7 December 1901 

A most mysterious occurrence took place about 8.30 on Tuesday morning at a shop in Oldham-road, Ashton, occupied by Mr H WEBB, cycle agent. Without any apparent cause, and not even the slightest warning, the large plate-glass window in front of the shop fell out, shivered into a thousand fragments. A lady who was passing the shop just managed to jump back in time to miss the falling glass.

Mr WEBB was in the yard at the time, and heard what he describes as a sort of buzzing noise followed by a crash, and he was not aware at the time that it was his own shop window which was broken. A woman who was standing near the shop declared that she saw a flame dart forth from the upper part of the window. On the contrary, some policemen standing near saw or heard nothing but the crash. Plumbers were sent for, and an investigation was made, but the cause of the occurrence could not be discovered. The gas mantles and globes were in no way disturbed.

At Ashton County Court on Thursday, a claim was made by Thomas COCKS, drayman in the employment of Messrs Gartside Limited, Brookside Brewery, Ashton, against the Oldham, Ashton, and Hyde Electric Tramway Company for 25 damages for personal injuries received by him, alleged to have been due to the negligence of a servant of the defendant company in the driving of a tramcar, which ran into his dray in Stockport-road, near to Duncan-street West, on August 22nd last. Mr BRIERLEY appeared for the plaintiff; and Mr Roe RYCROFT was for the defendant company.

Thomas COCKS said that on August 22nd, about 6pm, he was in charge of a horse and dray going along Stockport-road from the direction of Guidebridge, going at a walking speed. He was sitting on a barrel in front of the dray. When opposite Duncan-street West when he turned the horse to go down the latter street in the direction of the brewery. To do this he had to cross the tram lines, and as he was doing so an electric car ran into him and threw him off the lurry on to the curbstones. He never heard a bell ring. His head struck the curbstone and he was knocked dizzy. His head commenced bleeding in two places and one of his fingers was hurt. He was taken to Dr CHEETHAM's surgery, and was laid up in bed for a fortnight. He did not work until seven weeks after the accident, and had to be put in a lighter job. He had not had a night's sleep since the accident, and had lost weight. His wages averaged 30s a week. He had been in the employment at the brewery company for about 20 years.

By Mr RYCROFT: He was about 40 yards behind another dray returning to the brewery. He did not see a lurry containing furniture following behind. He would naturally have seen the tram approaching if he had looked behind.

Percy ANDREW, telegraph messenger, said he was taking a message to Messrs Gartside at the time of the accident, and was sitting at the back of the dray. He suddenly heard someone shout "heigh up," and he jumped off the dray, and on looking round saw the car. The car caught the back of the dray and knocked the driver off.— By Mr RYCROFT: He was riding on the lurry unknown to the driver. He noticed another Gartside's dray about 12 or 13 yards in front.

Harry ROWLES, drayman for the Midland Railway Company, deposed to seeing the tramcar strike the dray in the rear. The car was going about seven or eight miles an hour. No bell was rung. The driver of the car applied the brake as hard as he could, but it was too late. The first warning sound which witness heard was the shout "heigh up."— By Mr RYCROFT: Witness was about twenty yards from Duncan-street when the accident occurred. The car was then about fifteen yards off. By looking round plaintiff might have avoided the accident. Witness never heard the bell ring. The motorman seemed mesmerised.

Jos ROBERTS, labourer at Gorton Tank, said the car driver seemed to be trying to gauge it too fine and to pass the lurry without stopping the car. Witness never heard a bell ring. COCKS did not turn suddenly.

Mr RYCROFT called the witnesses for the defence. Robert TATTERSALL, cotton twiner, 12 Chadwick-street, Ashton, deposed to being a passenger on the car. The driver rang his bell more than once between the Corporation Arms and Duncan-street. Witness looked up the road and saw two drays and a furniture van in the roadway. Plaintiff made a sudden turn, and before he could guess across the metals the car ran into him. The moment he turned off the car -driver shut off the power and put the brake on with all his might. Witness was positive the bell was rung.— By Mr BRIERLEY: He always got in the front part of the car because he was a little bit nervous. The car was going at a pretty good speed.— Re-examined by Mr RYCROFT: The car had got from 15 to 20 feet from the street-end when the driver of the lurry turned.

