10 May 1902


An inquest was held at the Crowthorn Hotel, Ashton, on Monday forenoon on the body of William HILL, aged 61 years of 6, Hilton-street, Crowthorn, who died suddenly on Friday afternoon.

Jane HILL said that deceased was her husband, and she lived with him at 6 Hilton-street. He was a pavior for Droylsden District Council, and prior thereto had been out of work for four years. He formerly worked on the railway, but left, and they would not take him on again on account of his age. He was well and hearty up to death, and laughed and talked with her in a cheerful manner.

On Monday night he removed some flags, and on Tuesday he complained of a slight backache. He went to work on Tuesday at breakfast time and worked until Wednesday night, and did not make any complaint in the meantime. When he returned home he complained of feeling tired and he went to bed, rising on Thursday morning about 4 o'clock with the intention of going to work, but he still complained of feeling tired, and witness persuaded him to get back to bed, and he did so, and remained in bed up to dinner time. He did not go to work afterwards.

He sat at home on Thursday afternoon and chatted and talked to witness. He slept well on Thursday night, and ate a good breakfast of two duck eggs and bread and butter and tea in bed on Friday morning. He lay in bed for an hour or so and never complained of anything only feeling tired. Witness got him a box of pills for his back., and he got up and lay on the sofa in the house. Witness thought he was a little poorly but he would not own to it, and she wanted to send for a doctor but he said no.

At noon he wanted to go to the rear, but witness would not allow him to go outside on account of having to descend some steps. She therefore obtained a night commode and whilst using it he became helpless and unconscious, and witness helped him on to the sofa and then called for help, and sent for a doctor. Deceased began frothing at the mouth, and his eyes began working, but he did not speak. He breathed without difficulty, and seemed as if in a kind of fit. A neighbour, named Mrs HART, came in, and deceased expired twenty minutes afterwards in her arms. Deceased was a well-built, stout man, and never had a day's illness in his life. He always ate well. The doctor did not arrive until an hour after death.

Elizabeth HART, wife of John HART, labourer, living in Hilton-street, said she had known deceased about 12 years, and he had always had good health. He was a very steady, sober man. He seemed to have lost weight whilst being out of work. Witness was called into the house about two o'clock on Friday afternoon and found deceased lying on the couch in an unconscious condition, frothing at the mouth and his eyes rolling. Witness thought he was in a fit. He remained unconscious and died with his hand on her arm. His left arm appeared discoloured. Deceased had a comfortable home.

The Coroner said the cause of death might be apoplexy or heart failure; in either case it would be a natural death. He had learned that deceased had been ruptured for some time, and this might have had something to do with his death, especially if he had been lifting flags as stated. The jury returned a verdict of death from natural causes.

Nineteen Toasts
We have been favoured with an old document which carries the weighty toasts of our forefathers, every one of whom are dead. The number of them, if well followed, would fill up a rare capacity. But, then, in those grand old days they had no closing hours and no police. What fine old names the list contains:

Toasts to be given at the anniversary dinner of the Ashton-under-Lyne Conservative Association on Friday, December 30th, 1842:—

On removal of the cloth......Non Nobis Domino.

President, 1: "Her Majesty the Queen: May she never swerve from the principles which seated the house of Brunswick on the Throne of these Realms, and God grant her a long, prosperous, and glorious reign."

National Anthem..............."God save the Queen."

President, 2: "His Royal Highness Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, and the Princess Royal."

Glee................................"Hark how the cold wind blows."

President, 3: "The Queen Dowager and the Rest of the Royal Family."

Glee................................"Away to the Woodlands."

Presentation of the Plate to Nicholas EARLE, Esq.

Mr Booth MASON, 4: "Our Glorious Constitution in Church and State."

Glee................................"When order in this land commenced."

Mr W HEAP, 5: "The Army and the Navy."

Duet................................"Love and War."

N EARLE, Esq., 6: "Lord Lyndhurst and the House of Peers, and may they ever maintain their noble independence."

