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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.


Friday, September 19, 1890.

A RAILWAY ROBBERY IN WIGAN.
A MOTHER AND SON IMPRISONED.

   On Thursday, at the Wigan Borough Police Court, before Messrs. T. Stuart, M. Benson, and W. B. Johnson, a woman named Alice Wilkinson and her son Thomas, of 70, Spring-gardens, were placed in the dock, the latter charged with stealing a leather hat box, containing a silk singlet, a chest preserver, two ties, four handkerchiefs, and several letters from a railway carriage, on the London and North-Western Railway, Wigan, while the woman was charged with receiving the same knowing them to have been stolen.
   Mr. Bishop, who prosecuted on behalf of the company, said the stolen articles were nominally the property of the London and North-Western Railway Company, as bailees, but really they belonged to Dr. Ramsbottom, of Exeter College. It seemd that Dr. Ramsbottom was travelling from Abergele to Leeds on the 10th inst. The hat box was packed at Abergele by a maid, who saw it placed in the locker of the coach with the other luggage. In the coach there was a compartment which had been reserved for Dr. Ramsbottom to take him through to Leeds. The coach travelled via Wigan and the Exchange Station, Manchester, and left Abergele at 11 58 on the morning of the 10th inst., and arrived at Leeds at 3 10 p.m. The coach in which Dr. Ramsbottom travelled was brought from Leeds to Wigan by another train, and it arrived here between ten and eleven o'clock the same night, and there being no further use for it that day it was turned into a siding, where it remained all night. The following morning the boy was seen by a Mrs. Hilton coming down the railway embankment near Turner's siding with a hat box in his hand. She told him he had better take it back and the boy went away apparently to carry out her advice. Mrs. Hilton communicated to the railway company and detectives went to the house of the female prisoner, who is the mother of the boy. They questioned the woman with regard to the hat box, and she had said she had seen the boy with it, and told him he ought not to have taken it home, and made him take it back. She denied seeing anything of the contents of the box, but the officers saw some ties on the table and mentioning the fact she said they had fallen out of the box. The detectives afterwards searched the house and found other of the stolen articles, some having been concealed in the room and some on the roof behind the chimney.
   Evidence in corroboration of this statement was given by Mrs. Hilton, 49, Spring-gardens; John Ellison, carriage cleaner for the company; Detective-sergeant Peers, for the London and North-Western Railway Company; Detective Youd, of the Borough Police Force; and Annie Bunston, lady's maid, in the employ of Dr. Ramsbottom. From the evidence of the detectives it appeared that the boy was charged on the 12th inst. with the offence, and he admitted that he stole the hat box. The woman said she intended to make the boy take the things back that morning when the carriages were on the railway.
   Mr. Stuart said it was a very pitiable case. The boy would be sent to an industrial school for three years, and the woman would have to go to gaol for one month.



Friday, September 19, 1890.

THE FIREWORKS NUISANCE.
   A lad named James Morgan, of York-street, was summoned for setting fireworks off in the street on the 9th inst. - Police-constable Kettle said he saw the defendant letting fireworks off in Dawber's-terrace, York-street, on the night of the day named. - The defendant called his father and brother, who stated that he was setting fireworks off in their own yard and not in the street. - Mr. Stuart said there seemed to be a doubt about the case, and it would be dismissed. He hoped, however, that the summons would be a caution to those who thought of letting off fireworks during the winter months.



Friday, September 19, 1890.

A CARTER IN TROUBLE.
   John Barton, 92, Frog-lane, was charged with stealing a quantity of leather from the roller-shop from Trencherfield Mills, Wallgate, belonging to Messrs. Woods and Sons, during the last three weeks. The prisoner is a carter for Mr. Margeson, Holme House Farm, and his duty was to cart coal to the Trencherfield Mill, in the roller-shop at which he frequently had his dinner. Some leather being missed from the shop, information was given to the police, and the prisoner's house was searched, and a quantity of the stolen leather was found there. Barton was taken into custody on the 17th inst. by Police-constable Carter, but he denied stealing the leather, and alleged that it was given to him by William Rotheram. - The latter, however, said he had not given the leather to the prisoner. - Barton, who had been convicted before, was committed to the sessions for trial.



Friday, September 19, 1890.

THE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL BOYS.
   The two industrial school boys, named Jno. James Finlay and James Hammond, who were before the magistrates on Monday charged with stealing a bonnet, the property of Mrs. Turner, Market Arcade, were again placed in the dock, the case having been adjourned so that the persons with whom the lads had resided at Aspull might appear and say whether or not they would take them back. Hammond's employer said he would take him back, but Finlay's emplyer refused to do so. The charge of felony was withdrawn. Hammond was allowed to go back to his employer at Aspull, but Finlay was sent back to the Prescot Workhouse.



Friday, September 19, 1890.