Mr George EMBURY, 303 Katherine-street, Ashton, cork carpet improver, stated that he was standing at the corner of Duncan-street and Stockport-road when the accident occurred. Before plaintiff's horse was properly across the metals the car ran into the lurry. Witness heard the bell ringing all the way up from the Corporation Arms. A deaf man could have heard it.

Edward ROWLEY, greengrocer and carrier, Faulkner-street, Oldham, said he was driving a furniture van along the road. He heard the bell ring several times before the accident. COCKS was travelling as straight as a "bant" and then turned suddenly on to the metals. Witness shouted out, "Tha foo what art turning for?" The car immediately afterwards struck the dray about the middle.

Ernest CHANDLER, 92 Hamilton-street, Ashton, said he was the driver of the car. When he saw the vehicles ahead he rang the bell. Plaintiff pulled straight across the metals when witness was only about six or seven yards away. Witness applied the emergency brake and this brought the car almost to a standstill. There was no time to stop the car before the collision. There was nothing whatever to indicate that the plaintiff intended to cross the metals. The car struck the front wheel of the dray.

Ernest Thornton TODD, assistant engineer to the defendant company, deposed to being a traveller on the car. The driver did everything he possibly could to avoid an accident. He could not have stopped the car sooner. The bell was rung several times. The maximum speed allowed was eight miles an hour.

His Honour addressed the jury at some length and said that they had to find first whether the accident was occasioned by negligent conduct on the part of the servant of the defendant company, and if they found that they would have to say what amount the plaintiff was entitled to. They could not give him more than 8 1s for the amount he had lost in wages, and he should not advise them, if they gave anything, to give more than 1 for doctor's fees. If they found for the plaintiff they were entitled to give him some compensation for the pain and suffering which he had undergone. They need not be guided by sympathy for the plaintiff. They were all sorry for him.

The jury found a verdict for the defendant company, and that it was a pure accident, there being contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff.

On Wednesday, at the Ashton County Police Court, William SHAW applied for an interim order to sell at the Rising Sun Inn, Hurst, in place of Dorothy SHAW, his mother. He said he had assisted her in the business for many years.— Granted.

BREACH OF THE PEACE.— Alexander MARLAND and Lawrence KENNEDY were summoned for committing a breach of the peace at Hurst on the 18th ult.— They pleaded guilty and were bound over to keep the peace for three months in their own recognisances of 40s, and pay the cost. In default seven days.

ACCIDENT IN THE MINE.— A miner named Henry GREEN, who formerly kept the Lord Nelson Inn at Hurst Nook, was severely crushed on Thursday whilst following his employment at Hurst Nook Colliery by a fall of stone from the "roof." GREEN's shoulder was dislocated, and he was also severely cut about the head. His mate, a man named COLLIE, who resides at Waterloo, was working near GREEN when the "roof" fell upon them, and he also sustained severe injuries. Both men are progressing satisfactorily.

On Wednesday, at the Ashton County Police Court, Maria BRIDGE, of King-street (Hurst), was summoned for wasting water.— Mr F W BROMLEY, Town Clerk, said he appeared to prosecute on behalf of the Joint Waterworks Committee, and the defendant was charged wilfully wasting and misusing water by swilling her flags with it.

On the 9th of November two workmen in the employ of the Committee were passing the defendant's house and saw her swilling the flags, which was an offence under the Act. As the bench were aware they had been passing through a time of very great trial with regard to the scarcity of water.— The Clerk: And the Joint Committee have issued notices against swilling.— Mr BROMLEY: That is so,— The Clerk: And advertised it.

Mr BROMLEY said the chairman of the Committee had appealed to the public through the press from his position in the Town Council to be careful in the use of water, and he must ask their worships, if the case be proved to their satisfaction, to inflict a penalty which would act as a deterrent to all consumers of water, They had power to fine up to 40s.

Defendant said she only used one bucket of clean water.— The Clerk: Are you married?— Defendant: I am a widow with ten children.— Any working? Yes, five. I hope you will be lenient.— Mr Abel BUCKLEY fined defendant 5s and costs and told her to take very great care of the water. There might be a long drought yet.

