20 August 1904

Child Drowned in the Canal

On Friday afternoon, at the Audenshaw Council Offices, Mr Ernest BIRCH, deputy district coroner, conducted an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Wm. Pierce JONES, one of twins aged thee years and 10 months, son of John JONES of 4 Hanover North, Audenshaw, who met his death by drowning the day previous but one.

Eleanor JONES, wife of John JONES, of 4 Hanover-street North, mother of the boy, said she last saw him alive about 5 o’clock on the 10th instant, when she let him out of the backyard into the open back about a hundred yards from the canal. His twin brother was with him at the time. She heard nothing more of him until she heard he was dead at a neighbour’s house where he had been taken. She had cautioned him about going to the canal, although he wasn’t in the habit of going there.

George CASTLE, aged 14, of 70 Audenshaw-road, Audenshaw, a scavenger at Messrs Hamer’s mill, said that on Wednesday, about half past six, he was on the towing path of the Manchester and Ashton Canal with three more boys about 30 yards past the level bridges, when he saw an object floating in the water.

He pulled it out, under the impression that it was a dead dog, but later saw that it was the body of a dead child. He caught it in his arms and, not knowing who it was, carried it to the house. His mother laid it on the sofa, and sent for Dr CRAWSHAW, who came about ten minutes after and tried artificial respiration but without success.

He had never seen the boy playing about before. He knew the boy when he was alive, but could not recognise him when he pulled him out. — A juryman observed that the water was very warm there, and bodies soon commenced to ferment and swell.

In consequence of a juryman’s suggestion the mother was recalled and questioned, said that when the other twin returned she asked him where William was, and he answered “playing.” About a minute after he said “water,” but on being given water to drink he refused it. She didn’t realise the significance of his words then.

They were always together, and if she had missed them both she would immediately have searched for them, but seeing one she didn’t think the other was far off. — A juryman: It is a place where many children play. — The Coroner: You can seldom keep children from the water. A verdict of “Found drowned” was returned.

The rain on Wednesday, if it quenched somewhat the holiday makers’ hopes, relieved the anxiety of the Waterworks officials, and avoided the curtailment of the water supply, and a continual supply has been rendered possible. Until recently the position of affairs was better than at the corresponding period last year, but, with the drought, a marked diminution in the supply was occasioned.

Last week there were eighty million gallons less than last year, but the welcome rain of this week has considerably brightened the outlook, and done away with the necessity of a curtailment. The total amount of water at present is some 515,000,000 gallons, compared with 595,000,000 last year. The rainfall at Swineshaw last month was 2.2, as against 4.6 last year, a decrease of 2.4. At Greenfield, there is a decrease on the previous year of 3.25.

Mr John HINDS, of Sydney, writes as an old Ashtonian, to ask us to notify through our columns the death of Mr George Harry TAYLOR, who also was an Ashtonian, born in the neighbourhood of Hurst. He had lived in Sydney for upwards of twenty five years, and nearly the whole of that time was employed in the Government Railway Workshops as an iron turner.

Having lived, says Mr HINDS, within a short distance of him the whole of the time (I have been out here over 21 years) I often had a chat with him of Ashton and its old time celebrities. He had been ailing for a long time, but about three weeks ago was taken to the Sydney Hospital in which institution he died on July 7th.

The day was very stormy, in fact not fit for anyone to be out in it, so that only a very few were present at the funeral. Otherwise there would have been a large muster to pay their last respects to him. I was present, being the sole representative of the old town. If the weather had been good, I should have got more there as we can roll up a good number if called together.

The Freemasons, of which he was a member, formed the large portion of those present, and read the service of the lodge over the grave. I understand from the Grand Master of the lodge that he would communicate with the deceased’s relatives in Ashton. Mr TAYLOR had a lot of old mates, and he often used to talk to me about them and run over the names, so I thought it might be as well to let them know of his death this way.

Caught in the Act — Exemplary Sentence

At the Hyde Borough Police Court, on Monday morning, a man named Matthew BAILEY, of 133 Portland-street, Ashton-under-Lyne, was charged with attempting to steal from the person of Alice Ann PHILLIPS, a married woman, of Newton, in Market-place, Hyde, on August 13th

The Chief Constable remarked that after the magistrates had heard the evidence, he thought they would be satisfied with the prisoner’s guilt, and he hoped they would make an example of him. He wished to point out specially the great difficulty the police had in this class of case. One woman on Saturday night had her purse stolen with £4 10s. in it, and a man had his watch stolen. These men worked in gangs, and they passed the articles on to each other.