A WARNING TO HAWKERS.
   Jno. Bannister, of Meek's-yard, was charged with hawking without having the necessary licence. - The Town Clerk (Mr. A. Smith), who prosecuted on behalf of the Wigan Corporation, said Mr. Grime saw the defendant hawking fruit in the Market-place without a licence. The defendant had been fined for a similar offence before. - Defendant said that it was his brother who was hawking, but he admitted being on the Market-place. - Mr. Grime, after proving the case, said the Corporation had made arrangements for the granting of hawkers' licences, but they were not applied for. - The defendant was fined 2s. 6d.



Friday, September 19, 1890.

THE ALLEGED NUISANCE IN DARLINGTON-STREET EAST.
   The case in which the Town Clerk applied a month ago for an order to compel William Douglas, of 92, Darlington-street East, to abate what was considered to be a nuisance in his yard, again came up for hearing. - The Town Clerk said certain works had been done, but the inspector of nuisances would tell them that he did not consider them satisfactory to prevent the nuisance in the future. If their worships thought, however, sufficient had been done, he would ask that the defendant pay the costs, seeing that he had had three opportunities of doing what he had not carried out. - Mr. Roocroft said they thought the defendant had complied with their recommendations generally, and it was not now a nuisance. - Mr. Douglas paid the costs (5s.), and the case ended.



Saturday, September 20, 1890.

THIEVING IN THE WIGAN BATHS.
   At the Wigan Borough Police Court, on Monday morning, before Messrs. W. Roocroft, W. B. Johnson, and M. Benson, Robert Ward (12) and James Mears (13), both living in Burn's-yard, Scholes, were charged with stealing a pair of boy's lace up boots from the second-class plunge bath on Saturday. - Mr. Arthur Smith (town clerk), who prosecuted, said that on the 13th inst., at about a quarter to six, a boy named Withington went into the bath and undressed on the gallery, where he left his clothes. The two prisoners, who were then in the water, shortly afterwards went on the gallery to dress themselves, and Ward was heard to say that some one had taken his clogs, so he was going to take someone's boots. He put on a pair that were lying close by, and then followed Mears out, the latter having gone out some minutes before. About a quarter past seven, Ward pawned a pair of boots at Mr. Wood's pawnshop in Scholes, saying that his mother had sent him with them, and asking for 2s. 6d. upon them. He gave the name of Thos. Wilding. Later on both Ward and Mears were seen in King-street smoking cigarettes. Information having been given to the police by the owner of the boots and the boy who saw them in King-street, the prisoners were taken into custody. There did not appear to be any evidence against Mears, except that he was regularly in the company of Ward, and was seen with him in King-street, sharing what was probably the results of the theft. He (Mr. Smith) was asked to state that cases of this kind were constantly occurring in the second class baths, and people were regularly compaining of having had their property taken from their pockets. Only a month ago two boys were before the bench charged with picking pockets in the baths, and he asked that if the case was proved, an example should be made of the prisoners.
   Evidence was given by John W. Withington, the prosecutor, and Detective Youd, the latter of whom said that when he apprehended the prisoners, Ward replied. "Somebody took my clogs, and I took the shoes. Mears had my clogs when I got outside, and he asked to go and pawn them. I gave him 1s. 1d. of the money." Mears said "I know nothing about them."
   The magistrates considered there was no case against Mears, and discharged him. Ward's parents, who were in court, were addressed in severe terms as to the way they were neglecting their son. As they promised to take more care of him in the future, however, Ward was also discharged with a caution.



Saturday, September 20, 1890.

HE THOUGHT SHE WAS DEAD.
   Ralph Dawber, 3, Walmesley's-square, was charged with assaulting Elizabeth Chadwick, of the same place on the 8th inst. - The complainant, who had a bandage round her head, said on the date named she had "two or three words" with the defendant's wife, and when he returned home at night his wife told him about the bother. While complainant was going across the street he threw a bucketful of clean water on her. Complainant stooped to pick something up to throw at him, when he kicked her on the leg and knocked her down. She fell on the doorstep and cut her head, and thinking she was dead defendant carried her into her own house. - The defendant denied the assault, and stated that the complainant had annoyed him by going to his house, and he pushed her out. He called a witness, who corroborated this statement, and said the complainant was drunk. - The magistrates thought the defendant had been subjected to some annoyance by the complainant, and as there was no clear evidence that he had kicked her, the case was dismissed.



Saturday, September 20, 1890.

BELLE GREEN MIXED SCHOOL.
   This school was inspected on Sept. 1st, and the following report has since been received:- "Presented in three groups. The general work of the school deserves very high commendation; the discipline is very good, and there is a tone of seriousness in the religious instruction, which must tell for good on the future lives of the children. In group I. answering is general, good, and accurate. Scripture subjects are very well known, and much intelligence is manifested in the Prayer Book and catechism work. The writing from memory needs a little more accuracy. Group II. does very good oral work; I may specially praise the answering on the New Testament; written work is good. The infants (group III.) do the greatest possible credit to the teacher in charge - the answering is free, accurate, and thoughtful. Hymns are very well sung, and repetition is well known throughout the school."


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