8 March 1902

The Children and the Cinder Heap

At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, Joshua BIRCHALL, said to be an employee at Carrs Mill, Hurst, was summoned by Elizabeth PEARCE for assault. Mr WATSON was for the complainant, and Mr A LEES appeared for the defendant, who pleaded not guilty.

Mr WATSON said the assault was committed on February 25th. The complainant, who lived near to Whittaker’s Mill, Hurst, was standing in front of her shop door when she saw the defendant driving some children away from a cinder heap near to the mill, and frightening the children. She went to the mother of one of the children, and told her what had happened. Some time afterwards the defendant went down into the neighbourhood in which the complainant lived, and used very bad language. He attempted to strike her with a piece of iron, and afterwards pushed her violently to the ground.

Martha Elizabeth PEARCE corroborated the previous statement, and said that she saw defendant go to the children and drive them away. One of the children became frightened and began to cry. Witness went to tell the child’s mother. Defendant said to the child’s mother “That old b––––––– there told you,” and he thereupon turned upon witness and used very bad language and lifted up a piece of iron to strike her on the head. She held up her hands and warded him off, and he then struck her and felled her to the ground.– By Mr LEES: She did not know that the owner of the mill had had considerable trouble on account of children going playing there. He called her a foul name. She did not rush at him to strike him.

Martha JACKSON deposed to seeing the defendant attempt to strike the complainant, and then push her down.– By Mr LEES: The child was hers. Because she had spoken to him about the child he came to her home and used all sorts of vile language. Hannah WOODS corroborated the statements of the last witness.

The defendant BIRCHALL said he was in the employ of Messrs WHITTAKER, and anyone on the cinder heap were trespassers. He had been instructed by the secretary of the mill to drive children away from the cinder heap. He had frequently seen children playing there, and when they saw him they ran away. He did not frighten the children on the day in question. He had three pieces of iron in his hands. Whilst he was talking with Mrs JACKSON, Mrs PEARCE came up and said she would knock his “d––––– old face off.” She struck him in the face, and was making a second attempt when he warded her off, and she fell into the street.

Superintendent HEWITT in reply to the Bench said the cinder heap was 50 or 60 yards from where the public were allowed to go. Mr LEES submitted that the children had no right on the cinder heap, and when they saw the defendant coming they simply ran away. These women had a spite against the defendant, and thought he was an enemy of the children. He went to the house of Mrs JACKSON to explain that he had not been frightening them. The complainant rushed at him, and he was attempting to ward her off. The Bench fined defendant 5s 6d and costs.

A Youth’s Temptation

Major LEE, a well dressed youth, was in the dock at the Ashton Borough Police Court on Thursday, charged with stealing a sum of money from the house of Mr Whit CUNLIFFE, humourist and mimic, on March 2nd. Mr George HEATHCOTE appeared for the prisoner.

Whittaker CUNLIFFE, residing at Katherine Terrace, Ashton, said that about 7.20 pm on Sunday he left home, and on returning about midnight he found the cash box produced, which was his property, lying broken open on the kitchen table. The sum of £4 10s had been taken out of the box. The box was safe, and locked in his bedroom when he left the house.– By Mr HEATHCOTE: Prisoner was his nephew, and lived on intimate terms with him. He was in the habit of visiting the house. He had assisted witness at some of his concerts, and had the handling of money. In that capacity he had always found him honest. This was evidently an accidental lapse into dishonesty. The temptation of seeing the money in the house was apparently too strong for the prisoner to resist. Prisoner pleaded guilty.

Mr HEATHCOTE said he was there at the request of the parents of the boy to put before the Bench some extenuating circumstances. It was felt that prisoner was in a terrible position for someone at his time of life, who should now be a respectable son and useful citizen, instead of standing in the dock. This was the only complaint of a serious nature that they had to make against him.

On this particular Sunday he was in his uncle’s house alone, and probably knew that there was money in the house. He found the cash box, and gave way to a sudden temptation to open it and steal the contents. He stole the contents, although he had no need for money, and had money of his own. His parents had always seen that he was well supplied with pocket money, and food, and clothing. He took the money home, and seemed to have been struck by remorse, for he did not sleep on the Sunday night, and determined that on the next day he would return the money to his uncle.

He had an appointment at Dukinfield with regard to a situation, and on his return the police were there and he was arrested. He at once told them where the money was, and every penny of it had been returned. His parents, and Mr CUNLIFFE as well, were willing to enter into security for his good behaviour.

In reply to the Bench, Mr CUNLIFFE said he had no desire to press the case. The Chairman (Alderman ANDREW): How old is he? Eighteen. The bench accordingly bound prisoner over to be of good behaviour for six months.

