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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, October 17, 1890.

A DISHONEST WATCH REPAIRER.
   George Thomas Rowlands, watch repairer, of 7, Scholes, was charged with illegally pawning a watch, the property of Wm. Thorpe, 67, Whelley, between 1st September and 1st October. - The ownership of the watch having been proved, an old man named Wm. Fairhurst, the grandfather of Wm. Thorpe, explained to the bench that he took the watch to be repaired by the defendant about seven weeks ago. Defendant had repaired it once before, but it did not go well. The first time he went for the watch the defendant said it was all in pieces, the second time he said he was testing it, and then on another occasion he told him he would send it up at the week's end. But it did not come and witness went again and again. In all he made about twenty journeys to the defendant. On Monday morning he went to him and told him he was not going to stir out of the house till he had either got the watch or the ticket (because he thought he had pawned it). Defendant then admitted he had pawned it. Witness asked him for the ticket, and the defendant wanted to know if there would be any bother if he gave it to him. Witness wanted the ticket and so replied no. He did that because he wished to get hold of the ticket. - Mr. Ellis: But that was not the proper way to get hold of it. - Witness said the defendant had got 15s. on the watch. - Defendant said he had ten children and an ailing wife, and he would do his best to get 15s. for the week end. - Mr. Roocroft said it was a very grave matter, but they would see if an amicable arrangement could not be entered into, and the case would be adjourned for a fortnight.



Wednesday, October 22, 1890.

A ROUGH DESERTER.
   A young Wiganer about 23 years of age, named Patrick Gallagher, was charged with being a deserter from the King's Royal Rifles, stationed at Aldershot. - Police-constable Ryan, who apprehended him in Market-street on Saturday night, at five minutes past eleven, said the prisoner told him he had a pass at home, and it was false that he was a deserter. When they took him into custody he commenced kicking right and left, and he, along with three other constables, had to carry him to the station. As they were passing the Minorca Hotel he said he would walk quietly, and they let him down. They soon had to carry him again, as he kicked and made great struggles to get away. It was the third time that prisoner had been apprehended for desertion, and each time he had been very rough. - Prisoner was ordered to await an escort.



Wednesday, October 22, 1890.

A COPPULL COLLIER LOSES HIS WATCH.
   David Roach, of Queen-street, Bolton, was charged with receiving a silver watch and a metal albert from one Catherine McCabe, knowing the same to have been stolen, on the 14th inst. - Mr. A. Smith (town clerk) prosecuted. He said that on the 11th inst. James Brown, a collier, of Holding's Houses, near Coppull, was in Wigan. He got to the railway station at a quarter to eight, in order to return to Coppull. Just before taking his ticket he examined his watch to see what time it was. He procured his ticket and went on to the station. The train was twenty minutes late, and he had to wait, and as soon as he got in the carriage he missed his watch. That same night a woman named Catherine McCabe was offering the watch for sale in Wigan, and from information that was received by the Bolton police Police-sergeant Jolley went to the vault of a beerhouse in Wigan-road, Bolton, and there found the prisoner with two women. The sergeant asked him where was the watch he had for sale. He replied with an oath that he had no watch. The sergeant then put his hand on the breast pocket of the man's coat, and felt a watch through the cloth. Prisoner took it out, and said he would show it to him. The sergeant examined the watch, and found the name of James Brown inside the case, and prisoner said that was his name. He then took him into custody and charged him with stealing the watch. Prisoner replied that he had not stolen it, but had picked it up in Bradshawgate, Bolton. He was afterwards given into the custody of Inspector Gorman, who charged him with receiving the watch knowing it to have been stolen. He then stated he had received it from Catherine McCabe. There was strong evidence of the watch having been stolen, as the woman was one of a disorderly character, and a person not likely to have a watch in her possession. Catherine McCabe was one of the women who were with the prisoner. - Evidence was given supporting the Town Clerk's statement, and prisoner was sent to prison for two months. - Prisoner: If ever I get hold of them (the police) I will kill them. I will kill them if I hang for it.



Wednesday, October 22, 1890.

A LEICESTERSHIRE ROUGH.
   A man named Thomas Boyswell, a stranger to the town, who was merely attired in shirt and trousers, was charged with assaulting Police-constable Harrison on Monday. - The officer said he saw the prisoner behaving like a madman in the fair and jostling passengers. When he spoke to him he struck out right and left and tried to throw him down. - Prisoner: I had a coat when you brought me. - The officer: You had not. - Prisoner: You must have been drunk - blind. - Prisoner was fined 5s. and costs, or seven days' imprisonment.



