6 April 1901

The Census taken at the Ashton Union Workhouse was a simple, though rather onerous undertaking. It was performed by the master, Mr DAVEY, and staff of the workhouse.

The staff of the workhouse are very familiar with the work of making out a list of inmates of the institution, a weekly ‘roll’ having to be made as a matter of ordinary routine work. To gather and fill in the particulars required for the census paper in respect of nearly 1,000 men. Women and children in the workhouse on Sunday night was no easy task and occupied the greater portion of the night time, whilst others were taking their ethereal slumbers, this course having to be adopted in order to enumerate the tramps &c., in the casual ward, who are here to-day and gone to-morrow.

Then there was the staff, 33 in number, and these had to be enumerated along with the rest. The schedule papers differed in no respect from those issued to ordinary householders, except that they were bound in a large volume instead of being sent out in single sheets. There was nothing at all out of the way in the lists; the inmates took the matter stolidly, and it would not have been possible to raise a laugh in any single instance.

A glance over the list was, however, interesting. There were enumerated occupations of every description. Were the inmates of the Workhouse isolated from the rest of their kind it is absolutely certain, supposing the information on the census papers to be correct, that they would supply themselves with home manufactured goods of every possible description.

Nearly every shire in the British Isles is represented. Some few expressed a little difficulty in supplying the place of their birth, and the word ‘unknown’ figured in one or two instances. On Sunday night, the whole of the inmates — with the exception of five who were away on leave — observed the rules of the institution, so far as they apply to keeping within bounds.

There were very few foreigners in the workhouse. In the hospital there was an African black woman who has been inside the house for some time. There were also one or two Americans.

Mr and Mrs DAVEY have been busy all the week filling up the schedules from particulars given by heads of each department. The actual number of inmates in the workhouse was 916, about 100 of whom were imbeciles and feeble-minded people. There were 33 in the tramp wards, 24 of whom were single and 9 married, which is a point in favour of marriage.

In the male hospital there were 210; female hospital 194; imbecile hospital 88; school 59; males and females in the body of the house 344, and receiving wards 13.

A Child Suffocated

A very singular occurrence took place at the house of Mr John H BROOKS, waste dealer, Rose Bank, Lees-road, Mossley, on Monday afternoon, which unfortunately resulted in the death of a child aged one year and seven months.

The facts as reported to the police are as follows: — Mrs BROOKS, in accordance with her usual custom after giving the child its dinner, took it upstairs to bed, closing the bedroom door after her. In about three-quarters of an hour afterwards, she perceived a smell of something burning, and upon going upstairs, she found the bedroom full of smoke and the bed on fire.

Rushing through the smoke, she took the child out of the bed and upon getting it downstairs found it was quite unconscious.

It was discovered that a gaslight had been left burning from the morning. This light is situated midway between the curtains of the bed and those of the window and it is considered probable that a cat had been playing in the sun which was shining just at that time and had pulled the window curtains into the gaslight, and so set fire to the bed curtains. The cat was discovered in the bedroom quite dead. Considerable damage was done by the fire.

(Temperance Conference in Ashton)

At the evening sitting of the Conference, Mr JAKEMAN, of the Liverpool Temperance Union delivered a lecture on the subject: "The Poor Man’s Poor Beer", illustrated by specimens and experiments.

He dealt first with the subject of alcohol, and said there was a good deal of misconceptions as to how it was produced. Alcohol was not found in anything that was pure and good; it was produced by corruption — the fermentation of sugar. Alcohol hardened what water softened. Eleven years ago, he put some bread into alcohol and it was as hard as wood; pieces of raw and roast beef resembled shoe leather.

The best beer was not, as some people supposed, made from barley, for this reason, that if made from barley, there would be no alcohol in it. Barley was converted into malt to increase the quantity of sugar. The sole study was how to make a beer to suit the taste of the people so that they would purchase it.

The raid which the police made in the town last Saturday midnight has been the theme of conversation during the week. For some months past, the guardians of the peace have had a busy time in checking repeated outbursts of disorderliness at that end of Caroline-street, where what has been proved to have existed a booze club.

In the words of Mr Fred THOMPSON, prosecuting solicitor, the place has been "an abominable boozing den". And its eradication is a blessing to the borough. The Magistrates fittingly marked their contempt of the defendants by inflicting substantial penalties — not too large by any means — and the result is that the disreputable looking president and his barmen are now in durance working hard.

