18 April 1903

ASHTON TRAMCAR DRIVER’S SUDDEN DEATH AT HURST
An Extraordinary Heart

An inquest was held at the Colliers’ Arms, Hillgate-street, Hurst, on Saturday morning, on the body of John SMITH, of Paradise-street, Hurst, familiarly known as “Gipsy SMITH,” a former tramcar driver in connection with the Manchester Tramcar Company, who was thrown out of employment on the taking over of the tramways by the Ashton Corporation on April 1st, and whose dead body was found on the hearthrug at his home the previous Wednesday morning.

Charles SMITH, son of the deceased, said his father was 49 years of age, and had been a healthy man. Dr HILTON attended him about twelve months ago for a slight illness. He had been out of work for a week owing to the stoppage of the horse cars, but had a prospect of being taken on in connection with the electric tramcars.

When witness left him in the house to go to bed at 10.30 on the Tuesday night, he seemed in his usual health. He was sitting in a chair in the kitchen. During the evening he made the following remark: “If I don’t get work, and I stop as I am much longer, it will kill me.” He had troubled a lot about being out of work. When witness got up on the Wednesday morning, about ten minutes past 5, he found his father missing from bed, but did not think it strange. On going downstairs he found him lying lengthways on the hearthrug on his back. Witness did not touch him, and, concluding he was dead, went for Dr BRADLEY.

Dr BRADLEY deposed to being called to see the deceased on Wednesday morning about 5.30. He found him lying as described by the last witness. He had been dead an hour or two. Witness made a post-mortem examination on Friday afternoon. There were no external marks of injury. The brain was slightly congested. The lungs were normal, but the left lobe was adherent to the chest wall, due to an old pleurisy. The heart was tremendously enlarged, and weighed 1lb 90z, more than double the normal size, which was 12oz. It was contracted and empty.

The aortic valve was diseased, and the aorta, or blood vessel itself, was calcified in one place. The heart generally was in a diseased condition. The stomach was almost empty. All the other organs were normal. There was appearance of poison whatever. The cause of death was syncope, due to aortic disease of the heart. Worry through being out of work would be likely to cause sudden death in the condition the heart was in.

The Coroner referred to the abnormally large heart of the deceased, and said it must have been very extensively diseased. The trouble about being out of work had apparently brought on a sudden attack of syncope. A verdict of death from natural causes was returned.

DEATH OF MR JOHN WILD, OF HARTSHEAD
Stricken at the Graveside of a Favourite Dog

The death is reported under singular circumstances of Mr John WILD, aged 57 years, who resided at a house in connection with the Knott Hill reservoir, of which he was the caretaker. Deceased, who was the brother of the late Mr Seville WILD, who was for many years manager of the Ashton and District Joint Waterworks, was born at Knott Hill, and had lived there all his life, he having been employed as caretaker under the old Waterworks Company.

It was deemed necessary to destroy an old faithful dog, one which had been in the family a great many years, and to which a great attachment had been formed. On Tuesday night he shot the dog, and then left the house about eight o’clock, taking the dog with him, in order to bury it in a wood behind the house. It was a very cold and stormy night, and as he had not returned at a late hour, his wife grew alarmed.

No trace of his whereabouts could be discovered, and she communicated with on of the workmen employed in connection with the waterworks, who commenced to search the woods in a heavy downpour of rain. About six o’clock in the morning he found Mr WILD lying unconscious on the ground by the side of the grave which he had made for the reception of the dog. The rain had gone through his clothing to the skin, and he appeared to have been seized in a fit, and to have been struggling on the wet and cold ground.

He was carried home, as speedily as possible, and restoratives applied, but he never regained consciousness, and died four hours later. An inquiry as to the cause of death will be held to-day (Saturday).

