14 February 1903

NAVVIES FOR SOUTH AFRICA
Departure from Ashton

Charlestown Station, Ashton, presented an extraordinary scene during the first two hours on Friday morning. It was crowded with navvies who had signed an agreement to go out to South Africa for the purpose of doing the preliminary work in connection with the construction of the Central South African Railway by the Government. There were about 150 navvies, drawn from Ashton, Stalybridge, Mossley, &c, these having been engaged in connection with the construction of the electric tramways in the district.

Each man had received a card of instructions conveying the injunction, "Be clean and keep sober." They have all signed on for 12 months, the rate of pay varying from 4s to 5s per day. The special Midland train which had been chartered left Ashton Station shortly before one o'clock, and reached Victoria half an hour later. Here the Manchester contingent boarded the train, which the proceeded on its journey to Southampton.

HURST
RIDING BICYCLE ON FOOTPATH.- Hiram TOWNSEND pleaded guilty, at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, to riding a bicycle on the footpath at Hurst on January 21st, and was fined 5s 6d for costs.

SHE HAD HAD A DROP.- Elizabeth PARKIN, when charged at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday with being drunk and disorderly at Hurst, admitted having had a drop, and said she was sorry it has happened. – This being her first offence, she was fined 2s 6d for costs.

STRAYING PIGS.- A charge of allowing four pigs to stray at Hazlehurst on January 21st was preferred against James HEAP at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday. – Mrs HEAP appeared in court on defendant’s behalf. – A constable deposed to finding the pigs straying along Ashton-road about twenty minutes to four on the morning in question. – The offence was not denied, and defendant was fined 6s for costs.

HURST WESLEYANS. – The young men in connection with Hurst Wesleyans held their annual party on Saturday last, which was very well attended. After tea capital entertainment was presided over by Mr R G LEIGH. The piano soloist and accompanist was Mr Herbert LONGDEN, and the vocalists Mr GUTHRIE and Mr WOOD, bass, both of Stalybridge. Selection were given on a phonograph, kindly lent for the occasion.

MYSTERIOUS SHOOTING AFFAIR NEAR ASHTON BARRACKS
Whilst a number of buglers were practicing in a field near the Barracks on Tuesday afternoon, one of them named JONES received a buck-shot wound in the chest. The buck-shot had evidently been fired from a gun belonging to someone sparrow shooting in the district. JONES was taken to the Barracks Hospital where the buck-shot was removed.

FATALITY AT ASHTON NEW MOSS COLLIERY
Crushed by Falling Coal

A painful illustration of the dangers to which colliers are subject in their hazardous occupation in the mine occurred on Monday morning at the New Moss Colliery, Ashton. Two colliers named Joshua ROSE, aged 31 years, residing in Johnson’s Yard, off Margaret-street, Ashton, and Harry BRADWELL, of 49 Oldham-road, Ashton, were working together in No 2 south big mine tunnel getting coal.

According to the statement of BRADWELL, he was asked by ROSE about 11am to go for some ramming for the shot lighter, William WOOD, who was going to fire a shot. He left ROSE in the act of making a hole, and while he was on his way he heard a noise, and on going to the spot he found that the coal had suddenly fallen from the first parting, a considerable quantity of it having fallen on ROSE and covered the lower part of his body.

Assistance was obtained, and he was extricated from his terrible position, but it was found that he had been severely crushed about the abdomen. He was wound to the surface of the pit with all speed and conveyed on the ambulance to the surgery of Dr CRAWSHAW, who was out at the time, and from thence to the District Infirmary, where he expired at 5,45pm the same day.

THE INQUEST: STRONG REMARKS BY THE INSPECTOR
Mr J F PRICE, county coroner, held an inquest on the body at the District Infirmary on Wednesday afternoon, Mr LISGARD, of Cockbrook, being foreman of the jury. Mr GERARD, HM Inspector of Mines, and Mr WORDSWORTH, manager of the New Moss Colliery, were also present.

Ellen ROSE, wife of deceased, deposed that her husband had to her knowledge been a collier 12 years, and had worked at the New Moss Pit since August last. She last saw him alive at home on Monday morning when he was in good health. At one o’clock the same day she heard that he had met with an accident and was at the Infirmary, and she came straight to see him. She asked him what had happened, but he made no reply. He knew her and called her “Ellen,” adding that he was dying.

James FERNS, of 40 Hindley-street, off Manchester-road, Ashton, said he was a fireman at the New Moss Colliery. On Monday morning, about 9.15 he visited deceased in his work place in the south main level of the Great Mine. ROSE was at that time cutting in the right hand corner to loosen the coal. Witness asked deceased what he intended to do, and he replied, “I am going to get the coals down, but they will want blowing with powder, as they are too hard for the pick.”

