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LISTER Sir Ashton

Times Saturday December 7 1929 Obituary

Sir Ashton Lister
Business Enterprise

Sir Ashton Lister, who died at Dursley, Gloucestershire, last night at the age of 84 was a man of remarkable energy and business enterprise, who in the little town of Dursley founded and developed extensive manufacturing industries.
Robert Ashton Lister came of Yorkshire stock. His grandfather was for nearly 50 years acting Sheriff for the County of York, and his father went to Gloucestershire in 1828 and established there a considerable business in the manufacture of woollen machinery. Robert Ashton was born on February 4 1845 and was educated at the Dursley Grammar School, at a private school in Banbury and at Düsseldorf and Versilles. On returning home he entered his father's business in the interests of which he went to the Paris Exhibition of 1867 with an exhibit of the firm's machinery. Later in the same year he started business for himself in a small way, working early and late and employing only one or two hands. The business at first increased gradually but during the last 40 years it greatly expanded. The principle products are cream seperators and other dairy and sheep shearing machinery, petrol, oil and gas engines, tractors, tractor ploughs and automatic electric lighting plants.
In promoting this development Lister travelled extensively. He was a pioneer of business in Western Canada some 40 years ago by taking the first cream seperator in that region over the plains of Alberta. That was before the railway developments in the Western provinces and journely was maded in a pair horse buggy. In 1900 he had many interivews with Dominion Ministers including Sir Wilfred Laurier as was asked to give evidence before the Tariff Revising Committee then sitting as to the injurous effects of the high duty on the supply of cream seperators to the Canadian dairy farmer, with the result that cream seperators were put on the free list. Lister also devoted much time to public work. He represented the Dursley district on the Gloucestershire County Council from the time of its formation in 1889 till his death, and had been Chairman of the Small Holdings Committee. He contested the Tewkesbury Division of Gloucestershire three times in the Liberal interest without success, but in 1918 he was elected as a Coalition Liberal for the Stroud Division, retiring in 1922. Sir Ashton who was knighted in 1911 and created a CBE in 1919, served in various ways during the War. He acted for both the chairman and county surveyor of the Gloucestershire Highways Committee while they were on active service, he was chairman of the War Savings Commissioner for Gloucestershire, Wilts and Somerset he organized campaigns for the sale of War loans and for national economy. He was the author of several pamphlets including "Small Holdings in Denmark" and "Three Months in the United Sates and Canada". Lady Lister died in September 1911 and Sir Ashton is survived by three sons.

Stroud Journal 13 January 1928

At a meeting of the Gloucestershire County Council on Monday the Chairman (lt. Col Russell J Kerr) alluded to the resignation of Sir Ashton Lister as a county alderman. Colonel Kerr said it was a matter they would all receive with the greatest regret. They had

had no intimation from Sir Ashton stating that because of advancing years and he regretted to say infirmity, it was necessary for him to sever his connection with the County Council. He (Colonel Kerr) was afraid the Council was bound to accept that resignation. They all knew that Sir Ashton Lister was one of that select band which had been connected wit the County Council since its formation. He was originally originally appointed as a County Councillor for the Dursley Division in January 1889, and had continued to represent the division until March 1919, when he was appointed a county alderman. He was elected chair of the Small Holdings Committee in June 1915, and during the absence of Major F W B Cripps and Colonel E S Sinnott during the war period, Sir Ashton acted as chairman of the Highways Committee and even as County Surveyor from June 1915 until January 1919. In regard to those two great committees, Sir Ashton rendered yeoman service to the County Council, as indeed he did in every other direction in which he took part and it was common knowledge that he took a very active part in the proceedings of the Council. These who were there a good many years ago would remember the leading part he took in oppostion to the Thames and Severn proposals, and in regard to that particular point his anticipations and views had been abundantly justified bu time (hear, hear). He always brought to bear upon all matters of public interest that business acumen and sound common sense which were of great value to himself in his own concerns. He thought the Council would desire to place on record a minute expressing their thanks to Sir Ashton Lister for the eminent services he had rendered to the county, especially on the Small Holdings and Highways Committee, and marking their regret at his resignation. The Council could only hope that Sir Ashton would be permitted for years to have the health and leisure to enjoy the rest he had so well earned (hear, hear).

Mr J H Alpass said on behalf of the group he was a member, that they desired to be associated wit hteh expression of appreciation of the great public service rendered by Sir Ashton Lister to the county. It was his(Mr Alpass's) privilage to work with Sir Ashton in connection with the administration of small holdings ever since the department was founded in the county, and, and he could say that Sir Ashton brought the best of his great ability on that work. He never spared himself in getting about the county and finding out the details, and everyone was bound to admire the single-hearted devoation to duty he displayed.

Mr J S Gibbons as one particularly associated with Sir Ashton in one of his public works, said he was vice-chairman to Sir Ashton of the Small Holdings Committee, and he was also connected with Sir Ashton in regard to the controversy at the time over the Thames and Severn Canal. He had never had a more pleasant colleague and no words were to strong to emphasise the...


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