Our New Mayor - A Character Sketch
by Jonathan George Shaw
My great-grandfather, Joseph Fielding, was elected Mayor of Blackburn in 1921. This character sketch was written for the Blackburn Times by Jno. Geo. Shaw, but did not appear. Proofs were submitted to Joseph on the day of his election. It was at his request that publication was withheld. Fortunately for us, the article was archived, and I reproduce it below (supplied by Denise Light)
It is considerably over fifty years since I first made the acquaintance of the new Mayor of Blackburn, for I was only eight years old and Joe was about the same. A precocious little boy was young Joe Fielding, for before he was nine years of age he aspired to be a town councillor. He was working at the stone one day on some cottages his employer was building, when some members of the Highways and Building Committee paid a visit to see if the bye-laws were being carried out. Joe eyed them critically as they made their inspection, and turning to the mason at the next stone, remarked, "I shall be one of these men, some day, Pat." "Bedad, and you will, too," responded Paddy heartily, and the prediction has come true.
Joe must have spotted me on my first day at St. Thomas's School. We both lived in Higher Audley, and on the second day, as I was walking along the edging stones of Walpole St, Joe joined me with the trite remark, "Gooin' to t' schoo'." "Ay," said I. "Soo am I," said Joe. And without another word we trudged along in single file, for neither the footpath nor the road were paved, and we were obliged to walk on the edging stones to keep our clogs clean. In like manner we went and returned together for several years, and I am quite certain now that as we kept in file as silent as Indians on the trail, Joe was turning over in his mind what improvements he would make in the highways of Blackburn when he became "one of these men".
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