STALYBRIDGE
DISORDERLY IN MARKET-STREET. – William BIRMINGHAM was, on Monday, charged at the police court with having been disorderly, to which he pleaded guilty. – Constable HOBSON said he found the defendant and another man fighting on the ground. The second individual was dragged away by his friends and BIRMINGHAM was locked up. – Defendant now asserted that the other man was the aggressor, and that he only acted in self-defence. – He was fined 1s and costs or seven days’ imprisonment.

AMONGST THE FEATHERED TRIBE. – A charge of vagrancy was preferred against a young man name George LEE at the Stalybridge Police Court on Wednesday. Constable HOLLOWOOD stated that about four a.m. on Tuesday morning he found defendant in an old pigeon house in Copley Gardens. He told the officer that the owner had given him permission to sleep there, but this was denied by the owner. Captain BATES said they had received complaints about defendant sleeping in outhouses. LEE promised to get regular work and turn over a new leaf. He was discharged.

NO LIGHT. – At the police court, on Monday, Peter Turner, a carter, was summoned for failing to have a lighted lamp attached to his lurry at 8.10 on Wednesday night. Constable E LAWTON established the charge, the offence being committed near the park. Defendant told the officer that he had lost the lamp on the way home from Oldham. – Captain BATES now said that TURNER’s employer had informed him that defendant did not turn out with a lamp, and that he could have been home earlier. – Councillor HOPWOOD: I suppose you were drinking, Peter? – Defendant: Oh, no. I had not had anything to drink. – Councillor HOPWOOD: You don’t do that, do you? – (Laughter.) – Defendant: Not now, sir. – A fines of 5s, including costs, was imposed.

ON THE WRONG PATH. – On Monday, at the Police Court, four lads, named respectively John TROY, Wm. POWELL, James HAGGERTY, and John William CLARKE, were charged with tossing on the Market Ground. – Constable ROWBOTHAM said that on the afternoon of the 10th instant he was crossing the “plantation,” when he espied the defendants pitching coins in the air. He captured CLARKE, who gave the names of the others. – TROY denied the offence, and said he was playing marbles, and not gambling. – HAGGERTY supported this statement, and the Bench accordingly acquitted TROY.

The remainder were characterized as bad characters, all having been to prisoner, and Councillor HOPWOOD remarked that POWELL was becoming a regular gaol bird. – Mrs POWELL said she did not care what became of her son! She had entirely lost control of him. Six years ago her husband went away from Stalybridge, leaving her with four little children. – The magistrates ordered the three lads to pay 2s 6d for costs.

DEATH OF MR CHARLES ENTWISTLE: - The death has occurred, after a somewhat protracted illness, of Mr Charles ENTWISTLE, a gentleman well known in Stalybridge, particularly in musical circles. In his boyhood Mr ENTWISTLE was a frame-tenter at Messrs ADSHEAD’s mill, being afterwards promoted to overlooker, in which capacity he remained until the mill was closed. Later he was in business in Brierley-street, but at the time of his death he resided in Huddersfield-road.

He was very prominent as a musician, having been closely identified with the Harmonic Society for nearly 50 years, performing on the double bass in most concerts during that period. He was also a bass singer, and was at one time connected with the St Paul’s choir, afterwards acting as conductor of the choir at St John’s Church, Dukinfield. He also served the Methodist Free Church community as a member of the orchestra which provided the music at their church in Booth-street.

The interment took place at St Paul’s on Monday, amongst those present being the following: representing the Stalybridge Harmonic Society; Rev J Grant BIRD, president; Mr John GARLICK, conductor; Mr G DEAN, secretary; and Messrs H MOORHOUSE, W MARSHALL, J H SHAW, and E ETCHELLS.

SAD DEATH OF A STALYBRIDGE CARTER
Mr F NEWTON, county coroner, held an inquest at the Sportsman Inn, Mottram-road, Stalybridge, on Wednesday morning, touching the death of John William BYWATER, aged 25 years, who resided at 6 Swallow’s-yard, off Warrington-street. Deceased was a carter in the service of Messrs Thos. MILLS and Sons, corn factors, Old-street, and a short while ago he sustained an accident whilst following his employment. He died last week-end, and the Coroner directed that a post-mortem examination should be made.

