5 April 1902


With the Black Knight, the glory of Easter Monday in Ashton has departed. There were only three or four miserable get-ups at which nobody could possibly get up a laugh, and at which not even the smallest child could be the least alarmed. With regard to the “laugh” an exemption may be made. One of the “Knights” sitting on a box on a hand-barrow toppled over with the jerk at starting, and landed on his back in the gutter, much to the amusement of the spectators. Perhaps that was the sole example of fun extracted from the whole of Monday’s exhibitions.

But the old custom was kept was kept up to the full of thousands of outsiders flocking into the town from all the regions round about. What they came to see they might have some difficulty in explaining. There was nothing to interest anybody except the crowds themselves. It was worth one’s while watching the electric cars arriving and departing with full loads of passengers. The police were kept busy counting the number to prevent overloading. The cars, going in couples, were filled as fast as the people could crowd into them, and had no heed to wait a minute. It was the same both on the Oldham and Hyde “departure platforms.”

We presume all these people came only for a pleasant afternoon’s outing, and with no idea of seeing the Black Knight. The shops were open as usual, and perhaps did a little extra business. It might be suggested that this disposition of the people to flock into Ashton might be turned to advantage. It has no doubt originated through the exhibition of the Black Knight, and the desire of parents to show the effigy to their children. But will they continue to come when it has become universally known that the display has been abandoned? And if they cease coming may there not be a substantial loss to tradespeople of various kinds?

Would it not be worth while to get up an improved and glorified display, something like the Lord Mayor’s show in London, with the Mayor in his state robes and the members of the Corporation riding in gilt carriage, and official collectors gathering money to be distributed for some charitable or beneficial purpose appealing to the whole of the inhabitants and even to outsiders as well, such as the reservists fund?

There would be something more to be said in favour of this than of the old Black Knight displays in which the money was only collected for the individuals who kept the thing going. Of course, in any scheme for the resuscitation of an Easter Monday display there would have to be an effigy of the Black Knight on horseback. The effigy would not need to be the stiff block we used to sell. It would have to be something superb and striking from an artistic point of view if it were not to sink under the ridicule which overwhelmed the later exhibitions.

It would have to be something of which the Mayor and Corporation would have no occasion to be ashamed and something that would be supported by the general opinion of the people as an interesting revival of an ancient custom.

The polling in connection with the contest in West Ward for a seat on the Urban District Council will take place on Monday from 12 o’clock to 8pm. The three candidates, Messrs T DEAN (C), W MARSDEN (L), and S HOWARD (Independent), have issued manifestos, but no meetings have been held so far as we can gather.

ALLEGED DRUNKENNESS ON LICENSED PRENISES.– James CROPPER and George Henry HAGUE were before the Ashton county justices on Wednesday charged with being drunk on licensed premises at Hurst on March 17th.– Defendant HAGUE: It’s no use us saying owt. We might as well pay, as we wurno drunk.– A constable deposed that at twenty past nine on the night of March 17th he saw the defendants drunk going into the Royal Oak Inn, Nook Lane, Hurst. He followed them in and found them in the taproom. They had been refused drink by the landlord on the ground of their being the worse for it. They had been refused drink at the Church Inn and the Miners’ Refuge.– The case was adjourned to enable the defendants to procure witnesses.

There was a happy gathering of old people at the Ashton Parish Church Central Schools on Thursday night, the occasion being the annual party given as the outcome of subscriptions from parishioners, got together by a committee of workers from the Parish Church Central School and Cockbrook and Whitelands branch schools, the chief of whom were the Rector (Rev G A PUGH), Major BRADLEY, Messrs J WALTON, W WILDE, James CROWTHER (secretary), and J FISHER (treasurer).

Old people having attained the age of 65 years and over were entitled to a ticket for the party, and some 328 old folks availed themselves of the opportunity to fraternise a little and to talk over the past. The combined ages of those present amounted to 22,936 years. The average ago was just over 70 years. The oldest person present was Sarah MALLINSON, aged 88, and the next oldest Joseph WOOD, aged 86. There were 181 present between the ages of 65 and 70; 134 between 70 and 80; and 13 over 80 years of age.

A sandwich tea was provided, followed by an entertainment, consisting of contributions by Mr W H BARKER (piano) and family, viz, Misses Lena BARKER (violin) and Ethel and Nellie BARKER (vocalists). Master Harry BARKER (viola) and Master Bert TAYLOR (cello). Mr J JOHNSON sang humorous songs. Songs were also rendered by Mrs GOSLING, Miss BOOTH, Messrs D BROADBENT, J W SHAW and others; recitations by Mrs HINDLE and Mr HANSON.

