Mollekin & Co.
Herbert Mollekin, my great grand uncle, commenced business as a builder and contractor at Hull in 1895, with a capital of £150. In 1897 he removed to Pontefract.
Herbert Mollekin (centre)
Although Herbert described himself as a Master Builder after 1901, he was actually a Master Joiner, like his brother, John. I do not believe that he spent a further seven years qualifying as a Master Builder but assumed the title due to his influence and competency in the building industry.
Herbert appears to have building operations in the Rotherham district sometime between 1901 and 1905. There is a newspaper article from early 1905 when Herbert is described as building houses at Laughton en le Morthen, near to Rotherham.
According to one source on the Internet, Herbert was employed to build 224 houses at Dalton Brook in 1906 by the Dalton Main Colliery Company. Initially, Herbert’s wife, Bertha, purchased the land upon which the houses were to be built. Once completed, these houses were rented out to miners employed by mines operated by the aforementioned Dalton Main Colliery Company. Dalton Main Colliery Company would lease these houses from, Herbert until 1948 at a cost of £10, 10 shillings per house per year. These houses were demolished circa 2000 in a bid to rid the area of antisocial behaviour which was rife at the time. As of November 2017, only one house remains.
The only remaining properties built by Herbert Mollekin in Dalton. Since this photo was taken, only one property remains which is currently under threat.
Maltby Colliery was sunk in 1908. The colliery company employed Herbert to build an estate of 1000 houses for its work people. This was called the Model Village, consisting of two concentric circles of roads; the miner’s houses were on Scarborough Crescent to the rear, and the larger houses of Deacon Crescent were for the overmen and deputies. A Church was constructed too which was converted into residential purposes circa 2008.
Other known projects executed by Herbert include:-
- Almost an entirely new village at Thurcroft
- Rhodesia village, near Shireoaks
- Houses at Frickley, Rawmarsh, Thurcroft, Blackwell, and South Normanton
- An Elementary School at Thurcroft
- A Technical Institute at Dinnington
Many of the houses constructed by Herbert are very distinctive in style and are easily recognisable to the trained eye.
By 1911, Herbert’s company as it existed at the time ran into difficulties. Reasons cited by my grandfather, John Gilbert Mollekin, were that the houses built by Herbert were of too high a quality and didn’t generate a profit. John remembered the bankruptcy of the firm being celebrated with a grand party involving lots of champagne and very smartly dressed people. I later ascertained that this event was probably a party organised by Herbert to celebrate the Coronation of the King in 1911 which was just prior to the business failing.
Maltby Model Village
Despite the above failure, the company seemed to recover pretty soon after World War One, although I do not know exactly when. However, the name of the company changed to, Mollekin & Sons Limited. I surmise that the change of name was to exploit some loophole in the bankruptcy law. In 1924, Mollekin & Sons Limited were based at Herbert’s home address of, The Grange, Maltby. Certainly, by 1926, Herbert was being held in high esteem again as can be read in this entry.
My grandfather was a trained bricklayer working for the company but by circa 1915 had left to work for the Railways as a Signalman. Presumably, work had dried up to such an extent that he had to make a career change.
Herbert died in 1929 and in 1929, the company was called, Mollekin Brothers. The business seemed to operate under this name until about 1947 although I cannot find a specific address for it other than, Maltby. Splits in the business are evident by 1933. After 1933, the main players in the Mollekin building business seemed to be three of Herbert’s sons – George Herbert Mollekin, John Ernest Mollekin and Claude Mollekin and latterly, John Kenneth Mollekin (Herbert’s grandson). Building operations in the Rotherham area ceased around 1970 although they continued until 1984 in the Scarborough district.
Below are detailed newspaper articles regarding Herbert’s bankruptcy of 1911.
THE ROTHERHAM ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, 12th AUGUST, 1911
MALTBY BUILDER’S FAILURE.
DEFICIENCY OF OVER £9000.
The first meeting of the creditors of Herbert Mollekin, of Westfield House, Maltby road, Maltby, near Rotherham, builder and contractor, trading as “Mollekin and Co.,” will be held at the Law Society’s Rooms, Bank street, Sheffield, on Monday next, the 14th inst.
Hebert at the Doncaster Races with the Earl of Scarborough
The gross liabilities amount to £32, 861 7s. 9d. Of this some £14, 804 18s. 11d. is expected to rank. In his estimate of the liabilities, debtor places 85 unsecured creditors as accounting for a sum of £12. 530 6s. 11d. He states that there are 22 creditors fully secured, accounting for a sum of £10, 593 10s., the estimated value of the securities being £13, 452; which leaves a surplus of £2858 10s. Deducting £2840 10s., amount carried to partly secured creditors, there is a balance to contra of £218. Three creditors partly secured account for £9580 2s.; while the estimated value of the securities in this instance is £7235 10s., leaving £2276 12s.
In the assets, as estimated by debtor, the following figures appear:-Cash in hand, £13: stock-in-trade (cost £1750), £1200: machinery, £530; trade fixtures, fittings, utensils, etc., £160; furniture, £150; motor-cars, £350; share in Maltby Estate Co., £800; value of land in Model village, £100; water-wheel at Maltby, £150; book debts, £1841 4s. 4d.; surplus from securities in the hands creditors fully secured (per contra), £218. This make a total of £5532 6s. 4d. Deducting from this the claims of creditors for distrainable rent, preferential rates, wages, Sheriff’s charges, etc., which amount to £125 8s. 3d., and it causes the assets to figure at £5400 16s. 1d. The deficiency is, therefore, £9398 2s. 10d.
CAUSES OF FAILURE.
Debtor attributes his failure to shortness of capital, involving delay in obtaining materials and delay in settlements.
Herbert Mollekin (right)
The deficiency in accounted for as follows:-Bad debts, £124; household expenses incurred during past twelve months, £520; losses incurred from insufficiency of capital in carrying out the Grimethorpe and Moorthorpe contracts, £8754 2s. 10d.
In the course of his operations, the Official Receiver states that the receiving order and order of adjudication were made on July 25, on debtor’s own petition, in consequence of several creditors taking proceedings against him. Debtor, who is aged 48, commenced business as a builder and contractor at Hull in 1895, with a capital of £150. In 1897 he removed to Pontefract, and in 1905, commenced at Maltby. At the date of the receiving order he was engaged in extensive building operations at Maltby, Hemsworth, Grimethorpe, Moorthorpe, and Frickley. In June 1904, while carrying on business at Pontefract, he executed a deed of assignment, his liabilities at that time being about £2, 000, and a dividend of 5s. in the pound was paid. On July 23rd last the debtor sold a motor lorry for £110 in order to raise money to pay wages.
