Posted By erin on February 27, 2014
In 2013 Rev. Arthur Trevor Foote was awarded the Viva Cribb Bursary to assist him in researching and documenting his great grandfather Arthur Foote’s significant role in Ipswich’s early history. “Footprints in Ipswich History: an historical outline of the life of Arthur Foote, his family, and the Ipswich City Joinery, 1850-1972” was produced as a result of this funding, a copy of which can be found in the Viva Cribb Local History Room on Level 2 of the Ipswich Central Library, along with other Bursary winners from 2008-2013.
Arthur Foote was born in Compton Pauncefoot located in Somerset, England on the 3rd of August 1850 to George Foot and Alice Baker. At 14 years of age Arthur completed an apprenticeship as a wheelwright and carpenter with Samuel Foot, the local carpenter, as his mentor. In March 1873 Arthur Foote was married to Sarah Ann Pope, who was a servant at this time. Soon after the couple relocated to Bournemouth in Dorset where they had their first son Arthur George in 1875, daughter Annie May in 1879, son Loftus in 1883 and son Walter in 1887. During his time in Bournemouth Arthur Foote found a job as a carpenter and later worked as a joiner in Woking.
In November 1888, after residing in Plymouth for some years the Foote Family made tracks for sunny Queensland, Australia, travelling on the ship, Taroba. Although originally known as ‘Foot’ it is believed that Arthur made the decision to change this to ‘Foote’ after he arrived in Queensland, following in his brother’s footsteps. It would also be wise to mention at this point that although they share the same family name Arthur Foote’s family bears no relationship with the Foote family of Cribb and Foote fame, but rather created their own history through the establishment of an exceptional business.
Arthur and Sarah Foote along with their four children settled in the growing town of Ipswich, with Arthur acquiring a job at the quality establishment of Hancock Brothers timber yard. He remained there until 1898, when he established his own joinery business with his son Loftus in a small shed on Bremer Street. However, shortly after opening in 1904 a fire struck the joinery causing severe damage not only to Mr Foote’s joinery but also to several surrounding businesses. No one appeared to be injured however several employees lost their equipment and several expensive pieces of machinery were lost in the blaze. However, all was not lost as in a neighbourly fashion Hancock’s Sawmill generously offered Arthur space at their business so that he could continue to operate and fill orders.
By 1910 Arthur’s joinery had become a well-known business in the local area and with rapid growth occurring in both Brisbane and Ipswich it was little wonder he was doing so well. In 1914 having established the business Mr Foote entered into a partnership with his four sons, Arthur, Loftus, Walter and Fred (b. 1889). At this point in time the business had approximately 50 employees and was especially known for their fine joinery work on shop fronts, doors, quality furniture, schools, churches and ornate arches, using timber such as silky oak, maple and pine. After being in operation for some years it was with great sadness that the passing of Arthur’s first wife Sarah Ann occurred in January of 1913. Soon after in 1914 Mr Foote left for England where he met and married his second wife Louisa Mary Stephenson. Arthur’s descendants maintained the family business until 1972.
To read more about how the Foote family contributed to Ipswich’s early manufacturing industry and their involvement with the local community, please visit the Ipswich Central or Redbank Plaza Libraries and borrow this wonderful book.
References: “Footprints in Ipswich History: an historical outline of the life of Arthur Foote, his family, and the Ipswich City Joinery, 1850-1972”” by Rev. Arthur Trevor Foote.