Dr LEES, 7: "The Right Hon. Sir Robert PEEL and Her Majesty's Ministers."

Mr Thomas SLACK, 8: "The Hero of the Age, His Grace the Duke of Wellington."

Glee................................"Ye Gentlemen of England."

Mr John OUSEY, 9: "The Earl of Stamford and Warrington, the Lord of this Manor."

Song .............................."The fine old English Gentleman."

Mr Thomas BUNTING responds.

Mr J J HARROP, 10: "The Conservative Associations throughout the Kingdom, with best wishes for their prosperity."

Mr H HEAP, song............"Woodman, spare that tree."

Mr Thomas MELLOR, 11: "The Conservative Members of the House of Commons."

Mr J FRANCE, 12: "The President."

Glee..............................."With a jolly full bottle."

Mr William LINGARD, 13: "The Champions of South Lancashire, Lord Francis EGERTON and the Hon Bottle WILBRAHAM."

Vice-President, 14: "The Mayor and Constables of this borough."

Glee..............................."Willie brewed."

Mr S COLLINS, 15: "Prosperity to this Manufacturing District."

Glee..............................."Hail smiling morn."

Mr George MELLOR responds.

Mr J J HARROP, 17: "The Conservative Ladies, with many thanks for their support and bewitching influence upon all occasions."

Glee.............................."Here's a health to all good lasses."

Mr John KERSHAW responds.

Mr Robert CARR, 18: "The Conservative Press."

Mr HEAP, song.............."Ye mariners of England."

President, 19: "May this and every succeeding Anniversary extend and promote Conservative principles amongst all classes, and more closely unite them in supporting their just rights, and the institutions of the country."

Fell in Front of the Fire

Some consternation was created in Hurst on Monday afternoon by the sudden death, under singular circumstances, of William FLOOD, married man, residing in Curzon-road. It appears that about 1.30 in the afternoon deceased, who appeared in his usual health, was left alone in the house by his wife. A short time afterwards a travelling draper knocked at the door. On receiving no answer he tried the door, and on its opening he passed into the house, and saw the deceased lying in front of the fire. He raised an alarm and called in some neighbours who examined the man and found that he was dead.

Deceased, it appears, had been under treatment with Dr TWOMEY for kidney complaint, but his condition had in no way been considered serious. It is supposed that he was sitting in front of the fire, and was taken with a fit which caused him to fall forward. Whilst in the act of falling he had evidently clutched one of the bars of the fire as his fingers were very badly burned. There were no other marks of injury, and the inference was that death was the result of a fit. Deceased leaves a widow and three children.

Thomas BROWN and Margaret BROWN, man and wife, were in custody at the Ashton County Police Court on Saturday charged with committing a breach of the peace at Hurst on December 31st last. Both prisoners pleaded guilty, the female prisoner adding that she was in her own home.

It was pointed out to the Bench that the defendants failed to appear in the first case and a warrant was issued for their arrest. — The male prisoner said that the reason they did not appear was that they were afraid. They had been living at Glossop.

A constable deposed that at 11.45pm on the last day of the old year he saw the two prisoners creating a disturbance in Union-road, Hurst, using very bad language. There was a crowd of people about and witness saw the female prisoner strike another woman. — Prisoners said that on account of it being New Year's Eve they got a drop too much beer. — The magistrates bound them over in 40s to keep the peace for six months.

Collier Heavily Fined

At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, Wm. ANDERSON, collier at Ashton Moss Colliery, was summoned by James FERNS, foreman at the New Moss Colliery, for committing a breach of the Coal Mines Act by having matches in his possession whilst in the mine, contrary to the general regulations. Defendant pleaded guilty.

Mr LEE, who appeared to prosecute, said that although James FERNS was nominally the complainant in this case, the action was really brought on behalf of the New Moss Colliery Co. On Sunday night, April 27th, the defendant, who was working in the night shift, went to his work, and finished about 6.30 next morning. Mr FERNS was at the bottom of the mine, and it was part of his duty to examine the workmen by passing his hands over their clothing. He felt something in one of the pockets of the defendant, and on asking him what it was he replied "Nothing."

