25 July 1903

SERIOUS FIRE AT GORTON
Chemist’s Shop Destroyed

A fire broke out early on Monday morning at Gorton which did considerable damage to a shop and its contents. The outbreak took place at the lockup shop occupied by a chemist and druggist in Cross-street and it was first discovered just before seven o’clock in the morning. The local police and the Manchester City Fire Brigade were soon communicated with, and when they arrived the shop had got well ablaze.

Meanwhile, some private fire apparatus was got to work, but this did not do much to keep the flames in check. The fire was burning fiercely when the city fire brigade arrived, and though they quickly got to work, and volumes of water were poured upon the building, the flames continued to spread.

Eventually the efforts of the brigade were successful, and the flames were got under control, but not before much damage had been done, the shop and contents on the ground floor having practically been destroyed. Sergeant DAVIES, of Gorton, and one or two other police officers, were soon on the scene, and they did much to help the city firemen in the difficult task before them.

The shop had not been opened since the previous night, and the cause of the outbreak is unknown. The damage to stock is estimated at about £350. This is not insured, but the building is.

SHOCKING ILL-TREATMENT OF A CHILD
A Newton Man Sent to Prison

James BRADLEY, of Shaw Hall, Newton, carter, was charged before Mr Justice WILLS, at the Chester Assizes, on Thursday, with ill-treating his child, Harriet BRADLEY, aged 14. Mr Trevor LLOYD, barrister-at-law, instructed on behalf of the N.S.P.C.C., appeared for the prosecution, and the prisoner, who pleaded not guilty, was not represented by counsel.

Several witnesses were called for the prosecution, who proved that the prisoner had ill-treated his daughter by thrashing her. The prisoner was found guilty of assault, and the Judge said that, having regard to the fact that prisoner had already been in gaol three weeks waiting his trial, he would now be sent to gaol for a further period of five weeks, with hard labour.

ASHTON COTTON OPERATIVE’S “STIFF FINGER”
Is She Able to do Jack Tenting? – Doctors Differ in Court

The sequel to an accident to a cotton operative at Messrs Reyners’ Ltd Mill, Ashton, was heard at the Ashton County Court, on Thursday, before His Honour Judge Reginald BROWN, K.C. The firm was represented by Dr ATKINSON, and the injured woman, Elizabeth McCABE, was represented by Mr GIBBONS. The application by the firm was to diminish or annul the amount paid since the accident.

Dr ATKINSON stated that the woman met with an accident to the second finger of her left hand on 19th of September of last year, whilst engaged at the Albion Mill. The wage she received was 13s 9d per week and she had been paid since that time 6s 10d, half of her wages. Since then she had been examined from time to time, and the opinions of Dr HUGHES and Dr OULTON were that the woman was now quite as capable of doing the work as she was before the accident occurred. The only point His Honour had to decide was whether she was capable of earning 13s per week, and the evidence he would bring was that she was able to earn it.

She was engaged at the time of the accident as a tenter to a roving machine, and one of his witnesses, who had happened an accident to one of his right fingers many years ago, was quite able to do his work, and had done it for years.

Dr OULTON and Dr HUGHES gave evidence and they agreed that the woman was now perfectly able to do her work. Judging from the way in which the woman was doing domestic work at home, said Dr HUGHES, he thought her hand would be all right in a few days.

James MELLOR, foreman in the cardroom, who had a stiff finger, produced a spindle and fly used in the process of cotton spinning, and said he was of the opinion the woman was quite able to do her work again. He gave a description of what Mrs McCABE had to do whilst at work, and explained that whilst piecing the machinery was stopped. Answering Mr GIBBONS he said the woman would have to clean the rollers whilst the machinery was in motion.

His Honour: I think there are regulations against cleaning machinery whilst in motion? – Witness: Yes, there are. We stop the machinery an hour and a half before the mill ceases work in order that it should be cleaned. Some of the machinery is in motion whilst the rollers are cleaned because they could not be cleaned without they were moving.

