MOUNT PLEASANT FARM
Atherton named in Miss Watt’s birthday book 1878
from letter 2/8/1869 from Geo Whitley
roof repairs, and bedroom window altering
from Letter 5/6/1867 from Geo Whitley
We had a very
good rent day on Monday last all the rents having been punctually paid with the
exception of Wm. Atherton Junr. which will be paid on Saturday next.
By book post I
send tracing of proposed alterations and report of requisite repairs and copy
estimate, for the former he ought to pay an additional rent.
from letter from 7/8/1867 from Geo Whitley
I have deferred writing to you as I wished first to be able to report from personal inspection how the works at Speke were proceeding. I have been over there and find that both at Leigh’s & Richard Atherton’s farms the Contractors are going on very well. At the former the large block of buildings is covered in and the other portions progressing satisfactorily. At the latter the window frames in the front have been found in a state of decay and must be renewed. You will recollect that Atherton wished the windows in the lower front rooms to be lengthened and he now urges that certain repairs, which will cost about £5 being necessary, we may be induced to lay out a further sum of £5 which would accomplish what he desires. The improvement as far as appearance goes would no doubt be great.
from letter from 27/8/1867 from Geo Whitley
I have agreed to the alterations of the two lower windows he paying the
difference between the repairs and the improvement which will be £5.
We have determined to put plate glass in the windows which will save the
expense of shutters and cost only a trifle more. My only fear is people may say,
and fancy we are, proceeding on a grand scale.
weather here is very fine and the harvest is progressing rapidly. Atherton
shewed me on Saturday a potato, here called a “Kemp” from Scotch seed which
weighed 1lb & ½ - a splendid specimen
from letter from 31/8/1867 from Geo Whitley
I enclose an estimate for the two new windows (rather a heavy one) with sheet
instead of plate glass, the latter of which I am glad you disapprove of.
undertake to take out the Two present windows in Mr. Rd. Atherton’s front for
the Execs of the late Rd. Watt Esq. & erect Two others in accordance with
Plan & Specification prepared by you. Substituting Red Stone Sills in place
of Yorkshire and 16oz best picked ?Germany? sheet in place of polished plate
glass for the sum of Thirty Pounds Sterling
I am Sir
Your Obedt. Servant
Atherton to pay
£25.0.0 Mr. Watt’s Executors
from letter from 19/10/1867 from Geo Whitley
I enclose estimate (£14) for repairs of roof which are essential. Must
they be proceeded with?
from letter from 19/11/1867 from Geo Whitley
At his request I enclose an estimate for new chimney piece &c, the old one must clearly be renewed but I told him I did not think you would consent to a Marble one though in reality the cost is little more than that of suitable stone. If a lease was granted to him during the minority of the owner he would pay the expenses himself.
January 18th 69
Do you think the executors would build me two
cottages for my workmen, I have two married men & they have to walk to
Garston every night to sleep. Now I have thought if the executors would build
two at the top end of the wood that divides Speke from Garston as it is a lonely
spot at night and day and many men and boys come trespassing over there and
leave my gates open the consequence is my cattle are continually straying away
so I think the men’s wives would prevent this at least in the day. Now I
should like good cottages as I find in my travels those farmers that find their
men with comfortable cottages get a better class of workman and if agreeable to
the executors I should like the cottages let to me. I will see that they do not
damage the buildings I will do the carting and prepare the land ready, there are
about three or four trees will want taking up but the whole lot are only worth
about 6/- or 7/- & they will do for railing. Of course the men could not
afford to pay more than 2/6 per week but I do not mind paying a little myself,
say the two cottages cost £200 (I think they will not cost much more if I do
the carting) well that will be nearly £7 per cent for the outlay, if you will
kindly lay this before the executors at once and let me know the result as I
have a little leisure time just before seeding & could get the land ready
for the builders.
Please excuse this scribble &c as I have been
in a hurry
from letter 6/2/1869 from Geo Whitley
I also enclose a copy of his letter as to the erection of cottages, it might be an advantageous offer to the owner of the estate but under present circumstances I do not see how it can be entertained. I have told him so but he still wishes to have his application laid before you.
4/7/1870 from Geo Whitley
I am sorry to be the medium of conveying to you information of an
unpleasant and which I ear will be of an annoying nature.
