8 August 1903

Openshaw Man Drinks Poison

Albert JONES, who lives with his daughter at Indigo-street, off Ashton Old-road, was in the dock at the Manchester City Police Court, on Monday, charged with attempting to commit suicide by taking liquid ammonia on the 30th of last month.

Constable MARSHALL explained the circumstances of the case, and stated that the prisoner had been an inmate of the Royal Infirmary since ten o’clock on Thursday morning until 9.45 that morning. When charged he said he was not guilty of drinking the stuff with intent to commit suicide.

Prisoner now told the justices he was not guilty of taking the stuff to harm himself. He thought it was glycerine. It was on the table, and he drank it to ease himself. He had no occasion to do anything that would harm himself. He was living with his daughter, and was quite comfortable. His daughter appeared, and stated that he drank of the contents of the bottle thinking it was glycerine.

The Chairman: You do not think he took it intentionally? — Witness: No, sir. He did not buy the ammonia. It was evidently among some bottles. She had never noticed it. The bench did not think there was any evidence of attempt to commit suicide, and they discharged the prisoner.

CLAY v. CLAY — Extraordinary Disclosures

At the Dukinfield Police Court, on Thursday, Mr H BOSTOCK, solicitor, Hyde, made an application on behalf of Richard CLAY, of Gorton Lane, West Gorton, formerly manager of the Dukinfield Coal and Canal Company’s Collieries, to vary an order of wife maintenance which was made against him in that court in May 1901, under the Married Women’s Maintenance Act. Mr George HEATHCOTE appeared for Mrs CLAY, and opposed the application.

Mr BOSTOCK said when the case was before the court in May 1901, the magistrates made an order upon Mr CLAY to pay £1 per week towards the maintenance of his wife. He had not one word to say against that order. He was there that day for the purpose of endeavouring to show that although that was a proper order in May 1901, the applicant was unable to pay £1 per week at the present time. When the case came before the court in May 1901, Mr CLAY was working at some colliery in Somersetshire, and earning £3 10s per week. He continued there until this year, when, in consequence of the work being completed, his services were no longer required.

Mr CLAY would tell them he was over 60 years of age, and the Bench would understand that it was a very difficult matter for any man to get employment at a colliery at the present time. The result of that was that Mr CLAY had been compelled to take a grocer’s shop, with an outdoor beer license attached, in Gorton. He thought he would be able to satisfy the Bench that Mr CLAY was not making anything whatever out of the shop.

He thought he ought to point out the fact that there were no children for Mr CLAY to maintain. It was simply a matter of the maintenance of the wife, and he thought the Bench would come to the conclusion that the applicant was absolutely unable to pay the £1 per week, and the sum of 10s per week would be ample. The simple question which the Bench had to determine was as to whether the applicant’s means had altered since May 1901, and whether he was no longer able to pay the sum of £1 per week. He might add that when the application was originally made Mr CLAY did not appear, and was not legally represented.

Richard CLAY was then sworn. He said he was at present tenant of a grocer’s shop and out-beer license at Gorton. In May 1901, he was managing some sinking operations in connection with a colliery in Somersetshire at a salary of £3 10s per week. That work finished in April of this year. He worked as a collier in Yorkshire before he went into Somersetshire. He paid £62 to go into the shop at Gorton, and the rent was £24 14s, but he had to sue the outgoing tenant for misrepresentation. The book produced showed the takings at the shop since he took possession on the 8th June to be an average of £4 to £5 per week.

The Clerk: For ale or groceries? Applicant: Very little ale. Mr BOSTOCK: Very little ale unfortunately. Are you making a living? No. I am losing the bit I have got. I have paid the £1 per week up to a few weeks ago, but I cannot afford to pay it now. — How old is your youngest child? Twenty-one or twenty-two. She lives with her mother, and is a schoolmistress. — What does she earn? I cannot say.

Cross-examined by Mr HEATHCOTE: Do you know what she pays Mrs CLAY per week? No. — She simply pays her board and lodgings. She may do. — You know she is engaged? I know nothing about it. — And likely to be married soon, and saving as much as she can to furnish a home? I don’t know. — Are the takings of your shop going up or down? Some weeks they go up, some weeks they go down.

