30 January 2004

The Ashton police were notified of the death under singular circumstances at the Ashton Union Hospital on Sunday of Richard PICKERILL, aged 75 years, formerly a coal miner. Deceased lived alone at Alma-street, Droylsden, and had not followed any regular employment for 20 years. He suffered very much from asthma, and had a habit of sitting near the fire to enable him to breathe. During the past four weeks he had complained to his daughter, Mrs Annie CORDON, who lives at 150 Greenside-lane, Droylsden, of being unable to use his legs, and thus he had fallen at times.

On Sunday, January 17th, his daughter sent her son to the house with his dinner, and on the boy’s return he told her his grandfather had burnt his hands. On the same day a woman named Mary TAYLOR, 19 Campbell-street, Droylsden, was passing the deceased’s house, and saw blood on the doorstep. She saw PICKERILL standing behind the door in a dazed condition bleeding from a wound over the left eye. He told her he was trying to cross the street when he fell and cut himself over the eye.

She went and informed his daughter, who dressed the wound, and also attended to burns on his hand and leg, caused by his falling against the fire, and gave him some brandy. She sent for a doctor, but as he did not come, she had her father removed to her house. On the 22nd inst he was seen by Dr HOWSON who ordered his removal to the workhouse hospital, where he was conveyed in a cab, and died as stated.

A remarkable series of burning accidents took place in Manchester last week, and three cases had a fatal result. All the victims were children, and a singular coincidence is the fact that all the children were two years of age. One of these was Sarah Helen LISHMAN, of Foxall-street, Newton Heath, the daughter of a boiler maker. At the Coroner’s inquest the mother of the deceased gave evidence that the little girl was, in the morning, rocking her baby brother close to the fire. There was no guard to the fire, but the fender was down. Though no explanation could be given of the accident, the mother thought that a cinder, which had been knocked from the grate, had ignited the child’s flannelette night dress.

The Coroner (to witness): I do hope after this accident you won’t dress your children in flannelette. The mother replied that she would not, adding that the nightdress worn by the deceased was the only one in the house. Further evidence showed that the little girl was severely burned, and died later in the day at the Royal Infirmary.

Mr GIBSON, addressing the jury, said in all probability this child would not have died had it not been dressed in flannelette. The great misfortune was that people, although they knew that this stuff was dangerous, would have it in their house. As soon as a light was put to it it flamed up like gunpowder, and it was almost impossible to extinguish the blaze before great injury had been done. There was no reason whatever why people should have flannelette at all, because there was a non-inflammable material on the market which was sold at the same price as the flannelette. A verdict of accidental death was returned.

Drunk. — Elias EDMUNDS was fined half-a-crown for costs for being drunk at Bardsley on the 18th of January.

Dramatic License. — Jake GREAVES applied at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, for a dramatic license with respect to the Bardsley Church School. — The application was granted.

A Case from Alt. — John BLAKELEY appeared before the Ashton county justices, on Wednesday, charged with not isolating a sow in accordance with the requirements of the law. — Superintendent HEWITT said the proceedings were taken under the County Council bye-laws, which provided that swine may be removed so that they may be kept isolated for 28 days. In this case a sow was removed from Mossley, and a license, number 10, taken out. The police visited the place and found it in a sty in company with another. The maximum penalty was £2. — The Chairman: You will be let off lightly, and will be fined 5s 6d and costs or 14 days.

A Cordial Reception. — Thomas MORRIS, a cripple, appeared at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, charged with being drunk and disorderly at Waterloo on the 11th December. He pleaded not guilty. — An officer said that about 7pm on that date he was acting in a disorderly manner in Victoria-street, Bardsley, and attracting a crowd of people who assembled to see him thrash his wife. He was using filthy language. — Several officers deposed to him being drunk on his arrival at the police station.

Defendant’s version of the affair was that he had left the Workhouse Hospital that day to see his wife and children. When he got there, he received an unexpected reception, and his wife informing him he was not wanted there, and that they had got another name in the rent book. — The Chairman: The case is dismissed, get back to the hospital.

