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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, July 9, 1890.

THEFT OF SILK HANDKERCHIEFS.
   Richard Crompton, of no settled residence, was charged with stealing five silk handkerchiefs on July 2nd, and one silk handkerchied on July 5th, from a shop in Scholes. - The Chief-constable said there was another boy implicated in the first charge, but the police had not been able to secure him. He would ask for a remand on both charges, so that both lads could be put in the dock. - Samuel Marshall, draper and hosier, Scholes, living at 43, Greenough-street, said that on July 2nd he missed five silk handkerchiefs from his shop. On July 5th the prisoner came into the shop and asked for a drink of water. Witness gave it to him, and shortly afterwards missed another silk handkerchief. His suspicions being aroused he followed the prisoner, and on overtaking him he found the missing handkerchief concealed beneath his waistcoat. - A remand until Thursday was granted.



Wednesday, July 9, 1890.

A DRUNKEN THEFT.
   Peter Cannon, of 15, Hardybutts, was charged with stealing a pair of moleskin trousers from a shop in Scholes on Saturday, the 15th inst. - The Chief-constable (Captain Bell) said that on Saturday night about eleven o'clock the prisoner was seen passing the shop of Messrs. Woods and Co., pawnbrokers, Scholes. A pair of trousers being missed from the door he was followed, and the trousers were found under his arm. John Birchall and Police-constable Laird gave evidence bearing out Captain Bell's statement. - Prisoner, in answer to the usual question, said he could not remember anything that occurred on Saturday night at the time mentioned, as he was drunk. It was the first time in his life he had been in such a position, and if he took the trousers he was very sorry. Mr. Benson said the bench were inclined to be lenient in this case, and the prisoner would be let off on paying a fine of 5s.



Saturday, July 12, 1890.

LENIENCY.
   Michael Ward, of 87, Lime-street, was summoned for causing an obstruction in Scholes. - Police-constable Smythe said about ten minutes past eight on Saturday night he saw a cart belonging to the defendant standing at the corner of Vauxhall-road. He told defendant he was obstructing the highway, but notwithstanding this caution the cart was allowed to remain in the same place for half an hour. - Mr. Roocroft said as this was defendant's first offence the case would be dismissed. - John Kelly, 27, School-lane, was summoned for a similar offence, and this case was also dismissed.



Saturday, July 12, 1890.

A GREAT NUISANCE.
   Harry Chestman, shop assistant at 117, Scholes, a boot shop, answered a summons charging him with unlawfully obstructing the footpath in Scholes, by placing thereon a number of boots and shoes. - Police-constable Meakin said that on Saturday morning he was near the shop where defendant was employed, and in front of the premises he saw a large number of boots and shoes projecting onto the footpath. Boots were also hanging from a sunshade, and people passing along the street had to stoop or go off the footpath. Defendant refused to take the boots in, and witness told him he would be reported. - Mr. Roocroft said defendant had been warned by the officer, and he should not put the boots on the footpath so as to be a nuisance to pedestrians. He would have to pay the costs.



Saturday, July 12, 1890.

FOUND DEAD IN A CLOSET AT
HINDLEY.

   On Friday morning at the Imperial Hotel, Hindley, Mr. S. Brighouse, county coroner, held an inquest on the body of a man named John Morgan, who was found dead in a closet behind the White Horse Inn, Hindley, on Wednesday morning.
   Richard Walton, the landlord of the White Horse Inn, said he knew the deceased, who was a collier. He lodged with Mr. Ashurst, Bickershaw Colliery Houses, Abram. Deceased was 36 years of age, and had been a militia man. As far as witness knew he had no relations except a brother in Australia. Deceased came into witness's house about 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning and had a pint of pop and ale, complaining at the same time of feeling poorly. He asked witness if he would let him go and lie down a bit, and after he had washed himself he was taken upstairs and he lay on a bed. He remained there until eight o'clock at night, and then he got up and said he felt very ill. When he came downstairs they got him a cup of warm tea. The following morning witness made preparations to go away, and about a quarter to eight went to the closet. There he found the deceased with his head leaning back against the wall. None of his clothes were disarranged, and he was dead and quite cold. From what he could gather deceased had been drinking since he left the militia.
   John Yates, Platt-lane, Hindley, said he last saw the deceased alive on Monday morning. He used to live with him five or six years ago, and he knew the deceased to be troubled with shortness of breath. On Saturday night he came to the house, and also on Monday night, after the public-houses were closed, but did not come in.
   This was all the evidence. The jury agreed upon their verdict, which was "Found dead," but whether from exposure or natural causes they were unable to say.



