16 January 1904

A Doleful Tale of Emigrant Prospects

Alderman John STAFFORD, Reliance Rope Factory, has received the following letter from his friend, Mr Ernest W HUXLEY, dated December 20th, who is staying at Saxon Boarding House, Church-street, Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa:—

I am writing you a line to let you know how I am going on. Well, I am not doing so well at present, for we have been on strike at Durban for 11 weeks, so you see I have trekked up country again to Pretoria. It is the nicest country I ever saw.

I came up here last Thursday night after a 28 hours’ ride in the train, and it’s the devil’s own ride up here. You talk about crossing the Bay of Biscay. It is not in it. From Durban to Pretoria 511 miles, and the line rises close upon 6,000 feet, so you can tell how quick the trains travel. The trains have to keep going round mountains to get up, and it has to be a very narrow gauge. You can shake hands with each other if one is in the first carriage and the other in the last.

Well, I will change the subject. They wanted seven plasterers for Pretoria, and I said “here’s one” for anywhere so that there is some work, as I have not long to be here. I am living in the same street as Kruger’s house is in, about 100 yards lower down the street on the other side from where I am staying. There are all sorts of tumble down places just about his house. It is only one storey, and an altogether poor affair.

There are two big stone lions on each side of the main entrance. The house is now an hotel, bearing the name of the Residency Hotel, having been opened in June this year. I am going to send the club (Town-lane Reform) a photo of it as big as I can get, and when I come home I hope to see it framed and hung up in the smoke-room along with the other two I sent in the paper. I hope you will see to them being framed.

I haven’t forgot the sticks yet for the boys of the fishing club. I may tell you that Pretoria is surrounded by hills, and the look-out houses and forts are still on top of them, but no guns in them. There is a very large cemetery here. I went in last Sunday and had a look at the poor Tommies’ graves. There are about 1,500 of them laid low there. I also saw Mrs Kruger’s grave, which had across the bottom of the stone the inscription “Kruger” cut in six-inch letters, so that if a blind man goes he can feel them.

I started to work here last Saturday, the 12th. They only pay once a fortnight. This week the boss has given us notice of a five per cent reduction. Just my luck. Out of the frying pan into the fire. The wage here at present is £7 a week, £2 board and lodging, and a bob a glass for beer or spirits. So you see it is not all profit. Trade is very bad in South Africa. There are thousands of bricksetters and joiners walking about.

There is a place just outside Durban called South Coast Junction, and there is a big Salvation Army farm there. Hundreds of men of all sorts of trades are working there for bare board and lodging, especially carpenters. There are hundreds of people starving in this country. The place is fairly up the pole through this Chinese labour question. The masters have given all trades notice of a reduction here this week. Money is as fast as it is possible to be. I hope you are doing well in your business. Remember me to the D.W.A.S. boys. I hope to be with them some time next year.

At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, before Messrs C T BRADBURY and A B MOORES, Thomas RUSHOLME was charged with stealing six head of fowl, the property of Messrs John BROADBENT and Son, at Droylsden.

James DEARDEN, a fireman in the employ of Messrs BROADBENT, said it was part of his duties to look after some poultry. On the afternoon of the 2nd of this month he saw the fowl safe on the mill premises. He locked the door of the cote but left the key in the lock. On the following morning at eight o’clock he found feathers spread about the floor. He examined the number of poultry, and missed six, the value of which is 25s.

He had since identified the remains of the missing fowls when in the possession of Constable CAMERON. — Nicholas FISH, landlord of the King’s Head Hotel, deposed to buying one of the fowls from prisoner for 2s. — Prisoner was sent to gaol for three months.

New Constable. — The successor of Constable (no Sergeant) HODGKINSON, who it will be remembered was transferred to Mossley some time ago, is Constable SWARBRICK, of the Ormskirk Division.

Conviction at the Sessions. — William SIMMS, of Reading, who appeared some little time ago before the county magistrates at Ashton, charged with stealing 18s 6d from the till of the Waterloo Industrial Cooperative Society (butchering department) appeared at Salford Sessions on Monday. He pleaded not guilty, but the offence was proved, and he was sent to prison for nine months’ hard labour.

Coal Dealers Fined. — At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, Edwin DRAYCOTT and Joseph PURDY were charged with having on a lurry seven sacks of coal of less weight than represented, at Waterloo, on January 2nd; also with being party to a fraud in the use of a weighing machine and weights.