The property in the possession of the fully and partly secured creditors consists of houses completed and in course of erection at Moorthorpe, Frickley, Maltby and Grimethorpe; also land situated at Maltby and Moorthorpe, one shop, 3 acres of land at Dalton, five other shops at Dalton and two cottages and land at Maltby. The whole of the unsecured liabilities are owing in respect of ordinary trade debts contracted during present year except the sum of £700, a loan obtained from a friend. The debtor states that up to 1904 he was working for his wife at a salary of £5 per week. Debtor had entered into agreements for the purchase of land and for the erection of a large number of houses at Frickley and Maltby which were to be leased to colliery companies.
THE ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1911.
Maltby Contractor’s Failure.
PUBLIC EXAMINATION OF MR. HERBERT MOLLEKIN.
KEEN QUESTIONING BY OFFICIAL RECEIVER.
At the Sheffield Bankruptcy Court on Thursday Herbert Mollekin, builder and contractor, Maltby road, Maltby, came up for his public examination. The receiving order was made on July 25, and at that time debtor owned property, stock, plant, etc., estimated at the value of £2000. His gross liabilities were £32,881 7s. 9d. The amounts were:- Covered by securities, £17,849; preferential, payable in full, £125; estimated to rank for dividends, £14,804 18s. 11d. The assets were estimated to produce £5532 4s. 4d.; available for dividends after payment of preferential creditors, £5406 16s. 1d. The unsecured creditors numbered 85, fully secured 22, partly secured 3, and preferential 131. The number of debtors to the estate was 16. The first meeting of creditors was held on the 14th of August.
Messrs. Joseph Henry Scott, Hull, and Mr. Henry Gilbert Liversidge, Rotherham, were the trustees of the estate. Debtor was represented by Mr. Swanick, of Messrs. Davies, Sanders and Swanick, Chesterfield. Mr. Gichard represented a number of the creditors.
Debtor, in answer to the Official Receiver (Mr. J. C. Clegg) said he commenced business as a builder and contractor in Hull in 1895. In 1897 he moved to Pontefract, and in 1905 he went to Maltby. In June, 1904, while at Pontefract, he made a deed of assignment for the benefit of his creditors. His liabilities then were £2000, and they received a composition of 5s. in the pound. Up to that time he had been carrying on the business on his own account, but after that he carried on in the name of his wife. He managed the business for her.
HIS WIFE’S MANAGER.
The Receiving Officer: I suppose that was because of your financial position? – Yes. People would not finance me, but they would finance her.
The transactions were in her name, but you made all the arrangements? – I had the working of it.
How long did that arrangement continue? – Till about February, 1909.
Had she ever anything to do with any of the business transactions? – She really put what she had into it.
As a matter of fact, was she a partner with you? – No.
Debtor, continuing, said in February, 1909, he took the business all on his own account. His wife gave him what money she had at the time. She was interested in some property at Laughton and at Pontefract. The properties had been acquired by her while the business was being carried on in her name. She had from time to time advanced him money since February, 1909, but he never at any time repaid any of the money.
Mr. Gichard – Solicitor
The Official Receiver: Were these monies advanced as loans or gifts? – Well, she expected to get them back.
Has she received anything back at all? – Not out of any property I have.
Has she got anything at all? – Will you let me explain?
The Registrar: No. Answer the question.
Debtor: It has been paid into her account and paid out again from time to time.
IN BUSINESS FOR HIMSELF.
The Official Receiver: Are these transactions entered anywhere? – In the pass book.
Have you got any account showing the amounts advanced to you? – Not beyond the pass book.
The Official Receiver: Then may I take it that to a considerable extent her banking account has run your trading matters? – For the last 18 months probably so.
When did you find yourself in financial difficulties? – About 10 months ago.
What was the occasion to which you refer? – I refer to the contracts I had taken at Grimethorpe and Frickley. I saw they were going to prove a great loss.
As the months passed on did that opinion become confirmed? – For the last 15 months I have known my position was very insecure, but as regards these contracts I hoped by other work to recoup the loss.
What were the contracts on which you made money? – The Maltby, Dalton and other contracts.
When did your financial position become acute? – A few weeks before I filed my position. That was in consequence of creditors pressing, and I had no money to meet them.
Is it a fact that in the ensuing period you did not order new goods and materials? – I never ordered goods. I always thought I could get over it.
Mr. Gichard – Solicitor
I didn’t ask you that. I asked if during the last six weeks before you filed your petition you did not order any goods? – I did order goods. I knew my position was serious, but not so serious as that.
Did you order goods after the beginning of July, as you say you did? – No.
What was your reason for not ordering? – People possibly would not have supplied them.
It was because your credit was gone, not because you didn’t want material? – No.
The Official Receiver: Had creditors been suing you for six months prior to July? – They had commenced proceedings occasionally.
NO BALANCE SHEET.
They were the creditors who would not wait? – Yes. Some of them were getting paid.
In May you were sued for £160, and another creditor sued for about £20? – Yes.
You must have been short to be sued for £20. – Yes, unless he had a grievance against me.
On the 23rd of July you sold a motor lorry to raise money for wages? – Yes.
You attribute your failure to shortness of capital, involving delay in obtaining material and in settlement? – Yes, and to loss on those two contracts.
Did you at any time ever make out anything in the nature of a balance sheet to show what your position was? – No.
You did not know until your bankruptcy whether you were carrying on at a profit or a loss? – Our accounts on those two jobs were kept for us.
The Official Receiver: How much had you been taking for household expenses? – From £8 to £10 a week.
Debtor, in answer to further questions, said he was married in 1888, and his wife had no money at the time. When he filed his petition his wife had no money or property. She had only her own clothes and some pigs in the yard.
The Official Receiver: Where did she get the money from she lent you? – Out of the properties she was interested in.
The proceeds of her property have gone into your business? – Yes, my creditors got it.
The Official Receiver: In the statement of accounts on the 25th July, 1910, there was no surplus of assets over liabilities. Do you mean to say you were solvent then? – I thought I could pick up again.
A HUGE DEFICIT.
Look at your statement now. There is a total deficiency of £9378 2s. 10d. Do you say that has all gone in the last twelve months on those two undertakings? – Yes, very little more.
What were the contracts? – At Grimethorpe 450 houses and at Frickley 250 houses.
Mr. Clegg – Official Receiver
The first contract you took was for the Maltby Main Colliery Co., on the 8th of March, 1909. You agreed to build 300 houses for them. – Yes.
They were to be built on land acquired from a syndicate. Who were the syndicate? – I was one of them, and there were Mr. Norman Gibbs. Mr. Watson, Mr. Woolhouse, and Mr. Hill.
Was that the only business transaction you had with these gentlemen? – We sold the land in the first case to the Colliery Company.
What did the syndicate pay for the land? – £8800 for about 83 acres.
You agreed to buy 40 acres at £120 per acre? – The Colliery Company paid it.
You had an agreement to re-purchase it for building operations at £130 per acre? – Yes, under 40 acres.
You paid a considerable advance on what had been paid for the land? – Yes.