Wednesday, October 22, 1890.

SERVE HIM RIGHT.
   John Harrison, 2, Shaw's-yard, Hallgate, was charged with assaulting his wife, Sarah, on the 20th inst., and was sent to gaol for one month with hard labour. - Mr. Graham said he would perhaps behave better when he came out. On Monday he kicked and abused his wife, and he also set about his little boy, aged five years, giving him a black eye and bursting his nose. He had previously cut his wife with a razor, and he behaved so badly to her that she was in mortal terror of her life.



Wednesday, October 22, 1890.

THE WRONG MAN.
   Michael King, of Lea-street, off Miry-lane, was charged with frequenting the public streets for the purpose of committing a felony. - Frances Machina, a young Italian woman in charge of a cage of fortune-telling birds, said prisoner was the man who upset her stall in the fair and took one of her best birds valued at 1. She identified him by a patch on his left eye. He strenuously denied that he was the man, and brought evidence that he was in a different place at the time stated. - He was discharged.



Wednesday, October 22, 1890.

NUISANCES AT PEMBERTON.
   Michael Kenny, Douglas-street, Newtown, was summoned by the Pemberton Local Board for permitting a nuisance in the yard attached to his house, which is also common to other houses. - Mr. Ellis (Messrs. Peace and Ellis) prosecuted for the local board. - The nuisance complained of was that fowl, ducks and geese were kept in the yard, and were injurious to health. An opportunity had previously been given for the nuisance to be removed, but had not been availed of. - Mr. Paul Partington, the clerk to the board, and P. Taberner, the nuisance inspector, gave evidence, and an order was made for the removal of the nuisance within 14 days. - In the case of John Greenhalgh, of Goose Green, which was heard a week or two ago, Mr. Ellis stated that the nuisance had been removed and he therefore only applied for costs. - They were granted.



Wednesday, October 29, 1890.

SUING THE WRONG MAN.
   Martin Walsh, Michael Raughneen, and Martin O'Brien, three Irish labourers, sued John Taylor, farmer, of Upholland, for 14s. for wages and 1 for loss of time. - They contended that they were engaged by the defendant to gather a field of potatoes, and that they had to leave because the defendant would not scarify and would not pay them their wages. - Mr. Barlow, who appeared for the defendant, denied that his client was liable. He had contracted with a man named Patrick Walsh to gather the potatoes, and the latter engaged the plaintiffs and received the money for the work. - The bench informed the plaintiffs that their remedy was against Walsh and not Taylor. - Patrick Walsh, who was in court, offered to pay the money which was owning to the men.



Wednesday, October 29, 1890.

A MAN DROWNED AT INCE.
THE INQUEST.

   On Monday afternoon, Mr. S. Brighouse, county coroner, held an inquest at the Rose Bridge Inn, Ince, touching the death of Wm. Morris, of Argyle-street, Hindley. His body was found in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on Friday morning, and he had been missing from home a week.
   Rees Morris said the deceased was his father. He was a collier, and lived at 37, Argyle-street, Hindley. He was 41 years of age. On Saturday, the 18th inst., deceased left home about three o'clock quite sober. He said he was going to Scholes. Witness did not see his father again alive.
   Shadrack King, collier, 13, Holland-street, Wigan, said he had known deceased about nine months. Deceased drew for witness in the pit. He met the deceased near the Bull's Head in Market-street, Wigan, about noon. It was Wigan fair, and they went inside the public-house and had a drink, and from there they proceeded to the Bath Hotel, where they had more drink. They then went to the Bold Arms, the Blue Bell, and the Harp, and at all these places they had drinks. It was about five o'clock when witness left deceased. He was not drunk, but it could be seen that he had had some beer. They never quarrelled. He did not see the deceased again alive. Deceased told him he was going to Platt-lane and across Rose Bridge to get into Belle Green-lane.
   By the Foreman: Deceased had a sovereign, but while he was with him he did not change it.
   By the Coroner: Deceased was a very quiet man, and would not quarrel.
   Ralph Sutcliffe, lock-keeper on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, said he found the body of the deceased in the water above the seventh lock on Friday morning. It seemed to have been in the water a week. Two halfpennies and a piece of paper were all that was found upon the body.
   Police-constable Foxcroft said there were no marks of violence on the body except one where the grappling irons had caught him. Deceased was blind in one eye, and very near sighted with the other. There was no suspicion of foul play.
   A verdict of "Found drowned" was returned.


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