Who lives with you at this shop in Gorton? My housekeeper. — How long has she been your housekeeper? Two years, or a little over. — Did she live with you when you were working in Yorkshire? Yes. — She kept your house there? Yes. — Was she merely your housekeeper and nothing more? Nothing more. — Did Mrs CLAY come over to Yorkshire and find you living there with this woman you call housekeeper? I did not see her. — Do you know that she found out your housekeeper was there in the name of Mrs CLAY I don’t know, I am sure. I never saw Mrs CLAY at all.

Were you three years in Yorkshire? Yes. — And during that time did you contribute to Mrs CLAY’s support? Yes. — Continually? Occasionally. — I put it that you contributed occasionally, and that this woman was living with you as your wife at the time? She was my housekeeper. — Did you take a house? No. I was lodging at first. — Did this housekeeper live at the same house? No. — Did she live in the neighbourhood?

Mr BOSTOCK: I don’t want to interrupt my friend, but I submit this has nothing whatever to do with the application. The simple question is Mr CLAY’s position, whether he is in a position to pay £1 per week or not. The Magistrates’ Clerk (Mr WESTBROOK): He is entitled to show that if Mr CLAY could afford to keep a housekeeper he can afford to pay this money to his wife.

Mr HEATHCOTE: Was she living with you at the same house in Yorkshire? No. — Never at any time? She stopped there. — Is it the same housekeeper who went with you to Midsomer Norton? She came down there. — Did you take a house there and furnish it? Yes. — What did the furnishing cost? I had to pay it in instalments. — Was the name of your housekeeper Mrs BRITTON? No reply. — Was she a married woman living apart from her husband? Yes. — Has she had a child since she left her husband? Yes. — Who contributed to the support of that child? I did. — How much a week did you pay? What I could. — Was it 5s a week? Sometimes a good deal less.

Did she live with you at the time as your housekeeper? Yes. — And she is the same person who is living with you at Gorton? Yes. — Were they at Midsomer Norton? They stayed there when they came over. — For how long? A week perhaps. — Who maintained them? They had the same as we had. — You say your wages were £3 10s per week. Yes. — You applied through your solicitor to me for a reduction of the order? Yes. — Mr BOSTOCK: Who was the solicitor? Mr HEATHCOTE replied that it was Mr POWNALL.

Did you write to say that you had no fixed money; some weeks you got nothing and other weeks you could make 30s, more or less? Yes. — And you now tell the court you were earning £3 10s per week? Have you not tried in every way to evade this payment of £1 per week? Not that I know of. — How many times has a warrant been issued against you? I should have to borrow money to pay £1 per week. — You have paid every time a warrant has been issued against you? Yes. I have had to borrow the money to pay it.

Will you tell the Bench why you deserted your wife? Because I had no employment in Dukinfield, and I had to go into Yorkshire. — Practically you have not lived with your wife for five years? I invited her to come to Yorkshire, but she refused. — You have been married for 35 years, and have three daughters, two of whom are married? Yes. — Before you left Midsomer Norton you had a sale of your household furniture out there? Yes. — How much did the sale realise? £27. — Did you sell the pianoforte? Yes. That fetched £5. — What furniture have you in Gorton? Very little. — Have you paid for furniture since you came to Gorton? A small bit.

You have told the Bench that you are an agent for someone? I am not agent for anyone. — Have you not been going about with samples? No. — Have you expectations of being employed? I shall have to get money some way or another. — You know what I mean. Has not someone offered you an agency? It is not worth going round for. — You have some money left have you not? No, it is all in the business. — I put it to you that you have a long stocking somewhere? You put it wrong. — You have made a large sum out of the contract in Somersetshire? I have no money except that which is in the business. — Do you attend personally to the business in Gorton? When I can.

Mr BOSTOCK: When the Dukinfield collieries closed you got work as an ordinary miner? Yes, in Yorkshire. — I understand you asked your wife to come to you out there? I wrote to her. — And wouldn’t she come? No. — You have been asked whether you are an agent. Is there any truth in that? Nothing in it at all. — Is this shop at Gorton the only means you have of obtaining a living? Yes. — And you are not doing very much? My money is being wasted there. — You have seen the auction bill of your furniture which you sold? Yes. — The proceeds have been applied to going into the shop at Gorton? Yes.

Mr HEATHCOTE submitted there had been no good cause shown for reducing the amount of the order. During the whole time the applicant had been away in Somersetshire, according to his own admission, he had been earning £3 10s per week, but he (Mr HEATHCOTE) suggested he had been earning considerably more than that. The applicant had tried to mislead the court in regard to his earnings, and also about his wife. Mrs CLAY would tell the court that she was never invited to go and live with her husband in Yorkshire.