At the time you entered into that agreement had you any capital of your own? – No.
Where did you expect to get capital to enable you to carry it out? – From the bank.
Had you made any arrangement to that effect before entering into the agreement? – Yes.
The Official Receiver: On the 29th of October, 1909, you entered into another agreement with the Carlton Main Colliery Co. to erect 237 houses at Grimethorpe. You also took an option to erect 200 houses at Frickley? – Yes.
Had you made any similar financial arrangements to carry these out? – I expected to make a profit on them and carry one to help the other.
Debtor also admitted entering into agreements to erect 250 houses at South Kirkby and 67 houses for deputies. On the 2nd of April, 1910, he agreed to purchase land to erect 147 more houses during the year, and on the 25th of March, 1911, he entered into a further agreement to erect 74 houses at South Elmsall.
The Official Receiver: As to all these contracts you were dependent entirely on the bank making advances to carry them out? – That and the turnover.
I think you have had cash books, but they were not kept? – I hadn’t time.
You didn’t engage anybody else? – No, because the money was paid direct at the completion of all accounts.
Did you ever have any statement showing what you had made and what became of it? – Certainly, at the completion of every account.
REQUEST NOT COMPLIED WITH.
The Official Receiver: Did you on the 16th of August get a request from me to furnish me with a cash and goods account, and also an account in detail showing how the deficiency had arisen? – Yes.
Have you done anything towards complying with that request until 12.30 to-day, when you sent me some accounts showing your balance with the various contractors? – No.
Mr. Binney – Registrar
Have you prepared any cash accounts as requested? What is your explanation for taking from the 16th of August to the 19th of October to make out these accounts? – I had to work all the time. I wanted assistance and could not get anybody.
Did you on the 19th of August receive a letter from me asking you to let me have a statement showing the cost of the cottages, materials, labour, railway carriage, and the total costs? – I don’t remember getting it.
Do you mean to say you didn’t see the letter containing that request? – I don’t remember it.
Have you subsequently received a letter asking you to comply with that request? – Something like that?
Where is the statement asked for in that letter? – I haven’t got it out yet.
The Official Receiver: Hadn’t you the statement in your possession some time ago? – I have no statement of the Grimethorpe and Frickley cottages, I never have had.
I didn’t ask you to define the cottages, I asked for a statement of the cost of the cottages? – I have no such statement.
Did you ever show Mr. Broadbent a detailed statement of what the cottages cost you? – Certainly not. I showed Mr. Broadbent a statement of the cost of houses we proposed to build. You can have that. I thought you meant the cost of the houses I had built.
OFFICIAL RECEIVER’S REBUKE.
You knew that was a paper relating to your affairs; why didn’t you let me have it? – I didn’t know it was of any consequence, because it was about houses we were going to build.
The Official Receiver: Please don’t judge. It is your duty to give up all you have, and the trustees and myself will consider whether it is of consequence. Prior to February, 1909, you say you carried on the business for your wife. Where did she bank? – London City and Midland Bank, Chesterfield.
Who was the account opened by? – Mollekin and Co.
Who was the company at that time? – Mrs. Mollekin only.
Was there anyone associated with her? – Yes, a person of the name of Mrs. Driver financed her.
Did you make the arrangements with Mrs. Driver? – It was a matter entirely between Mrs. Driver and my wife.
You only had to manage it as a servant? – Yes.
Was that in September, 1906? – I could not say. perhaps so.
In whose name was the banking account opened? – I believe in the name of Mrs. Driver.
Who signed? – Mrs. Driver, Mrs. Mollekin and myself.
Why should you sign? – I thought it necessary.
Didn’t you represent yourself as a partner? – I didn’t class myself as a partner.
In what capacity did you sign? – As manager.
You knew servants don’t usually sign a banking account? – I did.
If you drew a cheque, who signed it? – I did.
Did that account continue up to the time of your bankruptcy? – No, only to the middle of 1909.
Herbert Mollekin under cross examination
Debtor, continuing, said he opened another account No. 3, on the 14th of January, 1909, and on the 18th of December, 1909, he opened the Grimethorpe account, and on the 6th of March, 1910, the Frickley account, and on the 20th July, 1911, he opened another account. On the last one there were only cheques that had been paid amounting to £734 8s. 2d. There were no payments in.
The Official Receiver: Had you given them some security? – Yes.
With reference to these accounts sent in to-day. Take the Grimethorpe account. I suppose you have gone through these accounts yourself? – Not since they have been completed.
The Official Receiver: I am not going to waste my time asking you about them then.
THE TRUSTEE’S QUESTIONS.
Debtor, cross-examined by Mr. Scott, one of the trustees, said when he made a deed of assignment in 1904, a trustee was appointed and an arrangement for a composition of 5s. in the pound was made. Mrs. Driver paid that amount to the trustee and it was distributed amongst the creditors. Mrs. Driver then lent his wife the stock, plant and materials she had obtained as security for the money, to carry on the business. Mrs. Mollekin went on building and Mrs. Driver financed the undertaking. An agreement was made whereby the property should be erected in Mrs. Mollekin’s name. Mrs. Mollekin undertook to get the best mortgage she could and half the rents went to Mrs. Driver as repayment for the money advanced and half to Mrs. Mollekin as repayment of the amount she had in it. If the property was sold Mrs. Driver was to get her money back and half the amount beyond the actual cost while the other half went to Mrs. Mollekin.
Mr. Scott: She got half the profits for the loan of her name? – That is so.
Isn’t it a fact it was your name they wanted and you couldn’t use it because of your failure? – I don’t think so.
What wage did you get for managing this business? – At first £3, then I soon got £4, and later £5 a week.
Mr. Scott: Mrs. Driver retired in 1909? – At the beginning of 1909.
What did that business do, make a profit or otherwise? – The last undertaking of that business, 527 houses for the Dalton Main Colliery Co., was profitable.
DIVIDING THE PROFITS.
Can you give the Court a rough idea of how much Mrs. Driver had to draw as her share of the profits? – No.
When she went out of the business in February, 1909, accounts were taken, weren’t they? – Well, roughly, yes.
Who was the person who prepared the accounts? – Mr. Hutchinson, of Rotherham valued the property and stock.
Who paid Mrs. Driver? – I did.
How much did you pay her? – About £700, besides what she had advanced.
When Mrs. Driver retired she really left Mrs. Mollekin in as proprietress? – I really took it in myself then. I thought I was entitled to the benefits of it.
You swept Mrs. Mollekin on one side and stepped in? – That is so.
Did Mrs. Driver give notice to any of the creditors she had retired? – She told the bank she was no longer a guarantor for the account.
Did you inform any of the creditors that Mrs. Driver had given up the business? – No.
Have you told any of the them she was a partner? – No.
It was understood at the bank that the signature to draw money should be Mollekin and Co., signed by Herbert Mollekin? – Yes.
