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Arthur Suter 1895 - 1972

In the various pages of the history of Suters Ltd you will find information about George "Arthur" Suter. Use the search facilty below

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March 1972 - Death of George Arthur Suter

It was about the middle of March that the eldest of the four Suter brothers, George Arthur, died aged 77. Arthur, had been born in the house over and behind his father's drapery shop the High Street, Ledbury in 1895 and had moved a few months later with the family to Bank House in the street called "Southend".

There is a photograph of him aged about 2 taken in 1898 with his parents and his elder younger brother Clarence.

A photograph of the family taken in the garden of Bank House in 1903, has Elizabeth and George William (Clarence's parents) standing at the back with Clarence (in front of his mother), Winifred, Frank (on the rocking horse) and Arthur (aged 8).

Together with his younger brother, Clarence, Arthur attended the Russell Endowed School in Ledbury otherwise known as Mr Wade's School (after the Headmaster) and on leaving in 1911 he started a drapery apprenticeship, first, with Frank Cast of Oxford and later with Wellsteads in Reading and Mathew Rose of Hackney.

In October 1913 he decided that the draper's trade was not for him and accepted a job with Welford Surrey Dairies of which his uncle, Frank Denning, was a joint Managing Director. Having no children of his own, Frank Denning took a paternal interest in both Arthur and his sister Winifred and, by the summer of 1914, Arthur had reason to look forward to a promising career in his uncle's expanding business.

Left: Arthur and Clarence Suter - Ledbury 1908

War intervened. Arthur volunteered within days and served at Gallipoli, where he was hospitalised with "enteric fever", and on the Western Front, where he was wounded. By the time of his discharge in 1919 Frank Denning had died, worn down by overwork while combining the duties of Mayor of Croydon with the challenges of large scale milk supply to wartime London.

Arthur returned to his uncle's dairy business now merged and part of United Dairies but, by 1924, had decided to leave and enter into partnership with his father and brother, Clarence, who had purchased a drapery business in Slough and were contemplating the purchase of a much larger store in Uxbridge. Arthur was ready to settle down, having met and fallen in love with Dorothy Jackman whose home was in Adderbury in Oxfordshire..

They married in 1925 and established their family home in the flat over the large drapery store purchased from Carrick & Coles Uxbridge. The building was called 'Waterloo House' and it remained their home until 1932 when they moved into a newly built house in Norfolk Road in Uxbridge. Arthur called their home 'Krithia' after his first battle at Gallipoli and they remained there until his retirement from active involvement in the Suters business.

Like his Uncle Frank Denning, Arthur developed an active interest in local affairs, served with some distinction on the "home front" during the Second World War (as, indeed did Dorothy) and was co-opted onto the Uxbridge Urban District Council.

After the war he continued in local politics as an "anti-socialist independent" and became Chairman of the Council in 1949 and Mayor of Uxbridge in 1959. Within the family business he managed the business in Uxbridge purchased from Carrick & Coles and, after the war, took on the duties of Suters company secretary.

1959 - THE MAYOR AND MAYORESS OF UXBRIDGE from History of Suters Ltd - 1950s page

Arthur Suter was one of the nine Aldermen of the Borough of Uxbridge and, in 1959, became the fifth Mayor of the Borough.

There is a photo of him while he was still Deputy Mayor taken with Dorothy Suter in January at the Regal Cinema during Naval recruiting week.

Arthur Suter was invested as Mayor in late May or early June and two photos show him at the formal Council meeting. In one he is with the retiring Mayor, Councillor Mrs Dubberley, and in the other about to take the chair at the meeting.

He is seated below in full ceremonial robes, for a formal portrait photo and in another can be seen enjoying a joke while Dorothy Suter receives a bouquet.

Other photos below show Arthur with a gentleman in a legal wig, and with John Poole who was Town Clerk and soon to retire

and below with Lionel Kirby who - from his chain of office - may have been President of the Uxbridge Rotary Club

In August Arthur Suter can be seen opening the Fassnidge Old People's Home (below) and in November attending a dinner for John Poole.

In August Arthur Suter can be seen opening the Fassnidge Old People's Home (below) and in November attending a dinner for John Poole.

Bobbie and John Suter attended Arthur's Mayoral Reception on the 11th November. It was held at the RAF Officers Mess Uxbridge, on a very foggy night

Arthur was survived by Dorothy and by their three children, Elizabeth ("Su"), Ruth and George. Wendy-Ann Ensor (daughter of John Suter and wife of Richard who wrote the more in depth version of the history of Suters Ltd ) has many fond memories of him and Richard remembers a friendly face and warm welcome when he was first launched into the intimidating waters of the extended Suter family.

When Arthur passed away on the 14th March 1972 his wife Dorothy became a non executive director. This was an arrangement made by the four brothers, Arthur, Clarence, Frank and John that their wifes would become a non excecutive director in the event of their death. Dorothy remained a director till she passed away on the 17th June 1975.

Left: Letterhead from Suters in Slough from 1975 with Mrs D.R.Suter's name crossed through.