Witness told him to set three sprags at the coal face if he intended to do that. Deceased’s mate was near at the time, and ROSE promised he would do as witness suggested. There was plenty of timber close at hand. Five minutes later when witness returned he saw ROSE setting the first sprag, and he told him to be sure to set the other two. Deceased said he would and witness left the pit for home. The cause of the coal falling was because it had been too much undermined and mispragged. Deceased knew what to do irrespective of what witness told him.

(Sprag: a prop for preventing the roof of a mine from sinking. Virtue’s English Dictionary – Ed.)

Mr GERARD: The sprag he set was in the middle, seven feet from the side. The rule was to set five feet away, and witness fully expected that ROSE would place a sprag on either side. There was a rule for the setting of a sprag at a loose corner. If when you saw him sprag so far away and you had reminded him to set it nearer the loose corner this would not have happened. – Witness replied that he fully expected the man would sprag on each side. – The Inspector remarked that this would serve as a lesson to the firemen to see that men did as they should do when working in the mine.

Replying further, witness said the sprag used was 3 feet 6 inches in length. – The Inspector: I am sure you are very sorry this has happened? I am, sir. – He was a fine young fellow. We are learning something every day from these sad accidents. – That is true, sir.

Harry BAKEWELL, of 49 Oldham-road, Ashton, deposed that he worked along with deceased at the New Moss Pit. They started together on Monday morning about 6.30. About 9.30, FERNS, the fireman, came to the spot, at which time ROSE was cutting coal to make a loose end. The left hand corner was undermined at the time. Deceased said to FERNS that the coal could not be got without power, and they would get some sprags up and give them a good “holeing.” FERNS replied “Yes, get three up Joss.”

Witness went and got one sprag which he gave to deceased. He tried it and said it was too long, whereupon deceased threw it down and himself fetched one, which he set about seven feet from the side. ROSE went on “holeing,” preparatory to fixing the powder, and whilst so employed the coal suddenly fell. ROSE was laid partly on his side with a large lump of coal on the lower part of his body and legs. Assistance was procured and deceased was got free. ROSE did not set more than one sprag, as he said the coal was completely safe.

The Coroner: Events have proved that it was not. – Witness: Yes. – What do you think he ought to have done? Well, what he did was to the best of his judgment. – By the Inspector: There were only about six inches difference in the sprag. He had never taken particular notice of the rules, but he was acquainted with them through experience. There was a rule that sprigging must be done close to a loose corner, but ROSE fixed it to the best of his judgment.

The Inspector: Judgment counts for nothing. It has been proved for 50 years that it is impossible to judge accurately, and the law had fixed the distance. We must bring this fact home to the knowledge of officials, and all who survive. – Witness added that the shot firer was only 2½ yards away when the shot went off, and he saw the sprag.

The Inspector: This accident has not occurred for the want of sprags, because there are plenty there. The rule is five feet, and you are at fault in exceeding this. To my mind you should be prosecuted. If I had my way I would send you to prison for three months! Half of the deaths which occur through accidents in pits are caused through such carelessness. The Coroner: That is so, saving themselves labour.

Mr JUDSON, house surgeon, spoke as to deceased being admitted into the institution on Monday in a collapsed state. He gradually sank and died from the effect of the injury. The Coroner remarks to the jury that it was evident that the rules had not been complied with.

A Juror: Had he seen the rules? Are they read to colliers? – Mr WORDSWORTH: They are posted up, and copies can be had on application. There are 150 special rules. – A Juror remarked that was the fireman’s duty to have made deceased comply to the rules when he saw him putting the sprag seven feet away.

The Coroner said that was so perhaps, but FERNS made the excuse that he expected the man would set a sprag on each side. The fireman surely could not be expected to stand over the man to see him do his work. A verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned, the Coroner observing that the Inspector had the power to take any proceedings he might choose.

FOOTBALL ACCIDENTS AT STALYBRIDGE
Two Legs Broken

On Tuesday afternoon, much excitement was caused in Stalybridge when the rumour became circulated that two young men had sustained serious injuries on a football field. It appears that whilst the game between Stalybridge and Mossley Tuesday teams on the Barrow field (the Flatts) was in progress, Joshua ADDY, hairdresser, of Melbourne-street, came in violent collision with an opponent named William DENTON, the latter of whom was making his first appearance with the Mossley team.

The result was that ADDY’s leg was broken below the knee. Amongst the spectators were Constables BOWDEN and Alexander WELLS, and these two promptly rendered first aid. Very shortly afterwards James Harold FORD, clogger, residing at Spring Bank, fell and broke his leg in almost the identical spot as ADDY. Both sufferers were conveyed in a cab to Dr SCOTT’s surgery, where, after the limbs had been dressed, they were despatched to the District Infirmary in the police horse ambulance. Much regret has been expressed for both ADDY and FORD, the latter being deaf and dumb.

