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Old news detailing sports, crime, violence and suffering in Victorian Wigan. All stories taken from The Wigan Observer And District Advertiser, 1890. Material kindly loaned by Ron Hunt.


Saturday, August 16, 1890.

GETTING OFF EASILY.
   James George Howard, landlord of the Stork Inn, Billinge, was charged with selling adulterated rum. - Police-constable Clegg went into the house on the 22nd ult., and asked for a pint of rum for which he paid 2s. There was not sufficient in the keg and the landlady filled the bottle up with water in his presence. He was in plain clothes. A certificate was handed in from Dr. Campbell Brown stating that the rum was 8 per cent. too weak. - The defendant pleaded that his wife was not accustomed to mixing spirits, and she did not think she was doing wrong when she put the water in. - The Bench accepted the excuse and dismissed the case, saying that he ought to be more particular in future.



Saturday, August 16, 1890.

DRUNK ON HIS OWN LICENSED PREMISES.
   Patrick Frayne, landlord of the Colliers Arms, Billinge-Chapel-End, was charged with being drunk on his own licensed premises. - Sergeant Bage said about 11 o'clock on Saturday night, the 2nd inst., he went into the house and saw the defendant in the taproom, leaning his head on his arms on the table. Police-constable Hodson, who was with witness, called him twice, and then he staggered about and they saw he was drunk. They told him he would be reported, and he followed them out of the house and asked them not to blast his character. He had not had a half-pennyworth of food that day, and the drink had taken effect. - Two officers corroborated the Sergeant's evidence. - Mr. Lees contended that the defendant was, besides a landlord, a farm-labourer in the employ of Mr. Ashton, of Carr Mill, and that he was not drunk that night, but extremely tired. The defendant did not think the officers were serious. - Witnesses were called to substantiate this, and defendant was ordered to pay costs.



Saturday, August 16, 1890.

A MISERABLE ANIMAL.
   Samuel Freeman, of Lower Ince, was charged with cruelly illtreating a bay gelding on the 10th inst. - Inspector Jowett, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said in the forenoon of the above date he visited a piece of waste land at the back of Kay's-houses, Lower Ince. He there saw a bay gelding standing upon three legs and having a most miserable and dejected appearance. The near hind foot was suffering from canker in an advanced stage, and maggots were working about the pulp of the foot. The animal tried to get the foot up to its mouth to gnaw it. Witness went and saw the defendant, and he said he had not seen it for two or three days, but would send it to the knackers and have it destroyed. The animal was afterwards killed. - Mr. Sayers, veterinary surgeon, spoke as to the bad condition of the gelding and the disease in the foot. - Evidence was called by the defendant that the horse was fed every day, but a fine of 10s. and costs was imposed.



Wednesday, August 20, 1890.

RUN DOWN BY A BUTCHER'S TRAP.
   Mr. W. T. Husband, deputy county coroner, held an inquest at the Saddle Inn, Newtown, on Monday morning, to inquire into the death of a little girl, named Emma Houghton, who was killed on Friday afternoon, under the circumstances detailed in the following evidence:-
   Mary Houghton, wife of John Houghton, collier, Mooney's-yard, Newtown, Pemberton, said her daughter, Emma, who was three years of age, ran out of the house about a quarter to four, on Friday afternoon. She was brought in dead immediately afterwards.
   Richard Wright, Sunny Bank, Orrell, relieving officer, said that on Friday afternoon, about a quarter to four, he was riding on a 'bus in Ormskirk-road, Newtown. He saw the deceased child go across the road, and run right against a horse, which was drawing a butcher's shandry, belonging to Mr. Green, of Wigan. She was then caught by the step, her head was run over by the wheel, and she was instantly killed. The driver was only going at a moderate pace, particularly slow for a butcher's trap, and he was certainly not to blame for the accident. His trap was loaded, and he had a female riding along with him. Witness did not think the driver could have avoided the child.
   Alice Farrimond, wife of Henry Farrimond, 77, Ormskirk-road, said that on Friday afternoon she was standing at her own door, and saw the deceased, who was standing on the parapet on the opposite side of the road. She started to go across the road just as the butcher's trap was coming up the road, and she ran right up against the horse before the driver could pull up. The trap wheel went over the child's head, the trap being brought up in about three yards from the body. She did not think the driver could have pulled up in time to prevent the accident.
   After a brief deliberation the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death," at the same time stating their opinion that the driver, William Hooson, was in no way to blame.



Wednesday, August 20, 1890.

