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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, September 20, 1890.

MISCHIEVOUS INTERFERENCE WITH A DANCE.
   A young fellow named Peter Mason was summoned at the Chorley Police Court, on Tuesday, for assaulting Thomas Chamberlain, of Standish. - Mr. T. Berry appeared for the complainant. - The latter said that on the 6th September he formed one of a quadrille party, which was held in a field for the benefit of St. Wilfrid's School, Standish. While they were dancing, defendant and another young man rushed in among the party, and was cautioned by Mr. Bentham. Defendant then pushed violently against complainant, who was thrown down, and defendant kicked him. Defendant also knocked off the spectacles of the girl with whom he (complainant) was dancing. - George Bentham corroborated, and said that after defendant was cautioned he came to witness and asked him what he was to do. Witness told him to go away, and he did so, but returned in a few minutes and struck complainant and knocked him down. Defendant and his companions were indulging in horse-play. - Rachel Gorton, school teacher, and Ellen Tomlinson corroborated. - Defendant called Martha Lawton, who said that complainant while dancing "jowed" against witness, and defendant and they all together "cluttered" on the ground. - The magistrates fined him 5s. and costs.



Saturday, September 20, 1890.

OVERTURNING OF A BREAD VAN IN THE STREETS.
   On Saturday evening last an accident, which happily was not so serious as it might have been, occurred in Stanley-street. Some alterations to the drains are being made and a large quantity of earth was left in the roadway. A van belonging to Mr. T. Leyland, Wigan, was being driven along the street and owing to the darkness the driver did not see this heap, with the result that one wheel went over it, the horse was thrown down and the van upset. No serious damage was done and the occupants of the van escaped with a severe shaking and some slight bruises.



Saturday, September 20, 1890.

A SMART TECHNICAL OBJECTION.
   John Hooper, the captain of the canal boat "Progress," was summoned for offending against the bye-laws of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Company by obstructing a fly-boat on the 29th ult. - Mr. H. F. Killick, of Bradford, prosecuted on behalf of the canal company, and Mr. Lees defended. - The case for the prosecution was that the "Scotia," a fly-boat travelling night and day continuously, was wilfully obstructed at No. 11 lock, Ince, by the defendant's boat, which had just come from the Rose Bridge Collieries. The bye-law under which the prosecution was taken was that no one was to go in a lock if he saw a fly-boat within one hundred yards of the lock. - Witnesses were called that the defendant did obstruct the fly-boat, and that he had been previously reported for doing the same thing. - Mr. Lees contended that the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Company, being a corporation, they could not, of course, be informants, but they might authorise anybody under the seal of the company to prosecute. Mr. Cowley (the lock-keeper at Ince) had not proved that he had the authority, and therefore the prosecution must fail. - The clerk to the magistrates advised the bench on the point, and the case was dismissed.



Wednesday, September 24, 1890.

A STRANGE CASE.
   The police have received information of the death of a widow named Margaret Mellor, aged 45 years, living in Soho-street, Newtown. On the 29th March last she was standing in the road at Newtown when she was run over by a fishmonger's cart, the wheels passing over the lower part of her body. On Thursday morning she died from abscess in the bowels, which it is supposed originated with the accident. She was attended by Dr. Wolstenholme until a fortnight ago.



Wednesday, September 24, 1890.

AN INCE MAN SENT TO GAOL FOR
MAKING A FALSE STATEMENT.

   On Monday, at the Wigan County Police Court, before Messrs. J. Gaskell and R. A. ffarington, a man named Wm. Ball, labourer, who in April last resided at 36, Derby-street, Ince, was brought up under a warrant charged with making a false statement. The proceedings were taken on the instructions of the Registrar-General, and Mr. H. Ackerley appeared to prosecute. - It appeared that in April last a woman named Elizabeth Ball died at Ince, and the defendant went to the office of the Registrar of births, marriages, and deaths for Ince (Mr. C. G. Durrant) and gave information of the death, saying that the deceased was his wife. Mr. Durrant entered the particulars in the register, which was afterwards signed by the defendant. From something which transpired immediately afterwards, Mr. Durrant had reason to think the defendant had made a false statement, and subsequent inquiries proved this to be the case. The matter was reported to the Registrar-General, who ordered the prosecution to be made. - Thomas Ball said he lived at Rufford, and the deceased Elizabeth Ball was his wife. At the time of her death and for some time previous she had been living with the defendant at Ince. - Alice Hordern, of Southport, said Elizabeth Ball was her daughter and the wife of the last witness. She saw her five days previous to her death, and at that time she was living with the defendant. - The prisoner admitted having registered the deceased as his wife, but pleaded that he had no idea he was doing anything wrong. He was so much upset at the time that he hardly knew what he was doing. - The magistrates characterised the case as a bad one, and fined the defendant 40s. and costs, with the alternative of going to gaol for a month. - The defendant could not pay the money, and he was sent to gaol.



