12 October 1901

A Victim of Hallucinations

At the Ashton County Police Court on Saturday, a middle-aged man named Edward POLLITT, of Hurst, was in the dock charged with being drunk and disorderly at Hurst on October 2nd. Evidence was given by a constable that at 11.30 on the night in question, he was called to the house of the prisoner’s mother. Prisoner had been breaking windows, and threatened to break more. He was shouting and swearing and causing a disturbance, and witness had to take him to the police station. He told witness that he only came out of gaol on the Wednesday.

Superintendent HEWITT handed to the bench a letter in prisoner’s handwriting. The letter ran as follows:

"Gentlemen,— I have known many years ago that I was wrong, but I have cloaked it as long as I could, but where there is insanity it will come out sooner or later. I belong to an insane family. My grandfather and grandmother died off their mind, and my mother’s brother died the same, and my grandmother’s sister died off her mind, and I had a brother died of it. That was Jack POLLITT, concertina player. My grandfather’s name was William BUCKLEY. He was very badly knock-kneed. They used to call him Billy Diggs and his son Sammy Diggs. They used to be going up and down after a fortune which they never got — only a misfortune.

I take such funny ideas in my head sometimes. I can hear people talking about me, and I can hear music playing, and sometimes I am studying how I can get an easy death. I was thinking of going round to the druggists’ shops and getting twopennyworth o’ ‘luddium’ here and there until I got enough to sleep me to death. I was going to get two bottles and keep emptying into one bottle as I got it.

I have walked 25 miles in one day thinking someone has been after me, when it has been imagination. I have worked myself up to that pitch it is a wonder I have not done something serious. I thought our Josh was murdering my mother, that is the reason I broke the windows. I remember kissing my mother in bed at 15 minutes to 11 on the Wednesday night, and this happened at 10 past 11. When I heard my mother shouting I thought he was murdering her. I was sitting under the window outside. I jumped up excited. It was done in a few seconds. I am sorry, but I cannot help it now.

Do what you like with me now. You can hang me, drown me or smother me, or do what you like. I am ready for the rope and 30 foot of a drop. I am sorry that I am on the earth; I wish I was underneath it, especially when I look back and see what I was bred from. I have been in the asylum twice. I know I am not right when I am sober, and when I get three or four drinks of beer I am gone altogether. The head doctor at Withington Asylum told me that I should not drink again; if I did I should go back to the asylum. I am wrong, and I cannot help it, so you can do as you like to me."

A brother-in-law of the prisoner gave evidence, and said he did not think prisoner was properly right. He was not a "luny," but he was "daft." — (Laughter.) He had been to witness’s house many a time, but always had sense enough to get away when he knew there was someone there to put him away. He had a boy drowned and had never been right since. He used to be the best of the "bunch." He could get a wage, but was soft in his "napper." — (Laughter.) He was in the habit of going about the country. They had heard of him in different asylums.

The Presiding Magistrate (to prisoner): You will be fined 10s and costs or 14 days. Keep off beer. I do not think you’re quite as bad as you make yourself out to be. Superintendent HEWITT: It would take a bit of wit to put that letter together. Prisoner preferred to go to gaol rather than pay the fine, and he accordingly went down.

At the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, John HUDSON was before the magistrates charged with being drunk at Waterloo on September 20th. — Defendant admitted having had a drop and staying along with a friend later than he should have done. He would have got home all right if the constable had not interfered with him. — A constable deposed to finding defendant laid down in Newmarket-road in a helpless condition. — Fined 2s 6d.

PROMISES LIKE PIE-CRUST — Margaret POWER was again before the Ashton County Justices on Wednesday, charged with committing a breach of the peace on September 21st — Defendant pleaded guilty. — Presiding Magistrate: How many times have you promised me you would never come here again? You will be bound over in 40s to keep the peace for three months and pay the costs.

EFFECTS OF A DROP OF STOUT — At the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, a charge of being drunk and disorderly at Bardsley, on September 21st, was preferred against Kate KELLY. — Defendant pleaded not guilty, and said she was simply sitting on her own doorstep. — A constable deposed to seeing defendant drunk and shouting abusive language in Keb-lane. He put her in her house, which was close by. — Defendant said she had been to a friend’s house and she gave her a drop of stout. She left her key at the friend’s house in mistake, and the constable let her into her own house by means of a skeleton key. She never said a wrong word to one or the other. — The Magistrates’ Clerk: The stout had got into your head? Yes, and I had been working hard all day, and had no dinner. — Phoebe MURRY deposed to having been with the defendant, whom she said had had a little drop of stout. — Defendant was fined 5s.

WATERLOO AND TAUNTON LIBERAL CLUB — On Saturday a tea party, concert and dance was held at the above club. There were about 120 at tea, and the subsequent proceedings were presided over by Mr Isaac HIBBERT, in place of Councillor WOOD, of Droylsden, who was unable to attend. Songs were given by Mr ACKRILL, Mr Harry OSWALD (humourist), and Mr HALL of Ashton; and also Miss Bertha WADSWORTH, a very pleasing vocalist, who was loudly applauded. Dances were interspersed between the songs, and the proceedings came to a close shortly before 11 o’clock.

