17 January 1903

A burning fatality, the circumstances in connection with which are extremely sad, occurred at Waterloo on Saturday night. Two men passing along Oldham-road saw flames and smoke inside the bedroom of a dwelling-house at No 4 Langham-street. They tried to burst open the front door, but could not do so. They then went round to the back door, which they succeeded in breaking open. On passing inside the house there was a horrible stench, and they were almost overcome with the foul fumes.

The staircase was blackened and charred as if having recently being on fire, and on the steps lay a paraffin lamp, which was broken and emptied of its contents. On passing upstairs they found a woman named Fanny JACKSON, widow aged 55 years whose occupation was that of tailoress, lying dead in bed, burned and charred almost beyond recognition. The bed had been on fire and was smouldering, and the bedclothes were burned and blackened. Dr BOWMAN was sent for, and on his arrival he pronounced life extinct.

It appears that deceased, who resided with a tailor named John KING at the address given, was seen going home between nine o’clock and ten o’clock on Saturday night the worse for drink. She had been in the habit of going upstairs at her home with a lighted paraffin lamp in her hand, and it is supposed the lamp fell on the stairs and set fire to her clothing. Whether for the purpose of putting out the flames or not it is hard to say, but she appears to have got into bed and set fire to the flock bed and straw mattress and bed covering. These were burned up, and the body and legs were burned and charred. Some time ago the deceased fractured one of her legs, and in consequence of this she had experienced some difficulty in walking about.

The inquest was held at the Gardeners’ Arms, Taunton-road, on Tuesday afternoon by Mr J F PRICE, district coroner.

John Henry KING said he been living with the deceased for about 14 or 15 years. Deceased was the widow of John JACKSON who was a wine and spirit traveler. She was in the habit of taking drink. He last saw her alive about 11 o’clock on Saturday morning when he left the house to go to Matlock. He received a telegram on Sunday morning, and he returned home, and found she was dead. She was sober when he left home on Saturday morning.

Elizabeth Alice CLEGG, 13 Ney-street, Waterloo, said she knew deceased by sight and she saw her in a house in Oldham-road on Saturday night about 9.30. She was sitting on a chair and appeared the worse for drink. Witness, at the request of Mrs TAYLOR, accompanied her home, and lighted a paraffin lamp for her and left it on the table. She asked witness to fetch a pint of beer for her, but she refused, thinking she had had enough, and told her so. Witness bade her goodnight and closed the door and closed the door. She had not seen her alive since. Deceased seemed sufficiently able to go upstairs herself, and when she asked witness to fetch the beer she went into the kitchen and rinsed a jug out with water and brought it into the house.

Nelson SCHOFIELD, collier, 5 Langham-street, Waterloo, said that about 11.30 on Saturday night he was going home when he saw a lot of people standing in the street who said they had seen a blaze in deceased’s house. He tried the front door and found it fast, and went through the next door into the back, and with help burst the back door open and went in. The door at the foot of the stairs was closed, and he opened it and went up. As he did so he could hear glass cracking under his feet and there was a strong smell.

The bedroom door was closed, and on opening it he was compelled to retreat on account of the smoke which met him. He shouted out for someone to come up, and they waited a while whilst the smoke cleared. On going into the room he saw deceased lying smouldering on the bed. The bedclothing was also smouldering. Witness and another young man lifted her out of bed and got her as best they could downstairs, as they were both very weak with the fumes.

Witness heard her moan once, but he heard nothing afterwards. She was black with the smoke and flames. They carried her into the house and pulled off the clothing which was burned to pieces. A paraffin lamp lay on the stairs. They then went outside to get a breath of fresh air.

Constable HENDRY stated that about 11.50 on Saturday night he was called to the deceased’s house. On going there deceased was lying on the floor. Her clothing was practically burnt off, and she was burnt more or less all over her body. On going upstairs he found the bottom portion or stand of a lamp lying on the fifth step from the bottom, and the stairs themselves nearly all the way up were charred, and on going into the bedroom he found a flock bed and straw mattress smouldering. He fetched some water in a bucket and threw it over the bed. He had known deceased as a very intemperate woman.

The Coroner said the deceased was evidently not in a fit state to carry the lamp upstairs. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

BREACH OF THE PEACE.- At the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, Thomas SMITH pleaded guilty to committing a breach of the police at Hurst on December 28th, and was bound over in 40s to keep the peace for three months.

DRUNK AND DISORDERLY.- A charge of being drunk and disorderly at Hurst was preferred against William TUDOR at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday. – Defendant’s wife appeared and pleaded guilty, and a fine of 5s was imposed.