A fine specimen of an egg is in the possession of Mr William WARDLE, president of the Cobden Club, its weight being four ounces. The egg was laid by a hen belonging to Mr Abraham BIDDULPH, Main Greys Farm, Mottram.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mr F NEWTON, coroner, held an inquest at the Victoria Inn, High-street, touching the death of Margaret CARTER, aged 62, wife of William CARTER, of Hibbert’s Yard, off Robinson-street, which took place at 1.30 on Sunday morning.

From the evidence of deceased’s husband, it appeared that at the time named, deceased, their son, Andrew, and himself were laughing and talking when deceased began to cough violently, after which she said she would lie on the sofa. A few minutes afterwards it was found that Mrs CARTER was dead.

She had been suffering for 18 months from dropsy, bronchitis and had been attended by Dr TAIT up to six weeks ago — A verdict of ‘Death from natural causes’ was returned.

The death took place on Thursday week at his mother’s residence in Forrester-street, of Henry MOORE, who died at the early age of 19 years, after a short but severe illness. The deceased young man was very well known, and as he had a very cheerful disposition, he was held in high esteem by his numerous friends. The funeral took place on Tuesday at St Joseph’s Cemetery, Moston, amid every manifestation of grief by his sorrowing relatives and friends.

At about 8.30 on Monday morning, the police received information of the death of Francis BYRNE, aged 39, of 62, Church-street. Ashton, as the result of an accident which took place about 7.30 at the above mill. It appears that the deceased, who was under carder, was engaged in piecing the driving strap, which hung loose on the shaft, when by some means it began to wind round the same, and catching deceased by the waistcoat, it took him with it.

One of the hands at once ran out for help and told the engineer to stop the engine, which was done. On the arrival of assistance the body was found lying on the floor, and the arm, which was completely severed, was fast in the strap. The body was afterwards conveyed to the Town Hall to await an inquest. Deceased, who is brother to the landlord of the Wellington Inn, leaves a wife and family.

The Inquest
Was held on Wednesday afternoon at the Town Hall, Ashton. Mr WILKINSON (Booth and Wilkinson solicitors) watched the proceedings on behalf of Messrs Reyner Ltd. There were also present the manager (Mr W GRUNDY) and the secretary (Mr W WRIGLEY), also J H CRABTREE, H.M. Inspector of Factories.

Mary Ann BYRNE stated that the deceased was her husband. He was 39 last birthday. She last saw him alive at 5.30 on Monday morning when he left home to go to work. He was then in good health. She heard of his death about eight o’clock. Many a time the deceased had told her he dreaded the strap, but she did not know what he meant. Before he went out in the morning, he was laughing and talking to them.

Emily FISH said she was a blowing room hand at Reyners Albion Mill. BYRNE was standing on a ladder reared against the driving shaft, and trying to tie the driving strap with a piece of band, so that it could not unlap whilst he placed it. The strap was broken, and was hanging loose on the shafting.

She saw the strap suddenly begin to wind round the shaft and it caught BYRNE by the waistcoat and arm and drew him off the ladder up the shaft. She saw deceased twist once round the shaft and then ran out and shouted for help.

By Mr WILKINSON: He never wore a coat, but he always buttoned his waistcoat. Deceased had done nothing at the strap. It was the shafting that pulled deceased round, not the pulley. There was room enough for deceased’s body to pass round between the shaft and the roof.

James BRADSHAW fireman at the Albion Mills, living at Market-street, Dukinfield, stated that at twenty minutes to eight on the morning in question, he sat in the firehole when he heard shouting. He ran to the blowing-room to see what was the matter, and there saw the deceased lying on the floor beside the blower some distance away from the shafting.

The Surveyor reported that 21 lamp squares had been broken during the month, making a total of 192 since the commencement of the lighting season, as compared with 235 at the same period last year, and 192 the previous year.

He also reported on the maintenance of incandescent lamps. It appears that of 84 lamps with incandescent burners, 34 had been supplied with fresh mantles during the month.

A Difficult Point to Decide

Judge YATE-LEE was occupied for some time at the Hyde County Court on Wednesday in a case brought under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, in which Mrs LANCASHIRE of 13 Port-street, Hyde, claimed compensation from Messrs R Horsfield and Co of the Greenfield Mill for the loss she had sustained in the death of her husband, James LANCASHIRE.

Mr LANGDON stated that deceased, prior to his death, was employed as an engine tenter at the respondents' mill, and part of his duties was to oil and grease the carding engines in the room above the engine room. There was a flight of steps leading to this room and on the 3rd of December he was descending these stairs when he fell, giving himself a severe shock. He was compelled to go home and be medically attended. He took to his bed, and on 2nd of January died.

(Sadder still — I didn’t copy the rest of the story, so I can’t tell you the outcome!)

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