2 January 1904

Christmas 1903 will long be remembered by patients and staff alike, for from near and far many charitably disposed persons sent seasonable gifts to cheer the sick and encourage those who so patiently day by day endeavour to alleviate pain and suffering. For many years past Miss Bertha MASON has taken an active part in ministering to the welfare of those who, from no fault of their own, are compelled to spend Christmas at the Infirmary, and on this occasion she again willingly come forward.

At her hands each male patient received a warm woollen shirt, each female a nightdress, and each child a Christmas stocking. There were also crackers for the patients, a large cake and desert for the nurses, and a Christmas tree and toys for the children. Mrs Frank ANDREW also kindly provided some jackets and dolls for the children, and parlour games for the nurses.

The Co-operative Societies made their usual handsome grant of £3 3s to be spent on toys for the children, and Misses MILLS, The Moorlands, and Miss JACKSON, Southleigh, Stalybridge, respectively gave 10s for the same object. Other gifts for the children were sixpenny pieces from Mr Abel BUCKLEY, Ryecroft Hall, and from Mr Henry SHAW, Dukinfield Brewery (the latter gentleman also sending 1s for each of the nurses; evergreens were received from Mrs INGHAM, Rose Terrace, Stalybridge, and a large number of children’s books from the Rev F H BARROWS, M A, Christ Church Vicarage, Ashton.

A magnificent Christmas hamper was received from Mr Octavio KISSEL, whose generous offer to give £300 towards liquidating the deficit on the extension and will be fresh on the minds of our readers. It contained 4 turkeys, 2 geese, 6 chickens, 6 braces of pheasants, sausages, 6 rabbits, 2 hares, besides delicious pineapples, custard, apples, bananas, pears, English grapes, oranges, crackers, &c. In addition, Mr KISSEL sent most exquisite bowers to bedeck the wards, and altogether his gift was a truly noble one.

Another unlooked for, but nevertheless welcome a gift was that of the girls of the Guildford High School, Surrey, who sent, through the matron, a parcel of clothing worked by themselves. Mrs HAMILTON, Chester Place, again provided Christmas cards for the patients and nurses. Miss TIPPING, Alderley Edge, sent two beautiful scraps books for the children’s cards, which had been compiled by two boys in her Bible class. The Hurst Village Band came on their round, and kindly played in front of the Infirmary whilst their dinner was going on.

New Year Cheers for Old Colliers and Widows

The annual distribution of the Kenworthy Charities to old colliers of the district and widows took place in the Borough Court-room, Ashton Town Hall, yesterday (Friday) forenoon by the Mayor, Alderman A SHAW. The number in receipt of the charities was 36 males and 36 females, each of whom received a package of articles of clothing, boots, etc, of the value of 32s, or thereabouts. There was a large attendance.

The Mayor presided, supported by his two daughters, Miss SHAW and Miss Agnes SHAW. Councillors J B POWNALL (clerk to the Parish Church vestry), E BARLOW, and R BRADLEY; Messrs J W KENWORTHY, JP, S NEWTON< J T EARNSHAW, J SNELL (Chief Constable), and J W POWNALL.

The Mayor, who was given a hearty ovation, wished them all a very happy and prosperous New Year, and said it was his privilege to take a leading part in one of the most pleasing duties which the Mayor of any borough could possibly be called upon to perform, especially at the commencement of a New Year. The charity was one which they ought to feel very proud of. — (Hear, hear!)

The late Mr John KENWORTHY, by his will dated January 22nd, 1861, left two legacies of £2,000 each to be invested in Government securities, so that the capital sum should be absolutely safe for all time. The income of this money had been placed in the hands of trustees, who were the Mayor of the borough for the time being and the churchwardens of the Parish Church. The money was to be expended in wearing apparel to be given to 36 old men, and 36 women, being wives or widows of colliers, and they must be 60 years of age or upwards.

