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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, 1860. Material kindly loaned by Paul Byrne.


Friday, February 10, 1860.

TRAVELLING WITHOUT A RAILWAY TICKET.
   Owen Brogan was charged with travelling on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, with intent to defraud that company, he not having a ticket to prove that he had booked as a passenger. Defendant is a fish dealer, in Wigan, and in the habit of receiving consignments of fish from Liverpool. - Mr. Middleton, superintendent at the Wigan station, stated that on Monday, the 30th January, he saw the defendant on the platform of the Wigan station, after the departure of the train from Liverpool due at Wigan at 2.15 p.m. He was asked for his ticket, but replied he had none, as he had not come by the train. Witness did not see defendant on the platform before the arrival of the train. - James Brierly, ticket collector, corroborated Mr. Middleton's statement. - Thomas Johnson said he was on the platform on the arrival of the train. He saw the defendant in the carriage, and when the train stopped he (defendant) put his head out of the window, but on seeing witness he drew back, and allowed another man to come out before him. After the departure of the train he (witness) saw defendant making a pretence to sew up his bags of fish, as if he had been waiting there to receive them by that train. - John Mills said he was fish clerk at the Liverpool station of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. He saw defendant at the station between the hour of twelve and one on the day in question with fish. Defendant asked him if there was a train at 12.15, and he replied he did not know the exact time. - Defendant, in defence, asked if it was not probable that he might have left Liverpool by the 12.30 train, and then have got out at Pemberton, and walked to Wigan in time for the train by which he was alleged to have travelled; but it was stated that the 12.30 train did not stop at Pemberton, and was due in Wigan at 1.15. - The Bench imposed a fine of 10s. and costs, amounting to 1 13s.; in default to go to prison for one month.



Friday, February 10, 1860.

ROBBING AN OLD MAN OF HIS FISH.
   Silvester Fairclough, William Rigby, and Edward Hesketh were placed in the dock on the charge of stealing some flukes and a basket from the cart of an old man named Thomas Marshall, who perambulates the town with an ass and cart. Before the case was gone into the Chief-constable applied for the discharge fo Rigby and Hesketh, against whom he did not think he had sufficient evidence for a conviction. This being done, the case against Fairclough was proceeded with. - Marshall stated that he was going along Queen-street on Friday last about half-past five, and had occasion to go into Wigan's Yard for some straw, leaving his cart and fish alone for a few minutes. When he returned he found his cart was not where he left it, but a short distance further on. He examined the cart, and found a basket containing seven or eight pounds of flukes had been stolen. He told a policeman of his loss, and shortly after prisoner and the basket with the flukes were brought to him by the policeman. - A woman named Atherton said she heard some person run quickly past her window when she was cleaning it, but would not swear it was the prisoner. Suspecting something was the matter, she went out and heard Marshall complain of having had his fish stolen. She saw the prisoner in charge of the police shortly after. - Police-constable Richardson heard of Marshall's robbery, and proceeded to Wigan's Yard, where he saw prisoner; and on examining he found some flukes on the ground near to where he was standing. He apprehended him on suspicion, when he said he had not taken them. - The magistrates asked prisoner if he would have the charge disposed of now, by pleading guilty, or would he prefer being tried at the sessions? - Prisoner said he was not guilty of the theft, and if the case went to a jury he should be acquitted. - The magistrates were accordingly going to commit him for trial at the sessions; but the prisoner hearing that bail would not be accepted, and being aware that it was nearly three months to the next sessions, pleaded guilty, and he was sent to prison for two months, with hard labour.



Friday, February 10, 1860.

RIVAL FISH SELLERS.
   Thomas Power and Mary Ann Ward were charged by the police with disorderly conduct. Defendants are fish dealers, occupying adjoining stalls in the Market-place, and they are in the habit of interfering with each other's customers, conducting themselves most uproariously, and assailing each other with the foulest language, to the annoyance of the tradesmen near their stalls and the public generally. - The magistrates ordered both defendants to find sureties to keep the peace.



Saturday, February 11, 1860.