DRAYCOTT said he knew nothing about it, but PURDY pleaded guilty, and said in extenuation that he filled the bags, but another man weighed them. — Mr WILSON, solicitor to the County Council, said it was a very bad case. It appeared that Robert McKNIGHT was in Oldham-road on the date in question, and there saw PURDY in charge of a lurry laden with coal. On examination he found a total shortness of weight of 75lbs. — DRAYCOTT was fined 5s 6d and costs in each case, and PURDY 10s and costs in each case, or 14 days.

Children Homeless, Father Sent to Prison

At the Ashton Borough Police Court, on Monday, George CLOUGH was before the magistrates charged with cruelty to his children by neglecting the same. Mr A LEES (solicitor), prosecuted on behalf of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Defendant pleaded not guilty.

Mr A LEES described the case as an abominable one, and said it was disgusting that such a state of things should exist. The defendant was charged with neglecting his three children, Dorothy (aged 12), John (10), and Samuel (5). From a visit by Inspector REDDY it was found that two rooms on the ground floor were devoid of furniture, and the walls and floor dirty. There were two bedrooms, one wholly devoid of furniture, and the other being used, apparently, as a bedroom and living-room. In the latter the inspector found the two boys of the defendant.

There was very little covering on the bed, considering the very inclement weather, and the only food consisted of a bit of bread and margarine. There was no fire in the grate, and no coal to make a fire. Everything about the place was filthy, and the condition of things was such that the inspector called Dr HUGHES’ attention to the matter, and he made an examination of the children.

The inspector went to Park Parade Station and there found the defendant, who was a coal stoker. He told him that if there was no improvement he should have to report the matter. He went again next day, and no improvement had been effected beyond the providing of a little bread. The inspector, in company with Constable ROSSBOTTOM, waited at his house until 11.30pm, but he had not then returned, and they went away and met him in company with a woman.

Defendant it might be explained was a widower, and lost his wife last Whitsuntide. His mother-in-law returning home late one night after a party found the defendant’s two boys asleep on her doorstep. As to the girl, a neighbour, Mrs OUTRAM, had had her at her house since December 9th. Her grandmother had expressed her willingness to take the girl.

On January 2nd the landlord turned the family out because he had not been able to see the father for about five weeks. The children became homeless and the two boys were taken to the Workhouse. He had behaved brutally to the children and struck the girl. On January 1st, he went to Mrs OUTRAM’s house about 12.45 in the morning and knocked her up and demanded the child. There were other and worse features of the case, one being that since his wife’s death, he had kept company with low characters. The sleeping arrangements too were totally inadequate and crowded.

Dr W H HUGHES, junr., deposed to being called into defendant’s house at Whitelands, and finding the house in a filthy condition, clothing and food quite insufficient. There was a bit of fire upstairs, and the children were huddled about it to keep themselves warm.

Inspector REDDY deposed to visiting the defendant’s house on December 28th, and bore out the solicitor’s opening statement. Defendant threatened him, and said that if he came again he would kick him out. It was on account of an anonymous letter that he visited the house.

Dorothy CLOUGH, aged 12, daughter of the defendant, said her father had not given her sufficient money for food. The food consisted of bread, margarine, and tea. Her father had been addicted to drink, and had come home at all hours of the night, sometimes in company of women. They had not always all slept in the same room. Witness went to live with Mrs OUTRAM a month ago because she was ill. On one occasion, her father had struck her with his hand. He had pawned some clogs which were bought before her mother died.

Defendant said his daughter had been put up to say what she had done. He had not pawned anything.

Mrs SHAW, 52 Audley-street, Ashton, mother-in-law of the defendant, deposed to seeing him often in drink. On returning home at midnight one night when she had been to a party, she found defendant’s two boys asleep on her doorstep. There was no fire in his house for three days on one occasion. The children had often come to her house filthy and crying for bread, and she had fed and washed them.

Mrs OUTRAM, neighbour of the defendant, deposed to taking the defendant’s child, Dorothy, to her own home. The defendant came to her house one night and threatened to kick the door down. Witness on one occasion saw a woman enter by the back-door.

Defendant said the whole of the statements were a pack of lies. He had gone home at night at six and seven o’clock, and could not get in. On Christmas morning there were two brothers waiting to give him a good hiding, and he kept away. — The Clerk: Perhaps it would have done you a bit of good. — (Laughter.)