A gratifying feature was that they had still with them in the town two of the descendants of the late Mr John KENWORTHY, and they could not but wish them good health and prosperity during their time of remaining with them. — (Applause.) He alluded to Mr Geo. Henry KENWORTHY, of Hurst Hall, and his son, Mr J W KENWORTHY. — (Applause.) It was a noble gift on the part of the late Mr John KENWORTHY to make this generous provision for so deserving a class as the old colliers of the district. — (Applause.)

He was sure he voiced the feelings of everyone present when he said that these gifts of clothing were gratefully appreciated. He would not detain them any longer, but would proceed with the distribution, and would invite everyone present when they left the room to pass into the county police-court, where they could enjoy a cup of hot Bovril. — (Applause.)

Mr S NEWTON proposed a vote of thanks to the Mayor, and said that during the short time he had been Mayor of the borough he had on all possible occasions done everything he could for the public welfare, and he was sure no greater pleasure could be given to him than presiding over that meeting. He whole heart and soul were with the working men of the town, and that being so he was the right man in the right place. — (Applause.)

Councillor BRADLEY seconded, and said the Mayor took a great interest in anything appertaining to the working classes, and this would benefit the aged and deserving poor of the borough. — (Applause.) The motion was carried with acclamation, and the Mayor afterwards handed the parcels to the recipient.

Stalybridge Man Injured

A very sad accident occurred about 2.30 on Wednesday afternoon on the site of the old Gas-street Mills, Ashton. Four men were engaged winding a stone, weighing about 15cwt., by means of a crane, two men being at each handle. When they had raised the stone about 12 feet from the ground, the crane gave a jerk and one of the men called out of the others to let go.

Three of the men let go the handles simultaneously, but the fourth, named Wm. LOMAS, residing in Bridge-street, Stalybridge, in the employ of Mr Jas. RUDYARD, contractor, Turner-lane, Ashton, failed to do so, and in consequence he received a terrible blow on the head from the rapidly revolving handle which felled him to the ground. He received serious injuries to the back of the head, and was picked up and placed in a cart and driven with all possible speed to the infirmary where he is in a precarious condition.

Mr James McDONALD, 31 Wellington-street, Ashton-under-Lyne, writes: - So many different people in the borough have been giving their opinions as to the cause of the chimney at Gas-street Mills collapsing two hours before the time stated by me that it would fall. I shall be much obliged to you if you will let them know, through your valuable paper, the following.

First of all, the base or square of the chimney was very badly cracked on two sides, the cracks running parallel with the points of the huge blocks of masonry that were resting on top of the square of chimney. Secondly, there were the flues that ran into the chimney in two opposite directions exactly under the crack in the base. Thirdly, I have heard them say that the men were very lucky they were not killed.

Now that is all a fallacy, for anyone who says that does not understand what he is talking about, for the chimney gave me warning two hours and a half before it fell, by cracking and grunting when the weight had gone on the props, that it was on the move. I had five pitch-pine blocks supporting the huge weight of brickwork at the time.

When I heard the first crack I took the men away and I got two more uprights, which I at once got fixed, making in all seven pieces. I told the men to work very carefully, and keep their ears open, and be ready to clear out of danger when they thought it was going to fall over, which I am proud to say the men did, having plenty of time to do it.

Hoping that my explanation of the whole affair suits the people that had so much to say about something they nothing at all about.

The Rev John HANDFORTH, at one time connected with St Peter’s Church, Ashton-under-Lyne, on one occasion met his match in the person of Jonathan KELSALL, the then sexton of the Parish Church. Sad to relate the latter was much too fond of his cups, and frequently started his libations early in the day.

Jonathan lived in rooms over where the parish hearse was kept, and this building, which was known as “the hearse house,” adjoined the old Parish School, which stood at the top of Church-street adjacent to the churchyard. One morning the Rev Mr HANDFORTH went from the rectory to Jonathan’s residence for the purpose of giving him some instruction as to a particular duty required of him, and was informed by Mrs KELSALL that Jonathan was digging a grave in the yard.

Mr HANDFORTH went in search of Jonathan, and at last saw earth being thrown at fitful intervals from a grave which was fairly deep, inasmuch as the person working at it could not be seen. On reaching the graveside Mr HANDFORTH said “Good morning, Jonathan.” The latter had been freely indulging, and looking up with bleared eyes returned the salutation.