ASHTON BOROUGH POLICE COURT
SNOWBALLING.- A young man named William KERSHAW pleaded guilty to throwing snowballs. – The Clerk: The first bit of snow we have had. – Constable DIXON stated that lads like the defendant not only threw at each other, but at pedestrians. – The Chief Constable said they had made good use of the first snowfall, and he received a great many complaints. – Fined 2s 6d for costs.

AN IMPUDENT THIEF.- Richard JOHNSON was in the dock charged with stealing a pair of boots, value 8s 6d, from the shop door of Messrs HEYWOOD and BOOTH, of Stamford-street, on the 3rd inst. – Edward MEEK, manager of the shop, stated that at 11.15am on the day in question, from what was said to him, he missed a pair of boots. He went after the prisoner, and overtook him in Church-street. He had just put the pair of shoes produced on his feet. He gave the prisoner in custody. – Prisoner explained that his shoes had fallen off his feet, and he wanted another pair. – Committed to prison for 14 days.

ALLEGED PERSISTENT CRUELTY.- Mary SLATER summoned her husband, Frederick SLATER, labourer for persistent cruelty. He pleaded not guilty. Complainant, with carried baby in her arms, said she had been married to the defendant seven years, and had four children. She had led a very unhappy life with him ever since she was married. She scarcely dared leave the home he was so jealous. For over a week he had kept her night after night out of bed. She had had a horrible time with him, and could not live with him any longer. – Defendant accused his wife of gadding about and neglecting the home. – Complainant had no witnesses to corroborate her story, although she was told when applying for the free summons that she must bring evidence. – The case was dismissed.

LOITERING WITH INTENT AT GUIDEBRIDGE STATION.- James HARROP, a young man, was charged on remand with loitering on the premises of the Great Central Railway Company at Guidebridge Station on the 2nd of February. Inspector COTTRILL informed the Bench that at 10.30 on Sunday night the prisoner was seen by the company’s police constable trying the doors of the Midland and Great Central goods offices in Guidebridge Station goods yard. He was spoken to, and prisoner stated what the ——— had it to do with him.

At 3.30am, prisoner was found on the up-platform of the station trying the windows of the waiting and refreshment rooms. One of the porters came across the line with his lamp, and prisoner was laid down in the ladies’ waiting room. When spoken to he became very violent, and ripped the buttons off the porter’s clothes. He understood the police desired a remand to make inquiries. - Constable FORD gave corroborative evidence.

In reply to the Bench, prisoner had nothing to say except that he was a mechanic out of Cork. The Chief Constable said he had been up once before for felony, and bound over to be of good behaviour. – The Clerk said the prisoner was the son of respectable people at Guidebridge. He has got too fond of drink, and would not work. – Inspector COTTRILL said prisoner had given a great deal of trouble at Guidebridge, and knowing that his parents were respectable he had been let off. – The Chairman told the prisoner he was evidently becoming hardened to evil-doing and must go to prison for six weeks with hard labour. – Prisoner: I don’t think I deserve this.

CRUELTY TO HORSES.- Alfred THORNLEY was charged with cruelty to a horse by working the same whilst in an unfit condition on 20th January. Andrew THORNLEY was charged with causing the animal to be worked. Defendants, who came from Gamesley, pleaded not guilty. – Inspector ROBINSON, BRHA, gave evidence that saw the younger defendant in charge of a lurry and the horses in Stamford-street. One was old, emaciated, and totally unfit for work. The horse had since been slaughtered.

Defendant said the horse was fit to work, and there was nothing the matter with it. The Clerk: Then why have you had it slaughtered? Defendant: The Inspector ordered it. Inspector ROBINSON said that was not so. He had no power to make any such order. The first named defendant offered to slaughter the horse, and he remarked that was what ought to be done. The magistrates imposed a fine of 5s 6d.

ALLEGED CRUELTY TO CHILDREN
Case Adjourned for a Month – A Child with Measles in Court

At the Stalybridge Police Court, on Monday, a married couple named Edward DONOGHUE and Mary DONOGHUE, were summoned for unlawfully (keeping) their five children, all under the age of 16 years, in such a manner as was likely to cause them unnecessary pain and suffering. Defendants elected to be tried by the bench and not at Quarter Sessions. The male defendant pleaded not guilty, and Mrs DONOGHUE “guilty to the house being untidy.”

Mr A LEES, solicitor, Ashton, prosecuted on behalf of the NSPCC, and said that on the 30th January Inspector REDDY visited the house of the defendants at 6 Henry-street, off Bridge-street, and found the female laid partially dressed upon an old sofa. She told him to go into the back kitchen where he would find her husband whom, she said, had only just got up and would not go to seek work. DONOGHUE had, however, gone out, and the Inspector did not see him on that occasion. The woman had a black eye, and was in a wretched condition, whilst the house was reeking with filth and dirt. A most disagreeable smell arose from the filth, a stench which was both abominable and sickening.

