12 September 1903

Crusade Against the Swilling Craze

”It may seem rather harsh,” said the Town Clerk (Mr F W BROMLEY), at the Ashton Borough Court, on Monday, “considering the exceedingly wet weather we have been having that this case should be brought, but the Joint Waterworks Committee are determined to put down the practice of swilling.”

The case in question was a prosecution against a woman named Eliza STAFFORD, who was summoned by Mr W H ROTHWELL, clerk to the Waterworks Committee, for wasting water on August 28th. — Defendant pleaded not guilty. — The Clerk: Were you washing your flags? I was only swilling the window. — The same thing. Were you throwing water on? Yes. — Well then you must be wasting water! I pay water rates.

The Town Clerk said that Mr WILD, manager of the waterworks department saw her swilling her flags. Two bucketfuls were thrown, and the tap was running into the bucket in the backyard. She said she would rather pay the fine than be brought into court. The offence was the same whether the season was wet or dry. It was a breach of the law, and having started the crusade in the district the Waterworks Committee wished to put an end to it once and for all. In Ashton and district there was a craze for people to swill the flags.

The Magistrates’ Clerk: Cleanliness is next to godliness. — (Laughter.) — The Town Clerk. — The Town Clerk: they ought to be sprouting wings, I should think. — (Laughter.) The Chairman: We wish to break off the habit. Fined 5s 6d. — Defendant: I will not pay. — The Clerk: It is seven days in default. — Defendant: I will do seven days. — The Clerk: Your little temper will perhaps go down in a bit. — The defendant took a seat as if she intended to go down.

Whilst engaged in a game of football for Tonge against Sale Holmfield, at Sale, on Saturday afternoon, Sam WOLSTENHOLME, whilst attempting to save his goal, unfortunately fell and sustained a fracture of the leg just above the ankle. He was brought home to Ashton in a conveyance, and was afterwards removed to the Infirmary. WOLSTENHOLME formerly played in goal for Ashton St Mary’s and afterwards with Hurst Ramblers, and last season was a prominent member of the Millbrook St James’ combination.

A Smart Dodge

At the Ashton Borough Court, on Thursday, a respectably attired man named John WILLIAMSON was charged with stealing a suit of clothes, the property of Mr T D SEEL, on July 20th. — George Metcalf DIXON, cutter, in the employ of Mr T D SEEL, tailor, Stamford-street, said about 2pm on Monday, July 20th, the prisoner came to the shop and asked if he could have a suit of clothes made, and how soon could they be made. Witness said by Wednesday.

He looked at several samples and ordered a suit, and whilst witness measured him he said he should need a suit before Wednesday, and could witness show him a ready-made suit to fit him. Witness said yes, and brought him a suit. He tried on the coat, and remarked that it would require a little alteration, but he would put up with it until he got the suit he had been measured for, after which he would return it.

The clothes were packed up in a parcel and despatched to the address given by the prisoner, instructing the boy to receive payment for the clothes or return them. In about half an hour the boy returned without clothes or cash. The clothes were worth £1 13s. — The Clerk: was he as respectable-looking as he is now? Yes. — Had he the same look on his face? — Not quite. — Rather more cheerful? Yes. — He had not quite a trusting face; more like a ready cash face? Yes. — (Laughter.)

Joseph WRIGHT, assistant at Mr SEEL’s, deposed to taking the suit of clothes to No. 4 Henrietta-street. Prisoner asked him if he was in a hurry whilst he went upstairs and tried the clothes on, and he replied “No.” Witness did not see him again, and returned with the bill which he had settled in the meantime, and no money.

The Magistrates’ Clerk (to prisoner): What have you got to say? Nothing. — Where do you come from? Manchester. — The Chief Constable said there was another case against the prisoner of obtaining a suit of clothes in the borough. He was still doing time, and the Home Office had to be written to to get him produced in court. After committing the offence in Ashton he went to Salford, and was convicted twice for similar offences and sentenced to three months in each case, also three months at Stockport for a similar offence.

He was tried at Strangeways, and there were two similar cases against him there. A warder appeared, and said the prisoner had 12 months to serve all told. — The Chairman (Councillor PARK) said it was the wish of the bench that his imprisonment would date from the time of the sentence. The magistrates sentenced the prisoner to three months’ hard labour.

A rather startling discovery was made at the Stamford Park Fishing Lake about seven o’clock on Wednesday morning. A gardener at the Park named Fred BENT, residing at Dukinfield, was walking round the top lake, which is used for angling purposes, when he saw the body of a man in a stooping position about six feet from the edge of the lake, and in about three feet of water. The man’s face was in the water, and the body was quite still.

