Simeon Watson 1846-1933

The Huthwaite funeral of Simeon Watson was reported by The Notts. Free Press 28th April 1933. From this fully transcribed column comes a list of named relations, while also exposing the career and life of one of Huthwaite's most esteemed residents. Simeon Watson is a name most respectfully associated with role as our village pit manager, and although well recognised for being a major influence in building this mining community, his continuing support also among the local churches has never been justifiably recognised.


An Esteemed Huthwaite Resident.

By the passing of Mr. Simeon Watson, J.P., of Mill House, Huthwaite, on Friday morning, the district has lost one of its oldest and most esteemed residents. For over fifty years he had been associated with the public, religions and social life of Huthwaite, and by his valuable service and generous support of all good causes had won the regard and respect of all classes.

Early Business Life.

  Born at Tansley, a village near Matlock, Derbyshire, on January 2nd, 1846, S. Watson he commenced his business life with the Butterley Coal and Iron Co., Ltd., and in a few years was placed in entire charge of the surveying department by the late Mr. William Bean, the general manager and mining engineer of the collieries, and to whom Mr. Watson owed many kindnesses. While there he was called upon to prepare plans, etc., in connection with a well known law suit action, which brought him to the notice of the late Mr. R.G. Coke, the eminent mining engineer, of Chesterfield, and shortly afterwards was appointed Mr. Coke's chief assistant, which position he held for nine years, having an extensive experience of mining matters in various parts of the country.
  It became necessary about this time for colliery managers to obtain certificates of competency, and Mr. Watson attended the first examination held at Derby and successfully passed. In 1879 he was appointed by the late Mr. Emerson Bainbridge as manager of the New Hucknall Colliery, then in its infancy. The development of this colliery was a very arduous task, but the difficulties were eventually overcome by Mr. Watson's untiring tenacity, the works eventually employing some 2,000 men, and throughout his long association with the colliery the deceased enjoyed the goodwill of the employees, whose interests he had at all times at heart.

Designed Improvements.

  In 1894 Mr. Watson laid out and developed the Bentinck Colliery at Kirkby-in-Ashfield, and this also has been a very successful undertaking, whilst during his period of being consulting engineer the Welbeck Colliery on the Welbeck estate was sunk. Mr. Watson designed and applied many engineering improvements for the working of the collieries, one of the chief being the first plate band for carrying and sorting coal, which he installed at New Hucknall Colliery.
  On relinquishing the position of general manager of the company he was offered a seat on the Board of Directors, together with the position of consulting engineer. This he accepted and held until he retired some 10 years ago, when he was presented by the Board with a handsome silver salver, suitably inscribed.
  Mr. Watson held many public positions, having been for many years Chairman of the Huthwaite Local Board, a member of the Mansfield Board of Guardians, and a member of the Notts. County Council, and in 1910 he was appointed a county magistrate on the Mansfield Bench.
  He was one of the founders of the Ashfield Lodge of Freemasons, and one of the oldest members of the Forest Lodge. Although a prominent Wesleyan himself, any good cause was sure of a friend in Mr. Watson, and he took a great interest and gave much financial help in the building of the present Huthwaite Church. He also was very instrumental in the building of the Wesleyan Chapel at Sutton Road, Huthwaite. For a long period - some 50 years - he and the late Mrs. Watson gave a substantial present each Christmas to the 70 oldest inhabitants.

The Funeral.

  Mr. Watson lost his wife in 1919, and his eldest son in 1891, his surviving children being Mr. B.W. Watson, of Honington House, Honington, Grantham. Mrs. Irvine, of Mayfield, Huthwaite, and Mrs. Maxwell, of Crow Hill Drive, Mansfield, to whom sincere sympathy will be extended in their bereavement.
  The funeral took place at Huthwaite on Monday afternoon when the large and representative attendance testified to the respect and esteem in which the deceased was held. A service was held in the Sutton Road Methodist Church, conducted by the Rev. H.R. Hackforth, who was assisted by the Rev. W.L. Boulton (Vicar of Huthwaite), and as the mourners assembled Mr. J. Weston, who presided at the organ, rendered appropriate music, including Handel's "Largo," and as the coffin was being borne into the church, he played "O rest in the Lord."
  The singing of the hymns "Glory be to God on High" and "There is a land of pure delight," was led by a choir composed of representatives from the various churches of the town, and the special Psalm was read by the Rev. W.L. Boulton, whilst the Rev. H.R. Hackforth read appropriate passages from the Bible.
  In paying a tribute to the life and work of the deceased, Mr. Hackforth said all of them, not only connected with that church, but all in the Mansfield Circuit and those who had known Mr. Watson for many years, extended to the family their deepest sympathy in what was a time of sorrow and a sense of great personal loss. He (Mr. Hackforth) knew that his superintendent, the Rev. T. Nevinson, who was unavoidably absent through illness, joined in that expression.

Exceptional Ability.

  For over half a century Mr. Watson had been a member of that church. As the general manager of the Colliery, he took a great interest in and gave a great lead in the erection of that Church in 1889, and was a trustee of that and of the previous chapel. By his influence at the time of the erection of the new church he was able to secure very substantial gifts towards the cost, and right through the years since he had kept his interest in its progress and spiritual ministry.
  As a Church, they had suffered very heavily recently by losing two most faithful servants in the persons of Mr. Colin Evans, at the age of 74 years, and Mr. Watson, at the age of 86 years. Both were not only greatly respected, but beloved. Mr. Watson had lived a long and strenuous life. By exceptional ability he rose high in his profession, making distinct and valuable contributions by his skill and inventive capacity to the progress of modern mining, and as general manager he rose to be a director of the Company. He was respected for his work in that capacity, and in other ways he had rendered service in public matters to the good of the community. The community and church had lost one who had served both faithfully and ardently his time and generation, and they gave thanks to God for all good men and women who had lived to help their fellows, and helped to make things better than they found them.