An Old Couple’s Marital Troubles. — The magistrates at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, listened to the tale of woe of an old couple named Olive and John HARDING, when John was summoned by Olive for deserting her. He pleaded not guilty.

In the course of a long harangue delivered to the magistrates, Olive explained that they were married in 1859 and had lived together since. Three weeks on Sunday he pleasantly informed her that they wanted her “in the earth.” The Tuesday following he left her, and that morning was the first time she had seen him since then. She did not know exactly where he was living, but she had heard he was with her son-in-law, and he had never given her a halfpenny, although he owned houses that brought in 23s a week.

Defendant denied saying that she was wanted in the earth, and as for having 23s a week, the magistrates would see — handing up a paper — that the income from the rents was 16s. There was a mortgage and he had to pay taxes. Furthermore, one night she locked him out. — Complainant: I didn’t do that on purpose, it was a mistake. — The Clerk: Are you willing to take him back? — Complainant: Well, if he will behave himself, I will. — The Chairman: Well now, you are a silly old couple carrying on like this. Live together pleasantly. The case is dismissed.

A Sad Case

An extremely sad case occupied the attention of the borough justices, on Monday morning, when Samuel Taylor LEECH, an ex-sergeant of the borough police, was summoned by his wife, Mary LEECH, for persistent cruelty. He did not appear. Mr Arthur LEES, solicitor, appeared on behalf of the complainant. The Bench would remember that defendant appeared in the court a few weeks ago charged with neglecting his wife and family. The case was then adjourned for three months in order to see if LEECH’s behaviour improved.

At that time, one of the allegations made was that of drunkenness. Since that time, it appeared, up to the present, he has gone from bad to worse, and had been drinking all the time, and on Tuesday night it culminated in an assault. Questioned by the clerk, Mrs LEECH that since he left the county court as a bailiff he had earned nothing, and she had three children to clothe and provide for. A separation order with 10s a week was granted.

Drunk and Disorderly. — Herbert GRIFFITHS was charged at the Ashton County Police Court, held on Wednesday, with being drunk and disorderly at Hurst on the 16th January. — It was his first offence, and he was, therefore, let off with a fine of half-a-crown and costs.

Breaches of the Peace. — Mary DEWHURST appeared at the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday, and pleaded guilty to committing a breach of the peace at Hurst on the 9th of January. — She was bound over to be of good conduct for three months. — Jane COX and Walter HILL were summoned at the same court for committing a breach of the peace at Hurst on the 16th of January. They pleaded guilty. — They were bound over for three months. — HILL and a woman named Amelia POTTER were also summoned for the same offence, and pleaded guilty. — They were similarly dealt with.

The Late Mr Arthur HAGUE. — On Sunday morning a large number of relatives and friends attended divine worship at the Methodist New Connexion Chapel, Queen—street, Hurst, to pay a last tribute of respect to their deceased brother, when the Rev Mr BAINBRIDGE preached a very impressive sermon. Mr HAGUE died in the smallpox hospital at Ashton-under-Lyne on Tuesday week. This is the third death this family has had in a fortnight — father, mother, and brother all gone in so short a time. Mr HAGUE was highly respected by the members of the Hurst Conservative Club, of which he had been a member for a good number of years.

A Correction

Sir,— I write to correct an error made by “I’m Bono Publico” in a letter published in this evening’s issue of you paper. He in it refers to a case of smallpox sent into the Borough Hospital from Hurst, and who died on the 19th, stating that it was the worst case we ever had in the hospital since its opening. Unfortunately this is not so; the worst cases we have had have been cases of malignant smallpox, where the patients succumbed to the disease within 24 hours of the attack, cases much more shocking and offensive than the above. We have had such cases to attend to within the twelve months.

It is quite true the patient he refers to had been vaccinated in infancy, for he showed two marks; but he had not been re-vaccinated and the vaccination of infancy had ceased to be any protection.
I am, yours faithfully,
Medical Officer of Health
Harwood, Ashton-under-Lyne

Anniversary Festival

The Ashton and District Burns Club held their annual festival in honour of the birth of Burns, the Scottish poet, on Monday evening, at the Good Samaritan Hotel, when a goodly number of members attended. The room presented a bright and cheerful appearance, the decorations being enhanced by portraits of the poet and views of Scottish scenery.