Alice Ann PHILLIPS, wife of Jas. Wm. PHILLIPS, of No. 9 Bradford-street, Newton, stated that at 10.15 p.m. on Saturday she was boarding a car near the White Lion Hotel, and she saw the prisoner standing near her. Asked what attracted her attention to the prisoner, she said she caught prisoner with his hand in her pocket.

She cried, “Oh, my purse,” and then he dropped her purse back again into her pocket. She got hold of his hand before he could draw it from her pocket. Her pocket was on her right hand side, and was buttoned as she got on the car, and when she examined it she found it unbuttoned. She gave prisoner into custody.

Prisoner: Did you say to the constable, “it’s all right”? — Prosecutor: I said, 2you can let him go, I won’t bother to-night.” I had got the baby with me. In reply to further questions she said he did not fall, and got hold of her dress to help him up.

Constable George LOCKETT stated that about 10 o’clock on Saturday night the prisoner was hanging round the White Lion. He made a rush as if to get on every car that came in, but came away again. In consequence of that he watched him, and at 10.30 he saw Mrs PHILLIPS get on the car. He saw him working his hand round the lady’s dress, and finally put his hand in her pocket.

He (witness) was about three yards away then, and got just behind him. He got hold of the prisoner as Mrs PHILLIPS said, “Oh, my purse.” He had his hand in Mrs PHILLIPS’ pocket then. He took him to the police station, and charged him, and he replied, “Never.” Mrs PHILLIPS, recalled, stated that her purse contained £4 10½d. when she left the White Lion. She had not missed anything.

Prisoner pleaded not guilty. In his evidence he said he was a collier. On Saturday night he came to Hyde to see two friends of his, James NIELD, of the Mitre Hotel, and another. He stayed from 5 o’clock to 10 p.m. and was the worse for drink. When he came out of the Mitre he went to catch a car near the White Lion, and in getting on he slipped and fell. He got hold of Mrs PHILLIPS to help him up. He had, he said, been a non-commissioned officer, and had served in the South African war, and if he was convicted he should lose a well-earned pension.

The Chief Constable: Do you admit that we know you as Matthew RATCLIFFE? Yes, they call me Matthew RATCLIFFE. — You say you got round to the White Lion because you were the worse for drink? — Yes, sir. I was getting on the tram to go home. Have you also been known as John Edward MOSS or Edward MOSS by the police? No, never been known as that. — At Oldham, you know? No, I was not known as John Edward MOSS. — You admit that this is your photograph, producing a photograph in the official police book? Yes.

The Magistrates’ Clerk: Have you got the landlord of the Mitre Hotel here? No, but he would come if he knew. — The Chief Constable: We sent for him yesterday, and he said he did not know anything about him, only casually.

Joseph NIELD, the landlord of the Mitre Hotel, was sent for, and stated that prisoner came to his house on Saturday night, and left about 10 o’clock. He did not know him until he made himself known to him (witness). He was perfectly sober when he left his house.

The Magistrates’ Deputy Clerk (to prisoner): Do you deny that you were convicted at Oldham for “frequenting for an unlawful purpose?” No. — Do you deny that you were convicted in Hyde on October 28th for picking pockets and fined 20s. and costs? Yes, I deny that. — There are two other convictions some years ago. — The Chief Constable: This is a matter I do press. I have very good grounds for it, I assure you. The prisoner was committed for three months with hard labour.

Horse Killed and Boy Injured

A sensational accident occurred just off Mottram-road, in Lewis-street, Hyde, just before two o’clock on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the information furnished to the Hyde police it appears that James BARBER, a carter residing at 68 Bridge-street, Stalybridge, who is employed by Mr Horace STOKES, of Stalybridge, left that town about 11.45 on Tuesday morning with two rolls of electric cable for the electric sub-station of the Joint Tramways Board in Lewis-street. He was accompanied by a youth named John QUINN, of Stalybridge, who was sitting on the front of the lurry.

On entering the sub-station yard in Lewis-street, owing to a steep decline, one of the electric coils broke away from the blocks which supported it, rolled over the front of the lurry where QUINN was sitting, and on to the hind quarters of the horse. The animal was thrown down and its off hind leg was broken, and it had to be subsequently slaughtered.

The boy was also injured, and was carried to Dr SCOTT’s surgery. He was found to have sustained injury to the head, and also internally. He was taken home later in the day. As he was in delicate health, his condition was considered very critical. As the coil of cable ran completely over him in its course on to the horse, it is a miracle that he was not killed outright.

