13 June 1903

There was a time when there were sundry festivities which were inseparably connected with the Whitsuntide holidays. There were, for instance, those convivial parochial meetings, the Whitsun-ales, so called from an Anglo Saxon word meaning merry-making or feasting. The people of Chester, from all accounts, loved their “mysteries.”

An immensely popular scene was “The Story of Noah’s Flood” because of the amusing part which Noah’s wife played in it. It was her role to be refractory about entering the ark, preferring to be left behind with the wicked. Other favourite pageants (because of the realistic way in which they were treated) were the “Fall of Lucifer” and the “Day of Judgment.”

Like the playgoers of to-day, the good simple Chester folk loved to be thrilled, and it was particularly bloodcurdling to gaze straight into hell’s mouth, as represented in the scenery of the pageant by the old symbol of a flaming fire alight in the open jaws of a huge whale; also to hear the ear-piercing wail of lost souls, and to behold them with their blackened faces and their flame-incrusting dresses of red and yellow, with the devil mounting guard over them in winged, close-fitting leather dress, covered with hair and feathers.

The souls of the saved, appropriately dressed in white leather, looked on comfortably from the other side of the stage.

Much interest was on Saturday afternoon evinced in a walking competition inaugurated by Mr John LEES, mine host of the Eagle Hotel, Corporation-street, Stalybridge. Two prizes were offered, the first being a magnificent medal (gold-centred on each side) and the second a silver medal, and the competition was free and thrown open – with a limit of eighteen – it was not surprising to find that this, the first “walk” in the borough since the recent craze broke out should receive an abundance of patronage.

A huge crowd of onlookers assembled in the vicinity of the hotel and the Market Ground to witness the departure and return of the competitors, and the greatest enthusiasm prevailed when the following walkers toed the line shortly after 4 p.m.: - Messrs S DIGNAN, WARMAN, SULLIVAN, CADBORN, GREEN, MELLOR, HARRISON, SHEPLEY, FURNISS, MARNEY, WHEAL, SHAW, COLLIER, WOOLLEY, CROKE, T QUINN, MORRIS, CAIN and WORSNIP.

The route selected was a most trying one, along Huddersfield-road, past the Brushes waterworks, north to Hollingworth Hall, and back via the turnpike and Mottram-road, a total distance of about eight miles. The outward journey a most severe one, and almost all uphill, tested the stamina of the competitors in no uncertain way, but in spite of the difficulty the whole of them stuck manfully to their task.

A favourite was found at the outset in the person of M CROKE, and it was somewhat singular that he should have justified the confidence reposed on him by practically leading all the way. He was closely pressed throughout by Morris CAIN (the well-known newsvendor), and the latter proved a good second to CROKE, who finished first in the really good time of 1 hour 21 minutes 58 seconds. CAIN’s time was 1 hour 22 minutes and 4 seconds, or 6 seconds behind the winner. W MELLOR was third. The duties of starter and judge were satisfactorily discharged by Mr J T NORRIS, and Mr Fred KAYE accompanied the competitors on horseback.

BREACH OF THE PEACE. – Herbert ROBINS pleaded guilty at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday to committing a breach of the peace in Oldham-road, Bardsley, on May 24th, and was bound over in 40s to keep the peace for six months.

ASLEEP IN CHARGE OF A HORSE AND CART. – Geo. GARFORTH pleaded guilty, at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, to being asleep in charge of a horse and cart at Bardsley, on May 19th, saying he had been up two nights with the missus. – Constable POLLARD deposed to finding defendant asleep at twenty past eleven in the morning. – Fined 6s.

FAILED TO APPEAR. – Henry ORMSHAW failed to appear at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday to answer a charge of drunk and disorderly at Waterloo on May 25th. – Constable NEWTON deposed to defendant creating a disturbance and shouting and using bad language. Defendant was said to be out of work. – Superintendent HEWITT: He can get drunk apparently whether he is out of work or not. – Fined 7s 6d and costs.

BAND CONTEST. – There was a large assemblage in the field behind the Bowling Green Inn, Bardsley, on Whit Friday evening, on the occasion of the first annual band contest promoted by the members of Bardsley Old Band. Nine bands entered the competition, and the judge was Mr J HOLLOWAY, of Stalybridge, who was accommodated in a tent provided for the purpose. The winners were as follows:- 1st, Stalybridge Old Band (£3); 2nd, Yeadon (£2); 3rd, Glodwick (£1). The contest commenced at 6 o’clock in the evening and lasted until about nine o’clock.

