26 December 1903
CHRISTMAS AT THE ASHTON
To see the shops to advantage at Christmas time one must
needs inspect them ‘neath the glare of the gas and
electric lights. Improvements in the shape of incandescent
burners have done much to further the illuminating power
of gas, and a dimly-lighted establishment id nowadays
is a rarity.
The principal thoroughfare, Stamford-street,
at night is a blaze of light, and to dispense with the
this most brilliant asset at Christmas time would be to
rob the Yuletide aspect of its greatest charts. The emporiums
of Ashton have assumed quite a festive appearance. Cash
may be a little tight, and tradesmen may have felt the
pinch due to the depression in the cotton trade, but taking
the shops as a whole there is very little to indicate
the recent bad times.
An effort has been made in a few cases to
re-introduce the tableaux which used to be a feature of
nearly every shop window, but in the great majority of
cases the tradesmen have limited their display to their
own particular wares. The butchers have displayed prime
dressed carcases of the slaughtered innocents in their
windows, and the proverbial Jaffa orange plays still the
same part in adorning the wide-open mouths of the adult
and baby porkers.
Beef, mutton, pork, and poultry, daintily
bedecked, appeal with irresistible force to paterfamilias
on the look out for something to adorn his Christmas larder.
Birds of every variety, turkeys, geese, ducks, pheasants,
and chickens form a high façade to each poultry
establishment. The fish market is redolent with the aroma
of the finny tribe, and alive with the bustle and shouts
of the noisy salesmen.
The market is a perfect labyrinth of big
stacks of holly, mistletoe, firs, laurel branches, pine
apples, Californian apples, and Jaffas, and a veritable
eldorado for pater and mater in their anxious quest for
Christmas toys and bon bons. Holly is plentiful, but it
is stated to be weak in berries this year. A great quantity
has been made up into wreaths and crosses, with little
bunches of everlasting flowers, and Michaelmas daisies,
dyed scarlet, which have found a ready sale, although
the price is stated to have gone up in the case of mistletoe
from 21s to £2 per cwt. Since last Saturday, and
holly from 15s to 30s.
The chief area for shop displays is of course
Stamford-street. To individualise all the shops having
uniformity of display would be altogether superfluous.
In a few cases, however, tableaux have been introduced,
as in the case of Mr John WILSON, tailor, where a number
of boys are represented sliding on ice, with the usual
result that one has come a cropper and fallen on his back
with his feet high in the air.
Messrs BRIGGS Bros., tailors, introduced
a little fairy fountain into their window, illuminated
by electric lights, and goldfish swimming about in the
water, which is kept in check by waterproof cloth. HUTTS,
tailors, introduced Santa Claus as a central figure in
a very pretty display, and another tailoring establishment
in George-street, show several interesting figures, whilst
close by in Mrs J BRIGGS’ millinery establishment
is a miniature of Santa Claus riding on a mule, in action,
heavily laden with toys.
The THOMPSON Drug Company have one or two
automatic pieces of mechanism in their window at the lower
end of the street, meant as advertisements; also bottles
of good cheer from the innocent ginger wine to special
“Johnny Walker” in connection with which is
a guessing competition. An imitation maypole dance, on
a small scale, with six flaxen-haired little girls attired
in dresses of coloured crimped paper arranged in a circle,
is a feature of the Maypole Dairy Co., whilst a snow scene
and a dainty arrangement of toys forms an attractive display
in connection with the shop of Black and White, whilst
Seymour Mead’s is to be admired for an admirable
display; also Catlow, Lloyd and Co.
Lustrous furs, necklets, and muffs there
are in all shapes and varieties, elegant Alexandra Dagmars,
and Roxburghes, real Russian sable, hair, and wolf skins,
lovely Maltese and Mechlin laces, ladies’ jackets,
mantles, and costumes and dress lengths, and draperies
of every description.
Toys and dolls flourish in abundance, some
of the latter being so tall as to fill their future little
foster mothers with perplexity as to how to negotiate
them. An up-to-date toy is the “looping of the loop,”
and this has had a ready sale, as have the numerous mechanical
toys on view in the various shop windows.
