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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, November 8, 1890.

A BOY DROWNED IN THE CANAL.
   On Sunday afternoon the police received information that a little boy named James McGrath, living with his grandmother at Ashton's-yard, Princess-street, was missing. It appeared that he had been to see his mother, who lives next door to the Seven Stars Inn, Wallgate, and left to go back to Princess-street at a quarter to two in the afternoon. Later on in the afternoon a small cap was found lying on the bank of the canal basin, between the old boat-house yard and Messrs. Green's warehouse, close to where some boats were lying. On Monday the police dragged that part of the canal, as it was feared the lad had fallen into the water, but they were unsuccessful in their search. On Wednesday afternoon, however, the boats were removed, and early on Thursday morning the canal was dragged once more, with the result that the body of the unfortunate child was found at half-past eight. It is surmised that the lad was playing on the boats, and tumbled into the water unnoticed by anyone.



Saturday, November 8, 1890.

DEATH OF A VALUABLE DOG.
   The noble Mount St. Bernard dog, Prince Leopold II, has just died. He was a very near relative to Sir Bevidere, for whom 1,600 has been offered, and to the sensational Hesper, who holds the Americans spellbound with his charming St. Bernard characteristics. Prince Leopold was only 16 months old, and stood fully 34 inches at the shoulder. He was one of the largest and best all-round dogs in Wigan and for miles round, and was bred by Mr. Fairhurst, of Ince. Mr. Fairhurst says the dog has not been right since the recent show in the Drill Hall. He was a valuable and promising dog, and the loss to Mr. Fairhurst is considerable.



Saturday, November 8, 1890.

THEFT OF GROWING POTATOES AT ASPULL.
   Ann Jane Waring, of Aspull, was charged with this offence at the Bolton County Sessions on Monday. - Mr. Fielding appeared on behalf of the Wigan Coal and Iron Company, who prosecuted, and Mr. J. H. Hall appeared for defendant. - Mr. Fielding explained that the case had been adjourned from the previous Monday, Mr. Hall having objected because the certificate of incorporation was not produced. He, however, now handed it in. Evidence was called to the effect that prisoner was seen to pick up a quantity of potatoes on the morning of the 11th ult. in one of prosecutors' fields and put them in her apron and walk out of the field. - Mr. Hall contended that his client had simply gone to the field to ask for employment, and did pick up one or two potatoes, but not with the intention of committing a felony. - After hearing the evidence the Bench fined prisoner 2s. 6d. and costs and 3d. the value of the potatoes.



Saturday, November 8, 1890.

A SCARE IN WALLGATE.
   Some commotion was caused in Wallgate yesterday afternoon by the running away of the horse attached to the Haigh and Aspull omnibus. While a tram engine was turning the triangle in the Market-place, the horse took fright and made off down Wallgate. Its career was short, though, as it came into contact with a cart standing opposite a shop, and was brought to a standstill. The shafts of the 'bus were broken, but this was the only mischief that ensued.



Wednesday, November 12, 1890.

DEATH OF ANOTHER VALUABLE DOG.
   Another valuable St. Bernard dog, "Lord Lindsay" by "Lord Bate," has passed away. "Lord Bate" is the largest dog in the world and weighs over eleven score, standing 35 inches at the shoulder. "Lord Lindsay" was only four months old, yet it stood 24 inches at the shoulder, 18 inches round the skull, 6 inches round the foot joint, and was perfectly marked - orange, tawny, white collar, good blaise and prominent dark shadings. The deceased pup was bred by Mr. H. Fairhurst, of Ince, to whom the loss is considerable. The pup died of distemper, contracted from "Prince Leopold." The latter animal died last week from the same disease caught at the recent Wigan show.



Wednesday, November 12, 1890.

SUDDEN DEATH OF AN OLD MAN.
   On Tuesday morning, Mr. C. Cronshaw, deputy borough coroner, held an inquest at the White Horse Inn, Standishgate, touching the death of William Taylor. - Nancy Taylor, of 5, Marsh-lane, the widow, gave deceased's age as 66. He was a collier. On Sunday afternoon, about half-past two, he went into the yard and was seen to fall down by a young woman named Georgina Hoy. She went up to him and found that he was dying, and he was carried into the house by a young man. Dr. Woodcock was called in, and while he was there the old man gasped once and died. A post-mortem examination was made, and it was found that deceased died from apoplexy. - The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.



