15 May 1901

A lesson in philanthropy was given at Charlestown Station, Ashton, recently. Three constables were escorting prisoners to Strangeways Gaol. Whilst on the station platform waiting for the train to take them to Manchester, one of the prisoners, an elderly man, commenced to show signs of distress at having to leave his children, exclaiming that he did not know what would become of them.

The train was coming, and the man was to be separated from all that was near and dear to him, when the inexorable hand of the law was suddenly stayed in its direful work. A lady stepped up and inquired the nature of the man’s offence and the amount of the fine. On being told, she unhesitatingly put her hand in her pocket, pulled out her purse, and paid the fine, which was somewhat considerable. The lady was Mrs CROSBY, wife of Colonel CROSBY, the new commanding officer who has succeeded Colonel GUNTER at the Barracks. The incident was very touching, and although sudden and unexpected, it did not escape the notice of several passengers on the platform.

On Sunday evening, the Nonconformists of Ashton held the first of a series of open air services, intended to be continued during the warm and light nights of summers. The first one was held near to and facing the market clock tower, and the assemblage was a very large one. There was spirited singing to harmonium accompaniment, and address by a number of gentlemen. Hitherto, the socialists have almost monopolised this kind of open air work; but they have usually been ending when the chapels were loosing. And it is after this that these evangelical services are being held.
An Inquest was held at the New Inn, Hooley Hill on Monday before Mr BIRCH, Deputy Coroner, on the body of Marion KAYE, who was run over by a van in Poplar-street on Friday, the 17th instant.

Eliza KAYE, wife of Harry KAYE, living at 130 Guide-lane, Audenshaw, said she was the mother of the deceased child, who was three years of age. She last saw deceased alive at about three o’clock on Friday when she was playing with two little girls on a green adjoining Poplar-street, not far from their home. At ten minutes past three she was brought home dead. She had not observed any van coming along Polar-street.

Hannah Jane STIFF said she lived at 11 Poplar-street and at about ten past three on Friday last, she was a few yards from her own door. She saw a four wheeled van coming round the corner on the left side of the road going towards Ashton. It was going at a nice trot, and when opposite Gower-street, she turned to look at it again and saw that it had stopped, and that the child was on the ground under the wheel. The van was just stopping when she looked at it. She had not seen the child run out, and it was under the wheel when she first saw it. There were no other children there whom she could see.

Frank PROCTOR said he was a carrier and worked for his father, and lived at Gee Cross. On Friday last at about five minutes past three he was driving a four wheeled van down Poplar-street in the direction of Guidebridge. He was on the left-hand side of the road. The van was a canvas covered one. When passing the end of Gower-street, he saw the child run out of Gower-street across the road. He could not say which way she was looking. He was going at a rate of about five or six miles an hour. He shouted out and pulled up his horses within a distance of four yards. He got off the van and found the deceased lying with the back of her head under the wheel. Her body was lying away from the van. The head had scotched the back wheel and the brains were protruding, but she was not quite dead. A woman took the body into a house close to, and the child died shortly afterwards. He did his utmost to pull up when he saw her running. There were three or four other children standing at the corner.

Edwin WALKER, a commercial traveller, of Sunnyside, Manchester-road, Denton, said on Friday last, he was driving along Poplar-street in the direction of Ashton when he saw a covered van which was on the left side of the road, and in the van with the driver were two girls and another man. Witness had proceeded about 20 yards, when he heard a scream, and turning round he saw the child on the ground with its head in front of the front wheel. He did not think the wheel had gone over its head. When he passed, the van driver did not appear to him to be larking with the girls who were in the van with him.

The Coroner said that he did not think any blame attached to the driver. The fact of the two witnesses differing as to which wheel the head was under was immaterial. The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death."

Thousands of Pounds Damages — One Man Suffocated — 40 Ponies Left to Their fate

A disastrous fire broke out in No. 1 engine-room of the Ashton New Moss Colliery about three o’clock on Sunday morning. The engineer was present at the time, but there were no available means at hand for extinguishing the fire. So far as can be gathered, the fire appears to have been caused by a short circuit having been set up in the electric cable from the dynamo under the engine-house. This would cause fusion, and as there were fine particles of coal dust about, it is supposed these have caused a small explosion which ignited the woodwork round about and enveloped the building in flames.

Unfortunately, the flames spread from the drum in the engine-house to the wire cable used for lowering and winding up the cages, and the grease and other lubricants heated the wire the wire to such a degree that it broke, allowing the cages and a portion of the rope to fall down the shaft with a terrible crash. When this occurred, the up and down cages were stopped opposite each other in the middle of the shaft in accordance with the usual practice on Sundays when the colliery is not working. The two cages fell on to the tables, or barriers, placed at the 520 yards level, and stuck there. It is remarkable how the tables withstood the strain, and had they collapsed the cages must have been precipitated another 500 yards down the shaft, and probably into the sump holes which were full of water.