By means of drags the body was immediately taken out of the water, and on examination there was no sign of life whatsoever, and the body appeared to have been in the water some time. The ambulance was procured and the body conveyed to the mortuary at the Ashton Town Hall to await identification. Several letters were found in the pockets of the deceased, one of them being from a Manchester firm addressed to Thos. ADSHEAD, of Harpurhey, with reference to his services being dispensed with on account of absence from duty.

The inquest was held by Mr J F PRICE, the city coroner, in the County Court Room, Town Hall, on Friday morning.

Charlotte ADSHEAD, wife of the deceased, was called. She stated that deceased was 60 years of age. He was not addicted to drink, but was subject to dizzy bouts and neuralgia, from which he had been suffering several years. He was depressed at times, and had been out of work six weeks. He worked for John Marks and Co, of St Ann’s-square, Manchester. He had never threatened to commit suicide. She last saw him alive between ten and half-past on Monday morning last, when she went out and left him at home. She had not the faintest idea that he would drown himself.

Fred BENT, of 15 Malpas-street, Dukinfield, gardener at Stamford Park, said he found the body about half-past seven in the morning when he was walking round the lake. The body was about 20 feet from the side. He went for the drag, and got the body out. It was in a stooping position. There were no signs of injury on the body.

The jury returned a verdict of …. (sorry, this bit of the film is completely unreadable.)

The new police station and court room adjoining the Town Hall is about to be completed, and will be opened during the present month. If the police had cause for complaint before at the scanty provision made, this will be removed in their new surroundings, for the premises are almost as grand as the fine handsome Town Hall structure itself, and serve as a fitting auxiliary to the beautiful and symmetrical pile.

A mortuary building is also required, and this it is expected will be erected. At present one of the Town Hall cellars is used as a temporary repository for the dead, but it is very inconvenient. Superintendent CROGHAN will take up his residence in the new building. The old court-room in Russell-street and the police station in Pickford-lane will not be required.

The prognostications of some of our weather prophets as regards the weather of September redeeming the bad summer, do not up until now seem to be realised. On Saturday we had a torrential downpour of rain, the like of which few of us can remember. The rain literally came down in sheets.

The approach of the storm was heralded by the appearance of a dense black cloud hanging over the Hooley Hill and Audenshaw districts, which rapidly descended in the shape of water — as many an unfortunate can testify — and in a few minutes the gutters had assumed the proportion of miniature rivers.

Fortunately Dukinfield did not sustain much damage, although a somewhat alarming occurrence happened in Old-road, where a portion of the road had subsided, leaving a large hole about 16 inches in diameter and about two feet deep, which showed further signs of sinking. Any unwary pedestrian or driver walking or driving along the road might have easily “put his foot in it,” and with serious results. The neighbouring residents recognising this have now put a stone over it, and reported the subsidence to the proper quarter.

Next week operations are expected to be commenced in connection with the filling up of the disused coalpits, of which there are so many abounding in the Dukinfield district. Messrs UNDERWOOD Bros, contractors, are doing the work. The pits include Dewsnap, Lakes, Astley, and Dog-lane.

In the case of the Dewsnap Pit the removal of the large mound of earth, the accumulation of years, will be necessary in the filling up of the shaft and other outlets, in order to prepare the site for the proposed new carriage and wagon works in connection with the Great Central Railway. The site of the proposed new works is 28 acres in extent.

The well-known Dog-foot Tunnel, in Dog-lane, proposed to be closed, abounds in legendary lore, and the story of how it got its name may be interesting. It is said that a startled hare ran along the lane pursued by the huntsmen and hounds. The hare ran up the wall of Dog-foot Tunnel, and one of the hounds, in endeavouring to follow, left the imprint of one of its feet on the wall, which gave the tunnel its name.

Hawking Without a License. — At the Dukinfield Police Court, on Wednesday, before Mr J KERFOOT, Kate O’CONNOR was charged with hawking without a license. — Constable DALE proved the case. — She was discharged with a caution.

At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, before Messrs E OLDHAM and A B MOORES, Samuel DAWSON, of Dukinfield, was charged with being drunk and disorderly. His wife appeared, who pleaded guilty. He was fined 2s 6d and costs.

The Charge Against a Dukinfield Beerseller. — In our report of the charge heard against Harry EVANS for permitting drunkenness at his beerhouse, it is stated that he said that “if he could not conduct his business a great deal better than anyone in Dukinfield, he would leave it.” He states that he said “as well as,” instead of “a great deal better than.”

