Friday, January 28 – 1927
Congratulations will be showered on Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Edwin Bailey to-morrow, when they celebrate their golden wedding. Mr. and Mrs. Bailey will be well remembered in Bootle for their very successful year – 1915-16 – as Mayor and Mayoress. They did splendid war work, and Mr. Bailey was a pioneer of paid-up war savings certificates. He also raised large sums of money for various objects.
Mr. Bailey has had an unusually interesting and varied carrier, and whatever task, public or private, he has taken up, he has always carried it through with energy, enthusiasm and business acumen.
A native of Wolverhampton, Mr. Bailey was only an infant when he first came to Liverpool, where his father, Mr. Joseph Bailey, was well known in the wholesale fish trade.
In an interview yesterday, Mr. Bailey told the Times that he was educated at Liverpool College, and losing his parents when he was only twelve years of age, he decided to seek adventures and fortune in America. At the age of thirteen he sailed from Liverpool for New York in the National Line steamer, Egypt, and ocean travel not being so rapid – or luxurious – in those days as it is now, the voyage took 16 or 17 days, the steamers using steam and sail.
Arrived in the States, young Bailey worked his way up to Pittsburgh, when he got a job as a clerk in the weighing machine office of the great Carnegie Steel Works, where he stayed for three years, finishing up in the rolling mills. Afterwards he went to the steel works of a British firm, Forrest and Co., at Camden, New Jersey.
Mr. and Mrs. Bailey.
Shot in the arm.
“During the year I was at Camden,” added Mr. Bailey, “there was a big strike, and the whites had to take up arms against the blacks. This was a most thrilling time, and on several occasions the loyal employees were in peril. In one of the lively encounters I was shot through the arm, the injury being so serious that the doctors thought it would be necessary to amputate the limb. However, after six months’ treatment I was able to leave hospital intact, the saving of my arm being considered wonderful work on the part of the doctors.
“Returning to Liverpool when I was 18, I followed different occupations, eventually taking on my later father’s trade.”
His decision proved successful, and he purchased four shops. He married when he was 21 years of age.
Mr. Bailey early began to take a very keen interest in politics and the church, and become a prominent figure in local affairs in the city.
For twenty one years he held the dual office of chairman of Low Hill Ward and chairman of the Low Hill Workingmen’s Conservative Association. He was elected a member of the West Derby Board of Guardians, and served on that body for fourteen years. Mr. Bailey was also a member of the West Derby Waste Land Commission, of which he was made chairman.
A staunch churchman, Mr. Bailey for five years, was people’s warden at St. Jude’s, West Derby, being elected by the ratepayers. He recalls the sensational charges that were brought against the then Vicar. The case, in which Mr. Bailey took a prominent part, created a tremendous amount of interest, the three days’ proceedings at York, which resulted in the Vicar being disrobed, costing a great deal of money.
When my colleagues concerned in the case and myself returned from York after the verdict had been given,” said Mr. Bailey, “we were met at Lime-street Station by thousands of people, and were accompanied to the church by a crowd numbering at least 20,000 and several bands.”
On leaving West Derby the shopkeepers presented him with a gold stud and diamond pin, and the ratepayers gave him a silver tea and coffee service and cruet stand, and an illuminated address. The Conservatives presented him with a gold watch and chain, and the Liverpool Constitutional Association made a present to Mrs. Bailey of a handsome fruit and cake stand, each of his two elder daughters receiving a diamond bracelet.
Mr. Bailey took up his residence in Merton-road, on retiring from business, and he interested himself in municipal affairs. His wide experience was of great benefit to the ratepayers, whom he served for nine years as a representative for Linacre Ward on the Town Council. In 1915 his colleagues honoured him by electing him Mayor, in which high position he was very successful. At the conclusion of his year of office the Council paid a high tribute to the valuable services rendered by him and the Mayoress. The members rose to their feet and sang “For he’s a jolly good fellow,” and concluded with three cheers for Mr. and Mrs. Bailey.
It was pointed out that Mr. Bailey had devoted a tremendous amount of time to the work. Alderman Roberts said Coun. Bailey would go down in municipal history as the Mayor who was most wonderfully successful in collecting money for good causes. His work for wounded soldiers and the dependents of men at the front was worthy of all commendation.
In replying to the resolution of thanks, Mr. Bailey said that any success which had attended his efforts he owed to the loyal and generous people of Bootle. He mentioned “one or two matters as being a pleasure to him and an honour to Bootle.” They had issued in the borough over 281,000 war savings certificates – more than any other town or borough in England in comparison to population. That was a great honour to Bootle.
At a meeting at which he spoke when in London he was introduced by Sir Robert Kindersley as “the pioneer of paid-up certificates,” a scheme which had been the means of bringing into the Imperial Exchequer more than £5,000,000. Over a million pounds was collected in war savings certifications in Bootle, and, in recognition of his pioneer work in this direction, Mr. Bailey received the O.B.E. and also the freedom of the Feltmakers’ Association.
While Mayor Mr. Bailey did a great deal of useful war work, and especially interested himself in the soldiers in the Borough Hospital, who showed their appreciation by presenting him with an illuminated address in a carved frame.
First motor ambulance.
Mr. Bailey was instrumental in assisting to provide the first motor ambulance for the Borough Hospital. His appeal resulted in about £2,000 being subscribed. As the motor ambulance cost £1,400, Mr. Bailey was able to hand over the balance to the hospital.
In 1917-18, Mr. Bailey was chairman of the Bootle Food Control Committee, and was presented with a cheque for £250 by the committee in recognition of his services. For three years he was chairman of the Bootle Conservative Club. He was also chairman of the Walton Conservative Club for nine years.
Mr. Bailey held the position of registrar for births and deaths at Walton for over twenty years and on being superannuated, he went to reside at Blundellsands. He was made a vice-president of the Southport Division Conservative Association, and assisted in the first election of Major Dalrymple White. Altogether Mr. Bailey fought Parliamentary and municipal elections, in all which his party was successful.
In his earlier days Mr. Bailey evinced a keen interest in sport. He was one of the first directors of the Liverpool Football Club, and made numerous journeys to Scotland to sign on players. He also acted as linesman for many years – in the days before linesmen were elected. When he severed his connection with the club, he was presented with a gold medal. Mr. Bailey is a vice president of Bootle Cricket Club, and was a vice-president of the West Kirby Bowling Club.
After residing in West Kirby for several years, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey have returned to Blundellsands, where they attend Mersey-road Wesleyan Church. When they were in Bootle they were members of Balliol-road Wesleyan Church, and Mr. Bailey was presented with an illuminated address on leaving.
Of recent years Mr. Bailey has been associated with the cinema industry, and is managing director of the Victory Picture House, Walton. A member of the North Western Branch of the Cinematograph Exhibitors’ Association, he takes an active part in their discussions.
Mr. and Mars. Bailey have eight daughters, three of whom are married, and fourteen grandchildren.
(Walton Times, 28-01-1927)