16 May 1903

A correspondent writes: - After the doctor had told me to be ready in an hour, when the van would come to take me away, the suspense during the time of waiting was awful. My parents were dreadfully upset, and had it been possible they would have kept me at home, and I had no idea what sort of place I was going to. At last the van came, when it was just growing dusk.

I never thought that a van could cause such a commotion. In less than a minute after it drew up at the door there were hundreds round the house. They might have been taking me to my execution, so excited were the crowd. I was safely locked in the van, en route for the Isolation Hospital, in less time than it takes to tell. I made myself as comfortable as I could, lit my pipe, and began to smoke. There is a little window in the front of the van, and through this I was able to see when crossing a street that we almost ran over two of my pals.

When arrival at my destination, the first thing I heard was a voice asking if it was a stretcher case. It wasn’t and the nurse who met me asked me to follow her. She led me into a rather large room, which held about 14 beds, seven up each side. The room, or ward, is rather wide, and in the centre is a large stove which heats the place, and a large table at which those patients who are not confined to their beds dine.

This was the men’s ward, and I was told that at the other end of the building was the women’s ward – a room exactly similar. Immediately you enter you strip and get into bed; you are provided with a long white night shirt, and a small jacket, and all your own things are taken from you, and thoroughly disinfected, and put away until you are able to get up and wear them.

In the morning you are taken to have a carbolic bath, put to bed again, and then properly examined to see what sort of case you are. Fortunately for me, mine was a very mild case, and I was up and out of bed after one day but in an ordinary case a person is confined to bed seven or eight days, and in bad cases fourteen to twenty days.

I had plenty of time to study the various cases that were then in hospital. What struck me was the difference in the cases where the patients had been vaccinated, and where they had not. In every case when the patient had not been vaccinated the attack was most severe, the disease seemed to have full play, and the person was simply covered from head to tow with thousands of pocks; in some cases the pustules had burst, and the matter from them has formed into large seething scabs all over the body. The sight of a case of this sort was repulsive.

In a case where the person had been vaccinated, the pocks were nothing near so numerous, and were very small, and after coming to a head soon died away and fell off. Then again, a person who had not been vaccinated was invariably marked, for when the pustules burst or are scratched they leave a mark.

I do not set myself up as an authority on vaccination, but this I do know that I am speaking from experience that a person who has not been vaccinated has small-pox a hundred times worse than one who had been; and I am sure that if parents could only see what I have seen, there would be fewer applications for exemption orders than there are at the present time.

Quite a sensation was caused in Stalybridge on Saturday morning when the rumour became circulated that Mr Robert Kershaw ILLINGWORTH, rope and twine manufacturer, Bridge-street, had destroyed his life. The rumour turned out to be only too true, and much sympathy was expressed for the surviving widow and six children – four sons and two daughters.

An inquest was held on the body on Monday noon at the Wellington Inn, Caroline-street, Mr William HALLAS being foreman of the jury. Mr Fred THOMPSON, solicitor, represented the family of deceased, and Captain BATES, Chief Constable, was also in attendance.

Thomas H ILLINGWORTH said: I reside at 41 Lord-street, Stalybridge, and deceased was my father. He was 64 years of age, and was a rope manufacturer, residing at 32 Back Caroline-street. I worked for him and have noticed that lately he has been depressed about business. At breakfast time on Saturday he said to me he did not know what he was doing. I tried to pacify him, but he would not lift up his head to look at us. He sat at his desk.

At 9.45 the same morning I went into the engine-room and there found my father hanging by the neck with a rope which was attached to the driving shaft. I cut the rope at once, and then called for assistance. There was no sign of life, and Dr SCOTT came and pronounced life extinct.

The paper produced was found in deceased’s waistcoat pocket. The writing was his handwriting. The name mentioned on the paper is an economizer whom he had threatened to sue for the value of a rope. The Coroner remarked that the paper contained the name of a person, and the words, “my daylight robber and my murderer.” Witness (continuing): The account in dispute is £10, and my father has worried himself about it – more than he ought to have done.

