15 March 1902

The Blind Pianist of Fairfield

On Saturday afternoon, the blind pianist, MENDEL, who appeared at the Hippodrome on Monday last, was introduced at the Grosvenor Club by Mr H E MOSS to a number of musical critics and others. MENDEL is an Englishman, is a native of Fairfield, near Manchester, and is in his 26th year.

It is said when only a year and eight months old he sang a Moody and Sankey hymn, which he played on a harmonium when he had reached two and a half years. At Henshaw’s Blind Asylum he learned the rudiments of music by the Braille system, and subsequently won a scholarship at the Royal Normal College.

As a pianist pure and simple, his performances are particularly remarkable, but when one realises that sight has been denied him, and that all the drawbacks of reading the music by the touch of one hand while playing with the other, he has acquired a repertoire of over one thousand pieces, one realises how memory has come in to supply the loss of precious sight.

A theme was given by the musical director at Frascati’s, and on it MENDEL improvised with great skill and success, after the style and in the manner of Mendelssohn. Liszt, Chopin, Mozart, and Bach. He played a Beethoven sonata and the “Tannhauser” overture, and altogether made a great impression on a highly critical audience. His memory is wonderful, and his repertoire, at the suggestion of the audience, is remarkable.

Engaging a Clerk from Ashton-under-Lyne

Some few days ago, a young man named BACKHURST, of Ashton-under-Lyne, read in one of the Manchester papers an advertisement to the following effect:– Wanted, a Clerk, competent, immediately, 25 to 40, to manage large office, permanency, thoroughly trustworthy, security £100 required. Salary, £4 weekly to energetic man.– Address, with full particulars in confidence. “G” co. 18 Tyldesley-road, Blackpool.

BACKHURST sent in an application, and received the following reply, signed “John Prince GRAY.” – Dear Sir.– When can you commence if engaged? Would you sign three years’ engagement at a progressive salary, £4 10s to £5. You would be required to sign an agreement and pay £50 down. On Wednesday you would proceed to London with me to see other principals &c. You would be required to stay in London two weeks to study the details of the business on salary and at our expense. Business financial, not money lending – largest financial house in the world. About to establish a branch in Manchester. I am only in Blackpool for the benefit of health of self and family. Can you see me this week and sign?

BACKHURST visited Blackpool, saw GRAY, and was offered the position on condition that he deposited £10. He was further informed during the interview that the firm’s London address was 5 Frogmore-street, that the cost of furbishing the Manchester office would be about £320, and there would be four clerks from London, and two others. These BACKHURST would have to engage himself. GRAY further informed him that he had £10,000 in the firm, and on account of especial ability and attention to business, he had been taken into partnership. He also proceeded to state that they had dealings on the Stock Exchange of £40,000 and upwards, and that the safe in Manchester office would contain on average £20,000 in paper and cash. He then signed and paid £10 deposit.

GRAY then informed BACKHURST that he lived at Victoria House, South Reddish, and kept two horses, but when BACKHURST went over to Reddish later no one knew GRAY. The agreement, however, was finally entered into by which the two parties were to meet in Manchester on Monday morning, when BACKHURST would receive his £10 back, and afterwards proceed to London. BACHURST waited in Manchester, but his man never turned up, and the same evening he took out a warrant for his arrest.

On Tuesday morning GRAY was placed in the dock at the Blackpool Police Court and charged with having obtained the sum of £10 by means of false pretence from George BACHURST. The Chief Constable stated that he had received a letter from J F Morgan and Co, the firm which GRAY had said he was connected, stating that he was neither a partner nor a client. Neither was he connected with them in any way, and they had requested him to put a stop to these reports.

GRAY stated that he had informed BACKHURST that the firm was J and F Morgan, and that made a big difference. Upon the application of the Chief Constable, a remand was granted until Monday, and bail was allowed in the sum of £200.

John HADFIELD was before the Ashton county justices on Wednesday charged with committing a breach of the peace at Hurst on February 23rd, to which he pleaded “guilty of being excited a bit” among his own family. It was the family who were making the noise, and not him. He had had a drop of drink, which caused him to get excited.– A constable stated that defendant was quarrelsome with his wife and there was a tremendous crowd about.– Defendant was bound over in 40s to keep the peace for three months.

