24 August 1901

The Use of Firearms

Ashton Wakes Ground was the scene of a distressing shooting fatality shortly after midnight on Saturday. A young man, Edward COYLE (23), a native of Ardwick, Manchester, and a seventeen year old girl from Preston, named Matilda WHALLEY, were employed at a shooting saloon owned by Mr Frederick A HARRISON, of Preston.

Shortly after midnight the order to close the galleries was given by the police. Miss WHALLEY was in the act of withdrawing the charge from a repeating rifle which had not been used, when a crowd of men and youths rushed along. The girl at the time had her finger on the trigger, and some man, it was stated, knocked against her. The rifle went off and the bullet entered the right breast of COYLE, who was standing inside the gallery attending to the objects to be shot at. The wounded man at once called out "I'm shot."

The proprietor, Mr HARRISON, and others rendered assistance, but when Dr TWOMEY arrived, COYLE was dead. The bullet penetrated his right lung and heart, and death occurred two or three minutes afterwards. The body was removed to the mortuary. The young girl in whose hands the rifle was fainted. COYLE had only been in Mr HARRISON's employment a fortnight. Miss WHALLEY and he were on the best of terms.

The inquest was held in the Court Room, Ashton Town Hall, on Tuesday forenoon by Mr J F PRICE, district coroner. Mr COYLE, warehouseman, 5 Crawshaw-street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, said the deceased was my son, and was a professional trick jumper. Her formerly worked at the hay and corn stores of Mr PARNELL, Chester-road, Manchester, until he came out as a trick jumper. He was 23 last birthday, and had always had good health. I was with him on Bank Holiday, and he left home on the Wednesday following to commence work for Mr HARRISON, shooting gallery proprietor, and I never saw him alive again. I identified the body shortly after six o'clock on Sunday night.

Frederick Albert HARRISON, traveling shooting gallery proprietor, of Preston, said: I have been on Ashton Market Ground since Wednesday night. I have known deceased to speak to about two years. He had been assisting me at the shooting gallery a little over a week. His duties were not specified, and he did anything that was required. On Saturday night, he was inside the saloon placing objects to be shot at on to jets of water. WHALLEY was unloading her guns which had been left loaded. She held the gun with the muzzle pointing towards the target whilst she drew the cartridge out. A crowd of people came by and pushed against the girl's elbow and this caused the gun to swerve round at the moment of unloading and to go off. I heard COYLE shout "Oh, I'm shot." I went inside to him and brought him out, and he fell right over.

Mabel WHALLEY, 38 Newton-street, Preston, said: I am 17 years of age, and have been engaged at Mr HARRISON's shooting gallery all through last winter, and for the last fortnight have been traveling about with him. About twelve o'clock, the police came and asked us to stop. In accordance with the usual custom, I was unloading a repeating rifle. With about two cartridges left in it. I had got one of the two cartridges, and was going to repeat it. I had my thumb on the trigger ready to drop the hammer and pull the repeater. Just at that moment a crowd of people came, and I was not looking. They caused my elbow to move, and it caused the gun to swerve round and go off.

At the request of the jury, the last witness took hold of the gun and demonstrated her ability to handle the weapon. This she did with some amount of trepidation and precaution, as if in fear of the deadly weapon containing a charge of shot.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

The Missing Club Money

On Monday forenoon, at the Globe Hotel, Mr Francis NEWTON held an inquest on the body of a single young woman named Elizabeth ROE, aged 17, daughter of Walter ROE, painter, of 95 Lodge-lane, Dukinfield, who was found drowned on Saturday morning in the Peak Forest Canal, under the following circumstances: —

Walter ROE said: The deceased was my daughter. I last saw her alive about 8 pm on Friday last in Crescent-road. She was then very cheerful, and in course of conversation asked me for a "Wakesing." I gave her 1s, telling her that would be enough for one night. I never saw her again until I identified her dead body on Saturday last.

Samuel AXFORD said: I reside at 222 Astley-street, Dukinfield, and am a boat loader. I have been courting the deceased for about 12 months. I last saw her alive about 10.30 on Friday night when I left her at the end of a row of houses near her house in Lodge-lane. We had been to Ashton and during the evening deceased told me that her mother had drawn mine and her own money from the PSA Savings Club and spent it in paying a doctor's bill at Southport. She said she was trying to borrow the money so that I could go away. She was to have met me at 12.15 next day against the Ashton Town Hall, but I did not see her.

