29 March 1902


There was singular, and might have been serious, occurrence near the Corporation Arms, Guidebridge, about 8.30 on Saturday night. An electric car was passing in the direction of Ashton when suddenly a loud noise like the bursting of a sky-rocket was heard, and sparks scintillating about in all directions. The car was suddenly brought to a standstill, the lights went out temporarily, and the passengers became alarmed.

The motorman and the conductor descended into the road to ascertain the cause, and lying on the ground they discovered a telegraph or telephone wire, which had somehow become detached, and fallen on the overhead trolley. Immediately the wire and the electric conductor of the car formed contact, which was probably only for about a hundredth part of a second, as the electric was travelling at a good speed at the time, fusion was set up, resulting in an explosion. When the wire fell from overhead several persons were standing immediately underneath, and it was lucky that they escaped injury.

The members of the Wesleyan Church, Hooley Hill, were installed in their new Sunday school on Saturday afternoon, on which day the opening ceremony took place. It is a striking tribute to their zeal and persistency, after years of unflagging efforts in the way of a bazaar, sales of work, tea meetings, &c., backed up by a patient and persevering ladies’ sewing class, that such a magnificent structure stands so very well. It will be a blessing to the locality for both Sunday and day school purposes. So expeditiously has the contractor (Mr J THORNLEY) gone on with the work that less than 12 months have elapsed since the foundation stone laying. The new school and the furnishing will cost altogether about £3,200.
Magistrates seem to be like time and tide, which waits for no man. At the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, a young man put in an appearance just at the rising of the court and said that the prosecutor in a case had sent him as his representative and to apologise, saying that he was detained by the guardians.

“Guardians are guardians and magistrates are magistrates,” said the chairman, “and we don’t wait for anybody.” The inexorable hand of the law, however, relinquished its grip, and after a little good-humoured banter, the case was proceeded with.

An Ashton Man’s Legacy

At the Ashton Borough Court on Thursday, John W TAYLOR was summoned by his wife, Emily TAYLOR, for an aggravated assault. The evidence of the prosecutrix, who was represented by Mr A LEES, solicitor, was to the effect that on Sunday last her husband went home the worse for drink. He thumped and kicked her and further assaulted her by striking her in the face. Her eye was bruised, and she now complained of pains in her head.

Two years ago defendant had a legacy left him amounting to £2,000, and of this sum he gave his wife £100. A deed of separation was entered into some time ago, but the parties got together again.– By Mr LEES: She borrowed 5s 6d on Monday for her husband to go to Lincoln and when he went away she had no food in the house.

Defendant said that when he returned home from Lincoln there was no fire in the house. His wife was drunk and the children were in bed with their clothes on, and he had to undress them. On Sunday night when he got home his wife was lying on the sofa, drunk, and when she got up she staggered. She said she would be on the couch, and when he went upstairs she followed him and made a bother. He shoved her and her face struck against the bedpost. It was not his wife he had to contend with altogether; it was her mother.

The Chairman (Mr W HAMER): Has that fortune of £2,000 been wasted? Yes. I gave her £100.– What was the business that you went to Lincoln for? I went to earn a living, and I got something, and when I got home I found her drunk.– I suppose there was a race on? Yes.– What became of the £1,900? I have got without it, as they say.– You think the wife should be able to keep the £100 when you got rid of the £1,900? I should think £1 a week ought to keep them.

The Bench fined defendant 10s, and costs, or 14 days’ hard labour, but refused to grant a separation order, the Chairman remarking that if defendant was again brought before the Bench on a similar charge he would be severely dealt with.

Cowardly Action

At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, George ENGLAND was charged with being drunk and disorderly and assaulting Constable KNOWLES whilst in the execution of his duty at Waterloo on March 8th.– Defendant did not appear in person, but sent his wife to represent him, and she pleaded guilty to being drunk, and not guilty to disorderly, and that her husband did not remember anything about the assault.

Constable KNOWLES said that at 7.30pm on the 8th inst, he saw the defendant drunk and disorderly in Wellington-street, Waterloo. He was shouting and swearing and wanting to fight. On asking him for his name and address he refused the same, and witness took him to the police station. On the way he turned round and kicked witness on the shins and struck him in the face. A young man who was passing along the road lent his assistance, and defendant kicked him also.

The Magistrates’ Clerk: Why isn’t your husband here this morning? He said he would not be able to come as he was working.– The Chairman: It is a cowardly thing for a man to send his wife in a charge of this sort.– The Clerk: What does he do? A pattern-maker.– Superintendent HEWITT: He is bound under a recognisance to appear. That was the condition under which he was released from the police station. I also issued a reminder to him so that he ought to know that he should be here.

The Chairman: We thin it is a cowardly thing that he has sent you. The police shall be protected in this court, and he will be fined 20s and costs, or one month with hard labour, for assaulting the police, 5s for costs, or seven days, for being drunk and disorderly, and 3s for witness.

The inhabitants of Daisy Nook, the sequestered little hamlet near Ashton, so popular with the young at Easter time and with the older and more sedate during the summer months, were thrown into a state of consternation and excitement on Sunday night about 8.20, when it became known that a boy named Albert SALTHOUSE, aged 12, son of Mr James SALTHOUSE, of Oak Hill House, Littlemoss, had been shot.

It appears that SALTHOUSE and a number of other boys were standing near the wooden bridge over the river Medlock at Daisy Nook, when a young man and young woman, lovers apparently, passed by in the direction of Crime Lake. SALTHOUSE, it is said, made some remarks as they passed, and this appears to have irritated the couple, for when about 15 yards away the young man suddenly turned round, and snatching a revolver from his pocket, he pointed it full at SALTHOUSE and fired, at the same time shouting out “Take that.”