Wednesday, September 24, 1890.

CAUGHT IN THE ACT.
   John Corry, of Hallgate, was charged with being on premises for an unlawful purpose. - Joseph Openshaw, assistant to James Oliver, grocer and provision dealer, 133, Wallgate, said for a month or two prisoner had been in the habit of coming to the shop for odd pennyworths of cheese and bacon. On Saturday morning he came in the shop about a quarter past nine. Witness was serving a customer at the time, and had the till of the money drawer open giving change. Prisoner put his hand in the silver department, and leaned over the counter to do so. He drew his hand away very quickly, and witness could not say whether he took any money or not. - Thomas Greenlees corroborated. - Police-constable McFay said he apprehended the prisoner and charged him. He pleaded not guilty. On being searched sixpence in silver was found and two pennies. - Prisoner was sent to gaol for a month. He had a bad record against him.



Wednesday, September 24, 1890.

A SHOCKING CASE AT HINDLEY.
   On Monday, at the Wigan County Police Court, the case in which two Hindley men, Wm. Ward and Daniel Leigh, were charged last week before Mr. W. Rogers with committing a serious assault on a girl named Mary Ann Smith, 15 years of age, came up for hearing. The magistrates on the bench were Messrs. J. Gaskell and R. A. ffarington. The proceeds were taken under the Criminal Law Amendment Act. - Mr. Superintendent Brassington conducted the prosecution of behalf of the police, and Mr. Lees appeared for both prisoners. - The prisoner Leigh, who is an elderly man, was first placed in the dock, and Mr. Brassington, after stating the charge, said that in his case the corroboration was not perfect, and he did not propose to call any evidence. - Mr. Lees: Then he will be discharged. - Leigh was then discharged. - Ward was then placed in the dock, and charged with indecently attacking the girl. From the evidence, nearly the whole of which is unfit for publication, it appeared that the assaulted girl, Mary Ann Smith, lives with her uncle and aunt, George and Elizabeth Faulk, at 213, Stoney-lane, Hindley. She had lived with her aunt all her life. The prisoner and some other men lodged at Faulk's. On the 6th inst. Mrs. Faulk left the house about half-past six to go to Liverpool. Before going she awoke the girl, whom with the prisoner and other lodgers she left in the house. During the morning the girl complained of having a headache, and the prisoner told her to go and lie down a minute or two. She afterwards went upstairs to make a bed, and the prisoner followed her and committed the assault complained of. - Evidence was given by several witnesses, revealing a shocking state of affairs. - Ward was committed for trial at the Liverpool Assizes.



Friday, September 26, 1890.

NO WITNESS.
   A young man, named Samuel Mann, of Grosvenor-street, Newtown, was summoned for jostling passengers in King-street, at five minutes to ten on Sunday night. - Police-constables Fean, Wilkinson, Harrison, and Ferguson proved the case, and each stated that he had used bad language. - Defendant's defence was a denial of the jostling. He said he was jostled himself by the Sergeant of the relief party as they were passing up King-street, and then they took him to the station. - The case was adjourned for a short time in order that he might have the evidence of a young man who was with him at the time, but the witness did not appear and he was fined 5s. and costs.



Friday, September 26, 1890.

UNMUZZLED DOGS.
   George Best, of Hindley Hall, was summoned to Bolton, on Monday, for allowing his dog to roam unmuzzled on Pennington Green, Aspull. - Mr. Bryan appeared for the defence, and having explained that the dog was being used for the preservation of game, the case was dismissed. - Offences of this description were proved against Cornelius Beazer, of Hindley, and John Davis, and Thomas Percy, of Horwich, and fines of 5s. including costs were inflicted.


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