The Chairman said this was an extremely bad case; one of the worst that had come before him. They were desirous of making an example, and defendant would be committed to prison for six months.

Cruelly Ill-treated at Stalybridge

On Monday, at the Stalybridge Police Court, before the Mayor and other justices, two Ashton young men, residing in Crickets-lane in that borough, named George LOWE and Joseph GALLAGHAN, were charged, the former with cruelty to a donkey by working it whilst in an unfit state, and the latter with causing the animal to be worked. They both pleaded not guilty.

Police-inspector BEAUMONT said that on Tuesday, 29th December, he was on duty in Market-street, Stalybridge, when he saw defendant LOWE in charge of a small donkey which was attached to a cart loaded with salt, sand, and stones. Noticing that the donkey was very lame, the officer stopped defendant and asked him if he was aware of the animal’s condition. LOWE replied: “Well I have found it out this morning.

Witness instructed defendant to walk the donkey home quietly, and he afterwards communicated with Inspector ROBINSON of the R.S.P.C.A. The cart was a great deal too large for the donkey, and the load as well. The cart, indeed, was big enough for a horse. — LOWE: I only had twelve lumps of salt on. — GALLAGHAN: Please, sir, I bought the donkey in the dark. — (Laughter.) — The Mayor: Oh, not in a poke. — (Loud laughter.)

Inspector ROBINSON spoke as to having inspected the donkey in a stable in Crickets-lane, Ashton. He found the animal to be aged and painfully lame on the off fore-leg. It had only one shoe on, and consequently was foot sore. The lameness was of some standing, and the donkey was quite unfit for any kind of work. In reply to his questions, GALLAGHAN, who was the owner, said he had only had the donkey a few days, and that it only cost 13s — (Laughter.) He pointed out to the owner that he could not have expected a good, sound donkey for 13s.

The Mayor: Do you think it had been lame long? Witness: I am quite sure, sir; at least three or four days. — Alderman FENTON: Where is the donkey now? Witness: I have no idea. — GALLAGHAN: I have sold it, sir. — Witness pointed out that it was apparent that the donkey was being handed about from one to another.

GALLAGHAN, addressing the magistrates, said he had bought the donkey the night before Christmas Eve from a man named HOWARD at Ashton. He bargained for 13s, and paid 3s on account, consequently he still owed 10s. — (Laughter.)

The Mayor: Do you mean to say you bought the donkey without examining it or seeing it do any work? — GALLAGHAN: I did, sir. — (Laughter.) — The Mayor: Why, the donkey might have been a dead one from what you knew. Is this the first time you have gone in for live stock? — GALLAGHAN: Please, sir, it is the first time. — Mr NEEDHAM: It will be a warning to you, I should think.

The Mayor: But where is the donkey now? — GALLAGHAN: The man has taken it back. — Captain BATES: It has not gone to Germany? — (Laughter.) — GALLAGHAN: No. — Inspector ROBINSON: I will promise your worships that I will follow it up. I will find out where it is.

The Mayor: You must look a deal more innocent here than you do when hawking salt! — (Laughter.) — A fine of 1s and costs or 7 days’ imprisonment was imposed in each case, defendants being allowed time in which to pay.

Generous People at Dukinfield. — Michael HOPKINS, aged 65 years, of no settled abode, pleaded guilty to a charge of begging in Town-lane, Dukinfield, at 7pm on Saturday last. — Constable DALE saw the prisoner come out of four different public-houses, and on inquiry found he had been begging. At the police station he found 3s 7d upon him. Prisoner was the worse for drink and was using bad language. — Prisoner said he had been an excavator, but was unable to work now as his hands were crippled. He had worked at Dukinfield, Stalybridge, and at Johnson Brook for many years. — Superintendent CROGHAN said there was nothing against him, and it spoke well for the generosity of Dukinfield, as he had 3s 7d upon him. — Prisoner: They are people that know me. — He was fined 2s including costs.

Asked a Doctor if he was Drunk. — Mark NIELD, of 10 Bethel-place, Dukinfield, aged 30 years, was summoned for being drunk and disorderly in Astley-street, at 12.30am on January 9th. — He pleaded not guilty to drunkenness, but admitted being disorderly, saying he was excited. — Sergeant LECKEY and Inspector SKITT were together in Astley-street when they saw the defendant, who was being taken home by three men. He broke away from them and knocked Dr MILLER up.

