Mexborough and Swinton Times, January 14, 1938
Mr. T. W. Illsley
To Retire From Darfield Council
Mr. Thomas W. Illsley, J.P., of Garden Street, Darfield. has decided not to seek re-election to the Darfield Urban District Council in April.
The news will be received with wide regret, and not a little surprise, as Mr. Illsley has been actively associated with the public life of the district for thirty years and has been regarded as something of an “institution.” It is understood that Mr. Illsley, who is 60 is retiring for domestic reasons.
Mr. Illsley has lived in the district all his life and in his early days was associated with the late Mr. Samuel Roebuck, J.P., his present colleague, Mr. T. H. Foulstone, J.P., and several others who supplemented what meagre schooling they had had by exploring the fields of literature and political economy in a little circle of their own equipping themselves as Labour leader.
At a very early age he began to interest himself in trade union work and for a number of years has been secretary of the Houghton Main branch of the Yorkshire Miners’ Association.
Mr. Illsley was elected to Darfield Urban Council in 1908 and in point of continuity of service is the “father” of that authority. He has never lost his seat but, curiously enough, has never enjoyed the doubtful satisfaction of a “walk-over.” When re-elected in 1935 he obtained what was believed to be the highest number of votes ever recorded by any candidate for the Council. Mr Illsley has always been a strong figure on the Council and on several occasions has occupied the chair. Public health, perhaps. has been his strong suit.
He has been a member of the Dearne Valley Water Board since its formation. He has represented the Council on the Kendray and Lundwood Hospitals Committee, has been a member of the Boards of Governors of the Wath-on-Dearne and Barnsley Grammar Schools, has taken a keen interest in the work of various local charities and played a prominent part in the formation of Darfieid Nursing Association. In 1922 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace and has devoted himself closely to the faithful fulfilment of his magisterial duties.
For many years he has been a checkweighman at Houghton Main Colliery and secretary of the Houghton Main Colliery Home Coal Association, the success of which is largely due to his wise management. Mr. Illsley has read widely and his well stocked library includes many works covering the antiquarian field.
Politically, his work has been of great executive value His efforts and influence have been a considerable factor in establishing the Labour tradition in Wentworth. He will continue to live in Darfield and it is not his intention to resign any of his trade union offices.