THE BEGGING NUISANCE.- James WALSH was in the dock at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday, charged with begging at Hurst on January 13th. – Prisoner pleaded guilty and said he came from Glasgow where he had been working on the Clyde shipbuilding. He had been out of work four weeks, and was making his way to North Wales. – The magistrates sentenced prisoner to seven days’ imprisonment.

OFF TO AMERICA. – On Thursday night a soiree was held in the Hurst Brook Co-operative Society’s rooms to bid farewell to two of the overlookers employed at the Stamford Manufacturing Company – Mr Joseph HARRISON and Mr William THOMPSON – who sail to-day in the s.s. “Etruria” for America. Both gentlemen were recipients of presents from the weavers of their respective “charters,” also from the overlookers, besides several other presents from friends. A most enjoyable evening was spent in singing and dancing. The following contributed songs: Miss WRIGHT, Miss MATLEY, Miss RUSHTON, Messrs H BURGESS, A FIRTH, H MATLEY. Mr H LONGDEN presided at the piano.

FRIENDSHIP SICK AND BURIAL SOCIETY.- The fifty-ninth annual meeting of the above society was held on Saturday at the club house, Hare and Hounds Inn, Hurst Cross. The President congratulated the members on deciding to “pay out” all sick members, thus allowing the society to make greater progress. The Secretary’s report showed – Amount of capital £1,179 8s 4d, number of members 650, worth per member £1 16s 3d. After adopting the report and electing the officers, a special meeting was held to consider a revision of the rules. A sub-committee was appointed to revise the rules and submit same to next general meeting. The rest of the evening was spent in conviviality.

LECTURE.- A company of over 60 assembled on Sunday evening at the Seven Stars, Hurst Brook, to listen to a lecture by Mr William BEAUMONT, our well-known local naturalist. Mr H GORDON presided. The gathering had been arranged with the view of establishing a branch of the Ashton Linnman Botanists and Field Naturalists’ Society in the neighbourhood, and there is a possibility this will be done. Mr BEAUMONT was in the happiest vein. He did not take any particular subject, but chatted on such divergent subjects as the woodpecker, the oyster, the chameleon, and other members in the field of natural history, much to the edification and instruction of his audience. He received their hearty thanks at the close, and a similar compliment to the chairman brought an interesting meeting to a close.

I.O.G.T HOPE OF HURST LODGE.- On Wednesday evening a concert was held under the auspice of the above lodge in their new meeting place the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Whitworth-street, Hurst. The chair was occupied by Mr P BRACEGIRDLE, and there was a splendid array of talent. Songs were given by Bro. T WHITEHEAD, R H FELL, and Miss DEARDEN. Humorous songs were given by Mr Sam SYKES. Recitations were given by Bro. J DABBS, and Sister E GREENWOOD; mandolin solos were given by Miss HALL; violin solos by Sister M BAILEY, and Mr ODERY of Stockport gave several selections on the concertina. Miss Gladys HUDSON, a young girl of very tender age, gave two pianoforte solos in good style which were well received. A glee party sang several beautiful pieces. Miss NUTTALL gave two pianoforte solos and made a good accompanist.

Sir,- My sense of decency was outraged last Sunday by the sight of three well-dressed young females walking along the footpath in Ashton with a bravado manner, smoking cigarettes. One cannot contemplate with satisfaction the increase of smoking among females. Even those men who smoke will hardly care that their sisters and wives should become enslaved by the habit. It behoves everyone to discourage and denounce it, and to encourage whatever is promotive of modesty and refinement of character which ought to distinguish women.
I am yours truly, S.

Sir, - In your correspondence column last week, letters appeared above the signatures “A.U.C” and “P.C.” These individuals are evidently rabid tee-totallers, for they seem to have lost grasp of the good that emanates from establishments having a music license! The licensees are only granted to men who can produce evidence as to character and fitness, the artistes who appear are beyond reproach, the music and the words of the songs are of a high order, the surroundings of the premises are of a nature to produce good, the company assembled is select – in fact, the whole atmosphere of a music hall is redolent with all that improves and elevates.

Why should this necessary adjunct to a drink license be cut off? You might as well cut off the drink license. Seeing several neighbouring towns have refused to grant music licenses, it is all the more important that the licenses be retained in Ashton. They are an attraction to our neighbours, who are debarred these pleasures, and the people who are attracted are the ones who have lots of money to spend on the goods displayed in the shops in the town!

Besides, the youth of the town have a lot of leisure time which can be used to better use in a music hall than it could be at a technical class or night school, or even in reading good literature from the Free Library! These reasons are recommended to the Licensing Committee for consideration.
Yours truly, H.P.

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