The Rector presided and delivered a short address in which he said that that would be the beginning of many tea parties, as it was Coronation year. Both the old and young would have a very good time of it. The middle-aged people would be left out in the cold. – (Laughter.) The General Purposes Committee were very generous for voting so much to the Mayor for enabling the town to rejoice at an event which many of them had never seen before, though some of the older people in the room would no doubt remember the Coronation of Good Queen Victoria. ON behalf of the clergy and congregation, superintendents of the Sunday schools, and teachers, and workers, he would bid them a hearty welcome.– (Applause.)

A hearty vote of thanks was accorded to all who had in any way contributed to the day’s enjoyment. A number of old people attended from the Union house and Mr MILLWARD kindly provided for their conveyance to and from the school.

Cases at the Ashton County Police Court

At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, Emily HULME was summoned under the Food and Drugs Act for selling a pint of milk which was not of the nature, substance, and quality required by the Act, at Droylsden, on February 25th. Mr Wingate SAUL, who appeared to prosecute, said that the summons was taken out under section 6 of the Food and Drugs Act 1875. The sample of milk was taken by Superintendent HEWITT who went to the defendant’s shop and asked for a pint of milk. The milk was served by a little girl, but the mother came, and the superintendent told her he had bought the milk for analysis.

He divided the milk into three parts, in accordance with the Act. Defendant said to the superintendent, “It is yesterday’s milk, which we use for rice-puddings and for cooking purposes, and you should not have been served with it; let me have it back.” She further said, “Nothing has been done to the milk here.” He submitted that the defendant evidently knew at the time that the milk was not what it ought to be. The analysis showed that contained 2.3 per cent of fat and 9,57 per cent of other solids. The standard was 3 per cent, so that the milk was nearly one per cent below, and there was one-third less fat in the milk than there ought to be.

The superintendent did not see any other milk in the shop, and therefore any customer must have been served with the milk of poor quality.– Defendant said that the milk was sold in mistake. She sold it exactly as she got it from the farmer, but she had not taken the precaution to obtain a warranty in order to relieve herself of the responsibility.– The magistrates fined defendant 10s 6d and costs, which with the analyst’s fee (9s) and the advocate’s fee (£1 1s) came to £2 0s 6d.

Elizabeth BELL, an old lady, was next charged with a similar offence under the Food and Drugs Act, at Droylsden.– Defendant admitted the sale of the milk, and said she had sold it as she had got it, and that she had not obtained a warranty. She had dealt with one particular farmer for 30 or 40 years, and never had any complaints before.

Mr Wingate SAUL (barrister), who appeared to prosecute, said that the analyst’s certificate showed the sample milk contained only 2.69 per cent of fats and 7.88 per cent of other solids. This was a very bad case of adulteration. Not less than 6 parts of water had been.

Magisterial Criticism

At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, John BOSTOCK was charged with obstruction by riding a horse on the footpath at Hurst, on March 16th.– A constable stated that at 10.45 on Sunday, the 16th of last month, he saw the defendant riding a horse on the footpath in Broadoak-road. He rode on the footpath for about fifty yards. Witness called out several times to him.

Defendant admitted riding on the footpath for about twenty-six yards, but it was because the road was so bad. He kept to the road as long as he could. The local authority had been written to, saying that they would be responsible for any damage to carriages, &c.
Superintendent HEWITT: It is an ancient highway.– The Magistrates’ Clerk: It is not a good road.– The Chairman (Mr Lees BROADBENT): Is this road under the Urban District Council or the Corporation? – Superintendent HEWITT: It belongs to the Council of Hurst.– The Chairman: Why don’t they repair it? – Superintendent HEWITT: It is a great length.– The Chairman: They could repair it and charge. The Urban District Council should do it. I am very sorry to see that you are so far behind in the neighbourhood of Ashton, and keep such bad roads. The bench fined defendant 6s for costs.

Great interest was Monday centres of the walk backwards from Macclesfield to Buxton (twelve miles) by Mr George ALLCOCK. It was for a wager of £100, and the time limit was three hours and a half. Crowds of sporting men and holiday-makers watched ALLCOCK start and finish. ALLCOCK accomplished his task in three hours and seven minutes amidst tremendous excitement.

An inquest was held at the Victoria Hotel, Ashton, on Tuesday morning, touching the death of Elsie BUCKLEY, infant daughter of Jas. BUCKLEY, 30 Ellison-street, Ashton, who was found dead on Saturday morning.

Mary BUCKLEY, wife of Jas. BUCKLEY, warehouseman, said that the deceased was her daughter and was five months old. She had enjoyed good health from birth, but on Thursday a slight cough revealed itself for which witness gave her a teaspoonful of cough mixture said to contain syrup of squills which she had obtained from a neighbour. The child did not cough much, nor show any signs of difficulty in breathing.

Witness and her husband went to bed on Friday night about ten o’clock, taking their child with them. It was then in good health, and was not coughing. The child lay with witness and her husband, and was placed on the outside of the bed facing witness. About midnight the child began to cry, and witness gave it the breast, afterwards placing the child in an easy resting position on the pillow.