An old rotten straw mattress in the bedroom was literally alive with vermin, and a quantity of black flocks were strewn about. The children, too, were dirty and flea-bitten. Defendants were told by the Inspector what the consequences would be unless there was a reformation, but they did not seem to care. The Inspector had had the case under his observation for some time, and in spite of frequent warnings the female defendant got drunk and was brought up and fined by the bench.

For six weeks the parties had received relief of 8s weekly from the Guardians, but this was stopped. One day the woman visited the relieving officer, and was relieved to the extent of 4s worth of food, but the very same day she got drunk. Regarding the husband, Mr LEES said he was constantly getting drunk and would not work, though if he chose he could have regular employment at Messrs SUMMERS’ forge for 24s a week. In addition, a boy aged 13 was earning 4s weekly as a newsvendor. The only way to stop this cruelty to children was to bring the offenders to court, and in this case he hoped the bench would inflict such punishment as they thought defendants deserved.

Inspector REDDY gave evidence bearing out what Mr LEES had said. The smell in the house he described as being dreadful, and “fleas were jumping all over the place!” The children were well nourished, and appeared as if they got enough to eat, but they were extremely dirty. The bed was not fit for a dog to lay on – not even a cur dog, if anyone had any respect for it, added the Inspector.

Dr ROBETS-DUDLEY, medical officer of health, spoke as to his visit to the house of the DONOGHUEs’ on 30th January, along with Inspector REDDY and Constable HOBSON. The children were frightfully bitten with fleas, and the whole place was in a filthy dirty condition.

REMARKABLE ADMISSION
At this juncture Mrs DONOGHUE observed that the child she was carrying in her arms had the measles and was not flea-bitten! – The Mayor: What! Got the measles now? – Mrs DONOGHUE: Yes! – Dr ROBERTS-DUDLEY: Who says so? Dr TAIT. – Does he say the child has got the measles now? Yes. – Then why have you brought the child into this court? Where have I to leave it; I was forced to bring it with me. – A child with measles has no business here, that is certain. It is very wrong of you to bring a child here in that state. – The Mayor: I should think so.

Dr ROBERTS-DUDLEY: I do not know what to say about it. – Mr WILLIAMSON: When did Dr TAIT last see the child? – Mrs DONOGHUE, after some hesitation, replied: “A fortnight ago.” Mr ROBERTS-DUDLEY: It is ridiculous. – Mrs DONOGHUE: It is what they call “black measles.” – Dr ROBERTS-DUDLEY: But you have said the child has the measles this morning. – Mrs DONOGHUE: You are a doctor, examine it. – Dr ROBERTS-DUDLEY: I will have nothing to do with it.

Proceeding, the doctor said that upstairs there was semblance of a bed, rotten, and saturated with urine, filthy with fleas, and emitting a smell which was awful. The clothing of the children was dirty, but the little ones were well nourished. It was, to him, a miracle that the children looked so well under the conditions they were being brought up. – Mr LEES: Do you think there had been any attempt to clean the house? – Dr ROBERTS-DUDLEY: I should think not for a long time.

Constable HAMER was called to speak of a visit he made to Henry-street at the request, one night, of the male defendant. He there found Mrs DONOGHUE drunk in a neighbour’s house, and she struck at and called her husband foul names.

The female defendant attributed the dirty condition of the house to her not being able to clean through illness. She was drunk if she had two glasses of beer, She had pawned things out of the house to procure food. – The male defendant said he worked occasionally. Last week he gave his wife 13s, and the week before 5s.

The magistrates conferred, and decided to adjourn the case for a month to see how defendants conducted themselves.

WATERLOO AND BARDSLEY
WRONG NAME AND ADDRESS.- James BAILEY failed to appear at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, to answer a charge of having no light on his vehicle at Waterloo on January 24th. – The constable who proved the case said defendant gave a false name and address. – Fined 2s 6d and costs.

DRUNK IN CHARGE OF A HORSE.- Frank WALMSLEY was before the Ashton county justices on Wednesday charged with being drunk in charge of a horse at Waterloo on January 27th. – Defendant admitted being drunk, and said it was a clean horse. He was very sorry for what had occurred, and said it had cost him his situation. – Fined 5s 6d and costs.

AND FINALLY
A gentleman went into a butcher’s shop the other day, saying he wanted a piece of meat. He did not want any fat, nor any bone, nor any gristle. The butcher walked round the shop and carefully examined the meat. Then he turned to the customer and said, “You’d better have an egg, sir.”

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