Amanuensis Monday – Graham Dawson in court

This amanuensis post is not solely about my dad. However, he was a central character in the events that took place before the Court of Summary Jurisdiction at Clitheroe Borough Police Court on 28th September 1950

At the time my dad, Graham Dawson, had been working for a local farmer called Harry Crabtree. His jobs included milking and delivering milk by horse and cart.

According to the newspaper article my dad lived on the farm but at some point Mr Crabtree “decided he could dispense with his services” and he was just sacked.

I’m not sure how things developed after that, but at some point the Ministry of Agriculture decided to prosecute Mr Crabtree under the Agricultural Wages Act 1948 for failing to pay the minimum rate of wages.

There is a section missing from the bottom of the first column of the newspaper article but you can still get a good idea of what went on at the hearing.

I don’t know whether my dad was a willing participant in the proceedings or not as he was served with a witness summons (below) on 3rd August 1950.

According to the newspaper report my dad worked for Mr Crabtree from October 1947 until April 1950 and wasn’t paid the correct rate of pay for overtime.

The Ministry of Agriculture said “the claim could extend back for a period of two years but the prosecution was brought in respect of the failure to comply with the Orders for a week in February and one in March this year”.

Mr Crabtree pleaded guilty to “technical offences”. His solicitor said that “the pamphlets issued by the Ministry were very complicated” although he “ thought the principle for payment for overtime was generally understood by members of the farming community”.

He went on to say that “a farmers job is to milk and look after his cattle and not to read pamphlets issued by the Ministry”. He also suggested that it was difficult for farmers :to keep check of times of starting, finishing and dinner hours etc.”.

It seems as though an agreement had been reached between the parties concerned and the The Magistrates made an order for repayment of £53 10s. 4d.

So, willing participant or not, it looks like a good outcome for my dad. I’m not too sure what Mr Crabtree made of it – but I think I can guess.

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