An Appearance at the Borough Court

At the Ashton Borough Court, on Monday, George SAXON stood in the dock charged with breaking and entering the shop of John Thomas ASHWORTH, and stealing one pair of men’s trousers, a vest, a boy’s suit, a bed quilt, and other articles, sometime between 9 p.m. on the 9th of August and 6 a.m. on the 10th. The Chief Constable said he should only offer sufficient evidence to justify a remand until Thursday in order to get witnesses.

Sergeant HEIGHWAY deposed to receiving SAXON into custody at Bury, when he admitted the charge, and gave an account as to where he pledged the goods, and he (the sergeant) recovered them from shops in Bury and Manchester. — The remand was granted.

On Thursday prisoner was again charged with the robbery, when the following evidence was tendered:— John Thomas ASHWORTH, of Cavendish-street, said he locked his shop up about 8.30 in the evening of Tuesday, the 19th of August, leaving all secure. About 8 o’clock the following morning he returned to the shop, and found that an entry had been effected through a skylight over the pledge-office, and he missed a pair of men’s trousers, a vest, a boy’s suit, and a bed quilt.

William GORTON, assistant to Alfred SMITH, pawnbroker, of Manchester, said the prisoner pledged the boy’s suit with him on Wednesday, August 10th, about 8.15 in the morning, giving the name of SMITH, Chapel-street, and was lent half-a-crown.

Frank RIGBY, assistant to Muir Bros., 13 and 15, Stanley-street, Bury, said the prisoner pledged the trousers and vest on Wednesday night, the 10th of August, giving the name SMITH, Clark-street. He was lent 3s.

Sergeant HEIGHWAY deposed to receiving the prisoner into custody at Bury on the 30th of July. He brought him to Ashton, and there charged him with the robbery. He made the reply, “Yes, I did.” Prisoner was committed to the next Salford Sessions.

Threatening Their Neighbours

At the Ashton Borough Court, on Thursday, Sarah COFFEY summoned Sarah LAMB for using threats towards her at Ashton. She pleaded not guilty. — Complainant said she was coming out of Lownd’s lodging house when she shouted foul names at her and used threats. She could not for shame repeat the words, but she was frightened of LAMB. — John LOWNDS said LAMB was always threatening COFFEY.

Defendant emphatically denied using the words attributed to her (which were written on a sheet of paper), and made several allegations against COFFEY’s character. “She wasn’t as bad as her, anyway.” The Clerk: You know what Mrs Brown said, missis, “Comparisons are odious.” — She was bound over to keep the peace for three months.

In the second case, Ann WHITEHEAD summoned Margaret MATTIMORE for threatening her. She was also charged with being drunk and disorderly in York-street. — Constable DIXON proved the disorderly behaviour, and she was fined 5s. 6d. for costs, and bound over for the first offence.

An accident occurred in Manchester-road, Droylsden, on Tuesday, which terminated fatally. A wholesale greengrocer named Thomas BOURKE, aged 38 years, of 22, Lees-road, Mossley, was returning from the Manchester Market by way of Droylsden, and when near the Royal Oak Hotel the cart gave a jerk, and he fell off in the roadway.

He complained of a pain internally, and he was carried into a house nearby. Dr GODSON, of Manchester-road, was sent for, but the man was almost beyond medical aid, and he died very shortly afterwards from internal injuries. The deceased is very well known in the Mossley district, and the case is a sad one. He leaves a widow and child.

The Inquest — The Condition of Manchester-Road
The inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death was held at the Royal Oak Hotel, Manchester-road, on Wednesday afternoon, before the Manchester County Deputy Coroner (Mr E BIRCH). Mr George Harvey WHITE, of Market-street, was the foreman of the jury.

Sarah BOURKE was the first witness. She said deceased was her husband, and he lived with her at 22, Lees-road, Mossley. He was a greengrocer, and was 38 years of age. He left home on Tuesday morning at half-past two to go to the Shudehill market at Manchester. He was then in his usual health, and he had always good health. He made no complaint when he left home. She did not see him again alive.

Sarah Ann LONGDEN, wife of Walter LONGDEN, of 157, Manchester-road, said on Tuesday morning she was at her front door about seven o’clock, when she saw the deceased coming along in charge of a cart. He was seated on the left-hand side, and at the front. A box of kippers fell down with him, but she did not know whether he was on the box or not. His legs were hanging down. The wheel came off the edge of the setts near the tram lines, and the horse swerved on one side.

