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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, December 24, 1890.

FOUND WITH BOTH LEGS BROKEN
ON THE RAILWAY.

   On Thursday morning, about eight o'clock, a man named Thomas Carney, collier, residing at 783, Ormskirk-road, Pemberton, was found lying on the London and North Western Railway between Garswood Hall Collieries Bridge and Bryn Station by the driver of a light engine plying between Ince Moss and Garswood Station. He was lying on the up line, and when examined was found to have both his legs broken. It appears that he was a perfect stranger to the neighbourhood and was making a short or near cut across the fields to the collieries where he was working, and not knowing of the railway cutting had, in the darkness, fallen down the embankment on to the line below, breaking both his legs in the fall. He was taken on the engine to Wigan and thence to the Infirmary, where his injuries were attended to.



Wednesday, December 24, 1890.

ACCIDENT TO A DOWNALL GREEN LADY.
   On Monday evening, an accident of a somewhat serious nature befel Mrs. Crompton, the wife of Mr. Thomas Crompton, hinge and lock manufacturer. It appears that Mrs. Crompton and the family were returning home from a children's entertainment at the Downall Green Schools, and had chosen to go by the church and through the rector's private grounds as the nearest way home, and whilst passing through the churchyard she slipped and fell, owing to the slippery state of the roads, and in the fall broke her ankle. Messengers were at once despatched to Ashton for medical aid, but it was bot until a very late hour that Dr. Hannah could be driven to the house, to set the broken limb, as the roads were almost impassable owing to their slippery condition. However, Dr. Hannah did at last succeed in getting conveyed thither in one of Mr. Fairhurst's cabs, and Mrs. Crompton then received every attention.



Wednesday, December 24, 1890.

SINGULAR ACCIDENT TO A GAS STOKER.
   On Saturday night, shortly after twelve o'clock, a singular and very serious accident befell a man named Robert Derbyshire, chief stoker of the Ashton Local Board Gasworks. It appears that Derbyshire was considerably hampered in going about his usual duties by the fact of several of the lights going out through the frost, and to obviate the difficulty Derbyshire had lit two stand grate fires, placing them in different parts of the works in order to give him light. About the time named one of the syphons to the condensors blew out owing to the pipes being frozen, and Derbyshire at once went to attend to it. Whilst thus engaged the wind blew the escaping gas directly into one of the stand grate fires, with the result that the gas exploded, completely enveloping Derbyshire in flames and burning him very severely about the hands, arms, and face. There being no one about to help, the poor fellow had to struggle on in the keen frost until relieved by the next turn, during which time he suffered dreadfully, especially when drawing and re-charging the retorts. He is, however, improving, though still suffering from the effects of the frost in the burns.



Wednesday, December 24, 1890.

ACCIDENT AT GARSWOOD HALL COLLIERIES.
   On Thursday morning, about half-past eleven, a frighful accident occurred at the No. 5 pit of the above collieries to a boy named Bates, who resided with his parents at Stubshaw Cross. It appears Bates was endeavouring to show another boy how to do his work at the bottom of the pit shaft, or as the colliers term it, the pit-eye, when he was struck by a portion of the cage machinery very violently on the head, the blow completely splitting open the lad's skull. Death was of course almost instantaneous, and the poor lad was conveyed to the surface, and afterwards taken home. His parents are poor people, and they are almost heart broken with the loss they have sustained. Bates was about 17 years of age, and was one of the principal supports of a somewhat large family of children.



Wednesday, December 24, 1890.

FOUND DEAD.
   Henry Hilton, 75, a wheelwright, residing at Atherton House, Orrell-road, Orrell, died under the following circumstances:- Deceased had not been in employment at his own trade for a considerable time, but was engaged as a yard-man by Mr. Wellwood, of Orrell. On Tuesday he was left in charge of Mr. Wellwood's house, and when Mrs. Wellwood returned, she found him lying on the kitchen floor unable to speak. A doctor was sent for, but before he arrived Hilton expired.



