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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, October 15, 1890.

A STRANGE MARRIED LIFE.
   Wm. Roberts was charged with assaulting his wife, Ellen Roberts, on Sunday night, at Dover Locks, Abram. - Mr. W. B. Johnson appeared for the complainant, and in opening the case said the defendant was as big a coward one could possibly conceive. About twelve months ago he illused her so much that she got a summons out against him. He broke pots and caused her to walk over the fragments with her bare feet, and about five weeks after that he hit her on the left temple and caused paralysis. The safety of the woman was jeopardised and he threatened to do her serious injury. On one occasion he drew a knife across her throat. - Ellen Roberts said on Sunday night she went to the public-house for her husband, and he told her to go home or else he would kick her out. He struck her and caused the bruise on the eye and then she fell, and he held her up and again thumped her. When she left and went home he followed her, and as all was quiet at that time of the night he gave her another thrashing. She was unable to do any housework as she was paralysed on her left side, and the doctor had told her that that was caused be a blow he had given her on the temple on a Saturday night. - Defendant denied the assault, and explained to the magistrates his position in the house. He had to cook the food for the family when he came home at night, and after that he had to make the beds and see that the children retired to rest. Supper had to be cooked for himself and his wife, and then he had to undress her. Sometimes she uttered dreadful language concerning him, and she once said she wished she could see him brought home from the pit on a door in pieces. Thos. Burrows, who was in the public-house on Sunday night, denied that the defendant assaulted his wife, and said she threw beer and glasses at him and behaved very badly. - Defendant was fined 5s. and costs.



Wednesday, October 15, 1890.

ANOTHER ATTEMPTED SUICIDE.
   An elderly man named Charles Hough was charged with attemting to commit suicide by drowning himself in the Douglas, on Thursday night. - Prisoner: I was trying to find a night's lodgings, but could not, and then I was ready to serve my Father, which art in Heaven. - A constable said about eleven o'clock on Thursday night his attention was drawn to prisoner, who was standing on the Douglas bridge at Pemberton. He asked what he was doing there, and he said he was going to try to drown himself. With assistance witness got the man away, but he then nearly strangled himself with his scarf. When they got into Ormskirk-road they met Sergeant Sayers, and the prisoner said if they would let him go back he would do it again. - Prisoner: You both swore you would throw me down the old coalpit. I said you should not, and that commenced the bother. - Mr. Superintendent Brassington said the prisoner was evidently suffering from the after effects of drink. - The magistrates remanded him to the workhouse.



Wednesday, October 15, 1890.

TRAP ACCIDENT.
   On Sunday night last a pony trap, driven by a lady and containing three or four others, was proceeding towards Wigan when the pony slipped on the tram rails at the terminus, Lamberhead Green, and the wheel catching or sliding along the rail at the same time, the pony fell, broke both shafts of the trap, and threw out the occupants, who happily escaped with a fright and severe shaking.



Wednesday, October 15, 1890.

LAMENTABLE COLLIERY
ACCIDENT AT PEMBERTON.

   A lamentable accident occurred in the No. 2 Pit Norley Colliery, on Monday afternoon, to Ralph Peters, a collier's drawer, engaged in the 6ft. mine. Peters was caught by a fall of roof - under which his father had just passed - but was immediately got out and conveyed to the surface. Two of the officials rendered first aid, and he was conveyed to his home in Victoria-street, Lamberhead Green, on the ambulance. The usefulness of the instruction gained in the Ambulance Classes was demonstrated in this case, for had not such aid been given the injured man could hardly have been got home alive. Dr. Griffiths, assistant to Dr. Molyneux, was early in attendance, and afterwards Dr. Graham and Dr. Griffiths treated the case, but it was considered advisable that he should be removed to the Infirmary, and the horse ambulance was obtained for the purpose. Peters had sustained a very severe injury to the thigh bone, the bone being cut through, and mischief done to the femoral artery. As stated, the injured man was conveyed to the Infirmary, but he died at eleven o'clock on Monday night.



Wednesday, October 15, 1890.

SUDDEN DEATH OF A BLIND MAN
IN WIGAN-LANE.

