browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Great-great grandpa gets a parking ticket

Posted by on November 8, 2015

If you thought parking tickets were a relatively new invention, think again, the ever interesting Huddersfield Chronicle has turned up a story about John Arthur Liversedge, my great-great grandfather that would be familiar to many a tradesman today.

When my great-grandfather Alfred John Liversedge was born in 1854 his family lived in Huddersfield where his father, John Arthur Liversedge, was a tailor and woollen draper. By 1861 they had moved to neighbouring Halifax but by 1868 they were back in Huddersfield where his father’s main occupation was now carrier.  Running out of their High Street home he acted as the agent for Sutton and Co, Carriers and Shippers, although for a short time he also continued trading as a woollen draper.

In July 1868 he found himself in front of The Bench charged with street obstruction. The charge being that he had permitted a cart to remain in the street a longer time than was necessary.  He stated that “I admit the fact, but I deny the inference.”

Three members of the constabulary gave evidence; Mr. Superintendent Withers stated that:

complaints had been made about

Horse drawn lurrie

Horse drawn lurrie

carts and lurries[1] being allowed to stand in High-street on both sides, blocking up the windows of persons residing there, and causing an obstruction.  The parties had been twice cautioned, but still persisted in saying he had a right to put the cart there as it was outside his own door”.

Police-constable Wilson stated that, “on Friday, he watched the cart from twenty minutes to twelve until twelve o’clock. The defendant said he had a right to let his cart stand near his own door”.  The officer continued to watch the cart until two o’clock.

Inspector Townend said he had cautioned the defendant, and that the cart was an obstruction. In defence Liversedge said “It was a light spring cart, and until lately had been a hand cart. He had had no

A light spring cart

A light spring cart

complaints from any party.  He had left the cart in no place except before his own windows.  He was obliged to have the cart in readiness to receive and distribute parcels.  The street was 15 yards wide, and the conveyance was not four feet wide”. – Inspector Townend stated that there were nine or ten lurries in the street when he cautioned Liversedge; and all the parties claimed a right, as well as the defendant, to leave their carts in the street. – The Bench dismissed the case on payment of expenses.

There does not seem to have been a repeated of the offence so perhaps having made an example of my great-great grandfather the traffic in High Street was not further obstructed.

Sutton Carriers themselves have an interesting future being established by William Richard Sutton (1833-1900) in 1861. He noted that the Royal Mail could carry letters from door to door, but they did not carry parcels; instead the sender had to arrange for delivery to a railway station, goods freight to a station near the destination, and then make separate arrangements for delivery to the final destination.  Sutton Carriers would take care of all those stages.  The railway companies obstructed this and Sutton took them to court with a case that lasted over seven years; eventually the House of Lords ruled to break the railway companies’ monopoly on pricing and allowed him to deliver packages door-to-door.  At his death in 1900 his business had grown to 600 branches.  He left almost all of his considerable wealth to create philanthropic trusts for housing of the poor leading to The Sutton Model Dwellings Trust (now known as Affinity Sutton) which continues to provide housing today.

[1] 1855 Mrs. Gaskell North & South, Great loaded lurries blocked up the not over-wide thoroughfares.

5 Responses to Great-great grandpa gets a parking ticket

  1. Susie Gutch

    Interesting to learn about the traffic problems of over 150 years ago. We forget how dependent everyone was on horse drawn transport – and that many people were employed in looking after these animals – right up to and including WW1 (and after), until the increasing use of the internal combustion engine. I hadn’t come across the word lurry before – presumably that became lorry ?Sutton sounds a redoubtable character and a pioneer in his field – a forerunner of the delivery companies we’re familiar with now, and a philanthropist too.

    • Barbara Selby

      Yes, Lurry interested me so I did divert to try and track it down, it actually seemed to be a Yorkshire version of lorry and used especially around railway based carriers. Apparently both his family and the London corporations disputed Suttons will, the London corporation because they were worried that it would bring rent down.

  2. Geoff Gee

    An interesting article and the police inspector was my great great great grandfather William Townend! It didn’t do his career too much damage as he went on to be promoted to superintendent!

    • Barbara Selby

      That amazing, I’m glad you enjoyed and well done to your great-great-grandfather. Did policing run in the family?

      • Geoff Gee

        Sorry for the dealy Barbara, I’ve only just seen your reply. I’ve not yet gone further back in the family so I don’t know. I haven’t found any others but now I know where I got my interest in the police and as a child I always wanted to be a policeman! I didn’t follow that course however. I’ve just unearthed a whole lot about him….far too much to mention here but he was the first constable appointed in the town and became Superintendent running the town’s police until his late 70’s! He was known as Old Bill Townend by most people in the town. (Is this where the term “Old Bill” for a policeman originated? I don’t know but nor does anyone else!) He wasn’t the prefect policeman in his early days as he was caught drunk on several occasions and fighting! He was also made bankrupt which is ironic as my career was as an insolvency practitioner dealing with bankrupts from the other side of the fence and I started in West Yorkshire 135 years later!!! I hope you are finding interesting things about your ancesters too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *