5 September 1903

A Victim of Epilepsy

The rather singular circumstances in connection with the death of Elizabeth SINGLETON were reported to the Ashton police on Tuesday. Deceased, who was 22 years of age, resided with her widowed mother at 47 Uxbridge-street, Ashton, and enjoyed good health up to seven years ago since when she had been subject to epileptic fits. She had been treated by Dr WALLACE, at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, and also by Drs PEARCE and SMITH, of Ashton, but not for the last 12 months. During that time she had appeared somewhat better, though a month ago she had an epileptic seizure.

She got up about eight o’clock on Tuesday morning, and stayed a short time in the house, afterwards going into the back yard. A few minutes afterwards her mother heard her scream, and she at once ran to the closet in the yard, and found the door closed. She tried to open it, but could not do so, and obtained the assistance of two neighbours, Mrs KERSHAW and Mrs TAYLOR, who took the door off its hinges and found the deceased in a kneeling position, her face flat on the floor. She was carried into the house, and Dr PEARCE sent for. On his arrival shortly afterwards he pronounced life extinct.

The inquest was held at the Oddfellows Arms, Kenyon-street, yesterday by Mr J F PRICE (district coroner). — Nellie SINGLETON was called, and said she lived at Uxbridge-street, and was the mother of the deceased, who followed no regular occupation, but worked occasionally at Bostock’s. She was aged 22 last January, and was in good health up to seven years ago, when she commenced having epileptic fits.

It was twelve months since deceased had any medical attention and she seemed better lately. It was about a month since she had a fit. On Tuesday morning she got up at eight o’clock, and she went into the closet. She would have been in about five minutes when witness heard her make the peculiar noise which she had always made when about to go into a fit.

Witness ran out, but could not open the closet door, and had to send for assistance. A man came and lifted the door of its hinges. Deceased was in a kneeling position with her head bent forward on her chest. She would not be able to breathe in that position. The man went for Dr PEARCE. When taken out of the closet, witness thought she was dead.

Sarah Ann KERSHAW, of 41 Uxbridge-street, said she knew deceased, and knew she was subject to fits. — The jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased from the effects of suffocation, accidentally caused by a fit of epilepsy.

Hard Swearing

At the Dukinfield Police Court, on Thursday, Harry EVANS, licensee of the Talbot Inn beerhouse, King-street, was summoned for permitting drunkenness upon his licensed premises. — Mr G HEATHCOTE presented on behalf of the police, and Mr J A GARFORTH (instructed by the Licensed Victuallers and Wine and Beersellers’ Association) defended. He pleaded not guilty. At the request of Mr HEATHCOTE the witnesses were ordered out of court.

Mr HEATHCOTE, in opening the case, stated that on Saturday evening, the 15th August, at 8.50, two police officers — Inspector SKITT and Sergeant LECKY — went into the Talbot Inn. In the taproom there were 14 men sitting. One man named BRUCE was at once seen to be under the influence of alcohol. He had a pint vessel in front of him containing porter, out of which he was drinking.

Mrs EVANS was in the taproom at this moment. When she saw the officers she went to BRUCE, and said something to him in an undertone. The police did not hear, but immediately she had ceased speaking to him he looked round, and said he did not care for anyone when he had had a pint or two. The police sent for the licensee as he was not in the room. He came into the taproom, and BRUCE pointed out to him. The licensee turned to his wife and said, “You should not have served him; I cannot attend to the music and this room as well.” — Mr BATES: The music was in another room? Mr GARFORTH: Yes, it was a phonograph.

Mr HEATHCOTE continuing said the police told the licensee the man BRUCE was drunk. He said, “It is a long while since I served him with a pint.” He ordered BRUCE to leave the house. He got up, proceeded down the passage to the front door. As he went he was seen to be staggering, and Inspector SKITT said to the licensee, “What do you think of him now?” He replied, “Oh, he has had too much.” BRUCE was escorted away from the house by two men, but he was instructed to say they were hold of him..