Placing Obstructions on the Railway

Two boys named Percy CAINE and Cecil EMERY were summoned for obstructing the rails of the Oldham, Ashton, and Guidebridge Railway Co on 2nd November. Mr LYNDE said he appeared to prosecute, on behalf of the Great Central Railway. They were charged under the Malicious Damage Act, 1861, section 35, with unlawfully and maliciously placing on or across the line of the Great Central Railway Company, near Turner-lane tunnel, 28 three and four inch wire nails, "with intent to obstruct, upset, overthrow, injure, or destroy," &c.

The Clerk: That is the section. I don't suppose that was their intention. They put the nails there to get them flattened by the engine, the same as boys put pins on tramways. It is with the same object that boys put pins on the little wagon roads in the old days to make swords of them. Of course they ought not to do it.— Mr LYNDE said if it was not done maliciously, it was done mischievously. The lads were 13 years of age, and the Bench had power to deal with the case summarily.

On the 2nd November last, 28 of these nails were found placed upon the up rails near Turner-lane tunnel. At that point there was a very sharp curve, and the gradient was one in seventy, and it would not take a large object to derail a train. The nails were not placed in a row, but were piled one upon another, three or four inches high. The company did not wish to press the case, but in consequence of many complaints of stone throwing and obstruction on the lines at this point he asked the assistance of the bench to stop this sort of thing.— The Clerk: To be a deterrent to other people, and to show that they cannot do these things with impunity.– Mr LYNDE: That is so.

John KILLEY was called. He said he was a foreman platelayer in the employ of GCR. He was on duty near Turner-lane tunnel, and found the nails produced placed crossways upon the down and up rails. He drew porter SHARPLEY's attention to them, and they took the nails to the stationmaster.— Harry SHARPLEY said he was a porter stationed at Ashton Oldham-road station. He was walking on the line towards Turner-lane when he saw the defendants leaning on the fence looking on to the line near the tunnel. His suspicions were aroused, and he got over the fence, and the defendants ran away. The last witness then called his attention to the nails on the line. He reported the matter to Inspector COTTRELL. He afterwards saw the defendants again, and they ran away, but he got their names from a girl.

The Clerk: What have you got to say?— Defendant CAINE: We did not intend to do any harm.— Detective-inspector COTTRELL stated that in consequence of the complaints that had been made on the Saturday, he went the next day with Sergeant TOLSON to the house of the defendant CAINE. He showed him the nails produced, and asked him to account for them being on the rails. He said , "I brought them from home, and both me and Cecil EMERY put some on the rails. We wanted to see the trains flatten them." He afterwards saw defendant EMERY. He cautioned him, and he replied, "We put them on, and when we saw the porter we ran away.."

CAINE's father here appealed to the Bench to deal with the lads as leniently as possible. He had tried his best to bring his son up properly, and that was the first time he had known him to get into trouble. He hoped the Bench would not inflict any punishment that would be detrimental to them in their after life. The company did not wish to press the case any further than was possible, and although he had eight children, he would do his utmost to pay the expenses.

The Bench retired to consider the case, and after a brief absence returned,— Mr T HULME said the magistrates had thought the case over very seriously It was a case which could not be passed over with a leniency which some people might justify. It was a very serious matter to place these nails where there was a considerable curve. Had a train gone over, death and destruction might have been caused to the passengers therein. He need not tell them because they were apparently lads who had had a fairly good education, that they knew the seriousness of the obstruction they were putting on the rails. As the company did not wish to press the case unduly, they would take that into consideration in some measure, but the Bench trusted that this would be a warning, not only to the defendants, but other lads who were in the habit of congregating about goods yards and railway stations in general. They would each be fined 10s as costs, in default seven days.

