4 June 1904
OF HOLIDAY MAKERS FROM ASHTON
What the Railway Returns Show
The inclement weather, the depression in the staple trade
of the district, and other influences have all militated
against a record exodus from Ashton. Still resorts not
far from home have received their full quota of patronage
from Ashton people, as the following returns demonstrate,
and the railway companies cannot rail at the absence of
“trippers” on their trains:—
Guide Bridge (Great Central) Belle Vue 900,
Bollington 42, Rose Hill (Marple) 60, Marple (Midland)
140, Strines 40, Southport 30, Liverpool 30, Lincoln 20,
Cleethorpes 40, Sheffield 30, Nottingham 20. Great Central
Railway Company, Park Parade Station:— Belle Vue
815, Llandudno 296, Middlewood 16, Ashbourne 15, Llangollen
8, walking tours, Buxton and New Mills, 10.
The Miners on Sore Straits
The shutting down of the Broadoak
Colliery Co.’s pits has closed the only source
of revenue and dashed the hopes of ever obtaining employment
in this neighbourhood of hundreds of the inhabitants of
Hurst, who formerly earned a precarious livelihood by
toiling in the coal mines in the neighbourhood. The only
thing that can be done now, until work is obtained elsewhere,
is to alleviate the stress of the poverty, whose hard
grip has fastened on these miners. The stoppage had long
been heralded by the short time the men worked, and on
the 27th of April the crowning disaster befell them when
the pits were closed, in all probability for ever.
It was evident then that something would
have to be done to keep the wolf from the door, and those
sons of toil, under the auspices of the Lancashire and
Cheshire Miners’ Federation, formed an association
of appeal to the public, which up to the present has been
responded to generously. The men, paid 3s. a day, go out
with box-organs, mostly to the colliery districts of Lancashire,
and solicit the sympathy and tangible support of their
more fortunate colleagues, whilst another portion of men,
with stamped book, collect in the district.
As illustrating the close bond of fellowship
existing between the men, it may be said that members
of the federation share their receipts with their non-union
comrades, an arrangement which has blunted the keen edge
of poverty in many a household in Hurst. Up to the present
the receipts have been, after expenses, £11 6s 9d,
an amount cruelly inadequate to relieve the cases of acute
distress which abound in the district, and the men make
an earnest appeal for further support, until a rift appears
in the clouds and they obtain employment elsewhere.
Miss Bertha Mason and the Evils of Bridge
Amongst other representatives of the Ashton Women’s
Liberal Association present at the annual meetings of
the Council of Women’s Liberal Federation, held
in London during the week, were Miss Bertha MASON and
Mrs W MOSS (secretary of the Ashton district.)
On Thursday, Miss Bertha MASON moved a resolution
on gaming and betting. While recognising that this evil
was to be checked chiefly by moral means, the resolution
pointed out that much might be done by more rigorously
enforcing the existing laws and by extending legislation.
The Street Betting Bill was welcomed as a step in the
right direction. Miss MASON said this was one of the most
urgent social problems before the country.
Betting had permeated every class, and was
indulged in women and girls as well as by men. Miss MASON
spoke of the terrible hold which bridge had obtained on
the richer classes, remarking that in society the rattle
of money was the ground-tone of conversation. She urged
that the maximum penalty of £5 for street betting
was absurd. It should be raised to at least £50.
In the case of bookmakers dealing with children,
she thought a sentence of imprisonment without the option
of a fine should be imposed. “if this great national
evil is to be really checked, if our boys and girls are
to be saved from the perils that meet them at every street
corner and on every athletic ground, the law must be made
stronger.” The resolution was adopted.
On January 15, 1854 — fifty years ago last Friday
— (says an Australian paper) a marriage was celebrated
in the old town of Ashton-under-Lyne between Mr Thomas
SIMS and Miss Elizabeth CUMMINS. Nine years later, in
1863, the couple sailed for Queensland in the ship the
“Flying Cloud”, and Toowoomba
has been their home ever since.
Although both parties have reached the prescribed
three score and ten, their lives are yet characterised
by usefulness, while, linked with sobriety and honesty,
fair health has attended each while they have grown together.
