24 September 1904

The Oldham borough coroner held an inquest on Wednesday afternoon at Oldham Town Hall on the body of Wm. James RHODES, aged 22 years, of 73, Foundry-street, Dukinfield. He was a stoker on the Great Central Railway, and on Saturday last sustained serious injuries whilst on the engine near Parkbridge. George RHODES, 73, Foundry-street, Dukinfield, gave evidence of identification.

John Alexander McKENZIE, house surgeon at Oldham Infirmary, said the deceased was admitted about 6.30 on Saturday morning suffering from concussion of the brain. He never recovered consciousness, and died the following day. There was a bruise on the right side of the head.

As the result of an examination he had found that deceased had received a fractured skull and laceration of the brain. The fracture was extensive. Witness thought the fall against the coalguard would be sufficient to account for the fracture. Death was due to the injuries received.

George William MIDDLETON, of Openshaw, an engine driver in the employment of the Great Central Railway, said that about 5.30 on Saturday morning he was driving an engine towards Oldham between Broadoak box and Broadhurst box. Deceased was acting as stoker. Deceased mounted the tender to reach the cart.

He climbed about four or five feet, but could have reached it from the sand box on the engine. Witness turned round to look at the road, and when looking towards the deceased he saw him fall on the coal protection plate. Witness did not think he would hurt himself, but he saw him lying on the plate. Deceased did not move so he lifted him down on the footplate and stopped at Parkbridge for assistance. Witness could not say whether he struck his head against anything or not. He was taken to Oldham.

James Bertie HAMMOND, stationmaster at Parkbridge, said that about 5.30 on Saturday morning the last witness handed the deceased to him. He told the driver to take him to Oldham as soon as possible and witness accompanied him to Clegg-street Station. The ambulance was there in waiting, and he was taken to the infirmary. A verdict of accidental death was returned.

A Complaint

Sir, - Together with my family I frequently visit Stamford Park on a Sunday afternoon, and greatly enjoy the lovely flowers and our walk over the well-kept gardens. We much regret, however, that unless accompanied either by myself or my son, my daughters have refused to go there again, and I hear this is a decision of many of our lady friends, in consequence of the offensive remarks they are compelled to listen to when they are there by themselves.

Both young men and young women are guilty of vulgar and rude talk, and appear to address most ladies that pass who are unaccompanied by gentlemen. It is a pity that in these days coarseness and ignorance should prevail, as it apparently does to such an extent amongst those who, we should have thought, know better. Perhaps if you are good enough to publish this letter, some of the offenders may learn to mend their manners.

Your, etc, Locus Standi

On Wednesday afternoon the attention of a constable was called to a drayman, named Eli ALLEN, residing in King-street, Radcliffe, who had happened an accident. He was riding on a lurry along Manchester-road, in company with his son, and when near Willow Bank he was getting down from the front of the lurry, when the horse kicked, and caught him on the right leg below the knee, causing a compound fracture. Dr HAMER arrived, and applied splints and bandages, and the man was removed in the horse ambulance to the District Infirmary.

”A Hot Bone of Contention”

At the monthly meeting of the Borough Education Committee held at the Ashton Town Hall on Wednesday evening, an interesting discussion took place on a resolution of the Higher Education Committee:— That the use of classrooms be granted for denominational teaching to those students of the Day Secondary School whose parents desire it from 9 to 9.25 every morning, provided that the cost of such instruction be not paid by the Education Committee.

The chairman (Councillor J.B. POWNALL) moved the minutes of the Higher Education Sub-committee, and these were seconded by Alderman SIDDALL.

Councillor T. HALLAM moved an amendment that minutes be passed with the exception of the clause respecting the use of classrooms being granted for denominational teaching where requested. It seemed to him that if the resolution was confirmed it would open the way to a good deal of ill-feeling. The Council, as such, could nor provide denominational teaching. It might allow it, but not at the expense of the Council.

It would mean that either the present staff would have to give the religious teaching and not receive any additional remuneration for it, or other teachers would have to be introduced. The Act provided that no unfair preference should be shown to any religious denomination. It was no great stretch of imagination to think what might happen if all the different denominations applied for classrooms to teach their particular tenets.

Councillor HAMER seconded, and regretted the resolution had been passed, and that it was not in the educational interest of the town. It would be a very hot bone of contention. He had an objection to day school buildings provided by the ratepayers being used for sectarian purposes.

