9 March 1901

There was an extract from the Portsmouth Times in the Reporter concerning a drummer boy serving in South Africa who was originally from Hurst and had joined the Manchester Regiment and later transferred to the Hampshires. It quoted a letter from Sergeant GLIDDENS and read:

"Having read with pleasure of the admiration shown by Hampshire people of the bravery and heroic conduct of Bugler DUNNE whom every good soldier admires, I should like them to know that they have a boy of their own county regiment of whom they may be equally proud, but of whom nothing has been said.

"At the battle of Karres when things were looking a bit lively and ammunition was being freely expended, this lad — Drummer MacDONALD aged 16 — was to be seen fearlessly running from man to man distributing ammunition with as much pleasure and coolness as if he had been giving buns away at some tea-fight, with not even a thought of the great risk he was running. But you could not help noticing the look of disappointing on his face when he was ordered to lie down by his Colour Sergeant who was wounded himself shortly afterwards."

"On Tuesday evening, the friends of Mr J JOHNSON of Ashton who is emigrating to Canada met at the Spread Eagle Hotel, Stamford-street to bid farewell. Over thirty persons sat down to an excellent supper provided by Mr and Mrs G H CROPPER. A musical evening was afterwards spent under the chairmanship of Mr J BOWKER who made a few remarks appropriate to the occasion.

"The following contributed songs: Miss C COOPER, Sergt FORRESTER, Messrs T CROPPER, Tom DAVIES, J SOLOMANS, J MOSS, H BRIERLEY, W COOPER and G COOPER. Mr Fred BALL: gave a violin solo and Mr T COOPER recited Kissing Cup’s Race."

The simmering unrest between Protestants and Catholics took another turn after King Edward VII opened Parliament taking an oath that specifically rejected the transubstantiation of bread and wine in the body and blood of Christ during the Sacraments.

"It is no wonder that Catholics throughout the British Empire have spoken with one voice and condemned this uncalled for outrage against our holy religion," railed Father MURRAY of Ashton. "We do not blame the King. He is perhaps the victim of circumstances in this matter. But we emphatically blame those who, having the power, have not the will to change this infamous state.

"We do not quarrel with the law which says that the Sovereign of this country must profess his belief in the Protestant religion. If the people of England want a Protestant King, let them have one, but let him not go out of his way to insult us and to brand our religion as superstitious and idolatrous."

"A strange affair which caused considerable commotion in the neighbourhood happened on Friday night at Bardsley. About seven o’clock, Mrs GRIMSHAW, the wife of William GRIMSHAW of Oldham-road, Bardsley, returned to the house after a brief absence.

"When she left, her husband was upstairs, resting upon the bed, but fully dressed. On going up, she was horrified to find him lying there with a revolver by his side and a wound in the shoulder above the heart. She at once gave the alarm and Sergeant DOVE and Constable BARBER were soon on the scene."

The wounded man was taken to Oldham Infirmary by horse ambulance, but: "He was so violent, he had to be strapped to the stretcher. On examination, it was found that GRIMSHAW had narrowly escaped instant death."

No reason was given for the attempted suicide. GRIMSHAW was aged 45 and had been a policeman until nine years before. Since then, he had worked as a labourer at Messrs Platt Bros and Hartford New Works.

"It is difficult for anyone visiting the place at the present day to imagine that at the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign, Gorton was quite a pretty, rural district; that trees, flowers and birds were plentiful; that lanes bordered by green banks and hedgerows led past cottages which were surrounded by neat and attractive gardens.

"Now huge works, thousands of houses, streets, alleys, slums have obscured the fields. It is only with the greatest care that trees are enabled to live. The Gortonian of this present day has to journey several miles before he can look upon county such as his grandfather had at his own door.

"In the year 1801, the number of houses in Gorton (including West Gorton and Longsight) was 202 and the population 1,127. Now we hear of more than 1,500 houses being built in one year within the boundaries of the present township alone. The population in the year 1891 was 30,000 and as there has been such enormous developments over the last decade, it may be safely estimated that the census this year will show more than 50,000.

"One need hardly say that as the human inhabitants have increased in numbers, the feathered, the finned and the furred inhabitants have diminished. Such birds as water-hens, coots, woodcocks, lapwings, snipes and even partridges were common in this district one hundred years ago."

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