Clayton History Group buys gold keys presented to Bradford mill owner Asa Briggs

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The gold keys presented to Asa Briggs The gold keys presented to Asa Briggs

Two gold keys presented to the late Bradford mill owner and philanthropist Asa Briggs more than a century ago have been brought “back to where they belong”.

The ornate gifts, which were bought by Clayton History Group at auction for £1,096, were given to Mr Briggs on the reopening and rededication of the organ at Clayton Baptist Church in 1910 and the opening of Clayton Victoria Park in 1898.

The history society found out about their existence from a man in Bedford, whose father had been given the keys as payment in kind for a gardening job.

Their whereabouts for the last 100 years is unknown.

Stuart Downey, of Clayton History Group, said the keys would be available to all organisations in Clayton to see and discuss.

He added: “They are unique and an important part of Clayton’s social history and, I am glad to say, back in Clayton where they belong.”

The first key is a 9ct yellow gold presentation key with enamelled decoration and an engraved inscription.

It was presented to Mr Briggs, who died in 1911, at the rededication of the organ at Clayton Baptist Church on May 28, 1910, and was by T&G Bragg, Birmingham.

The second is also a 9ct yellow gold presentation key with an engraved inscription and was presented to Mr Briggs by fellow members of Clayton Council at the opening of Clayton Victoria Park on July 23, 1898.

Clayton History Group donated £500 towards the cost of buying the keys, which were acquired with the help of David Moore. It is now looking for further funding.

Mr Downey said: “Asa Briggs was a mill owner, together with Alfred Wallis and Joseph Benn. All three were important benefactors to the villagers of Clayton. It is Asa in particular we need to thank for our village hall, Victoria Park, Asa Briggs Park, his donations to the Baptist chapel and the housing development for his workers.

“He also made donations to local clubs and awarded commemorative medals for the Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee and other significant occasions.”


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