29 June 1901

Sir, — A cartoon in a Manchester weekly a short time ago represented the Dukinfield Corporation as being so jealous of "local interests" as to prefer their 16,000 Town Hall being opened by a local alderman rather than seek the aid of dukes, earls or MPs from far off. The policy of "local interests" is to be highly commended, and if our representatives acted fairly and squarely up to that policy, they would secure the approbation of every ratepayer in Dukinfield; but it is very doubtful whether they do.

The average Dukinfield councillor, in asking the suffrage of the ratepayers, is simply seeking to advance his own importance and the gratification of his personal vanity. He seems to care no more for "local interests" than he does for the interests of Choctaw Indians. He comes at election times smiling and smirking and ready to promise anything from free clogs to pianos, but when he reclines in the seats of the mighty, he looks down from his giddy height and smiles disdainfully at the common herd which grovels in the dust at his feet. Those who placed him in that exalted position are beneath his notice until election time comes round again, when he makes his appearance with more smiles, more smirks, and more promises.

You will invariably find in his election address a paragraph something like the following: "All contracts will (where possible) be given to local firms." Bah! It is all bunkum! Local contracts don’t interest him half so much as a trip to London at the ratepayers’ expense. What thought does he give to Dukinfield’s welfare whilst he is enjoying himself in some palatial hotel, where he may be found smoking fat cigars and quaffing bumpers of sparkling wine?

The majority of those on the Council, whether professional gentlemen or tradesmen, are dependent upon the people of Dukinfield for a living, and yet when public money is being spent they find it convenient to forget that there is such a town in existence as poor old dirty Dukinfield. Orders which would mean a great deal to the small Dukinfield trader are sent out of the town and placed in the hands of large firms who have not the remotest connection with the district. If there was any advantage to be gained, either in price, quality of workmanship, one could understand the local man being absolutely and completely ignored, but when it is otherwise, it is neither more nor less than a public scandal.

Why, even when in the matter of the "collation", it was deemed necessary to send to Manchester for the provisions and wines to tickle the delicate palates and tempt the dainty appetites of the snobs on the Council, whilst the charge for tickets was so prohibitive that the ordinary ratepayer was perforce excluded from participating.

Hyde Customer’s Adventure

At the Bow-street Police Court on Friday, Lawrence COHEN, hairdresser, and Samuel POU, his assistant, were charged on remand with fraud. The allegations are that when customers went to the defendant’s shop to have their hair cut, they were informed that they were suffering from a scalp disease which would cause them to lose their hair unless they tried the defendant’s remedy, which was to have the head steamed. When they consented to this operation a charge of 3s 6d was made.

Thomas OLDHAM, of Gee Cross, Hyde, said that on 29th May he went to the defendant’s shop for a shave. After this was done the assistant said, "Three shillings and six pence for head steaming." He retorted, "I’ll see you further before I pay 3s 6d." He was not allowed to leave the shop, and after some trouble, witness consented to have his head steamed, and paid 3s 6d. He then left the shop and made a complaint to a policeman, after which his money was returned. Mr DE RUTZEN said that in consequence of the numerous complaints received by the police. He had sent the papers to the Public Prosecutor, who on the next occasion would proceed with the prosecution. The accused were again remanded on bail.

A Solicitor’s Clerk Assaulted — Scene at a Levy

At the Dukinfield Police Court on Thursday, a married woman named Hannah WOOD, of 10 Lamb-street, was charged on remand from the previous court (on bail) with unlawfully wounding George Harold OKELL, on the 19th inst. There was also a cross summons in which WOOD charged OKELL with assaulting her. — Mr J H POWNALL appeared for OKELL and Mr James BRADBURY for WOOD.

Mr POWNALL said his client was a clerk in the employ of Messrs HATON and WATSON, solicitors, of Ashton-under-Lyne. The defendant and her husband seemed to have a considerable number of County Court summonses against them, with the result that it had been a difficult matter for the bailiffs to obtain possession of their premises in order to levy upon the goods. In consequence of the bailiffs being well known, it was found necessary to resort to a little strategy.

Accordingly, on Wednesday morning week, Mr OKELL went to the defendant’s house, the bailiffs being a short distance away. On arriving at the door, he knocked. The defendant, however, made her appearance from a neighbouring house in the same street. He told her that he had come from the office of Messrs HATON and WATSON to see about the particular matter in which the firm had an execution. She unlocked the door and invited him in. When they got inside she locked the door. Shortly afterwards, the defendant’s brother, a man named George DALE, knocked on the door. He was admitted and the door was locked again.