When BRUCE had left the house the police told the licensee he would be reported for permitting drunkenness. Then he replied, “He has not been served here,” although he had previously said it was a long time since he served him that pint. The officer said, “Yes he has. Then an incident happened which was somewhat unusual. A man sitting in the room got up and sat on the stool which had been vacated by the man BRUCE and said, “This is my beer.” The officer called his attention to the fact that it was not beer, it was porter.

The Magistrates’ Clerk (Mr WESTBROOK): It does not matter whether he was served or not as far as that goes. — Mr GARFORTH: No.

Mr HEATHCOTE commented upon the fact that no protest was made to the police that this man was sober, neither by BRUCE himself, the licensee, nor anyone present. The man saying, “This is my beer,” was done to mislead the police. If BRUCE had been sober this man had no need to come and say it was his beer. By the new Act of Parliament, if the magistrates were satisfied that BRUCE was drunk, then the licensee must satisfy them that he took reasonable and proper steps to prevent drunkenness.

He submitted he was not able to do that inasmuch as he was not exercising oversight over the whole of the premises, because he said to his wife, “You should not have served that man. I cannot attend to the music and look after this room. That was some evidence that he had not exercised proper control.

Mr BATES: Was the wife, in the absence of the husband, supposed to be responsible for the general good conduct of this special room? — Mr HEATHCOTE replied in the affirmative. The section of the Act said “it shall lie upon the licensed person to prove that he, or the persons employed by him, took reasonable steps to prevent drunkenness on the premises.

Inspector SKITT was then called, and gave evidence bearing out Mr HEATHCOTE’s opening. — Cross-examined by Mr GARFORTH: This was Wakes Saturday night? Yes. — Did you go into any other publics that evening? Yes, that was about the eighth. — Have you ever visited the house before? Yes. — Did you ever find anything to complain of? No. — So far as you know, there have not been any complaints? I have not made any. — Were there any others pots on the table? Yes, several. — And you swear that BRUCE was drunk? I do. Had you ever seen the man before? I don’t know. — Do you say that Mrs EVANS went to BRUCE and spoke to him in an undertone? She did. — He is deaf as a post, sir, and it is totally impossible to whisper to him.

At the request of Mr GARFORTH, BRUCE was called into court, and spoke to in an ordinary tone, and seemed to be able to hear right enough. Amid laughter, the Clerk observed, “He does not seem very deaf.” — Mr GARFORTH: Isn’t it a fact Mrs EVANS was not in the room when we went in. BRUCE was making a noise and holding himself by the table. — Isn’t it a fact that it was the licensee who went to BRUCE and spoke loudly to him saying, “These men say you have had enough?” — The Inspector: That was after we had sent for Mr EVANS.

Mr GARFORTH said these cases, as the bench would know, were most difficult to answer under the Licensing Act, and the clause which Mr HEATHCOTE had quoted throwing the onus of proof upon the landlord had not altered the real facts of the case, because the landlord was the defendant and he had always in defending himself to prove one or two things, either that the man was not drunk as alleged by the police or that he or his servant or agent of any kind were not in a position to see; that he might have been drunk and got sat down on something in a crowded place before they could notice him.

He could argue at some length as to the meaning of the word “permitting,” but fortunately for himself and his client they had an absolute denial to the drunkenness. He had no fewer than eleven witnesses, and they would all tell the magistrates that BRUCE was not drunk. He came home from Adamson’s to his dinner, and never left the house again until eight o’clock at night, when he went into the Talbot. All the drink he had previous to the police coming in was a pint and a half of fourpenny beer and stout mixed. He went into the taproom absolutely sober. The defendant would not say that BRUCE was not served, but he said the officers were mistaken.