What has become of the properties of which your wife was then the nominal owner? – They have been conveyed away from her.
Debtor further said that the property was not sold, it was claimed for the mortgages, He was now in a position to say that his wife had neither property or money of her own.
Mr. Scott: You admitted to the Official Receiver that you showed Mr. Broadbent a statement as to the cost of some cottages? – Yes, they were figures relating to houses we were about to commence or had commenced at Maltby. I showed him that statement to prove that if I had time I could recoup the loss made on those two unfortunate contracts, and get out of my present position.
These cottages you were to build at £130 each? – I don’t remember.
How long have you been aware that cottages you expected to build for £130 have been costing you £180? – I knew some cottages I expected to build for £150 were costing from £170 to £180.
It is is a fact you have known of that mistake a long time? – Last year I knew they would cost me more.
You knew it at the time you showed Mr. Broadbent that statement? – Certainly not.
Herbert Mollekin under cross examination
The interview with Mr. Broadbent was on the 27th of July, the interview with your solicitors was at the beginning of the year, so you must have know.
Mr. Gichard, who represented Mr. Joe Steeples, Earl Fitzwilliam, Mr. Alfred Bentley, and Messrs. Green, of Rotherham, and other creditors, next cross-examined the debtor. In answer to his questions debtor admitted that during the whole of the time he was working at Dalton he used Mr. Steeples’ stabling accommodation freely. He used the stable for probably about two years before he came to the arrangement for borrowing £700.
Mr. Gichard: Had Mr. Steeples from time to time asked you to come to an arrangement for the payment of rent? – He said nothing to me.
Didn’t he say it was time you had a clearing up between you? – He might have done.
Didn’t he tell you he wouldn’t lend you money till you made an arrangement about the rent? Did you then suggest that half the rents might be used for payment of rent of the stables and interest on the money? – No.
You suggest Mr. Steeples was a partner with you, and yet you mortgaged these shops in your own name? – I did.
Mr. Gichard pressed the debtor to say what his loss on the two contracts named really was. Debtor replied that he should say he lost £30 per house on 400 houses.
Mr. Gichard mentioned a contract with the County Council, in which debtor’s wife entered jointly with him. – Debtor: I was not aware of signing it.
Mr. Gichard How much was the contract for? – £5000.
You had forgotten a trifle like that? – I had forgotten my wife was asked to sign it.
Mr. Gichard: Have you been disposing of goods to people just prior to your bankruptcy? – Yes, to realise wages.
Do you know a man named Clarkson has possession of some of your goods? – Yes, a horse and cart. He took it while I was away the Saturday previous to my filing my petition.
Has anything else been taken? – Yes, he took some pigs from the yard that my wife claims.
Will you get me the names of some persons who saw the goods taken? – Yes.
Had you a man named Betts working for you at Frickley? – Yes, at Moorthorpe.
Do you know he removed a considerable quantity of goods from there? – I am informed so.
He had no right to take them? – No; he had not my permission.
Was there anything else taken from Frickley? – Yes, by Betts, I am told.
The Official Receiver asked for an adjournment of the examination until the 23rd of November, and also applied to the Registrar to make an order for the debtor to furnish a cash account from the 1st July, 1909, to the 20th July, 1911, and a goods account for the same period; also a detailed statement showing how the deficiency had arisen. He had requested these details before, but until 12.30 that day he had received no account at all. From just a casual glance at what had been furnished it gave him the opinion it would need to be amended. He did not see a single explanation as to the cost of the cottages. He asked for an order for these accounts, and having regard to the fact that debtor had had three months to furnish them and had done nothing until fourteen days ago, he asked the Registrar to make an order for him to have the accounts within fourteen days.
Mr. Swanick, on behalf of debtor, said that could not be done without some assistance.
The Official Receiver: You will not get that at the expense of the estate. I don’t want accounts furnishing me that debtor knows nothing about. He is supposed to go through them and be prepared to swear they are correct.
Herbert Mollekin with chauffeur
The Registrar: He must take the responsibility for the accounts he furnishes.
It was eventually decided that debtor supply the accounts requested before the 23rd of November, and the public examination was adjourned until December 21st.
THE ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1911.
Maltby Contractor’s Failure.
MR. HERBERT MOLLEKIN’S PUBLIC EXAMINATION.
OFFICIAL RECEIVER NOT SATISFIED YET
CASE AGAIN ADJOURNED.
At the Sheffield Bankruptcy Court on Thursday, Herbert Mollekin, builder and contractor, Maltby road, Maltby, again came up for his public examination. The receiving order was made on July 25, and at that time debtor owned property, stock, plant, etc., estimated at the value of £2000. His gross liabilities were £32,881 7s. 9d. The amounts were:- Covered by securities, £17,849; preferential, payable in full, £125; estimated to rank for dividends, £14,804 18s. 11d. The assets were estimated to produce £5532 4s. 4d.; available for dividends after payment of preferential creditors, £5406 16s. 1d. The unsecured creditors numbered 85, fully secured 22, partly secured 3, and preferential 131. The number of debtors to the estate was 16. The first meeting of creditors was held on the 14th of August.
Messrs. Joseph Henry Scott, Hull, and Mr. Henry Gilbert Liversidge, Rotherham, were the trustees of the estate. Debtor was represented by Mr. Swanick, of Messrs. Davies, Sanders and Swanick, Chesterfield. Mr. Gichard represented a number of the creditors.
The Official Receiver questioned debtor as to accounts delivered to him on the 17th of October, and asked if it was a fact that they were prepared from the bank book only?
The Official Receiver: Not from your own book? – No.
And you know the statement of receipts were then incomplete? – They were not complete as required.
Did they show a cash deficiency of over £17,000? – Yes.
Do you agree these accounts so far as helping in the examination of affairs are worthless? – I have since found out it was so.
Did you on the 22nd of November deliver further accounts to me made up by you, with the assistance of your manager, partly from the bank book, partly from your own books, and partly from invoices and other papers in your possession? – Yes, with additional assistance from an accountant.
Take the Maltby account: that shows a deficiency of £4190 10s. 9d., the Grimethorpe account shows a deficiency of £5178 5s. 2d., the Frickley account shows a deficiency of £2880 6s. 8d.? – Yes.
All these accounts show a deficiency amounting to £12,249 7s. 9d.? – Yes.
There was a loss on each of the contracts? – Yes.
Did you make out any estimate as to the cost of the houses you were about to erect under these contracts? – Yes, we got estimates out.
What has become of these estimates? – We never kept them.
Herbert Mollekin in Nice (left)
Just to clear up this point. You were asked on the last occasion about some estimates produced to Mr. Broadbent. Have those estimates since been handed to me? – Yes, the whole of them.
You say they related to houses you completed building, not to those you had built? – They were relating to houses we were contemplating building.