LESS DANGEROUS THAN WORKING IN THE PIT.– Thos TURNER, who said he came from Heywood, was in custody at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, charged with begging at Hurst on March 10th.– Prisoner pleaded guilty. He said he came to Ashton to join the Army Service Corps. He had worked in a pit, but his father took him away because he said it was dangerous. He had since been in the Militia.– The Clerk: That was less dangerous?– (Laughter.) – Superintendent HEWITT said there were two previous convictions recorded against the prisoner.– The bench sentenced prisoner to 14 days’ hard labour.

SOCIAL PARTY.– The MNC, Hillgate-street, Hurst Brook 4th Bible Class (girls), held a social in the school on Wednesday evening, March 5th, Mr C SPENCER presiding over a good audience. A very interesting programme was gone through consisting of solos, choruses, recitations, and a dialogue entitled “A real fairy.” Soloists, Miss Annie SCHOFIELD and Miss Alice A HALL; reciters, Misses BURGESS, GEE, SHAW and SELBY; Mr J GARNER’s humorous song , “Throw it though the window,” caused much amusement, as did his ventriloquial sketch. Refreshments were served, and the singing of the Doxology terminated the proceedings.

HE WAS A NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR.– At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, John HARRISON, an elderly man, who said he came from Stalybridge, was in the dock on a charge of acting as peddler without having a certificate at Hurst on March 11th.– Prisoner admitted the offence, and said he had hawked goods before and never had a certificate.– A constable stated that prisoner was begging as well as hawking.– The prisoner: I was trying to sell a few pins.– The constable: It was only a matter of begging. I found 3_d on him.– Prisoner: I come from Stalybridge, and am only like one of your next door neighbours.– (Laughter.) I am an old self-actor minder; my eyesight has almost left me, and I have had to leave the spinning-room.– The magistrates dismissed the case.

Again Convicted

On Monday, at the Stalybridge Police Court, James Walter KNIGHT, who has been convicted many times at Stalybridge, Hyde and Ashton, was charged with trespassing in search of game on the 23rd February on land belonging to Fred OLLERENSHAW. He pleaded not guilty.

Constable KIDD said that at 1.25 pm on Sunday 23rd ultimo, he was on duty in Huddersfield-road, along with Sergeant HEATH, when he saw two men in a field going from place to place and kneeling down. Witness went to ascertain who the men were. In the meantime they had got to the quarry, and it was there where witness caught up with them. He found KNIGHT to be one of the men; the other gave a false name and address.

Where the men were knocking about there were plenty of rabbit holes, and KNIGHT had with him a dog and a box, the latter presumably containing a ferret.– The Magistrates’ Clerk: Do you know anything about hares; have you seen any there?– KIDD: Yes, on the land.– KNIGHT: Did you see me on OLLERENSHAW’s land? Yes.– You did not. I was at Ralph RHODES’ public-house on that Sunday. How can you prove I was after hares when you never saw me? I was within two yards of you.

Fred OLLERENSHAW, farmer, said there were hares on his land. On the morning in question he saw KNIGHT in that direction.

Sergeant HEATH corroborated the constable’s evidence. He could tell KNIGHT 300 yards away. Witness knew defendant’s dog well, and it was with KNIGHT that day. Witness saw the man kneeling down and looking under a cricket tent near Copley quarry.– By Councillor HOPWOOD: He did not see defendant use his ferret.– KNIGHT remarked that the sergeant was telling an untruth when he said he saw him on the land. If the case was adjourned he could prove being at Matley. If anyone could “gise” a hare on OLLERENSHAW’s land he “would stand six months!”– (Laughter.) – Alderman FENTON: Why don’t you bring your witnesses here?– KNIGHT said they would not bother coming for him.

KIDD, recalled, said he spoke to KNIGHT on the land, and when he asked him what he was doing there KNIGHT said, “We are not doing any harm; we are only ratting.” The second man gave the name of “William BROWN, Vernon-street, Glossop.– Defendant said there was no proof that he was the man.– Councillor HOPWOOD: Don’t talk like that man.– KNIGHT: You would believe the officers if they tell a pack of lies! I can plainly see I cannot get any justice here! It is always me, but as I say it is no use me talking.– (Laughter.)