He had never lived with his wife for five years. During that time he had had a paramour living with him, the wife of another man, by whom he had one child born. The same person was with him still, and was being maintained by him, and when they were down in Midsomer Norton her other children used to come there and live upon Mr CLAY’s means. He hoped the Bench would not place any reliance upon the statements the applicant had made in regard to the Gorton shop. He might have given £60 to go in, but there was an outdoor beer license attached to the shop, and there must be some profit there.

With regard to other work, Mr CLAY was a most capable mining engineer, a man who could get a good situation immediately, and he ought to look out for something. He had all along tried to get out of fulfilling his legal obligations towards his legitimate wife, and the application he made that morning was practically equal to asking the Bench, by reducing the order, to help him maintain his paramour. He asked the Bench to say that was not a proper thing to ask. Mr CLAY did not come there with clean hands. If they reduced the order the Bench would agree in what appeared to him outrageous.

A man who came and asked for such an order should come with clean hands. The housekeeper was there, and she was the mother of a child by him, and the magistrates could draw their own conclusion as to the kind of life these two were living. Mrs CLAY had one daughter living with her, and this daughter would be married shortly, and what would become of Mrs CLAY? The paramour was to be maintained, and she was to have all the best he could give her. Mr CLAY had suggested that his wife should have 8s 6d per week. The thing was monstrous, and he hoped the Bench would dismiss the application.

The Chairman (Mr J W S LAWTON) having consulted briefly with his colleague (Alderman J KERFOOT) said: We have decided to dismiss the application. Mr HEATHCOTE thanked the Bench, and asked them to allow the advocate’s fee. Mr BOSTOCK objected on the grounds that the application was a proper one under the changed circumstances. Mr HEATHCOTE: And an application which is proper for a solicitor to resist and oppose. The Chairman: We allow one guinea.

A fish of the carp species died at the Ashton Sewage Works on Saturday morning, which for power of endurance under varying conditions is somewhat remarkable, and throws into the shade the proverbial cat with nine lives. The carp, which was about six or seven inches in length, was raked up on to the screen at the Sewage Works the previous Monday, and must have had a very stormy passage through the sewers of the town before getting there. How it got into the sewers is a mystery and how it survived the trying ordeal through which it passed must strike one as remarkable.

Lovers of the piscatorial art who understand the habits of fish are puzzled to know how it got there. One theory is that some householder in the district in cleaning an aquarium emptied the carp down the sewers in mistake. Another is that the carp was washed down from one of the mill reservoirs. It is known that carp exist in several of the mill reservoirs, as for instance that in connection with the Curzon Mill, Hurst

Immediately on discovery the carp was placed in a pail of clean water, and lived on as a sort of modern miracle for the rest of the week, when it was taken with a disease known amongst anglers as fungus, from which it died on Saturday as stated. Considering that fungus is caused amongst fish by changed conditions, such as transfer from lukewarm water to ordinary cold tap water, it would point to the supposition that the carp “graduated” in a mill reservoir.

It used to be common thing, when the filter of the town’s water was in existence behind the house of Mr NEAL, at the top of Henrietta-street, for trout and other fish to be cast up minus heads and tails which had been cut off whilst passing through the meter.

•     •      •      •

A more hopeful tone prevails in the cotton trade locally. The Atlas and Curzon Mills have gone full time this week, and the Rock Spinning Co. is expected to follow suit next week. This, coupled with the fact that the general manager (Mr Clarkson) of two of the concerns entered the marriage stage on Thursday, must be highly gratifying news to the hands, and is a happy coincidence. The Guidebridge Spinning Company has been working during the week, after a short spell of stoppages. The Cavendish Spinning Co. has been stopped the whole week, but is expected to restart work on Monday. We understand that the Harper Twist Co. have decided to close for three weeks.

•     •      •      •

The controversy which has been waging with regard to the refusal of an Ashton schoolmaster to enter a team of boys for the forthcoming swimming competition for the ANDREW Cup, has brought out an expert’s view on the subject in Mr J DERBYSHIRE, superintendent of the Manchester Corporation Baths, and father of the well-known swimmer.

