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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, August 2, 1890.

"THE BRICKS FELL."
   Edward Layland, James Layland, Jas. Hilton, David Jones, and Samuel Enion, all of Hallgate, were charged with throwing bricks in the street to the danger of the passengers on the 27th inst. - The prisoners, with the exception of Hilton, who did not appear, pleaded guilty. - The Chief-constable (Captain Bell) said there had been a number of complaints about the matter for which the defendants were summoned. - Police-constable Ferguson said about half-past eight on Sunday night he was in King-street West near the Lancashire and Yorkshire Station, and there saw the defendants in the churchyard throwing bricks in the street. Several people had to run out of the road afraid of the missiles. - The defendants denied that any passenger were inconvenienced, although they could give no satisfactory reason why they conducted themselves in so unseemly a manner. - Each was fined 5s. and costs, or 14 days' imprisonment. A warrant was issued against Hilton.



Saturday, August 2, 1890.

A CANDID WOMAN.
   Mary Westhead, a respectable-looking woman, living at 9, Wallace-lane, was put in the dock on two charges. The first was with being drunk and riotous in the street on the 22nd inst., which case was proved by Police-constable Finney, and the other was with assaulting a woman named Martha Davenport, of 122, Whelley, on the same day. To both charges she pleaded guilty. - Martha Davenport said the prisoner came past as she was sitting on her doorstep, and told her she (prisoner) was drunk. Complainant never replied, but prisoner again spoke and said she was on the spree, and what could she (complainant) make of it. She told the prisoner she would have nothing to do with her, but as she would not go, she sent for Police-constable Finney. Prisoner walked through the shop into the house (after making a riot round the door), and struck compainant on the breast, knocking her "floating" against the table. Police-constable Finney then came to the rescue. Before that time complainant had never spoken to the woman in all her life. - Defendant was ordered to pay costs in the first case and 5s. and costs in the second case, or seven days in default. - Sergeant Williamson said the woman had only been in Wigan for a few weeks and they had had considerable trouble with her concerning money which she had to pay towards a son who was in an industrial school.



Saturday, August 2, 1890.

THEFT FROM A SLAUGHTER-HOUSE.
   John Thomas Walsh, 17, Walsh's-yard, Scholes, was charged with stealing 84lbs. of fat from a slaughter-house, in Clayton-street. - William Bolton, the prosecutor, said that on the 24th inst. he killed a beast at the slaughter-house, and 84lbs. of fat were placed in a bag, and left safe. On the 26th he found that the bag had been taken. The value of the fat was 14s. - James Hodson, Sharples-street, said that on the 24th inst. the prisoner came to him with 84lbs. of fat which, he said, had come from Walsh's, in Scholes. - Witness paid 12s. 6d. for the fat, and rendered it down. Police-constable Fearn said he charged the prisoner with the theft on the 25th. Walsh said in reply, "I took it." - Mr. Roocroft said that as this was the prisoner's second appearance, he would be sent to prison for a month, with hard labour.



Saturday, August 2, 1890.

ATTEMPTED SUICIDE OF A
WOMAN AT ABRAM.

   On Monday, at the County Police Court, before Mr. H. S. Woodcock, an elderly woman named Elizabeth Southworth was charged with attempting to commit suicide by drowning herself at Abram on the 21st inst. Inspector Townsend prosecuted.
    George Southworth, a collier, of 245, Warrington-road, Abram, said he left home about five o'clock on the morning of Monday the 21st inst., to go to his work at the Abram Collieries. About four o'clock in the afternoon he returned, and going along Leigh-road he met his wife (the defendant) on a footpath leading to the house. She seemed to be in drink and he exclaimed "You look well" and left her. With that she turned away, and he did not look which direction she took. He did not hear any more of her until she was brought home by Police-constable Butterworth in a wet and exhausted condition. They had had no previous quarrel. and the above mentioned words were all that were said.
   Mr. Postlethwaite (assistant magistrates' clerk): Are you prepared to take care of her in future?
   Witness: Yes. I and the family will do our best. We have three sons at home.
   Police-constable Butterworth said that about five o'clock on the afternoon of the 21st he went in the direction of a pit in Leigh-lane. He met the defendant coming down the lane with some other persons, and she was very much exhausted. Witness took her home, where she had remained ever since. She had been ill in bed, and attended by Dr. Brayton. When he charged her with attempting to commit suicide, she replied "I am guilty, but I did not know what I was doing." For six years witness had lived near to the defendant and her husband, and to his knowledge they were quite comfortable.
   Henry Hampson, a collier, of Abram-brow, said on the date in question he had been to Wigan Junction Colliery, and coming back he passed along Leigh-lane about four o'clock in the afternoon. He noticed a parcel lying on the edge of a pond, together with a shawl, and then he looked over the fence and saw Mrs. Southworth struggling in the water. He jumped over the rails and got her out. She was weak and he pulled her into a field, and asked her how it had happened, and she replied that he did not know what trouble she had had since she had been in Abram. With assistance she was conveyed home.
   In answer to Mr. Postlethwaite, witness said he was up to his middle in water.
   Mr. Woodcock: It is a great credit to you that you got her out.
   The husband was recalled, and said he would look after his wife if she was allowed to go home.
   Mr. Postlethwaite: She told the last witness that she had had some trouble - is that so?
   Witness: Not that I know of.
   Mr. Woodcock: Take her home and look after her.
   The defendant was then permitted to leave the court.



