23 January 2004

Deputation to the Magistrates

The agitation for the suppression of music hall licenses in the borough, which created such a sensation about twelve months ago, is again being fanned into flame by the action of the organisation known as the Town Licensing Reform Committee, composed of representatives of religious and temperance societies and cognate bodies. In conducting their “campaign” for the abolition of music license in connection with the various public-houses and music halls it had been decided to go on different lines on the present occasion to those adopted last year, when visits of inspection were paid to the music halls.

The objections will be formally lodged and argued out on principle, which will constitute a basis of the witness’s testimony. The Town Licensing Reform Committee have been holding meetings for some weeks past, bringing their forces into line and perfecting their organisation. There have been no “scouting” and surprise visits. The licensed victuallers have looked on apparently without concern, but will rise, no doubt, to the occasion, and meet any attacks levelled against them in the manner required by the exigencies of the case.

”It’s a farce,” said Alderman SIDDALL to us, “and we are not going to do anything except what is imperative. They can only advance the same arguments as last year, and make a lot of statements more or less true., and it is no use discussing it.” He said he had presided at a meeting of licensed victuallers at the Old Vaults, Old-street, that afternoon, and the matter had been talked about in a general sort of way, but the majority of members were opposed to sending a deputation to the magistrates, as was the case last year, although they had the option of doing so if they chose.

The annual meeting of the magistrates took place on Monday morning at the Town Hall, the Mayor (Alderman A SHAW) in the chair, the principal business being the appointment of the Licensing Committee to act for the ensuing year. Last year’s committee were re-elected as follows: The Mayor, Alderman HEGINBOTTOM, Dr COOKE, Messrs F REYNER, J WILSON (Delamere-street), S KITCHEN, and T D SEAL.

A letter had been received by the magistrates’ clerk (Mr C H BOOTH) from the Town Licensing Reform Committee, asking the magistrates if they would receive a deputation, and the request was granted, the deputation to appear in the Mayor’s Parlour at 3pm on Monday. The deputation, which will include close upon 50 representatives of almost every church in Ashton, including the Church of England, Nonconformist, and Roman Catholics, is to be introduced by the Rev T HOOPER, and the speakers, the Rev T W PUGHE-MORGAN, Bramwell DUTTON, and Father MALLOY.

The secretary is Mr R B GASKELL, who, in reply to a question, said they intended to oppose on principle. If they were to oppose individual cases, he said, they would have to pick a house or two out, and that was not desirable. The general belief of the committee was that music licenses were purely an inducement to drink, and on that ground they would oppose them.

”We could have shown some dirty work,” he said in conclusion, “and although we have the means we do not desire to do it because it only creates a bitter feeling, and there is already enough bitter feeling existing in the town without any more.”

A little excitement was provided in Ashton on Wednesday afternoon through the escape of a bull from a slaughter-house belonging to Mr Lees SLATER, butcher, Waterloo. The bull had been secured by a rope, and was about to be despatched, when it broke away and ran at full speed along Oldham-road with the rope dragging behind it.

Threading its way through several streets in Ashton, it arrived at Park Parade Station, and tried to get through the doorway on to the platform, but was beaten off. Near the railings at the top of the incline it slipped and rolled over, and a man, in attempting to secure it, had several teeth knocked out.

The bull again got away, and ran up Warrington-street, and was again secured and fastened to the railings in front of the Stamford Estate Office. It then broke loose, and charged the butcher’s boy, knocking him to the ground. It was ultimately secured and tied to the railings adjoining the Station Hotel where it was despatched, and taken away in a cart.

John HOLT appeared before the Ashton county justices, on Wednesday, in answer to a charge of ill-treating a horse at Bardsley on the 18th of December. When asked if he was guilty, he replied, “What do you call cruelty?” — The Clerk: What do you call cruelty? Were you thrashing it?” — Defendant: No, thank you.

Inspector LAMBERT, of Oldham, deposed to being in Ashton-road, Bardsley, and seeing defendant in charge of a horse and tip cart laden with coal. He saw the animal was lame, and stopped it to examine it. He found it was a very old black gelding in poor condition, and very lame in both legs, the tendons being badly strained. On looking under the saddle he found a sore as large as a five-shilling piece, discharging matter.

The animal was totally unfit to be worked. When questioned he said he did not consider it unfit for work, and said there were plenty in Oldham which were worse than that. — Defendant: I could cover the wound with a threepenny piece. — The Clerk: What kind of horse was it? — Inspector LAMBERT: It is an old worn out knacker, that is the term. — Defendant: He will be 14 years old come next June. — The Clerk: Oh, is it getting on a bit then? — (Laughter.) — Defendant was fined 5s for costs.

The Ashton police were on Wednesday apprised of the death, under singular circumstances, of an old woman named Harriet WISE, aged 80 years, residing at 137 Park-street, Ashton, which took place at that address on Tuesday night from injuries supposed to have been received by falling down the cellar steps on December 31st last.

For the last eight years deceased had suffered from nervous debility, and had been medically attended by the late Dr THOMPSON. About 12 months ago she had a stroke, and was attended by Dr SPENCER. Her niece, Mary Jane WISE, who resided along with her, left home on December 30th to go to her work as a tailoress, her aunt being then in the house alone.

On returning at 7pm in the evening she found her aunt sitting in the kitchen, and she then told her she had fallen down the cellar steps. Dr SPENCER attended her, and said her shoulder had been fractured. On Tuesday morning she had a severe stroke, and at 4pm became unconscious, and expired at 7.30pm.

