19 March 1904
PASSIVE RESISTERS FROM
Before the Ashton County Magistrates
Distress Warrants in Seven Days
Messrs B C SELLARS, Paul GRUNDY, John WOOD, T BROMLEY,
and T MOORES, the magistrates sitting at the County Police
Court, at Ashton, had before them several cases in which
defendants were charged with not paying their rates. On
the list were the names of Messrs Stephen MASSEY and George
Mr Francis COOPER, the rate collector, explained
that, after notice had been served, Mr MASSEY had paid
all the rates with the exception of 13s 2d education rate,
he wanted distress in seven days.
Mr MASSEY: May I be allowed_______
The Clerk: Have you any legal objection?
Mr MASSEY: I want to raise a point; I am
sorry to stand before your Worships and give trouble to
the overseers and police, but I respectfully submit that
this is opposed to the King’s declaration to Parliament
and his Majesty the King’s Corporation Oath. If
I were to pay this rate I should be paying what Parliament
declares to be “blasphemous” and “wrong.”
Here the chairman interrupted Mr MASSEY
by intimating that distress would be allowed, but Mr MASSEY
continued reading the Coronation Oath until the next case
Mr George SHAW then rose. He had precisely
the same objections to paying the rate, he said, as had
Mr MASSEY. He had paid his poor rate, but objected to
pay his sectarian education rate. If the law was unjust
he had a right to disobey. — Distress in seven days
Drunk on Licensed Premises.— At
the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, Charles
SPARROW was fined 10s for being drunk on licensed premises
Drunk and Disorderly.—
At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, Adam
GRUNDY was charged with being drunk and disorderly at
Hurst on the 27th of February. He pleaded not guilty.
— Constable ORMROD said he was drunk, shouting and
swearing in Hillgate-street. — Sergeant SHEA corroborated.
— Defendant was fined 5s for costs.
Pigeon Flying.— At
the Oddfellows’ Arms Hotel, a belt was flown on
Saturday from Knott Hill. Result:— MARLAND’s,
1min 19½, 1; HYDE’s Weary Willie, 1min 26sec,
2; WOLSTENHOLME’s Owd Mark’s, 1min 36sec,
3; WALLWORK’s Chucked It, 2min 1sec, 4. Referee
and timers, Messrs A BOWKER and B COOPER; mapper, S STAFFORD
A DROYLSDEN BANKRUPTCY
Effect of the Wedding and Honeymoon
On Thursday, Paul LAWTON, of 46 Field-street, Fairfield-road,
maker-up in a cotton mill, appeared at the Ashton Bankruptcy
Court for public examination. His statement of affairs
disclosed liabilities of £98 10s, the only asset
being £20 worth of furniture, and the deficiency
£78 10s. He alleged as the causes of his failure
“borrowing money to furnish my house, and to pay
the expenses of my wedding and honeymoon, and the subsequent
failure of my father and uncle, by which I sustained a
bad debt of £65.”
The Official Receiver stated that the receiving
order was made on bankrupt’s own petition. There
was one execution in process of levy at the date thereof.
He had never been in business on his own account since;
July 1990, he had been in the employ of cotton spinners
as a maker-up at about 25s a week. He attributed his deficiency
to bad debt, £60 1s, and anticipated loss on forced
realization of household furniture, £18 9s.
He first became aware of his insolvency
in 1900, when his father and uncle became bankrupt. He
had since contracted one debt of £1 10s for clothing.
His wife claimed a few articles of furniture, etc, as
gifts from her aunt at various times within the last three
years. The unsecured liabilities were for money borrowed
and interest, £97 and clothing £1 10s. —
The examination was closed.
REMOVAL OF AN OLD GORTON
Slowly but surely the old is giving place to the new in
the Gorton district. At the behest of the modern builder
the demolition of old and historic buildings goes on apace,
and already the ancient features of the parish have been
almost entirely obliterated. Within the last ten years
such changes have taken place as would render portions
of the district unrecognisable to those who had not visited
it in the meantime.
The latest addition to the list of doomed
buildings is the substantially four-square built residences
situated on the Highfield Estate, Denton-road, and known
and Highfield House. For a period of 150 years the house
has stood the silent witnesser of the events which have
transpired in the district during the whole of that time.
It was built long before the new Manchester-road
was made, and an observer will notice that it faces Debdale-lane,
the old turnpike road. Originally it was a public house,
and in the course of its history its grounds were converted
into nursery gardens which supplied produce to the Manchester
market. When its walls were raised there was no reservoirs
opposite, no canal made, no mill and works chimneys to
be seen from its windows, the latter now such a notable
feature of the immediate district.
Past the doors of Highfield House have rolled
in historic succession the stage coach, the omnibus, the
horse car, and finally the electric car, all of them harbingers
of great social and political changes, and the last named
the harbinger of the doom of the house itself. All around
it have sprung modern dwellings of such character as to
justly earn for the estate the title of suburban Gorton.
And now the site of the old house itself
is needed for the new residence of a local medical practitioner,
and in the course of a few days we shall know it no more.
Like the hosts of travellers who have passed its doors
for nearly 150 years, and to whom it has been a notable
landmark, it is called to close its history. One can only
hope that the edifice which takes its place will shelter
as long and as well those who shall be privileged to dwell
beneath its roof.
EXPERIENCES AT OPENSHAW
An exciting scene was witnessed in Blackburn-street, Openshaw,
a few days ago. Walter BARKER, a native of Preston, obtained
nearly £40 worth of goods at Preston under false
pretences, and absconded. It was thought he had come to
Manchester, and a warrant was obtained, and Detective-sergeant
MOSS and the prosecutor, Mr Joseph KELN, of Friargate,
Preston, came to the city Town Hall, and obtained the
assistance of Detectives ALLAN, DURHAM, and LINGARD.