Examination in Bankruptcy

On Thursday, at the Ashton Bankruptcy Court, William MOSS, hay and straw dealer, Chester Square, Ashton, was again publicly examined. Mr Joseph BRADBURY appeared for seven creditors, and Mr R G IVES for the petitioning creditor. The debtor’s statement of affairs showed a deficiency of 276 15s 11d, and he alleged as the cause of his failure — bad debts, sickness in family, expenses of large family, and keen competition in business.

Mr JOHNSON conducted the examination. How did you dispose of 100 which you received from Mrs HOOLEY, your mother-in-law, for a life policy? I spent it one way or another; I cannot really say, but it went. — Did you borrow it to pay any particular debt? I am not prepared to swear it; I have no recollection about it. — Did you put it in the bank to pay the bills as they came in? No. — Debtor next repeatedly answered Mr JOHNSON that he did not know to whom and how he paid his debts, and this brought from the latter the stern remark: I am afraid it is quite hopeless to get any information out of this man.

The Registrar: Now just answer the questions properly. — Mr JOHNSON: Can you give me the least idea what amount you paid to your creditors during the past half year? No. — Did you pay as much as 10 a week? No, I cannot answer to it. — The Registrar: Don’t you keep books? — Debtor: No. — The Registrar: I wish you would sharpen your wits a bit; you seem to answer some of the questions honourably enough. Mr JOHNSON said he would not pursue the examination any further that day, but would ask for an adjournment to November 21st.

Mr IVES asked debtor who belonged to the horse and trap which he was continually driving about in, and he replied that it was his wife’s property. He acknowledged his name was on the trap, but he could explain this if required. — Mr BRADBURY said he would reserve his questions until the next examination. He should then have something to say.

On Tuesday evening at the above there was a goodly number of children. Mr CHARLESWORTH occupied the chair. Mr J W THORNLEY spoke upon the effects of strong drink. An action song, "The Very Worst Girl in School," was given by four girls, and part sung by Messrs MELLOR and others.

BREACH OF THE PEACE — Annie CRAWFORD and Jane FIDLER were before the Ashton County Justices on Wednesday charged with committing a breach of the peace at Hurst on September 23rd. CRAWFORD pleaded not guilty and FIDLER "guilty of a few words." A constable deposed that about 4.30 pm on the date in question he saw defendants creating a disturbance and shouting and swearing. He went to them and stopped the row. On serving the summons CRAWFORD used abusive language. — Defendant CRAWFORD said the constable came to house and asked her what was the matter; it was all over then. — Defendants were bound over in 40s to keep the peace for three months.

SALE OF PROPERTY AND WORKS — Mr J.C.M. TURNER offered for sale, at the Pitt and Nelson Hotel, Ashton, on Wednesday evening, the following property: Lot 1: All those work and premises recently used as a spindle works, situated in Water-street, Hurst Brook, and the site thereof. Lot 2: A plot of land and messuages (sic) erected thereon in Water-street, and houses and stables and other buildings adjacent. Lot 3: A house and shop, numbers 11 and 13 Water-street, and cottage, No 2 St Ann-street, Hurst Brook, and the vacant plot of land behind. All the lots were withdrawn. Messrs John WHITWORTH and Co acted for the vendors.

A young woman named Margaret MELLOR was committed to prison for seven days for disorderly conduct in Cotton-street on the 15th inst.

VEHICLE NO LIGHTS — Daniel CHAPMAN was summoned for using a vehicle without having a light attached on 2nd October. — His sister appeared and pleaded guilty, and was fined 1s and costs.

EMULATING JANE CAKEBREAD — Catherine DALEY was in the dock charged with using bad language in Wellington-road on the 4th. — She pleaded not guilty. — Constable WILD stated the case. — Defendant’s mother, who said she was 55(?) years of age, corroborated and asked for prosecution. — Defendant said her mother was the first to bring her into the court when she was 15 years of age. — The Clerk: You are not 15 now. — In reply to the Bench the Chief Constable said defendant had been up 51 times. — (Sensation.) — The last time was twelve months ago, when she was fined 20s and costs or one month. — The Bench repeated the dose.

WILFUL DAMAGE — James LOGAN was summoned by Edward BENNETT for doing damage to windows amounting to 8s on the 2nd October. He pleaded guilty. He said the complainant married his sister. When he came home from the front, he gave his sister sums of 8, 3, and 16, to take care of. Last Sunday, as he was sitting in the house, BENNETT came in and started thumping him and knocked him off a chair. He went for his clothes and BENNETT said he had put them on the fire. — The Clerk: You have your remedy. You have no right to break windows. — BENNETT said he had not handled a halfpenny of the money. — Defendant: I don’t say you have, but our Annie has. — The Bench ordered the defendant to pay 8s damages and 5s 6d costs.

