27 June 1903

As Mr Abel BUCKLEY, J.P., was being driven in a hansom from Ryecroft Hall along Manchester-road in the direction of Ashton, on Tuesday afternoon, the horse suddenly stumbled and fell, and Mr BUCKLEY was thrown with much violence against the front of the hansom, fortunately without injury to himself, though he was severely shaken. He continued the journey to Ashton in another conveyance.

Child Burned to Death

A sad occurrence is reported from the neighbourhood of Crickets-lane, Ashton. About 5pm on Thursday the Ashton police authorities were notified of a fire having broken out at a provision shop, numbered 80 Crickets-lane, occupied by James JACKSON. The float, along with a contingent of fireman, were dispatched, but on arrival the fire had been put out by a few buckets of water.

From the statement of Margaret Ann JACKSON, wife of the tenant of the shop, it appears that about four o’clock on Thursday afternoon she locked the front door and went out by the back way to her sister-in-law’s house, who lives next door, leaving her child in the kitchen, eating a cake. After being in her sister-in-law’s house a few minutes, a little girl came and told her there was smoke coming from the shop door.

She ran into the house by the back way and found it full of smoke, the tablecloth, sofa, bed and hearthrug all burnt, and the child lying between the kitchen and shop with his clothes in flames. The mother screamed out, and a neighbour named Eliza HARRISON took off her apron and wrapped it round the child, and put out the flames. The clothing was partly destroyed, and the child was fearfully burnt about the face, arms and body.

Linseed oil and limewater were applied to the burns, and the child was taken to Dr BLEASDALE’s surgery by Mr LOWE, who lives in Crickets-lane. After being medically attended, the child was taken to Mr LOWE’s house, and died shortly afterwards. An empty match box was afterwards found on the hearthrug, which the mother said was not there when she went out of the house, and it is supposed the child took the box from a shelf and set fire to himself and the house.

At the Ashton Bankruptcy Court, on Thursday, before the Registrar, Mr H HALL, the examination in bankruptcy took place – by Mr C J DIBB, the official receiver – of John Wm. NORRIS, lately residing at the Royal Oak Inn, Vaudrey-street, Stalybridge, and now a refreshment house keeper. The gross liabilities were stated as £200 17s 9d. The causes of failure, as alleged by bankrupt, were bad trade, small profits, heavy interest on loans, illness of his wife and children and household and personal expenditure in excess of profits. The receiving order was made on bankrupt’s own petition.

The debtor stated that from January 1901 to November 1902 he carried on business as an innkeeper at the Royal Oak Inn, that he put £406 capital of his own into that business, but which practically was lost therein. On leaving the inn he received a net sum of £313 2s 3d, which, except for about £8, he paid to his creditors. He commenced business as a refreshment house keeper about six or seven months ago when he had liabilities amounting to about £140.

He had kept sufficient books of account (particularly neither cash book nor creditors’ ledgers), nor while in business ascertained his financial position, and only first became aware of his insolvency about five months ago, and had since contracted some of his existing liabilities.

In reply to the Official Receiver, debtor stated that when he went into the Royal Oak Inn he was told he would derive considerable revenue from two clubs held at the house. He first knew of his insolvency about a fortnight after he left the Royal Oak Inn, after he had paid away the purchase money and found he had only a few pounds left to discharge liabilities. – There were no creditors present, and the examination was closed.

Sir, - May I be permitted to trespass upon your valuable space to draw attention to what I think is a great hardship to the large number of unemployed, namely the closing of the news room at the Technical School. If a person is really looking for work naturally the first thing for him is to see the advertisements in all the principal papers. Now a poor man cannot afford to buy them, so he is left ignorant of possibly a situation in Ashton and walks miles with likely unsuccess.

What I would suggest is that a hoarding be placed in some convenient space, and the advertisement columns of the principal papers be pasted on as soon as received. Of course, I know this would entail a certain amount of extra trouble for one, but that is justified by the good it would do the many. Hoping that someone with influence will move in this matter, and thanking you in anticipation for imparting this humble letter. I remain yours truly,
One of the Unemployed

Killed by a Fall of Roof

A sad fatality occurred at the Ashton New Moss Colliery, on Monday night, when a collier named John BESWICK, residing at 172 Church-street, Ashton, was crushed to death by a fall of roof. He was working on No 8 brow, north level No 1 tunnel, along with another collier named Samuel BESWICK, when the latter heard a noise, and on turning round he saw the roof had fallen near to where the deceased was working.