Writing to an Ashton gentleman on the letter which appeared in last week’s paper, he said: “Such reasoning is difficult to deal with. If carried to its logical conclusion, no lad should play cricket without medical examination. And even then he must bat only as long as his doctor agrees his strength will allow.

”Faddists are all right in their place, but after all the world is governed, as is daily life, by the law of averages. In a squadron race the very principle that our friend contends for, viz the inequality of strength or merit is conceded. Four or six of a team are judged by their aggregate ability, instead of individual. Excitement, I grant, is a factor, and thank God it is so. What would our school sports be if boys and girls did not want to sit down after a jump or skipping rope contest?

”If Mr MASON would visit a swimming gala, such as we have in Manchester, where only scholars take part, he would have his fears dispelled. Overtaxing of strength is a possibility, but the general gain from these contests so out-balances the risk that life is too short to consider the gloomy side.”

Our readers will be sorry to hear of the death of Mr John STRONG, of 133 Dukinfield-road, Newton, Hyde, under somewhat strange circumstances. The deceased was a boilermaker by trade, and was employed at the works of Messrs BEELEY, Hyde Junction.

On January 9th this year the deceased and a man named Geo. CHANTRY were engaged in rivetting a boiler. CHANTRY was using a large hammer above the deceased, when somehow he let it slip, and it dropped on the deceased’s right arm. He was conveyed home, and Dr ROLEY attended him up to his death. He was 59 years of age.

ACCIDENT IN THE CRICKET FIELD. — On Monday, in the League match between Dukinfield and Crompton, played on the Higher King-street ground, Dukinfield, Mr J H SAGAR, whilst taking a catch in the long field, was struck by the ball on the end of the middle finger, and sustained a nasty injury. Dr PARK, who was on the ground, dressed the wound. It will be several weeks before he can again play the game.

TOWN-LANE REFORM CLUB. — On Sunday last about twenty members of the above club had a day’s outing to Hollin Green, Lymm. They left the club in a char-a-banc and drove by way of Gorton, Altrincham, High Leigh, Warburton, and thence to Lymm. They had dinner and tea at the Boat House Hotel, and in the meantime the excursionists patrolled the charming district, and were highly pleased with the change in the scenery. The party returned by way of Dunham Massey, Cheadle, and Denton to the club, where they arrived soon after ten o’clock. Mr Fred MAKIN engineered the party.

ALLEGED THEFT OF £5. — At the Police Court, on Thursday, Sarah CONSTANTINE, a middle-aged, respectably-dressed woman, was in the dock, charged with stealing £5. — John SCHOFIELD said he lived at 5 Old-road, Dukinfield. The prisoner had lodged at his house from the 24th to 30th July. On the 24th July he had some money in a box. He missed £5 on the 30th. He asked the prisoner about it, and she admitted taking it, saying she would pay it back when she could. The box was locked, and on the 30th July it was unlocked.

Superintendent CROGHAN said that upon that evidence he asked for a remand until next Monday, at Hyde. There was a second charge to be preferred against the prisoner of stealing two postal orders, one of the value of 20s, and the other 10s. When the police received information of the robbery of the postal orders there was some difficulty in ascertaining their number. It would necessitate communication with the post office in London, and that would occupy time. The prisoner admitted the charge, but it had nothing to do with the present case.

The Clerk: Have you anything to say why you should not be remanded? — Prisoner (dejectedly): No. — Remanded accordingly.

Sir, — The writer of your Dukinfield Notes has on two occasions called the attention of the Park authorities to the dirty state of the drinking fountain at the main entrance to the park. At the time of writing nothing whatever has been done, and its condition is gradually getting worse.

Your note writer does not mention what he cannot fail to have noticed, namely that the fountain is not used so much for quenching thirst, but as a means for rough play amongst a number of unruly juveniles. On several occasions I have seen a crowd of noisy boys and girls assembled round the fountain and enjoying themselves by throwing water over each other, and seemingly doing their utmost to break the iron cups which dangle at the end of chains.

As the fountain is conspicuously situated at the main entrance, and along with the attendant group of children, is visible from the roadway, the effect is considerably spoiled, and the beauty of our famous flight of steps is to some extent diminished. Instead of Mrs UNDERWOOD’s gift being a thing of beauty and utility, it is, in its present state, an eyesore and a nuisance. Perhaps the Park Committee will some day give this matter a little attention. — Yours, &c,

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