16 July 1904

Deaf and Dumb Boy Knocked Down

The remarkable utility of life savers on electric tramcars was again demonstrated at Waterloo, on Monday forenoon. A boy about 4 or 5 years of age, named Edward ASHLEY, residing near the Liberal Club, Oldham-road, and stated to be deaf and dumb, was crossing the road at the same time as an electric tramcar was passing along from Oldham to Ashton. The driver of the car is stated to have sounded the bell several times and before he could pull up the boy passed in front of the car and was knocked down.

There was much consternation among the passengers who naturally came to the conclusion that the injuries would be very serious. Fortunately the lifeguard saved the boy from being crushed by the car passing over him, but he received a nasty wound in the head from which blood flowed freely. He was carried into his home close by and Dr BOWMAN sent for. On arrival the boy was in great pain, and the doctor placed him under chloroform and applied several stitches in the wound. He is progressing favourably.

At the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, William LOFT was summoned by his wife, Elizabeth LOFT with deserting her. Mr GARFORTH, who appeared on his behalf, pleaded not guilty.

Mr WATSON, who appeared on the wife’s behalf, said that on the 25th of May last the husband was summoned for assault, but the charge was withdrawn on the understanding that a deed of separation should be prepared and signed by the defendant. Defendant’s solicitor attended at his (Mr WATSON’s) office, and consented to 5s. a week for a year, and afterwards 7s. 6d. per week. However, there were certain articles which the defendant required, which the woman was willing to give up.

Mr GARFORTH said it had been discovered that with the assistance of male accomplices the woman had forced her way into the house and taken certain articles, leaving nothing but a blanket.

Mrs LOFT gave evidence and said they were married in 1899, and had no children. They had lived at Limehurst about 18 months, and had been very uncomfortable during that time. The desertion took place on the 14th of May, when he went he went into the house. She followed him, and he ordered her out, saying he wanted “t’other woman,” who lived in Bradford. He then turned her out about a quarter to 12 that night, and she had been living with her mother ever since.

Mr GARFORTH said that if she wanted she could have gone back; she could then. His client could not afford to keep two establishments, not could he keep a grass widow. The magistrates granted an order for 5s. a week, with advocate’s fees.

Through successive generations, the tall, square brick chimney, known as Wilde Colliery, has towered over its rural surroundings, as evidence of a busy industry, but of late years the pit has been closed down and dismantled, and a fortnight ago the disused buildings were disposed of at a sale by auction. These are being demolished and the useful material carried away.

On Saturday morning, about five 0’clock, the operation of falling the chimney took place. A large crowd of people gathered about the pit-head eager to witness the collapse of the old pile. The work was undertaken by Mr J ROBERTS, assisted by a number of the miners employed at the Coperas House Pit, and the operation was successfully. The bricks on one side of the chimney were stripped as if by lightning, giving it a somewhat dilapidated appearance on that side.

The preparatory stages of the falling process consisted of undermining the south side of the chimney and inserting charges of dynamite which were exploded from a distance by means of a fuse. When the explosion occurred the pile was seen to quiver for a moment, and then topple over until it described an acute angle almost where it snapped in two portions and fell to the ground, causing a great cloud of dust. The bricks were removed and used for building purposes.

”A House Swarming with Filth and Vermin”

Sickening Effect Upon an Alderman
At the Stalybridge Police Court, on Monday, John BLEWITT and his wife Clara BLEWITT, of No. 2 Henry-street, off Bridge-street, were charged with neglecting their four children in such a manner as to cause them unnecessary suffering. They both pleaded not guilty, and elected to be tried by the justices, instead of going to Quarter Sessions.

Mr J. B. POWNALL, solicitor, Ashton, appeared to prosecute on behalf of the N.S.P.C.C., and said he did not press the case so much against the husband as against the wife, for to a certain extent the man was to be pitied. He was the unfortunate possessor of a wife who took drink, the result of which was the neglect of their children, and instead of having a decent home from the wages of the husband, who earned 10s. a day.