The Rev. F.H. BURROWS said the minute was passed with unanimity and friendliness. They had no religious difficulty, and he could not see what had arisen since the previous Monday to provide feelings of a religious difficulty. The observations made had relation to the Act, and they were not there to discuss the Act, but to administer it. There were large numbers of Roman Catholic and Church of England teachers who would be deprived of a training if they removed this opportunity. The Council would have the control.

Mr. A. PARK said if the local education authority thought it desirable they might permit any religious instruction to be given at the parents’ request, no unfair preference to be shown to any religious denomination. The cost did not fall on the authority.

Whilst supporting the framing of the minutes on legal grounds, he thought religious instruction should be given under conditions in which it would not interfere in any way with the ordinary work of the school. It would be an inconvenience say, for five or six gentlemen to go into school at 9.25 a.m. and call out the various denominational children to give them religious instruction. Ashton was the only non-county borough that had a resolution of this kind on its books.

The chairman said no harm should result. It merely rested with the parents filling up the forms provided as to whether their children should have religious instruction. It would be a great pity after going on so well if any feeling were manifested. He strongly entertained the opinion that there should be religious instruction in the school, and particularly if paid out of public money. With regard to dogmatic teaching, it was a difficult question. The plain fact remained that people did insist on religious teaching.

Councillor HALLAM’s amendment was defeated, and the minutes were passed. There was a further resolution in the minutes which was passed:— That Bible instruction from 9 to 9.25 every morning be given to those students of the Secondary Day School whose parents desire that they should receive such instruction.

Droylsden Man’s Sad End

The Droylsden police were last week notified of the disappearance Mr. John BOWES, of Greenside-lane, Droylsden, and search was made for him. The Audenshaw reservoirs were dragged, but without success until Saturday when his body was seen floating by an angler in No. 3 reservoir. An inquiry touching the circumstances of his death was conducted by Mr. J.F. PRICE, coroner, on Tuesday at the Council offices, Audenshaw.

Jane Ann BOWES, wife of deceased, of 92, Greenside-lane, Droylsden, said her husband was a labourer at Messrs. Whitworth’s, and was 53 last birthday. He had been a healthy man all through life, and worked until Monday, the 5th of September, on which day he went to work at a quarter past eight in the morning.

He returned about 10 o’clock, explaining that he had had to give his work up. He could not do it. It was too hard. He had made a similar complaint before, saying he could not do as much as any other man because he could not use a pick. He remained at home all the afternoon and night.

On Tuesday, the 6th, he left the house in the morning, but returned at night, and didn’t sleep so well. He seemed very much upset about his work. At five minutes past eight on Wednesday morning he left home and never returned again. Witness went to the police station, to the Town Hall, and other places, but they heard nothing of him. He had never threatened to drown himself.

”On Tuesday night he sat in his armchair,” witness proceeded in a broken voice, “and he looked very despondent. I says ‘Pick up, father,’ and he answers ‘I’m done.’ I says ‘Nay, father, you are a young man yet; look at the newspaper a bit.’ ‘They’re all full of suicides,’ he answered, looking up. ‘I can’t look.’”

He gave the work up of his own accord, and had told her that the men kept jeering and making fun at him because he couldn’t do it. She thought he wasn’t quite strong enough. He had asked for some lighter job, and the foreman had given him one. He was a willing worker, but had never been a steady man.

Richard COPPOCK, a labourer at the Manchester Corporation Reservoir, of Audenshaw-road, Audenshaw, said that on Saturday, about half-past five his attention was drawn by an angler to a body floating in No. 3 reservoir, near the side. He obtained grappling hooks and pulled the body out. It was quite dead, and had the appearance of having been in the water some time. The police arrived and the body was taken away. There were two fences to climb to get to the reservoir.

Charles Herbert BOWES, of Greenside-lane, Droylsden, said deceased was his father. He knew he was missing from home. He identified the body on Sunday. — The jury returned an open verdict.

The Coroner asked Mr. BENNETT, an official of the waterworks who was present at the inquiry, if the water would be used for drinking purposes. — Mr. BENNETT replied that he could not tell them just then, but the spot where the body was discovered was quite half-a-mile from the centre of the three reservoirs, and could not have contaminated it in that short time.