In Richard Ensor's Suter family history he said "Dorothy would have been remembered with considerable affection by the younger members of the family as well as by Bobbie and John. Wendy-Ann and Richard, remembered the welcome they had received from both her and Arthur when they were first engaged. Others will have had similar happy memories.What none of them will have realised at that time - in the absence of a Family History! - is how active she had been with the Red Cross and her other voluntary activities during the Second World War and what a beauty she was when first encountered by Arthur at the end of or shortly after the First World War - enough to cure any wounded member of the Royal Naval Division instantly!"

Here are two photos of her at that time

More information ARTHUR AND HIS FAMILY- 1933 TO 1938

After Arthur and Dorothy had decided to move out of the flat over the Suters store at Waterloo House, Uxbridge which had been their home for the previous seven years. Arthur had chosen a site in Norfolk Road, Uxbridge and called the new family home, 'Krithia' (below) after the Turkish village which had remained just out of reach during the Gallipoli campaign.

The family appear to have moved into 'Krithia' in about November 1933. There are accounts from Arthur's coal merchant (C. Coleshill), addressed to 'Krithia' in November and December 1933. There is also an account for five varieties of border carnations received from Allwood Bros., in September 1933, this time, addressed to "Mrs Suter" in the High Street. Dorothy had a new garden to plant. Similarly, Arthur paid W.E.Watts £1.17s.6d in October 1933 for "making garden light". As noted in Chapter 7, Arthur, also, paid the second instalment of the General Rate for 'Krithia' to Uxbridge Urban District Council covering the half year from September 1933.

The Masons - Arthur and Dorothy became part of the life of Uxbridge almost from the moment they moved into Waterloo House in 1926. Like many business and professional men, Arthur decided that one good way of developing contacts would be to join a Masonic lodge and, in 1927, he was initiated into The Royal Union Lodge which met in Uxbridge. He served as Assistant Secretary from 1932 to 1935 and then as Secretary from 1935 to 1940. Arthur was also a member of the West Middlesex Lodge of Mark Master Masons and was installed as 'Worshipful Master' for the year 1938. During that year the lodge met either in London or in Uxbridge.

Membership of one Masonic lodge brought invitations to attend the meetings and social events of other lodges. Amongst Arthur's papers there are Menus for Installation Banquets at the Georgian Lodge in Paris in 1930, the Royal Union Lodge in Uxbridge in March 1931, and the Croydon Lodge of Fidelity in April 1932. He was also present at the installation of the Uxbridge solicitor, Turberville Smith, whose firm acted as solicitors for the Suters company, as master of the Hesa Lodge in London in February 1933. Turberville Smith was also a member, with Arthur, of the West Middlesex Lodge of Mark Master Masons. In October 1933 Arthur was, also, present at the installation of George Stokes as master of the Brownlow Lodge in Ellesmere - an invitation possibly flowing from contacts made while Arthur was with United Dairies. Two years later, there is a menu from the Installation Banquet for R. A. Sharp of the Hillingdon Lodge at the Chequers Hotel in Uxbridge on the 10th October 1935.

Arthur also contributed funds towards the establishment of the Royal Masonic Hospital and received a certificate naming him as a 'Life Governor'.

Local and National Politics - Arthur seems to have taken an early interest in local politics. In February and March 1929 he is mentioned as one of the councillors attending meetings of the Housing and Works Committees of the Uxbridge Urban District Council. Thereafter there is no evidence of council membership until the early 1940's.

Arthur's party politics were Conservative and he joined the Uxbridge and District Constitutional Club (the local Conservative Club) and was present at a 'Celebration Dinner & Concert' in October 1933. The Dinner may have been in celebration of the Uxbridge Club winning the "Association Conservative Clubs All England and Metropolitan Group Challenge Shields 1933." If Arthur was involved in whatever activity was required for the Club to win the shield it may explain an award he received, the year before in 1932, for "Distinguished Service" to an organisation with the initials "A.C.C."

The symbols and wording on the award 'medal' are patriotic which would be in keeping with an internal Conservative party award to an active worker during the early years of the National Government. Whatever the "Distinguished Service" was it must have been performed initially just before 1932 and continued for ten years or so according to the 'bars' attached to Arthur's 'medal' ribbon. (above left) There are no surviving newspaper reports relating to either the award in 1932 or to the Celebration Dinner in 1933.

Arthur continued to subscribe to The Ledbury Reporter and Guardian and, from time to time, saved a copy of the paper which contained something he considered important. In August 1930 the issue dated 9th August included a detailed report of a speech given by Stanley Baldwin to the Bewdley Division Unionist Association in the Guildhall, Worcester the previous Saturday. Baldwin was born in Bewdley which is a few miles from Kidderminster and 25 miles from Ledbury and became MP for the town in 1908. He was therefore, regarded as 'a local boy' in Ledbury and received appropriate coverage in the local papers. It was probably a coincidence that the report in The Ledbury Reporter was placed next to an advertisement for "an electric clothes boiler" which "lightens every wash day".

Uxbridge Nursing - By the end of the 1930's both Arthur and Dorothy had established connections with local nursing organisations. It is not clear who developed the interest first. Arthur, like a good many serviceman, benefited from many months of devoted nursing during the Great War and there are also photos of a very youthful Dorothy in a nurse's uniform (below) which may date from the war period.