A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION.
   John Hart, landlord of the Cross Keys, Market-place, was charged with being "staggering" drunk. - Police-constable Atkinson was on duty in the Market-place on Sunday last, about half-past twelve, and saw defendant standing at the end of the Cross Keys opening, with several people around him. The policeman, thinking he was drunk, told him so, and told him he had better go home. Defendant said he was not drunk, and he would remain where he was. The policeman then passed on, but returned in a minute or two, when he saw defendant five or six yards off the parapet, giving coppers to persons standing nearby, and defendant was told he would be reported for being drunk. - Police-constable Kerfoot corroborated Atkinson as to defendant being in the street, and said he thought the latter was drunk, but, in answer to Mr. Mayhew, he admitted that he did not see defendant stir from where he was standing, or hear him speak. - For the defence, defendant denied that he was drunk, or that he had tasted that day. He was simply standing quietly in his shirt sleeves at the end of his own opening. Two witnesses, named Greenwood and Laithwaite, swore they saw defendant standing on the parapet, but not off it, as was alleged by the officer, and that they heard the latter tell the former that he was drunk, and had better go home. The swore also that defendant was perfectly sober, and although they were present when the officer spoke to him on both occasions, they did not see him give any money to any person. - The magistrates dismissed the case.



Friday, February 17, 1860.

SUDDEN DEATH.
   An inquest was held on Wednesday, at the house of Mr. John Pimblett, Bridge Inn, Chapel-lane, on the body of Jane Rigby, a woman aged 50, who resided in Wood-street, Chapel-lane. The deceased was a charwoman, and on Tuesday morning she left her home and proceeded to Mrs. Bailey's, Wigan lane. Shortly after getting there, however, she was taken ill, and had be be conveyed to her home immediately. Mr. White, surgeon, was called in, but the woman died shortly after his arrival. She had been suffering from asthma. - The jury returned a verdict of "Died suddenly by the visitation of God, from natural causes."



Friday, February 17, 1860.

COLLIERY ACCIDENT.
   On Tuesday morning, about four o'clock, a colliery accident occurred in the four-feet mine at Messrs. Brancker's Orrell Colliery, near Wigan, by which an old man, named Jas. Farrimond, lost his life. He was following his employment as a collier, when a fall of roof took place, underneath which he was buried. He was got out alive, but on a surgeon being sent for it was found that both of his legs were broken, and that the injuries he had received would prove fatal. He died a few hours afterwards. Deceased was 58 years of age, and leaves a wife and family; the latter are, however, able to support themselves by their own exertions. - The inquest was held before C. Driffield, Esq., at New Town, on Thursday, when a verdict in accordance with the above circumstances was returned.



Friday, February 17, 1860.

CHIMNEYS ON FIRE.
   John Lamb and Thos. Taylor, charged with having their chimneys on fire, were discharged, as the chimney's in both instances were difficult to sweep.



Friday, February 17, 1860.

STEALING A PAIR OF BOOTS.
   Elizabeth Rhodes was charged with stealing a pair of boots, the property of Bridget Curran. The prosecutrix occupies a stall in the Market-place, and on Monday evening last the prisoner went there and priced a pair of boots, which she fitted on, and paid 7s. 6d. for. Prisoner was going away with her purchase, when prosecutrix suspected that another pair of boots had been taken, and she followed the prisoner, brought her back to the stall, and charged her with stealing a pair of boots. Prisoner denied this, and in the scuffle a pair of boots fell upon the floor, from the prisoner's left arm, which the prosecutrix identified as her property. The prisoner was then given into custody. - The magistrates committed her to the sessions.



Saturday, February 18, 1860.

STABBING WITH A PICK.
   Thomas Pilkington was charged with maliciously stabbing Andrew Fishwick. Both parties are colliers, and worked at the "middle place" of the Ince Hall Coal and Cannel Company. On Thursday morning last, at a quarter-past seven, the prosecutor was working in one of the "jigs," in which the prisoner also worked. It was the custom in the pit for every man to knock of the other as the empty waggons came along the gangway to be filled. It was the prisoner's duty to knock of the prosecutor, but he failed to do so. The prosecutor asked him why he had not done so, and at the same time took hold of him by the shoulder and pushed him a short distance. The prisoner then turned round and seized a pick, with which he struck the prosecutor on the right shoulder with great force. Prosecutor walked about four yards and then fell upon his knees, where he remained three or four minutes. On recovering, he ascended the pit and went to Mr. Fisher, surgeon. A warrant was then taken out against the prisoner, and he was apprehended in the evening of the same day. - The bench were disposed not to send the prisoner to gaol if he would make an arrangement to compensate the prosecutor for the injury he had sustained, and pay the costs. - This the prisoner consented to do.


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