Ultimately he produced a box of matches, and said he knew that it was wrong and that he was very sorry. He said he must have put the matches in his pocket at the weekend and forgotten to take them out. Extracts of the Coal Mines Regulation Act were posted about the mine, and any collier could have a copy. The foreman took the defendant to the manager, who felt in duty bound to take these proceedings. The colliery authorities had made a lot of complaints recently of finding spent matches at the bottom of the pit, and so recently as last week a boy working there was walking along and trod on a match, which ignited. There was no telling what the consequences might have been, but fortunately nothing serious occurred.

The colliery authorities wished to protect the lives of their workpeople, and it was a source of danger for workmen to go down the mine with matches in their possession. They did not often bring cases like this before the bench, and under the circumstances they wished to press the case, as recently they had found so many spent matches at the bottom of the mine.

The Magistrates' Clerk: It is their duty to bring such cases before the magistrates; the law compels them to do so. (To the defendant): You knew perfectly well that you had no right to have these matches? Yes, sir. — You were endangering not only your own life but the lives of others. — Defendant said he had had 19 years' experience, and had always been very cautious before. He did not know he had the matches, or he might have thrown them on one side. — The Clerk: And then someone might have put their foot on them and caused an explosion. That is a nice excuse to make.

Defendant said that he got the matches at a public-house and placed them in his pocket. — Constable SHOESMITH said that defendant went out of the house on the Sunday morning to borrow matches to light the fire, not remembering that he had the matches in his pocket.

The Chairman: You have endangered the lives of all these people, probably through drinking. If you had not been drinking these matches would probably not have been in your pocket. We could fine you a great deal more, but we shall fine you £1 and costs or one month's imprisonment.

A Missing Witness — Case Adjourned

At the Ashton Borough Police Court on Monday, John BYRNE, Wellington Inn, Cavendish-street, was summoned for allowing or suffering gaming on his licensed premises on the 25th April. Frank BYRNE was summoned for aiding and abetting. Mr GARFORTH appeared for the prosecution, and Mr POWNALL for the defence. — When the case was called Mr GARFORTH asked that the name of Joseph Robert ADDIE be called, as he was under subpœna as a witness. The Clerk: I suppose you have reasons; let him be called. — The name was then called in the room and in the corridors, but there was no response.

Mr GARFORTH then said he prosecuted on behalf of the police, and the charge was that so far as the landlord was concerned, he suffered gaming to be carried on upon his licensed premises, and as regarded Frank BYRNE, he aided and abetted by taking part in the game himself and otherwise. The information was laid under section 17 of the Act of 1892, and he wanted to call the attention of the Bench to a rather peculiar thing in the section, that it differed from a similar section in another act, inasmuch as the word "knowingly," which was in the act before, had been intentionally omitted from the Act of 1892, because a different construction might be put upon the words "suffer gaming," or "permit gaming." It had been held time and time again that a landlord did not need to actually connive at the act of gaming, but if he "suffered" either by negligence himself to provide supervision, he was held to be liable, and to be convicted for suffering or permitting gaming.

He should be able to prove by evidence that the landlord was cognisant the whole time of what was going on, and even if he did not, the fact that he was within a yard or two of the room in which gaming was going on, serving in the bar and serving in the room, he knew or ought to have known that such gaming was taking place.

It was in the afternoon of the 26th April — a Saturday — that two men, one of them Joseph Robert ADDIE, who had not answered his subpœna, for reasons which he would endeavour to explain went into the Wellington Inn beerhouse, Cavendish-street, kept by the defendant, John BYRNE. These two people had drawn their weekly wages, and after having had a glass or two in the front room one of them went to the yard. In going to the yard he had to pass and repass a sort of taproom or kitchen on the right-hand side of the house. He there saw a lot of men playing at cards for what was known as "twopenny jacks." That was to say that the men in the room, or those who were players, each put 2d together to form a "pool" or "kitty," and then they played at some game, generally "all-fours," for the whole of the jacks, less a percentage to the landlord.

