Links in a Chain - the Mayors of Bolton
Links in a Chain - The Mayors of Bolton
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James Stones

Chairman of Farnworth Urban District Council: 1915-19 (Conservative)

Born: New Bury, Farnworth 6 April 1868

Died: 11 Stewart Avenue, Farnworth 17 September 1935

Educated: St James's School, New Bury, Farnworth

MP for Farnworth 1931-1935 (Conservative)

He was the son of a collier, Thomas Stones, who lost his sight in a shot accident at the Jack Pit (opposite Century Mill). At the age of 8 he was leading his father round the Little Hulton district, in connection with the yeast business his father had established.

He started work at the booking office of Moses Gate Station and later became senior clerk at Moses Gate. He then transferred to Liverpool before becoming outward abstract clerk in the Bolton parcels office and relief booking clerk. When his father died he left the railways and carried on his father's yeast business for two years. He then went back to the railway working in the accountants department at Horwich before becoming Paymaster to the works. He retired in 1928 having completed 43 years service.  In his capacity as Paymaster he was responsible for the payment of over 4000 employees and 300 staff, dealing with £12,000 in wages and salaries each week.

his first wife, Betsy Young, died in 1902 and he remarried in 1905 to Margaret Edwards.

He was first elected to the Council in 1907 standing as an Independent Conservative and served until 1928.

He was the first Chairman of the Housing Committee.

He was Chairman through the difficult years of the First World War. During that time it was said that he attended 2440 meetings and helped to raise £200,000 in War Loans. In three weeks he was responsible for raising £1,300 for prisoners of War and the relief of needy causes.

He was Chairman of 16 Committees including the Derby Scheme Military Tribunal, War Savings, War Pensions and Food Control. Under the Derby Scheme he personally swore in 3,240 men and in order that he might carry out his military duties, he was allowed 64 days special leave from his work each year.

On relinquishing the Chair he was presented with a roll-top desk, a silver tea and coffee service, a typewriter, a gold watch, a fountain pen and a set of pipes by members of the Council and friends.

In 1919 he was appointed Magistrate.

He unveiled the War Memorial in Farnworth park in November 1924.

His eldest son, Thomas Stones, served in the War as a Sergeant with the 1st Bn East Surrey Regiment and was killed in action on 26 April 1918.

He was Chairman of the Farnworth and District Local Employment Committee from 1917 to 1930.

He was a member of the Board of Management of the Farnworth and Kearsley Co-operative Society.

He was a keen sportsman and a founder of the old Gordon Cricket Club Farnworth and was Chairman President of the Farnworth Social Circle Cricket Club. He was also a former Chairman of the Farnworth Swimming Club and President of Highfield Tennis Club.

Anglican - he was Vicar's Warden at St James's Church and in the choir there. He read lessons there for 20 years.

 

Member of Parliament

He was invited by Farnworth Divisional Conservative Party to stand as their candidate in the Parliamentary Election of 1931 and opposed Guy Rowson (Labour), winning the seat by a majority of 2907.

Hr married for a third time in 1932 to Margaret McKenna, the widow of Saladene Assha.

During the 4 years he was MP he put in a great deal of work for his constituents. He also attended many public functions, often travelling from London especially to give his support. Each Friday he attended the Central Conservative Club to hear matters affecting his constituents.

On his death in 1935 The Farnworth Journal said "In Mr Stones, Farnworth has lost an outstanding personality. He was a  man who, having reached the age at which an honourable retirement after 30 years of untiring public service might have justifiably chosen a more peaceful life, chose to go on still further. His enemies, or shall we say opponents, as any man in public life must meet opposition, could not question his devotion to duty. 'Little Jimmy', as he was popularly called, was a name which disguised no rancour of malice. His geniality was constant and complete, his generosity limited only by necessity."

He left effects of £830 14s. 11d to his widow, Mary.

In the resulting election Guy Rowson won the seat back for Labour.

 

Click for larger image Farnworth War Memorial, unveiled by James Stones in November 1924.

Click for larger image
James StonesStones Family Tree • pdf

 

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