About the houses you have built and the estimates you formed. Did you, as to the Grimethorpe houses, estimate the labour and material would cost £140? – Yes.
You entered that contract in October, 1909? – That was the time.
The land for each house was to cost £7, roadmaking £5, solicitor’s costs £15, fee for guarantor against overdraft at the bank £6. That brings the cost up to £173. Did you ascertain these figures in October, 1909? Not the whole of them.
Which didn’t you know? – The guarantee fee of £6.
Did you at the same time agree to sell these houses when built for £172? – It was agreed our solicitors should sell them, and I would accept £173.
Were the Frickley houses the same except the cost was estimated to be £2 more? – The material would cost more.
Including the fee of £6 for the guarantor of the bank overdraft, have you reckoned up that the cost was exactly the selling price? – That is so.
You agreed to sell them at a price which, apart from the guarantee fee, left you only a profit of £6 per house? – Yes.
You told us on the last occasion that as a matter of fact you lost about £30 per house? – I lost a good deal.
That about agrees with these accounts you have rendered. In addition to these costs and charges I have given you, you ad agreed to pay two per cent. on mortgage monies before the money was advanced? – Yes.
How long did that interest run? – From the time the mortgage was required.
What was the longest time? – In some cases it may have been 12 months, or even more.
In the accounts you have rendered, this interest on money is given as £518 10s. 5d.? – That is the amount.
There is in the account also an amount for bank interest and charges for overdraft, £970 12s. 5d. These, I take it, are some of the items accounting for the deficiency? – Yes.
You also say you have lost money through your inability to properly superintend and manage the various works? – Yes, it was owing to me having had too much on at one time.
As to that loss you cannot form any idea? – Not correctly. I have lost most of it in that direction.
How long have you known you were losing money on these houses? – I have known twelve months that they were not being built for the amount I stated.
Wouldn’t you know when you made the arrangement to begin these houses that you only had a margin of £6? – No.
In the real explanation that you went on without reckoning up how you were going on? Did you ever seriously look into the matter as to what they were costing you? – I knew they were costing me more than I estimated, possibly twelve months ago.
In various accounts that have been rendered there are items of retentions for roads amounting to £1925. Is it a fact this money was assigned to the guarantors? – I could not tell you that.
The Official Receiver: I am told it has been assigned by the trustees.
Mr. Gichard: I don’t say that, I say some money has been assigned.
The Official Receiver: Do you know what amount these various payments you had to make come to in the aggregate? – No.
According to your accounts they come to over £11,000. Are these figures taken from accounts that have been rendered to you? – Yes.
I see in the Maltby account there is an item, sundry accounts £350 15s. 6d. Where did that come from? The complete details are in the statement.
The Official Receiver: I cannot find them. – The only answer I can give is that I thought it was there.
The Official Receiver: Possibly you have seen it in some draft that was prepared and has not been supplied to me? – It maybe so,
You were asked about Mrs. Mollekin’s association in these matters. is it a fact that she has nothing of her own at the present time? – Nothing whatsoever.
It is also a fact that she was in that condition when business transactions were first commenced in her name? – Yes.
There is no account of dealings that have taken place in her name except those to be found in the pass book? – No.
Mr. Gichard, representing the trustees and sundry creditors, then proceeded to examine the bankrupt on the account.
Debtor admitted that he was told on the 21st of October he was to be careful and see the accounts delivered in were accounts he could speak to himself. To the best of his ability he had furnished such accounts.
Mr. Gichard: Then I may take it you have gone through these accounts thorough? – I have gone through them.
I want you to take the question as a whole and not drop any part of it. I said had you gone through them thoroughly? – Yes.
A QUESTION OF ACCOUNTS.
You have got the figures from books and documents in your possession or that of some other person? – Yes.
So you will be fairly familiar with the different items? – Yes.
Will you tell me the meaning of the item which appears in the Frickley account, to fees for guaranteeing at the bank £635? – That was £6 a house.
Mr. Gichard: That is not exactly it, because £635 won’t divide by 6. It must have been either £630 or £636.
Debtor: In some instances it was only £4 a house.
Mr. Gichard: You had to pay an outside person to guarantee at the bank? – Yes. £4 in the case of Frickley houses and £6 in respect to Grimesthorpe.
Who were they? – Is it necessary to give names?
The Registrar: Yes, you must answer.
Debtor: Mr. Swanick, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Deacon and Mr. Davies.
Mr. Gichard: some of them were your solicitors? -Yes.
Mr. Gichard: Does the same class of transaction apply to each of the other building transactions? – No. Guarantees were only given in respect to the houses at Frickley and Grimesthorpe.
Mr. Gichard: These payments for guaranteeing the banking account, were they in addition to the legal charges incurred? – Yes. The legal charges were £15 and that included everything, the law costs as well as arranging for mortgages.
Mr. Gichard: Why I ask you is this. You knew at the time that you entered into arrangements to go on building that at the utmost there could only be very little left to repay you for your work. In answer to the Official Receiver, you said £6 per house? – I knew at the time, as I know now, that if they could be built for £140 they would leave me a profit. I am satisfied that if I had been superintending the work they would have been build for £140.
Mr. Gichard: That would be the cost you estimated, and the selling price was £173. That leaves a balance of £33. You have been trying to show us how that has evaporated in one way or another. Your figures show that you could only have a profit of £6 per house. You knew at that time you would have to get guarantors for the bank, didn’t you? – No.
Where did you expect to get the money from? – I have never been asked for money for a guarantee before.
HEAVY HOME EXPENSES.
Mr. Gichard: The guarantee was given by you, and after going on with the work for some little time you found you could not go on without obtaining assistance from the bank or elsewhere? – Yes. I expected assistance in the usual way.
Mr. Gichard: What were your household expenses weekly? – About £10 per week.
How many houses were you building per week? – About five or six per week.
So if you had had the full £6 clear profit there would not have been too much? It would be about £20 to £30 per week? – No, no. You know there are other things to consider.
Mr. Gichard: Isn’t it a fact that you were insolvent two or three years ago? – No.
Did you have accounts prepared with a view to showing what your position was? – Not until the commencement of this year.
Is it not a fact that long before twelve months ago you had a doubt as to your solvency? – No.
During the last three years have you ever had a hope of being able to meet your liabilities? – Yes.
How? – By building houses.
What, with this narrow margin of £6 a house? – It was more in some cases.
Has there been any of the undertakings on which you made more? – We were commencing an undertaking which would have shown a profit of between £20 and £30 per house.
Even after allowing for legal expenses? – Yes.
You expected to make that out of these houses, you know, and having had the experience of these, didn’t you come to the conclusion that there was no possible chance of making any such profit as you hoped for? – No. I had an undertaking about to commence that would have made that amount.
Mr. Gichard then drew the debtor’s attention to an item in the Grimesthorpe bricks account of £500 paid to his solicitors, and asked him whether the amount was paid in one sum or in many. The debtor replied that he believed it was paid in one.