Christmas cards show considerable improvement
in novelty and design, and there are has been, as usual,
a big demand. The ever popular Christmas stocking, filled
with all kinds of dainty articles, has again been in much
favour. Nearly all the shops close on Christmas Day and
SMART CAPTURE BY A STALYBRIDGE CONSTABLE
Theft of a Lubricator from Cockbrook Mill
Ernest BIRD, a powerful looking man, was on Monday placed
in the dock at the Stalybridge Police Court and charged
with having stolen a brass lubricator, the property of
Messrs Thomas DEAN and Alexander BURROWS, under the following
Constable James HAMER said: On Friday night
about twelve o’clock I was on duty in Clarence-street
when I heard a noise on the other side of the wall surrounding
Messrs Reyner’s Cockbrook Mill. I waited a while
to see what the noise was when I saw prisoner come to
the wall, look over, and then drop into the street, and
afterwards lift something off the wall. I went behind
prisoner, caught hold of him, and asked him what he had
got these, and he replied, “Hello, where the -----
has tha come from, it’s a fair catch.”
The Mayor: He was not very pleased to see
you then? — (Laughter.) — Witness: No, sir,
evidently not. After he had said it was a fair catch I
brought him to the police office and charged him with
the theft, and he replied, “I am guilty.”
He was then locked up. — The Mayor: Have you any
questions to ask the officer? — Prisoner: It is
no use asking any.
James GORDON said: I am a watchman at the
Cockbrook, and reside in Corkland-street, Ashton. I identify
the lubricator produced as being the property of Thomas
Dean and Alexander BURROWS. I saw it last safe on the
engine at the mill fixed in position on the cylinder on
Thursday, and I did not miss it until I was notified by
the police on Saturday morning. I do not know the prisoner.
Alexander BURROWS said: I am in partnership
with Mr Thomas DEAN, builder and contractor, and reside
in Ashton. I identify the lubricator as being our joint
property. It is worth £5. Prisoner had no right
to take the lubricator.
Colonel SIDEBOTTOM: Do you know the man?
— Witness replied in the negative, and said he would
not have thought so much about the theft had it been their
intention to break up the engine. We had a likely customer
for working the mill again. If prisoner had broken up
the lubricator he would only have got six or seven shillings
Inspector BAMFORTH said he this was BIRD’s
first appearance for felony. He had, however, been convicted
at Dukinfield, Ashton, and Hurst, chiefly for drunkenness
and assault upon police. Prisoner said he had nothing
to say, and the Mayor sentenced him to gaol for three
months with hard labour.
Addressing Constable HAMER, the Mayor said
the bench desired to express their satisfaction and admiration
upon the smartness he had exhibited in bringing the prisoner
to justice. The magistrates were satisfied that the officer
had displayed commendable alertness in capturing the thief
in the dead of night. — HAMER: Thank you, sir.
A NOTORIOUS STALYBRIDGE
James Connolly’s 103rd Appearance
On Monday, at the Stalybridge Police Court, before the
Mayor and other Justices, James CONNOLLY, labourer, made
his 103rd appearance, this time for having been drunk
in Wood-street on Saturday. He is 70 years of age, and
when told to stand up in the dock, he presented an extremely
weak appearance, and was shabbily dressed. He pleaded
guilty, and Constable HULME stated the facts.
The Mayor: What have you got to say? Prisoner:
Nothing, sir; I feel very ill. I came out of the Workhouse
on Monday and got a couple of glasses of rum which took
effect. — Last time you were here you promised to
stay in the Workhouse. — I did, sir, and I have
been in six months. — Why didn’t you stay
there instead of coming out just when Christmas fare is
being served? — I will go back. — Where did
you get your drink — in Stalybridge? No, sir. —
I should think no-one in Stalybridge will serve you; they
all know you. I never asked for I know they will not.
Councillor HOPWOOD: I saw you one day going
up the street begging off everyone you met, saying you
wanted some hot coffee. I gave you a copper myself, expecting
you would go and get something warm. You ought to be sent
The Clerk: Won’t you tell the magistrates
where you got your drink? — Councillor HOPWOOD:
He got it in Stalybridge almost certain. — Prisoner:
I sent another fellow in for it with a bottle. I did no
go in myself. — The Clerk: Why don’t you tell
the magistrates the truth, man?
The Mayor: Will you go back to the Workhouse?
