16 February 1901

"Have you a fad? If not, develop one straightaway. He who has a fad never finds time hanging heavy on his hands. When his regular work is over, he flies to his hobby with an enthusiasm scarcely excelled by the devotion the lover shows for his sweetheart."

A meeting of Cheshire County Council approved a report regarding the purchase of Alma Bridge, freeing it from toll. The deal was negotiated by Dukinfield and Ashton Town Councils and the Stamford Estate. A company had been formed to build the bridge following the Ashton-under-Lyne and Dukinfield Bridge Act 1854. It raised 5,000 capital by issuing 1,000 shares and borrowed a further 1,650.

"Early on Wednesday morning, the body of an elderly woman was seen floating in the canal at the junction near Portland-street. On drawing out the body on to the canal bank, life was found to be extinct. The body was conveyed on an ambulance to the mortuary at Ashton Town Hall to await identification."

The body was that of Margaret WARDLE, the 64 year old wife of Matthew WARDLE, a labourer of 5 Sykes-street Dukinfield. He gave evidence at the inquest saying that his wife had suffered very much from erysipelia for the last 20 years "and had always been under a doctor." (Erysipelas — a contagious skin disease, due to streptococcal infection in the skin and subcutaneous tissues.)

Dr BOOTH had advised her to go into hospital which she did on 24th December where she stayed until the previous Saturday. She became ill again on Monday and stayed in bed most of Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, Matthew got up at five o’clock and took his wife a cup of tea before leaving for work at twenty past six. As he left, Margaret asked him to call at her niece’s house in Wharf-street to ask her to get breakfast ready. He heard of her death at about ten thirty. He said she had never threatened suicide, although when she had been very ill, he had heard her: "wish she were dead."

Margaret’s niece, Sarah Ann NADEN said that she had gone to her aunt’s house at nine o’clock, but no one was there. She searched the area without success until she went by the canal where she heard of the death. The verdict was: "suicide while temporarily insane."

An inquiry was held into the death of Doris BRADBURN aged 18 months, daughter of Anthony BRADBURN of Creswell-street, off Ashton Road, Denton.

The parents said that the child had begun vomiting on Sunday morning, but appeared to revive by evening. At 8.15 on Monday morning, the child was "seized with convulsions". The doctor was called, but she died before he arrived. Doris had suffered from bronchitis and whooping cough and the jury returned a verdict of: "death by natural causes, accelerated by bronchitis."

In connection with the inquiry, John WORRALL, pawnbroker of Ashton-road was fined 2 for non-attendance as a juryman. The Coroner said: "he had been far too lenient in the past with jurors and it appeared it was being taken advantage of. This was Mr WORRALL’s second offence and if it occurred when he was next summoned, he would be fined 5."

William WILDGOOSE, landlord of the Newmarket Tavern, Dukinfield, was in court for selling intoxicating liquor during prohibited hours. Inspector DUTTON and Constable BROOME had been at the kitchen window of the pub in the early hours of the morning and had heard the voices of three or four men.

"After waiting a minute or two, he (the inspector) knocked at the side door and did not get any answer. He waited a little while and then knocked again and there was some shuffling in the room, but there was no answer. He sent Constable BROOME round to the back door and after giving him time to get there, he knocked again much louder.

"He rattled the door latch, knocked again and heard someone come downstairs. He recognised the voice of Mrs WILDGOOSE in the kitchen and heard her say: ‘You are caught! You are caught! Whatever shall we do?’ There was also the sound of glasses being carried into the bar."

The door was finally opened and he found three men — Tom MADELY, Joseph HORROCKS and William GREENWOOD. There were glasses in the bar with the remains of beer and he also noticed that WILDGOOSE was drunk. The men claimed that they had arrived only minutes before the knock on the door and had not had chance to have a drink. Even so, they were fined 2s 6d without costs, while the landlord was fined 5s with costs.

Walter KNIGHT and Edwin LAWTON were in court, having been caught trespassing "in pursuit of game" on the land of George OLLERENSHAW at Staley Hall Farm, Stalybridge. They pleaded not guilty.

OLLERENSHAW said that he had seen the two, KNIGHT armed with nets and ferrets, while LAWTON had a dog. They remained on the land for four to five hours. "Knight was hardly ever off the land," he said "and he had threatened that if the witness summoned him, he would do injury to his cattle and: ‘pay him back with his own coin.’"

There was some debate about what the pair hoped to catch — hares, rabbits or rats? However, they were found guilty. LAWTON was fined 1s and costs as it was his first offence, but KNIGHT was fined 20s because he had been up before the bench many times before.

"There was a large and influential gathering at the Ashton Town Hall on the occurrence of the opening of a three day bazaar by Prince Ranjitsinghi, the well-known county cricketer who has gained a world-wide reputation for the wonderful way in which he handles the willow."

Quite a number of willing workers gave their services freely in building and decorating the various stalls, prominent among them being Joseph FRANCE and John BINGHAM. The aim of the bazaar was to raise 1,000 to liquidate the debt on the new pavilion which had opened on 7th May 1898. Since then, many other improvements had been made to the ground making it one of the best in the county.

There followed a detailed history of the club which played its first match on 2nd May 1857. See Reporter archive for more information.

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