Betting Transactions

At the Ashton Bankruptcy Court, on Thursday, before the Registrar, Mr Henry HALL, the examination took place by the Official Receiver of Harry NUTT, residing in lodgings at 22 Cavendish-street, Ashton, but formerly at 45 Pottinger-street, off Stockport-road, and lately carrying on business as an accountant, estate agent, and certified bailiff under the law of Distress Amendment Act, at 17 Booth-street, Ashton.

The gross liabilities were stated as £407 11s 6d, assets £2 5s, deficiency £405 6s 6d. Causes of failure as alleged by bankrupt: “Loss of an action to recover commission for the sale of a public house; loss of investments in, and salary due from Taylor’s Patent Air Compressor Limited.” The Receiving Order was made on Bankrupt’s own petition.

Bankrupt stated he commenced business early in 1891, up to June 1895 with a partner, afterwards alone, and had not kept a proper cash book, nor a complete creditors’ ledger, nor during the past three years ascertained his financial position, and could not file deficiency account in prescribed form, but attributed his deficiency to:— Bad debts £76 2s 6d; law costs £122; losses on shares £50; and household and personal expenditure in excess of income £147. He first became aware of his insolvency in February 1903; has not since contracted any existing liability; that in August 1902 he sold his household furniture for about £20; and in or about May last, his office furniture for £5 10s.

In course of the examination, debtor said he could have run away had he been so disposed, but he preferred to stay and face it out. — The Official Receiver: A much more manly course. — Debtor said he had some betting transactions on the turf some three or four years ago resulting in a gain of about £5. — The Official Receiver: Are you prepared to swear that you have not lost anything by betting in any form during the past five years. Yes.

Mr J B POWNALL appeared on behalf of one or two creditors, and in reply to him debtor admitted conducting betting operations for a short time. — Mr POWNALL: What do you call a short time? About three or four months perhaps. — Had you a private system of your own? Yes.- How long is it since the action was brought against Mr FISH? I could not tell the exact date. — How long has he been dead? About two years. — At the time the action was brought against Mr FISH were you not his partner in these betting transactions? No.

The Official Receiver: You have scheduled a liability of £95, and you say the betting transactions were only three or four years ago. — The Debtor: The transactions Mr POWNALL is talking about were before 1895. — Mr POWNALL: I put it that you were using collected money for betting purposes? No. — There are 81 creditors, £227, monies you received on their account; was none of that money utilised for betting purposes? No.

When did this betting partnership between Mr FISH and yourself cease? Well, I could not tell you the exact date. — Was it in existence at the time the bookmaker brought the action against Mr FISH in the county court? No, and it had not been for five years at least. — Didn’t you prepare the pamphlet circulated over the town by way of explanation of this betting transaction? No. — Will you swear it? Yes. — Was Mr FISH your solicitor at that time? Yes. — You were in his office almost daily? Yes. — And you still say you were not a party to the transactions? I say I objected to it.

It appears that for the last few years you’ve been simply collecting debts and living on them? It comes to that if you care to put it that way. — There are 81 people for whom you’ve been collecting money, and you kept it and spent it? Yes. — Debtor, in reply to the Official Receiver, admitted having failed to hand over a cash book, but promised to do so immediately.

The Official Receiver asked for an order for bankrupt to file accounts disclosing in full detail the several amounts owing and money received and disposed of for the last two years. He asked for the accounts to be filed by February 26th, but on the understanding that if it was absolutely necessary that debtor should have further time he would not oppose it. — The application was granted and the examination adjourned to March 17th.

Dramatic License. — Samuel MILLS applied at the Ashton County Police Court on Wednesday for a dramatic license with respect to Woodhouse Church School. — The application was granted.

Dangerous to the Public. — James CHADWICK appeared before the Ashton County Justices on Wednesday in answer to a charge of being drunk in charge of a horse and lurry at Waterloo on the 2nd of January. He pleaded guilty. — Superintendent HEWITT said it was a dangerous thing to do. — The Chairman: Very dangerous. We shall fine you 5s and costs, and don’t get drunk again. It is dangerous to yourself and to the public.

At the Dukinfield Police Court, on Friday, two men named John HARGREAVES and John GRUNDY were charged with obtaining half a crown from Mrs Martha KIRK, of Higher King-street, by false representations on the 15th. — Superintendent CROGHAN said the previous evening at six o’clock, GRUNDY called at Mrs KIRK’s and asked her to purchase a pound of tea for 2s 6d. He told her that he and HARGREAVES had opened a shop in the Avenue, at Ashton, and if she was amongst the first 20 customers on Saturday forenoon she would be presented with a sovereign.

The husband’s suspicions, however, were aroused, and the two men were arrested. At the police station they were found in possession of a bag with a quantity of parcels of tea. They said their head office was in Deansgate, Manchester, and that they resided in Ellison-street, Ashton. These addresses were false. A long list of names of people said to have purchased tea was produced. Prisoners were remanded for further inquiries, bail being refused.

The case was called at the Police Court on Thursday. The prisoner GRUNDY was in the dock alone. — The Clerk read a certificate from the prison doctor at Strangeways that HARGREAVES was in hospital suffering from delirium tremens. — The Chairman said they could not go on without the man, and there would have to be another remand until next Thursday.

Mr J A GARFORTH said he was there to make an application on behalf of the prisoner GRUNDY. He was there before Mr UNDERWOOD at the special court held on Friday last. — The Chairman: We have only got a prima facia case. — Mr GARFORTH: I want bail. — The Chairman: The Bench are prepared to grant bail, himself in £20. — The Clerk: The sureties to meet the approval of the superintendent.

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