— Prisoner: I will, sir. — The Clerk: But
can you take his word? — On condition that he went
to the Workhouse, CONNOLLY was discharged. In default
it was ordered that he be sent to prisoner for 14 with
CHARGE AGAINST A WORKHOUSE INMATE. —
A charge of refusing to perform his allotted task whilst
an inmate of the casual ward of the Union Workhouse on
the 19th instant was preferred against John BINNS, at
the Ashton Borough Court, on Saturday, to which he pleaded
guilty. — The Workhouse Master (Mr SHORE) said the
prisoner claimed his discharge, stating that he had got
work to go to. He declined to any further work, and explained
that if he had a day’s rest he would be better prepared
to commence his work on the following morning. —
The magistrates sent the prisoner to gaol for seven days.
SINGULAR DEATH OF A HORSE. —
Mr Edward GENTY, coal merchant, &c, has just suffered
a severe loss by the death of one of his horses under
most peculiar circumstances. On Friday the horse was attached
to a loaded cart at Smallshaw, when suddenly the “belly-band”
snapped, the result being that the cart and shafts tilted,
the animal being lifted bodily into mid-air. Some portion
of the harness was tightly drawn round the horse’s
neck, and despite the vigorous efforts of the men in charge
to release the harness, the animal suffocated. In the
course of 12 months Mr GENTY has lost three horses by
WIFE DESERTION. —
Harry WOOD was before the county justices, at Ashton,
on Wednesday, charged with absconding and leaving his
wife chargeable to the union. He pleaded not guilty. —
Mr W B WOFFENDEN, relieving officer, said the man’s
wife and four children had been chargeable to the union
for twelve months. His wife had had to enter the Workhouse
to be confined. The total cost had been £29 12s
6d. Prisoner had been working at Wigan, and had spent
the railway fare between there and Ashton. — Prisoner
said his employer paid the railway fare. He had only been
in work a short time, and had not had the chance to get
his wife out of the union. — The case was adjourned
for six weeks.
PRESENTATION. — A
very interesting ceremony took place at the King’s
Arms, Stamford-street, Ashton, on Saturday last, in the
shape of the presentation of a beautiful silver medal,
which, through the generosity of Mr and Mrs Sam HEY, of
that house, was handed to Mr Bert CHAPMAN, the well-known
blind vocalist. Mr George SMITH, in a neat little speech,
made the presentation on behalf of the donors.
A REMAND. — Harry
LAMBERT was charged on Thursday, at the borough police
court, with stealing a gas meter, the property of Mary
JOHNSON. — The Chief Constable stated that prisoner
brought a gas meter out of a house belonging to Mary JOHNSON.
He asked for a remand until Monday. — Edith Alice
CLAYTON, domestic servant in the employ of Mary JOHNSON,
living at 45 Grosvenor-street, said that as she was going
up Crickets-lane she saw prisoner breaking up a gas meter.
She asked what he was doing, and said that he would have
to pay. He answered that it would not cost above 7s 6d.
He then ran away. — The remand was granted.
THE STALYBRIDGE NEW
Public Testing on the Market Ground
In the presence of a crowd of people, computed at several
hundreds, the new steam engine recently purchased by the
Stalybridge Corporation was on Monday afternoon officially
inspected, tested, and christened on the market-ground.
Many members of the Town Council were in attendance, assembling
at the Town Hall, and headed by the Mayor (Alderman R
WOOD), they paraded on to the market ground and took up
a stand opposite the baths.
Simultaneously the steam engine —
naturally looking spick and span — dashed on to
the spot, being drawn by a couple of heavy horses. The
firemen dismounted, and at this point the Mayoress came
forward for the purpose of christening the new purchase
Captain BATES, superintendent of the brigade,
wrapped a piece of crimson cloth round the hind portion
of the engine, securing at the other end a champagne bottle,
which he placed in the Mayoress’s hand. Addressing
the Mayoress, Alderman FENTON the said: Mrs WOOD, I have
great pleasure on behalf of the Corporation of Stalybridge
in asking you to christen this new steam fire engine “Reliance.”
The Mayoress, before letting the bottle
drop, said: “Alderman FENTON, ladies and gentlemen,
I have very great pleasure in christening your new fire
engine “Reliance,” and I hope that whenever
we have a fire in our town and neighbouring boroughs it
will prove worthy of its name — “Reliance.”
— (Loud applause.) Mrs WOOD then released the bottle,
which fell with a thud against the brass work of the engine
and smashed to pieces, a cheer being given by the onlookers.