John HINDLEY said: I am a boatman, and live in Astley-street, Dukinfield. At 4.15 on Saturday morning I was going along the Peak Forest Canal towing path to my work, and when near Well Bridge I found a woman's hat, jacket and skirt on the towing path. Thinking someone was in the water, I got a boathook, and in short time recovered the body of the deceased.

Maria ROE said: I am the wife of Walter ROE, and the deceased was our daughter. She was 17 years of age. On Friday night, the deceased left home about 7 o'clock. She had then in her possession, so far as I could reckon, 6 13s 0d, being 4 of her own money, and 2 13s 0d belonging to AXFORD. I had not received any money or spent any in the payment of a doctor's bill. Detective MOTTERSHEAD said when searched the deceased had 1s 01/2d in her possession.

After some conversation about the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the money it was decided to adjourn the inquest until Tuesday next, so as to give the police an opportunity of tracing the money.

Pleasures and Penalties

Rarely does the annual Wakes carnival pass over without accident, sometimes very serious. The crowd on the Market Ground was so large on Saturday and Monday nights and the hurry and scurry and excitement so great, that it is surprising that there were not more accidents than there were to record. Like all other up-to-date machinery, improvements have to such an extent been made that steam roundabouts go double motion imparted to them by man's ingenuity. All kinds of mechanical contrivances are requisitioned to supply the public taste for excitement so palpable at Wakes time, and over that quiet and at one time indubitable little arbour of retreat for juveniles, the "pea saloon", has faded out of existence, and given way to the more noisy and rowdy paraphernalia so characteristic of a modern Wakes ground. Amid all the din and noise no wonder people lose their heads and accidents occur.

In addition to the awful shooting gallery fatality referred to elsewhere, which according to the evidence was purely the outcome of the noisy, jostling crowd, other accidents occurred which, although not fatal, gave cause for alarm. On Monday, a boy named Ralph CHAPMAN, aged seven, son of Samuel CHAPMAN, a miner of Audenshaw-road, Audenshaw, was riding on DAVIES's racing ostriches when he fell. Constable WALMSLEY picked him off the footboard. The boy remained unconscious for ten minutes. It was feared that the base of the lad's skull was fractured. He was taken to the Police Station, and there examined and treated by DR PEARCE, who promptly arrived on the scene. The boy was found to be suffering from concussion of the brain. He was subsequently removed home in a cab by his mother who is stewardess at DR CRAWSHAW's surgery, Ashton.

A serious accident occurred on Monday night to Miss Beatrice GIBSON, of 27 Lord-street, who fell from one of the steam roundabouts on to her head, causing a nasty scalp wound and also severe bruises on the right arm and body. She was taken home, and has since been confined to her bed suffering from the wounds and shock, for which she is under the care and treatment of DR PEARCE.

The Officer a Stalybridge Man

A sensational affair occurred at West Gorton on Tuesday afternoon, when Police-constable Daniel BENTLEY, of the City Police Force, was murderously attacked by a labourer, named Charles SYLVUM, residing at 10 Eskrigge-street. The occurrence had occasioned considerable excitement, and during the hearing of the case the court was crowded with spectators.

The first witness called was Police-sergeant McDERMOTT, who received the prisoner into custody at a quarter past four on Tuesday afternoon at the dwelling house, and took him to the police station. The prisoner was then under the influence of drink, and it was not until half-past twelve on the following day that witness charged him with attempting to murder BENTLEY, and also with shooting at him and others with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Witness stated that about half past two on Tuesday afternoon he was in Clowes-street, when he was told that a constable had been shot in Eskrigge-street. He went there, and found BENTLEY surrounded by a crowd of people. Witness learned that the prisoner had just goner into his own house, and had closed the door, and he accordingly followed him. When he got to the door someone in the crowd shouted, "Look out; he's going to shoot you."

Upon that witness ran round to the back door to make sure that the man did not escape that way; but finding the door closed he went round to the front again to see what was the matter with BENTLEY, whom he found had by that time got up to SYLVUM's door, accompanied by the crowd. Witness returning again to the back door, with the object of securing SYLVUM, encountered prisoner holding a revolver, and some people cried out that he was going to shoot. Witness dropped in the entry, and immediately afterwards heard a shot fired. The people screamed, and then there was another shot.

In the meantime BENTLEY had got into the house and, with the assistance of another man, had pinned the prisoner to the sofa. The prisoner held a revolver in his right hand, and he fired it while the struggle was going on. When searched at the police station the prisoner had a revolver in his possession and it contained five spent and one full cartridge. There was a desperate struggle with the prisoner before he was finally secured, and he fired nine shots altogether. Four empty cartridges were found near the back door of the house, and a box containing 50 rounds was afterwards found in his house. Yesterday morning witness had made a second search for the remaining bullets and found two of them in the street opposite the door. There were bullet marks on the cupboard, the window and the sofa.