Wednesday, August 6, 1890.

FALLING DOWNSTAIRS.
   A woman named Ellen Dicconson, wife of Robert Dicconson, 17, School-lane, Upholland, fell downstairs on the 11th July and dislocated her shoulder. She was attended by Dr. Molyneux, but erysipelas set in, and the woman, who was 69 years of age, died on Wednesday. An inquest will be held to-day by the county coroner.



Wednesday, August 6, 1890.

AWFULLY SUDDEN DEATH AT
WHELLEY.

   On Tuesday afternoon, at the George and Dragon Inn, Whelley, the Borough Coroner (Mr. Rowbottom) held an inquest on the body of a man named Joseph Baxendale, who dropped down dead in a public house in Whelley on Saturday afternoon, between two and three o'clock.
   Dr. McLoughlin said he had made a post mortem examination of the body. He had found the heart extensively diseased. It was quite double the ordinary size and very fatty. It was just the sort of heart to give way suddenly. The cause of death was syncope.
   Alice Baxendale said the deceased name was Joseph Baxendale. He was her husband, and lived at 21, Cumberland-street, Whelley, Deceased had been a colliery winder but was labouring on the railway lately. He was 48 years of age. Some time since he was attended by a doctor for sciatica.
   Richard Varty, landlord of the "Miner's Tent," said on Saturday afternoon about a quarter to one he met the deceased in Scholes. They went to witness's house. The deceased was coming from work and seemed to be in his usual state of health. He was talking and joking about the Rainford murder, and was standing at the end of the table lighting his pipe when he fell dead into witness's arms.
   A verdict of "Death from natural causes" was returned.



Friday, August 8, 1890.

FATAL FALL FROM A HAYSTACK.
   Information has been received at the County Police Office, Wigan, of the death of a farm labourer named James Swift, at Prior's Wood Hall Farm, Dalton, at a quarter to eight on Wednesday morning. The deceased, who was 42 years of age, lived at Chapel House, Parbold, and left his house on Tuesday in his usual state of health. About half-past nine the same morning Joseph Cooke, of Dalton, found the man in Chapel House Inn, Parbold, very much under the influence of drink. Cooke took him into his hayfield, and started him to work, and at 11 o'clock put him onto another job, viz., making a stack near the house. About five o'clock deceased's pitchfork slipped, and he fell to the ground on to his head. He was carried into the house, and Dr. Morris's assistant, of Skelmersdale, was sent for. The man was pronounced to be suffering from concussion of the brain, and died the following morning. An inquest will be held by the county coroner.



Friday, August 8, 1890.

SUICIDE AT SHEVINGTON.
   On Tuesday the body of David Gould, aged 50, Crooke village, Shevington, near Wigan, collier, was found by a search party in a wood near his home with a rope round his neck. Another piece was round a tree, the rope having apparently broken. The man has been very strange lately, and had evidently committed suicide. To reach the branch he had stood on the piece of an old tree which he had carried to the spot.



Friday, August 8, 1890.

A SCAPEGRACE OF A SON.
   Thomas Halliwell, 7, Hanover-street, was charged with assaulting his father, Joseph Halliwell, on the 4th inst. - The facts of the case as detailed by the prosecutor were as follows:- The prisoner had never worked for five weeks, and came home on Monday evening for something to eat. He told him that he would get nothing, and that he had better work for his food. The prisoner then began to use bad language, and taking a knife he swore he would have some food. He struck prosecutor several times, and once on the shoulder with the knife. Besides that he broke five windows. - There was another charge against the prisoner, that of assaulting Police-constable Miscamble whilst in the execution of his duty. The officer said about three o'clock on Tuesday afternoon he was in possession of a warrant for the apprehension of the prisoner. He met him in Wellington-street, and he was very rough. Prisoner tupped him in the mouth with his head and tried to get him down in the street. He had had some drink, but he was not drunk. - Mr. Pendlebury said it appeared that the prisoner was a very bad character. He had been up four times before, but it had had no effect upon him and it was very ungrateful on his part to assault his father instead of doing his best to assist the family. In both cases he would be fined 20s. and costs, or a month's imprisonment.


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