Councillor Batty, who was made a Justice of the Peace in 1920, was Mayor of Redcar in 1930 – 1931 and during their year of office Mr. and Mrs. Batty did a large amount of good work in a very unassuming way, and extended their help in many directions.
In 1905 Councillor Batty was appointed by the North Riding Education Committee a manager of the Redcar group of Council Schools on which body he served continuously up to when was elected a member of the Borough Council in 1922 and a member of the North Riding County Council in 1929.
A True Born Yorkshireman
Born in Middlesbrough in 1860 he was educated at St. Paul’s Church School and finished off his education at the High School soon after it was opened.
On leaving school he entered the office of Downey & Co., of Coatham Ironworks, Redcar, but in 1880 he commenced business on his own as a china, glass and hardware merchant in Middlesbrough, coming to Redcar in 1886.
That year he married Miss Clara Liddle, daughter of the late John Liddle, proprietor of the Temperance Hotel, Bridge Street, Middlesbrough. Councillor Batty, from the first showed an active interest in the welfare of the place, which at that period was just recovering from a trade depression with many of the houses being empty and even boarded up.
In those days he was Hon. Secretary of the Redcar Tradesmen’s Association, and took an active part in the Independent Order of Good Templars and the Temperance Society.
Some years later he had charge of a monthly newspaper called “The Templar Monthly,” which was distributed free around the district. Councillor Batty held many other public offices which included auditor of the Burial Board, Overseers and Secretary of the Band Committee. This was when the old bandstand stood on wheels.
Our namesake was always a keen player of draughts and chess, and he laughingly re-marked to to a local resident, “The only place where one could get a good game in the old days was in the porter’s room at the station, as all the railway men took a great interest in the game.”
Through the energetic efforts of Mr. Batty and a few others, the Redcar Literary Institute was first formed in 1896, and for over 33 years he most ably carried out the duties of Hon. Secretary. Under his influence and guidance this institution developed into one of the most successful organisations in the district.
For many years he took a great interest in local history and possessed a fine collection of writings, cuttings and sketches, and his memory regarding the old history of the district was remarkably good.
In 1929 Councillor Batty, in conjunction with Dr. A. S. Robinson, published a very instructive book entitled ” A history of an Ancient Church at Coatham.”
For six years Mr. Batty acted as treasurer to the local Blind Institution.
The John E. Batty School
Councillor Batty, a man of many parts, and one who seems to have devoted the greater part of his life for the services of others, always took a keen interest in matters effecting the educational welfare of Redcar and in recognition of his long and faithful service his colleagues on the board of managers of the Redcar Group of Council Schools (with the consent and approval of the North Riding Education Committee), decided that the school erected on the Crescent Estate and opened on September 19, 1930, should be designated the “John Emmerson Batty Council School,” This was an ideally fitting tribute to one who had done so much excellent work regarding local educational matters.
After 33 years’ service as Hon. Secretary to the Redcar Literary Institute Mr. Batty retired and was presented with a handsome silver salver and a scroll testifying to the value of his services to the Institute.
A True Helpmate
Mr. Batty acknowledged that he had always had the help and assistance of his wife both in business and public affairs, ever since their marriage. They both enjoy fairly good health. Mrs. Batty had herself taken an active part of the Wesleyan Church work, also the social and temperance side of it for many years.
In 1913 Mr. Batty converted his business from a shop in High Street, Redcar, into a lofty arcade of several shops and a large hall. When retiring both Mr. and Mrs. Batty still kept in touch with the town affairs.