The burning cable fell into a heap at the bottom and set fire to the props and other timber work. A large store of props was in close contiguity to the shaft, and it was feared that these, too, had caught fire.

At the when the fire commenced the men ordinarily employed on a Sunday to attend to the pumping were down the pit. The men were brought to the surface by the upcast shaft, but one of them, named James BOYD, residing at Ashton Hill-lane, Droylsden, a married man with three sons and a daughter and employed as a fireman, could not be got at on account of the atmosphere having become so vitiated. It was hoped that he would have retired into the workings, so thus got out of danger. There were also 40 ponies in the stable down the pit.

Smoke began to issue from the downcast shaft, and the gravest fears began to be entertained for the safety of the man BOYD, and also the ponies in the pit workings. Rescue parties were quickly organised, and the first, consisting of seven men in charge of Mr WORDSWORTH, the certificated manager of the colliery, descended the shaft early in the afternoon, but after being lowered to a depth of about 300 yards, they were driven back by the reek from the burning timbers.

Another rescue party, under the direction of the assistant manager, Mr LLOYD, went down, taking with them a hosepipe with which to play on the burning timbers. They returned at 5.20, when Mr LLOYD reported that they had reached the bottom and had played on the smouldering timbers. He also stated that if they could restart the fan, which had been stopped since the morning, it might be possible to draw away the reek from the rescue party, in which case they would be able to continue their search for their missing comrade.

A third party went down before six o’clock, in charge of Mr HUNTER, but also failed in their efforts to reach the imprisoned man. The fire was confined to the Roger mine; it did not touch what is known as the Great Mine at all. Some portions of the pit were lighted by electricity, and when the current was interrupted by the short circuit being formed, the electric lights in the pit went out.

The rescue parties continued their efforts until two o’clock on Monday morning before they were enabled to get into the workings. In gaining access, they found BOYD lying face down about 100 yards from No. 2 shaft. He was dead, but bore the appearance of having had a struggle in his frantic efforts to save himself. The deceased was delegate to the Firemen’s Union, which held its meetings at the Church Inn, Ashton. He was an experienced fireman, having been engaged in this occupation for about fifteen years altogether. He had been working at the New Moss Colliery for about two years, and prior to that he was fireman at the Astley Pit, Dukinfield, for about eight years. He had also worked as fireman for a considerable time at Messrs Reyners Limited, Albion Mills, Ashton.

With respect to the entombed ponies, these could not be rescued, and they had to be left to their fate down the pit. It is probable that they would not remain alive long as the heat and the fumes were so great as to asphyxiate them. It would be practically impossible for them to escape alive, as the heat would be almost sufficient to roast them. Having found BOYD’s body, only one course remained for putting out the fire which was then raging, and that was to smother it. Gangs of men were accordingly set to work to "puddle" or seal up the two shafts and other outlets. At the time of writing, it was not known how far the fire had penetrated, or what were the dimensions, so that the amount of the damage could not be computed, but it will amount to thousands of pounds.

At a meeting of the miners of the New Moss Colliery, held on Monday, the following resolution was passed, on the motion of Owen BAUD, seconded by Samuel GEE: — "That this meeting of the miners of the New Moss Colliery expresses its sincere regret at the sad calamity which occurred on Sunday, and we tender our condolence and sympathy with the wife and family of James BOYD, who has unfortunately lost his life. We also wish to express our deep sympathy with the company in the loss it will sustain through damage and the enforced closing of the mine, which we trust will only be of short duration. We tender our gratitude and thanks to all who have so readily assisted in the work of rescue, and trust that the normal condition will soon be resumed." — William WARDLE, Chairman; Thomas COX, Secretary.

Last Monday, the funeral of the late Mrs DEARNLEY took place at the Dukinfield Cemetery. Great crowds of Good Templar brothers and sisters met to pay their last respects to their departed sister, walking in procession from her home to the cemetery and back again. Wreaths, anchors and floral tributes were numerous. The Rev Mr HOWLETT was the officiating minister, who, during the service in the cemetery, made beautiful allusion to the occasion.

At the grave side, the Good Templar funeral ceremony was gone through, the District Chief, District Secretary, and District SJT conducting the service, which was rendered with good effect. Such scenes are not very frequent in this district, but Monday’s proceedings gave evidence of the fraternal nature of the Good Templars, who offer their sympathy with the bereaved.

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