KILLED BY A TRAM ENGINE.
   At the same time and place, Mr. Husband held an inquest on the body of a child named Reginald Kelly, aged eighteen months, who was knocked down and instantly killed by a tram engine in Ormskirk-road on Friday afternoon. The tramway company were represented by Mr. Richard Johnson (chairman of the Board of Directors), Mr. Hales (engineer), and Mr. R. Young.
   Mary Jane Kelly, wife of John Kelly, plasterer, 3, Mayor-street, Pemberton, said the deceased, Reginald kelly, was her son, and was eighteen months old. She saw him on Friday afternoon about four o'clock, when he was playing in the yard along with some other children. Some of these elder children must have opened the yard gate, for he got outside. Five minutes afterwards he was brought in dead.
   Wm. Hamilton, collier, said that on Friday afternoon, about four o'clock, he was in Ormskirk-road. He was about twenty yards in front of the tram, and he saw a child lying in middle of the road. The tram engine was close upon it then, and the driver was just shutting off steam and putting the brake on. The framework of the engine dragged the child a few yards, and the body got wedged in the hind wheel. As far as witness could judge, the driver of the engine could not have stopped in time to prevent the accident. The tram was going at the usual rate, and going a little uphill towards Pemberton.
   Mary Ann Hitchen, Ormskirk-road, said that on Friday afternoon she was looking out of her bedroom window. She saw the child run off the parapet just as the tram was coming up, and it was caught by the front of the engine and killed. She was sure the driver could not have stopped the engine in time to avoid the accident.
   The Deputy Coroner said this seemed to be a very similar case to the one they had just dealt with, with the difference, of course, that the tram engine ran on lines and could therefore only go backwards or forwards in attempting to avoid an accident. So long, therefore, as a driver drove at a proper speed, kept a keen look out, and kept his engine in a condition so that he could pull up quickly at the shortest notice, he fulfilled the requirements of the law. This, of course, was a sort of innovation on the common law of England, which was that the road was first for the use of the foot passengers and then for the use of vehicles. But when the tramway, which had practically been born by Act of Parliament, came into existence, the law had to give way in a certain degree to the Act of Parliament, and it could not expect a tram engine to get out of the road of passengers. Still the driver of an engine had certain duties to perform, and it was for the jury to say whether those duties were properly done on this occasion. It seemed to him that the evidence showed that the driver did all he possibly could to prevent the accident.
   Mr. Hales said he should like to mention the fact that so promptly did the driver reverse the engine that the passengers were jolted off their seats and the engine was brought up in six yards.
   The Deputy Coroner: I am very glad to hear that he did all he possibly could.
   A verdict of "Accidental death" was at once returned.



Friday, August 22, 1890.

THE DROWNING FATALITY AT
INCE.

   Mr. W. T. Husband, deputy county coroner, held an inquest at the Navigation Inn, Britannia Bridge, Lower Ince, on the body of William Stewart, an Ince labourer, whose dead body was found in the canal on Sunday.
   Ann Stewart, 11, Canal-side, said the deceased was her husband. He was a quarryman, and was 71 years of age. He had left home about half-past five on Saturday afternoon to get a shave in Chapel-lane, and did not return.
   John Stewart, son of the deceased, said he went in search of his father on Sunday morning, and found his dead body in the canal, between Nos. 20 and 21 locks. He was satisfied that his father had fallen into the water on the previous night.
   Thomas Molyneux, lock-keeper in the employ of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Co. at Henhurst Bridge, said he saw deceased about half-past eight on Saturday evening. He had just left Chapel-lane and got on to the canal bank. Witness noticed that he was staggering, and told him he ought not to go along the bank. He replied that he was only going to Britannia Bridge, and said in response to further advice from witness, "Oh, I can manage very well." Witness could not say that deceased was either drunk or sober. He talked in too sensible a manner to be drunk, and yet it could be seen that he had been taking strong drink.
   A Juryman: Some people can talk very sensibly even when they are drunk.
   Sergeant Peters: Did you consider he was quite capable of going along the canal bank safely?
   Witness: Yes, when I left him.
   The Coroner said he thought the jury might safely come to a verdict that the deceased was drowned by falling into the canal on his way home, and that it was an accident.
   A verdict in accordance with this was at once returned.



Saturday, August 23, 1890.

AN UNSUBSTANTIATED CASE.
   Walter Meadows, 19, Field-street, was charged with assaulting Adam Banks, of Ormskirk-road, Newtown, on August 12th. - Complainant said that on Monday, the 11th inst., the defendant came to the place where he was working and charged him with stealing a collier's wedge. On the following morning complainant saw him again and said he would make him prove what he had said, whereupon the defendant gave him a "chuck" in the throat and so ill-treated him that he was eight days off work. - The defendant totally denied the charge. - When asked to bring forward his witnesses, the complainant said he had a witness but he only knew his name as "Jimmy." (Laughter.) - Mr. Rigby: Well, then, call "Jimmy." (Renewed laughter.) - The defendant went to look for his witness, but as he did not reappear, the case against the defendant was dismissed.



Saturday, August 23, 1890.

ACCIDENT TO A SOLICITOR.
   On Wednesday Captain W. S. France met with an accident which will incapacitate him from attending to his legal duties for some days. Mr. France was taking part in a cricket match at Birkdale with the Wigan Ramblers, and was fielding at point, when a ball, hit with great force, struck him on the knee. Not much notice was taken of the injury at first, and Mr. France continued playing, but evetually he had to be assisted to the pavilion. Dr. Bradbury, who also took part in the game, attended to the injury, which was more serious than anticipated, and Mr. France had to be removed home.



Saturday, August 23, 1890.

EXCITING SCENE IN WALLGATE.
   About noon yesterday (Friday), an exciting scene was witnessed in Wallgate, near the end of Queen-street. A girl named Ellen Moore, 13 years of age, of 54, Clayton-street, Wigan, was crossing the road, carrying a child two years of age, when she was knocked down by a hansom cab owned by Mr. Crippin, Brynn. The girl's attention was evidently attracted by something coming up Wallgate, for she did not appear to hear the cries of the driver of the cab, and before he could stop his horse the girl was knocked down and the wheels of the vehicle had passed over her legs. The baby was in great danger, and the spectators shrieked as they saw it down and the vehicle advancing. Fortunately Police-constable Wilkinson was at hand, and by his presence of mind and prompt action the child's life was saved. Springing forward he seized the horse and stopped it, just as the wheel of the cab was about to pass over the child's neck. Mr. Crippin was in the cab going to the London and North-Western Station, and he alighted and told the officer to get a doctor and he would pay the expense. When he had gone to the station, Mr. Crippin sent his cab back to take the girl and child home. The girl was taken to the surgeries of Dr. Berry and Dr. Bradbury, but they were not in, and they were removed home and attended by Dr. Timothy. No bones were broken, but the girl's left knee was badly injured, and the child's forehead was hurt. The cab was driven by Bernard Doodge, but he was in no way to blame for the accident.


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