He called out “Jack,” but got no answer, and on going to the spot found the deceased lying on his right side, his head pinned between a prop and a stone weighing about 2cwt, and other smaller portions of roof on his body. The stone was rolled off him, but he never spoke, and was then apparently dead. He was wound to the surface of the pit, and conveyed home in the colliery ambulance.

The inquest was held on Thursday morning at the King William the Fourth Hotel, Stamford-street, before Mr J F PRICE (the Manchester County Coroner) and a jury. Mr T H WORDSWORTH, manager of the colliery, and Mr Jesse BUTLER, miners’ agent, were present at the inquiry, along with Mr G JERRARD, H.M. inspector of mines. Mr A BOOTH was foreman of the jury.

Samuel BESWICK, coal miner, of 66 Park-street, Ashton, said: Deceased was my uncle, and lived at 172 Church-street. He was a coal miner and 52 years of age last birthday. We both worked at the New Moss Colliery. The accident happened on Monday last. We both started work together at 2.30 in the afternoon. All went well until 8.15, and then I heard a fall from the direction of deceased.

I went to his place and saw him lying on the ground on his right side, with a lump of dirt on the left side of his neck. It would weigh about 2cwt. It was pinning his neck against a prop. I helped remove the stone off him, and we found he was dead. I saw there had been a fall from the roof between a break and a slip. They were plainly to be seen. I had heard of no previous warning.

The fireman was round to make a second examination about eight o’clock. He called to me and asked if we had our chockwood ready to set a chock, as we had got the coal cleared. I said we had half of it, and I could chop the other half. He gave us no instructions as to doing in the meantime. I was in charge of the place. The fall occurred about 15 minutes after the fireman had left.

We were aware of the break before the fall, but not the slip. If he could have had time to get his coal out he could have set a temporary prop, and prevented the fall. Deceased was moving the coal at the time. We had plenty of timber. There was room to have set a prop if he had gone to the trouble before he had moved his coal. It was no more dangerous than any other place I have worked in.

Mr JERRARD said he was glad to know that the witness had learned a lesson by that sad fatality, “A stick of wood placed there would have prevented the accident.” – Witness: Yes. – The Inspector: If you are in a similar place, you will remember next time? – Yes. He admitted a temporary prop would have prevented the accident.

John GREENWOOD, the fireman, said: I live at 34 Ellison-street, Ashton. I am a fireman at New Moss Colliery. I was round the deceased’s working place at about five o’clock, and fired a shot after making an examination of the surroundings. At five o’clock I gave instructions to clear the coal away and get other props up, and put a prop just in the lower side where the shot was fired. I saw deceased commence to clear the coal away, and then left.

At eight o’clock I went again and examined it. I did not then notice anything particularly dangerous, but urged deceased to get his coal out of the way as quickly as possible, and get another roof support. I then left there again, and directly afterwards – about 15 minutes later – I heard there had been a fall. I returned and saw deceased was being released by the last witness and another man. He was quite dead. There had been a fall of dirt, which came from the face, between the coal and the slip. Had I thought the place dangerous I should have ordered them set temporary bars whilst they cleared the coal away

It was not possible to set the prop anywhere until the coal had been moved away. I thought the coal would hold until a chock had been set. There could not have been a temporary prop put where the accident occurred. Coal was in the way, and I could not see how they could put a prop there. Answering the Inspector, witness said he made a careful examination of the roof.

BESWICK was recalled, and he stated the first prop was set about six o’clock. The Inspector: I am satisfied with the answer. Even then two hours elapsed, and nothing was done to support the roof. The Coroner thought the accident had been caused through an error of judgment. – The Foreman was of the opinion that a further prop could have been set where they were working. Mr WORDSWORTH said deceased was a thoroughly practical man. – A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

Ran With His Head into a Horse

A sad accident occurred on Friday evening, about six o’clock, to an Ashton cyclist named Thomas WRIGLEY, pipe fitter, of 32 John-street, Ashton. He was proceeding along Old-street on a bicycle, and when opposite the Globe Hotel he ran with his head into a horse attached to a light trap owned by Mr John ANDREW, Globe Hotel, and which was being driven by Arthur ANDREW.

The cyclist was thrown violently to the ground, where he lay in an unconscious condition. He was carried into the Globe Hotel, where everything done to restore him to consciousness. Dr DUNCAN’s assistance was called in, and attended to the injuries, and ordered his removal to the district infirmary, where he was taken in the police horse ambulance.

Information was received at the Ashton Police Office at 9.48 on Sunday night, from Thomas CALVERT, that the engine-house of the Minerva Spinning Co Ltd, Ashton, was on fire. The alarm bells were rung at the Town Hall, and the “Heginbottom” fire engine was immediately despatched, followed by the float with a contingent of firemen.