Ambulance Men as Bearers.

  As the mourners were leaving the church the organist played the "Dead March" in "Saul." The interment took place at the Cemetery in the presence of a large gathering, the last rites being conducted by the Rev. H.R. Hackforth and the Rev. W.L. Boulton, the coffin being lowered into the grave by members of the New Hucknall Division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, who, under the direction of Ambulance Officer Rawlins, acted as bearers and pall bearers.
  The principal mourners present were: Mr. B.W. Watson and Mrs. Irvine, son and daughter; Mrs. Maxwell, daughter, and Mr. W.H. Maxwell, grandson; Mrs. B.W. Watson, daughter-in-law, and Mr. B.R. Watson, grandson; Dr. and Mrs. Gaston; Dr. R.W. Maxwell, Miss Irving, grandchildren; Mr. H.R. Watson and Mrs. Riley, brother and sister; Mr. J. Watson and Mr. Dryden Watson, nephews.
  The Magisterial Bench at Mansfield was represented by Dr. R. Nesbitt, Messrs. G.G. Bonser, C.H. Coupe and S. Davidson, with Mr. J. Bird (Clerk).

Colliery and Council Representatives.

  New Hucknall Colliery Company, Ltd., was represented by Messrs. G.A. Longden and E.A. Fenwick (directors), Capt. P. Muschamp (chief agent), Messrs. T. Day (commercial manager), W.H.B. Stevens (manager, New Hucknall), F.J. Aspinall (manager, Bentinck Colliery), E.J.H. Oxley, W. Barber and B. Bingham (sales agents), D. Charlton (cashier), A.E. Roberts (assistant cashier), A. Gamble (assistant commercial manager), G. Warner (architect), E. Bonser (under manager, New Hucknall), and J. Hodgkinson (engine-wright, New Hucknall).
  Huthwaite Urban Council members and officials present were Councillors F.C. Sowter (Chairman), E.H. Lowe, J.G. Wright, H.A. Simpson, M. Betts, T. Goodall, A. Wilson, W. Clarke, J. Potter and J. Iball, Messrs. E.B. Hibbert (Clerk), E.W. Bostock (surveyor), A. Dickens (rating officer), and A. Fidler.
  Amongst the many others present were Alderman J.E. Alcock (Mansfield), Mr. H.J. Alcock (Mansfield), Mr. and Mrs. G.A. Robinson (Mansfield), Mrs. M. Betts, Mr. and Mrs. A. Quail, Messrs. E.S. Buck, P.F. Day (general manager, Pinxton Colliery), H.J. Bosworth, W. Humble (Mansfield), G.A. Rhodes (Mansfield), J.E. Ensor (Sheffield), A. Taylor, H. Holt (former manager Annesley Colliery), T. Hill, M. Barnes, E. Morgan (Hewitt and Son, Derby), J. Pegg, R. Slack, L. Lee, J.W. Hick, J. Wells, C.H. Turner, A.G. Gunby, J. Oliver, Rev. F.N. Beswick (former Vicar of Huthwaite), Mr. E. Beswick (Manchester), Supt. W.J. Neate, Inspector Scoffield, Messrs. H. Heath, W.B. Fidler, W. Farnsworth and Jos. Wilbourne (representing Sutton Road Methodist Church), and Messrs, A.H. Turner, A. Leeson, and G. Cress (old employees, New Hucknall Colliery offices).

Floral Tributes.

  Beautiful floral tributes were sent as follows:- In loving remembrance of my Father, from Florence; in affectionate remembrance, from Will, Kath and Bob; in loving memory, from Alice and Family, Mansfield; in loving memory of Grandpa, from Aggie; with deepest sympathy, from Margaret; in sincere remembrance of Grandpa, from Alice and Jesse; with deepest sympathy, Dr. and Mrs. Gaston; with deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. P.F. DAy; with sincere sympathy and regret, from Old Pit Staff, New Hucknall Colliery; in kind remembrance, from the Directors of the New Hucknall Colliery Co., Ltd.; Mrs. G. Farnsworth; Mr. and Mrs. K.A.F. Fenwick, Mansfield; Mr. and Mrs. Featherstone Fenwick, Welsingham; Mr. and Mrs. Muschamp, Mansfield; Mr. and Mrs. E.J.H. Oxley, Tonbridge; with kindest remembrances, from the Older Members of the Staff of the New Hucknall Colliery; with much regret, from his old Comrade, Thomas Day; from Cissie and the Boys, Little Hallam; Mrs. A. Watson and Family; with affectionate remembrance of my dear Brother Simeon, from Mrs. Riley; in affectionate remembrance of our dear Brother, Mr. and Mrs. H.R. Watson; Mr. and Mrs. J. King and Family, Mansfield; Mrs. Dobb, The Ashlands; Mr. and Mrs. A. Gunby and Family; Dr. E.S. Vance; Miss Walker, Mrs. Allsop and Prudence, deepest sympathy, (from the Trustees and Members of the Wesleyan Church); and Mr. and Mrs. Holt.

Written 13 May 12 Revised 13 May 12 © by Gary Elliott