HC Deb 07 March 1918 vol 103 cc2113-4
32. Major HUNT

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether a large silk manufactory at Leek, Staffordshire, recently owned by Mr. Thomas Wardle, has been bought by a German woman; whether the Board of Trade allows manufactories in this country to be bought by Germans; and, if not, will he have this matter inquired into?


I am informed that the late. Lady Wardle some years before her death opened a small shop in Leek for the sale of silk fancy goods, employing as her manager a woman of German birth who fifteen years ago married an Englishman, Arthur Bill, a blacksmith, of Leek. After the death of Lady Wardle the business was carried on by her husband, Sir Thomas Wardle, and when he died it passed to his daughter, who about six or seven years ago sold it to the former manager, Mrs. Bill, who now carries it on. Those may be the circumstances which have given rise to the inquiry, but it will be seen that there is no question of the sale of "a large silk manufactory," and if the hon. and gallant Member has information as to such a sale to a German subject as he suggests, I shall be glad if he will supply me with particulars so that investigation may be made.

Major HUNT

Is this woman who has got the business now a German alien or a naturalised alien?


She is a British subject.