The Coroner: Did you ever hear him say he would hang himself or take away his life? – Witness: No, sir. – How long has your father been in business in this particular place? He took it over from his father sixteen years ago. The Coroner: I think, gentlemen, I may take the liberty of expressing your sympathy along with my own with the widow and family in the loss they have sustained by the death of Mr ILLINGWORTH.

On Saturday afternoon last, in the lecture room of the M.N.C. Church, Trafalgar-square, there was an interesting gathering to celebrate the 88th birthday of Mt Peter BLYTH. The party consisted of his four sons, Mr G BLYTH, Mr J BLYTH, Councillor C BLYTH, and Mr Wm BLYTH, and their wives, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, together with the minister of the Trafalgar-square Church, the Revs J WHITTON and D VARCOE, and their wives, Mr and Mrs Jas WALLWORK, Miss NORTH, and Mrs SHELMERDINE.

A splendid tea was served by Mrs WARD, confectioner, of Stamford-street, Ashton, followed by a very pleasant meeting, over which Rev J WHITTON presided. Referring to the gathering, Mr WHITTON said he felt it to be a great honour to be invited to a party of that character. It was like coming within the family circle, which was a great privilege. During the five years he had been in the Ashton circuit, he had received many tokens of kindness from Mr BLYTH and family, and the warmth of welcome extended to him on that occasion had made him feel perfectly at home among them. His fervent wish and prayer was that Mr BLYTH might have a bright and happy eventide. Already the light of heaven seemed to fall on his brow.

Although he had attained to such a good age, it might be said that in a very true sense he had “lived in deeds, not years,” and would continue to live in the history of the Trafalgar-square Church as long as it remained. He had much pleasure in asking Mr BLYTH to address them.

Mr BLYTH, who was warmly received, gave a very interesting address. He said he had been much amused by friends wishing him “Many happy returns of the day.” He could not expect many happy returns after 88. However, he was in God’s hands, and he hoped he should patiently wait all the days of his appointed time till his change came.

He had much to be thankful for; he had received many mercies during his long life, and for these he was profoundly grateful to Almighty God. His pleasantest memory was his connection with the church of Christ, first at Stamford-street, and then at Trafalgar-square, and it was a great grief to him that he was no longer able to render active service. He was delighted to see his children round him that day. He thanked them for their kindness and he earnestly prayed that God would abundantly bless them, and make them a blessing.

During the evening Mrs SHELMERDINE sang two songs, which were much appreciated, and Mr James WALLWORK gave a brief address. Selections on a phonograph added to the interest of the proceeding, which went merrily on until about 9.30, when the party broke up, each one feeling that not only had a notable birthday been duly honoured, but a most enjoyable evening had been spent.

DRUNK AND DISORDERLY. – James TAYLOR pleaded guilty, at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, to being drunk at Waterloo on April 25th, and as he had been up twice before he was fined 5s.

NO LIGHTS ON VEHICLE. – For having no light on his vehicle at Waterloo on April 26th, to which he pleaded guilty when charged at the Ashton County Police Court, John Wm. COOK was fined 1s and costs.

A LATE START. – A grey-haired old gentleman, named Obadiah MARLAND, pleaded guilty, at the County Police Court on Wednesday, to being drunk and disorderly at Alt on April 27th. – The Chairman (Mr BATES): What age are you? Sixty-six. – You should have started earlier in life; it is very bad starting so late. – The Clerk: It would be better not to start at all. – The Chairman: We are very sorry for you, but you will have to pay 5s for costs.

The death took place at 7.15 on Saturday morning of Mr Samuel SLATER, aged 77 years, retired velvet manufacturer, of 66 Newmarket-road, Waterloo. The deceased gentleman had complained for a number of years of having a pain in his back, but he was able to get about. He had not been attended by a doctor.