Exposing Life and Property to Injury

What was described as a unique case in connection with the borough was before the magistrates at the Ashton Borough Court on Monday, when John PHILLIPS, a former motorman on the Ashton Corporation tramways, was summoned by Arthur COVENEY, manager of the tramways, for breach of his contract, thereby exposing valuable property to serious injury, on August 21st. The Town Clerk appeared to prosecute. — Defendant pleaded not guilty.

The Town Clerk said he was instructed to prosecute under Section 5 of the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act of 1875. In August last the defendant was employed by the Corporation as a motorman, and on the 20th of that month Mr CONVENEY, the manager, received a report that on taking his car to the depot on Mossley-road, defendant left the controlling handles on, and also left the mechanism controlling the current in such a way that anyone passing and touching the handles the result would have been that the car would have started with no doubt serious injury to property or life.

On receiving the report, Mr COVENEY directed Inspector DAVIES to see the defendant and tell him that for his gross neglect of duty he would be reduced for a time to the position of conductor. DAVIES boarded the car near the Albion Schools, and rode down towards the Bowling Green. When spoken to the defendant said he had a good mind to chuck up the job. DAVIES told him it was nonsense, and some little discussion took place, the end of which was that the defendant picked up his basket and walked off, saying DAVIES could take the care.

By this time a number of passengers had got seated in the car. Fortunately DAVIES was able to take the car up to the depot, and another motorman was obtained to take the service. It was the first case of its kind, and he had not heard of a similar case either in Ashton or elsewhere.

The Tramways Committee had no desire to press the case unduly, but wished simply to show the servants that the rules must be obeyed, and that if this kind of thing was to take place very serious accidents may occur. Defendant practically admitted the case, and he did not wish to press it.

The manager of the tramways (Mr COVENEY) corroborated, and said the defendant had written a letter of apology to him, and pointed out his error. — The Chairman (Mr T G PLATT): Is he in your employ at present? No, sir. — The Town Clerk: He left himself, and has never been near since. — Defendant: I did not leave the car unattended; I left Inspector DAVIES in charge.

The Chairman: You cannot discharge yourself at a moment’s notice. — Defendant: I do not believe in being “bully-nagged” on a car. The office is the place. — The Magistrates’ Clerk: You should have given notice in a proper way. — The Town Clerk: He is under an agreement to give or receive a week’s notice. Mr COVENEY: His character has been very good in the past. — The Magistrates imposed a fine of 7s 6d for costs.

Fatal Termination

A sad accident occurred to an old woman named Mary HOYLE, of 20 Gosford-street, Ashton, a short time ago. It appears that whilst her son and daughter-in-law, with whom she lived, were gone out for a little time she missed a step at the top of the stairs, and was precipitated to the bottom, sustaining injuries to her back, and a bad shock. She was attended by Dr PEARCE, but death intervened on Thursday morning.

The inquest was held in the Court Room of the Town Hall, on Friday morning, before Mr J F PRICE, coroner. — William HOYLE said deceased lived with him. About 8.30 on the night of August 19th, he and his wife and children went out. About nine o’clock they returned and found deceased seated on a chair, and she complained that she had hurt her back. Dr PEARCE was called in, and she was put to bed.

Alice Hannah HOYLE, wife of the last witness, said when she entered the house she heard a noise, and on going to the bottom of the stairs saw deceased on the floor. — A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

The hue and cry after missing individuals has spread to Ashton, and the local police are at present engaged in tracing the whereabouts of two girls who left their homes for the “usual” walk on Sunday morning last, and have not been heard of since.

Their names are Kate MACDONALD, aged 17 years, and Henrietta MACDONALD, aged 16 years, sisters, residing at 99 Oxford-street, Ashton. They left home at 10.30 on Sunday morning, both carrying small handbags or chatelaines in their hands, neither of them giving any indication as to where they were going beyond a walk.

The description is given as follows: - Kate MACDONALD, aged 17 years, cardroom hand, height 5 feet 3 inches, eyes dark brown, hair black, complexion sallow, slender build; dressed in black cloth costume, large black straw hat, trimmed with silk and black feather, and buttoned boots — Henrietta MACDONALD, aged 16, cardroom hand, height about 5 feet 5 or 6 inches, eyes light blue, hair light, complexion fresh, stout build, has a cut mark on the centre of the forehead; dressed in black cloth costume, large black straw hat, trimmed with silk, and a large black buckle in front, and buttoned boots.

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