Mr. Gichard: Can you give me the date of the payment? – It is in the accounts.
Can you give it me approximately? – I should say possibly the end of June.
Mr. Gichard, after looking at some documents: There is no date.
The debtor: The pass book will give the date, I think.
Mr. Gichard then examined the bank pass book, and said: You said about the end of June?
The debtor: To the best of my recollection.
Mr. Gichard handed the book to the debtor, and drew his attention to the fact that the entry of the payment by the bankers was dated July 22nd.
Mr. Gichard: So that may I take it it was given, approximately, about that date? – Thereabouts.
AN UNEXPLAINED ITEM.
You filed your petition in bankruptcy on the 25th July? – Yes.
And, of course, you have told us you knew you were insolvent for twelve months – I have been suggesting longer – you say twelve months. Will you tell me the exact circumstances under which that payment of £500 came to be made? – It was a charge that had been held some time.
Mr. Gichard then read extracts from a letter which showed that the item was a charge against the Frickley deputies’ houses in respect of the brick account.
Had your solicitors at that time paid the sum of money on your behalf, or did they pay it after, do you know? – These statements show them to have paid it that month.
Do you know whether or not that sum of £500 was paid by your solicitors before you gave the cheque or afterwards? – I cannot say.
Have you endeavoured to get to know? – I knew they had agreed to pay it.
When were you asked to give the cheque? – About the time I gave it.
About July 22nd? – I should say so.
What was said? – I cannot give you the words.
You must try. – Probably I should be told that the amount had better be paid.
there were several writs out against you then for large amounts? – Yes.
And some of the creditors definitely refused to give you any further time for payment? – Yes.
These circumstances being in your mind, what was it exactly that was said to you which led you to part with £500 of your creditors’ money? – I can’t tell you what was said.
Mr. Gichard pressed the debtor for an answer, and
The Registrar said he thought the question was one that was very easy to answer.
Mr. Gichard: Were you asked to pay £500 to Messrs. Davies, Sanders, and Swanwick so as to relieve them of some of their liabilities with regard to accounts they had already paid? – Yes.
You are sure the monies were already paid? – That was mentioned at the time.
Are you quite sure that £500 has actually been paid to this day? – I am quite sure Mr. Swanwick said they had already paid this amount.
Are you quite sure it has been paid to this day? – I believe it had been paid then.
Did you pay it then, on the understanding and under the impression that the £500 was money which had been paid on your behalf? – I knew they were liable.
Mr. Gichard repeated the question. – I won’t swear that.
Was it a cheque for £500 drawn in favour of Davies, Sanders, and Swanwick in repayment to them of a sum of £500 which they had already paid for you for bricks? – It was a cheque in payment of £500 for bricks.
The Registrar: In repayment of a sum of money; that is the question. – That is the understanding I gave the cheque for.
Mr. Gichard: You didn’t mention £500 in the first instance at that interview? – I can’t say that.
As an insolvent debtor you wouldn’t go and offer the solicitors a cheque for £500. Did you know that they had paid it? – No.
Can you suggest how £500 came to be paid if it wasn’t asked for? – It was undoubtedly asked for.
And you say you understood it to repay money that had been paid by them, and that you gave the money on that account? – Yes.
Mr. Gichard then referred to what were described as extraneous items in the Maltby account, which, he said, were entered in a lump sum. Some, he said, were made up of various sums in respect of different properties at Pontefract, Dalton and elsewhere. It appeared that owing to some misunderstanding the summaries were not in court. They had been prepared, it was stated, but had not been deposited in the proper quarter. Under these circumstances Mr. Clegg and Mr. Gichard agreed that an adjournment was advisable.
It was agreed that after Mr. Wing and Mr. Swanwick had asked the debtor a few questions the examination should be adjourned.
Mr. Wing asked the debtor whether he knew that after he had filed his petition some baths had been removed from some buildings. Debtor said he had been informed that was the case and the matter had been reported to the trustees. He replied in the same way to a question wth regard to some ironmongery and frames.
Mr. Swanwick questioned the debtor as to the payment of the £500 cheque in July, and in answer the debtor agree that there had been a stoppage of bricks. The two people debtor had obtained bricks from declined to supply any more unless debtor gave them a guarantee. it was arranged that the solicitors – who were the guarantors – should have the power to withhold out of the completion money such amount as paid for the guarantee.
The Registrar ordered the examination to be adjounred until January 18th.
THE ADVERTISER, SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 1912.
Maltby Contractor’s Failure.
MORE SATISFACTORY EXPLANATIONS
THE EXAMINATION CONCLUDED.
At the Sheffield Bankruptcy Court, on Thursday, Herbert Mollekin, builder and contractor, Maltby road, Maltby, again came up for his public examination. The receiving order was made on July 25th, and at that time debtor owned property, stock, plant, etc., estimated at the value of £2000. His gross liabilities were £32,881 7s. 9d. The amounts were: – Covered by securities, £17,849 preferential, payable in full, £125; estimated to rank for dividends, £14,804 18s. 11d. The assets were estimated to produce £5532 4s. 4d.; available for dividends after payment of preferential creditors, £5406 16s. 1d. The unsecured creditors numbered 85, fully secured 22, partly secured 3, and preferential 131. The number of debtors to the estate was 16. The first meeting of creditors was held on the 14th of August.
Mr. Joseph Henry Scott, Hull, and Mr. Henry Gilbert Liversidge, Rotherham, were the trustees of the estate. Debtor was represented by Mr. Swanwick, of Messrs. Davies, Sanders and Swanwick, Chesterfield. Mr. Gichard represented a number of the creditors, and Mr. J. E. Wing appeared for one of the creditors, Mr. Bentley.
The case was adjourned on December 21st, in order that debtor might furnish further information respecting a payment of £500 made to his solicitors three days prior to filing his petition.
The Official Receiver said on the last occasion there was some misunderstanding between Mr. Swanwick and himself in respect to some accounts. Mr. Swanwick had looked into the matter and found that the accountant had not sent them in. They had since been handed in to him.
The Registrar: There was an obvious mistake. I am glad it has been corrected.
Mr. Gichard then continued his examination on behalf of the trustees, which was interrupted at the last adjournment.
Mr. Gichard: On the last occasion I questioned you at some length with reference to an item of £500 which had passed through your bank by a cheque drawn by you on the 22nd of July, the cheque being drawn in favour of your solicitors, Messrs. Davies, Sanders and Swanwick. You remember that? – Yes.
EXPLAINING A PAYMENT.
Will you please tell me what it was that induced you to make that payment? – To pay a brick account.
What brick account, please? – The Carlton Main Colliery Co.
Do I understand you to mean it was to pay an account which was due to the Carlton Main Colliery Co.? – It was money owing to them.
The amount due to that company would be larger than £500? – Yes, much larger.
