Handwritten Testimonial from the Cookley Iron Works, Brierley Hill
In fine calligraphy, signed by all the workers on the retirement of a colleague
This is a wonderful leather-bound manuscript testimonial with fine calligraphy presented to George Bennett, an employee of Knight and Crowther of the Cookley Iron Works in Brierley Hill, and signed by his fellow workers. The book is bound in full burgundy leather with his name in gilt to the upper board. The book measures 30 × 25cm, and is 8 pages. Each page is hand-drawn with ornate design in coloured inks and gilt, with colour margins.
The first two pages are an address to George Bennett, which reads "To Mr Henry Bennett. Sir, We, the employes [sic] of Messrs Knight & Crowther Limited, of the Cookley Iron Works, Brierley Hill, hereby express to you our sincere regret that owing to the critical state of your health, you deemed it absolutely necessary on January 27th inst to resign your position as Manager of the above Works, after a connection with the above firm, and the old firm of John Knight & Co, extending over thirty-three years. In that time the trade has undergone a complete revolution; but by assiduous and unremitting attention you were enabled to discharge the arduous duties devolving on you with credit to yourself and satisfaction to the firm. We sincerely hope that your illness will be of short duration, and that with entire rest and change, under the blessing of God, you will permanently recover your former health and strength and be spared to your wife and family for many years to come. We ask you to accept this address, together with the accompanying silver tea set, as a memento of your connection with us, as an expression of the esteem in which we hold you, and of our best wishes for the future welfare of you and yours. Signed".
The following six pages bear the signatures and job titles of Henry Bennett's colleagues, from the office staff and Works Director, through engineers, street mills, tin mills, bricklayers, picklers, those from the large tin house and the small tin house, and the watchman. Finally signed by the Scretary for Committee and dated March 1899.
The book is in very good condition for age, with rubbing to the corners and joints but the boards in good order. The blank endpapers are tanned but the handwritten pages in very good order.