Elizabeth McCABE, the injured woman, of Bentinck-street, Ashton, said she had not been able to do her housework since the accident, and she had had a woman to do it for her. She came twice a week. Witness would have to use both hands when carrying the bobbins in the mill. She had to clean the rollers whilst they were in motion, and it was dangerous. She might easily get her hand in the rollers. – Mr GIBBONS It is not true you suggested you should not go back to work. – Witness: No. She added she was quite willing to go back to work if she was able to do it.

His Honour at this stage examined the fingers. – Mr GIBBONS called as witnesses two “jack frame tenters” who had worked up to some time ago. They stated they would not be able to do the work if they had a stiff finger similar to that of Mrs McCABE.

Dr TWOMEY, of Ashton, said as a result of the accident the rest of the fingers were not as strong as they were originally. She had no grip of the hand. – Dr MANN, who had also examined the woman’s fingers, said she would not be able to do the work she had done before. A fractured bone would always be painful. He added that the hand would go decidedly worse.

Dr HUGHES and Dr OULTON laughed, whereupon Dr MANN said, “My friends pooh-pooh the idea, but a fractured bone will never get better. It will be painful to the end of her days. If Dr HUGHES doubts it, he can have a bone broken and try it for himself.” – (Laughter.)

His Honour said he had great reliance in the evidence of MELLOR, who, curiously enough, had happened a similar accident. He was satisfied that if the woman were to go back and try she would be able to do the work. He annulled the payment.

HEGINBOTTOM TECHNICAL SCHOOL AND SCHOOL OF ART
City and Guilds of London Institute, Examinations 1903

Cotton Weaving – Ordinary grade: George BURNS, Thomas JACKSON, Nathaniel ROEBUCK, William K SMITH, Harry THORNLEY, Harry WILKINSON.

Ordinary, second year – Parker BIRTWISTLE, James DAWSON.

Honours, Section A – George S LEECH, Edward PICKUP.

Honours, Section B – Frederick W BANER, Richard HOUGH, George S LEECH, William VICKERS, Sam WILKINSON.

SAD DROWNING CASES AT DUKINFIELD
A Dangerous Playground

On Tuesday noon Mr F NEWTON, district coroner, held a couple of inquiries at the Dukinfield Town Hall into the deaths of Walter HOWARD, aged 10, and John KNOWLES, aged 21, whose bodies were taken out of the Peak Forest Canal on Saturday and Sunday last. Mr FLETCHER, Portland Junction, represented the Great Central Railway Company’s canal department. The first inquiry was as to the death of the boy HOWARD, and the following evidence was given:-

Samuel HOWARD said he lived at 4 Brunswick-street, Dukinfield, and was a twister in a cotton mill. The deceased, Walter HOWARD was his son and was ten years of age. Witness last saw him alive on Saturday morning, the 18th. He was then in bed and in good health. At about 12 o’clock three or four boys came to his house and told him Walter had been pulled out of the canal.

He went at once to the Peak Forest Canal, and saw his dead body at the Gasworks. Witness did not know how he got into the canal, except what he had been told. – By a juror: I never knew that he went down there to play. It being Saturday morning he would not be at school. – The Coroner said he would take the liberty of expressing the sympathy of the jury along with his own with Mr HOWARD in the sad loss he had sustained by the death of his boy.

John GILLIBRAND (9) said he lived at 34 Queen-street. On Saturday forenoon he was playing with Walter HOWARD on the towing path of the canal near the Gasworks. At half-past eleven o’clock he saw Walter pushing at the swing bridge. He moved it, and as he was jumping on the bridge he fell into the water. Witness tried to get him out, but could not reach him. He then shouted to some men at the Gasworks, but they could not hear him.

The deceased was pulled out by George LINDLEY at one o’clock, and he was then dead. There were two other boys there with us. I have not been in the habit of going to the swing bridge. I know that boys have drowned there, My cousin was drowned there. – The Coroner: That will do, my boy; you have given your evidence very nicely.

George LINDLEY said he lived at 305 Astley-street, Dukinfield, and was a labourer. At five minutes past twelve o’clock on Saturday noon he was returning from his work, and when opposite the Dukinfield Gasworks he saw several boys. They told him that a boy had fallen into the canal. He looked into the water, but could not see anything. He got a drag from the Gasworks, and in about ten minutes recovered the body of the deceased. There were no signs of life. Efforts were made to restore him, but without avail.