Wright PEARSON, aged 13, was in the dock charged with attempted till robbery under the following circumstances.:— James HOYLE said: I am a family grocer at 28 Stockport-road, Ashton-under-Lyne. About 6 o'clock on Thursday I was in the house having my tea when I heard the bell in the cash drawer ring. I immediately ran into the shop and saw the prisoner returning over the counter. I asked him what he had been doing, and he said, "nothing." I told him he had been at the drawer because I had heard the bell ring. He then said he did not see anyone in the shop, and he had pulled the bell to draw my attention. I did not miss anything from the till.— Prisoner said he did not intend to take anything "at first."— The Clerk: But you intended to take something "at last."— Prisoner: I will not do it again if you let me off this time.— The Clerk: You have told us that before.— Prisoner's father came forward, and told the Bench that the best plan would be to send him to some school to break him of his present habits, The Chief Constable said the lad had been up three times, and fined once and whipped twice.— The Clerk: I have told him what the consequences would be if he did not mend his ways. _ The Bench committed prisoner to a reformatory until he is 16 years of age.

THE GAMING NUISANCE.— Two lads, named Thomas PURLEY and Albert KEELING, were summoned for gaming in Moss-street on the 23rd ult. They pleaded not guilty.— Constable TOMELTY stated that at 3.55pm he was in Cavendish-street, and saw defendants playing at cards. They admitted they were gaming..— Defendants produced the cards. They turned out to be snap cards, and BURLEY said he was only showing them to KEELING— The Bench did not seem to think the defendants could gamble with such cards, and although what the officer had said might be correct, they would give the lads another chance and dismiss the case. If they came up again they would be severely dealt with.— James HALL was summoned for gaming in Raynor-lane on the 24th ult. He pleaded not guilty.— Constable TOMELTY stated that at 10.45 on Sunday morning he was in Raynor-lane and saw the defendant and others gaming at cards at the corner of the cricket field. As soon as they saw him they ran away. He gave chase and caught the defendant.— Chief Constable said there was nothing known against the defendant.— The Chairman said while they had no doubt as to the credibility of the offer's statement, as there was nothing recorded against defendant, they would discharge him this time with a caution.

DRUNK AND DISORDERLIES.— Henry BENT, whose wife appeared, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Cricket's Lane on the 26th ult. The case having been proved, Inspector LUDLAM informed the Bench that defendant had been up 13 times.— Fined 10s and costs.— Mary Ann KELLY was charged with a similar offence in Wych-street on the 23rd November. Defendant said she had three orphan children.— The Clerk: That is more reason why you should not get drunk, because you have something else to do with your money.— Inspector LUDLAM said she had been up six times.— Mr T HULME: It is a terrible thing, this drinking among women. We have tried to stop it, without success; and we don't know what to do. Will you promise to be different?— Defendant: Yes, sir.— Mr HULME: Then upon that promise you will be discharged.— William CARSON was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Catherine-street on Sunday, December 1st. He pleaded guilty.— Constable HAWCOURT said defendant told him he got his drink at a club in Bengal. It was Sunday noon.— Mr KELSALL: It is one of those fancy clubs which carries on business all Sunday over. Simply a drinking club.— Constable HAWCOURT added that, when searched, defendant had a bottle upon him half full of whisky.— Mr HULME said they could not look over disorderly conduct like this, especially on a Sunday morning. A man drunk in the street on Sunday morning. It was disgraceful.— Fined 5s 6d costs.

RESISTING THE POLICE.— Thomas and Alice GOODING, man and wife, were summoned for unlawfully resisting Constable WILLIAMSON in the execution of his duty on the26th ult. They pleaded guilty.— Constable WILLIAMSON stated that at 10.30 on the morning of the date named he went to the defendants' house to arrest a man under a warrant. The defendants denied the man was there, but witness knew he was inside, and proceeded to go upstairs. The defendants, however, obstructed him, and pulled him down two or three stairs. Sergeant WILD got hold of them, and then witness went upstairs and found the man he wanted concealed. They read the warrant to the defendants.— Defendant: He read the warrant after he had been upstairs. We were ignorant that we were doing anything wrong.— The Chairman: Not in resisting a constable in the execution of his duty?— Defendant: No, in coming into our house.— Constable WILLIAMSON added that previous to entering the house he had seen the man he wanted inside on looking through the window. They knew he was there,— In reply to the Bench the Chief Constable said he knew nothing against the defendants before.— The Chairman: You will be fined 5s 6d each for costs, and at the same time I must tell you it is a serious matter to resist the police in the execution of their duty, and if you are brought here again on a charge of this description you will not be so leniently dealt with as you have been this morning.— Defendant: I shall not come again if I can help it.