   The borough coroner (Mr. Rowbottom) held an inquest at the Police Court, on Saturday morning, touching the death of a blind musician, named Joshua Frost, who was found dead on Thursday morning. - Joseph Frost, 9, Walmesley's-yard, Lord-street, said deceased was his first cousin, and lived at the Saracen's Head Inn. Deceased had been blind since he was three months old, and was engaged at the Saracen's Head as the musician in the music-room. He was 48 years of age. Ever since he was 22 years of age deceased had suffered from fits. At first they were monthly, but lately they had been very frequent. - Richard Radcliffe, landlord of the Saracen's Head, said he had kept the deceased for about twelve months. He was subject to fits, but they did not last long. He last saw him alive at ten o'clock on Thursday morning. He was then in the back-yard, and talking to a man named James Haworth. At dinner time witness went to look for him, and found him lying on his back in the closet. He was dead. - James Haworth said after he spoke to the deceased the latter went into the closet. - Nancy Gamble, of Wigan-lane, deposed that she washed the body, and found a mark on the head which appeared to have been caused by falling. - A verdict of "Natural causes (epilepsy)" was returned.



Wednesday, October 15, 1890.

ANOTHER "PROFESSION."
   William Pilkington, jun., of Chapel-lane, was charged with being on the 4th inst. a person offering for sale coal from a certain vehicle in sacks in quantities not exceeding 2cwt., and unlawfully did fail to affix on the top of every sack, metal labels indicating the correct weight of the coal therein, contrary to the bye-laws of the Corporation. - Defendant pleaded not guilty, and asked for an adjournment, so as to obtain legal advice, as the "profession" was going to take the matter up. He also had a technical objection to make, William Pilkington, senr., being the one who should have been charged. He would consent to the summons being altered, provided the case was adjourned. - The bench adjourned the hearing for a fortnight.



Wednesday, October 15, 1890.

THUMPING HIS WIFE IN BED.
   Thomas Burke, of 87, Lime-street, was charged with assaulting his wife, Mary Ellen Burke, on the 12th inst. - Complainant said he thumped her about the head while she was in bed, and she had to run into the street with scarcely any clothes on. She wished to be separated from him, as he repeatedly assaulted or threatened her. If he was drunk on a Saturday night she was afraid to go to the door to let him in. They had only been married eight months. - Prisoner said it was a plot to send him to prison. He denied the assault, and alleged that the cause of the disturbances was his wife's mother, who was always getting drunk. When he spoke to her about it his wife got vexed, and that was how the rows began. - Mary Ann Prescott and Mary Ann Kenyon both spoke to seeing the complainant rush into the street lightly attired and screaming murder. They had never seen the complainant's mother worse for drink. - A fine of 10s. and costs or 14 days was imposed. - Prisoner: I will go for 14 days. - A few minutes afterwards he evidently changed his mind, as he was heard to inquire whether some clothes that he had at home could not be pawned. By that means he wished to raise the necessary amount to liquidate the fine.



Wednesday, October 15, 1890.

SAD OCCURRENCE AT
PLATT BRIDGE.

   On Friday a girl named Elizabeth Aspinall, residing at 51, Slackey-lane, Platt Bridge, died at her home from the effects of burning received the previous day. It appears that the girl, who was 11 years of age, was in the house along with two other children, the mother being ill in bed upstairs. By some means the deceased's clothes caught fire, and she ran into the street screaming. Two neighbours ran to her assistance and they succeeded in putting out the flames, but not before the girl had been badly burned about the lower part of the body. Dr. Foreman was called in, but his services were of no avail. Before she died the deceased told a person that she was standing with her back to the fire fastening the children's clogs, where her clothes caught fire.



Friday, October 17, 1890.

THE LORD'S DAY ACT.
   Henry Walker, a butcher, of 64, Scholes, was summoned for a breach of the Lord's Day Act by selling butcher's meat on Sunday. - Police-constable Taylor said about 25 minutes to 10 on Sunday morning he saw a woman coming out of the defendant's shop with some meat which she admitted she had bought there. The defendant also admitted that his man in the shop served the meat, and told him (witness) that some more would be sold before the day was out. - Mr. Roocroft: What difference is there between selling butcher's meat on Sunday, and a quart of whiskey. One thing was essential to maintain the body and the other was not. - Mr. Ellis: You are liable to pay 5s. for selling meat, and not for selling whiskey at the proper time. - Defendant was fined 1s. and costs. He afterwards appeared again before the magistrates, and asked them to look at the Act of Parliament, which was a very old one, and which did not provide for any detention in case the money was not paid. - Mr. Ellis: We are not going to detain you here. The first thing will be distress upon your goods. - Defendant: Yes, all right. - Mr. Ellis: We cannot detain you. - Defendant then left the court.


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