The cart gave a jerk, and he fell off. He fell on to the road, his back alighting on the box of kippers which had fallen off the cart at the same time. She went to him, and with assistance picked him up. He was not conscious. He was put on another cart to take to the doctor’s, and he seemed to come round before starting. When they had gone a distance he said he could not stand being on the cart, and he asked to be taken off.

He was put on a chair, and he complained that his back was broken. He was taken into the house of Harold LONGDEN, of 189, Manchester-road, and Dr GODSON was sent for. He came soon afterwards and attended deceased. He said he was suffering from internal haemorrhage. — The Coroner: Did he say how he came to fall? — Witness: No. He was put on the sofa, and then on the hearthrug. Witness and the doctor stayed with him until he died about 8.30. He went white before he died. — The Coroner: Was he sober? — Witness: Yes.

Police Officer’s Statement
Constable SOUTHWARD, of the local police force, who was called to the house where the injured man lay at 8.5, said he saw him on the hearthrug in front of the fire. Dr GODSON was in attendance upon him, and said he was suffering from internal injuries. He asked witness to go for an ambulance, and meanwhile he was told the man had died. He found on the body £8 9s. 8½d. in money. There was a large bruise across the small of the back extending from one side to the other.

The Coroner: Did he say how it happened? — No, he only asked for a drink. — The foreman thought they had not gathered how he fell off the lurry. — Witness explained that he was told the deceased was sat on a box of kippers. The box slipped, and he fell off it.

Condition of the Road
A Juror: Was the road in a bad condition where it happened? — No, not just where it happened. — A Juror: It was quite evident he fell off the lurry with his back on the edge of the box. — (Hear, hear.) The jury were of the opinion that the affair was an accident, and a verdict to this effect was returned, deceased having died from internal injuries.

An inquest was held at the Ashton Town Hall on Friday evening by Mr BIRCH, deputy coroner, on the body of Marian BURGESS, wife of Alfred BURGESS, carter, 10, Cross Globe-street, Ashton, whose death took place under singular circumstances the previous Wednesday.

Alfred BURGESS, husband of deceased, said she was 51 years of age and had had good health up to about twelve months ago, when she suffered from dropsy. Dr WALLACE attended her, and she appeared to get all right. On July 21st she was in the coal yard opposite their house where they sold coal, and was filling a small hand wagon with half-a-hundredweight of coal.

Witness said “go away, and I’ll fill it.” As she was making way for him she caught her leg in the handle of the wagon. She got up and complained that she had hurt her head. The head was swelling at the back. She went to her daughter’s next door, and the wound was washed and plaster applied.

She went on all right up to Sunday, when she complained of feeling sick, but would not consent to have a doctor. Her condition became worse, and Dr WALLACE was sent for on Tuesday and attended her up to her death, which took place on Wednesday at 9.5 p.m. The doctor said erysipelas had set in, caused by the wound on her head.

Margaret HIGGINS, wife of John HIGGINS, 8, Cross Globe-street, deposed to the deceased coming to her house on July 21st about 6.30 p.m., saying she had fallen on the back of her head against a wagon, through falling over a wagon handle. There was a wound on the back of her head about three-quarters of an inch long, which witness at once washed well with water, and put skin plaster on. Witness wanted her to go to a doctor but she would not do so. About noon on the Sunday following she complained of feeling sick and funny. She went worse on the Monday and Tuesday, and witness sent for Dr WALLACE.

The Coroner said it appeared to be a case of accidental death, caused by the wound. — A juryman observed that it seemed very strange they did not send for a doctor sooner; it might have saved her life had they called one in at first. — The Coroner: Yes, had the doctor seen her in the first instance he would probably placed the wound under treatment. — A juryman: Probably they were thinking of the doctor’s bill.

The foreman (Mr W. NEWTON) said it was a very sad affair, and described the coal wagons as veritable death traps. He had had a very similar fall over a wagon. They were very awkward things, especially in the dark, and were very low so that one might easily fall over them and alight on the head. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

At the Hyde County Police Court, on Monday, before Mr F. WILDE and Mr Henry SIDEBOTHAM, a well-known Mottram man named George Walker HARGREAVES, a weaver, residing at Broadbottom-road, and working in Stalybridge, was brought up in custody on a charge of stealing a purse and cash, value 13s. 9d., the property of Mary Jane SIDEBOTHAM, confectioner, of Market-street, Mottram, on Friday night last.

