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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.


Wednesday, September 3, 1890.

PUBLIC LAMPS.
   During the past week the workmen connected with the gas department have been employed in fixing the street lamps to the gas pillars and brackets. On Monday next the public lamps will be lighted for the first time this season, and at seven o'clock the lamplighters will resume their winter duty of brightening the main thoroughfares with artificial illumination. The excessive amount of rain we have experienced during this month has made the darkness more intense and keenly felt, and we again repeat that if the authorities directed in future the lighting of the lamps should commence on August 1st, their action would be highly appreciated by the inhabitants generally.



Wednesday, September 3, 1890.

FUNERAL OF AN OLD RESIDENT.
   On Wednesday afternoon last the remains of William Forster were interred at Abram Church. The deceased, who was 41 years of age, was checkweighman at the Low Hall Collieries. He had been a hard worker for the Miners' Union, and was much esteemed by that body of men. He had also been a member of the Platt Bridge Brass Band for over 20 years. Mr. Keen very kindly allowed the colliers to leave off work at noon to enable them and other workpeople to attend the funeral. Several wreaths were sent, amongst them being one subscribed for by the pit brow girls, also a very handsome one with globe &c., from the miners. The weather was fine and the streets were crowded with spectators. The procession was as follows:- Twenty pit brow girls; 150 miners; band committee; Platt Bridge Brass Band (assisted by a few friends from the Wigan Volunteer Band), playing "Dead March in Saul;" deceased, with instrument on coffin; mourners and relatives. At the commencement of the service Mr. C. D. Mortimer with his usual ability played Guilmant's "Funeral March," and at the close the "Dead March in Saul." After the burial service in the churchyard, the band played very sweetly at the grave side, "It is well with my soul."



Wednesday, September 3, 1890.

ALLEGED SHOCKING NEGLECT
OF AN INFANT.

   At the Wigan Borough Police Court, on Monday, before Messrs. W. B. Johnson, J. Pendlebury, and J. Edwardson, John and Mary Duggan, a middle-aged married couple, residing in Adelaide-street, were charged with wilfully neglecting their infant child Mary, by not providing sufficient food for its maintenance. Superintendent O'Brien said the child was taken to the workhouse on Saturday night, when she was examined by Dr. Martland, who said she would not be able to be sent to the police court for at least a fortnight. On being sworn, Superintendent O'Brien said he knew the prisoners to be the parents of the child.
   Mr. R. F. Woodcock, surgeon to the police force, said that a police constable brought the child to his surgery on Saturday night, and he examined her. She was very small indeed, and only weighed 2lbs. and 3 ounces, although she was said to be a month old, and she had evidently been grossly neglected. She was in fact almost nothing, and one could almost put her into his hat. She must have been neglected or she could not have been in such a state. She was in a very dangerous condtition, and it was questionable whether she would live.
   Mr. Johnson: How much ought the child to have weighed?
   Mr. Woodcock: She ought to have weighed about 7lbs. when she was born, and by this time she ought to be from eight to ten pounds in weight. She must have been fearfully reduced from want of proper nourishment, and she was certainly not fit to be brought to the court yet.
   The prisoners were remanded for a week.



Wednesday, September 3, 1890.

AMONG THE PEAS AND BEANS.
   Two lads named Henry Taylor and Wm. Taylor were charged with trespassing in a field near to Hindley Hall, belonging to the Wigan Coal and Iron Co. - Mr. Lees prosecuted, and Wm. Wilkie, the farmer for the company, stated that he saw the two boys on the 15th inst., plucking and eating peas and beans and trampling amongst the crops. After watching them for some time he surprised them. They said they did not think they were doing any harm. - A fine of 6d. and costs was imposed upon each.



Wednesday, September 3, 1890.

A MERCIFUL DECISION.
   A woman named Ann Magunn was charged with stealing a quantity of coal from a heap at the Rose Bridge Colliery on Friday night. She was seen by Police-constable Walters picking the coal, and taken to the office and charged, when she pleaded guilty. - Taking into consideration that the woman's husband had been in the Infirmary for eight weeks, and that she had to support herself and six children, the magistrates discharged her, at the same time administering a severe caution.



Wednesday, September 3, 1890.

SEVERE PUNISHMENT.
   A young man named Adam Briscoe was charged with assaulting Elizabeth Malone, at Hindley, on Saturday. - Mr. Lees appeared for the complainant, and Mr. Wilson was entrusted with the defence. - The evidence that was put forward by the complainant went to show that the defendant struck her several times on the face with his fist, and gave her a severe black eye. The complainant, who was a worker in the cotton mill, lodged with her husband in the front room of the house occupied by the defendant's mother. A quarrel arose over the purchase of a bonnet, and this led to some hard names being used. The outcome was that she was badly treated by the defendant. - The defence set up by Mr. Wilson varied considerably from the statements of the complainant. It was urged that the woman used exceedingly objectionable language concerning the defendant's mother, and he, being unable to hear it unmoved, got up from the sofa on which he was lying and gave her one blow - only one, and not several, as described by Mrs. Malone. Mr. Wilson asked the magistrates to consider this sufficient justification for the blow, even though it was inflicted upon a woman. - Defendant was committed to prison for a month with hard labour.



Saturday, September 6, 1890.

A SENSELESS FREAK.
   A middle-aged man named Thomas Mallinson, and hailing from Manchester, was charged with being drunk on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Station, and also with committing wilful damage. - Railway-constable Bainbridge said about ten minutes past two on Tuesday his attention was called to the prisoner, who was drunk on the station. He followed him outside and asked for his name and address. The prisoner replied that he had already given it, but he would tell it again, viz., 12, Standishgate. Two officers then came up, and he refused to give them his correct address, and even when they brought him to the police-station he did the same. They asked him to pay for the damage he had done at the station, but he would not. - Johanna Swift, waitress at the L. and Y. Refreshment-rooms, described the way prisoner conducted himself whilst in the room. He deliberately upset four decanters, the contents of two - Irish whiskey and brandy - being spilt, and a biscuit jar was broken, besides a tumbler. - Prisoner said he was willing to pay reasonable damages, and was at once discharged on promising to make good the loss and pay the court costs. At the conclusion he found himself poorer to the amount of 1 7s. 5d.



Saturday, September 6, 1890.

NO LOVE FOR HIS CHILD.
   John Hare, a puddler, of no settled residence, was charged with wilfully neglecting his child, so that it became chargeable to the common fund of the Wigan Union. - Mr. Hilton, relieving officer, said that on the 25th June Mary Jane Hare, who was then about six months old, became chargeable to the Wigan Union. The prisoner was able to maintain it. Up to the present the total cost had been 35s. 6d. - Mary McGovern said on the 21st June the child was brought to her to nurse. On the Saturday night the prisoner came to where she was staying and she asked him for 8s., which he owed her, but he only gave her one. He again deserted the child on the following Monday, after he went and drew his pension money (30s.) and spent it. - He was committed to prison for a month.



Saturday, September 6, 1890.

A DISHONEST CHARWOMAN.
   Sarah Ann Griffin, 35, Top-croft, was charged with stealing five sheets, two blankets, and two pieces of rugging, between the 21st July and the 30th Aug. The prisoner was employed as a charwoman at Brouchemite's lodging-house. On an inspection of the beds it was found that twenty-one single blankets were missing. A search was made, and one blanket, three sheets, and two pieces of rugging were found in prisoner's house. They were identified by Mr. Brouchemite, who estimated their value at 9s. 6d. - Prisoner pleaded not guilty, but was ordered to pay twice the value of the articles, or in default 14 days' imprisonment.


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