Thomas ROBINSON was charged at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, with allowing four swine to stray at Littlemoss on May 21st. – Defendant pleaded not guilty. – Constable HODKINSON stated that at 20 past four on Thursday afternoon he saw four store pigs belonging to the defendant straying in Ashton-road. He drove the pigs back to the defendant’s farm.

Defendant said he purchased the farm the Thursday previously and bought the pigs on Monday. He opened the door of the pigstye and the pigs ran out, and he went to get a couple of handfuls of coals to throw at them. The pigs went round the corner, but were not on the highroad. They were on his own road, and not above a minute elapsed after they got out and the constable coming on the scene. – Fined 6s.

The Stalybridge Fire Brigade has been called out twice this week. On Monday, shortly after one o’clock, information was received that a fire had broken out at Messrs BAILEY and GARNETT’s engineering works in Wagstaffe-street, and on the brigade reaching the spot, they discovered flames arising from a number of old packing cases. Water from the hoses was poured on the conflagration for about 15 minutes, at the end of which time the fire was subdued. The cause of the fire was attributed to a number of boys who were playing about and whom, it is conjectured, were striking matches.

The second call was received at 8.35 on Tuesday night, the scene of the outbreak being the provision store premises of Messrs ROWBOTTOM and STANDRING in Chapel-street. Under the command of Inspector BAMFORTH the brigade promptly turned out with the hand manual, but their services were not required as on their arrival it was found that the fire had been put out with the aid of a few buckets of water. During the afternoon an assistant at the store was engaged burning old rubbish, and this is supposed to have caused the subsequent outbreak among some old boxes. Damages slight.

Boy Injured by Plate Glass

A rather singular accident occurred in Stamford-street, Ashton, on Monday. The shop of Mr T H CURRAN, art and picture dealer, 135 Stamford-street, has for some time past being undergoing extensive alterations at the hands of Mr E MARSHALL, builder and contractor.

Whilst a large plate glass was being fixed in connection with Mr CURRAN’s shop, a piece of glass stated to have been blown down by the wind fell on a boy named Fred NADIN, aged 10 years, and residing at Margaret-street, Ashton. The edge of the glass struck him in the face, and inflicted a nasty wound on the left cheek, severing the artery. The wound was deep and bled profusely. The boy was taken to Dr COOKE’s surgery and the wound dressed, and afterwards he was taken in a cab to the District Infirmary where the artery was tied, and the boy was then conveyed home, to be treated at the Infirmary as an out-patient.

A sad fatal accident, which cast a gloom over the neighbourhood, occurred in Katherine-street at noon. Mr W R PEPLOW, master painter, had secured the contract for painting the Primitive Methodist Chapel and adjoining cottages in Katherine-street, and having completed the exterior of the chapel, he was engaged in painting the cottage homes adjoining the chapel. He ascended the ladder, which was stretched across the pavement, and was occupied in painting the upper storey window when by some means the ladder gave way, a portion of it breaking close to the ground.

Mr PEPLOW was precipitated with terrific force against the window on the ground floor, which was smashed, and he fell on his head on to the pavement, fracturing the base of his skull. He lay unconscious and bleeding, and several onlookers rushed to the spot in order to render any assistance possible. An electric was passing, and the driver kindly undertook to go to the Town Hall and notify the police, which he did, and in a very short time the horse ambulance was on the spot, and Mr PEPLOW was conveyed in it with all haste to the District Infirmary, where he died about 2.20 p.m.

A Foolish Act

Oswald DARLINGTON was charged at the Ashton Police Court on Wednesday with stealing a bicycle at Audenshaw. Defendant was represented by Mr A LEES. – George ROBERTS, 41 Rowley-street, Beswick, Manchester, stated that on the morning of April 20th he left a bicycle in a road at and near to where he was working in connection with the new electric tramway. On going for it at one o’clock the same day he found it had been taken. The bicycle was worth £4. The parts of the bicycle produced belonged to the bicycle.

John DAVIES, general dealer, Cavendish-street, Ashton, said he bought the bicycle from DARLINGTON on April 20th, who told him he was selling it because he was going to Canada. – Defendant pleaded guilty.

Mr LEES asked the Bench to deal with the defendant under the First Offenders’ Act. The case, he said, was before the Court on May 30th, when Mr J P DITCHFIELD, superintendent of one of the local Sunday Schools, attended on his behalf, and spoke as to the respectability of the young man’s parents and his good conduct.