About five o’clock in the evening of the 8th instant he went to bed, and did not complain of feeling unwell. About four o’clock the following morning he awoke his wife and told her he had a pain in his chest, and she told him he must have a cold. He got up about six a.m., and went downstairs to have his breakfast

He had not been up long when he wanted to go to bed again, and his wife went upstairs to make the bed, leaving him in charge of her sister. He was seated in an armchair before the fire with a glass of hot water and a little whisky in his hand. His sister-in-law went into the kitchen, and whilst there she heard a groan, and on going back into the house she found him leaning back in his chair. Dr BOWMAN was called in, and he pronounced life extinct.

The inquest was held at the Newmarket Inn, Newmarket-road, on Monday afternoon by Mr J F PRICE, district coroner, when the jury returned a verdict of death from natural causes, probably decay and heart failure.

In the death of Mr SLATER there has passed from hence a man well known for miles around the Ashton and Oldham district. He was a typical character and representative of the sturdy men born in Lancashire 70 or 80 years ago. He was born in the village which saw him die. In the early fifties and sixties he was one of a quartette of silk weavers in the great bonfire village of Taunton. His contemporaries were Samuel GREENWOOD, James BUCKLEY, and James ASHTON, Mr SLATER being the last survivor.

He was a noted and ardent follower of the hinds in his younger days, having hunted with Squire JERRARD’s pack, and the Wigan, Holkam, Rochdale, Oldham, Slaithwaite, Stalybridge, Ashton, Stayley, and Disley hounds. He had a remarkable retentive memory, and it was deeply interesting to listen to his relation of his experiences in the field. He was a man of peculiarities, one of which was the constant wearing of a black velvet coat, and his extreme abruptness of speech, yet a good hearted and sympathetic sort of man.

He got up on Saturday morning, had his breakfast, sat down in his chair, and died as though he was going to sleep – a truly peaceful ending of an active life, free from the aches and pains of old age. He leaves four sisters and a brother, four of whom are over 70 years of age. The interment took place on Wednesday, at St Peter’s Church, in the presence of nearly all his relatives and a few friends, amongst the latter being our old friend “Picking Peg.”

An accident occurred on Thursday morning at the new Tudor Mill, Ashton. About eleven o’clock a man named Anthony HALLIDAY, labourer, was being wound down by means of a rope to one of the storeys of the mill when he fell a distance of 60 feet. He alighted on some machinery, and sustained severe injuries to his back and head. The police horse ambulance was sent for, and the injured man was taken to the Ashton Infirmary by Inspector McFEELEY and Constables ALFORD and FERNLEY. On inquiry on Friday morning we were informed that HALLIDAY was doing very well.

Winnipeg, Man., April 21st, 1903
Sir, - In view of the prevailing conditions in this province, the Trades and Labour Council of Winnipeg has decided to lay before the British public certain facts concerning the present “boom” in immigration to Canada. The glowing and highly-coloured statements and reports sent from this country give an entirely misleading, not to say, mendacious account of the prospects for immigrants, and mostly emanate from interested sources.

The steamship and railway companies naturally desire passengers; the business classes hope to profit by the influx of people; the employers seek to intensify competition in the labour market, while the Government itself is not above suspicion, as it is entirely representative of those various interests. There is thus a gigantic conspiracy to promote and welcome the tide of immigration that has set towards this country.

More dangerous still is a certain class of individuals, of which the Rev I M BARR is typical, who seek to exploit the immigrants by forming colonies etc. This reverend gentleman has just arrived with a “colony” of 2,000 people, in the promotion of which he has amassed a tidy little fortune, variously estimated from $10,000 to $35,000, and is already bitterly denounced by his disillusioned dupes, many of whom find themselves stranded, practically without resources or employment, in a strange land.

What are the facts? It is, no doubt, true that there is a prospect of success for any man with a little experience in farming, but he must have capital. Anyone intending to go farming, even on a homestead, should have not less than £200 to £300. Young men are in demand for farm servants, but the demand is now almost filled, owing to the enormous influx.

In the cities the demand for artisans will be, in most cases, fully met by the supply, while there is oversupply of unskilled labour, except in cases where strikes are pending. Wages, no doubt, seem high compared with those prevailing in England, but this is not because of any scarcity of labour, still less does it show that the labourers are particularly well off. It is due to the high cost of living, especially in the matter of rent and fuel. Living has gone up 25 per cent in the last year or so and numerous strikes are pending in all parts of the country in the attempt to raise wages to subsistence point.