(BLEWITT: Scarcely.) — Mr POWNALL: Well, not far off. — Mrs BLEWITT: He has been out of work. — Mr POWNALL: He can, at any rate, earn a considerable sum of money, and with the assistance of his wife there is no reason why they should not have a decent home, and every comfort for their children.

Proceeding to comment upon the condition in which the home was found by Inspector REDDY, Mr POWNALL observed that the house was filthy and verminous, and there was not over two ounces of bread in the place; indeed, the house was in a pitiable and neglectful condition.

The case was discovered quite accidentally. It seemed that the inspector was in the neighbourhood where the BLEWITTs resided, when he saw some boys fighting. He interfered, and seeing the neglected state of some of the boys — the BLEWITTs — he made inquiries, and ultimately got to the residence. Mr REDDY found the living room in a filthy condition; the beds were devoid of proper covering, and what clothes were on were swarming with fleas. There was also a utensil containing excreta, which had not been emptied for a fortnight.

He (Mr POWNALL) did not wish to dwell upon the condition of the house: the question was — what could be done to remedy it? He held in his hand a leaflet of the society, which contained a report of a somewhat similar case tried before Sir John BRIDGE. In that case the woman was sent to gaol for six months, she having already suffered shorter sentences and the husband wrote thanking the Bench for what they had done. In six months time the woman returned to her home a good and sober woman. Sir John, in sentencing her, said he did so with the idea of curing her of her evil habits, and restoring her to her children a sober and happy woman.

Inspector REDDY was called, and he bore out Mr POWNALL’s opening statement. He added that the house was reeking with filth, and it was one of the worst cases he had seen for years. When he visited the house on the first occasion the husband was sober, but the wife was out drinking with another woman, and ultimately Mrs BLEWITT turned up in a state of intoxication. — Mrs BLEWITT: You lie, sir! — Mr REDDY went on to say that the woman asked him what he wanted there, and who had complained about her.

Mr POWNALL: Did you see the children? — The Inspector: I did, sir. — Mr POWNALL: How did you find them? — The Inspector: In a most deplorable state, verminous and filthy, and the boy, about 14 years old, had no shirt on. — Mr POWNALL: I think the Chief Constable also saw them. — The Inspector: He saw the three boys later. Alderman FENTEM and Dr ROBERTS-DUDLEY went to the house.

Mr POWNALL: And I believe Alderman FENTEM had a very unpleasant experience? — The Inspector: He was sick, and ran downstairs as fast he could! — In your opinion the children were neglected in such a manner as was likely to cause them unnecessary suffering? Yes. — And in your opinion who is to blame? Mrs BLEWITT by far. — Speaking of the man’s earnings, Mr REDDY said he was a furnaceman at the Globe Ironworks, and never got less than 10s. each shift.

The Mayor: Have you any questions to ask? — Mrs BLEWITT: No, sir; he has been out of work. — The male defendant claimed that he was not to blame and the officer could not say anything against him.

Dr F. J. ROBERTS-DUDLEY corroborated the inspector’s testimony. The excreta in a bucket must have been in the house a fortnight at least. There were no blankets or sheets on the beds — simply a mass of rags swarming with fleas and lice! The children were “alive,” and he (the doctor) never visited such a case before; it was something awful.

Alderman FENTEM had previously expressed a desire to visit such a case of this kind, and accordingly they gave him the opportunity here. Mr FENTEM went upstairs, but he was not long there; he was sick, and he afterwards said he could not have believed that such a state of things existed had he not seen for himself. Neither could the gentlemen on the bench scarcely believe that people existed in such surroundings

Councillor BOOTH: Are any of these children going to school? — Mrs BLEWITT: Only one, and Clara is not old enough. — Mr POWNALL: Has Christopher left school? — Mrs BLEWITT: No, he is at school to-day. — Sergeant GEE described the sight at the house as “something sickening.” The male defendant told the police that his wife was addicted to drink. — Constable Alex WELLS gave similar evidence.