His parents were people with some means, and they had sent him to school regularly, and endeavoured to teach him, to the best of their ability, to lead a straightforward and honest life, and up to the present time, when he did this foolish act, his career had been irreproachable. He had acquitted himself with credit to himself and family, and there was no blame in any way to be attached to him or any suspicion of wrong prior to this time.

Unfortunately some weeks ago he was thrown out of employment as a plumber, and this seemed to have preyed upon his mind. – Mr J P DITCHFIELD said he had known the defendant personally for twelve years in connection with Sunday School work, and knew nothing against his character during the whole of that period. He had been an honest and well-behaved boy, and his family were very respectable. He was sorry to see him in that position, and could not account for him going wrong unless he had got into some loose company who had led him astray.

Superintendent HEWITT said that a severe hardship would be entailed because the bicycle had been re-sold by the dealer to another person for £2 10s. – Mr LEES: We will refund whatever loss has been sustained. – The Chairman (Dr HUGHES) remarked that the bicycle had been taken to pieces, and the owner either ought to have a new one, or the old one put into the same condition as it was before being taken. – The Magistrates gave prisoner the benefit of the First Offenders’ Act, and bound him over recognisance to come up for judgment if called upon.

On Thursday afternoon Mr F NEWTON, district coroner, held an inquest at the Pineapple Inn, Kenworthy-street, Stalybridge, touching the death of William BENNETT, aged 15 years, son of William BENNETT, a cotton operative, residing at 64 Forrester-street, who was drowned whilst bathing on Wednesday evening. Mr James KNOTT was foreman of the jury.

William BENNETT, father of deceased, said the lad, who was a piecer, left home at 6.30 on Wednesday night and was brought home dead shortly after ten o’clock the same night. He could only swim a little, and from what witness was told he had been bathing. Witness did not know the lad was going to bathe that night. The Coroner expressed the sympathy of the jury as well as that of his own in the sad loss Mr BENNETT had sustained. – The foreman agreed and said they were all deeply sorry.

James MILES, of 1 Bayley’s-yard, Spring Bank-street, deposed that on Wednesday evening deceased and himself went to Messrs SUMNERS’ forge, and upon coming away about eight o’clock they went to the Huddersfield Canal to bathe. BENNETT jumped in first, but came out again, and then witness (who could swim a little) jumped in and swam across. Deceased next got into the water a second time, and did not rise, but witness saw BENNETT’s hands.

Witness called to a boy, who undressed and went into the water, but just as witness and he got near to deceased they saw his hands drop. Deceased’s brother-in-law and witness eventually got down and recovered the body. Efforts were made to restore animation, and Dr TAIT pronounced life extinct. Had deceased got in gently the water would not have gone over his head, but in jumping in his feet appeared to stick in the mud at the bottom. This was the first time they had bathed in the canal.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally drowned while bathing.”

DRUNK ON LICENSED PREMISES. Jos. FOSTER pleaded guilty at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, to being drunk on licensed premises at Hurst on May 23rd, and was fined 5s 6d.

DRUNK AND DISORDERLY. – Alice Ann CHAPMAN pleaded guilty, at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, to being drunk and disorderly at Hurst on May 22nd, and was fined 5s 6d.

SCHOLARS’ TRIP. – On Saturday a very enjoyable outing of the scholars of the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School, Mossley-road, took place on lurries to Werneth Lowe. Quite a large number of scholars took part in the trip, which was under the able conductorship of Mr PARKINSON (superintendent). The children were well provided for, and returned home with happy memories of a very pleasant gathering.

FAILING TO SUPPORT HIS SON. – Edward DEAN failed to appear at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, to answer a charge of arrears. – Superintendent HEWITT said the defendant had a son who was detained in a reformatory school as the result of an order made on November 28thth, 1900. Since that time he had paid 28s, and had not paid a penny since April, 1901. He asked for a commitment. Defendant had now been committed twice for arrears. – The magistrates made an order for commitment to prison for a month.

A CONUNDRUM. – Margaret CURRIE pleaded not guilty at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, to a charge of being drunk and disorderly at Hurst on the 14th May. – Constable READ deposed that at five past four on the Thursday afternoon in question defendant was drunk and annoying a shopkeeper in Hillgate-street. She was shouting and screaming and creating a disturbance. Witness got her outside, and she refused to go home. – Defendant: How dare you say so? – (Laughter.) – The Magistrates’ Clerk: He dares. – (Renewed laughter.) – Defendant: How is it that it has gone on for two years? – The Clerk: We cannot answer conundrums. – (Laughter.) – Fined 5s 6d for costs.

