12 December 1903

Mr James SLATER, manager at Messrs Mason’s Oxford Mills, Ashton, has received the sad intelligence of the death of his son William, a private in the 1st King’s Own, stationed in India. The circumstances surrounding the occurrence are of a mysterious nature, and so far the only possible explanation is that suggested in the kindly letter of the officer commanding, which is as follows:—

1st Battalion the King’s Own Regiment (Royal Lancaster)
18th November, 1903
Dear Mr SLATER, — I am very sorry to say that your son, William SLATER, of “D” Company, the King’s Own Regiment, is dead. On Sunday evening last about 10.30, he was found, badly injured, on the ground near his barrack room, which is upstairs, about 36 feet from the ground. When last seen he was in bed. I think he must have walked in his sleep.

He was unconscious when he was found, and never spoke a word before he died. The priest came to the hospital, and the doctors did all they possibly could to help the poor boy; but he passed away before one o’clock on Monday morning, Nov 16th. On Tuesday morning, Nov 17th, we buried him in the Military Cemetery, near the Soldiers’ Hospital, Calcutta.

There is no reason to suppose that your son wished to die, and we feel sure that his death was quite accidental. It is very sad to lose so fine a man in such a way, and we are all very sorry for your great loss. Your son was a good soldier, and you have my deepest sympathy in your trouble. — Yours very truly
William HOUGHTON, Major

Young SLATER was a native of Ashton, and a member of St Ann’s congregation, at which church he was for many years an acolyte. He was 24 years of age, and formerly worked at Oxford Mills, and later entered the railway service, working at Park Parade (Ashton), King’s Cross (London), and other stations.

About the time of the relief of Mafeking, he has a desire to take part in the war, and enlisted in the King’s Own in the hope of being sent to the front. In this he was disappointed, however, for he was sent to Malta, going from there to India some three months ago. Mr SLATER and family have received many kind expressions of sympathy, including a letter of condolence from the members of the Oxford Mills Bowling Green and Billiard Room.

Readers will be pleased to learn of the promotion of Constable HODGKINSON, of the county police, to the post of sergeant. Constable HODGKINSON has had an eventful career, although perhaps the district (Woodhouses) that was assigned him seldom needed his services. He figured prominently in the Bell Clough murder case, unearthing some damaging evidence against the murderer.

Another case in which he acquitted himself with some credit was the apprehension of a thief who had broken into a mill, and about twelve months ago he was promoted to the merit class for using artificial respiration in a case of drowning. He first went to Woodhouses on the 15th of June, 1891, and his genial and pleasant disposition made him a favourite with all. He has been drafted to Mossley, where he will take up his duties in his new position.

Wilfully Withholding a License

On Wednesday, at Stalybridge Police Court, Mr WADDINGTON, solicitor, Manchester, asked the bench to grant him, on behalf of Messrs Wilson, brewers, a copy of the license of the Commercial Hotel, Melbourne-street. The outgoing tenant, Kate HALL, has refused to give up the original license, and he would prove to the satisfaction of the magistrates that proper application had been made to her for it, but that she was withholding it for some ulterior motive.

The magistrates’ clerk (Mr WHITEHEAD) said Mrs HALL had actually signed the notice agreeing to the transfer, and promised to bring the certificate the following morning. Mr WADDINGTON said Mrs HALL had made inconsistent statements, and had refused to give up the license. In reply to the chairman, the clerk said the act of withholding a license was illegal, and proceedings could be taken against her in a civil court. Mr WADDINGTON was perfectly in order if he proved that the license had been wilfully withheld.

Tom BURGESS, clerk in the employ of Messrs Wilson, brewers, Manchester, said he saw Kate HALL on Tuesday evening, and held a conversation with her. She said she should not give the license up, and she asked witness why he was running after her. — The Chairman: Did she say on what ground? — Witness: She said she wanted some more money.

The assistant magistrates’ clerk told the magistrates that Mrs HALL came to Mr WHITEHEAD’s office on Thursday and expressed her consent to the transfer. Witness asked her for the license, and she said it was locked up in a safe at the Commercial Hotel. She promised to bring it to the office the next morning, but she had not done so.

The bench acceded to Mr WADDINGTON’s application, and then gave temporary permission to sell to the new tenant, George HILTON, who has held a beerhouse license at Bolton.

The death of Mr Aaron CHEETHAM came with a painful shock at the end of last week. Very few outside his immediate family and friends were aware that he had been seized a fortnight previously by paralysis of the brain, from which he never recovered consciousness, and died last Friday afternoon at his residence, Etherow, Scarisbrick-road, Southport.

