Arthur Mastin of Sheffield
(Born at Sheffield in 1868. Died at Sheffield in 1910)
Arthur married Esther Ryalls and had 5 sons, Arthur, Frank, Leonard, Stewart, and Harold, and one daughter Hilda. Arthur and Hilda met with tragic fatal accidents. They both, at separate times, fell off a couch onto a stone floor at Cavendish Street and died. I find it almost impossible to believe that such an accident could happen twice. One would have thought that the couch would have been removed after the first accident.
"Arthur Mastin, president of the Sheffield Builders' Association, was born in Sheffield in 1868.
"Since the death of his father in 1904, he has been the sole proprietor of the business of Joseph Mastin and Son, Builders and Contractors. He joined the Builders' Association in 1894, held the office of Treasurer for five years, and acted as Secretary during the masons' strike.
"His Presidency has been marked by a growing membership. He is a Director of the Sheffield Building Trades Exchange and the Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.
"Residence: 15 Cavendish Street."
- His son, Frank, was killed in the First World War, and Arthur himself died in 1910 when my father was only three. I think my father, Harold, had some special relationship with Frank, perhaps as a father substitute, as I can recall seeing letters from Frank to my father when he was at war. I don't know what happened to these letters since my mother died.
- My Aunt Kay tells me that after Arthur died the business was run by a manager. However, there was some problem, and widow Mastin lost money. Mr Cliffe, an original employee of Joseph Mastin, got the business back on a firm footing.
- She also told me that her husband Leonard (my Uncle Len) had said that when he was a lad there were thirteen sitting down to meals. I don't know how this number was made up unless Arthur's brothers still lived there. Times must have been very difficult through the First World War particularly in the building trade. I am short on detail during these times and it's a bit ironic that I seem to know more about older generations than the later ones.
- I do remember my father telling me that the "firm" had built the old News Theatre in Fitzalan Square. It was originally called the Electra and was completed in 1911 just after Arthur's death. It must have been the last building he was involved with. It was a very ornate building in masonry and brick, which gave it a striped effect. It unfortunately was demolished in the 1980's because the building next door burnt down and damaged the structure.
- The building next door to the News Theatre was an electrical store belonging to Wigfall's. At the time of the fire, my son Darryl Beresford, was working at the store.
- At some time my grandfather was made a partner in "the firm". I have found no record of the start of a formal partnership, but it may have been after he was made a member of The Worshipful Company of Plumbers on 3rd May 1904. I have letters regarding the dissolution of the partnership from Frank Ernest, Arthur and the firm's solicitors Wake & Sons, Rank Street, and some correspondence between Arthur and Frank Ernest (below left and right). These letters are dated July 1909, but I have no date when the business was completed.
- There is also a part of one letter (below right) where Frank is replying to Arthur's letter where he says, "pleased to learn you are improving". This I think shows that Arthur's health was not good at that date.
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