BARKER was traced to the above street, and
the detectives proceeded to search a house, and found
their man but no stolen property. Suspicion fell on another
house where one of the detectives had seen a man of similar
description leaving. The house was at once raided, and
all the stolen property found, but only just in time,
as, on going back to the back of the house, Detective
ALLAN found a cart belonging to a brother, who had brought
the goods and was about to remove them.
A horse and cart was obtained, and the loading
of goods commenced. This attracted a great crowd of people,
who, thinking it the work of the bailiffs, became rowdy.
However, on later observing that Manchester detectives
were really on the scene, they came to the conclusion
that it was something more serious. They at once commenced
to joke with the staff during the removal of the goods.
This process having been completed, the
detectives drove off (with much cheering from the crowd)
with the prisoner and goods to the Town Hall, where they
were detained, and afterwards conveyed to Exchange Station
for Preston, where BARKER was brought before the borough
court there, and sentenced to one calendar month’s
GORTON DOUBLE TRAGEDY
Mother Drowns Herself and Child
Wilful Murder and Suicide
It is a long time since the people of Gorton were thrown
into so much excitement as that this week by the shocking
deaths which have come to light in the case of the wilful
murder of a child by its mother and the latter’s
suicide, both by drowning. The circumstances surrounding
the affair were most mysterious for a day or two, but
the Coroner’s inquiry revealed a state of things
which has since created no little sensation in the Gorton
and Levenshulme districts.
The first part of this painful tragedy came
to light on Sunday by the discovery of the lifeless body
of a child in the canal, the circumstances of which strongly
point to a suspicion of murder. The discovery was made
shortly after six o’clock on Sunday morning, when
it was seen by a signalman, in the employ of the Great
Central Railway Co, floating in the Manchester and Stockport
Canal, some distance from Hyde-road bridge at the junction
of Hyde-road and Reddish-lane.
The signalman, whose name is BIRTWISTLE,
immediately informed the police, and the body of the child,
a little boy aged two years, was at once removed from
the water and conveyed to the mortuary at the Gorton Town
Hall. Once the matter was in the hands of the police the
latter were not long in making further investigation,
and it was thought that all the circumstances pointed
The body was still warm when discovered,
and it was found to be that of a child well dressed. The
county police were soon active making the most diligent
inquiries, but up to Tuesday morning it had not been identified,
and no information was forthcoming as to how it had got
in the water, although there was a strong suspicion of
murder. There was no hat or cap found, and there were
no marks of violence observable on the body when it was
recovered from the water.
The point at which the discovery was made
is well known to local people at being an exceedingly
quiet one, and is about 500 yards from the main road.
It is immediately beneath an iron bridge, forming a private
footway to the house of the waterman in charge of the
Manchester Corporation Waterworks at Denton, and just
at a point where the canal sweeps in a semi-circular fashion.
Suspicion of murder was strengthened by
the fact that the water is still, and a more favourable
spot could hardly have been found. There is no probability
of the body having been carried any distance down the
waterway, and the assumption would seem correct that it
entered the water at the point where it was discovered
and where the canal is only about two feet deep.
The signalman who found the body was seen
on Monday by a press representative, and he explained
that after working all night on Saturday, he left his
box at Hyde-road junction signal box about five minutes
past six on Sunday morning. He was making a short cut
along the canal bank when he noticed something in the
water. A closer examination revealed the arms and legs
of a human being. The head and body were submerged, the
child lying on its back.
The body was in the middle of the canal
and being unable to fetch it from the towing path, he
went to the Gorton police station.. A constable was quickly
despatched to the scene, and the body was recovered. It
transpired later that it was well developed, and it was
quite evident the child had probably been cared for. Not
a few thought the mother might have committed suicide,
but this had not been overlooked by the police, and the
canal had been dragged for some distance, but nothing
had been discovered.
The Child Identified
— Mother’s Body Recovered
Interesting developments, as had been expected, occurred
on Tuesday in connection with the Gorton drowning mystery.
The dead child has been identified, and has been claimed
by Mr Joseph MATTHEWS, of 35 Agnes-street, Levenshulme,
as that of his child.
MATTHEWS, who is a painter, states that
his wife, Edith May MATTHEWS, left home on Friday night
after a few words with him over some family matters, taking
with her the little one, since found in the canal. He
had not since heard of her whereabouts, or even those
of the child, until he saw in the papers on Monday a description
of the little one.
It was expected, after what the husband
had said to the police, that the mother had committed
suicide, and the canal was again dragged on Tuesday by
the county police. Great crowds assembled to watch the
police, and about dinner time they were successful in
recovering the body of a woman answering the description
of Mrs MATTHEWS. This was found at a spot close to where
the body of the child was found on Sunday.
It transpired that when the wife of MATTHEWS
went out of the house after the “tiff” with
him, she left a note in which it was stated that “it
was the last time her husband would see her or the child.”
THE CAR BULLY
She was a demure little woman with a baby. As the open
car was crowded, she did not put the little one, who was
old enough to sit up, on the seat beside her. She carried
it on her lap, and made room for a fierce looking big
man with a newspaper. The child kicked its tiny feet in
delight at the strange things it saw while riding along,
and its shoes rubbed against the man’s trousers.
“Perhaps, madam,” he exclaimed, “you
imagine that this conveyance is your private carriage?”
“Oh, no, I don’t,” was the prompt reply,
“If it were you wouldn’t be riding in it.”