A Man of his Time
“Hard in business, yet generous in charity, a pillar of the church, active in local government: a man of property and influence: such a description might be applied to the traditional Victorian who had prospered in life. It certainly fitted Joseph Garside who, for forty years, was a dominant personality in Worksop. Today one short street recalls his name: one hundred years ago there was not one street where his name was not known.”
Joseph Garside’s timber yard occupied much of the land to the east of Priorswell Road, stretching from the canal to the Priory Church. Until the development of Shireoaks and Steetley Collieries, he was the largest employer in Worksop. This engraving formed the letterhead of the firms stationary.
“Joseph Garside was born in 1820. His father Benjamin Garside, a young man in his early twenties was seting up a timber merchant with his yard off Priorswell Road. It was not until 1832 that his business was mentioned in a local directory. Then, in a partnership with another Joseph, presumably his brother, he was described as an English timber dealer, sawyer and hedge carpenter. Little is known of Joseph’s education though, at best, it was likely to have been short and his accomplishments limited. The tradition that he was illiterate is probably an exaggeration. He could certainly write his name as his signature has survived on a number of documents. Like many of his contemporaries he was soon at work, joining his father in the timber yard. Within a few years the firm gained a contract that was to set it on th road to expansion nd greater prosperity. This was to supply timber for the proposed North Midland railway which was to link Derby with Leeds and pass within ten miles of Worksop between Renishaw and Eckington. Shortly after its completion, though still in his early twenties, Joseph Garside was taken into partnership with his father. The two men worked hard, the firm did well, and in 1858, the year of Benjamins death – he was 61 – it was the biggest timber business in the town, its yard stretching southwards from the canal towards the Priory Church.”
“Joseph Garside served on the Worksop Local Board of health for almost twenty years, for much of that time as its chairman. Under leadership, the Board undertook the draining and sewage disposal of the town, the culmination of which was rge opening of the pump station off Bracebridge on the 19th August 1881. Although Garside had retired from the Board by then, much of the success of the scheme was due to his determination and single mindedness.”
Had Joseph Garside stood on the earlier canal bridge and looked down Priorswell Road, with the exception of the Priory Church, he would have been the owner of all he saw. The gateway on the right led to his brewery, the road the left Garside Street, to his timber yard, while the roadside cottages housed his work people.