Dr McCARTHY: Did you see any facilities for the children to wash themselves, because children 14 and 15 years of age are surely old enough to keep themselves clean? — WELLS replied that there was a broken bowl there, but in his opinion they were too idle to was themselves.

The sergeant was re-called, and in reply to Alderman RIDYARD he said the defendants had not been under the observation of the police. This was the first time he had come in contact with them. — Mrs BLEWITT: I was never drunk in my life. — The male defendant said this was the first time he had been in court, and he handed up to the Bench a document which showed that before coming to Stalybridge his children attended Sunday school.

Alderman RIDYARD: Do they attend Sunday school here? — BLEWITT: They have done a few times. — Alderman RIDYARD: That, perhaps, is the start of the whole business; they went to Sunday school before they came here, and have now given up. — Dr ROBERTS-DUDLEY: They would not have them in a Sunday school! — The Mayor (to BLEWITT): Through your carelessness. — BLEWITT: No, sir. — The Mayor: Then your wife’s. — Mrs BLEWITT: Oh, no. — BLEWITT: It is through their own faults; I have had a lot of hardships since I came here.

The Mayor: It costs very little to keep a house clean. — BLEWITT: I have not troubled anyone for anything. — Alderman RIDYARD: It strikes me that you have not taken a father’s place in a house. It is not for the children to look after themselves. — Mrs BLEWITT: He is too strict with them! — (Laughter.) — BLEWITT said he had called Constable GRIMSHAW into his house several times, and he (the father) had had the children on their bended knees and made them beg pardon, and they had said they would be better.

The Mayor: You have lived in that house, and after hearing what has been said about its condition, do you think you are doing your duty by allowing such a condition to exist? — BLEWITT: I cannot always be in the house. — Captain BATES: The children are simply in rags, and have nothing on their feet.

Alderman RIDYARD questioned the male defendant as to why he did not go to his work last week, and his reply is that he wanted Monday off, and “this trouble” coming on afterwards he had neglected his work all the week. — The Mayor: Did you want Monday to rest on? — Defendant: I did, in a sense. — Alderman RIDYARD: After Sunday. — (Laughter.)

The magistrates retired, and after an absence of about ten minutes they returned. The Mayor then announced that the decision was to adjourn the case three months to give defendants an opportunity of trying to improve the condition of the house and the children. They desired that the inspector should visit the house regularly, and if no improvement was visible to bring the parties before the court before expiration of the three months. Then the sentence would be the highest possible.

Case at the Assizes.— At the Manchester Assizes, on Thursday, John William HUNTER, a Waterloo youth, was charged with an at Ashton some time ago. After hearing the evidence, the jury acquitted him.

Bowling, Not Throwing.— Robert WALKER and Stanley DAVIES were, at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, charged with throwing stones at Waterloo. Their parents, who appeared, pleaded “guilty to bowling stones, but not throwing them.” — Sergeant LEEMING said that on the 26th of June, about five minutes to seven, they were throwing about a dozen stones at some other boys. He had had complaints of this sort of thing before. — They were fined 5s. for costs.

Bowling Match.— There was a capital attendance of the followers of bowling at the Old Soldier Hotel, Denton, on Thursday, when W. H. ANDREW, of Waterloo, and Walter PLATT, of Denton, contested a match of 71 up. ANDREW had three start. In the first twenty ANDREW had all the advantage, playing very well, the totals in his favour being 10-2, 14-5, and 22-11. From this PLATT played up, and at 26-24 was in front. They repeatedly peeled, and when half-time arrived ANDREW was in front 36-33. On resuming, PLATT gained the first end with a single. Right up to the sixties there was little in it, the scoring being level at 62 and 64. ANDREW then played some fine ends at long lengths, and eventually won by 71 to 66.

Local Appointments

In connection with Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute for Nurses, the Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the appointment of the following as “Queen’s Nurses,” to date July 1, 1904:— Ashton-under-Lyne: Minnie THOMPSON, Mary L. LOCK.

Creative Commons License Rhodes Family History by Ian Rhodes (1999-2018 v.3.0) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting me.
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