Witness went to sleep, and on awakening about 8.50 on Saturday morning she found the child in the same position on the pillow, frothing at the nose and mouth. Witness lifted the child up and found it was dead. She awakened her husband, and immediately sent for a neighbour. Her opinion was that the child had died similar to another child of hers, namely, in a fit. She did not think the child had been smothered. Dr HAMILTON had testified to the first child having died of a fit.

Agnes BOWERS, wife of John BOWERS, labourer, 30 Ellison-street, said the deceased was her grand-daughter, and had enjoyed good health, never having been ill since birth, with the exception of a slight cough on Thursday. Witness had been nursing the child. Witness heard the child’s mother shout out, “Oh, my child is dead.” She went upstairs and found it was so, but the child was then warm. Her opinion was that the child had died in a fit, and not smothered. Witness saw the cough mixture, but she did not know how much of it had been given to the child.

The Coroner said he did not think there was anything in the medicine to cause death. It was more probable that the child had been smothered, seeing that it was allowed to lie so near its mother. Cases of this kind were occurring week by week, and it was generally attributed to fits. The jury returned a verdict of death from natural causes, probably convulsions.

Charles SKIRVIN pleaded guilty at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, to being drunk at Audenshaw on March 16th, and was fined 2s 6d for costs.

NO NAME ON CART.– W TORKINGTON pleaded guilty at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, to having no name on cart at Audenshaw on March 17th, and was fined 6s for costs.

VEHICLE WITHOUT LIGHT.– James PICKUP was fined 1s and costs at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, for having no light on his vehicle at Audenshaw on March 14th, to which he pleaded guilty.

BEGGING.– Thomas BRANNON was in custody at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, charged with begging at Audenshaw on April 1st.– Prisoner pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to seven days’ imprisonment.

RIDING BICYCLE ON THE FOOTPATH.– John SHARPLES pleaded guilty at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday to a charge of obstruction by riding a bicycle on the footpath at Audenshaw on March 17th, and was fined 1s and costs.

BREACH OF THE PEACE.– William MORRISON and Daniel BAKER pleaded guilty at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, to committing a breach of the peace at Audenshaw on March 16th, and were bound over in 40s to keep the peace for three months.

SLEEPING OUT.– Thomas STANSFIELD was charged at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, with sleeping out at Audenshaw on April 1st.– A Constable deposed to finding prisoner at 12.45 at night sleeping on some boilers on the premises of the New Moss Colliery Company. The watchman had told him that he lived at Hooley Hill. He had had some drink, and it made him stupid.– The bench took a lenient view and dismissed the case.

HIS TOE MADE HIM WOBBLE.– Martin CUMMINGS pleaded not guilty at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, to being drunk in charge of two horses and a lurry at Audenshaw on March 14th.– Sergeant JOHNSON deposed to seeing defendant drunk in Denton-road, Audenshaw, in charge of two horses and a lurry and detaining him at the police station.– Inspector HUMPHRIES deposed to seeing defendant drunk at the police station.– Defendant said he had been on the road since five o’clock in the morning and had only had two cans of beer. He had had his toes crushed and this made him wobble. – (Laughter.) – The magistrates fined defendant 5s for costs.

KEEPING HIS BIRTHDAY UP.– Paul ADAMS, Walter LAPPITT, and James JAGGER, three youths from Clayton, were before the Ashton County Justices, on Wednesday, charged with using obscene language at Audenshaw on March 16th.– LAPPITT pleaded guilty and the other two not guilty.– A constable deposed that at 9.15 on Sunday night March 16th, he saw the defendants in the road shouting, swearing, singing comic songs, and using obscene language. Witness concealed himself behind a telegraph post and caught LAPPITT who said he did not give a b––––– for anyone as he was 21 that day and he was keeping his birthday up.– JAGGER said they were only singing.– The Magistrates’ Clerk: What had you been doing in Ashton? We had naturally been out; it is a common occurrence.– The Clerk: We could do very well without you. You are a bit of a nuisance.– Superintendent HEWITT: We have numerous complaints from residents about these gangs of youths.– The Bench fined defendants 5s each.

The Ashton police were apprised, on Tuesday morning, of the death by hanging of Mary Elizabeth SMITHSON, aged 28, widow of Charles SMITHSON, who died about 18 months ago and resided at 90 Oldham-road. Deceased had not enjoyed good health for a number of years, having been troubled with asthma. The death of her husband also seems to have preyed upon her mind very much, and she had been heard many times to threaten she would do away with herself.

She had been a partner in a chip potato business, along with Millicent KENNEDY, with whom she resided. The two retired to be about 12.15 on Monday night, and on Miss KENNEDY awaking about 7.30 next morning, she missed her from bed, and on going downstairs she found deceased suspended in her nightdress from a peg in the passage leading to the pantry. She was then dead. Deceased had penned several missives to relatives indicating her intentions.
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