And that was a payment made on account to your solicitors three days before your bankruptcy, so that they might make a payment to the Carlton Main Colliery Co. of £500, which was the amount due? – Yes.
The payment was made at a time when you were discussing with your solicitors your financial position, and when you knew that there was a probability that you would have to file your petition in bankruptcy? – Yes, it would be about that time.
And also at the time when you had running against you almost to maturity several rates for large amounts? – Yes.
On the last occasion you informed the court that you were not quite certain whether that £500 had been paid to the Carlton Main Co. Are you able to-day to say whether or not it has been paid? – I cannot say.
Have you made inquiries since the hearing a month ago? – No.
In your statement of affairs you put the £500 as still owing? – Yes, at that time.
At the time of your bankruptcy you say it is still owing? – Yes.
There has been no payment since then, at any rate not so far as you know? – I cannot say as to that.
When you handed over the cheque did I understand you to say it was with the distinct understanding that it should be paid to the Carlton Main Co.? – Yes, that it must be paid over for the brick account.
ANOTHER ACCOUNT QUESTIONED.
In the further statement of affairs that you filed on November 23rd last year, I see there is an item of £280 in the Maltby account, “Bricks per D.S. and S.” – Yes that was a payment to Messrs. Oakham Bros., to whom guarantees had been given by my solicitors.
Can you say whether that sum of £280 was a payment made in one sum or in many sums? – I cannot say.
Can you give me any information that will assist the court to ascertain? – No.
Where did you get the particulars to enable you to put this in the statement of accounts? – Out of the accounts.
Which accounts? – The cheque book and others.
If it was taken out of the cheque book you will be able to say whether it was one payment or many. Have you no personal recollection of it? – I pay cheques for such amounts for bricks generally.
The Registrar: Are there no dates?
Mr. Gichard: No, there is no particular date given, and that is why I ask about it. The trustees have gone through the accounts and want assistance to clear the point.
(To debtor): Do I understand you that these payments, however many, were made to your solicitors? – They would be.
Mr. Swanwick: It will save a good deal of trouble if I produce the accounts which show how the figures were arrived at.
Mr. Gichard examined the documents produced and then asked debtor to look at the completion accounts in respect to contracts Nos. 1 and 2, relating to the Frickley deputies’ houses.
Mr. Gichard: The receipts show a large amount, but on the debtor side there is an item of £120 for bricks, and a second item of £160. Do these two items make up the £280 referred to? – Yes, they cover the amount.
Then why should these two sums be deducted in connection with the completion accounts of the Frickley houses and then shown in this further statement of yours under the heading of Maltby account? – It was arranged that the Frickley deputies’ houses and the Maltby undertaking should be carried on under the head of Maltby account.
That is your explanation for both items being in one account? – Yes, that is so.
A SPECIAL FUND.
Look at the completion accounts again and you will see an item describing an amount placed to special account for bricks, etc.? – Yes, that was for guaranteeing.
What do you mean by that? – In consideration of Mr. Swanwick undertaking to pay these accounts an arrangement was brought into effect at the completion of these houses he should retain £2? per house to meet such balance as he had agreed to pay.
Then is this what you mean, that Messrs. Davies, Sanders and Swanwick guarantee to be responsible for certain brick accounts in connection with the Frickley houses, and as the completion or the sale of these houses takes place a sum should be set aside out of the purchase money to meet the sum for which they had guaranteed? – The amounts which had been paid or had to be paid. I believe some of them had already been paid.
Do I understand that was in accordance with a written arrangement between you and your solicitors? – Yes.
Then these sums of £120 and £160 were with your consent appropriated to a special account in favour of the guarantors? – Yes.
According to what you have just told me I should have expected to find the Frickley deputies’ cottages under the Maltby accounts? – I didn’t say so.
Can you tell me where I should look for a summary of the accounts in respect to the Frickley deputies’ cottages and the balance paid you? – The money was all paid into the bank at Chesterfield.
The Official Receiver: In what account does it appear? The Frickley deputies’ houses are, I believe, under the Frickley account.
Mr. Gichard: I see there are no entries of specific items in these further accounts which have been rendered? – No, they are only completion accounts.
There is an item in your summary or completion account for Maltby cottages of £411 2s. 7d., the aggregate of a large number of items under the head of extraneous items. Do I understand that these items are in addition to the fixed sums which you had agreed to pay in connection with the various transactions in building these houses, and in addition also to the guarantee fees, which you told us in some instances was £6 per house, and in others £4? – Yes, these are in addition.
Can you give me some of the items? – There was fire insurance.
That doesn’t represent much, the others? – There was a loan.
Now, that is what I want. What was the amount? – £150.
From whom? – Messrs. Davies, Sanders and Swanwick.
There is an item referring to Pontefract. What is that? – That is an item for interest on mortgaged money.
In connection with what property? – Property we were interested in at the time.
Property that you were interested in prior to Mrs. Driver’s connection? – We had a mortgage on it in our name. It was mortgaged by Mrs. Mollekin. That item is interest on that account.
Was this mortgage money advanced by Messrs. Davies, Sanders and Swanwick to Mrs. Mollekin alone? – I don’t think my name was connected with it.
What interest had Mrs. Driver in it? – It would be her property, but the mortgage was in Mrs. Mollekin’s name.
Did that property really belong to Mrs. Driver? – Subsequently she got it.
No. Will you tell me, please, what Mrs. Driver’s interest in that property was? – It was hers.
Then how came it that Mrs. Mollekin was mortgaging it? – Mrs. Driver found all the money and it was hers.
Mrs. Driver was financing the building of all this property and she allowed Mrs. Mollekin to mortgage this property in her name? – That is so.
Who took the proceeds of the mortgage? Didn’t you get it? – No.
WAS THERE A PARTNER?
How came it then that you were paying interest on it? – At this particular time when the completion accounts came in the interest was due and the money was deducted from them.
The money was not due from you, it was really due from Mrs. Driver or at any rate from Mrs. Mollekin. It was not payable by you according to your statement. Why did you allow it? – I might have been joined in the mortgage with Mrs. Mollekin.
What was about the date of the mortgage? – 1908 or 1909.
Were Mrs. Driver and Mrs. Mollekin then engaged upon building the Dalton houses? – I believe it was at Dalton at the time.
Mrs. Driver was then financing the Dalton scheme? – Yes.
The active work in connection with that scheme I believe you were carrying on on behalf of your wife and Mrs. Driver? – Yes.
And that was shortly after you had made a deed of assignment for the benefit of your creditors? – Yes.
During the whole of that time you were superintending the business, and it was being carried on under the name of “H. Mollekin and Co?” – No, Mollekin and Co.
So far as the public were concerned you were presented as Mollekin and Co.? – In the contract with the colliery company the name signed is Bertha Mollekin, my name is not mentioned.
