POISON IN THE PUBS
An investigation into the growing number of cases
of arsenic poisoning was launched by the Sanitary Committee.
Superintendent Councillor SHAW ordered that samples of
beer from Ashton breweries should be taken for analysis.
Samples of mineral water were also taken from local manufacturers.
There had been 14 known cases
in Manchester and Salford over the previous few weeks
with sufferers showing symptoms ranging from pins and
needles in the hands and feet to headaches and skin discolouration.
Medical Officer, Dr HUGHES said "Taking it all round,
we are very free from it in Ashton. Most of the cases
appear to have been in the Hurst neighbourhood. We have
had no deaths from peripheral neuritis, but there has
been one death recorded from chronic alcoholism.
"I do not think the brewers
are themselves much to blame, unless it can be proved
that they are buying inferior articles for the sake of
But the Reporter revealed that
there had been 15 cases at the District Infirmary in September
and October. The House Surgeon explained: "Long before
the Manchester and other cases came to light, we recognised
that there was something out of the ordinary, because
they are unusual. On one of our admission days, as many
as four patients came."
But on visiting the Ashton
Union Workhouse, a representative from the Reporter found
there to be no cases to the Workhouse Masters knowledge
and pending further enquiries, drinkers could sup in safety
Worker meeting at Ashton
"A very poorly attended
meeting for the purpose of gathering in the unskilled
labourers of the town was held under the auspices of the
Workers Union at the Cooperative Hall, Portland
Street, Ashton on Monday night. Councillor R A BARRETT
presided, supported by Messrs R WADE (district organiser
of Manchester), J CHADWICK (Manchester) and M T SIMM (Land
Mr WADE had been in the town
for the best part of a week trying to drum up support
and was sorry they had so poor a meeting. He said that
it did not auger well, but it was his duty to go on working
and striving, however little the effort might seem to
be appreciated. It seemed that the workers were more interested
in the immediate benefits of union membership, particularly
sickness and burial payments.
Mr WADE said "there was
something very much greater and more dignified about a
trade union than this. The state of the industrial market
if they had no organisation amongst labourers would be
that the whole power would rest in the hands of the capitalist."
A seven-month old
girl died after being scalded by hot water, an inquest
heard. Mrs WALLACE of Park-street, Ashton, had filled
up a jug with hot water as she prepared dinner for the
family. She had tied her daughter in a chair by the table
when there was a knock on the door. As she went to answer,
she turned to see the jug topple over.
Mrs WALLACE was able to catch
the jug, but not to prevent the water spilling over the
childs neck and chest. She quickly applied linseed
oil and limewater, but baby Brenda later died. There was
a verdict of accidental death.
AT NEWTON STATION
"A fatal accident occurred to a young man named
Fred CARR, aged 20, of Water-street, Newton on Wednesday
afternoon. The unfortunate fellow had been engaged for
a short time as a porter at Newton Station and just prior
to the accident, he was engaged in lighting a signal about
sixty yards from the station in the direction of Godley.
"He had just reached the
bottom of the ladder when he stepped unconsciously in
front of the 2.15 express from Manchester to London. A
man named Joseph BROADHURST was in the waiting room at
the time and saw the buffer of the engine knock something
a considerable distance which proved to be the body of
CARR. The deceased was shockingly injured and died almost
immediately. He was removed to his home as speedily as
"The death took
place on Wednesday of an old Ashtonian in the person of
William BURGESS who resided in Charles-street and who
formerly carried on the business of a market gardener.
Mr BURGESS, who was over 80 years of age, had been ailing
for some time. The deceased for many years, and up to
the time of his demise, was a member of the Ashton Bell
Ringers, having taken part in upwards of 50 peals, including
an 8,864 treble Bob-royal which stood as a record for
a long time.
AN ENGINE DRIVERS
LETTER FROM THE SEAT OF WAR
It wasnt just soldiers risking shot and shell
in South Africa as this letter from Ernest KNUTT illustrates:
"I have started work driving a locomotive for the
military. It is rather rough work, I can tell you, for
you never know when you are going to be shot at. They
keep on making raids on the trains and snipe at the driver
every time. Since I came here, we have had one driver
killed, a fireman wounded and five Coldstream Guards killed.
The Boers throw a train off the line and then start shooting
down the men.
John NEWTON, an old
Ashtonian who had lived in New Zealand for 35 years wrote
to the Reporter: "When I visited Ashton in 1896 and
1897, I often had a look where the Reporter was printed
when I was a boy. It reminds me of a little incident that
happened in 1856. Myself and another boy were in Stamford-street
early one Saturday morning. We were accosted by Mr HOBSON,
then proprietor. He said Boys, do you want a job?
We said: What to do? He said: Our engine
is broken down and I want you two to turn the press.
"We went with him and
he started both of us on to the handle. We printed all
the Reporters for that week. When we had done, he paid
us well. We thought our fortune was made. A little lower
down Stamford-street was OGDENs pawnshop. We saw
a second-hand pistol in the window for sale. We bought
it with the money we had earned at the press."
He took it to his uncles
machine shop in Brook-street to fit a ramrod, but it was
too tight and got stuck. The following day, the two boys
ran away from Sunday School to the Moss to blow the ramrod
"They were making the
line from Guide Bridge to Oldham at that time. I fired
it at a railway sign. It almost sent me on my back."
John recalled. Only the lock and handle were left and
despite searching for several hours, they could not find
any of the other parts. "So you see," he finished,
"we worked hard for it one day and burst it the next."
An inquest was held
into the death of Robert PLATT aged 52 of 3 Sykes-street,
Dukinfield who was found in the canal near Walk Bridge
Mill. His wife, Hannah, said that he was a collier, but
had worked for only a month in the last three years. He
had been left 300 pounds 18 months before and that was
one reason he had not worked. He had also been ill.
"He had spent most of
his time since in drinking and the money had been all
spent five or six months ago."
Hannah said he had been behaving
oddly since Ashton Wakes, walking around the house oblivious
to his surroundings. But he had never threatened suicide
and it was her opinion that he had slipped into the canal.
The court gave an open verdict of found drowned.