The bailiffs then made their appearance at the front door. Defendant and her brother saw them through the window and they rushed to the door and took out the key. OKELL seemed to get alarmed and turned round to see whether the door was still really locked and the next thing he knew was he received a violent blow in the eye with a poker wielded by the defendant Mrs WOOD. She threatened to do so and so for him, knife him, and used similar expressions. He had to escape by the back door.

Mr Ralph BATES: Did he want to get out? — Mr POWNALL: Yes, he wanted to get out after the blow. — Mr BATES: There was a deal of fixing to get in, why was he so anxious to get out? — Mr POWNALL: He got such a warm reception that he was anxious, I suppose, to leave the premises alive. — (Laughter.)

OKELL was found to have sustained a nasty cut over the eye. The wound was bleeding, and he was taken into a neighbour’s house where the eye was bathed. He afterwards went to Dr MILLER’s surgery, and there the wound was stitched. On arriving in Ashton he saw Dr COOKE, the family doctor, who advised him to stay at home for a few days as he was not fit for work.

Since these proceedings were taken, a cross-summons for assault had been taken out, no doubt at the suggestion of Mr BRADBURY. There was no assault at all on the part of OKELL, and there were no marks of any kind. Even when arrested, the woman never made any complaint whatever against OKELL. The whole thing was preposterous, and he was not there for the purpose of assaulting her.

Mr BRADBURY thought it would save the time of the court if they reduced the charge to one of common assault. The Bench would come to the conclusion it was a very trivial matter. Mr POWNALL said his was a case of unlawful wounding at present, and it would be necessary to take the depositions.

After evidence was given, the defendant was committed to take her trial at the Knutsford Quarter Sessions which were to be held the following week. The assault case WOOD v. OKELL, it was agreed, should be heard after the Sessions. Bail was allowed, defendant in 10, and two sureties of 5 each.

— The friends of Mr William THOMPSON, of Birch-lane, will regret to learn of his death which took place on Friday week at his residence after a very short illness. He was well known and highly respected in the neighbourhood. He was a boilermaker by trade and a member of the Dukinfield Branch of the Boilermakers and Iron and Steel Shipbuilders’ Association. The member have expressed their deep sympathy with the widow and relatives, and at his funeral the deceased brother was carried to his last resting place by Messrs DEAN, FLETCHER, NEWTON, LOYNDS, HAMER and HURST, as representatives of the above order.

THE GLYNN AGAIN — At the Police Court on Thursday, John GLYNN, collier, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Old-road on the 24th. — Defendant appeared, and the Clerk remarked that he was then under the influence of drink. — Constable DALE stated that at 11.30 on Monday forenoon he was in the Old-road, and saw the defendant in a drunken state and cursing. His wife was also with him. She was drunk, and fell in the street, and he had to lock her up. Superintendent COOPER informed the Bench that the defendant had been up several times, and he was not sober now. — Mr BATES: He seems to be one of those men who ought to be in some home. — Superintendent COOPER: I have spoken to him on that point. For the last three months defendant and his wife have not been sober a day. I think it is only fair to say that he will receive a second summons for being drunk on licensed premises and the publican will be brought before the magistrates as well. Fined 10s 6d and costs, or 14 days.

OFF TO WEST AFRICA — On Tuesday evening a very pleasant time was spent at the Central Working Men’s Club and Institute, Church-street, when an interesting presentation was made to Mr Isaac BATES, one of the member, prior to his departure for West Africa. Mr BATES came home on leave after serving a number of years in West Africa and whilst here he has married, and only returned from his honeymoon on Tuesday. The presentation, which consisted of a gentlemen’s handsome dressing case, subscribed for by his fellow members, was handed to Mr BATES by Mr John HARROP, who in a neat speech assured him of the goodwill and esteem of the members of the club who wished him good fortune in the position he was about to occupy.

SCHOOL BOARD CASES — At the Police Court on Thursday, William NEWSHAM was summoned AT THE INSTANCE OF THE School Board for not sending his child regularly to school. — Mr ROBERTS, attendance officer, informed the bench that there was no reason why the child should not attend school. The parents had been very indulgent in the past, until now they had very little control over the children. In three months there had only been three attendances. He reminded the bench that this was the first case under the new by-laws and they had the power to inflict a fine of up to 20s. — Mr BATES characterised it as a bad case, and fined defendant 10s, including costs. There appeared to be nothing more careless that the defendant, his wife and the whole boiling of them.

