Home People Obituaries Mr. Frederick Woffinden – Mexboro’ Worthy – Barge Boy’s Romantic Career

Mr. Frederick Woffinden – Mexboro’ Worthy – Barge Boy’s Romantic Career

April 1932

Mexborough and Swinton Times, April 8th, 1932

Mr. Frederick Woffinden

A Mexboro’ Worthy

Barge Boy’s Romantic Career

We regret to record the death of Mr. Frederick Woffinden, of Strawberry Villa, Church Street, Mexboro’, on Wednesday evening. Mr. Woffinden was admitted to the hospital a month ago, and underwent a serious operation a fortnight ago, from which he failed to rally.

News of his death was conveyed to the management committee of the Hospital at their meeting on Wednesday, and on the motion of the chairman, Mr. W. A. Lewis, who spoke of Mr. Woffinden’s generous interest in the hospital, a vote of condolence with the family was passed.

He was a native of Mexboro’ and his father before him, and both he and his father were engaged for many years in the canal-carrying trade as wharfingers. Frederick Woffinden for a year or two attended the National School at Swinton, and was then put to work at the Swinton Pottery, but in early youth he turned to the family calling, and entered the service of Mr. Robert Squire, of Mexboro’ , owner and captain of a barge. While serving on this barge near Aldwarke his right foot was caught in a tow-rope and torn off. The boy, then 16 years of age, was hurried to Rotherham Hospital, where the leg was amputated. Thus crippled, his career “afloat” was cut short, and he went “ashore” to help his father, John Woffinden, who kept the wharf at Mexboro’ then and for many years after, being eventually succeeded by his crippled son, who in turn was succeeded in the business by his own son, John, the only survivor of four children. While carrying on the trade of a wharfinger Mr. Woffinden was also for about six years landlord of the Ship Inn, Mexboro’, now defunct.

Some 23 years ago, Mr. Woffinden retired from the canal trade, but shortly afterwards engaged in an entirely novel business. He purchased from Whitworth, Son and Nephew the old brewery premises in Oxford Street, originally built by the firm of Bolsover, afterwards acquired by Nicholson’s of Conisbro’, then by Whitworth’s and built there the Oxford Picture House and Billiards Hall. The venture was successful from the first, and with the assistance of his son Mr. Woffinden formed a company which acquired the lease of the Royal Picture House in Bank Street and the freehold of the Empire Picture Palace in Swinton Road. Later they surrendered the lease of the Royal and built the Majestic Cinema in Bank Street.

Some twenty years ago Mr Woffinden served a term on the Mexboro’ Urban District Council, but failed to secure re-election. He was greatly attached to his native town.