Seeing the state the sexton was in, Mr HANDFORTH, in reproachful tone, said, “Oh, Jonathan, Jonathan man, when will you repent?”

Jonathan, nothing abashed, replied, “Mister HANDFORTH, I’m astonished at yo’, an’ a parson too, axin a question like that.”

The reverend gentleman, taken somewhat aback, said, “Why are you astonished at my question, Jonathan?”

The old man, with a huge chuckle, replied, “Well, Mister HANDFORTH, yo’ ought to know verra weel at ther is no repentance in th’ grave.”

Needless to say the conversation was carried no further. Mr HANDFORTH turned on his heel, leaving Jonathan to enjoy the thought of his having discomfited the parson.

The great interest which has followed the above tournament all through is still maintained, and each game proves an attraction to the billiard enthusiasts who congregate there nightly.

Details: - Joe MORRIS (scratch) v. A NEW (rec 85). This game was played before a good attendance. MORRIS got going from the start, and quickly drew towards his man, and making consecutive breaks of 31, 25, and 29, eventually won somewhat early by 55.

E GRAHAM (rec 25) v. F SMALL (rec 75). GRAHAM displayed capital form, scoring useful contributions at every visit to the table, and who won quite comfortably by 72.

J LOMAS (rec 40) v. W GARNER (rec 60). GARNER went right away from the start, and keeping in front all the way won a splendid game by 24.

A GARFORTH (owes 55) v. E HEAP (rec 60). Before a full room, HEAP was the first to score, but GARFORTH came along with two consecutive breaks of 13 and 23, and again got in with a splendid 22, but afterwards fell away. HEAP hereabouts was in great form, and scored rapidly, and quickly increased his lead to over 100. GARFORTH came again with consecutive contributions of 20 and a beautifully played 51 (chiefly at the top of the table) which brought him close to his man. He afterwards passed him with serviceable breaks of 22 and 38, but HEAP got in front again. GARFORTH got a beautiful break of 27 (all off the red), and eventually won an exciting game by 25 points.

J WHITEHEAD (rec 15) v. Sam WILLIAMSON (rec 90). This was one of the best contested games during the tournament. WILLIAMSON is at first to score, and showed good form all through the game, but WHITEHEAD crept gradually up to his man, but never caught him until the score read 196-197, WHITEHEAD winning a very exciting game by four points.

W COOPER (rec 110) v. J WALKER (rec 30). COOPER was first to score, and kept the lead all through the game, winning by 17 points.

The draw for the fourth second resulted as follows: W COOPER (rec 110) v. W GARNER (rec 80); J MORRIS (scratch) v. J DAVIES (rec 40) or J JARVIS (rec 10); A GARFORTH (owes 55) v. J WHITEHEAD (rec 15); C WELLS (rec 30) v. E GRAHAM (rec 25).

During the past Christmas season, it is estimated that about 123,000 letters, etc, were dealt with, in large proportion being for delivery in Ashton and the surrounding towns, and 3,000 parcels were received for delivery in Ashton

There has been a generous response to the department’s invitation to post early, so much so that the heaviest postage of the season were made on Wednesday, 23rd December. During the evening of that day the crush of business to be transacted at the Head Office counter was altogether unprecedented.

The local arrangements worked well on the whole, the extraordinary pressure of business being kept well to hand by the employment of a largely augmented force of willing workers, both on collecting and sorting the huge mass of seasonal greetings.

One of the chief hindrances to the work in preparing letter for delivery has again been found in the imperfectly addressed missives; in many cases the numbers of the houses being omitted from the address, and in all such cases any one but the regular postman is quite unable to deal with them.

Dukinfield Greengrocer’s Experience

On Tuesday evening, between nine and ten o’clock, a collision took place with an electric car and a greengrocer’s cart, which resulted in the driver of the car being very much shaken, and thrown into the roadway. The cart was in the charge of Matthew HIGGINBOTTOM, a greengrocer, of Wharf-street, Dukinfield, who was on his way to the Manchester market.