A sumptuous dinner was provided, including the indispensable “haggis.” Mr HAGUE read extracts from the “ode to a Haggis.” Afterwards Mr J MACGREGOR presided, and was supported by Messrs BAIRN, MACKENZIE, BLYTH, ROBINSON, FRENCH, WOOD, KNOTT, HEGGIS, APPLEBEE, MELROSE, EMMETT, WOOLIVEN, HYSLOP, BIGGS, SIZER, BLACK, and others.

In the course of his address he referred in sympathetic terms to the death of Mr HAGUE, the erstwhile president of the Caledonian Associates. The loyal toast was observed, proposed by the Chairman. Councillor MACFARLANE, of Dukinfield, was entrusted with the toast of the evening, “The immortal memory of Burns,” in the course of which he surveyed the character and motives, national devotion, and the wide and diversified range of subjects the poet chose, and read an excellent rhyme which he had composed for the occasion.

Votes of thanks were given to the host and hostess and the chairman, and a very successful evening was brought to an issue by the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” in true Scottish fashion.

On Monday afternoon a shocking accident occurred at the Victoria Mill of the Newton Moor Spinning Co, Dukinfield. Just before five o’clock, one of the operatives, Jesse GOODWIN, aged 29, residing at 116, Church-street, was in the fourth spinning room, when by some means he fell down the hoist hole to the bottom. He was picked up as quickly as possible, and Dr PARK was sent for. He had sustained a fracture of the skull, which itself was sufficient to cause death, but in addition to that, one arm and his legs were broken. The body was removed by Constable HALL, and Mrs GOODWIN was naturally overcome with grief. They were only married three months ago.

The inquest was held on Wednesday afternoon in the Court Room. Mr C BURTON was the foreman of the jury. Mr WALMSLEY, H. M. Inspector of Factories, and Mr W KERFOOT, manager of the mill, were present. The following was given:—

Elizabeth GOODWIN said: I live at Church-street, Dukinfield. The deceased Jesse GOODWIN, was my husband. He was 29 years of age, and was a factory operative in the employ of the Newton Moor Spinning Company Limited. I last saw him alive on Monday morning last when I went to my work. He was then quite well. About six minutes to six o’clock in the evening, when coming up King-street, I was told he had met with an accident.

His dead body was brought home about twenty minutes past six o’clock. He had never complained to me about his work at the mill. He never said it was dangerous. He had been at this particular job about two years and a half. — By the jury: It was part of his work to take skips up and down the hoist. He said it was the nicest shop he had ever had.

The Coroner took the liberty to express his own and the jury’s sympathy with Mrs GOODWIN in the loss she had sustained by the death of her husband. They were very sorry for her.

George HOSKINS said: I live at 113 Lodge-lane, Dukinfield, and am employed at the Victoria Mill, belonging to the Newton Moor Spinning Co. About a quarter to five o’clock on Monday afternoon I was working with the deceased on the top floor of the mill. I saw him get on the hoist alone and let himself down to the third floor.

The next thing I noticed was the hoist moving upwards. I then shouted but did not get any reply. When I did not get any reply I ran to the third landing and saw the hoist doors open. I closed them and ran to the bottom. I found the deceased lying in cellar, he lying in the well of the hoist. There were also two skips containing cops there. The deceased was alive, but insensible.

He was removed and placed in the cellar, and only lived a few minutes. He died just before Dr PARK came. Witness did not hear any noise. He took two skips with him, and the other two skips which were found at the bottom must have been from the third storey. It is possible he might have stepped backwards with the skips thinking the hoist was there. I had not seen the skips on the third landing.

