21 November 1903

The Oddfellows Hall, Ashton, was packed on Monday night on the occasion of an exhibition, extending over two weeks, of animated pictures by means of the new imperial micrograph, a capital invention for depicting on the screen the hidden wonders of the unseen world, magnified and photographed by means of the micro-bioscope, showing microbes in food and water, appearing on the screen similar to huge giants and pre-historic monsters.

Other views were shown demonstrating beekeeping in its various aspects, the champion bulldog “Jim” killing 30 rats in 60 seconds, life on board the training ship “Southampton,” life in Canada and an exciting ride in front of the cow-catcher attached to a locomotive, and a series of amusing and topical pictures, embracing scenes in all parts of the world.

Other subjects included “The sleeping beauty, or the dream of 100 years,” “Terrible nights in an Ashton-under-Lyne hotel,” “Daring daylight burglary,” “Babies v. up-to-date toys,” an amusing picture, “The burglars’ pantomime, or the dandy thieves,” &c. The greatest interest was, of course, centred in the pictures of the minute creation, some of which filled the spectators with awe and wonderment.

Saved by the Lifeguard

A remarkable instance of the efficiency of the lifeguards on the electric tramcars was afforded was afforded on Friday evening. A tramcar was proceeding along Old-street when a little boy, named HALL, six years of age, was knocked down and fell underneath the car. There was a rush to the spot, and the spectators were greatly alarmed at the probable fate of the child.

The car was brought to a standstill, and it was found that the child had been promptly picked up by the patent automatic arrangement in connection with the lifeguard with which the car was fitted, and deposited in what is called the “cradle.” The boy crawled out of his own accord – unhurt; and the first words which fell from his lips as he ran off were that he wanted to go home to his mother. But for the provision of the patent apparatus the result must certainly have been fatal.

Fell Dead in the Street

A singular death was reported to the Ashton Borough Police on Friday, when intelligence was conveyed of the death of an old woman named Ann KERSHAW, of 4 Elgin-street. It appears that she was walking along Market-street on Friday about 5.45pm when without any apparent cause, she staggered and fell on to the pavement. People passing at the time ran to her assistance, but when examined life was found to be extinct.

The inquest was held at the Hop Pole Hotel on Monday morning by Mr J F PRICE, district coroner.

Hannah WELSH, sister of deceased, said she was single and never followed any occupation. She was 61 last birthday. They had lived together for 29 years, and she had always enjoyed good health, but had been subject to fits when a young woman. She went out that night about five o’clock to go on an errand and to her daughter’s in Bentinck-street. Witness heard of her death about six o’clock.

Emily BLAIRS, wife of John BLAIRS, Clegg’s lodging-house, Duncan-street, said about half-past five on last Friday evening she was going up Market-street when she saw deceased on her hands and knees on the door-step of Mr BUSHELL’s. Witness went to her assistance, and spoke to her, but she made no reply. Mr BUSHELL then came out, and together they helped her into a sitting position. She was helpless and showed no signs of life, and could not drink water which was offered to her.

A verdict to the effect that deceased met her death by natural causes, probably sudden failure of the heart’s action, was returned.

At noon yesterday (Friday) a fire broke out at the chip potato establishment of Mr Thomas COWLEY, 34 Whiteacre-road, Ashton, caused by the blaze from the flue coming in contact with one of the pans and setting the fat on fire. A communication was sent to the Town Hall, and the float with a contingent of firemen despatched to the spot. On arrival the fire had been extinguished. The damage was slight.

On Thursday, at the Ashton County Court, before his Honour Judge BROWN, K.C., the resumed hearing of the case WEBB v. BROOKE came on. Hugh WEBB, cycle dealer, Ashton, sought to recover £3 10s from Joe BROOKS, the well-known Stalybridge racing cyclist, a portion being for repairs to a bicycle and the remainder lent. Witnesses were heard, the evidence being very contradictory. In the end judgment was given for the amount claimed, to be paid at the rate of 10s per month.