Constable BENTLEY, the hero of the adventure, who showed evident signs of the great shock his nerves had received, then described what had happened to him. He said that the prisoner should have appeared before the magistrates on Tuesday in answer to a summons, but he did not turn up, his wife appearing on his behalf. She was told that if her husband appeared at 10 o'clock yesterday it would prevent a warrant being issued against him. In the afternoon witness went to look after two witnesses who lived in the same street, and whose lives prisoner had threatened to take if they appeared against him Prisoner excitedly denied that this was the case.

Witness added that he went to a house in Eskrigge-street to see a woman who was now in court to tell her that she must appear there that morning. Leaving the woman's house and passing along the street he met prisoner standing by his own door with a revolver in each hand. Accompanying the threat with a foul expression, prisoner told witness that he would do for him.

Witness did not believe that prisoner was going to shoot until he fired three shots in quick succession. Upon that, witness drew his handcuffs from his pocket and walked towards the prisoner who kept on firing all the time. He emptied one revolver right off, and witness heard the bullets strike the wall on the other side of the street. One of them knocked his hat off. Immediately afterwards Sergeant McDermott and a constable came up, and the crowd called out to them not to go near the door, adding "He'll shoot you dead."

Witness burst the door open and saw the prisoner standing in the room still with a revolver in his hand. Witness twisted his leg and upset him, and as he was doing so prisoner again shot at him, setting his tunic on fire. In confirmation of this, the witness's tunic was handed up for the inspection of the Bench, and was seen to be perforated in three places. His helmet, containing several bullet marks, was also shown to the magistrates.

Prisoner was then remanded for a week.

In accordance with the usual custom the inmates of the Union Workhouse were given a Wakes treat on Ashton Market Ground on Wednesday. About one hundred inmates, old and young, deaf and dumb, the halt and the blind, took advantage of the opportunity afforded of having a "razzle-dazzle" on the Market Ground. They were accompanied by the Workhouse Master (Mr SHORE) and a staff of attendants, and walked in procession from the Workhouse to the Fair Ground, where they arrived about two o'clock, and were taken in hand by Mr J SNELL, Chief Constable, who had arranged a capital programme for their delectation.

Every attention was paid to their requirements by the Chief Constable, who was ably assisted by Sergeant TOLSON and several constables. The first place visited was Captain T PAYNE's latest electric bioscope, where they were enabled to see trick and laughable pictures by the score, also local living pictures in which Ashtonians were asked to see themselves as others saw them. The local pictures represented workpeople leaving Whittaker's Hurst Mills, Heginbottom's, and the Wellington Mills, Whitelands-road.

The visitors were next delighted with a ride on COLLINS' Venetian Gondolas, which the generous proprietor allowed them to monopolise to their hearts' content, stopping at intervals to see who had had enough. They subsequently tested their equestrian abilities on John COLLINS, jun, galloping horses, and from there they went "tobogganing" on John GREEN's switchback, and later on got amongst the poultry, and indulged in long flights of imagination as they were being whirled round on Peter COLLINS' cocks and hens.

They wound up at the Fish Market, where they were entertained by Mr John WHITEHEAD, fish dealer, to a sumptuous repast of oysters, shrimps, fruit of all kinds, cocoa nuts, mussels, ice cream &c. On leaving the market they were each presented with a parcel of fish to take back with them. A most enjoyable afternoon was spent, and when the visitors assembled outside the market they did not fail to show their appreciation of the kindness and consideration of those who had so lavishly catered for them.

Sad End of a Club Treasurer

Mr J F PRICE, county coroner, held an inquest at Droylsden on Monday into the death of James HOWARD, late landlord of the Golden Pheasant Inn, who committed suicide on Friday evening week. A "Wakes" club had been held at the house, the deceased being entrusted with the money, and the distribution should have taken place that evening.

Ann HOWARD said deceased was her husband, and was 51 years of age. About 7.30 on Friday evening the deceased asked her to go an errand, and at that time he was doing some writing in connection with the "Wakes" club. When she returned he was found suspended by means of a clothes line round his neck in an outhouse. He had never threatened to commit suicide. She understood that he was a bit short in his "Wakes" club affairs, but he had not said so.