An inquiry was held by Mr. J.F. PRICE, district coroner, at the Co-operative Hall, Ashton, on Monday at noon, into the circumstances of the death of Abram BOWERS, aged 47 years, of 83, Welbeck-street, Ashton, whose death took place on Thursday of last week following injuries received on May 2nd. Mr. G.H. CLOUGH was present on behalf of Mr. Thomas LOCKWOOD, coal merchant, Stalybridge, by whom the deceased had been employed for many years.

Matilda BOWERS, wife of deceased, said he was a railway wagon builder and repairer up to the time of getting hurt, and had been a healthy man. On Monday, May 2nd, he left home about 8.30 a.m. to go to his work at Guide-bridge, and returned about 10.30 the same morning, saying he had fallen from a wagon on to the buffer and then to the floor, and hurt himself about the abdomen.

She gave him some brandy and water, and he then went to Dr. HAMILTON who attended him frequently. He had since been confined to bed. He told her he slipped off the wagon and did not blame anyone for what had happened.

George TURNER, labourer, 53, Peel-street, Dukinfield, stated that on May 2nd he first saw the deceased about 9 a.m. when he was in Mr. LOCKWOOD’s wagon shop at Guidebridge railway sidings. Witness had gone to look for work. About 10 o’clock he went with deceased to repair a wagon which was on the siding. When they got there witness turned to walk away, leaving the deceased standing between the ends of the two wagons.

Before he had proceeded many yards he heard a noise as though deceased had fallen. He turned round, went back to the wagons, and found him standing between the two wagons apparently in pain. Witness asked if he had hurt himself, and he replied, “Yes.” He walked without assistance towards the shop. Deceased had got the end pillar which he took with him fixed into position, and he would have to climb on the buffers or the drawbar hooks to put in the top bolts.

In reply to Mr. CLOUGH, witness said the wagon was situated about 50 yards from the shop. Mr. CLOUGH: Was it in our siding? It was near Guidebridge Station, about 50 yards from the siding. The coroner said it did not matter how far it was away.

Dr. HAMILTON said deceased called at his surgery about 10.30 on May 2nd, saying he had fallen on the buffer of a railway wagon, and had hurt himself. Witness examined him and found he was bleeding. He ordered his removal home to bed and attended him there for four or five weeks

He went on well, and then an abscess formed in the position of the injury. He was attacked with inflammation in both hips and thighs, and ultimately a large abscess formed in the thigh. He gradually grew worse. Septic pneumonia set in from which he died. Witness was satisfied in his own mind that death was directly due to the original injury. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

On Tuesday at the Halfway House, Whiteacre-road, Mr. J.F. PRICE, county coroner, conducted an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Emma PRESS, who died on Saturday night.

Charles PRESS, of 44, South-street, son of the deceased, said his mother was 64 years old, and lived at 122, Alexandra-street, Ashton. She hadn’t had the best of health for two or three years, and had complained of nervous debility for which she had been treated by Dr. BRADLEY about 12 months ago. The last time witness saw her alive was a week last Sunday, when she didn’t seem very well, having had a slight attack of diarrhœa. She worked up to Saturday dinner-time, and he heard of her death at half-past nine on Saturday night.

Mary Ann HARRISON, of 65, Mossley-road, said she had known the deceased all her life, and had frequently been to see her. She wasn’t obliged to work, but she preferred to. She had been in failing health for the last 12 months complaining of weakness. Witness last saw her alive about half-past nine. She made no complaint. She was called to her on Saturday evening about twenty to nine. She had no reason to doubt that she had died a natural death.

Mary Ellen MUTTER, a widow, of 110, Alexandra-street, deposed to going to the woman’s house about twenty to nine on Saturday night. The door was loose, and she entered. All was in darkness, and she struck a match. In the faint light she saw Mrs. PRESS sitting on the sofa, with her head leaning against the arm. She was quiet, and only moaned twice. She sent for Dr. SPENCER, who arrived and said she was dead.

A juryman asked if it was a fact that the coalman saw deceased, and thought she was drunk? — Witness answered that she had never thought of going before the coalman had told her so. — The same juryman said he had heard that she had a bit of bread clenched between her false teeth. — Mrs. MUTTER was recalled, and said that when she discovered Mrs. PRESS she had a piece of bread the size of a shilling between her teeth.

A verdict of death from natural causes was returned.

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