Arthur's involvement with Uxbridge nursing was established by 1936 when he was appointed Hon. Secretary of the Uxbridge and Hillingdon West Nursing Association. The Association had been formed in 1900 to provide a "District Nurse" for Uxbridge and west Hillingdon. The "Rules for Nurse" drawn up by the Association required her to provide "the services of the Nurse …for cases of the sick poor and working classes in their own homes" Arthur remained Secretary until it ceased to function as an independent body after the Second World War. As a result, he retained the Minute Books and papers dating back to 1900 which contain a mass of information about the working of the Association.

According to the First Annual Report, the Association was set up following a meeting held in July 1900 at the offices of Charles Woodbridge who was an Uxbridge solicitor. The proposal to set up a "Nursing Institution for Uxbridge and the Urban District" attracted a good deal of local support and was followed by a public meeting held at the Town Hall later in the month when a set of rules was approved. These provided that the Association would consist of "all subscribers of 10s.6d and upwards and of all Medical Men of the District". The Minute Books reveal more than one hundred subscribers by the end of the first year. On the list was 'Mr C. Woodbridge' (£5.5s.0d), 'Mr H. Woodbridge' (£2.2s.0d.) and Mr. 'T.H.R. Woodbridge' (£2.2s.0d.). Other subscribers included Messrs Carrick & Coles (£3.3s.0d.) and Mrs E.A. Coad (10s.6d.).The subscribers appointed a President, four Vice-Presidents, an Hon. Treasurer, an Hon. Secretary, a General Committee chosen from the subscribers and a smaller Executive Committee of six plus the President and Officials.

There was also a Ladies Committee of twelve each representing a 'district' whose function was to help the Secretary arrange the work of the nurse. The Executive Committee met when required but the Ladies Committee met with the nurse once a month in order to check her register of cases. The first President of the Association was Charles Woodbridge and 'H. Woodbridge Esq.' was appointed the Hon. Treasurer. The Association seems to have been something of a Woodbridge family project as, when Arthur was appointed Secretary in 1936, the family were still well in evidence. The Hon. Treasurer was 'Mr E. T. Woodbridge' and the Managing Committee also included 'Mrs A.R. Woodbridge'

Back in 1900, the Committee selected a Nurse belonging to the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Nursing Institution to fill the post of District Nurse and, while there were problems over her appointment, by November a Nurse had been selected and started upon her duties. She was provided with a total package of Board, Lodging and Salary worth £100 per year plus a bicycle and, also, the set of "Rules for Nurse", which made it clear that she was to "work under the Medical Men, and …. apply to them at once in the case of any difficulty". The nurse was not to attend infectious cases. She was to be on duty eight hours daily - this time to be extended only under exceptional circumstances. Similarly, she was only to be employed on night duty in exceptional circumstances. She was entitled to a month's holiday a year plus a half day at least every three weeks. Reading between the lines, she could be expected to work long hours.

By 1904 'Nurse Asplen' received a salary of £100 plus a special donation of £6.6s. Other payments by the Association during the year included 18s.0d. for Brandy, 10s.0d. for Bovril, £1.4s.10d. for Milk and Eggs, £1.17s.7½d for Bandages, Flannels etc and £4.11s.0d. for Chemist.

During the year 1905-1906 one District Nurse made 6,174 visits. The highest number (600 to 700 per month) were in period from October to December and the lowest (394) in June. The nurse was a very busy lady. By the time of Arthur's appointment in 1936 the Association income had grown to £283.6s. and the total amounts paid out in salaries to nurses varied between £170 and £180 per year, The Association was still only employing one nurse but there had been changes during the year.

Arthur became involved, almost immediately, in correspondence concerning a proposal that the Uxbridge Association join the Greater London Provident Scheme for District Nursing. This scheme provided additional finance of home nursing through fortnightly contributions collected from workers who were members of an 'Employment Group'. The long serving Treasurer, Edgar Woodbridge, could see no advantage to the Association in such a development.

Possibly as a result of changes in attitudes which accompanied the approach of war the Association had reversed its decision by May 1939 and Arthur was authorised to sign the appropriate forms. Similarly, while a proposal to provide the nurse with a car was 'deferred' in 1936, within a few years the cost of the nurse's car begins to appear in the annual accounts.

For her part, Dorothy joined and became locally prominent in the British Red Cross Society. Most of the photos and other memorabilia relating to her Red Cross involvement date from the Second World War (See Chapter 13 below) though there is a 'Suters' Invoice of July 1939 addressed to Dorothy and marked 'British Red Cross A/C for 18s.5d. covering a 'BRCS Dress, Apron, Cap and 2 Pins.

Chamber of Trade The first Minutes of the 'Uxbridge Comforts Fund' Committee in 1939 indicate that Arthur attended the initial meeting as a representative of the Uxbridge Chamber of Trade.

©Richard Ensor - January 2005

See also...

1959 - THE MAYOR AND MAYORESS OF UXBRIDGE\\

History of Suters Ltd - 1960s\

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Source of images, unless otherwise stated - Suter family archives

 

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