Whilst the game was going on there was another most interesting little game being played by the defendant Frank BYRNE, an ingenious game, a sort of hybrid or cross between "roulette" and "banker." He (Mr GARFORTH) had in his hand a pack of cards, and he would show the Bench by demonstrating how it was done. It must be clear to at least one ————

Mr POWNALL asked if this was a game to be found in any book upon card playing? He did not see that the court could accept Mr GARFORTH's ipsi dicit. The Clerk replied that Mr GARFORTH understood the game. — (Laughter.)

Mr GARFORTH said it was a fair opening of the case. He never said anything in his opening that he was not prepared to prove by the evidence of the witnesses. After describing and illustrating the game, he went on to say that the man who had been to the backyard, and who was the real prosecutor in this matter, was tempted by seeing this game being played, and he went and had a shilling or two on a set of these cards. He then went back into the room where his brother-in-law, Robert ADDIE was. They both then went to the room where the card playing was, and the result was that in the course of three hours during which he stayed there this man, James Henry SCHOFIELD, lost the whole of his wages of 32s.

He then said he had been cheated of his money, because the manipulation of the cards would be easy whilst there was a certain amount of disorder in the room. He went out and informed the police, with the result that Sergeant BUTTERS and two other officers, Constables HEIGHWAY and CORBETT, went back to the Wellington with this man SCHOFIELD. They found in this room some ten, fifteen, or twenty men standing around whilst the cards were being dealt.

He wanted to call to the attention of the Bench to the fact that these cards were being dealt face upwards, which was not requisite to whist, except one card. He mentioned that because the police did not see any money pass. As soon as the police made their appearance the cards were at once withdrawn. In the presence of the police, ADDIE and SCHOFIELD charged the two defendants with having 32s of his money, and they never denied it in the slightest degree. That was some evidence that they knew the game was being carried on. Robert ADDIE had not answered to his subpœna. He went to the defendant's house last night, and at ten o'clock had fetched him away.

Mr POWNALL said that was the first he had heard about the man. Mr GARFORTH could have an adjournment to bring him here if he liked. He denied it in toto. Mr GARFORTH said so far as Mr POWNALL was concerned he never made any suggestion. Mr POWNALL said his client also denied it. Mr GARFORTH said he did not intend they should take it that way. Mr W HAMER asked if Mr GARFORTH was prepared to go on without him. The Chairman thought they had better have the man present.

Mr GARFORTH said he rather agreed with the Chairman. He might say that ADDIE lived with this man SCHOFIELD, and they were in the position of brothers-in-law. He was there last night, and this morning he had gone away. He (Mr GARFORTH) was in the hands of his instructors, and it was for the Chief Constable to decide. He had ADDIE before him on Saturday in the office below, and the statement he had made in his opening was what ADDIE had told him himself. He thought they had better have an adjournment.

The bench (Dr HUGHES, W HAMER, J KERSHAW, W TIPPING and E TAYLOR) then decided to adjourn the case until Monday next for the presence of the missing witness.

Children Injured

Robert HIGHAM, the two-year old son of an Ashton labourer, living in Hill-street, met with a shocking accident on Tuesday night whilst playing in the vicinity of his home. He wandered into the roadway, and was knocked down by a trap, which was in charge of Percy DAVIES, of King-street, Dukinfield, and bruised. The driver of the vehicle afterwards informed the police that he did not see the child, but when in Hill-street he felt the trap jump over something, which later proved to be the child's head.

Evan WEBSTER, aged 6 years, living at 19 Tatton-street, Ashton, was knocked down by a milk float in Old-street at 7.30 on Wednesday night, and sustained a bruise inside the right thigh and shock to the system. The driver of the milk float drove on without revealing his identity.
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