The Clerk: The question is whether this man was drunk or not. — Mr GARFORTH: Yes, that he was so drunk that the landlord and his servant might and ought to have known he was drunk. If there was a doubt in the case it was only fair to the landlord that the case should be dismissed. If a man were drunk, and was served with a soda water, it was an offence. He should prove that BRUCE was sober, and that it was physically and humanly impossible he could have been drunk after having one pint of mixed beer and porter.

The defendant was called, and said he considered BRUCE was perfectly sober. If he could not conduct his business a great deal better than anyone in Dukinfield he would leave it. He denied that he told his wife she ought not to have served him. — Mrs EVANS was called, and denied whispering in the ear of BRUCE. She considered he was sober, and would have served him with more drink.

William Robert BRUCE swore that he never tasted drink that day until soon after eight o’clock at night. Then he had a pint of fourpenny beer and porter. — Mr GARFORTH: And that would not make you drunk? No. — Mr BATES: It is laid down at Ashton that a man may drink fourpenny beer for a week and it would never make him drunk. — (Laughter.) That was the dictum of the Mayor of Ashton. — Mr GARFORTH: He would burst first. — (Laughter.) — Mr BATES: Ashton fourpenny is no use. They might drink it for a month. — (Renewed laughter.)

Mr GARFORTH said it was an old dictum that no one can get drunk without having drink. — Mr BATES: It depends whether it is fourpenny or eightpenny. — Mr GARFORTH: That may be Mr POWNALL’s dictum but I don’t always follow his opinion.

Mary BRUCE stated that her father was perfectly sober when he went out of the house at a quarter past eight o’clock. He came home about nine o’clock, and he was not drunk. — Mr HEATHCOTE: What did he say? He said he had been locked up. — (Laughter.) — And he was not drunk? No. — He was sober? No; he was not drunk.

Other witnesses named ASPINALL, LEES, WARD, SHAW, EGAN, and BRIGGS, were called, and they all swore that BRUCE was sober. — Mr BATES said the Bench were of the opinion the case was proved. They could not go behind the evidence of the constables. — Mr GARFORTH: I have eight witnesses. — Mr BATES replied that if numbers were to weigh he ought to have a verdict. They could not overlook the fact that the witnesses for the defence were interested, and accustomed to going to this house. However, they could not go into details as to why they had come to their decision. Their decision was that defendant be fined 10s and costs, or 14 days.

Mr GARFORTH: I give notice of appeal. — Mr HEATHCOTE submitted this was a proper case for the allowance of the advocate’s fee. He was instructed by the county authorities, and suggested the usual fee of two guineas. The Bench granted the application.

Robert BRUCE was next charged with being drunk on licensed premises of the Talbot. He pleaded not guilty. — Inspector SKITT briefly stated that defendant was drunk. — Mr BATES, in fining defendant 5s for costs, said the magistrates believed he was drunk on those licensed premises. If they did not believe it they could not have come to the conclusion they had done in the other case.

Sir, — November is approaching, and Mr John HAGUE is at work again. The feeling he display in writing against his old friends and associates is amazing. The feeling he displays against his old friends and associates is amazing. The repetitions and insinuations which form the staple of his compositions are equally surprising. He either does not or cannot see that he is acting the part of the dog in the manger so far as his old party is concerned.

He will not assist his Conservative friends to govern the town, but holds their public acts up to reprobation. He has done more to injure his old friends in Market Ward than all the Liberals on the register put together. It was his misguided ambition in 1887 that brought about the election of the late Mr John WHITEHEAD. On that occasion Conservativism in Market Ward received a shock from which it has never quite recovered.

If we are to judge from Mr HAGUE’s letters, there would not be any mistakes in the management of the town if his Conservative friends were only as farseeing and clever as himself. Some people who are wise after the event have a little charity for those who have made mistakes which they themselves they themselves might have made. Not so Mr HAGUE! He must smite his old friends hip and thigh, and appears determined to have their scalps.

