IN a building gifted by his great-grandfather – whose son formed the very club whose members were present – Sir Hugo Brunner paid tribute to the people of Northwich.
Sir Hugo and a number of fellow descendants of Sir John Brunner have spent time in the town to mark 100 years since his death.
Sir John, a co-founder of Brunner Mond, died aged 77 on July 1, 1919 – and the attendance at the Rotary club’s special speaker meeting at Winnington Park Recreational Club showed that a century has not diminished his legacy.
Guests were treated to fascinating presentations from former Winnington Combined Heat and Power Plant manager Steve Wheat and fellow Rotarian Nick Marsh – outlining Sir John’s contribution to life in Northwich.
Born in 1842, he founded Brunner Mond alongside chemist Ludwig Mond in 1873 before becoming Northwich MP.
In business and politics, he championed pioneering approaches to workers’ rights, education and housing.
Steve told attendees at the Northwich Rotary Club special speaker meeting: “It was down to John Brunner that his employees were entitled to sick pay. It was unheard of in that generation.”
With his fortune, he played his part in bringing about Winnington Park Recreational Club, Northwich Library, a sanitary authority and a re-endowed Sir John Deane’s – on the condition that it began accepting girls.
Sir John’s son – also John – would follow in his father’s footsteps to become Northwich MP, and was instrumental in forming the Rotary Club of Northwich.
Sir Hugo said: “I have heard some wonderful addresses and I want to say thank you.
“Thank you for the hospitality you have offered us. Everywhere we have gone we have been most warmly welcomed.
“We are very proud of our ancestor – it has been a joy to see quite a lot of buildings and areas that are associated with him and we have heard of the many connections.
“On behalf of my family I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the welcome you have given us and the way you have presented the remarkable story of Sir John Brunner.”