ALLEGED THEFT OF LEAD — Two youths named James GATELEY and William HAMPSON were charged with stealing 50lbs of lead, the property of John STRINGER, on the 12th ult. — Jas. MORTON, 217 Astley-street, said on the 28th he was going down the canal side near the Cavendish Mill. He saw a man give the prisoners a bag. He watched them and they went over Hindley Bridge, up Portland-street, and through the brewery yard into STRINGER’s mill. They went down to the old boiler house. He went to them and asked them what they were doing there. They said they were looking for lead. They had a quantity of lead in a bag. — The Chief Constable said upon that evidence he asked for a remand for a week. One of the prisoners was only arrested that morning and the other on Sunday. — The Bench granted the application and allowed prisoners bail if they could find it.

IMPORTUNING PASSENGERS AND ASSAULTING THE POLICE — Jane HEGINBOTTOM was in the dock charged with importuning passengers in Whitelands-road on the 5th and assaulting Constable WALMSLEY. — She pleaded guilty to being drunk. — Constable WALMSLEY said when he arrested the prisoner for accosting men she became very violent, tried to throw him down and fought madly. She kicked him several times. He had to call assistance before he could get her to the Town Hall. — Constable 7 said he went to WALMSLEY’s assistance, and saw the defendant kick him violently. The Chief Constable said defendant had been up 20 times, the last being in July this year for assaulting the police. — Defendant said if magistrates would be lenient she would sign teetotal. — The Chairman said that on the first charge she would be dismissed, but for the assault upon the officer she would be fined 10s and costs or 14 days.

DRUNK AND DISORDERLY — Bridget FAY was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Bow-street on the 5th. — She said she was not drunk. — Constable GOODWIN stated the facts, and the Chief Constable spoke to seeing the defendant brought to the police office. There was no doubt as to her being drunk at the time, and she used very bad language indeed in the office. She was a stranger to the town. — Defendant said she came from Bolton to Ashton to find her husband and child. — The Clerk: Did you find your husband? — Defendant: No, sir. — The Clerk: She found the drink instead. — (Laughter.) Discharged with a caution. — James Patrick LAMB and Thomas WALSH pleaded guilty to drunk and disorderly conduct in Wellington-road on the 5th. LAMB has been up thirteen times, and WALSH three times. — Fined 10s 6d each and costs.

THEFT OF SHOES BY BOYS — Cecil WAREING (13) and John EYRE (9) were charged with stealing a pair of women’s boots. — Edward BROWN said he was assistant to Messrs STEAD and SIMPSON, boot dealers, Stamford-street. The boots now produced were their property. Last Friday night, the boots were hung on a rod at the door, and they were missed at 9.15. They were worth 2s 11d. — Walter LISTER said he was a pawnbroker at 129 Old-street. Shortly after 9 o’clock on Friday night, the prisoner EYRE came to the shop and offered the pair of boots produced in pledge. He said his mother had sent him. Witness suspected they were stolen and detained the prisoner. In a few minutes afterwards, WAREING came in and enquired for EYRE. Witness went after him, gave chase, and caught him. The police were sent for and the lads given into custody. — The prisoners pleaded guilty, and said they were very sorry. — The parents said the lads were very good at home and went to day and Sunday school. There was no occasion for them to steal. — The Bench dismissed them with a strong caution as to their future conduct. The Chairman added that the Bench was of opinion there was rather too much exposure of goods outside by shopkeepers. It led people and young children into temptation.

CRUELTY TO A CAT — Joseph LILLEY was summoned for cruelty to a cat by kicking it. He pleaded guilty. — Inspector POCOCK, RSPCA, prosecuted, and said the cat was injured in such a way that it had to be destroyed. — Emily BURGESS was called. She said she was the wife of a reservist now at the front, and lived at 11 Bengal-street. On the 20th September, about seven o’clock in the evening, she was standing at her door, when she saw the defendant coming up the street. Her cat was passing at the time and the defendant took a run kick at it. The cat’s front leg was broken, and she had to destroy it. — Defendant’s excuse was that he was beastly drunk. Constable stated that on the night in question, he was sent to the house of Mrs BURGESS. — He there saw the cat. Its shoulder was broken, and it seemed in great pain. Upon his advice, they drowned it. — Inspector POCOCK said in consequence of this matter being reported to him by the police, he made inquiries and saw the defendant. He said he was exceedingly sorry for what he had done. He admitted kicking the cat, and said he was in drink at the time, or he would not have done it. — Defendant’s father said he (defendant) had only just come from the front after being there 12 months. He was "beastly" drunk at the time. — The Chairman said drunkenness was no defence for cruelty to a helpless creature. Defendant would be fined 10s and costs, or 14 days, and 2s 6d each to two witnesses.

Creative Commons License Rhodes Family History by Ian Rhodes (© 1999-2021) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at https://rhodesfamily.org.uk.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting me.