We are asked to state that Mrs G E MARSHALL was not present at the Liberal Club Soirée, as reported in our last week’s issue. She is nursing her mother, who, we are sorry to say, is seriously ill.

CLAIM AGAINST AN ASSURANCE COMPANY.– At the police court on Thursday, Mary Louisa DEAN sued the Yorkshire Provident Life Assurance Company to recover the sum of £17 10s due under two policies of assurance effected in the company upon the life of May DEAN. On the case being called the magistrates’ clerk (Mr WESTBROOK) said he had a letter from the plaintiff’s solicitor stating that the case was settled.

On Tuesday evening a smoking concert was held in the Central Liberal Club, under the presidency of Mr G R MARSHALL. The billiard-room was simply packed to listen to those popular favourites Messrs Whit and Jim CUNLIFFE, and J DIMELOW, with Mr Peter FLITCROFT as accompanist. They sang some of their most popular and up-to-date selections, and the audience was highly delighted. At the close of a very enjoyable evening a vote of thanks was tendered to the vocalists on the motion of Mr J W FISH, president of the club, and seconded by Mr J A GARFORTH.

At the Police Court on Thursday, James TURNER, described as a labourer, was summoned for using bad language in Hill-street on the 1st instant.– Constable BROOME stated that at twenty to twelve o’clock, midnight, his attention was called to Hill-street, and on going there he saw a crowd of people, in the midst of which was the defendant, who was using most filthy language to his wife. He spoke to him and he refused to desist. Eventually he was persuaded to go into the house.– Defendant said the crowd were there before he came up. There had been a fight in the street. He did not remember making use of any bad language. Fined 5s and costs.

At the Police Court, on Thursday, Mr Percy WALLWORK, of the Commercial Hotel, applied for permission to sell in the Co-operative Hall on March 11th, the occasion being the annual ball in connection with the Wellington-street Drum and Flute Band, from 8pm to 2am. The license he said had been granted on previous occasions.– Supt COOPER: Is this application on your own behalf.– Mr WALLWORK: Yes.– Are you going to supply the refreshments? Yes.– In every particular? Yes.– Have you previously done so in these cases? Yes.– Certain? Yes.– I have reasons for putting these questions to you. Yes, I am aware of that.– And it will be my duty to put it before you and others making similar applications. You apply on your own behalf, and no one else? Yes.– Granted.

At the Council meeting on Monday, Councillor McFARLANE made a capital point against one of the elective auditors. In their report Messrs HADFIELD and WEBB have drawn special attention to one or two cases where members of the Town Council have illegally supplied goods to the Corporation. In the minutes of the Technical Instruction Committee there was an item, “C H WEBB, cleaning material, £1 9s 10d.” In view of what has recently transpired, Mr WEBB will be well advised if he does not again contribute to the cleanliness of the committee.

At the close of the ordinary business of the Town Council, on Monday, the standing orders were suspended at the instance of the Conservative section, in order to call attention to what took place at the recent public meeting of ratepayers at which the report of the elective auditors was submitted. In that report the auditors drew attention to the purchase of a horse by a sub-committee duly empowered to do so by the Sanitary Committee, of which Councillor Dr CLARKE is chairman. The doctor, along with Councillors W H ASHWORTH and T WARHURST, were to purchase a horse, and they did so for 40 guineas.

This money was provided by means of a private cheque issued by Councillor ASHWORTH, and afterwards refunded to him by the Council. This was undoubtedly the only way to buy a horse, but the elective auditors commented upon it.

After the horse came to Dukinfield it became ill, and a veterinary surgeon had to be called in and treated it for gum boil and paralysis of the lower lip. This has been the subject of chaffing comment in various circles and a considerable amount of fun has been poked at the sub-committee.

The climax came when the elective auditors brought the facts to the notion of the public. At the Council meeting on Monday evening Councillor CLARKE entered into an explanation of the transaction and at one stage waxed indignant and demanded an apology from the elective auditors for their “shameful and disgraceful” comments upon the transaction, and the “unfair and unjust” criticisms passed thereon. He also went into heroics over the horse and offered to re-purchase the animal for 40 guineas, and any profit he subsequently made he would devote to the funds of the Sick Nursing Association!

A resolution was passed affirming the confidence of the Council in the sub-committee and ordering the sale of the horse for no less than 40 guineas. If the horse is such a perfect specimen represented by Councillors CLARKE and ASHWORTH why should the Corporation part with it? After a long discussion Councillor GRIME, like Oliver Twist, cried for more, and succeeded in inducing his political friends to pass a resolution asking the Mayor to call a special council meeting to further discuss other portions of the elective auditors’ report.

Arthur MORRIS pleaded guilty at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, to committing a breach of the peace at Bardsley, on January 26th, and was bound over in 40s to keep the peace for six months.