Wednesday, November 12, 1890.

SCALDING FATALITY AT WORSLEY MESNES.
   An inquest was held at the Tipping's Arms, Worsley Mesnes, on Monday, by Mr. Brighouse, county coroner, touching the death of Mary Alice Mottler, aged eleven months, daughter of Thomas Mottler, 27, Holt-street, Worsley Mesnes. It appeared that about four o'clock on the 6th inst., Elizabeth Ellen Mottler, aged seven years, was nursing deceased by the fire side. There was a pan of boiling water on the hob, and deceased got hold of the pan and pulled it off the hob. The mother was in the house at the time, and on turning round she saw the child in Elizabeth Ellen's arms, badly scalded. Dr. Benson attended the child up to the time of its death, which occurred at half-past five o'clock on the morning of the 7th inst. A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.



Wednesday, November 12, 1890.

THE POLICE DID THEIR DUTY.
   Isaac Brown, of Hindley, a grocer and holder of an outdoor beer licence, was summoned for selling drink on the premises, and Charles Howard, Wm. Wignall, and Thos. Makinson, also of Hindley, were summoned for aiding and abetting him. - Mr. Rowbottom defended. - Police-constable Redhead said that on the 25th ult. he went to the back of the defendant's premises, and saw on the blind the shadow of a man with bushy whiskers drinking from a cup. He went to the window, and then could hear that there were some other men inside. The back-door was locked so he could not get in that way, and he accordingly went round to the front and passed through the shop into the place where the men were. There were jugs of beer before the defendants. Brown's sister said she had just given them a pint of beer, but they had not paid for it. Wignall said that was correct. They had just given him a pint, and he would drink a pint when it was offered to him so where he was. He then took hold of a jug and took two deep drinks. - The defence, as urged by Mr. Rowbottom, was that Wignall and Howard had gone to the shop to pay their bills, as they did weekly, and Elizabeth Owen, the sister of Brown, drew them some beer. Makinson came in for some tobacco, but he consumed no drink. No money was paid by anyone. - Mr. Kellett said the case would be dismissed, but the bench considered the police had done quite right in bringing it before them.



Wednesday, November 12, 1890.

ALARMING SUBSIDENCE ON SCHOOL COMMON.
   The heavy flood early on Sunday morning spread to a row of colliers' houses, which stand on School-common near to the Douglas. - The water was to the depth of several feet, and the inhabitants, thoroughly alarmed, made all preparations for a migration to a drier level. Then came the alarming indication of a subsidence, and after very little warning the kitchen floors, parts of the staircases, and furniture of two houses fell with a crash into a pit shaft, over which the cottages had been erected. The floors of the other houses were very much disturbed, and the greatest consternation was manifested. Luckily no people were downstairs at the time, and windows having been smashed, the parties were rescued from bedrooms by means of step-ladders. It is known in the locality that subsidences have taken place previously at this particular spot, and after the holes had been filled up the houses had been tenanted again. When the pit shaft came into disuse it was filled up, and the reason for the recent shock, as given by old colliers of the neighbourhood, is that water from the Douglas has entered the old workings and caused a settling down of the filling up material. Mr. Braddock's pump was secured and the other houses cleared of water, but they are far from being fit for habitation, the mud being inches deep on the floor, and the whole tenements very rickety and unsound. The people removed their furniture from the flooded houses as soon as possible, but in the bustle and confusion it was forgotten that a dead child lay in a cradle in the house nearest to the Douglas. It was not before half-past twelve in the morning that the body was able to be brought down, and it was taken away to the house of a friend. The news of the subsidence spread very quickly, and during Sunday, when the houses were cleared of water, a large number of persons visited School Common and peeped through the windows at the remnants of furniture and other articles which lay deep down in a heap of confusion along the eight feet of earth. Steps were taken on Tuesday to effect a rescue of some of the buried goods.


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