On Wednesday afternoon, about 2 o’clock, the decomposed body of a middle-aged working man was found in the canal at Ashton. It was at once conveyed to the Town Hall, where it had not lain long before a woman came and identified it as the body of her husband, a boiler maker named Joshua WEST. The inquest was held at the Town Hall, Ashton, by Mr J F PRICE, district coroner.

Mary WEST, wife of deceased, said they lived at 2 Garside’s-yard, off Boodle-street. Deceased was a boilermaker by trade, and was 53 last birthday. About 20 years since he had low fever, which the doctor said had affected his brain, and ever since he acted a bit queerly.

Since last Christmas Eve he had never had any regular employment. He had been addicted to drink, but had been sober for the last five weeks. He was working up to last Thursday. The last time she saw him was about ten past six last Friday morning, apparently to go to his work, but she had since ascertained by his foreman coming for him that he did not go. He had been in the habit of going away for long periods when out of work. He had no occasion to go near the canal. He never threatened to commit suicide.

Robert BARON, aged 14, of 11 Pitt-street, Dukinfield, said about half-past one on Wednesday afternoon he was walking along the Manchester and Ashton Canal bank. When near the Cavendish-street Bridge he saw the body floating on the water. He drew the attention of a boatman who was passing to it, who got it out. Witness went to the police.

A verdict of “Found drowned” was returned.

Matches in the Mine

At the Ashton Borough Police Court, on Monday, William HUGHES was summoned for being in possession of matches in the Ashton Moss Colliery contrary to special rules, on the 5th November. – Defendant pleaded not guilty. He said the matches were in his pocket when he came out of the pit, but he knew nothing about them.

Mr J B POWNALL, solicitor, said the prosecution was instituted by the New Moss Colliery Company Limited, for whom he appeared. The case was brought forward under the special rules which said no person should have in his possession any Lucifer matches or apparatus for striking the same in the workings of a colliery.

On the forenoon of the 5th November a miner named SHERRATT saw a coat lying on the ground and a match protruding from one of the pockets. It was difficult at the time to tell whose coat it was, but the official set a watch upon it to see who came for the garment, SHERRATT having reported the finding of the match.

At 1.30 the men came to their various coats containing the matches. The matches produced were those actually found in the pockets. Mr CARTER, the deputy-foreman spoke to defendant about it at the time, and he admitted the offence, with the result that they were there that day.

The Bench would see that if the matches had remained in the jacket pocket there might not have been much damage, but the coat was left on the floor, and the men stumbling about in the darkness might have ignited the matches, and one could hardly conceive the appalling catastrophe which might have occurred.

It was essential miners should know that these special rules must be observed and any infringement would be severely dealt with. During the past few years the colliery company had been exceedingly unfortunate in having a number of accidents, fatal and otherwise, not owing to their own fault or neglect, but to the carelessness and indifference of the workmen.

It had been a very serious matter to them. They did not care to bring these prosecutions into court, but they had the lives of some hundreds of men at stake and their capital invested there. He thought the miners knew the rules sufficiently well, and the company expected all their employees to loyally observe them, and carry out what was intended by the management.

Amos SHERRATT was then called. He said he was a miner at the New Moss Colliery. On Thursday, the 5th inst, about 11.30am, he was in the No 2 tunnel. He noticed a match sticking out of a jacket pocket, and reported the fact to the deputy. He did not know the owner of the coat at the time. The matches produced were the same as were found in the coat.

Mr CARTER, deputy-foreman, stated that SHERRATT made a communication to him on Thursday forenoon with respect to finding the matches. At 1.30 he saw defendant come and own the coat, and witness charged him with having matches in his possession. He replied that he did not know about them. The matches produced were the same that witness brought up out of the defendant’s jacket pocket.

Mr John WILSON (Gloucester Place): Did you see a pipe in his pocket? – Witness: No. – Defendant again repeated that he did not know how the matches got there. He did not see them there at 5 o’clock in the morning when he went to his work. – The Chairman (Mr KELSALL): You have no defence to the case, which Mr POWNALL has put so plainly and quietly so far as you are concerned. The duty lies upon your shoulders under the Act of Parliament not to have matches with you.