John THORNBY, stonemason, said deceased told him on Friday evening that he would make the club payments between eight and nine o'clock. He then appeared very nervous. John COOPER, of the Welcome Inn, Ashton-under-Lyne, said deceased called upon him on Tuesday and Wednesday week. He said he was in financial difficulties and wanted 100. On Wednesday they went to try and borrow the money, but were unsuccessful. He (COOPER) knew that the deceased did a little betting.

The Coroner said it was evident that being short of money the deceased had been driven to take his life. Envelopes had been made out with the members' names on them, and the amount due to them. The total amount of the club appeared to be somewhere about 130. He was of the opinion that betting was at the bottom of the matter. The jury returned a verdict of suicide, but expressed no opinion as to the state of the deceased's mind at the time he committed the act.

Sir,— Knowing that your paper is one that is always straight to the point and speaks openly for anything that is for the benefit of the town and the people, I wish to make a few remarks to my fellow workers of the power they have in their hands if they will but use it. Years ago, Ashton was called the prettiest and cleanest town in the north of England. Is that so to-day? If not, why should it be so different from what it was? This is the fault of the workers themselves. They have the power in their own hands of altering this condition of affairs.

First of all, we must obtain ownership of the land. The law at present gives the power to all Corporations to purchase land for improvements and to build upon that land whatever is for the benefit of the town. Land so purchased should be used for the building of houses — not kennels — for the working class, houses that will be an ornament to the town, with a pleasant front and proper accommodation at the rear, with sufficient breathing room so that the rising generation shall have such surroundings that their young minds will be raised above the present paltry level. The streets should be made brighter by the addition of avenues of trees, which would clear the air and give a healthy surrounding to the homes of the people.

Secondly,, the water, the light, and trams should be under public ownership. This would lead the people to go in for the control of the coal, bread and milk supply — three things which are sadly needed in Ashton. Let people work in earnest, and nought can prevent the town from becoming a little heaven on earth.— I am yours truly, IGNORAMUS

Workmen Sent to Prison

At the Intermediate Sessions for the Hundred of Salford, held at the Assize Courts on Monday, Patrick RYAN (29) a labourer of Meadow-street, Openshaw, and William LYONS of Aitken-street, Gorton, were indicted for stealing 164lbs of brass, the property of Messrs Slack and Brownlow, manufacturers, Abbey Hey, Gorton, valued at 7 10s. Richard LOMAS (45), general dealer, 460 Manchester-road, Droylsden, was accused of receiving the same knowing it to have been stolen.

Mr LEARY prosecuted, and Mr GIBBONS defended LOMAS. The other prisoners conducted their own defence. It was stated in evidence that the prisoners RYAN and LYONS sold the brass, which was worth 7 10s, to LOMAS for 2 3s 4d, who re-sold it to a dealer in Stalybridge for a profit of a halfpenny a pound, and that RYAN and LYONS had been in the employment of the prosecutor. It was urged in defence of LOMAS that there was no distinguishing mark on the brass, and that he had no reason to believe that the stuff had been stolen. The jury acquitted LOMAS, and found the other prisoners guilty. RYAN was sentenced to imprisonment for four moths, and LYONS — against whom there was a previous conviction — to imprisonment for six months.

Mr Harry HOLMES of Beechwood, Gorton, writes:— "On the 19th day of August 1901, William Albert HILL, 45 Low-street, Gorton, rescued Eva WOLSTENHOLME, 38 Friendship Avenue, Gorton, from the Stockport Great Central Railway Canal. He is one of the labourers at the Gorton Cemetery, and the high railings prevented him getting immediately to the drowning child, after a quick run and a brave plunge, he brought her to the bank, and by strenuous endeavours, aided by kindly neighbours, brought the girl back again to life. I can bear witness to his bravery and strongly recommend him as a recipient of some reward from any society recognising heroism in saving life."

Board of Education Examination Results

Building construction — John NEWTON, Harold FARMER, advanced 2nd class. Practical inorganic chemistry — Advanced 1st class: Edith LAWTON, Harry NUTTALL, Tom WHITEHEAD. Advanced 2nd class — Albert CORLETT, George M TURNER, James O CHEETHAM, John HOLT and Harold LEES.

The Inquest

On Friday evening Mr NEWTON, coroner, conducted an enquiry at Councillor James BUCKLEY's Feathers Inn, High-street, Stalybridge, touching the death of Thomas Henry BROWN, whose sad end by drowning in the Huddersfield canal the previous day was recorded in Saturday's Reporter.