Mr CHEETHAM was born in Stalybridge 49 years ago, and attended Old Chapel Sunday School up to leaving the neighbourhood half a dozen years ago. He filled all the offices connected with the school, and his services were highly appreciated by his colleagues.

In business Mr CHEETHAM was a coal merchant. He was well known on the Manchester Coal Exchange, and his unexpected demise in the prime of life has caused much regret and sympathy with his widow and children. Mr CHEETHAM married Miss SMITH, sister of Mr William SMITH, borough accountant and committee clerk, of this town.

After attaining the venerable age of 91 years, Mrs Eliza HAUGHTON, of 108 Town-lane, died last Saturday. She was the widow of Mr John HAUGHTON, book-keeper at Messrs Summers’ Globe Ironworks, Stalybridge, who pre-deceased her about 12 years ago. Although a native of Stockport, she came to Dukinfield 60 years ago, and has resided in the town ever since.

She was a familiar figure in the Town-lane district, and a great favourite amongst the children, who showed the venerable lady extreme respect. A regular worshipper at the Old Chapel, she was also a prominent party at the annual gathering of old folks at the school

Having lived to see the crowning of King Edward VII, it was her good fortune to take part in five Coronation celebrations, all of which, except for the one last year, took place when she was residing at Stockport. When seven years old she took part in the procession to celebrate the Coronation of George III, and in the subsequent 17 years she played an important part in the jubilations consequent upon the crowning of George IV, William IV, and the late Queen Victoria.

Mrs HAUGHTON enjoyed fairly good health up to a week or two of her death, which was really due to old age and exhausted nature. She is survived by three sisters. Mrs CLARKSON, of Millbrook, aged 77, Mrs WILD, Church-street, Dukinfield, 75, and Mrs COOKE, of Smallshaw, Ashton, 73.

The interment took place on Wednesday, at the Old Chapel, from the residence of the deceased’s niece, Mrs ASHTON, of Town-lane. The carriers were Councillor W WILLIAMS, Messrs John JACKSON, W SHAW, J LISTER, T CATON, J BROOKES, J BESWICK, and W REES.

The mourners were: Mr and Mrs Walter ASHTON, Mr Moses WILD, Misses Nellie and Edith ASHTON, Mrs CLARKSON, Mrs E COOKE, Mrs Wright WILD, Mr and Mrs Joseph WILD, Mr and Mrs Jas WILD, Mr and Mrs W WILD, Mr A WILD, Mr and Mrs H COOKE, Mr and Mrs BENNETT, Mr and Mrs George COOKE, Mr and Mrs R COOKE (Stockport), Mr E KENYON, Mr and Mrs HARGREAVES (Ashton), Mr R HADFIELD, and others.

The funeral rites in the chapel and at the graveside were performed by the Rev Hugon S TALER, M.A.

NO LIGHT. — William BURNS was charged before the county justices, at Ashton on Wednesday, with having no light on his vehicle on the 20th of November. When asked if he was guilty, he answered, “Certainly.” He was fined 1s and costs or seven days.

DRUNK IN CHARGE OF A CHILD. — Sarah Ann HAMPTON appeared at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, in answer to a charge of being drunk in charge of a child under the age of seven, on the 21st of November. She pleaded guilty, and was fined 5s for costs or seven days.

RED HALL P.S.A. SOCIETY, AUDENSHAW. — The members of the above society met on Sunday, when Mr James SCHOFIELD, president, was in his accustomed place. A very useful and practical address was delivered by Mr J PIDCOCK, of Ashton, who had chosen for his subject “Personal influence.” Solos were excellently rendered by Miss Bertha HALL, of Ashton. The hymns were accompanied by the band, Mr T HALSTEAD, of Droylsden, ably presiding at the organ.

The Effect of the “Barber Knotter” at Hyde

The winders’ dispute at Throstle Bank and Flowery Field Mills, Hyde, is not yet settled. A statement signed by one of the directors, Mr A M FLETCHER, has been issued on the firm’s behalf, to the weavers, winders and warpers employed by the firm. In this it is said that it has been found after ample test that winders could, and did, earn 20 per cent more with the “Barber Knotter” patent than without it. The firm, it is pointed out, suggested that this 20 per cent should be divided equally between the firm and the winder.

Pending a permanent agreement, it was agreed that the firm should deduct five per cent, and this was ratified by a letter dated October 29th, 1902. It is further stated that the agreement was afterwards rescinded at the request of the local secretary on the distinct understanding, however, that the matter should be pushed forward for settlement, three months being mentioned as the outside limit of time.

Since then the firm have repeatedly asked for a settlement, but without result. The directors then decided to reduce the rate by 10 per cent, which was done. They maintain that the winder can earn more wages with the “Barber Knotter” and 10 per cent off that without it at the old rate. They contend that better work is made for the warper and weaver, and that it is the firm’s duty to make use of every appliance for the economical working of the concern, consistent with the welfare of the workpeople.