Mr. Richard Atherton, representing as he informed me, all the farm
tenants called on me on Saturday last and stated the existing dissatisfaction
which has arisen on the raising of the rents according to the valuation of Mr.
Fair, which they consider a very high one and not justifiable under the
circumstances & also that he did not take sufficient pains to ascertain the
quality of the respective farms and other particulars which ought to have formed
part of his enquiries and they therefore claim a proportionate reduction in
My answer to him was, Mr. Fair is a man of high standing in his
profession totally unconnected with the Speke estate and was personally unknown
to the Trustees and was requested to make a reasonable valuation between
Landlord and Tenant.That they ought to have made their objections when the new
lettings were agreed upon, & that the time had now gone by.
all the plans, calculations and books of reference having been made up and
considered as settled I did not see how the Trustees could open the question or
induce a Court of Enquiry to believe that they had acted with propriety in the
management of the Estate in one day letting the farms
advanced rents & in a few months afterwards without sufficient cause
agreeing to accept reduced ones.
The Tenants complain of not having had time for consideration having only
had 3 days, my answer to which was, “Why did you not ask for a delay?” this
would however, I admit, been rather awkward as the meeting was on the 31st
July 1869 and would therefore have thrown us over for 12 months at the old rent,
I should be glad to have your sentiments on this unpleasant matter and will not
therefore trouble you with other questions for a few days.
I am Dear Sir
from letter 14/7/1870 from Geo Whitley
Reduction of rents
Atherton has called on me and I stated that the opinion of Mr.
Trustees was “that the time for application had gone by”
he made very few observations
only that he could not possibly pay the increased rent, none of the other
Tenants have made a similar demand
The season in this neighbourhood has been very unfortunate for farmers,
the crops of hay are particularly light, turnips very doubtful and the pastures
literally bare & in several places the tenants have been obliged to cut the
growing oats as fodder for their cattle.
from letter 24/8/1870 from Geo Whitley
cottage below Mawdsley’s
is the man with whom Mawdsley had the quarrel & who was then in the employ
of Mr. C. Fletcher, he has since left & now works at the Garston Docks &
is not highly spoken of. Richard Atherton wants a cottage very much & would
be thankful for this & as Williams doesn’t work on the estate I think we
should get quit of him.
from letter 27/8/1870 from Geo Whitley
When this was applied for I was not informed that the tenant was in very bad health. Meredith states that he cannot live long and I have therefore desired that he may not be disturbed
from letter 23/11/1870 from Geo Whitley
I have ordered to be completed according to the estimate, it was worn out
and new ones are always found in this neighbourhood by the Landlord.
from letter 6/7/1871 from Geo Whitley
much in want of two cottages as he cannot possibly retain his best men without
them, his carter and wife are at present living in my house to take care
of it and are a very decent couple but I cannot find a cottage for them.
Atherton would pay a good p.centage in the shape of rent if he could be
accommodated but I fear he cannot.
from letter from 25/11/1871 from Geo Whitley
Atherton’s cottage (late Helsby’s)
tenant has left and the house is in a very dilapidated state and I have directed
Peters & Ball to send in a report.
from letter from 9/12/1871 from Geo Whitley
Helsby’s cottage let to Richd. Atherton
send estimates for repairs as the case is an urgent one, the wife of the
incoming Tenant being about to present to her husband an addition to his family
before Xmas & has no other house to go to.
& Ball’s estimate
It is lamentable to be obliged to pay so large a sum for an old tumbledown cottage
from letter from 15/2/1872 from Geo Whitley
gave me the
letter from 8/7/1872 from Geo Whitley
merited the castigation contained in your letter to him, he called upon me this
morning and repeated all he had written to you & declared most solemnly he
had not the slightest intention of insulting or annoying any of your party, this
I believe, if it was only from interested motives but I attribute it to his
ignorance and want of common observation. Be assured of one thing however, he
will never do so again and it will abate a little of his zeal for the Township
of Garston. He grieves much on the subject of his Farm & hopes you will
still allow him to remain where his family have been so long resident and where
he says he has laid out a large capital, he said nothing about the amount of his
rent and of course I did not raise the question, nor have any of the tenants
made any further movement in the matter, it must come to a point however before
the 2nd August next.
letter from 31/7/1872 from Geo Whitley
called on me a few days since and I read over your letter to him, he assured me he was not the first person who had taken up the question of the increase of the Speke rents two of the other principal tenants having previously waited upon him and requested him to join them, he asked me to state this to you and say he was truly sorry for what had taken place, on this I told him he might still remain on his farm considering that he is only a yearly tenant.