Defendant: It is a rule that no man should go into another man’s pocket. – The Chairman: Your suggestion is that someone put the matches there? – Defendant: I should not like to say that. – The Chairman: We cannot consider that. You had the matches, and you know you should not have them in your pockets, and must not have them, and this should be distinctly understood by your workmates.

We have had many cases here, and when the last case came I spoke very plainly about it in the interests of the workmen themselves, and for the safety of their lives and limbs. I thought a similar case of negligence would never come again. It is in your interest that these Acts of Parliament have been passed, and in the interest of all those working in the mine.

This is an offence of a grave character, affecting the safety of those working with you and the property of your employers, and we cannot do less than say you must pay 10s and costs, in default of payment 14 days. – Defendant: Will you allow me time to pay? – The Chairman: You must arrange with the Chief Constable.

The residents of Dukinfield will have noticed that during the year Parr’s Banking Company, Limited, have been erecting bank buildings in King-street opposite the Town Hall, from the designs of Messrs John EATON, Sons and CANTRELL, architects, Ashton. The necessity for the provision of a new Post Office has long been recognised in the town. The Postal Authorities could not be induced to move.

Early on in the year Parr’s contemplated the erection of a bank at the corner of Bass-street, and an arrangement was entered into with the Post Office that the banking company should include a post office in their building. This scheme has been carried out, the erection of the buildings being entrusted to Mr John ROBINSON, of Ashton.

The lease of the old Post Office was expiring on the 14th inst, and although not altogether complete, the place was sufficiently advanced to enable Mr W LYDFORD, the post master, to “flit” to the new office after the despatch of the last mail on Saturday night. The first mail was sent at 5.30 on Sunday morning, and the doors were opened for the transaction of public business at eight o’clock.

The building presents a clean and attractive appearance. The upper rooms belong entirely to the bank. The Post Office has an entrance from King-street, and inside office for the transaction of postal, money order, and telegraphic business is 25 feet by 21 feet. There is a counter round two sides of the room, the top of which is polished mahogany. The counter front is made from pitch pine, with moulded pilasters, a splendid piece of workmanship.

There is a money order service fixed on the counter, and also an aperture through which the letters may be dropped without troubling to walk to the outside apertures. Under the windows there are recesses to be used in writing telegrams. At the rear of the public office there is the postmaster’s private room.

The sorting room is divided down the centre by a large glassed screen, and the other portion of the space is allotted to the telegraph department, and a partitioned space for the accommodation of the messengers. These rooms are lighted by a glass roof. All the furniture is made of pitch pine, varnished. The whole of the fittings on the ground floor have been executed by Messrs BOWDEN and Company, Lime-street, under the superintendence of Mr J HALLWOOD, and the work reflects the highest credit upon all concerned.

In the basement there is a cooking range for the use of the postmen, and also the hot water heating apparatus. The contract for the plumbing work was given to Mr G H COOP, of Ashton, and he has also fitted the electric equipment. Mr Abraham JEFFREYS, of Dukinfield, has done the plastering, and Mr GREENWOOD, of Astley-street, the painting.

Designer of Stamford Park Rockery

The many friends of Mr George BRIGGS will hear with great regret of his death, which took place at his residence, 3 Gower-street, Ashton, on Sunday last, from bronchitis after a lingering illness of over 12 months, although he was only confined to bed a few days.

Born at Norwood, London (his father being landscape gardener at the Crystal Palace), the family removed to the North of England when he was ten years of age. He served his apprenticeship as a stonemason, subsequently starting business as a rock and fernery designer, in which capacity he earned considerable distinction, and has extended contracts in almost every part of the country.

He designed and laid out the rockery work on numerous large estates and public parks, his last great work being at Stamford Park, at Ashton, which has proved such a great attraction. He was the recipient of numerous testimonials bearing splendid testimony to the character of his work. He was of a quiet and unassuming nature, and his demise at the comparatively early age of 46 will cause great regret.

The funeral took place on Thursday afternoon, at the Cemetery, Dukinfield, which was attended by several of his old friends among the stonemasons. Mr BRIGGS leaves a widow, two sons, and five daughters to mourn his loss, for whom great sympathy is felt in their sad bereavement.

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