5 January 1901

"So far as it has gone, the new century has not brought with it any special good luck. It has just promised to go on in the bad old way of the old defunct nineteenth century. There has been no startling change of any sort. Of course, old Dame Nature knows nothing whatever of man’s fantastic divisions of time. To her, centuries or even millenniums are as nothing and altogether vanity."

A Man Killed by a Sign-board

William OLDHAM aged 22 of 29 Tanner-street was on his way home from work in West Gorton when he met an untimely end. He arrived in Hyde by train at 6.35pm. "He crossed over Great Norbury-street and Robert-street and just before he came to Mt MAWSON’s Saddlery Shop, he was knocked down by a sign-board which had been blown off one of the buildings by the violent wind which then prevailed. The force of the blow rendered him unconscious and he was taken home where he died shortly after." The inquest gave a verdict of accidental death and the funeral was held at St George’s Church.

She Called me a Scowbanker

John KEMP of 12 Ashton-road, Newton, was summoned by his wife, Winnifred for assault. It seems the two had lived together very unhappily for a number of years and a row started after KEMP returned home at four in the morning after a Friday night binge.

"The complainant noticing that he had not gone to bed went downstairs and found him on the sofa in the living room, pretty well under the influence of drink." She asked him to come to bed, but he refused. He then followed his wife to the bedroom and tried to strangle her before pulling out of bed, hitting her about the face and head.

Their children, Mary and Nathaniel gave corroborative evidence. Mr KEMP claimed that he had attacked his wife because she had called him a ‘scowbanker’. What this means, I have no idea, but the bench fined him one pound and cost and granted Mrs KEMP’s application for a separation order and custody of their seven children.

James SWIFT was summoned by his wife Sarah for desertion. The couple had married in October 1895 at St John’s Church, Hurst, she a widow and he a widower. Mr SWIFT worked as an engine fitter, earning 34s to 35s a week. However, he refused to work for the first eight months of the marriage and his wife had to support them by taking in washing and looking after neighbours’ children.

SWIFT claimed various reasons for not working, including ‘rupture’ and failing eyesight. In fact, Mrs SWIFT had a third share in the income from twelve houses in Hurst, but her husband believed she owned them outright, which is why he had married her.

"All this time the defendant was drunk and was in the habit of leaving his wife from time to time. He would be away for weeks together and would turn up again without giving any account of where he had been or what he had been doing during his absence."

The desertion was confirmed and a maintenance order of 3s a week was made.

"The ‘phonographic enunciator’ for street cars is the new American device to relieve the over-worked conductor of the trouble of shouting the names of streets while giving passengers a better chance to understand when they have arrived at their destinations. It is a phonograph instrument of peculiar pattern and is intended to be placed above the door at the forward end of the car. On approaching a crossing, the conductor presses a button and the apparatus yells: ‘Wicker Arches! Change for Pitsmoor!’ Any place of special interest might be similarly announced, such as a theatre, a big shop or an hotel."
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