We append the winders’ reply to the above circular distributed to the operatives employed at Bayley Field, Carr Field, Middle, and Throstle Bank Mills:

”We, the winders employed at the above mills wish to make the dispute clear from our point of view. First, we ask no weaver or warper to sign their name or agree to take extreme action unless they are satisfied, of their own free will, that the winders’ wages are far too low, and that they are of opinion the employers were not justified in reducing our wages 10 per cent for the use of the Barber Knotter.

”We deny the statement — that we earn 20 per cent more wages with the knotter than without it. All the winders at every one of the above mills have expressed themselves that for equal counts, spindles, hours employed, weights, quality, and every other condition, they can earn as much money per week without the knotter as with it on fine counts of yarn.

”The local secretary could not accept any reduction in prices under the same conditions in Oct, 1902; besides, the alteration only affected Throstle Bank Mill, where the winding system was being overhauled for the Northrop looms; he had no instructions from us (the winders) or the amalgamation to accept or agree to any alteration in prices for the knotter only.

”The secretary reported to a meeting of the Throstle Bank winders that it anything was agreed upon between the Central Committee and the Employers’ Association that we, the winders, would be affected, but if no change in rates of payment took place between the two parties, then we have no right to suffer a reduction in wages. It is quite evident to us, as winders, that our employers want to pay less wages than other firms do who are using the knotter.

Miss Bertha Mason Speak at Droylsden

The larger room of the Droylsden Reform Club was given up on Wednesday evening to the Droylsden Women’s Liberal Association, who held another of the series of meetings arranged during the winter season. The principal speaker was Miss Bertha MASON, a member of the Ashton Board of Guardians and the Ashton County Elementary Education Sub-committee, and it was not surprising that the larger room was so well filled.

Mrs GREEN briefly introduced Miss MASON, their president, and said the subject she had chosen was one of very great interest to everybody who had the welfare of the children at heart. — (Hear, hear.)

Miss MASON said the problem of how to deal with the bona-fide tramp was exercising the minds of Poor-law Guardians a very great deal. The problem of out-relief was ever a pressing anxiety and responsibility to all Poor-law reformers. — (Hear, hear.) The problem of the deserving poor was always with them, and the question of how to relieve destitution without increasing the evil was another matter which would have to be satisfactorily solved. But lastly, and not the least important, was the question of how to deal with the children of the State.

All those problems were full of interest, full of difficulties and complexities. With regard to the last named, the problem of children, there was an element which was lacking entirely — the element of hope and possibility. — (Hear, hear.) It was the problem of the children, with its hope and possibilities that she had been asked that night to speak upon.

It had been a general custom to keep all Poor-law children entirely in workhouses. They lived there day and night. They never left the place except on rare occasions when perhaps they were taken for a walk by one of the officials, or invited out to some little treat by a kind and generous outsider. They were dressed in workhouse uniform, and they associated with no one but children of their own class. But of late years a change had taken place, and now it was admitted on all hands that of all the training grounds for children the workhouse was absolutely the worst. — (Hear, hear.)

Miss MASON went on to deal at considerable length with the subject, and in advocating strongly an effort on the part of the Board of Guardians to bring about an improvement in the surroundings of the children, she went on to urge the adoption of the “scattered homes” system, which means that the Guardians should place the children in separate cottages under the care of a motherly woman.

It is superfluous to state this suggestion caught on. Miss MASON does not hold that “scattered homes” are an exact production of a working man’s home, but she argues that family life does exist in them to a large extent, and in such a cottage each child had more chance of learning habits of thrift, economy, and self-reliance than was possible in a workhouse. — (Applause.)

As to the cost of the system she had advocated, from what she had learned from other unions who had adopted the “scattered homes” their figures showed that the system was not an expensive one. The problem always before Poor-law Guardians was how to relieve the destitute and decrease pauperism. — (Hear, hear.) Prevention was better than cure, and it seemed to her that the only satisfactory solution of that most difficult question lay in beginning with the children, and so teaching them that they would not have either occasion or desire to fall back upon Poor-law relief. — (Applause.)

The address was listened to with much interest, and the ideas Miss MASON had set forth impressed the audience very greatly. Miss CHORLTON moved a vote of thanks to Miss MASON. Mrs BEEDAM seconded, and Mrs G HIBBERT supported, all giving a few practical remarks. The vote was warmly accorded, and after the acknowledgement the only other business had reference to the annual social.

Creative Commons License Rhodes Family History by Ian Rhodes (1999-2018 v.3.0) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting me.