Extract from letter 18/9/1872 from Geo Whitley
from Richard Atherton’s house
I received a formal intimation from the Surveyor to the Local Board that
the drain was stopped and consequently the sewage water backed up and caused a
great nuisance which must be immediately abated. I sent Mr. Shelmerdine to meet
him on the premises and enclose plan & report on the case.
rents Copy Memorial from the Tenants
16 Sept. 1872. G.W.
James Sprot & George Whitley Esqrs.
the undersigned tenants of the Speke estate which you so honourably represent as
Trustees of the late Richd. Watt Esq. Prayeth
That owing to almost the entire loss of the potato crop, damage to the
hay & corn crop, the enormous extra charge for labour partly through strikes
& the unfavourable weather, increase in the price of all commodities we
require whether implements or manures, the low price of agricultural produce,
your Memorialists find it quite impossible to pay the present rents.
It has always been our wish to pay the estate (you represent) what we
promised, but under the present circumstances your Memorialists request you to
make an allowance which you kindly promised in May last*
John Cartwright R. Leigh William Sutton
* I must say I do not recollect such a promise having been made.
16 Nov 1872
from letter from 18/1/1873 from Geo Whitley
am sorry to say Richd. Atherton is dangerously ill having an attack of brain
fever arising as is supposed from an injury to his head some years ago and one
of his children is also very unwell.
from letter from 25/1/1873 from Geo Whitley
I hope gradually recovering
letter from 20/10/1873 from Geo Whitley
with me to see the state of the two fields Nos. 166 & 167 on the Plan of the
estate which he pointed out to you, you may recollect that the only boundary
between the fields is the main watercourse which is literally no fence at all
and unfortunately one is in grass and the other sown with wheat so there will be
constant trespass and damage by the sheep, the only remedy being the planting of
a new thorn fence throughout the whole length which will be an expensive job. I
have desired him to measure the distance and let me know and you can then judge
of the expense.
from letter from 6/11/1873 from Geo Whitley
The length is 420 yards – what distance apart should the stumps be? We
can get them out of Garston Wood, they should be rather closer
in this neighbourhood than usual.
letter from 10/11/1873 from Geo Whitley
Isaac Dixon, 33, Hatton Garden, Liverpool. Price for supplying 600 yds
No5 best galvanised fencing wire with staples & brackets & fixing with
his own men, purchaser finding wood posts & man to assist digging holes for
this will give you an idea what the cost of Rd. Atherton’s fence would be.
from letter from 14/11/1873 from Geo Whitley
fence at Richard Atherton’s
I have sent for Mr. Dixon and will send you particulars as requested.
Atherton says the clover root is getting injured by the frost and as he cannot
turn sheep on it time is valuable, his barley is not turning out well part only
being fit for malting and the residue is sold for making pearl barley for
which he was offered in the market this morning 4/6, malting barley being worth
from 5/- to 6/-. It is singular the dealers say they can buy pearl barley
from Scotland (ready ground) in the Liverpool market at a less price than they
can buy grain here and grind it themselves.This they attribute to your having
the advantage of water privileges.
from letter from 16/12/1873 from Geo Whitley
cottage by Athertons’
enclose a sketch of one by Mr. Kerr (he would wish 2) which I think will not
quite meet your views, I told him you did not approve of Parlours for poor
from letter from 29/9/1874 from Geo Whitley
I enclose an application for painting the outside of the house, if
it wants it I will on hearing from you send an estimate.
Speke Septr. 26th
I am having the house papered and painted inside & I should be very glad if you would paint the outside, as the woodwork & spouts look very shabby. One of the windows, & front door are rotten & I am afraid some day they will blow in.
I shall be very glad of a cottage when you have one at liberty.
the Building news – 18 Sept. 1874
Burton. A new reredos has just been
added to Bishop Burton Church, Yorkshire, from designs by Messrs
Clayton & Bell of London, The reredos which has been executed by Messrs
Powell & Sons of Whitefriars, is of vitreous material, the whole being
wrought together in a mosaic of small pieces with cement. The new reredos forms
part of the restoration of the Church the cost of which was provided by the late
F. Watt Esqre.