15 September is a date of national, personal and potential days to remember. A hundred years ago, Lancashire was stricken by yet another 'cotton crisis' and mills were set to close. Sixty years ago, the Battle of Britain raged. 143 years to the day, my wife's gg-grandfather landed in New York (having left her g-grandfather behind in the England) And future generations might recall today as either the end of the UK's fuel crisis, or more likely, the opening of the Sydney Olympics. I'm sure the latter was spectacular, but some of us were at work - nine in the morning was deuced inconvenient timing for an opening ceremony :o))

But it is on a suitably sporting note that I begin this week's Yesterdays, a summary of the news from a century ago, taken from the Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter.

An international wrestling match was held at the Snipe Inn, Audenshaw when James MELLOR of Stalybridge pitted himself against Howard Hamilton PARKER of America. Three thousand people gathered to watch the bout, although the contestants were anything but the glistening, muscled stars of today's WWF stars. PARKER was 38 years old, was five feet and three and three quarter inches tall and weighed just seven stone and two pounds. Even so, he had a weight advantage on MELLOR who was just six stone and twelve pounds, was five foot five and aged 32.

"The articles stipulated that the men should meet at catch-weight in the Lancashire style, for 25 aside, and that PARKER in order to be successful was to secure two throws in 75 minutes of actual wrestling time to win, or in the event of MELLOR gaining one fall in any time, the Englishman should be declared the winner." Apparently, this ensured that the bout would not end in a draw, but you would need a rules expert to explain why.

PARKER had arrived in the country several months earlier and had fought Sam MOORES of Pendleton. The Reporter said "he is well proportioned and looks all over an athlete." It was said that had never lost a match at equal weight, but even so, MELLOR, trained by Bill CARTER, was the bookies 6 to 4 favourite.

"PARKER was the first to show advantage and got his rival's head in chancery, but MELLOR speedily got out." After 23 minutes and 24 seconds "he placed MELLOR on his back by the aid of half nelson and wrist."

"MELLOR by quick movement caught PARKER by both elbows. The Yankee formed a bridge, but try as he would, he failed to extricate himself from his rival's grasp and MELLOR gained a fall and won the match. . It afterwards transpired that PARKER had dislocated his right shoulder."

For me, this brought back memories of Saturday afternoons with my Nana - Kendo Nagasaki, Jackie Pallo and the superb Les Kellett.'Hey ho'!

15 September 1900

Allegations of Intimidation and Victimisation

"During the past week the electric carmen have been in a ferment of excitement in consequence of the action of Mr E E MOTTRAM, superintendent, in giving a week's notice of dismissal to twelve carmen."

It seems that Mr MOTTRAM had decided that a leaner workforce was needed, but the men were none too pleased. They pointed out that 'learners' had been taken on and that 'eleven of the twelve under notice were all belonging to the higher grade who get the maximum wages.. More damning was the notice he posted but a week before: "It appears that a number of our employees have been pressed to join the Horsemen's Society and have been called 'blacklegs'. This sort of thing must cease. I am of the opinion that it will be to the benefit of the men to cease to be members of the society."

In fact, most were members of the Tramway, Hackney Carriage Employees and Horsemen in General Association and 200 gathered at the Co-operative Hall, Denton at 12.45 (after midnight)', traditionally the best turn out time, to discuss the situation. Many speeches were made, but the upshot was that all but one of the men present (union or not) agreed that the various trade councils should take up the matter. Who the one objector was or the basis of his objection was not detailed.

Samuel JAMISSON of Muslin Street, Newton, was summoned to Hyde Borough Police Court 'for selling camphorated oil deficient in camphor to the extent of 53 per cent.' The diligent inspector had gone into the shop where he saw the bottle. He asked the defendants wife how she sold it and she replied "2d an ounce" which was the usual price for pure oil. He bought five ounces and then told her he was sending it to the public analyst (can't you seeyourself not liking this person?)

In court, Mrs JAMISSON said that she had had the oil for some time and had not contaminated it. But she did not have a warranty from the supplier. She was fined two and six, plus costs of seventeen and six (nice round sum), the chairman adding that "when people buy goods, they were entitled to a warranty as to the quality and strength of the articles. Such a warrant would save shopkeepers a lot of trouble."

Frederick SMITH, son of Robert, a greengrocer of market Street, Hyde, died on 27 August 1900 in Loss Angellos (sic), California having been advised to go there 'to strengthen his constitution.'

The LA Herald reported: "The sad death occurred of a young Englishman who succumbed to the dread disease consumption. He had come to this country from Manchester, England, together with his brother Henry, in the hope of recovery from the disease which he believed had not gained too strong a hold to be cured.

I've often been baffled at how easy it is to be labelled as an 'ist' when filing these reports. You know - racist, sexist, socialist, no-petrolist etc. No offence is ever intended, but you never know in a PC world. Then my good friend, Jenny, told me to stop being a 'prat' and to get on with it, so here goes!


The service at the Independent Chapel at Mottram was conducted by "the Evangelical coloured preacher, Mr B W BROWN. Special singing formed part of the service, including one or two solos by Mr BROWN and his son Tamatao. "On Monday evening, Mr BROWN delivered a lecture on 'Scenes in Slaveland', the syllabus including his birth, early days and cabin home in Slaveland, a slave market, war, escape, proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, home again, the dark continent of the coloured races and destiny thereto."

And finally, is this one of mine? Schoolboy, John RHODES of Broadbottom, was charged with 'attempting to feloniously steal a sum of one pound and ten shillings in money, the property of Samuel WHYATT. Apparently, he had been caught with his hand in the till of said grocer on Broadbottom Road. The boy's guardian, Arthur CALLADINE stated that the defendant had not had a 'very good bringing up'. His father had absconded and the boy was taken in out of sympathy. There it ended - penalty, six strokes of the birch for this offence.
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