Isaac Binns

Land Introduction



Died August 6th,1884.

Dear, genial gifted friend! Thy death to me,
And all who knew thee well, doth sorrow bring
But we in memory will closely cling
To thy bright wit and sound philosophy.
Where shall we another Yorick find?
"Flashes of merriment" and humourous lore,
"Were wont to set the table on a roar"
Yet all were innocent, and wise, and kind.
Thou went to learn of Nature, and well knew
She is the best of teachers; tree and flower,
Bird, insect, quadruped, each had the power
To interest and please thee; and the True
To winnow from the False was joy to thee,
Who loved all wisdom and true liberty.

Rose Cottage, Stokesley

Last week it was our painful duty to record the death of this gentleman, which took place on Wednesday the 6th August at his residence in Purlwell Lane, and his mortal remains were consigned to their last resting place in the Batley Cemetery on Saturday afternoon. The funeral was attended by a large number of friends of the deceased, of whom he had very many, from near and afar, also by the Mayor and Corporation of the borough, the borough officials, the members of the Britannia Mill Company, and many others, by whom Mr. Binns was held in high esteem.

Before proceeding to the cemetery the corpse was taken into the new Purlwell Wesleyan Chapel, where a very impressive funeral service was held, the sacred edifice being crowded with spectators. The Rev. W.H.W. Evans (Wesleyan) and the Rev James Rae (Independent) performed the funeral obsequies. On the route to the Cemetery and at that place, large numbers of persons were assembled towitness the mournful procession.

On this occasion it will not be considered out of place if we append a few particulars respectong our departed townsman and friend, Mr. Binns. He was the son of Abraham and Sarah Binns, who resided at the bottom of Soothill Lane, where they kept a small groceršs shop, the business being still carried on by Mrs.Binns. He was born on the 20th October, 1844. The father, who was for many years employed as a woolsorter by Mr. Abraham Brooke, died at the same age as his son Isaac, and left the same number of children survivng, he being the eldest and quite a boy at the time. He was educated at the Wesleyan day school kept by Mr. John Osborne, and afterwards remained as a pupil teacher, under the instruction of the same master. Being naturally quick and intelligent, he very readily learnt everything he undertook, and sicceeded in passing his examinations particularly early. But the scholastic profession does not seem to have been adapted to one of so lively a temperament, and at the expiration of his time he relinquished that profession and took a responsible situation as cashier at Messrs. Ward &Co's., wholesale provision merchants, Kirkgate, Leeds. Whilst here he married Sarah, eldest daughter of Mr. John Robinson, of Batley. He then removed to Birstall, where for a period of about eight years he was the valued manager at the Britannia Mill. Whilst he was the servant of this company he applied for and obtained the situation of Borough Accountant for Batley, which office was rendered vacant by the death of Mr. Robert Shackleton. This was on October 15th 1874, since which time he has fulfilled the arduous duties with great credit to himself and satisfaction to his employers. In fact, as a financier, ther were few in England that excelled, if equalled Mr. Binns, and by his death the corporation has lost a most valuable servant, whose place it will be difficult to fill. By whomsoever employed, the deceased at all times performed his duties in such an efficient and exacting manner as to win for him their admiration, approval, and respect; and he was also highly respected by everyone with whom he came in contact. In everything to which he gave his mind he was first and foremost, and amongst other things in which he took an initiatory part were the formation of Heckmondwike and the Batley Naturalist Societies, which pursuits were particularly congenial to him, and as a naturalist he was widely known. As an antiquarian he was also well known, but next to being a smart arithmetician, Mr. Binns shone most brilliantly as a literary man.

Whilst a youth , on the formation of the Batley Rifle Corps, he joined as a volunteer, and the experience he gained as such had doubtless some influence in bringing forth one of his forst literary productions- "Tom Wallop" a very comic and racy brochure, which is vividly remembered even yet. This was followed by "T'Bag o' Shoddy" and "T'Coddy Miln" Almancs and other similar productions, all written in gushing Yorkshire dialect, and full of wit and humour. He also edited "Country Words," "T'Barnsla Foaks" and "Tommy Toddles" Almanacs, and wrote "Outlines and Notes," "On the Line," "The Argonaut," "At their Last Victory ," "Fanny the Orphan" "After Fifteen Years" and other serial stories, which were brimful of original ideas, and exceedingly racy. But amongst his best efforts as a literary man is to be named one of his last productions- "From Village to Town" which appeared in our columns some time ago, and has since been published in book form at 1s.6d.

In addition to the foregoing and other works Mr. Binns compiled and published other tables on the repayment by sinking fund of loans to corporations.

We must also state that he was a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, English Dialect, Folklore and Yorkshire Archeological and Topogrphical and other societies, and in connection with these the name of Isaac Binns was known beyond even the limits of the county. It will also be remembered that a short time ago the subject of these remarks applied for the borough treasurership of the city of Worcester, and was one of the selected applicants, though he lost the appointment by one vote.

On Good Friday, as stated by us last week, the deceased was taken ill with quinsy, followed by rheumatic fever, from which, however, he sufficiently recovered to attend to his duties, but only for a week, when he had a relapse and succumbed, as already stated, at the early age of 39 years. He leaves a widow and five children, in addition to a large circle of friends and aquaintances to whom he had becomne deeply attached by his warm heart and genial disposition.

We may add in conclusion that at Thursday's meeting of the Batley Town Council a high tribute was paid by Alderman Fox and the Mayor to the respect in which the deceased was held, and to the abilities which he ever displayed.

From Vivien Tomlinson, September 2006

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