It is a pity that a man with Mr HAGUE’s profound knowledge of affairs and apparent capacity for local government should remain outside the Town Council. Let us hope that ere long Mr HAGUE’s new friends will offer him a seat and give him an opportunity of finding his level.

The Mother Arrested

The sad case of alleged child neglect for which a woman named Elizabeth GLAISTER, of 19 St Mark’s-street, Dukinfield, was in custody at the Dukinfield Police Court on Thursday of last week and remanded for a week has resulted unfortunately in the death of one of her children. Florence Josephine GLAISTER, aged three years and five months, which took place at 2.45pm on Friday, at the Ashton Union Workhouse, to which institution the child was removed.

On Wednesday morning, at the Parish Church, Wirksworth, near Matlock, Mr Tom HIBBERT (late Trooper 156th Company, Imperial Yeomanry), eldest son of Mr and Mrs George HIBBERT, Katherine-street, Ashton, and Miss Florence GOODWIN, daughter of Mr and Mrs GOODWIN, Wirksworth, were united in the estate of holy matrimony.

Although the union took place at an early hour, the church was well filled. Mr Jas. HIBBERT (brother of the bridegroom) officiated as the best man, and Miss Ethel GOODWIN (sister of the bride) acted as bridesmaid. After the ceremony the party returned to the residence of Mr and Mrs GOODWIN for breakfast, after which they entrained for Ashton, where a reception was held at 4.40 at the Victoria Rooms, about 50 persons being present.

After a capital repast toasts were given for the health and happiness of the bride and bridegroom, and occasion was much more marked, it being the celebration of the silver wedding of Mr and Mrs HIBBERT, and the golden wedding of Mr and Mrs MUTCH (father and mother, grandfather and grandmother of the bridegroom).

Toasts were given in their honour and drank with acclamation. The bridegroom replied in a short and amusing speech. Mr William BROOKS was voted to the chair, and the evening spent in dancing interspersed with songs finely rendered by Miss A N HAGUE and Lilian SWIFT, and Messrs Jas. TURNER (ATHERTON), and Geo. WOOLLVEN (the admirable Crightons), while Mr J A TURNER, A.L.G.M., officiated at the piano.

A most pleasant evening was brought to a close by a vote of thanks to the host and hostess, the chairman, the artistes, and Mrs MADEN for her efficient catering, afterwards singing “Auld Lang’s Syne” and the National Anthem. Mr and Mrs Tom HIBBERT were the recipients of many handsome presents, both useful and costly, and he newly married pair are at present spending their honeymoon at Blackpool.

Shortly after nine o’clock on Monday morning quite a sensation was created in Stalybridge by the report that Mr John Broome SUMMERS, the eldest son of Mr John SUMMERS, of Inglewood, Stalybridge, had met his death in Cornwall under shocking circumstances. Enquiries which we made by telephone quickly confirmed the sad report, which throughout the day was the one theme of conversation, where the unfortunate young gentleman was held in the highest esteem.

The brief particulars to hand on Monday were that Master “Jack” — as he was familiarly and popularly known at Stalybridge — had got up in his sleep, got on to the window-sill, and jumped or dived into space. The result was fatal, the poor young fellow being picked up in a dying condition and finally succumbing to dreadful injuries.

The incident occurred at the Porthminster Hotel, St Ives, Cornwall, where Mr and Mrs SUMMERS, together with their family, had been staying for nearly a month. During that period “Jack” and his brother Gerald had done a lot of bathing and diving into the see, and this would seem to have created such an impression upon deceased that it revived the habit of sleep-walking which he had formed in his childhood.

On Monday morning, about 7.30, the landlady of the Oddfellows’ Arms, Hurst (Mrs SHARP), formerly of the Blue Pig, Audenshaw, whilst in the act of descending the stairs, made a slip and fell, dislocating her shoulder, besides being badly bruised. Dr HILTON was called in, and the patient is progressing favourably.

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