The bullet from the revolver passed completely through SALTHOUSE’s thigh just above the knee, fortunately only just missing the femur or thigh bone. SALTHOUSE shouted out “I’m shot,” and fell to the ground, suffering great pain. Instead of chasing and capturing the perpetrator of the deed the companions of SALTHOUSE gathered around him, rendering all the assistance they possibly could, and raising an alarm.

They carried him to the surgery of Dr BOWMAN, who on examination found a nasty flesh wound. The bullet could not be found, having passed out at the back of the leg. After receiving treatment the boy was conveyed home.

Sergeant DOVE, of the county police, was on the spot shortly after the occurrence, and he at once went to work to discover the man who fired the shot. He had no clue, the boys being unable to give any description of the man with the exception that he was a young man about 20 years of age, and was wearing a short fawn-coloured overcoat and hard felt hat. Judging from the wound in the boy’s leg the bullet must have been fired from a revolver of large calibre and not an ordinary toy pistol. So far the police have not succeeded in arresting the man, but their vigilant investigations, it is hoped, will be successful in unravelling the matter.

Smart Capture by Sergeant Wild

At the Ashton Borough Police Court on Monday, two slovenly unkempt youths named Samuel SIMKISS and James GREENWOOD were in the dock charged with breaking and entering the dwelling house of George HAGUE, and stealing several articles of clothing and 2s in money between 11.45pm and 5.30am on the 23rd March. On the case being called the Clerk said the charge would be reduced to one of larceny, so that the magistrates might deal with the case.

Geo. HAGUE, prosecutor, said: I am a greengrocer, and reside at Oldham-road, Ashton. At a quarter to 12 o’clock on Saturday midnight I retired to bed. About 5.30 on the following morning I was told that thieves had been in and I came downstairs. I found that the two shirts, two pairs of clogs, and a number of other articles produced had been taken from the house. They are worth about 15s. I found that two dirty shirts had been left in place of mine, and two pairs of old clogs.

Sergeant WILD said: About five minutes past seven o’clock on Sunday morning I received information of this larceny and a description of the articles stolen. About 9.50 I saw the two prisoners in Scotland-street. I noticed they were both wearing clean shirts. On closer examination I noticed one of the shirts seemed too large for the prisoner SIMKISS, and that the colours corresponded with the shirts stolen. I noticed that GREENWOOD was wearing clogs which answered the description.

I thereupon arrested the prisoners and brought them to the Town Hall. I searched them and found the purse produced in SIMKISS’s pocket, containing 1_ d. I charged them. GREENWOOD said, “We know nothing about the boots,” and SIMKISS replied, “We know nothing about the soap.” The boots and soap, as well as the other articles produced, were mentioned in my charge. The prisoners admitted that the shirts and clogs left in Mr HAGUE’s house were theirs.

The Chief Constable said the prisoners came from Stalybridge. SIMKISS had been up there seven times, four times for stealing. GREENWOOD had been up three times, twice for stealing, and SIMKISS had been whipped twice. The prisoners were committed to prison for three months.

Sir,– Can you allow me space in your paper to call attention to the increasing number of people who buys their goods in Manchester. One cannot help noticing the van loads of furniture coming to private houses in Ashton day after day. I have lived in Ashton many years, and have always been able to suit myself here, and have the satisfaction of knowing that I have assisted my fellow-townsmen by spending my money in my own town.

There are people who would have believe that they have the welfare of Ashton at heart, but, strange to say, some of these are the first to go elsewhere. There is no doubt that furniture, &c, can be bought quite as well and as cheap in Ashton as Manchester. In fact, if people would only think the Ashton tradesman has a reputation to keep up, and it does not pay him to sell goods that will not do him credit, whereas the Manchester man never expects to see his customer again.

People say they get a better choice in Manchester, there is more variety, and the prices are lower. Would not our tradesmen be able to keep larger variety if these people would buy in Ashton; and as to cost, an old Ashtonian tradesman told me that he could supply anything a customer might see in Manchester, at Manchester price. Any fair-minded person would look upon these out-of-town transactions as mean and unchristian-like.– Thanking you in anticipation, I remain yours &c, – A REAL ASHTONIAN

A case is reported in which, at the end of the eighteenth century, a man was executed for murdering his brother under the following circumstances, The two men lived together in a house not far from the coast of Sussex. They occupied the same bedroom. One morning, on of them, whom we will call A, was discovered to have mysteriously disappeared. The bed on which the men slept was stained by a quantity of blood, and spots of blood were traced from the room out of the back door of the house, which was nearest the coast, and down to the cliffs. There the traces disappeared. The other brother, B, had been the first to give the alarm. Unable to offer any explanation of the mystery, he was apprehended. He protested his innocence, but in giving the alarm was treated as a damning fact against him, and he was executed.

Now what really happened? Just this: that A had been seized during the night with a violent fit of bleeding at the nose; getting up, he went out of doors in the hope that the fresh air would relieve him. In that way he walked towards the cliffs. It was the dead of night, and he suddenly found himself in the middle of a gang of smugglers, who, taking him for a spy, disbelieving his story and disregarding his protests, carried him on board the ship which was discharging the contraband.

In due course he found himself, weeks afterwards, in the Barbados. As there was no telegraph in those days, he took the first passage he could get home again, and several months after his disappearance turned up, to the consternation of everybody, only to discover that his unhappy brother had in the meantime had been murdered by a dozen jurymen who had failed to give the prisoner the benefit of the doubt.
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