The Coroner: You cannot keep children away from this bridge I suppose? – Mr FLETCHER: No, there is no keeping them away. – A juror: Is there no means of having the bridge fastened in some way. There is not so much traffic across it as formerly. It is not now used by the Gasworks. There have been a number of children drowned there, and I have sat on the inquests. I think the bridge should be locked in some way, and those people who have to go across with horse and cart should have a key.

A juror said there was a foot bridge there for passengers. – Constable KENNY said there was a chain attached at the present time, and the bridge can be locked up. I have been in Dukinfield six years, and have never seen a horse and cart pass over the bridge. – The Coroner: Who does it belong to? – Mr FLETCHER: The Great Central Railway Company. – The Coroner: Is there any objection to it being locked? – Mr FLETCHER: It would require a new lock every week.

Constable KENNY: I have seen it locked. – Mr FLETCHER: Locks have been put on and knocked off again. When they can’t get the lock off they fill it with sand and dirt. Cyclists have been known to break the shackles and cross the bridge. – A juror: It has been spoken about many times, and representations made to the railway company. – Mr FLETCHER: In a month’s time hundreds of children go down there. I am surprised there are not more drowned. People walk past and see children lying on the towpath almost in the canal and never speak to them.

A juror: Isn’t it possible to do away with the bridge? – Mr FLETCHER: It would be a good job for the railway company if it were, but there is a man at the farm who wants to use it. – A juror: It ought to be fastened up or pulled down. – The Coroner: The gentleman says they have taken every precaution to keep the bridge locked, and when provided they get the locks broken. – A juror: They would get on the bridge all the same if it was locked.

Mr FLETCHER: They could get on the bridge to lock it. They play all sorts of tricks with the boatmen. They have pushed the bridge to just as a boat was approaching and plenty of boats have nearly been sunk in this way. If the boatmen say anything, stones are thrown from the embankment, and they have to seek shelter in the cabins.

The Coroner: It is very difficult to keep children out of danger. The more you try to keep them out, the more they get into it. You seem to have done all you could to prevent these accidents. – Mr FLETCHER: Certainly. This lad was ordered away at ten minutes to 12 o’clock by the gasworks foreman along with two others. – A juror: And you have had men patrolling the towing path? – Mr FLETCHER: Yes, on Sundays. It was only the other day that I was threatened with a summons for chastising a lad.

The jury returned a verdict that the deceased was accidentally suffocated by drowning. The second inquiry into the death of John KNOWLES was then entered upon.

Elizabeth KNOWLES said she lived at 109 Cecil-street, Dukinfield. The deceased, John KNOWLES, was her brother, and was 21 years of age. He was a piecer in a cotton mill, and lived with her. She last saw him alive on Wednesday morning at ten minutes to six o’clock. He was then dressed and going out to work. He did not make any complaint or say anything to her. She did not notice anything strange about him, and he appeared to be in his usual good health. About ten o’clock she found his breakfast behind the washing machine in the back kitchen.

He usually took his breakfast with him to work. He was only working “sick” at Astley Mill on Monday and Tuesday, and when she found his breakfast she made inquiries and ascertained that he had not been to Astley Mill that morning. The Astley Mill had been stopped for three weeks before that, and he was doing sick work before it stopped. He had not been any quieter than usual, and she did not know that he was fretting in consequence of irregular work.

When he did not come home on the Wednesday night she did not inform the police he was missing as she thought he had gone to work elsewhere. He has been without regular shop for some months. He has not been short of food. He was a member of the 3rd V.B. Manchester Regiment. He wanted work outside the mill if he could get it, but he had been brought up in the mill ever since he could work. She heard on Sunday that a man had been found in the canal, but she did not go to the Town Hall to identify him because she had no idea he would drown himself. – A juror: I knew him personally, but could not identify him when the body was brought to the Town Hall.

Charles SUTTON said he lived at 21 Park-street, and was a cotton operative. On Sunday morning last, about 6.30, he was walking along the towing path of the Peak Forest Canal, at Dukinfield Hall. When near the Well Bridge, he saw the man floating in the water. He obtained assistance and got the body out, and reported the matter to the police. The body had evidently been in the water several days.

