In January 1894, Beeston became an Urban District under the Local Government Act.
The first meeting of Beeston UDC took place on 3 January 1894. The controversy was whether Richard Thornhill or Arthur Kirkland should be the Rate Collector.
Richard Thornhill (74) had been in post as Rate Collector for the Local Board since 1870. Thornhill had previously been in the lace trade. By 1894, he was assisted by his daughter, Emily, a clerk.
Arthur Kirkland (37) was also a lacemaker and had been on the Local Board since 1887. Kirkland was so desperate for the job that he suggested Thornhill should have the salary for life, but he would collect the Poor Rate.
Kirkland was elected Rate Collector, but the dispute did not stop there. Thornhill began a local campaign to be re-instated. In an article in The Beeston Times he quoted Shakespeare and drew a cartoon for his cause. He was allowed to collect the Rate made to the end of March 1895 but was then told he was no longer required.
By 1907, Kirkland was Assistant Overseer, and he was Rate Collector until the Rating Act of 1929 made new provisions for rate collecting. Kirkland retired in June 1929 aged 76 after 35 years’ service.
Kirkland took many rolls including Hon Sec of the War Memorial Committees for the Hope Boer War Memorial (1904), the War Memorial at Dovecote Lane and clerk to the Food Control Committee in WW1. He also oversaw Beeston’s Peace Celebrations in 1919. He died in 1936.
Written by the Beeston and District Local History Society. The group meet monthly on 3rd Wednesday at Chilwell Memorial Hall, 7.30pm.
New members & visitors welcome.