When passing along Manchester-road, opposite the Trinity Wesleyan Chapel, the horse was startled by the approach of an electric car, which came over Christy’s Bridge, a few yards away. The animal turned its head towards the chapel, and both the driver of the cart and the electric car, seeing a collision was almost inevitable, endeavoured to prevent a serious accident. This was too late for the horse backed the cart into the car, and the force of the collision threw HIGGINBOTTOM (who was standing on the cart) into the roadway.

For a time he was unable to speak, but eventually he came round, and acting on the advice of Dr HUGHES (who was passing soon afterwards), Sergeant BARROW conveyed the man to the Police Station, where he was kept warm and attended to. It was at first thought that HIGGINBOTTOM was seriously injured, but happily it was ascertained that this was not so. He remained at the Police Station for several hours, and eventually returned home.

We regret to record the death of Mr William Henry BALL, cotton spinner, Crescent Mills, Dukinfield, which took place on Thursday week at his residence, Lyndhurst, Southport. In July of last year (1902) Mr BALL had a severe stroke, from which he never recovered, and had been confined to bed ever since, suffering from insular sclerosis.

He was born at Glossop 68 years ago, and after completing his education he entered the establishment of his uncle, the late Mr Frederick CRAVEN, of Thornbridge, Derbyshire, in the established firm of Bayley and Craven, calico printers, of Manchester. He had been a cotton spinner during the last 25 years, being a member of the firm of Bowker and Ball, first in Oldham, and for the last seven years at Crescent Mill, Dukinfield, locally known as the Old Barracks, which was burnt down, but rebuilt many years ago, the last tenants being Bow Mills Company Ltd. He was also a member of the firm of Joseph Bowker and Co, Limited, Park Mills, Hollinwood.

Mr BALL was well known in the Manchester district, where he resided in Prestwich Park, afterwards at The Mount, South Reddish, and later on at Wood Bank, Dukinfield, in order to be near his business as his health was failing. He was a member of the Manchester Exchange and the Conservative Club, but never took part in public affairs in any of the towns in which he was located, devoting all his time and assiduity to the business in which he was engaged.

He, however, retired from active participation in the affairs of the firm soon after coming to Dukinfield in 1896, and had been living at Southport during the last two years. He is survived by Mrs BALL and three sons. His death has caused deep regret amongst all those who knew him. He was held in high esteem by the operatives in his employ, and when the news of his death was made known the flag was hoisted half-mast on Crescent Mill.

Sir, - I was one who witnessed the opening of the above park on July 12, 1873, and was at that time, and am up to the present, under the impression that some part of it was for the recreation of the children in the way of swings and playgrounds, &c. This last year I have been making observations, and I see that the boys’ and girls’ swings are entirely done away with. I should like to ask through your valuable paper who has done this, and if they have done it with the consent of the ratepayers?

I am a ratepayer in this district and have felt grieved at the action taken. I should like to ask if it is the intention to put more swings in another part of the park or not, because it was intended, by putting up these swings, to take the children off the streets and keep them out of danger. On Good Friday and other holidays, when so many boys and girls visit our park, what are they going to amuse themselves with?

Nearly all the ground, or a good portion of it, has been taken for bowling greens, which reminds me that those men very likely who are using these bowling greens used to be some of the boys who used the swings and don’t require them now, because they are men. Last summer, I saw lurry loads of children from Gorton arrive, but I don’t know how they passed their time away. Perhaps it was on the lake, but they could not be on all afternoon, because they could not afford it.

I remember living in Openshaw about eight years ago, and as a teacher in one of the Sunday schools, along with other teachers, we organised a trip to Stamford Park on a workman’s car, and the scholars used to enjoy it then, but I cannot say how they could now, because they have done away with the swings and nearly all the playground, and it also says “Keep off the grass.” I cannot see where the children can amuse themselves only in dabbling in the water. It is very important that the children should have recreation.

I remain, yours truly,

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