Councillor FENTON said the last time KNIGHT was before the Bench he was told he would be severely dealt with if he came again. He would be fined 40s and costs, or one month’s imprisonment. KNIGHT: Do you call that justice and fair play?– The police: Stand down! KNIGHT: Yes, stand down, that’s about the size of it! Defendant was the removed to the cells and later to Strangeways Gaol.

William WHITWORTH was fined 1s and costs at Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, for having no light on his vehicle at Audenshaw on February 24th, to which he pleaded guilty, adding that he lost the top off his lamp, and as it was raining the light went out.

FOUND IN A DRUNKEN STATE.– Emily MOSS failed to appear at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday to answer a charge of being drunk at Audenshaw on the 22nd ult.– A constable deposed to finding defendant lying drunk in Gower-street at 1.15am on the date in question, and to taking her home.– Fined 7s 6d and costs, or 14 days.

APPLICATION FOR AN EXTENSION OF TIME REFUSED.– At the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, Thomas BURGESS applied for an extension of time at the Railway Hotel, Audenshaw, for three-quarters of an hour on March 15th, on the occasion of a farewell and presentation.– The Chairman (Mr C T BRADBURY): The Bench think that 11 o’clock is late enough on a Saturday night, and they refuse the extension.

SLEEPING OUT.– John DAVIES, who was dressed as a navvy and said he came from Glamorgan, was in custody at the Ashton Police Court, on Wednesday, charged with sleeping out at Audenshaw, on March 12th. He pleaded guilty, and said he was roaming the country looking for work.– He was sentenced to seven days’ hard labour.– John CHAPMAN pleaded guilty to a similar charge, at Audenshaw, on March 12th, and said he was a linoleum printer by trade, and up to ten weeks ago worked at Shepley Mills. He had lost his wife and got out of work through having had a drop of beer.– Superintendent HEWITT said there were two previous convictions recorded against the prisoner, and the bench passed sentence of seven days’ hard labour.

An inquest was held at the Snipe Inn, Audenshaw, on Friday afternoon, by Mr J F PRICE, district coroner, on the body of a male child found dead in a field off Audenshaw-road, Audenshaw, under rather singular circumstances.

Albert ELLISON, hatter, Gas-street, Ashton, stated that he and a collier, named Jethro LEE, of Ashton, were walking along Manchester-road, Audenshaw, about 1.10pm on March 5th, when he saw a parcel, the outside wrapper of which was a piece of chocolate coloured oilcloth, tied round with a stay-lace, lying in a field, about one and a half yards from a hedge side. He lifted the parcel up, and on opening it found it contained the body of a male child. It was a fully-developed child, apparently having been dead ten or twelve days, as it was slightly decomposed, and did not appear to have been washed or had any attention at birth.

The child was wrapped in a piece of blue striped cotton, which appeared to have been used as an apron, and there was also a piece of chocolate coloured table oilcloth, rather mouldy on the inside and almost a yard square. He at once gave information to the police, and the body of the child was removed to the Snipe Inn, Audenshaw.

Dr Russell JUDD, surgeon, practising in Stockport-road, Ashton, deposed to having made a post mortem examination on the body of the child. All the organs were healthy. The lungs were inflated, and in his opinion the child must have breathed after birth. The Foreman (Mr J CROMPTON) asked the doctor if there was any signs of strangulation, to which he replied in the negative, and said that the child had simply died from inattention at birth.

The Coroner said the jury would have to simply rely upon the doctor’s evidence. The jury returned a verdict of found dead, and that the child had had a separate existence, and had died from want of attention at birth.

The Ashton police were notified on Friday of the death of Annie WHITTAKER, widow, aged 39, which took place at her home, 50 Margaret-street, Ashton. Deceased acted as housekeeper for the tenant of the house, Mrs Lilian TEARE, wife of William TEARE, joiner.

On the 2nd inst she went upstairs for the purpose of dressing herself and about five minutes afterwards Mrs TEARE heard her commence to descend the stairs and when she had gone down one or two steps she fell. Mrs TEARE on going forward found the deceased lying at the bottom of the stairs. She complained of severe pains in the head and there was bleeding at the nose and mouth. Dr MANN was sent for and found a wound at the back of her head. She became unconscious and was removed to bed where she remained until death.