Under the conditions we would advise intending immigrants to exercise the greatest caution before coming out, especially those with families, unless they have capital. With a view to preventing English working men from being duped or victimized, the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council send this warning, and hope that you will give it due publicity.

Yours on behalf of the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council
A G COWLEY, President
J G MORGAN, Acting Secretary

Great Plague of Flies
Horses and Horsemen Forced to Wear Veils

The following extracts are from a letter to Mr Isaac BARDSLEY, by his son, Charles F BARDSLEY, of Queensland:-

A long time has elapsed since I commenced this letter. In my letter to F---- I told him of the welcome rains we have had, and the promise they gave for a beautiful season, after the most fearful and destructive drought ever before known in Queensland, which has slain hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep, and he vegetation has been literally burnt up. To give you some idea of the great heat we have experienced I may say that here in Gympie on Boxing Day the shade temperature was 103 degrees, the sun temperature being 120 degrees. The day previous 130 in the sun, and 105 in the shade! And we have not required bedclothes, though the windows and doors were open. (I think a little of this sort of weather would go a long way with you in the old country). It would certainly be a novelty.

It has been the same in New South Wales as in Queensland. From this you may be better able to understand the many major and minor troubles we have had to endure; add to this the intense heat, mosquitoes and flies innumerable. Indeed, we are suffering from a plague of flies. They swarm everywhere and are a perfect nuisance and torture to man and beast. We shall be devoutly thankful when the rains come again.

We live here very close to what is styled the Bush. I could mount my horse at my own door, and in five minutes enter and travel very many miles through a dense jungle-like forest. Often in the early morn we are pleased to gaze upon the myriads of leaves of various tints which, after a heavy dew or light shower of rain, hold on their surface drops of clear water, which glitter and sparkle like diamonds as the sun’s rays fall upon them, and the gentle zephyrs sway them to and fro.

As I write I hear the deep rumbling sounds of thunder and see the vivid flashes of lightning, and hear the wind soughing and sighing through the trees, all of which together with the dense black sections of sky tell me that we may have good rain to-night; if not we, others undoubtedly will.

Oh, the heat! As I write ‘tis most depressing. Time 10pm, and the perspiration is intense. “Oh, let it be soon for rain,” say I. After a night of restless slumber I awoke to find that after all the signs of a heavy storm, we had only a very slight shower of rain. It seems very hard. In the country many of the horses are being literally blinded by the flies eating their eyes away. And if any poor horse happens to have a girthgall sore the flies eat their way into its body until its very entrails hang out. ‘Tis a horrible sight!

A lady informed me to-day, January 6th, that at Kilkwan, some 36 miles distant from here, the shocking sights to be seen of animals suffering from the plague of flies was enough to make the most hard-hearted and unfeeling of people weep. She had been by train and brought away two horses to save them. She had their heads covered with gauze veils. The flies had already started on the eyes of one horse.

Of course, this fly plague is new to us, but out in the western country it is chronic. In eating one’s meals in summer time one has to be warding flies off with one hand until the food is placed in the mouth, and even then some of the flies occasionally meet with interment in a human sepulchre.

Again I commence my letter, January 22nd, 1903, and am very pleased to tell you that splendid rain is now falling in great quantity. I hope it will be the means of clearing away the pest of flies. Why, people here in Gympie are actually wearing veils! Men employed as carters and horsemen, and the heads of horses are covered with fine netting as well. And people have to throw a small mesh net over themselves whilst at meals.

It is simply dreadful, but we can only hope the blessed rains will bring relief to us in their train, and clear away, for ever and a day, this awful plague of flies.


The following epitaphs are taken from two village churchyards in Montgomeryshire:-

Beneath this tree lie singers three,
One tenor and two basses.
Now they are gone, ‘tis ten to one
We ever find three such to fill their places.

And this is from the same place:-

Under this yew tree
Buried would he be,
For his father and he
Planted this yew tree.
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