves yesterday morning at 8.45 to the foremen of their respective departments, and many of them at once resumed work, though, we regret to state, 17 clickers and 12 men from the rough-stuff department had to be dispensed with.
A notice was issued as follows :- “It is hoped that arrangements may be made for the makers to commence on Friday morning at 8.45.”
This (Friday) morning 30 of the makers resumed work.
As To The Future
We can authoritatively assure our readers that there is really no ground for the extreme alarmist views many people seem to have taken regarding the future of the firm of Messrs. John Cave and Sons. We have every confidence in saying that some scheme for re-construction is sure to be decided upon, and there is no need for the people of Rushden to get into a state of panic. Every effort will be made by the Receiver to further the interests of the business to the fullest extent during the next few months and then further developments may confidently be expected.
The Receiver’s Powers
The powers conferred upon Mr. Bankart as the Receiver are very comprehensive. He has the authority of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice for continuing the business for the next few months to be exact, until the beginning of November, and then, should it be to the interest of the firm, he may make application to the Court and the period may be still further increased. Whatever materials may be required for completing the orders now in hand, he is empowered to purchase. The firm has heavy stocks on hand at the present time, and it can readily be imagined that these materials can be used to the best advantage by being made up into saleable goods, and in this respect the Receiver has ample powers. It is fortunate that the Receiver is not a complete stranger to the business, and he thus starts at a great advantage.
The State of South Africa
Messrs. Cave have very heavy assets in
Pithy Paragraphs - Regarding Messrs. Cave’s Affairs
Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the great fire.
Messrs. Cave’s connection is a very fine one, and they rarely made a bad debt.
The girls returned to work on Wednesday morning.
Messrs. Cave attribute their position mainly to South African losses.
The news, received first at the “Rushden Echo” Office by telegraph, came as a thunder-bolt.
Mr. John Cave started business in a thatched cottage in High-street, near the station, now occupied by Mr. W. Mumford.
Messrs. Cave’s factory has accommodation for over 1,000 workpeople.
The firm have a great deal of money locked up in South African property.
Dr. Hewitt and Mr. W.A. Peck were the counsel for the debenture holders in the Court of Chancery.
The clickers and pressmen resumed work yesterday morning.
Thirty of the makers started this Friday morning after breakfast.
. . . . . . . . . . .
The Rushden Echo,
Messrs. John Cave And Sons, Ltd.
A meeting of the shareholders of the firm of Messrs. John Cave and Sons, Limited, boot manufacturers, of Rushden, was held at the registered office of the Company at Rushden on Saturday, when resolutions were passed for the voluntary winding up of the company, with Mr. W. B. Kean, of the firm of W. B. Kean and Co., chartered accountants, Church-court, Old Jewry, London, E. C., as the liquidator.
At Work Again
On Monday morning the welted work operators resumed work, and the finishers made a start on Tuesday. The factory is now in working order again, though the number employed is not so large as formerly.
Under the new management the piece work system will be adopted almost entirely.
The Closing Room
All the girls have been able to start work again.
Trade Union Meeting
A meeting was held at the Trades Club on Wednesday evening to discuss the conditions of employment of the workmen and the alleged breach of contract effected, namely, reduction of wages. There was a good attendance. Mr. C. Bates presided, supported by Mr. W. Bazeley (branch secretary) and Mr. C. Freak (
Questions were asked from the platform and answered by the employees.
An appointment was made for an interview with the officials to see what arrangements could be arrived at.
Last Night’s Meeting
Last night a further meeting was held at the Trade club of the employees of Messrs. Cave, the business being to hear the report of the General President (Mr. Freak) and the branch officials as to the interview they had with the firm that morning.
Mr. Freak said that they had had an interview of about an hour and a half’s duration with Mr. Bankart (the receiver and manager) and Mr. Paul Cave. The business discussed was in connection with the wrongful dismissal of the men, who claimed for a week’s wages due for the week ending July 21st. Mr. Bankart said he was not a solicitor, but he would confer with the solicitor, and, if the officials’ contention was law, he had no desire to go behind it, and would deal fairly in the matter. Mr. Freak proceeded to state that the conditions of employment were discussed, dealing with the reduction of wages in several departments. Mr. Bankart asked for particulars, and said he would give no instructions for reductions on the former wages but the employees would all go on piece work and the prices paid would be based on the average earnings, as he wanted to give an account to the Company of all money paid away. He asked that the particulars should be sent to him in writing and promised that he would investigate the matter.
Mr. Bazeley said that this had now been done. He read a copy of the letter which had been sent, and asked for the corroboration of the meeting or otherwise.
With one slight exception, the particulars were endorsed as correct.
Mr. Bazeley said he asked Mr. Bankart the question whether the men who were not engaged at the present time must consider themselves dismissed and free to get work elsewhere. Mr. Bankart replied “Yes,” adding that, according to law, as soon as he was appointed receiver all the employees were dismissed, and those who were set on again started under a new contract. Those who were not set on again had no claim upon the Company. Mr. Bazeley added that neither the general President nor the branch officials wished to embarrass the Company in the unfortunate position in which they were placed, but, for the sake of other workmen as well as for those who were employed at Messrs. Cave’s, they were bound to take action to resist these reductions, as under worse conditions life would not be worth living. Mr. Bankart had promised to forward a reply to the General President at