14 May 1904

The assistance of the Manchester Second Stipendiary (Mr Edgar BRIERLEY) was sought at the City Police Court on Friday in finding a child named James HASLAM, 4½ years, residing with his parents at 187 Clayton-lane, Clayton, and who had been missing since Wednesday morning. The child is of light complexion, round features, and was dressed in a light blue navy suit, with white front, white straw sailor hat, black ribbed stockings, and ankle-strapped clogs.

A Shopkeeper Fined

At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday forenoon, Phœbe COOKE, a shopkeeper, of Bardsley, was charged with selling butter not of the quality and substance demanded, at Bardsley, on the 25th of March. She pleaded guilty.

Mr W H WILSON, who appeared on behalf of the Lancashire County Council, explained that the summons had been taken out under the Foods and Drugs Act of 1899, which provided that 16 per cent or more of water in butter should be deemed excessive.

It appeared that defendant kept a grocer’s shop at 167 Oldham-road, Bardsley. On Monday, Inspector PARKINSON went into the shop and examined some Danish and Irish butter, taking 1lb of the butter, and divided it into three parts, one of which he gave to the defendant, forwarded one to the analyst, and kept one himself. The analyst had certified the composition of the butter as follows:– Water 21.12 per cent, butter fat 66.96 per cent, salt 9.38 per cent, curds 2,54 per cent. The inspector would tell them that butter ought to contain from 80 to 82 per cent of butter fat. The present contained only 67 per cent.

The County Council had instituted many prosecutions in this district, and, in fact, the dealers recognised now in such a manner that they had made representations to him that they would stop selling it. They had had no butter of that class on the market for some years until about eight months since, and of course it was their clear duty to put it down.

After the purchase, it appeared that the defendant had a conversation with the inspector, in the course of which she stated she had obtained the butter from a Mr WOLSTENCROFT, of Oldham, who could be prosecuted against for the refunding of any fine the magistrates thought fit to inflict.

Inspector PARKINSON corroborated, and produced the analyst’s certificate, and said there were excessive amounts of water and salt. Mrs COOKE asked if an Inspector coming into her shop could ask for a portion of the butter from the middle of the piece, where all the water had run. It was explained that it did not affect the question.

The Chairman (Mr J W TAYLOR) said they wished to deal as leniently as possible with the defendant. She would accordingly only be fined 2s 6d and costs and the analyst’s and advocate’s fees, which, it was explained, she could recover from Mr WOLSTENCROFT.

Shortly after eight o’clock on Friday evening the Mossley police received information that a man named James LAWTON had hanged himself in his own house at Quickedge. When the discovery was made the man had evidently been dead several hours. Mr J F PRICE, county coroner, held an inquest concerning the cause of death on Monday afternoon in the Temperance Hall, Argyle-street. Mr J BEATTIE was foreman of the jury, and the following evidence was given:–

Emma LAWTON stated that the deceased was her husband, and they had lived together in a house in Quickedge. He was 36 years of age, and worked as a stripper and grinder in a cotton mill. He had always been fairly healthy. On Wednesday they had some bother, in consequence of which she left him the following day. When he went out to his work that morning he told her to be gone before he returned from his work at night as he did not want to see her again. She left the house that afternoon about 4.30, and went to her sister’s at Rochdale, and had not seen him since.

Last Saturday she heard of his death. They had no children. Her husband had been very strange in his manner for some time, and was very excitable. His father had tried to hang himself, and she thought it was some disorder which ran in the family. He had told her that he would punce her to death, and she was afraid of him. He had no reason for saying this to her. Owing to his being so bad tempered they had not agreed so well for a long time. She knew of no reason for his hanging himself.

William WOOD, farm labourer, Quickedge, said he saw the deceased going home on Thursday afternoon and spoke to him. He was then walking with his head hanging down. He knew that the deceased and his wife had parted, but he knew nothing about their differences. For anything he could see the deceased was all right.

Thomas BYRNE, a cotton operative, said he knew the deceased very well. He had heard him lay all the blame on his wife’s sister for the bother between himself and wife. He saw the deceased last Thursday night when he appeared a little strange in his manner. Last Friday, in consequence of so many people having been to the house and not being able to gain admittance, the neighbours began to think there was something wrong.

Upon looking through the keyhole of the door they could see that the door was locked from inside, and the key was in the lock. Witness and another person got a ladder and looked through the front bedroom window, but as they could see nothing they took the ladder round to the back room window, and when the man who went up it looked through the window he (witness) thought he would have fallen of the ladder, as he could see LAWTON was hanging from the staircase.

Witness afterwards broke the back door open, and went and cut the rope by which he was hanging to the banister rail, but the man was quite dead and the body was cold. He had never heard the deceased threaten to commit suicide. He always blamed his wife’s sister for the bother between himself and his wife, as she kept wanting to go away to Rochdale, and he did not like her being away from her own house so very much.

The coroner said it was a clear case of suicide, and the jury decided to return an open verdict of “Suicide by hanging.”

Sir, - You kindly printed a few lines a short time since in reference to the bad language in the public thoroughfares, though Ashton cannot be specialised for the regrettable use of bad language, or, at any rate, what should be un-English language, for the same is noticeable in all districts. I cannot help but think that there is a remedy, and while bad language is so prevalent in the streets it is impossible that the youngsters will not acquire the same habit, and so on for ever until these useless and unmelodious adjectives become naturalised English.

I remember reading a story some time ago related, I believe, of the Rev. Rowland HILL. He was travelling with a mixed company in a railway carriage, some of whom were relating stories which were interspersed with words which the rev. gentleman deemed unsavoury. He asked permission to narrate a story, and proceeded somewhat in the following way:–

”Once upon a time, trumpets, pipes, and strings, there lived a trumpets, pipes, and strings man. He was a trumpets, pies, and strings great man, living in the trumpets, pipes, and strings town of, etc, etc.”

I think the narrator was deemed insane before he proceeded far with his story, and had to explain that use of his “trumpets, pipes, and strings” was just as great an embellishment to conversation as the practice of using profane words.

Supposing the Chief Constable were to ask his men now and again to give a gentle hint to the people who practice “swears!” (and the constables of Ashton are such stalwart fellows that a hint, I should think, would not need much emphasising), I believe the practice would gradually decrease, and the rising generation would be led to regard such language as repellent.
Yours truly, W.H.A.

A Mine of Information

The Ashton Corporation has just issued its manual in the form of a neat chocolate-coloured volume, whose external neatness is only exceeded by the wealth of valuable information contained inside.

A capital portrait of the Mayor (Alderman SHAW), in full mayoral raiment, is given as a frontispiece, whilst on the opposite page, in red, black, and gold, is emblazoned the borough coat of arms. The names of the members of the Council committees and officials are given, along with a description of the various appurtenances of civic government.

The full names of the borough and county magistrates appear, along with their days of meeting. Local post office, revenue, judicial, and volunteer information, railway, parochial, various bye-laws, waterworks, and a mine of other information all find a place in this epitome of local government.

Employer (to man who had absented himself from work for three days: “Well, what’s been wrong with you this time Bill?” Bill: “Just been having a drop of beer, master.” Employer: “Beer! Ugh! I wish I wish you were up to your neck in beer!” Bill: “Wish I was master. I think I’d manage to stoop a little!”

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