In their old age Mr and Mrs SIMS now count amongst their
descendants, beside their family of three daughters and
three sons, several grandchildren, and it must give the
old couple pleasure to reflect on the days of long ago,
and the prospects of the generations that are to succeed
Just here it may be mentioned that, as one
of the oldest inhabitants of Toowoomba, Mr SIMS was one
of the first to form the Rechabite
Lodge here some 31 years ago. Almost needless to remark,
so far as our Toowoomba readers are concerned, both Mr
and Mrs SIMS are very highly respected among our residents.
In their quiet home on North-street the
golden wedding was celebrated last Friday, the celebration
being confined to the members of the family. All were
present, and a most felicitous time was spent. Many congratulations
were received from the family’s numerous acquaintances.
We wish Mr and Mrs SIMS many long years of health and
We may add to the above that both parties
were residents of Cockbrook before they emigrated.
A CHAPTER OF
OFFENCES AT HURST
”The Terror of the Village”
At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, John
HEWITT was in the dock on four separate counts charged
with being drunk and disorderly at Hurst on the 27th of
May, assaulting the police on the same day, assaulting
John OGDEN on the same day, and doing damage to the extent
of 7s. 6d. to the premises of the Jolly Miller. He pleaded
guilty to the first charge, and not guilty to the others.
Mr J B POWNALL, who appeared on behalf of
the police and Mr OGDEN, briefly outlined the case. OGDEN,
he said, was the tenant of the Jolly Miller, in Hurst
Brook. It appears that about half-past ten on Friday last
HEWITT went into the beerhouse and asked for a drink.
As he was intoxicated at the time, the landlord refused
to serve him, and in a motherly way Mr OGDEN’s mother
advised him leave. HEWITT became very violent, and knocked
her about in such a way that if they had preferred they
could have charged him with an assault against her.
The landlord again asked him to leave but
he refused, and Mr OGDEN was forced to eject him, and
locked the door, sending for the police. Defendant would
not leave the vicinity of the house, however, and commenced
throwing stones at the windows, doing 7s. 6d. worth of
damage, and when the police arrived he assaulted one of
the officers — Constable ORMROD. He was absolutely
the terror of the neighbourhood, and whatever public-house
he entered, no one would serve him, and besides bringing
a bad character on the licensee, he would jeopardise the
license of the house.
John OGDEN, the licensee of the Jolly Miller,
Hurst Brook, corroborated, and said he advised him at
the outset to leave the house. He had been confined to
bed up to that day in consequence of the assault.
Constable ORMROD said in consequence of
a complaint he had received he went down to the house
and there saw HEWITT drunk, cursing and swearing. The
windows of the house were broken, and he immediately took
him into custody, but the defendant resisted, and butted
him in the face, making his mouth bleed. He was a source
of terror to the neighbourhood, and when drunk was very
Sergeant SHEA gave evidence to the effect
that he arrested prisoner, and whilst taking him into
custody was knocked in the face by him.
Ada OUSEY, HEWITT’s fiancé,
gave evidence presumably on prisoner’s behalf, but
under the fire of questions put to her by Mr POWNALL,
got confused, and said he was the “terror of Hurst,”
and was very violent when in drink. — Superintendent
HEWITT said the man had been punished for a similar offence
The Chairman: Now, John HEWITT, you are
a thorough-going scoundrel, and we are going to relieve
Hurst of you for nine weeks. We are going to fine you
5s. and costs for being drunk and disorderly, or seven
days’ imprisonment, and £5 or a month’s
imprisonment for assaulting the police. I tell you again,
we shall not have any of our policemen touched. I look
upon it as one of the most serious things to assault a
constable. With regard to the assault of the landlord,
you are fined 10s. and costs, or 14 days, and for the
damage you will be fined 7s. 6d., or seven days. Nine
weeks altogether. — Prisoner (smilingly): I can
IN STALYBRIDGE MARKET
The Serious Charge Against an Ashton Young Man
At the Stalybridge Police Court, on Monday, a tall, well-dressed
young fellow, named Herbert Wilfred HOWISON, of Henrietta-street,
Ashton, surrendered to his bail — having been remanded
from the previous Wednesday — on a charge of having
stolen a purse and handkerchief, under the following circumstances:—
Captain BATES, Chief Constable, reviewed
the facts. He said that at 9.25 on Saturday night, 21st
May, Mrs MARSH, who was a widow, was standing in front
of a fish shop in the market, when she felt someone’s
hand in her pocket. Turning round, she saw HOWISON immediately
behind her and she accused him of having taken her purse,
and at the same moment one of the employees at the fish
shop came forward, and said he had seen prisoner put his
hand in her pocket.