The Coroner asked if any of the jury knew the deceased. Several jurors said they knew him to be a very quiet, respectable young man, and one who kept very good company. – The Coroner: Were there any bruises on the body? – Constable KENNY: No. His face and neck were very much discoloured. – The Coroner: Was the body fully dressed? – Constable KENNY: Yes, and there was 4d in his pocket.

The Coroner: It is somewhat difficult in cases of this kind to find the motive. There does not appear to be anything to indicate that the deceased was dissatisfied with his work. He did not make any complaint upon that score to his sister. The only thing that points to suicide is the fact that he left his breakfast that morning hidden behind the mangle, and instead of going to work at the mill, he must have gone straight to the canal and drowned himself.

The question is whether it will be better to find a verdict of found drowned or whether you have sufficient evidence that he has committed suicide whilst in an unsound state of mind. There is not much evidence upon that score; no evidence, in fact, that he was of unsound mind at the time. The jury returned a verdict of “Found drowned.”

DEATH OF MR C A SIMMONDS
We regret to record the death of a well-known and respected resident (of Dukinfield) in the person of Mr Charles SIMMONDS, who died on Thursday week. From the age of about 26 he suffered from ulcerated stomach, and had periodical attacks consequent upon this ailment, and many times his life was despaired of, but owing to his otherwise strong constitution he recovered each time, and almost to the very last hopes were held out of his recovery

He had a short illness just after Whitsuntide this year, and although he recovered enough to get out again he never seemed to regain his strength, and three weeks before his death was compelled to take to his bed again, and gradually grew weaker and weaker, and died practically from exhaustion, consequent upon his not being able to take any nourishment owing to the nature of his complaint, which the doctor stated had developed into a malignant cancer. He suffered very much during the last few days, and from Monday to the Thursday when he died it was a continual fight with death.

Mr SIMMONDS was born in London some 62 years ago, and from there moved to Manchester, where most of his family relations are. He served his apprenticeship to the spindle-making trade at Messrs Buckley and Crossley, Tame Valley, Dukinfield, and shortly after his marriage came to reside in the district, where he remained until about 18 months previous to his death.

Owing to failing health he decided to retire from his trade, and removed to Manchester again, having taken up a small business on Hyde-road, West Gorton, and it was whilst there that he was taken ill, and died on Thursday last. He was a member of the Crescent-road Congregational Church, and was much esteemed by all who attended there.

In politics he was a Liberal, and a much-respected member of the Central Club. A few years ago he was honoured by being made a life member, and on Tuesday the flag was hoisted half-mast on the club as a tribute of esteem. He lived a very quiet life, and was of a retiring and unassuming disposition, but always with a pleasant smile and cheery word for his friends, and amongst all his acquaintances it may be safely said he had no enemies.

WORKPEOPLE’S TRIP
On Saturday the employees of Messrs W Kenyon and Sons, Chapel Field Ropery, were given their annual trip, the place selected being Southport. The party numbering 114 left Charlestown Station at 8.20 for Manchester, and changed there for the Southport express, special carriages being put on for their convenience. After a speedy and pleasant run Montpelier of the North was reached, and the party at once repaired to the Castle Dining Rooms, where they were joined by the employees of the Preston Work.

A good, substantial breakfast was served, and after the repast the usual vote of thanks to Messrs Kenyon and Sons was moved by Mr Geo HACKWELL, seconded by Mr William EASTWOOD, special references being made to the death of two of the old employees since the last trip, and also the wish for long life, health, prosperity, and happiness for Mr and Mrs Percy KENYON, who leave Dukinfield next Thursday for Mexico.

County Councillor G H KENYON, senior member of the firm, replied. Just at the close of proceedings, the Yorkshire employees arrived. The party broke up to enjoy themselves according to their individual predilections. The weather turned out beautifully fine, and full advantage was taken of it. Amongst the places visited were Hesketh Park, Church Town, Winter Gardens, Birkdale, Kew Gardens, the Marine Park and Lake.

At the latter place the “old uns” seemed quite young again, and disported themselves like giddy kippers in boating and donkey riding. The return journey was safely accomplished at nine o’clock, and thus ended another of the many good things provided by Messrs Kenyon and Sons for their workpeople.

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