The Mayor Turns the Wheel

The new manager (Mr STAMP) of the Ashton Sewerage Works at Plantation Farm took up his duties about a fortnight or three weeks ago, and on Monday last it was found that the progress was sufficiently far advanced to commence the treatment of sewerage. The works are not quite completed, but on Monday afternoon the Mayor (Councillor J B POWNALL), as chairman of the committee, along with the deputy-chairman (Councillor PEARSON), the borough surveyor (Mr J T EARNSHAW), and the assistant surveyor (Mr J ROWBOTTOM) inspected the progress of the work, and it was considered a suitable opportunity for at once commencing the treatment of the sewerage.

Up to this period the sewerage of the borough had been turned into the river at the point near to Messrs KERSHAWS’ Mills, Guide Bridge, but was accordingly diverted, and on the arrival of the Mayor and party the formal procedure of commencing the operations was gone through. The Mayor turned the wheel which raised the sluice and allowed the sewerage to run down the various channels into one of the tanks which rapidly filled and overflowed into the second tank, from which it was conveyed along further channels to the bacteria beds.

One of the inspectors of the Mersey and Irwell Joint Committee arrived on the scene just as the operations were commencing, and he watched the proceedings with great interest, and expressed satisfaction with the works as a whole. The works are not yet in exact working order as there is a considerable amount of tidying and stretching up required, as is natural in a scheme of this magnitude, but within a few weeks everything will be in apple-pie order, and the committee will then probably ask the whole members of the Council to go along, with the members of the Hurst District Council, who are part contributors to the scheme, and inspect the works.

The Mayor is of opinion that the works might be thrown open to the public for one or two days to come. The sewerage works alone have cost about £80,000, and there is in addition the huge cost of the intercepting sewer, and a visit to the works by any ratepayers would prove most interesting.

Sequel to a Fatal Quarry Accident

At the Ashton County Court, on Thursday, before His Honour Judge Reginald BROWN, K.C., a sequel to the quarry fatality last year, in which James FRENCH, of Huddersfield-road, lost his life whilst in the employ of Messrs UNDERWOOD and Bro., contractors, of Dukinfield, was heard, on the question of compensation to the father, who was the applicant. The deceased was a labourer, and was at the time of the accident working a crane at Glent Quarry, Stalybridge. Applicant was represented by Mr RYECROFT, and Mr J B POWNALL appeared for the respondent.

The case had previously been heard before His Honour, who then found that the father was not dependent upon the son’s earnings. The Court of Appeal had found, however, that His Honour must rescind his decision, and make an order. Hence the present proceedings.

Mr RYECROFT explained that the deceased at the time of the accident was earning 27s per week, and the gross income coming into the house was £4 3s 6d, the applicant earning 20s per week, his daughter (aged 22) 20s, a boy earning 14s, and a girl 2s 6d per week. There were eight members of the family maintained out of that common fund.

In the present case he mentioned that the son’s earning were used for the maintenance of the family, and that the father, the applicant, was a dependent. The son contributed, he argued, to the household, over and above his own keeping and spending money, a sum equal to 12s per week, and in all circumstances it would be reasonable to give the applicant compensation on the footing of not less a sum than 8s per week for three years, which would amount to £93 12s.

Mr POWNALL argued that the applicant was not dependent upon the son’s earnings. He quoted a decision in the Court of Appeal in which it was laid down that a father who was very well off and spent the money received as the child’s earnings was not dependent.

Mr RYECROFT contended that in this case there was no evidence that the father did spend the child’s money. There was evidence he had spent his own money, which was wrong of him. In this case the money from the son was handed to the mother.

His Honour, in giving judgment, said the Court of Appeal had sent the matter back to him to make some order. He had decided when the case was laid before him that the applicant was not dependent, having taken a common-sense view of the matter in such cases, and after sitting in many courts and hearing a good deal of people in the position of the applicant, and how they lived. But the Court of Appeal said he must not be guided by that consideration, but they had not said by what consideration he should be guided by.

They had, however, said he must withdraw his decision as far as he could, and decide as best he could on some other ground. He had now decided that the father was partly dependent upon the wages of the deceased son, and that part of his wages was used for the maintenance of the family. Probably some part was not used, but it was difficult to divide the matter up.

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