Robert ACTON was charged with a similar offence in respect to his son Robert, aged 13, who had not made any attendances since April. The lad was illegally working full time but he was required to attend school until he was 14. — George CHEGWIN was summoned in respect to William Henry, aged 11. — Mr ROBERTS said there was no effort whatever being made to get the boy to school. It was undoubtedly a case of gross neglect on the part of the parents. The attendances had been 53 out of a possible 212 times. In fining the defendant 7s 6d, Mr BATES observed that some people were chronically disposed never to do right.

Gentlemen, - I have taken the liberty of sending copies of the Melbourne daily papers relating to the visit of the Duke of Cornwall and York to open the first Federal Parliament of Australia and found a new nation under the British flag in the southern seas. I have sent twelve of the Melbourne Argus, and twelve of the Melbourne Age. I was born in Ashton-under-Lyne, and lived in Cowhill-lane until I went to sea 23 years ago. I was one of the crew of HMS "Bacchante" (difficult to read — Ed) and was in that vessel with the Princes when they went round the world. I have enclosed you a cutting out of the paper of 20th May 1901, where I had an interview with the Duke while he was in Melbourne. I left Ashton 17 years ago for the last time, and now I reside at Essendon, near Melbourne, in the State of Victoria. Trusting that you will accept them in the spirit in which they are sent, and that everything is very prosperous in the old town, and wishing you all every prosperity. — I have the honour to be, gentlemen, your most obedient servant.

Thomas WOOD

The interment of Mary Annie THOMAS, the young woman who poisoned herself with carbolic acid at Chadderton on Friday, took place on Tuesday at Chadderton Cemetery. Miss THOMAS was well known in the district, and a large number of people were in attendance. At the graveside, the scenes against the step-father (Mr THOMAS) were of a most unruly character, one woman going so far as to threaten to push him into the open grave. The ceremony was gone through, but on the carriages returning to Burnley-lane, the man THOMAS was surrounded by a throng of angry females who gave him several blows in the face and knocked his hat off, handling him very severely. When the man got out of their clutches, he stood on the doorstep jeering, which only served to aggravate the crowd who vowed they would make it hot for him. It will be remembered that the man THOMAS was said to be morally responsible for the death of Miss THOMAS.

The inhabitants of Hooley Hill were shocked on Sunday evening by a distressing toy pistol fatality, which threw quite a gloom over the district. The victim was a youth named Daniel SCOTT, aged about 16, son of Alfred SCOTT, an employee of Messrs JACKSON, HYDE, and REALDING, in Groby-road.

About seven o’clock in the evening some boys were practising shooting with a toy pistol in Groby-road. SCOTT was walking across the road when a bullet from the pistol struck him in the temple and killed him instantly. The shot was fired by a youth named David CROMPTON, who was so shocked by what he had done that he swooned away, and a doctor had to be fetched to him, and it was nearly an hour before he could be brought round. When he came to his senses he was conducted to an electric car, and conveyed to the police station where he was detained in custody.

Superintendent Hewitt said that the prisoner was charged with what was purely and simply a case of manslaughter. Prisoner and a number of boys in what was called Poplar-street and the field adjoining. The prisoner had what was called a Derringer pistol, which fired small leaden slugs, somewhat similar in size to that which was commonly called crow-shot. The deceased boy took a penny and placed it on a stump, making use of words to this effect: "If tha’ can hit it, tha; con have it." He turned away, and immediately the prisoner fired a shot with the pistol which struck SCOTT on the left temple from which he died. The shooting being in a public highway, and being an unlawful act, and having caused death, constituted manslaughter.

Chairman: The unfortunate part is that this is not the first case that has occurred. — Superintendent HEWITT: Only a short time ago there was a case in Dukinfield. The pistol was hereupon produced in court, and the magistrates after examining it asked how the cartridges were put in. Inspector HUMPHRIES produced a box of the cartridges used, and explained the working of the toy pistol.

Chairman (to prisoner): Where did you get it? — Off another boy. — How much did you give for it? — 10s 6d. This boy got it from Greenwood’s in the Avenue at Ashton. Chairman: Can a boy have a pistol like this without license? — Superintendent HEWITT: He should have a license; he is liable for not having a license. He is liable under the Town’s Police Clause Act, the Highway Act; and also liable for not having a license.

The Chairman: There is no doubt about it being an accident, but it is a serious matter, if it is an accident. It is a terrible thing. I do not know that anything can be done with regard to warning these people. Prisoner was remanded till Wednesday, July 3rd, bail was allowed, himself in 100, and two sureties of 50 each. The sureties were the father of the prisoner and Mr Joseph RADFORD, landlord of the Sun Inn, Hooley Hill.

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