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A report extracted from The Stockport Advertiser, Friday, 14th August 1885
Transcribed by Geoff Royle 2009, and acknowledging all rights of the above and their successors.


It would be morally impossible to exaggerate the heartiness and earnestness of the reception that was given to Mr Adamson, the indefatigable and intrepid promoter of the Ship  Canal scheme on his arrival at Didsbury on Saturday.  Flags were flown from almost every upper window in the main thoroughfare, and the people generally entered heart and soul into a demonstration of appreciation such as the little village was ever witness to before.  In accordance with the intimation made in the Stockport Echo, Mr Adamson arrived at Stockport station from London at half-past two o’clock, when he was lustily cheered by the large concourse of people who awaited his arrival, and after exchanging greetings with the Mayor (Mr Joseph Leigh, his son-in-law), he drove away to The Towers, midst a repetition of the cheering.

Via Heaton Mersey and Burnage, he drove on to the Manchester and Didsbury road at Fog lane, where another immense concourse awaited him, and where a procession was formed, a brass band playing “See the conquering hero comes”. Preceding the carriage in which Mr and Mrs Adamson, and Mr and Mrs Parkyn (another son-in-law and daughter) were seated, whilst all along the route from this point to the Towers the road was lined with crowds, who kept up an incessant cheer as the procession passed.  In the centre of the village a very graceful arch, abundantly bedecked with bunting spanned the road, the north side bearing a large portrait of Mr Adamson with the sentence, “A Well Deserved Success" underneath, the south side having the quotation "Lancashire's Future Greatness".  Immediately after passing underneath this erection a gaily bedecked lurry belonging to Mr James Massey of Northenden Mills, which bore a splendid new boat belonging to Mr T. Moore, of the Tatton Arms Hotel, Northenden, named the Daniel Adamson and artistically decorated, was drawn in the procession between the band and Mr Adamson’s carriage.  At each end of the lurry was a neatly printed intimation that this was a representation of “Northenden’s congratulations, and in the boat rode two sweetly dressed children, who when a halt was made, gracefully offered to Mr  and Mrs Adamson two exquisitely arranged bouquets.  Opposite the Didsbury and Cock Hotels the road were festooned with flags, and a little farther on there was suspended a bright piece of bunting with “Long Live Adamson” deciphered thereon in right bold characters.  Just prior to reaching this point the procession stopped, and Mr Adamson stood up in his carriage, a signal for a general outburst of cheering.  When this was subsided Mr Adamson said he was exceedingly rejoiced to have this reception, because it would tell their Liverpool friends it was not correct when they said that Lancashire was weary of the fight. (cheers)  If he was to judge by the surroundings, Lancashire now was beginning the fight.  They had won the greatest battle ever fought against the most powerful corporations of this or any other country - - a battle prolonged beyond precedent either in Parliament or anywhere else.  People said they would not find the money, he would say they could find the money, three times over - - - (cheers) - - - and he thought that Liverpool men might take notice that their £16,000,000 was somewhat jeopardised.  They said they had invested £16,000,000 in their docks.  As soon as the promoters had cut the first sod of the canal he should be prepared to offer them £8,000,000 and take the docks over. - - - (Loud cheers).  And with all their boasting it amounted to this - - - that they had borrowed the whole of the money to do the work.  The promoters of the ship canal did not want their friends in Lancashire and Yorkshire to lend all the money.  They say, “We are going to subscribe £8,000,000, and then we will ask you to lend us £2,000,000”.  If the 8,000,000 people connected with Lancashire and Yorkshire could not find £8,000,000, they were not worth fighting for.  But they had the conviction that they were backed up by Lancashire - - - (Loud cheers). Lancashire had as much population as all Scotland.  Lancashire and Yorkshire had a fourth more population than Belgium and they could cut canals in every direction - - - they were building new docks, extending for miles and miles at Antwerp, and enjoyed a prosperity the equal of which he had not seen for many years in all his travels - - - certainly this great and wealthy population, requiring the greatest quantity of raw material of  anybody in the world, with the greatest power in steam, with the greatest number of skilled and energetic men - - - certainly this population could pay for a ship canal to Liverpool. They ran no risk.  They only wanted 160,000 shareholders at £50 each and there they had £8,000,000.  After alluding to the fact that but for the services of his son-in-law (Mr Parkyn) he would not have been able to absent himself from business and from home to look after the bill (a copy of which he produced, amidst loud and continued cheering). Mr Adamson said Mr Pember, the principal counsel, had promised to come down to Lancashire in about a month, and remarked that he took it that the congratulations and thanks tendered to him were also tendered to all those who had worked with him long and early and late.  Whenever anything was to be accomplished, either in refuting fallacies of the opposition or in advancing the promoters case, Mr Wilkins, Mr Saxon, and Mr Marshall Stevens had sat up night after night, in order to be ready for the committee room in the morning with facts and figures. The bill had been won on conviction that the canal would earn £1,000,000 per annum, and save £1,000,000 to the traders of the district.  It was no wonder that Lancashire and Yorkshire desired the success of the scheme.  The canal would bring increased commerce with all nations, and provide increased employment. - - - (Loud and enthusiastic cheers)