Alexander BROWN, father of deceased, gave evidence of identification. He said his son was 19 years of age, and was a nail cutter under witness at the Globe Forge. He resided with witness at 60 Sett-street. About seven o'clock on Thursday evening deceased left home, he then being in his usual good health. Shortly before nine o'clock the same night witness was informed that deceased whilst bathing had sunk in the canal, and upon going to the place he saw the body recovered, life then being extinct. He did not know that his son had ever bathed there before.

Joseph HICKMAN, a youth residing at 4 Sidebottom's-court, off Robinson-street, deposed that he was bathing in the canal near Messrs SUMMER's forge along with deceased and other lads. BROWN could not swim, but he went into the middle of the canal and almost immediately began to flounder about. He finally sank, and witness raised an alarm.

Detective LEES said the police were constantly driving lads from the canal in the warm season, but all to no purpose; they would persist in bathing there. Several jurymen concurred, and a verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.

The remains of the unfortunate young man were interred at St Paul's, Staley, last Saturday afternoon. Large crowds of people assembled in the vicinity of the residence of the deceased, many signs of sympathy being manifest in the neighbourhood on behalf of the bereaved family. Six of the workmates of the young man acted as bearers.

The "Guests" Fined

On Monday, at the Stalybridge Police Court, William SCHOFIELD, Henry SCHOFIELD, William SHEPHERD and Henry DRAYCOTT, all of Ashton, were summoned for being on the licensed premises of Susannah MOORHOUSE, Junction Inn beerhouse, Back Grosvenor-street, during prohibited hours, to wit 11.55 PM None of the defendants appeared.

Captain BATES, chief constable, said he had received a letter from Mr POWNALL, solicitor, respecting the two SCHOFIELDs, pleading guilty on their behalf, and stating that they would be away on their holidays on Monday. The letter also asked the chief constable to take the cases in their absence, and he had no objection to that course. Respecting SHEPHERD's and DRAYCOTT's absence he could not say anything.

Sergeant HEATH was called. He said that at five minutes to twelve o'clock on the night of the 1st inst, he visited the Junction Inn, along with Constable A WELLS, and there found the four defendants, who were standing in the lobby with glasses on the bar counter and in front of them. He told the men he should report them.

Captain BATES remarked that the landlady had already been dealt with. Alderman RIDYARD: Were there any mitigating circumstances in this case? I think they should come before the court if there are any. Captain BATES: I do not think there were.

Alderman RIDYARD observed that perhaps they were looked upon as friends. Captain BATES replied: That was the defence, of course. These men were found on the premises together with two others who were relatives. Two of the men (SHEPHERD and DRAYCOTT) are cabmen. The Bench fined the brothers SCHOFIELD 5s and costs each, and the cabmen 1s and costs each.

Heavy Fines

At Hyde County Police Court on Tuesday, Robert ASHWORTH, of 29 Windmill-street, Stockport, was charged with gaming at Mottram by means of a watch dial the previous day. Superintendent COOPER said that in consequence of a great many complaints he had received, he got two policemen in plain clothes to go to Mottram Wakes, when they found the defendant gaming, and when apprehended he had upon him 1 6s 91/2d. He was gaming with a watch that wound up at the back, and on the dial in front were the names of several horses, and the trick was for the person to put a penny on the name of the horse he thought the finger would stop at. But there were always six losers to one winner.

There were six other cases similar to this one, but they did not comprise a quarter of the number of persons who were gaming at the Wakes. When the defendant was apprehended there was a general stampede. In some instances little boys had lost two or three shillings with these men, and some had been seen to "net" as much as 6 and 7 at one standing. He asked for the defendant to be severely dealt with. His remarks about him applied equally with regard to the other men who would be charged.

Constable WARING said he and Sergeant TAYLOR went to the Wakes at Mottram the previous afternoon, and there found the defendant in Church Brow with a watch on a box, the finger of which spinned round for people to put money on, and on whatever name the finger stopped would be the winner.

Defendant said he was very sorry, and did not know he was doing wrong. It was the first time he had ever played the game.

Superintendent COOPER: In addition to the instrument he had a box and dice and canvas, playing at "Under and over."

Defendant was fined 20s and costs or a month's imprisonment with hard labour.

George Henry MORTON, 25 Oxford-road, Dukinfield; Hammond HADDY, 59 Back Vandrey-street, Stockport; John SMITH, Angel-street, off Rochdale-road, Manchester; James KERR, 5 Mount-street, Ashton-under-Lyne; and J BEAUMONT, 3 Howard's Buildings, Stalybridge, were charged with gaming at Mottram with a dice and box at a game called "Under and over,' and they were each fined 1 and costs, or in default a month in gaol with hard labour.

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