On arrival at the mill, it was found that the fire had been extinguished by prompt use of the fire appliances in connection with the mill. It appears that a quantity of waste under a wooden bench had by some means got on fire, and ignited a can of paraffin oil, the flames of which started the sprinklers. The fire extinguishing apparatus at the mill was immediately set to work, and extinguished the flame, so that the services of the Corporation fire brigade were not required. No damage was done to the engine beyond the effect of the water, the sprinklers having confined the fire to the locality in which it originated. The cause of the outbreak is unknown.

Sequel in the Ashton County Court

His Honour Judge Reginald BROWN, K.C., had before him an interesting case to horse dealers at the Ashton County Court on Thursday, in which Mr Charles BLACKBURN, butcher, Ashton, sued Messrs C and T BEATTIE Ltd, carriers, Manchester, for a sum of £4.

Mr A LEES appeared for the plaintiff, and stated that the parties agreed to exchange horses, and defendants to give £4, the value of the plaintiff’s horse in excess of the value of the defendants’ horse as agreed. – Mr Frederick RAY (barrister), on behalf of the defendant, stated that the horse received from the plaintiff was said to be sound, but this turned out to be untrue, as the horse was suffering from corns, and was consequently useless. The defendant lodged a counterclaim for £12 and £2 10s for the keep of the plaintiff’s horse.

Evidence was called to the effect that Mr BEATTIE saw the horse in plaintiff’s stable. Charles MITCHELL, one of the defendants’ men, showed the horse, and stated that it had corns but ran soundly. He said he would run it in the yard, but the defendant that was not necessary. – The defendant, Mr BEATTIE, denied that anything was mentioned about corns, and said he had been duped. It was the usual thing to get a warranty that a horse was sound, and he trusted to the honesty of the seller.

The reason given for the exchange was because the plaintiff had not enough work for his horse. When the horse was delivered it was found to be lame, and when using it in the streets they were advised by a policeman to take it in the stable. Mr MITCHELL, veterinary surgeon, Manchester, spoke to examining the horse and finding a corn, and also inflammation in both feet. The horse was worth £5 or £6 in its present condition.

His Honour found that the horse was not sound, and that there was a breach of warranty. He gave judgment for the defendant in respect of the claim, and allowed £6 on the counter claim.

A Family Squabble

At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, James Garforth FERGUSON, his wife Elizabeth FERGUSON, and his son, James FERGUSON, were charged with committing a breach of the police in Market-street, Droylsden, on June 8th.

Evidence was given by a sergeant and a constable that at 12.20am on June 8th, the three defendants were brawling, shouting and using bad language, and struggling and fighting with one another in the doorway of the Grey Mare Inn, Market-street. The constable, it appears, had previously been called into the house and remained there until 12.15 in the morning to prevent them doing violence to each other.

Mrs FERGUSON went to the constable at 9.30pm and asked him to keep a lookout as she was afraid for her life. Her husband, she said, was drunk. She said she would walk the streets before she would stop in the house that night. The son was also in the quarrel and kept interfering. The quarrel seemed to be about the boy, who had had to leave home and go to live at Denton with an aunt.

The husband denied striking his wife, and said he had never done so in his life. – It was stated that the son came over from Denton, and wasted some money from his father, and there was a row. – The father of the boy said he asked him to leave home for quietness sake. He had been forbidden to come into the house, and he was determined to come home, and that was the chief trouble.

The Magistrates’ Clerk: The point is whether he or your wife should go? – The Chairman: You could give him something for his keep each week. – The son told the Bench that he called his father into the parlour, and the stepmother went out to fetch a policeman. The Chairman: This is not the first time trouble has come with second families and second wives. This boy is evidently a subject of contention between you and your wife. You have got quit of the public-house in time, I think. – The magistrates bound the father and son over in 40s to keep the peace for three months, and dismissed the case against the wife.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Ashton (Mr and Mrs J B POWNALL) were “At Home” at the Mayor’s Parlour, Town Hall, on Wednesday afternoon from three to five o’clock, during which they received a large number of callers. The Parlour was arranged for afternoon tea, and in the centre a group of beautiful flowering plants was arranged, which had a very pretty effect. The vestibule was prettily draped and carpeted and an awning stretched to the foot of the Town Hall steps, where the callers alighted from their carriages. The decorations were daintily designed and carried out by Mr J FISHER. An orchestral band, under the able conductorship of Mr Tom CHEETHAM, played the latest selections of music.

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