FELL WHISLT IN DRINK.— Harry PUGH appeared before the magistrates with a bandaged head, the result of falling, charged with being drunk in Church-street, on December 2nd.— Defendant pleaded not guilty, and in reply to the Bench said his occupation was that of a window cleaner, and he also ran errands for shops in Stamford-street.— Discharged with a caution.

A DESERTER.— John Wm McGAULEY was in the dock charged with deserting from the Yorkshire Light Infantry at Pontefract, on October 8th 1901.— Constable BATLEY deposed to prisoner surrendering himself in Cavendish-street.— The Chairman asked if the constable was entitled to the usual bonus, the Magistrates' Clerk (Mr C H BOOTH) replying that this was not allowed when a man surrendered.— Prisoner pleaded guilty to the offence, and was remanded in custody to await an escort.

A VIOLENT ASHTON BUTCHER.— A respectably dressed man named Richard PARKER, who described himself as a butcher in Ashton, was in the dock on a double charge of being drunk and disorderly in Stamford-street and assaulting Constable DIXON in the West End police office on December 4th.— To the first charge the prisoner pleaded guilty, but in answer to the second charge he said he did not remember that.— Constable DIXON deposed to being on duty in Stamford-street at a quarter to ten on the night in question. When he saw a large crowd opposite the Spread Eagle Hotel. Prisoner was in the doorway and the landlord was trying to eject him. Witness advised him to go away. Prisoner returned to the Spread Eagle and was ejected a second time, whereupon witness took him into custody. On the way down Stamford-street prisoner said no b————— white man would have to take him. A struggle ensued and both fell on the ground, and witness had great difficulty in getting the handcuffs on. At the West End police station prisoner struck witness a cowardly blow without any warning.— Prisoner said he had had nothing to drink for 18 months. He went out on some business and had three or four glasses of stout and a small drop of spirits. He did not remember anything more, and was fairly muddled.— The Chief Constable said there were eight previous convictions against the prisoner.— The Bench fined the prisoner 5s 6d, and costs, or 14 days for being drunk and disorderly, and 10s and costs, or 14 days, for the assault, the Chairman remarking that if he came up again he would have to go to prison.

Information was received at the Ashton Police Station at 7.15 on Friday night, from James HARTHEN, that the storeroom at the Ashton Gasworks was on fire. The alarm bells were rung, and a contingent of firemen dispatched to the scene. Upon the arrival of the fire brigade the fire was found to be underneath the floor of the storeroom in the second storey of the building. A branch pipe was got to work from the main in Katherine-street and also from the main in Burlington-street. The volume of water directed on to the flames had an appreciable effect, and after working about 15 minutes the fire was extinguished, the damage done being light. The origin of the fire is not stated.

The death took place in the Ashton Union Workhouse Hospital, at 11.55am on Sunday, of George Thomas CRITCHLOW, aged 50 years, of 126 Church-street, Ashton. Deceased was admitted into the workhouse hospital on July 25th suffering from a contused hip. He had resided at the aforementioned address for about eight or nine years, along with his daughter, Hannah JACKSON, wife of Thomas Hadfield JACKSON, bobbin carrier, during which time he had suffered from bronchitis, and last Easter was treated for this complaint by Dr MANN.

On July 23rd, about 10.30am, he got up from his bed to go into the back yard. When he had got three or four steps downstairs his daughter heard him fall, and on going downstairs she found him lying near the back kitchen door. He said that he had missed his footing on the stairs and had fallen. He was placed on the sofa, and Dr HAMILTON was sent for, on whose arrival he made an examination, and found a bruise on the left hip. He ordered deceased's removal to the hospital, and this was done as aforestated.

"Mister," said a sharp, ragged lad to a man who was overdriving a worn-out horse. "Does yer want yer horse 'olding?" "No," said the man, "this horse won't run away." "I don't mean 'old 'im fast so's he won't run away; I meant 'old him up so's he won't drop."
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