1 September 2000

The Trough in 1885. Apologies for the quality - newsprint does not scan well!-

An 18 year mission to protect the granite horse trough on the corner of Manchester Road and Audenshaw Road has finally succeeded with the news that it has been granted protected status. This can be put down to the persistence of local historian, Harry BAXTER who has fought this particular battle since 1982.

The cattle and horse drinking trough was installed in 1879 on behalf of one Miss M ASHWORTH. A Reporter article dated 23 August in that year said: "The water was turned on by Miss ASHWORTH and on her request, Major SHARRAT of Fairfield declared the trough open and free to the public forever. The trough, which has an upper basin for horses and cattle and a lower one for dogs and sheep, is an elegant and substantial structure of Cornish Granite made from designs furnished by the London Cattle Trough Association.

"Thanks were expressed to the Ashton Waterworks for their generous gift of a plentiful supply of water and to the trustees of the road for their gift of a site. This brought proceedings to a close after which a number of horses were brought to the trough to drink. It was noticed that that the cool and refreshing water was especially enjoyed by the market cart horses on their way to Ashton. The cost of the trough delivered from London was 38."

I for one am grateful for Harry BAXTER's efforts. My g-grandad was a carter working between Ashton and Manchester and I've always imagined his horse stopping here to refresh itself after Jack had refreshed himself at the many pubs en route!

1 September 1900

A boy's attempt to wreck a train at Audenshaw brought him a prison sentence 100 years ago. John McCARTNEY, 13, of St James Street, Cockbrook, Ashton was charged at Denton Police Sessions with placing a sleeper on the Great Central line near Audenshaw station "with intent to injure the lives of passengers on the railway. At 20 minutes to six on Sunday, a man named GRIMSHAW, leathercutter, of 43 Chapel Street, was passing the Dane Head bridge when he saw the sleeper on the line and a lad of McCARTNEY's description about 30 yards from the obstruction.

As he had an appointment to keep, he told Edward BENNETT, caretaker at the Audenshaw Reservoir. He and his son went to investigate and removed the sleeper. They saw McCARTNEY who ran off towards the crossing. The two chased him and began to gain, so the lad headed for the swing bridge, turning it in an attempt to foil his pursuers. But BENNET leapt the gap and collared the boy who said; "Is it about that sleeper? If it is, I did not do it; seven other boys placed it there. His hands told a different story. They were "very dirty and smelled strongly of creosote oil with which the sleepers are soaked."

Interviewed later by the police, he admitted the crime, claiming that other boys had originally placed the sleeper and that had put it back after it was knocked off by an engine. I have some sympathy with his story. Have you ever tried lifting a railway sleeper unaided?! But the judge did not hold that view and gave the boy two months in jail, without hard labour.


An Audenshaw woman suffered a fatal accident while visiting Liverpool. Louisa WILLIAMSON, aged 56, of 59 Audenshaw Road was in Liverpool on Tuesday with her husband Charles and her daughter. They were entering the British Workman Public House Company's cocoa-rooms when she slipped and fell down some stairs just inside the door. She was taken to the Northern Hospital where she died on Thursday from a fractured skull.

The man in charge of the cafe stated that the stairs were about three feet from the door and though it had a wicket gate, there was no catch on it and admitted it was a hazard. "The coroner, addressing the jury said that he did not think they could bring in a verdict of manslaughter against anybody, but it was very close upon it."


Ernest KERSHAW, a carter, of 16 Delaware Street, Ashton, died in a strange accident at work. "The deceased was taking a horse out of a lurry when the 'Ridgeworth' or back band broke and caught him, causing him to get crushed against the lurry." His moans were heard by a man named Alfred BOOTH who lived close by, but though he went to KERSHAW's aid, he found him dead. Now before you ask, I don't know what a 'lurry' was and can only guess that it is an early derivation of the word 'lorry'. Does anyone out there know better?
The people of Gorton rejected a proposal to instate a school board in the town which they were allowed to do under the 1870 Elementary Education Act. The job of the board was to increase access to education and secure funding. Those in favour argued that they had to rely on Manchester's school boards and other boards outside the parish to educate their children. Of the 5,590, 1,879 turned out to vote, of whom 564 were in favour and 1,307 against, though why is not explained.

1 September 1950

Tributes were paid to John BARTON, one of Ashton's most famous horticulturists whose funeral was held at Hurst Cemetery 50 years ago. John was an expert in roses and violas and was possibly the best known gardener in the North of England at the time. During the First World War, he had given extensive advice on allotment cultivation and had assisted in laying the wicket at Ashton Cricket Club.


One Ashton Church welcomed a new minister all the way from the USofA. The Rev James SCOTT was to spend nine months assisting The Rev David SMITH at the Albion Congregational Church. The scheme was sponsored by the American Congregational Service Committee, the church's counterpart. Rev SCOTT was a native of the cotton growing state of Arkansas. He graduated from the State University in June 1950, adding to his Bachelor of Divinity degree which he gained at Yale Divinity School, New haven.
And finally, elderly residents at the Lakeside Retirement Home were in uproar on being told that they could not enjoy their annual trip to Ashton, something the home had done for 55 years. The home's warden, Mr G ARDEN and health official Dr A SIMPSON objected to the trip on the Market Ground, saying the old folk would have become a 'public spectacle.' Former police Chief Constable, Mr H DISTON who had organised the previous 28 trips took exception to this and was backed by the mayor, Alderman CLARKE and the senior citizens claimed back their right to go to the fair.

Later, Dr SIMPSON and Mr ARDEN said they had been misunderstood and had 'no objection' to the visit. Alderman CLARKE said: "I am very glad that all this has been resolved. I know from what people have told me that this event is something that they look forward to for a long time and something they talk about for a long time afterwards." Another poke in the eye for bureaucracy!

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