Wednesday, December 24, 1890.

THE FROST AND FOG.
   The frost which commenced last Thursday continued up to Monday night, gradually increasing in severity. Perhaps the keenest freezing took place during the early hours of Sunday morning, when the thermometer registered 15 degrees of frost. Skating, however, was interfered with to a great extent by the fall of snow on Friday, but in a good many places the ice was swept. A pond at Martland Bridge has been monopolised by the devotees of the national Scotch pastime, and Mr. J. Henderson, the popular skip, and his fellow curlers have had a good fling at their national sport. On Saturday and Sunday a good deal of the pleasure attaching to the typical Christmas weather was spoiled by the advent of one of densest fogs which has visited the district for a great many years. Traffic on Saturday was carried on under great difficulties, and the tram and train service was almost completely disorganised. The trains on all the local lines ran very late, sometimes to the extent of a couple of hours, and we hear of one train discharging a large group of country marketers at one of the Wigan stations on Saturday when all the shops had been shut up. The attendance at the various churches on Sunday was very meagre, and very few people were to be seen abroad, the fog, on Sunday evening especially, being most thick and disconcerting to the "bump of locality." The only serious accident we have heard of is one which occurred on Saturday night to a man named Towns, who slipped and fell while walking down Wigan-lane, and fractured one of his legs.



Wednesday, December 24, 1890.

A NUISANCE IN FAGGY-LANE.
   William Bailey, 81, Chapel-lane (who did not appear), was charged with creating a nuisance by keeping horses and donkeys in Bailey's-yard, Faggy-lane. - The Town Clerk, who prosecuted, said the defendant had in his small yard a stable and manure heap, and in the passage a small box in which a donkey was kept. The yard was only partially paved with small cobbles, and neither the manure heap nor the midden were drained. Several complaints had been received by the neighbours, and, after Inspector Taylor had visited the place, a notice to abate the nuisance was served. The defendant had not taken any steps in the matter, and consequently they asked the bench to make an order compelling him to do so. - Inspector Taylor said the stable was not ventilated or provided with lights. From the midden to the gully in the middle of the yard, ran a small open trench, through which the fluid matter slowly trickled down. Even if properly drained, however, the place was much too confined for the purpose, besides being entirely surrounded by dwellings. - Dr. Barnish corroborated, and the order was made.



Wednesday, December 24, 1890.

SCARCELY A MISTAKE.
   James Hogan, of 12, Top Croft, was charged with wilfully breaking two paraffin lamps, and committing damage to the extent of 10s. at the house of Mary Bradshaw, 13, Top Croft. - Complainant said that late on Saturday evening she was in her kitchen, and she heard a noise upstairs. On going to the staircase she met prisoner, who knocked the lamp she had in her hand to the ground. He got hold of another lamp and threw it on the sofa, setting fire to it, as well as to the curtains. When she went upstairs she discovered that her bed and other articles had been rolled up in bundles, and the window sash taken out, as though they meant to be stolen. - Several witnesses were called, including Police-constable Hodgetts, who stated that when he apprehended prisoner, shortly after 12 o'clock, he was sober. - Prisoner said he was drunk, and that he thought he was in his own house. - The Bench imposed a fine of 20s. and costs, and ordered prisoner to pay the damage.



Wednesday, December 24, 1890.

ASSAULTS BY RELATIVES.
   Last week the Bolton County Justices had before them Thomas and Elizabeth Fiddler, man and wife, of Higher Gullet, Aspull, who were charged with assaulting Richard Holding, on the 13th inst. - Mr. Bryan, of Hindley, appeared for complainant, who it appeared was a relative of the defendants, and lived near them. They were all in Holding's house on the night of the date named, when complainant told Mrs. Fiddler that she must not go into his house any more in consequence of what she had been saying. The woman took up a knife and threatened Holding with it, ultimately striking him in the face with her fist. The male defendant assisted her, and between them they succeeded in severely thrashing complainant. - The bench inflicted a fine of 10s. and costs.


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