He denied the accusation, and the man was
allowed to go. Mrs MARSH found her purse and handkerchief
on the ground close to where prisoner had been standing.
Last week, when HOWISON was remanded, the defence suggestion
was that prisoner was not in Stalybridge at all on the
night in question, and when arrested he also made this
Mr Jas. GARFORTH, solicitor, who now appeared
to defend: I was not here last Wednesday. I was in another
place, but I admit that might have been said. —
Captain BATES: I have abundant testimony that this was
the man standing behind the woman and the same man who
put his hand in her pocket.
Mary MARSH was then called. She said she
was a widow living at 26, Cross
Leech-street, Stalybridge. On Saturday night week,
she was standing near the Fish and Game Company’s
premises in the Stalybridge Market when she felt a person’s
hand in her dress pocket. She turned round, and saw prisoner
standing there. She said to him, “You have had your
hand in my pocket,” and he made no reply. One of
the men who was selling fish came forward and got hold
of prisoner, saying “You have had your hand in her
pocket,” and again prisoner made no answer. Witness
picked up her purse and handkerchief from the ground near
The Chief Constable: Did you identify prisoner
at the police office amongst a number of other men on
Wednesday? — Witness: Yes.
Mr GARFORTH: Were there a number of other
men standing about? Witness: Not where I was. But you
were not alone in the market? Oh, no. — Didn’t
you naturally feel in your pocket to see if your purse
was there? No. I turned round and that man had had his
hand in my pocket. — Did not CONNOLLY say, “If
I thought you had had your hand in her pocket I would
call a policeman.” Yes. — Exactly, now did
he call a policeman? No. — Did you see William HOWISON
in the market that night? No. — Did prisoner move
away? No. — Did he stand in the same place? Yes.
— Is it not possible you dropped the purse in getting
your money? No, I had the money I required in my hand.
The Chief Constable: Now, what did CONNOLLY
say? — Witness: He said he saw prisoner with his
hand in my pocket. The Chief Constable: I thought you
did not understand Mr GARFORTH’s question. —
Alderman FENTON: Have you any doubt that this is the man?
— Witness: I have not.
Thomas CONNOLLY, assistant at the Fish and
Game Co.’s premises in the market, said on Saturday
night week he saw prisoner standing opposite the shop
entrance (Dean-street). Mrs MARSH also stood there for
about two minutes, when he saw prisoner put his left hand
in her pocket and withdraw a purse and place it in his
own left trouser pocket.
I threw down the fish I held in my hand
and took prisoner, saying, “You have taken that
woman’s purse.” He replied, “I haven’t,
have I?” (referring to a man who was standing round
the corner.) The man referred to came to them and said,
“He’s took none of her purse; he’s with
me.” Witness again said that prisoner had taken
the purse, and held him for several minutes. Prisoner
then pushed witness’s hand away and walked off with
the other man. The purse was found on the ground.
Mr GARFORTH cross-examined witness as to
the exact position in which the parties were standing,
endeavouring to show that witness could not possibly have
seen the lady’s pocket. CONNOLLY, however, was firm
in his assertion that he saw prisoner commit the felony.
— Mr GARFORTH: You let this “innocent”
man go away? — Witness: I thought I had nothing
to do with it seeing that the woman did not say she would
give him into custody. I should have stuck to him while
he gave the purse up.
John James FIELDING, warehouseman, of 41
Canal-street, Stalybridge, said he saw CONNOLLY go up
to prisoner and accuse him of taking a purse out of the
lady’s pocket. At the time witness was talking to
the prosecutrix, and immediately afterwards he saw a purse
and handkerchief laid at prisoner’s feet. When HOWSON
and his friend had gone away witness gave information
to Constable SMETHURST. — By Mr GARFORTH: I had
not known prisoner before, but I am positive he is the
man. I cannot tell why the police did not take action
earlier. I identified prisoner first by a photograph.
There was no possibility of the purse having dropped from
the woman’s pocket.
James Woolley MARSDEN, worker in a cotton
mill, of 14, Leech-street, Stalybridge, said he worked
for the Fish and Game Company on Saturdays, and he remembered
hearing CONNOLLY accuse HOWISON of the theft which he
denied. Witness was positive the man in the dock was the
man. — Mr GARFORTH: Of course, I do not deny that
for a moment. — Captain BATES: His defence last
week was that he was not there at all. — Mr GARFORTH:
That might be, but I did not say so.