The first witness called was deceased’s widow, who said that seven weeks ago, at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, he was brought home, and said he had been hurt. He said the injury was to his right eye, and he complained of feeling cold. Deceased went to bed, and afterwards told witness he had been hurt whilst delivering some corn at a farm in Besom-lane, Millbrook.

He said he had the bag of corn on his back, and he tumbled, and his head came into contact with the handle of the grinding machine. The bruise on his eye eventually healed, but he continued to complain about it being painful. He also complained that his back hurt him. Dr SCOTT attended the deceased from the time of the accident. He expired at 7.30 on Sunday morning. He did not blame anyone for what had happened.

Mr HULME (a juryman): Is it true, as I have been told, that it was a long time after the accident before the deceased was found? – Mrs BYWATER: I cannot say, and he never said anything to me about it. – Detective LEE said he understood no one saw the accident. The man had evidently attended to his injuries himself, for some blood was found amongst the water in a tub close by. The deceased must have fainted afterwards.

In answer to the Coroner, Mrs BYWATER said she had been married only two years, and Mr NEWTON expressed his own and the jury’s sympathy with her in her sad bereavement. – Mr T H MILLS also expressed the sincere sympathy of the firm towards Mrs BYWATER.

Dr SCOTT said he was first called to the deceased on the 21st of February last at Kenworthy’s Farm, Millbrook. He was lying on a couch, and said he had fallen against the chopper. He had an incised wound over the right eye-lid, about an inch and a half in length, which did not penetrate to the bone. Witness temporarily dressed the wound, and followed the deceased down to Stalybridge, where he was carried to his surgery. He then thoroughly dressed the wound, and had attended the deceased for three days at his house.

Since then he had been able to walk to the surgery for treatment. The stitches were removed on the seventh day after the accident. The last time deceased came to the surgery was a week last Saturday, and he said he was going to work on the following Monday. On the Tuesday witness was again sent for to attend him at his home, and he found him complaining of pains in his back and head, believing, as he did, that deceased was suffering from a slight attack of influenza.

During all that time deceased had shown no symptoms cerebral trouble. Witness saw him again on Saturday morning, when he was told deceased had had a very bad night, and on waking him he told witness he had had great pain in his hips, but the pain was then gone, and he wanted to sleep. At midnight witness was called again, and he found him unconscious. He remained with him until 4.30 next morning when death ensued. Witness made a post-mortem examination, and found a fracture far back at the top of the orbit, producing congestion and effusion on the brain, which had caused the man’s death.

In answer to Mr MILLS, the doctor said the fracture was certainly the result of the accident. Such a fracture could happen even without a wound. It was a curious thing that deceased showed no signs of head trouble until Saturday, when he became unconscious. That deceased had died as a result of the accident there could be no question.

Mrs BOOTH, the wife of the farmer at whose place deceased was delivering corn when the accident happened, gave evidence of his being brought into the house, and the doctor being sent for immediately. She heard the deceased say that he had fallen with a bag on his back, and had been thrown forward on to the chopping machine. The jury unanimously returned a verdict in accordance with the doctor’s evidence, and found that the injury was the result of an accident.

ASHTON BOROUGH POLICE COURT
CASE DISMISSED. – John Wm. McDERMOTT was charged with committing a breach of the peace by fighting in Stamford-street on April 13th. – Defendant pleaded not guilty. – Constable DIXON deposed to defendant being drunk and fighting another prisoner named McHUGH. – The magistrates dismissed the case.

PAWNED HIS CLOGS AND DRANK THE MONEY. – Edwin BULGER pleaded guilty to begging in Ellison-street on 15th of April. Constable WOOFENDEN said the prisoner was given a pair of boots. – Inspector TULSON said prisoner had pawned his clogs, sold the ticket, and drunk the money. – One month’s imprisonment.

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