Saturday, July 12, 1890.

SHE DID NOT MIND IT.
   Mary Ann Smith, Rigby's-yard, was summoned for assaulting Catherine Garrity, of 28, Upper Morris-street. - Defendant: Yes, in my own defence. - Complainant stated that she was passing defendant's door on Sunday afternoon, when the defendant ran out of the house and struck her on the nose. - Defendant was fined 10s. and costs, with the alternative of 14 days' imprisonment. - Defendant: Well, I'll "stond" 14 days.



Saturday, July 12, 1890.

A STARTLING DEFENCE.
   Catherine McCabe, Union-street, was charged with stealing an ox tail from the bar of the Angel Inn on Wednesday night. - Joseph Howden, landlord of the Angel Inn, Scholes, said on the 9th inst. he saw the ox tail (produced) on the bar shelf at nearly eleven o'clock at night. Five minutes afterwards he missed it. It was worth 2s. - Michael Meaney, 14, Union-street, deposed to seeing prisoner come into the vault and take the ox tail off the bar shelf. - Ellen McHugh, 13, Hardybutts, second-hand clothes dealer, said prisoner came into her shop very drunk, and left the ox tail till morning. - Police-constable Lewtas said he apprehended the prisoner the same night. She was drunk. When charged, she replied "If I am locked up, I will have someone else locked up." - Prisoner was sent to gaol for seven days. Her defence was that the witness Meaney helped her to get the ox tail and shared sixpence with her afterwards. She alleged that he was the instigator of the robbery, and taxed him with it while he was in the witness box. He utterly denied the charge.



Saturday, July 12, 1890.

STRANGE BEHAVIOUR OF A WOMAN IN WIGAN.
BITTEN BY A DOG.

   On Thursday afternoon the inhabitants of Leader-street and other neighbouring streets in the locality of St. Catherine's Church, were thrown into a state of excitement at the news that Catherine Belshaw, a married woman living at 22, Leader-street, was conducting herself in such a manner in her home as to lead to the assumption that she was afflicted with hydrophobia. Mrs. Belshaw, who is a woman between forty and fifty years of age and mother of a family, had been washing all morning, and was preparing dinner for her husband, whom she expected home from the pit, when she was seized with the attack. The neighbours hearing curious noises went into the house, and were startled to find Mrs. Belshaw running and jumping about, and imitating the bark of a dog. Thoroughly alarmed they withdrew at once, and though as the matter spread, the street became almost blocked with people, no one dared to go and interfere with the woman. At last a man named Christopher Sherlock went in and attempted to restrain her, and he was followed by her husband and Police-constable Fowler, who had been warned of the affair. A struggle then took place between the woman and the three men, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that they could compel her to remain seated on a chair. She would jump up and recommence the screaming and barking, and behave in a most incomprehensible manner. As the woman had been bitten on Sunday, whilst sitting on her doorstep, by a dog belonging to her son-in-law, Richard Taylor, of Platt Lane, grave fears were now entertained as to her sanity. The dog was destroyed, and the woman was attended by Dr. Monks for the bite, which was in the fleshy part of the right arm. This gentleman was at once called in on Thursday afternoon and recommended that she should be taken to the Infirmary. The wound was not healed up, and we understand that he was of opinion his orders respecting the bite had not been attended to, and that the present state of affairs was the result. The horse ambulance was brought down as soon as possible by Police-constable McNeil, and the woman was taken to the Infirmary, being accompanied by her husband and son and two officers. On making inquiries at the Infirmary later on we find that the medical man in charge of the case is not yet satisfied that the woman is afflicted with hydrophobia, and he is sanguine that is a few days she will be all right.



Wednesday, July 16, 1890.

UNFIT FOR WORK.
   Joseph Walters, a licensed hawker, of no settled residence, was charged with cruelly working a horse which was in an unfit condition on Friday. - Inspector Jowett, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, prosecuted. - Police-constable Bibby said that on Friday he saw the defendant in charge of a horse attached to a caravan coming down Wigan-lane. Seeing that the animal was very lame he went for Inspector Jowett, and the latter afterwards went to Mr. Sayers, veterinary surgeon. He examined it and found it was suffering from large ring bone and severe strained tendons on the near hind leg. The animal was quite unfit for work. - The defendant's excuse was that he had had the horse four years ago, and it was then in the same condition. - The magistrates inflicted costs.


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