I have never known the hoist to move itself. It is easy to stop and start the hoist. — By the jury: It was quite light at the time, and the mill was not lighted up. — We could have put a light in if we had liked. — By a juror: The doors are fastened inside. — The skips are dragged into the hoist backwards. There was no one in the cellar that night to interfere with the ropes of the hoist. There are no notices to the effect that no one must touch the ropes. The cop carrier had gone home because we were working short time.

Mr WALMERSLEY explained the of the hoist. The deceased must have been in the habit of dragging the skips into the hoist, and the hoist having descended, he fell down. He might have pulled the rope too far and reveresed the movement of the hoist.

In reply to questions, witness said the scavengers were not allowed to interfer with the hoist. In his opinion the deceased pulled the rope of the hoist amd reversed it. It had never done that before. There was a proper hoist attendant at the mill, but he had gone home.

The Coroner said the engineer was present to give evidence if necessary, but he did not think they need call him. It was quite clear deceased must have fallen from the third landing to the bottom of the hoist-shaft. The engineer could not tell them as much as the last witness. — A juror thought they might hear what he had to say.

James WARHURST was then called, but was not sworn. He stated that on the afternoon of the day in question, just before five o'clock, he was on the steps on the first landing, when he met a little piecer, who said "Jesse GOODWIN has fallen down the hoist." Witness went to the bottom, and saw the deceased there and the last witness HOSKINS.

The Coroner: Did you examine the working of the hoist. No. — A juror: How were you for light? — Oh, there was a good light. — What time did the mill stop? — Five o'clock. — The Coroner: Was the little piecer at the bottom when GOODWIN fell? He said not. He was in the landing and saw GOODWIN falling. — A juror: Have you ever known boys to tamper with the hoist ropes at the bottom? — No. — Still they are not protected? — Yes, by doors.

Mr WALMERSLEY: Had the boy any skips with him? — No. He did not say anything to me except "Jesse has fallen down the hoist." — Had he been in the cellar? — Yes. — Is it likely he would be fetching skips so very late? — Yes. — A juror thoguht that the little piecer might have brought as a witness. — Mr KERFOOT said the boy might have seen the deceased working the hoist, and he would know that he was the only person engaged with the hoist.

The Coroner did not think that was material. It had been explained by Mr WALMERSLEY how the accident happened. It was very probable, as Mr WALMERSLEY had said, that deceased was dragging the skips backwards into the hoist which he thought was there, and it was not, and he fell down. The man had always been accustomed to the hoist being there, and he no doubt took everything for granted instead of looking.

Mr KERFOOT said it would be almost for an accident to occur when the mill was in full work. On this particular occasion they were working short time, and most of the people in the lower rooms. Anyone bent upon mischief could go into the cellar and pull the ropes, but ordinarily there was always a man specially there to conrol the hoist. There was no danger to any outsider.

He could assure them that he and his directors very much regreted the accident. The deceased was generally very careful, and a most likely man for getting to a position. His young widow had the greatest sympathy, and also his family.

His father, and another brother, worked with them, and he was the most unlikely man that he knew of to do do as he had done. In his opinion he over-pulled the hoist, and whilst he was fetching the skips the hoist descended. This fact would be unknown to the deceased, and he would back into the hoist hole thinking the hoist was there.

The Coroner: You don't think there has been any tampering with the hoist ropes? — Mr KERFOOT: Not at all, sir. There were only two or three minutes elapsed between deceased getting three skips and returning to the hoist with them. There was no time for anyone to tamper with the hoist. I have never seen a boy at the bottom of the hoist since I have been there.

Mr WALMERSLEY: Ten seconds would be sufficient time to cause an accident. — Mr KERFOOT: That is so. It has been so in this case. I am speaking from an experience of 28 years since the mill was built, and this is the first fatal accident we have had.

The Coroner: What do you say, Mr WALMERSLEY? — Mr WALMERSLEY: I think the hoist on the bottom floor should be guarded. I will see Mr KERFOOT after the inquest, and we may come to some arrangement with regard to it. — A juror thought a notion might be put up.

Mr WALMERSLEY: From my experience I have very little faith in notions. The strict rules of the mill are better than notions. The jury then returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

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