A painful discovery was made on Thursday morning week, when the Manchester train due at 11.40 on the Midland line ran into New-street Station, Birmingham. When the passengers alighted a lady attempted to awaken her husband, who was apparently asleep, but could not succeed, and a closer examination revealed the fact that he was dead.

It appeared that the deceased, Mr Walter Trevand WARDEN, who was 40 years of age, and resided at 20 Currier-lane, Ashton, had been staying at the home of his sister in Urmston. He had been ill – suffering from consumption; but the doctor had given him permission to return home, and he and Mrs WARDEN left Manchester together.

There was nothing to indicate any serious developments on the journey. About half an hour before New-street Station was reached Mr WARDEN appeared to drop off to sleep, and neither his wife or the other passengers noticed anything unusual in his appearance. Only when an attempt was made to awaken him was the discovery made that he had passed away.

The body was removed to the mortuary at Moor-street. The deceased gentleman had been employed as cashier for Mr James RIDYARD, contractor, for about six years, but had not been able to follow his employment since last September. He had served 21 years in the navy, and was in receipt of a pension. He was a quiet, steady, sober man, and respected by a wide circle of friends.

The interment took place at Yardley Cemetery, Birmingham, on Saturday, amid many manifestations of sorrow and regret. The following were the mourners:– First coach – Mrs W T WARDEN (widow), Mr W WARDEN (brother, Stockport), Mr Joshua HOPEWELL (Urmston), Mrs WARDEN (Stockport). Second coach.– Mrs JOHNS (mother-in-law, Plymouth), Mr and Mrs ELMORE (sister and brother in law, Plymouth), Mr W H LANGLEY (Stretchford).

Operetta “Sherwood’s Queen”

In their quest of ways and means for liquidating the remaining debt on the new premises, the members of the Taunton Sunday School hit upon a happy idea in the production of the operetta “Sherwood’s Queen, or Robin Hood and his Merry Men,” in the schoolroom on Saturday evening. The operetta is descriptive of the life and scenes of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest.

The story is localised in Barnadale and Sherwood, between Doncaster and Nottingham, and is familiar to most people. Whether there was a real Robin Hood or not is a question somewhat difficult to solve, although in the accretions of legendary lore there is said to be much that is authentic. He is represented as a great sportsman, the incomparable archer and lover of freedom.

The story is charming in its simplicity, and despite the fact that it deals with a class of desperadoes branded as outlaws, it points a moral. The way in which the virtuous and seductive Maid Marion influences the proud and defiant Robin Hood, callous and inured to the wild and unrefining influences of forest life is full of romance. All the solos and choruses were set to lively music and were appropriate to forest life and hunting.

The characters were well sustained by the following:– Robin Hood, chief of the Sherwood outlaws, Mr W SCHOFIELD; Little John, Robin Hood’s lieutenant, Mr J W BUCKLEY; Will Scarlett, Robin Hood’s attendant, Mr A SCHOFIELD; Friar Tuck, Father Confessor to the Foresters, Mr L SCHOFIELD; Allan-a-Dale, minstrel and ballad maker, Mr D ANDREW; John Arthwell, a Nottingham citizen, Mr W KERSHAW; Marian, his daughter, Miss WADSWORTH; Alice, Marian’s maid, Mrs SCHOFIELD; Widow, Mrs BUCKLEY.

The last lecture of the season promoted by the Dukinfield and District Branch of the National Protestant League was delivered on Tuesday evening by Mr J W D BARRON, of Hyde, in the Wycliffe Memorial School. Mr BARRON is an eloquent and forceful denunciator of lawlessness in the Church of England. He told his audience that there are no fewer than 9,000 clergymen who were breaking the law every week of the year.

There were irregularities in ornamentation, ritual, and doctrine, all contrary to the reformed Protestant religion. It was quite a common thing to find altars in churches, and people became so familiar with them that they did not think there was anything wrong in such. There were lighted candles on the altars and the invocation of saints, which was strongly condemned by the Protestant Church. The Mass and real presence were also part and parcel of the ceremonial doctrine of certain clergy in the church. He also pointed out the danger which accrued from these Popish systems, and exhorted his audience to do all they could to stem this Romeward stream.
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