First, the secret of a happy marriage, as advised by the Reporter: "A man should always be a little bigger than his wife, and a little older, a little braver and a little stronger, a little wiser, and a little more in love with her than she is with him. A woman should always be a little younger and a little prettier and a little more considerate than her husband. He should bestow upon her all his worldly goods and she should take good care of them."
A local woman’s wedding day turned to tragedy thanks to the demon drink. An inquest at held at the Pitt and Nelson Inn heard how Elizabeth WALTON had married John LONG, a tailor from Ashton. "After the nuptials, they proceeded to Hyde where they got drunk, and on returning home, the woman was so helpless, she had to be helped into the house. She was left alone for some time and as the drop latch had got fastened, her husband could not get in and tried to effect an entrance by means of a ladder, but fell from it."

Ellen WHITEHEAD heard the commotion and went to help the man who had hurt himself in the fall. She was able to enter the house and found Elizabeth’s body. "His wife had evidently fallen from the stairs and fractured her skull on the stone floor, for she was lying on her back with her head in a pool of blood." A verdict of accidental death was returned.

National news now and events in Parliament. "Mr DIXON’s bill to make compulsory attendance at school universal fell as it had done the previous year," said the Reporter. "It was slaughtered and it sank under many blows from persons who do not sincerely believe in the education of the working classes under any circumstances. One of the main arguments against the measure was that compulsion is opposed to the genius of the English constitution. All this, however, comes too late. The idea is un-English no more. We have sent all pauper children to school. We have shut the factory gate against all under ten years of age. We have legislated to prevent the tender and young from toiling and to keep them out of mischief, we must go a step further and take care that they go to school.
Meanwhile, four young men were getting into mischief: "James HOLGATE, James BENNETT, Edward BRAY and Joseph BURROWS were charged with having unlawfully played cards for money in a public place on Sunday, 30th May. Constable HIGGINBOTTOM said that at half past three o’clock in the afternoon, he was in plain clothes along with Constable BRADBURN." They went down Grosvenor Street in Ashton and saw the four defendants near the new gas tank playing ‘penny jacks’. "Every one put a penny down. It was ‘blind all fours they playing," said the constable. The clerk of the court said "I know ‘all fours’, but not blind all fours." (Laughter). The four were each fined 10 shillings and sixpence and costs or 21 days in jail.

15 June 1900

In contrast to the warm weather in Ashton this weekend, a storm ‘of exceptional severity’ raged over the district 100 years ago. At around 5pm on Monday, 11 June, lightning struck the chimney of the home of James HARRISON on Clifton Terrace in Stalybridge. It tore a hole in the roof, passing into the bedroom where it a wall and crashed through into the bedroom of neighbour George WRIGLEY. The lightning severed a gas pipe in two, ignited the gas which then set fire to carpets and curtains.

On Taunton Road, Ashton, a thunderbolt smashed the roof and set fire to the top of house while the owner and her three children sheltered in the cellar. She said she saw a sparrow flying away with its wings on fire.

Eleven year old Harold PARKER of Beswick drowned in the River Medlock when a flash flood swept him downstream. He was playing with friends who called for help and a nearby householder cut down a clothes line and ran to the river. Although the boy got hold of it, he couldn’t hang on. His body was never found.

And finally, a rather disturbing story of two Ashton boys aged 13 and 14 who were before Stockport Magistrates Court in 1950 having shot another boy with an air rifle and tortured him with lighted matches. They were charged with robbing 13 year old Kenneth FLETCHER of his .177 Dianna airgun and an imitation mother of pearl penknife with the intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.

FLETCHER had gone into the woods with a friend to practice his shooting. The two separated and FLETCHER joined three other boys who had a boat on the canal. He went with them to Marple and then back to Woodley where he got out. As he made his way along the tow path, he was stopped by the two boys who asked to have a go with his gun. They refused to return it and ran off into the woods. FLETCHER followed them, but they knocked him down and shot him in the ear and face. They then dropped lighted matches into the palms of his hands. The pair could not be named for legal reasons and both were sent to as remand home

Creative Commons License Rhodes Family History by Ian Rhodes (1999-2018 v.3.0) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting me.
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