Mr Kelly (secretary of the Manchester and Salford Trades Council) presented the following address, engrossed and illuminated, and bound in book form, to Mr Adamson :-- “We inhabitants of Didsbury and Northenden,are impelled by a high sense of gratitude, respect and admiration to offer to you and your indefatigable supporters our heartiest congratulations for the superb persistency with which you have fought and won the battle for the Ship Canal Act.  Probably no parallel could be found as regards the dogged determination and the un-wearying perseverance you and your colleagues have manifested during the long and arduous struggle from the time of the first inception of the merchants and shopkeepers of Manchester looked on the canal as the great panacea for the ills of trade.  (Cheers)  The Manchester and Salford Trades Council was prepared tomovement until the day the Act received the Royal Assent.  We wish you and those dear to you, health and strength to see the consummation of the great work for which you have so persistently and earnestly laboured.”  As the representative of the working classes of Manchester, he (Mr Kelly) could say that they were more deeply interested in the canal than the newspapers might have led the general public to believe.  The construction of the canal would put a lot of money into circulation.  If the scheme proved successful, the working classes and those a step above them would reap the benefit; if it proved a failure - - - (“it won’t) - - - the moneyed men would be the losers.  The manufacturers,work hard to make the canal a success.  (Renewed cheers)

Mr Adamson in reply, said he thanked the inhabitants of Didsbury and Northenden, and especially his immediate neighbours for their address.  He should remember it whenever he experienced any trouble or difficulty, but failure he had never anticipated - - - (loud cheers) - - - nor did he do so now. (Renewed cheers)  He had been all along been stimulated by one conviction, that if they, like Lancashire men, kept pegging away, they would get what they required. (Cheers)  It was that conviction which gave them courage and determination after the first fight; it was that which renewed their vigour at the close of the second; and when difficulties of the most insurmountable character presented would know that there was no danger after the work had been begun of its being left half or quarter done.themselves, it was the conviction that they had Lancashire behind them in this struggle which made them feel that if they continued to persevere they would be sure to overcome all difficulties.  Their friends must not think that the conditions imposed upon the promoters by the committee were very onerous.  Some of them were highly advantageous, better than they anticipated.  Seeing that the money had to be raised, what difference did it make if Parliament said, “You must find five millions before you cut a sod?”  That condition was imposed at his own suggestion, because any man subscribing to the operation would in that case be certain that there was sufficient money to carry out the project.  He knew the provision was a wise one, and instead of troubling him he rejoiced at it.  As regarded the success of the undertaking, there could be no doubt whatever.  Mr Pember a night or two ago told him and several other friends that he was certain, from the evidence which had been adduced, that the canal must be a commercial success, and the most important enterprise in regard to its dividend paying capacity that had ever been before the British public for the past 50 years. (Cheers) He had no hesitation in asserting that within five years of the canal being opened £10 shares would be worth £20, and before it had been opened ten years they would be worth £30, because it could do an enormous amount of trade, with very little current expense and wear and tear.  It would have no locomotives to find and no steel rails to restore, yet it would be coupled up with the waterways of the universe, and would bring the good things of all lands and distribute them among the people of Lancashire and Yorkshire at the least possible cost.

At the conclusion of the address, the cheering was renewed together with the singing of the chorus of “He’s a jolly good fellow”.  The horses were taken out and the carriage drawn up to The Towers by  a number of enthusiastic admirers.  At the house there were present to receive Mr and Mrs Adamson - - - Mr Leader Williams, Mr Marshall Stephens, Mr Saxon, Mr H McNeil, and other gentlemen.  Within the grounds another arch had been erected, with the couplet, “through good and ill we’ve won the Bill” on its front.  Over the hall entrance a “Welcome home” was given, and from the summit of the mansion the Royal standard floated.  Mr Adamson again addressed the assembly, urging upon those present the importance of throwing their whole influence and support into the scheme.  They must have shareholders by hundreds and thousands, and when they got the canal they must take care it did not pass out of their hands.  The committee intended to act promptly, and within a month the public would be called upon to take up shares in the concern.  He repeated that Mr Pember had promised to come down to speak to the people of Lancashire.  He had become so satisfied as to the soundness of the investment that he had ceased to be a counsellor, and must now rank as a promoter of the scheme.

Mr W Marshall, foreman of the boiler department at the works of Messrs Adamson and Co., Hyde, subsequently read the following address :-- 

“We, your employees have pleasure in assisting the rejoicings on your return home after the Manchester Ship Canal Bill has become the law of the land.  To you as chairman of the provisional committee, we feel the populations of Lancashire and surrounding counties are largely indebted for the safe passing of the Ship Canal Bill through Parliament.  Words fail us on this auspicious occasion to express our ideas at the success that has at last attended your exertions, but we doubt not you will take our presence here as showing our hearty sympathy in a project that we believe is destined to benefit the languishing trades of the country.  Wishing you and your good lady a hearty welcome, and praying that Providence may see fit to spare you to witness ocean-going steamers deliver their cargoes and convey to the markets of the world the productions of our different manufactures, we remain &c.”

In reply, Mr Adamson said he was glad to know that he had their good wishes; he was sure he had their devotion because had it not been for that it would have been utterly impossible for him to leave the place - - - to have left the works for such a long period as had been necessary, in order to ensure the success of the scheme.
Mrs Hodgkins, on behalf of the wives of the provisional committee presented a congratulatory address to Mrs Adamson, together with a basket of beautiful flowers.  The address was signed by E. H. Hodgkins, C.E.Ward, E. Barlow, J. Sellar, and Mrs Samson.  Mrs Adamson briefly returned her thanks for the compliment paid her.  Mr Adamson also supplementing her remarks.

This concluded the proceedings, but Mr Adamson having intimated that the grounds were open to the inspection of all, the crowd dispersed in all directions to enjoy the privilege.  Refreshments, too, were served, upwards of 400 loaves of bread, a proportionate quantity of cheese, and ten barrels of beer being consumed by the visitors, and it was nightfall before the grounds were cleared.  Everything passed off in the most orderly manner, and although Police inspector Smith had under his charge a strong posse of constables, their duties were of the lightest description.  All round the demonstration was a perfect success, a fact upon which we may be allowed to congratulate everyone concerned.


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