On the day of The Tower opening, the local press reported as follows: â€œMr R. J. Whalley, who as everyone can see, has carried out the construction in a satisfactory manner and has particularly pleased the committee and their architect by the loyal and careful manner in which the details and specifications have been followed. We might also congratulate Mr Edward Baron who has acted as manager for Mr. Whalley, and who has taken a deep personal interest in The Towerâ€.
It is this deep personal interest that even today still reflects the skill and dedication of the craftsmen whose handiwork stands witness in their absence. But historyâ€™s page is soon to record a change of direction for Edmund Baron.
The final ceremony on the day, was the Jubilee Committeeâ€™s procuring for Mr Duckworth a handsome key to open The Tower with, reported as follows. â€œIt is silver gilt, and bears the following inscriptions:
Queen Victoriaâ€™s Diamond Jubilee. Darwen Celebrations, 1897.â€ And on the other side the entwining ribbons are inscribed, â€œThe Tower erected in commemoration on Darwen Moor, opened by the Rev. W.A. Duckworth, M.A., Lord of the Manor Sept. 24th 1898.â€
Following the excitement of the Jubilee Celebrations, and the new found freedom by townsfolk to wander the moors at will, life soon settled back to normal.
On the far horizon were rumblings of a different kind.
The fortunes of many Darwen townsfolk were changing as world economics began to affect the pockets of those who could employ labour. The demand for skilled stonemasons was in decline as money dried up and lifelong commitment to a trade suddenly had little value. Because people had to eat, there was little choice but to take what was available, and so we find Edmund Baron, formerly stonemason manager on Victoria Tower, now Edmund Baron, Tramway Inspector.
The Darwen Tramway Corporation was a very popular method of transport and a fairly recent innovation at the time, so it was to provide a steady income for the greater part of his later life during the 1900â€™s right into the 1920â€™s.
While a Tramway Inspector, he was to experience two periods of grief. The first was while living at 507 Bolton Road, in 1916, where he received an intimation that his eldest child and only son, Samuel, had been killed in action.
The second was during 1918 with the death of his wife of 24 years, Mary Baron (nee Haslam), of prolonged influenza and acute bronchitis during an epidemic of that year.
It was in April of 1920 while still a Tramway Inspector that Edmund married Hetty Bury. Altering course again, he became Clerk of works. Such was the untiring endeavour of this man, he and his new wife purchased and ran a business with the assistance of his three girls, at 349 Preston Old Road, Cherry Tree until he retired, when the business was passed on to his daughter and son -in- law, Ellen and Arnold Nuttall. In recent times that same business finally closed its doors in year 2000.
Hetty Bury is great aunt to the author: Norman J. Bury, Melbourne, Australia.
Thanks also go to:
Many thanks to Norman from the Cotton Town project for letting us use his text.