Detective LEE spoke as to the arrest of
HOWISON at 6 a.m. on Wednesday last at his father’s
house on Henrietta-street. Upon charging him with stealing
a purse and a handkerchief, the property of Mrs MARSH,
he replied, “I am not guilty; I was not in Stalybridge
on Saturday night.” Witness then brought him up
to the Stalybridge Town Hall, where he was locked up.
Mr GARFORTH, addressing the justices on
behalf of prisoner, said here was a case of strong suspicion,
but it was only strong suspicion. They had the evidence
of the youth CONNOLLY, who said he saw prisoner put his
hand in the woman’s pocket and pull out a purse,
which was afterwards found on the ground and where both
were standing; the Bench was asked to jump to the presumption
that he put the purse on the ground, but there was no
evidence such was so., or that he even put his hand in
the pocket to extract it.
He had one witness who could prove that
“they were all practically together” and the
Bench knew better than he how the fish market was thronged
on Saturday nights. There were many people about on the
night in question, and there was no prima facie case against
prisoner, but merely a suspicion. The police did not arrest
him until the following Wednesday when the lad very foolishly
said he was not in Stalybridge at the time.
He (Mr GARFORTH) appealed to the justices
to give the lad the benefit of the doubt. He was of highly
respectable parentage; his father was present in court,
and there was no occasion whatever for his son to steal
anything. Prisoner’s father was in a good position,
and now the youth threw himself upon the mercy of the
If the Bench thought HOWISON stole the articles,
then he deserved punishing. He was a young fellow who
had been well brought up, and if the magistrates had any
doubt in their minds he asked them to give him the benefit
of it, otherwise he asked them to deal leniently. Mr GARFORTH
concluded by intimating that he would not call any evidence.
The magistrates retired, and upon their
return, the Mayor asked if anything was known about prisoner.
— Captain BATES: Yes, sir, a good deal in the incident
book. — Mr GARFORTH: We’re going to get him
abroad if we can. — The Mayor, having perused the
evidence, said; The magistrates are satisfied that this
case is proved, and you will have to go to prison for
two months with hard labour.
WIFE MAINTENANCE CASE
Twenty Five Pounds in Arrears
At the Stalybridge Police Court, on Monday, Stephen STAFFORD,
rope maker, of Dukinfield, was summoned at the instance
of the Ashton Poor Law Union for arrears of wife maintenance,
the amount owing being £25 5s. 6d. The Mayor (Alderman
WOOD) did not adjudicate on account of his being a member
of the Board of Guardians.
Mr Seth FIRTH, relieving officer, said defendant’s
wife was an inmate of the Union hospital, and in November,
1897, an order was made upon defendant to contribute 5s.
per week towards her maintenance. He had, however, paid
very indifferently, and he seemed to have presumed upon
the leniency of the Guardians, who had exercised the utmost
Defendant was managing a ropery in Dukinfield
for a Mrs MASSEY. Some time ago, he refused to work for
his brother, Alderman STAFFORD, who offered him two guineas
a week; instead he threw himself out of employment. Defendant
had five children, two of whom were working. Witness asked
the Bench to make an order for the payment of the amount
Defendant, addressing the Bench, said the
relieving officer had spoken the truth, but he (defendant)
would like to say that he was not in a position to be
able to pay. He had been “handled” long enough,
and he admitted throwing himself out of work, declining
to accept two guineas weekly from his brother. During
the past fourteen weeks he had worked from early morning
to late at night, and was now earning 14. a week. He had
lately been much pressed by other creditors, and had been
sold up twice, his wife having left him “head and
ears” in debt and for months past he had lived on
bread and butter and tea.
Mr FIRTH observed that the last time the
defendant was before the Guardians he offered to pay 10s.
weekly, and so wipe off the arrears. — Defendant:
No, I did not offer to pay ten shillings weekly, they
said I must pay that
Alderman FENTON: We have no option in the
matter, and we grant this application. — Defendant:
What do I understand? — The Magistrates’ Clerk:
A verdict for the arrears and costs forthwith. —
Defendant: Well, I have not got the money. — Alderman
FENTON: You will have to arrange with the Guardians. —
Councillor J BOTTOMLEY: That is the only course we can
take. — Defendant then left the court.