August 1903: Deakin’s Annual Picnic, Rufford, Lancashire

From the Wigan Observer and District Advertiser, 26 August 1903

The employees of this company had their annual picnic on Saturday last, and journey to Rufford. On arrival at Rufford tea was partaken of, being provided by Miss Ascroft, hotel proprietress, to which justice was done. After tea, Mr Wyatt, on behalf of the travellers, in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr. Deakin, said: It affords me very great pleasure to propose a vote of thanks to Mr. Deakin. I’m sure we cannot work for a better master. He is kind and considerate to all of us.

Let us make up our minds that we will do all we possibly can to help Mr. Deakin, and we may rest assured that we shall be repaid for our services and year by year we shall meet in large numbers. We all wish Mr. Deakin health and prosperity, and hope that he may live long to help on the work he has so ably begun. – The vote of thanks was seconded by Mr. Foster, works manager.

Mr. Deakin in replying said: I think we ought to congratulate ourselves upon having such a pleasant gathering on such an unpleasant day Mr. Wtatt moved a vote of thanks to me personally, but it is hardly right to do so, because, although I still remain at the helm, I am no longer the sole proprietor of the Eclipse Preserve Works, as some of you yourselves also co-partners of these works. This in itself is a very great improvement upon the position we occupied at our last gathering. These are days when collective interests are receiving due consideration. Today it is necessary, and perhaps well that it should be, that everyone in the works should feel a greater interest than that which ends in the receiving of a mere wage.

As you all know, since we last met together, we have converted our business into a limited liability company and thus enabled many of you to become directly interested in the business. Some of you have bought and paid for shares, and therefore become part proprietors, so that you will naturally have a greater interest in our business today than ever you had in the past.

At the same time, I confess that many of you showed a very great interest in the success of the business even when you’re working for a weekly wage.

You are not all shareholders yet, but we are broad in our idea, and we have provided a means whereby those of you who have no money at the time at the present time, may have the means of accumulating it. We have provided a bank whereby you may save your money in small sums, and paid into the bank week by week; so you will receive a fair interest on your money, so that the time may soon come when everyone of you will have the opportunity of becoming interested parties in the business. I would like to take this opportunity of trying to get everyone of you to realise, not only the difficulties of your particular work, but the difficulties of those who occupy other positions. First, we will take the manufacturing department. The success of the business must necessarily depend upon this department, I am firmly convinced that if we keep this right, we have overcome the greatest difficulty. But it must be understood that all in this department must do the work as if the actual success of the business depended upon the their efforts. Second, we will take the travellers. We must ever remember that travellers have difficulties that many of us do not know about. Everybody does not go running after Deakin’s jams. We only wish they did. But our reputation is growing, and every year there are more and more who plays their confidence in us. I would like our travellers to recognise (I think most of them do) that we have many difficulties to contend with and overcome before we have produced the article they are going to sell. Third and last, we will take the office staff. In order that a business may be carried on well, it is important that the office staff should be as perfect as possible, and I would like them to achieve this object. My difficulty is to get every department to realise that their work is one unit of a whole, or as it were, one cog in the wheel, and in order that the wheel should move smoothly and perfectly, every cog should just fit in its right place at the right time. If this is done, depend upon it we are little today compared with what we shall be in 10 or 15 years hence. We are only in our infancy today, but I am firmly of opinion that we are second to none in the quality of the goods we turn out, and I’d like the time to come and we should be second to none in regard to the quantity return out. This is quite possible, as we have all the world to go at, and if we make up our minds that we will make a business one of the first in the kingdom, we may rest assured that the time will come when we should be first.

Mr. George Deakin said: and most of you know, Wigan has been famous in the past for two things, viz., coal and cotton, but is now become famous for something else, and that is jam. I feel that in every great industry, if it is conducted upon sound and economical lines, there must be what one might term a partnership between the employed and the employer, and when this is the case, what a mighty power for good the master maybe. Let us all remember that we have a work to perform, and let us be men and the women, and do our parts well. The best way we can show our appreciation of our master is to never shirk our work, and do it faithfully and well when he is not there. If this is done, I feel sure that we should be greater in numbers year after year.

The party then dispersed enjoy themselves in the vicinity. The return journey was commenced about 7 o’clock, with Wigan reached at 9 o’clock.