Inspector SKITT said previous to this he had seen NIELD in King-street with his daughter aged seven years and six months old. He was pulling her along, and the child was screaming for her mother. He was drunk then, and he took him and the child to the police station. Witness handed the child over to the custody of her mother, and afterwards let the defendant go. Later he saw him with the three men Sergeant LECKEY had spoken of. Defendant broke away from the men and knocked Dr MILLER up, and asked him if he was drunk. The doctor told him to go home and come again in the morning when he was sober. — This was his first appearance, and a fine of 2s 6d without costs was inflicted.

”On the 9th January 1854 at the Albion Congregational Chapel, Ashton-under-Lyne, by the Rev William THOMAS, of Ryecroft, Joseph William HADFIELD to Jane THOMSON, both of Ashton, and now of Dukinfield.” This announcement in our marriages, &c, columns last Saturday, relates to the nuptials of our old and esteemed residents Mr and Mrs J W HADFIELD, sen., of 112 King-street, and the parents of Mr J W HADFIELD, ex-elective borough auditor and licensee of the Chapel House Inn, Astley-street.

Fifty years ago Mr HADFIELD was 27 years of age, and Miss THOMSON 23, the daughter of a clothier of that name, who carried on business in Stamford-street, and relative of Mr THOMSON, the scientific explorer and missionary in Africa. At that time, Mr HADFIELD, who was a baker by trade, carried on a confectionery business in the Market Avenue, Ashton, opposite the old post office, and to this day there exists under the causeway an oven which was put in by Mr HADFIELD for the purpose of his business.

A few years afterwards he emigrated to America, and travelled through the Southern States, Florida and Cuba, and was present at the building of the historic fort of Key West. He returned to England just prior to the ever memorable cotton famine. After the close of the American war he went out a second time to the States, but after only a brief stay he bent his footsteps towards old England, where he has remained ever since, mostly in this district.

He commenced dealing in yeast, which business he followed up to seven years ago, when advancing age obliged him to retire. He was one of the oldest “barm” dealers in the district, and Mr HADFIELD was a well-known figure in the streets of the town as he passed to and fro with his merchandise wrapped in a check handkerchief on his shoulders. There were only two others engaged in the same trade when he commenced, and at that time “badgers” shops were few and far between, but considerable profits were made.

Another institution in those days was the “wet barm” dealer, who perambulated the thoroughfares with a donkey, over whose patient back panniers were crossed containing the fluid, whilst the vendor tootled on a long post horn for customers. These old stagers have been completely wiped out, and the business is numbered among many other old-time methods of trading.

With the expansion of towns, the increase in population, and the opening of more grocery and provision shops, the demand for dry yeast has advanced in proportion. This important adjunct to the domestic baking day is very rarely conveyed by hand. Each wholesale dealer must needs possess a horse and float in order to efficiently supply the increasing number of customers, otherwise it would be impossible to keep up with demand.

Mr HADFIELD has lived to see all these changes, and we congratulate him and his good lady upon having lived to attain that important epoch in married life, a golden wedding. Last Sunday afternoon the event was duly celebrated at the Chapel House, when a large number of relatives and friends partook of tea in the clubroom.

Amongst those present were Mr and Mrs J W HADFIEKD, senior; Mr and Mrs George HADFIELD, Stalybridge; Mr and Mrs H WHITTAM, Dukinfield; Mr and Mrs J BEARD, Stalybridge; Mr and Mrs J EDGE, Ashton; Mr J THOMSON, Ashton; Mr J W HADFIELD, son; Mr and Mrs E PRIEST, son-in-law and daughter; Mr and Mrs J H SELLARS, Dukinfield; and Mrs McCARTNEY. The health of Mr and Mrs HADFIELD was toasted, and hopes for continued longevity were expressed. A number of presents were sent by relatives and friends.

Lord B____ was out shooting the other day when one of the party, a novice at sport, unfortunately shot him in the legs. He fell and lay flat, and the keeper ran up, exclaiming, “I hope you are not much hurt, my lord.” “Oh, no,” said his lordship, coolly. “But can’t you get up?” “Oh, yes, I could; but, you see, if I got up he might let me have the other barrel.”

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