Mary Jane SIDEBOTHAM, a widow, stated that on Friday, August 12th, about 10.30 p.m., she took the money out of her cash-box and put it in a brown leather purse. She put the purse in the back of the drawer in the counter. There was about 12s. in the purse, consisting of one half-crown, a two shilling piece, and the rest were in sixpences. The rest was in a drawer. The frame of the purse produced belonged to her purse.

Elizabeth H. HILL, a domestic servant in the employ and residing with Mrs SIDEBOTHAM, stated that on Friday night last about 11 o’clock she locked the shop door, and put the blinds down, and took 5s. 7d. more money out of the cash-box. She put it in a purse on the counter. At that time there was a knock at the shop door. She left the purse on the counter and went to the door, where she saw the prisoner.

He came into the shop and asked for a pie. She served him with one, and then he asked her to cut it in two. She went into the kitchen for a knife, and then came back, cut the pie and gave it to him. Prisoner then went out of the shop, and she closed the door and locked it again. Prisoner came back to the door again, and asked for two more pies, and she supplied him at the door. Witness then went to the counter and missed the purse and money.

Christopher HINCHLIFFE, of No. 1, Atherton-square, Hollingworth, a labourer, gave evidence to the effect that on Friday night last he was in Market-street, Mottram, at 11 o’clock, when he met the prisoner. He asked witness where he could get a pie from, and he directed him to Mary Jane SIDEBOTHAM’s shop. Prisoner went into the shop, leaving the door a little bit open.

He saw the girl HILL go into the kitchen for a knife, and whilst she was away witness saw prisoner pick something off the counter and put it in his pocket. When the pie had been cut in two prisoner asked him if he would have half. Witness went in, took half of the pie, bid the prisoner “good night,” and left him.

Constable WAKEFIELD stated that at 12.30 p.m. on August 13th, he received information from Elizabeth Hannah HILL. He then went to Stalybridge and apprehended the prisoner, and brought him to Mottram Police Station, where he charged him with the theft. He replied, “I know nothing about it.” They found 3s. 0½d. in the prisoner’s possession. Prisoner said he had got this money from the top of a cupboard at home that morning.

Sergeant MILLINGTON, of Mottram, stated that from information he received he made inquiries, and saw the prisoner, who showed him some money, and said it was his wages. About 9.30 on Saturday morning he went to his house, and when searching under the firegrate in the kitchen he found the frame of the purse (produced) among the cinders.

Witness took the frame to Mrs SIDEBOTHAM, and she said it fastened similar to the one she had lost. After WAKEFIELD had arrested prisoner he (witness) found 3s. 0½d. upon him. Witness went to the prisoner’s house again, and made a search. In a hole under the staircase he found a half-crown, five separate shillings, five separate sixpences, and one halfpenny.

Prisoner was then charged, and pleaded guilty. He said it was drink that had done it. “But,” he added, “if you will be lenient with me, not for my sake but for the sake of my wife and family, I will promise you never to anything of this kind again.”

Inspector SKITT stated that in September, 1903, prisoner was convicted of stealing 7d. from a girl in Mottram-road, Hyde, and was fined 40s. and costs. In July for an assault upon a female at Mottram, he was fined 20s. and costs. — The Chairman: Your record is not a very good one, and we have decided to fine you 40s. and costs or in default one month. — Prisoner: Thank you.

A statement made by a defendant at the Borough Court, on Thursday, which bore all the impress of the truth, revealed in some measure the distress which prevails in many homes in Ashton. George BOOTH, a hawker, was charged with selling celery without license. He pleaded a straightforward “guilty.”

The Magistrates’ Clerk (Mr C.H. BOOTH) remarked that he must have known that a license was requisite. — “Yes,” answered BOOTH, “I know that but I couldn’t afford it.” — The Chief Constable said nothing was known against him but it was hardly fair to other hawkers.

”What do you really?” asked the Magistrates’ Clerk. — “I can either work up in the spinning room or pit. I did something at Whittakers but I lost my shop through having bad eyes,” replied the defendant. “When the constable served the summons we were eating dry bread.” — The constable said that was so, it was a very poor home. The magistrates dealt leniently with him fining him 1s. for costs. The Magistrates’ Clerk afterwards paid the fine.

And Finally
The surgeons were holding a consultation beside the cot of a man supposed to have appendicitis. “I believe,” said one of the surgeons, “that we should wait and let him get stronger before cutting into him.”

Before the other prospective operator could reply, the patient turned his head and remarked feebly: “What do you take me for? A cheese?”

Creative Commons License Rhodes Family History by Ian Rhodes (1999-2018 v.3.0) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting me.