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This is a handwritten draft of a proposal my great grandfather, Henry John Stokes, was drawing up in preparation of handing his clothing business to his two sons, my grandfather Wilfrid and his brother Walter. It’s not very easy to read so I have transcribed the four pages which should make interesting reading for my Stokes relatives. There are a few more similar documents to follow in due course.


Absolutely Private

Present value of Bridgend Business

Approximate net profits for present year probably from £1000 to £1200; discounts about £150 or more.

Value of Shop Lease, 13 years to run £700 or £800, or rental value at least £120 per year, £45 only paid to Landlord. “Good Will” of business at two year’s purchase price £2000. Stock etc. over £2500 Fixtures, window fittings, gas and electric fittings, cases, desks etc worth quite £200.

Understand that we cannot live apart from the business, the money etc. I have outside the business would not bring in much over £100 per year.

I should be willing to hand over the business, lease, stock, fixtures, good will and all assets on the following or similar terms at the end of year to Wilfrid and Walter Stokes:

That a good “Sale” be held in January next to reduce the stock (and dispose of winter goods) to the amount it stood at last stocktaking (plus book debts) in order that I may receive in cash the full profits of this year’s trade. Any amount of stock and book debts over this amount to be paid in due course, myself of course meeting all liabilities up to date.

That for the first and second years Ma and myself jointly or severally receive the sum of £600 yearly as a first charge on the business to be paid monthly. For the 3rd year and the remainder of our lives £500 jointly or severally. Payment of Income Tax excess profits, or levy open for consideration.

That Florrie receive the £1 per week as at present from the business during our lifetime and after our decease (both) when our payments cease, she shall receive at least £3 per week for her life and Bertha (also after our decease) £1 per week from the business as long as they remain unmarried. In case they married, a lump sum be paid them (amount open) for mutual decision when weekly payments would cease.

That, should our decease occur within three years the sum of £200 be paid to Bert and £300 to Edith from the business during the following year or as soon as convenient, a sums equal to one years payment to ourselves.

Re David Thomas. The present arrangements with me would cease but I would advise in the interest of the business that he be retained for 6 months on the same terms after which he might be willing to stay on part time, say 2 days a week, Mondays and Saturdays at a much less wage.

To carry out the above successfully, or to develop the business or improve the premises if necessary, it might be advisable for Walter to invest more capital, say £400, or £500 after a while. I would also advise that Wilf draw no more from the business than at present and that each draw as little as possible during our lifetime at least, or until the heaviest payments have all been made.

For myself I should withdraw entirely from the business but should be ready to assist in buying clothing etc for a time as long as able. Some legal documents would be necessary both for carrying out all the conditions and for security to ourselves.

Quite Private.