The firemen then proceeded to prepare for
a demonstration of the engine’s capabilities. A
fire was lighted, and in the course of 9½ minutes
all was in readiness for the pouring of volumes of water
through the hose pipes, which had been placed in readiness.
At the outset a 1½-in nozzle was used from a stand,
which was in charge of Sergeants OLLERENSHAW and GEE,
and the water was sent 150 feet into the air.
Then followed the 1¾-in nozzle, the
height attained being between 160 and 170 feet. Two nozzles
(each seven eighths inch) threw water 120 feet, as also
did a trio of ½-in nozzles and one of ¾in.
The results were all deemed very satisfactory, and the
consensus of opinion was that should a fire break out
in the future the Stalybridge fire brigade will be able
to cope with it as well as any brigade from other towns.
As we have previously stated in the “Reporter,”
the engine is one of Messrs Merryweathers’ double
vertical “Greenwich” pattern machines, capable
of delivering 400 to 600 gallons per minute, and of throwing
one, two, or four jets as required. The boiler is Merryweathers’
patent water tube type, and will raise steam from cold
water to working pressure in from six to eight minutes
from time of lighting the fire.
The machinery, which is placed vertically
behind the boiler, consists of a pair of inverted steam
cylinders, driving two double-acting gunmetal pumps. The
steam and water pistons are at opposite ends of the same
rod, cross heads being used to drive a crankshaft to limit
the stroke and actuate the slide valves. The pump valves
are of rubber, and can be easily got at for examination
Large copper suction and delivery air vessels
are fitted with extra large size hose connections, enabling
the engine to work very smoothly under high pressure.
The frame is of steel, carried on springs and high wood-spoke
wheels; a large hose box is fitted in front of the boiler,
forming seats for coachman and firemen, and the whole
can easily be run out by a pair of horses.
Double lever brakes are fitted to act on
both hind wheels. The boiler is brass lagged, and ample
accommodation is provided for coal and water. Similar
engines are already in use by the fire brigades at Birkenhead,
Oldham, Northampton, Clitheroe, Widnes, Atherton, Nottingham,
At the Dukinfield Police Court, on Thursday, before Alderman
C H BOOTH and Mr W UNDERWOOD, three lads named James POTTS,
Robert BELLIS, and Samuel BRIDGE were charged on remand
with breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Mr H
RICHARDSON, Dukinfield Hall, last Saturday.
Mary Maria RICHARDSON said she was the wife
of Henry RICHARDSON, 53 Astley-street, setter in at Rowley’s
ironworks. They left their home at 2.30 on Saturday afternoon
last. All was then securely fastened. They returned at
about 8.30 in the evening, and found the front door bolted
from the inside. They got in by a side door, and found
that the house had been broken into during their absence.
A pane of glass had been broken in the back
kitchen window. The cutlery on the sideboard, and the
drawers, were upset. In one of the bedrooms the drawers
were open, and some of the things placed on the wash-stand.
On Sunday morning she missed a child’s pink under
flannel, a child’s nightdress, two pairs men’s
drawers, and other articles worth 5s. The prisoner POTTS
was sat on a wall near the house when she returned home
on Saturday night. There were two other lads on the opposite
side of the road, and POTTS called out to them, “come
Constable CUNLIFFE stated that he was on
patrol duty last Saturday in Ashton-street. At 4.30 he
saw the prisoner POTTS about 50 yards from Mr RICHARDSON’s
house. There were two other lads with him, but witness
could not identify them.
Constable HALL stated that he received information
of this robbery, and examined Mr RICHARDSON’s premises.
He afterwards arrested the prisoner POTTS, and in consequence
of a statement he made he apprehended the other two prisoner
on Sunday night. He afterwards charged the prisoners with
breaking into 53 Astley-street. POTTS replied. “Yes,
and those two were with me,” pointing to the prisoners.
BELLIS said “I deny being with you,” BRIDGE
said “No, I was not there.”
The prisoner POTTS now informed the Bench
that BELLIS broke a window with a brick and they shoved
him through. BELLIS denied being there, and said he went
to a football match at two o’clock, and returned
at 4.30. He afterwards went to Ashton and Hyde. BRIDGE
said he was on the football field. In the evening he went
to Manchester at six o’clock.
The Bench decided to commit POTTS for trial
to the sessions, and discharged the other prisoners. The
prisoner POTTS had been several times convicted. He is