WESLAYAN MUTUAL IMPROVEMENT SOCIETY.– On Thursday evening the members assembled in unusually large numbers to hear Councillor BAINBRIDGE, of Ashton, read a paper entitled, “Notes on pawnbroking.” Mr FLOWERS occupied the chair. The essayist, after quoting Old Testament scriptures to show that the taking in pledge of various articles of apparel was forbidden, and the taking of usury condemned, went on to show that the system of pawnbroking was originally confined to Jews, and afterwards to the Lombard merchants.

He contended that as now conducted the system lent itself to the encouragement of crime, drinking, thriftlessness, &c, the relationship between the pawnshop and the public house being a very close one indeed. Several conclusions come to by the essayist were strongly criticised, the paper leading to an animated discussion, several speakers agreeing with the essayist, and others looking upon the pawnbroker in the light of a philanthropist and regarding his calling as a very useful and highly respectable one. The meeting closed with a vote of thanks to Councillor BAINBRIDGE for his excellent paper.

John WOODING, described as a tramp, was in the dock at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, on a charge of larceny at Waterloo.– Superintendent HEWITT said that on the 26th instant the prisoner was noticed by a man named ANDREW to take some eggs and a black pudding from a shop in which he went to buy a loaf of bread.– Clara JACKSON said she was the wife of James Samuel JACKSON, Oldham-road, Waterloo. Prisoner came to the shop for a loaf of bread. He was supplied with the bread, and paid for it. After he left, a man named Edward ANDREW made a communication to her, in consequence of which she looked around and missed a couple of eggs and a black pudding worth 4d.

Prisoner admitted the offence, and said he did not know what he was doing at the time. He did not do it wilfully. He was a hatter by trade, and had been out of work for some time. He had been on the tramp looking for work, and dropped across some friends who treated him to a drink, and it affected his head. He was very sorry. He was married, but his wife did not know where he was.– The Magistrates’ Clerk: You had better get back to her as she appears to have been making some inquiry about you.

Superintendent HEWITT said that there were no previous convictions recorded against the prisoner. He had been lounging around the neighbourhood, which made him noticeable.– The prisoner: I have played by this Town Hall in a band from Hazel Grove for 20 successive Whit Fridays, for the Methodist New Connexion, Hurst Brook.– The magistrates bound prisoner over in 40s to be of good behaviour for the next six months.

Memorial Service

A service in memory of Mr Edward SUTCLIFFE was held in the Ryecroft Independent Chapel on Sunday last, when there was a large congregation. The choirmaster (Mr John RAMSDEN) sang “Be thou faithful unto death,” from “St Paul,” and the hymn, “Now the labourer’s task is o’er,” was also sung by the congregation.

The pastor conducted the service, and preached from Luke 10: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in that which is much.” At the close of his sermon the preacher said that faithfulness was the keynote in the life of their dear friend whose loss they mourned that day. He was faithful to the church, which he had loved and served for more than forty years. During that period he had served in all its important offices with energy, zeal, and unwavering fidelity.

In little matters as in great, he was faithful and punctual to a fault. His ideal of service was inspired not by considerations of personal ease or convenience, not even considerations of health and comfort, but simply and solely by a sense of what was due to the office he held. His idea of duty was almost Spartan in its severity. Storm or fine, every Wednesday night saw him in his place at church meeting or week-night service.

Such faithfulness, whose essential basis is unselfishness, is not easily produced by the conditions of modern life where fierce competition forces most to "“fight for their own hand." But he had resisted this tendency, and in the midst of business activities and all the turmoil of the time, he lived the life of a true saint of God. Like the Apostle Paul, his life was twofold; one part he shared with the world around him, the other was the life he lived “with Christ in God.”

His departure breaks another link, almost the last, which connects the Ryecroft of the present with the Ryecroft of the past. In his case the relation goes further still, for through his father, the Rev Jonathan SUTCLIFFE, he links up to the very beginning of Independency in Ashton. The old changeth and gives place to the new.

Will it be better or worse? The answer to that question depends on whether the churches of to-day can produce a type of character like that of our departed friend. He was one of a band of men which made Independency strong and respected in Ashton for two generations. They were men of grit and great sturdiness and independence of character. In their outward aspect we shall not look upon their like again – their stateliness, their old world courtesy belong to a generation which is not ours.

But what we must hope for and expect is that a new generation shall arise, which disdaining slothful ease, shall address itself to the questions of to-day with the same spirit of eagerness and reality, the same high ideals of duty and faithfulness as that which inspired the generation which is passing away. “He being dead yet speaketh.” May there be many young and ardent souls who shall be inspired by the memory of his faithfulness to tread the same path of duty and service.
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