At the end of the Dalton scheme you commenced work elsewhere under the same style, and carried on the Frickley, Grimethorpe and Maltby undertakings? – Yes, these arrangements were made in my name.
Did you or did you not give any specific notice to any of your creditors after the Dalton scheme was finished, that there was to be a change in the personnel of the persons constituting the firm of Mollekin and Co? – I said I was going to take it on myself.
Did you tell any of the creditors that? – Yes, Mr. Gresham and others.
Did you send out any circulars or announce it in any way that there would be a change in the constitution of the firm after a certain date? – There was no change only in the guarantor. Instead of asking Mrs. Driver to guarantee I had to find my own.
SHARING THE PROFITS.
Did the person you were dealing with during the Dalton scheme know Mrs. Driver was interested in the concern? – Only that she was guarantor.
Isn’t it a fact that Mrs. Driver was required to sign certain legal documents in connection with building the cottages at Dalton before you could be accepted to do the work? – Yes, she guaranteed all the amounts.
Were the contracts entered into by her along with your wife, who together were regarded as the firm of Mollekin and Co.? – No.
Then who were the firm? – Mrs. Mollekin, with Mrs. Driver as guarantor.
What was Mrs. Driver’s recompense for giving the guarantee? – She was to have one half of the profits.
Did she receive them? – yes.
Was any final statement of accounts taken as between her and your wife, or her and you? – They shared the profits.
Then there never has been a final account between you? – No.
has there ever been anything to notify the creditors there was a change in the constitution of the firm? – There has been no change in the constitution.
Is Mrs. Driver in it to-day? – No.
Don’t you appreciate that she was in the firm while the Dalton work was going on? – No.
Do I understand you that she was never a partner in Mollekin and Co.? – She never was.
Although she gave the guarantee and took half the profits? – Yes.
Did you make out any statement from time to time as the building went on? – No.
How did you know what Mrs. Driver’s share of the profits would be then? – We paid all the accounts and the balance left over was divided between her and my wife.
Did you take receipts for the money from her? – No.
Did she ever ask to see the accounts? – Her son did.
That was Mr. Robinson. Did he inspect the accounts on her behalf? – Yes.
At the completion of the Dalton work, was the plant removed elsewhere? – Yes, eventually to Maltby.
TAKING IT ON HIS OWN.
Was any account taken of the plant? – A certain amount was paid to Mrs. Driver in consideration of the money she found for that.
The she not only guaranteed the money in the case of Dalton, but found some of the money for the plant? – Yes, certain materials.
Didn’t you then consider her a partner? – No.
Did Mrs. Driver asked to be relieved from any obligation she had with Mollekin and Co.? – Yes. I believed she asked to be relieved from the guarantee at the bank.
Was the bank the only guarantee she gave? – She gave one to the Dalton Main Co. as well.
Was there any document in writing between you and Mrs. Driver or her and your wife? – I think there was a letter stating that in consideration of her finding the whole of the capital required she should have half the profits.
By whom was the letter written? – I cannot say whether it was written by me or Mr. Robinson.
Did you sign it? – Mrs. Mollekin did. Probably I did as well. I cannot remember.
Do you know if it is in existence to-day? – I do not.
At the time Mrs. Driver ceased, according to you, to have any interest in the affairs of Mollekin and Co., was there any written document ending her obligations? – No.
No deed or agreement as to the dissolution of partnership? – No, because a partnership never existed.
And no notice was given to creditors either in the “Gazette” or the local papers? – No. I had never taken Mrs. Driver into partnership.
How does it come about if you have no relationship with Mrs. Driver to-day that we find in the Maltby account amounts being paid for interest in mortgage on property that belongs to her? – You mean that item of interest which is owed by Mrs. Driver. The interest Mrs. Driver pays by cheque to Mrs. Mollekin, and Mrs. Mollekin then sends one of her own cheques to the solicitors.
She pays the amount into Mrs. Mollekin’s account, which you use as your own? – Yes.
Do I understand there was a banking account in the name of Mrs. Mollekin right up to the time of you filing your petition? – Yes.
These monies were banked as you choose, then, either in Mrs. Mollekin’s name, Mollekin and Co., or in your own private name? – I had not a private account.
PAYING OUTSIDERS’ ACCOUNTS.
You mean to say that the reason you paid this item of interest on the mortgage of Pontefract property is that the money had been paid into your wife’s name and you were dealing with her account as your own? – Very probably in this case.
I want to know how it is that Messrs. Mollekin came to be paying an item in respect to Pontefract property in which they can have no interest at all. – I have explained Mrs. Mollekin’s interest is in being the mortgagee.
Then is she a partner in Mollekin and Co. at the present time? – No.
Your wife has had nothing to do with the affairs of the company since the time when Mrs. Driver ceased to be connected with it. – Nothing, except that all her money has been used in it.
Were there any other sums remitted by Mrs. Driver to Mrs. Mollekin or Mollekin and Co. during the time that has elapsed since she ceased her connection after the completion of the Dalton property, except this which represented the interest on the mortgage on the Pontefract property? – Not a penny. I am certain of that.
Mr. Swanwick: Was it a fact you yourself were a party to this mortgage? – I said in my examination I was not certain whether my name had been put in or not.
The Official Receiver: Do you remember being asked about an estimate in which you expected to get a profit of some £7000 or £8000 from the Grimethorpe work alone? – I remember Mr. Swanwick mentioning it, but I did not hear the amount.
What foundation had you for expecting such a profit? – Judging from work previously done.
Had you prepared any figures or estimate showing such a result? – I had no figures. I may have given some details to Mr. Swanwick in conversation.
Did you make any calculations as to the amount of profit in the aggregate you would have? – From figures I had considered I expected to make £7000 or £8000.
You have told us you estimated the cost at £140 a house. Was that formed by putting down the various items? – Yes.
How much of that was representing profit? – Perhaps £4, £5, or £6 per house.
That was profit on the erection? – yes.
You had the sale price fixed as well. How much profit did you expect to get by the erection and proceeds of sale? – About £30 to £40 per house.
If the Grimethorpe property should have produced a profit of £7000 or £8000, the Maltby and Frickley work should have done as well, should it not. Would it be fair to say you expected an aggregate profit of £14,000 or £15,000? – I can’t say; I expected to make a great amount.;
Can you explain how an estimated profit of £14,000 has become a deficiency of over £9000? – I have lost a good deal through shortness of capital, and have not been able to supervise the work properly. If I had been in a position to complete all the undertakings my position to-day would not have been so serious.
Your expenses proved more than you anticipated? – Yes, labour cost me almost twice as much as it should have done.
Was that the only item on which you expected to make a profit? – A good deal of my profit should have come in there. There was a good deal more material used also than ought to have been.
Mr. Swanwick asked for the examination to be concluded.
The Registrar agreed to order the examination to be concluded subject to the formal adjournment until Feb. 15.