16 March 1901
Twenty Birds in Twenty Days
"Recently in Leeds, the remarkable feat
of eating fourteen pigeons in as many days was
achieved by a man known as Long Tom.
At first sight, this does not seem to be very
extraordinary, but anyone trying it will find
out that it is no easy matter as the pigeon is
an indigestible bird.
"However, the example set by
the Leeds man has been followed in Ashton by Professor
ATKINS the Long-haired King who commenced
at nine oclock pm on Friday the 8th inst.
At the Star Inn, Cotton-street, Ashton, the task
of consuming twenty pigeons in as many days.
"ATKINS, an Irish-American
is the manufacturer of a medicinal snuff, which
commodity he also sells. He appears from his manner
of walking to be paralysed and it is said that
his infirmity arose from the effects of an assault
made on him some years ago at the Old Cross. The
Professor has been in South Africa and several
other parts of the world and is a man of wide
experience and apparently of what Shakespeare
says an unbounded stomach.
"He ate his first bird in 13
minutes, the second in 15, the third in 17, the
fourth in 13, the fifth, which was an exceptionally
tough one, he managed in 18 minutes, the sixth
in 15 minutes and the seventh took 16 minutes.
"Great interest is taken in
his heroic endeavour to surpass all past gastronomic
achievements of this kind, his dining room at
the Star being filled every night with amused
and admiring spectators. A bet of £20 has been
made that he does not achieve the feat. The man
is still going strong."
DEATH FROM DRINK IN ASHTON
The coroner heard how Ellen MONCKS of 68 John-street,
Ashton, died suddenly on Friday afternoon from the
effects of a drinking bout. Her husband, John, said
that she was 36 years old and was in good health
up to a few weeks before when she had a heart problem
diagnosed. This was caused by her drinking bouts
which she had "become addicted to for the last
He said that he had "remonstrated"
with her on Tuesday with the result that she had
left to stay with relatives without telling him
where she was going. She was brought home on Friday
afternoon, the worse for drink, and he put her
on the sofa before going out for a drink himself.
Shortly after, one of his boys tracked him down
to say that his wife was seriously ill. He called
the doctor, but she died soon after.
Hannah CLAYTON of 35 Mary-street,
Dukinfield said that the deceased was her husbands
cousin and that it was at her house she had stayed.
The coroner commented that John MONCKS was as
bad as his wife for drink, but gave a verdict
of death by natural causes.
DEATH RATE IN PORTLAND BASIN
At a meeting of the town council, Alderman HIGGINBOTTOM
said that "there was one very dark spot"
in the report of the Medical Officer and that was
"the enormous death rate in Portland Place
"The chairman had on one or
two occasions furnished him with a few statistics
and particulars. He had given somewhat of a reason
why Portland Place Ward should be so high in the
death rate, but they could not sit down any longer
to allowing this state of things to exist and
they must find some remedy, and however severe
that remedy might be, it must be done.
"He would very much like Portland
Ward to be divided into four pieces; begin at
Mill-lane for the first section, then second and
third and fourth, and in each section that the
population should be accurately taken and also
the death rate and then if it was that there was
a great density of population in these particular
districts, find out which was the district that
had the highest death rate in consequence of that
density of population.
"If they could arrive at that,
they could immediately make up their minds to
face the difficulty and face it in buying up some
old property (hear, hear) and making a
place more hospitable and some open space
Councillor CATLOW said that he "personally
should like Portland Ward to be divided at Victoria-street
so that they might have the canal and the river
given separate from the other portion of the ward
so that they might ascertain whether the
river and the canal had anything to do with the
high death rate."
DROPPED DOWN DEAD IN MOSSLEY-ROAD
"A mill operative named Joshua EATON of
17 Queen-street, Hurst, aged 49 years came to a
sudden end in Mossley-road, Ashton on Sunday afternoon.
Deceased was a cotton warp dresser, employed at
Hurst new mills.
"About 1.30 on Sunday afternoon,
deceased was walking along Mossley-road. An insurance
agent named John GARDNER of 5 Whitham-street was
also walking along the road and when near the
Heys Colliery, he saw the deceased fall backwards
on his head. He ran towards him and along with
others who had gathered on the spot, deceased
was lifted up, but he expired immediately."
His wife Martha said that he suffered
pains in side and shortness of breath for two
years and that his doctor had warned him to take
it easy, although he had continued to work. The
verdict was death by natural causes, probably
from a sudden failure of the heart.