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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, November 30, 1860.

THE ROBBERY FROM THE PERSON AT HINDLEY.
   Margaret Ratcliffe, the woman who was remanded by the county magistrates on Friday last, on the charge of stealing four sovereigns from the person of William Pimblett, farmer, Hindley, was again brought up on Monday at the office of T. F. Taylor, Esq. - From the evidence of the prosecutor it appeared that late on Tuesday night, the 20th inst., he was proceeding to his home in a state of intoxication, when, just as he was turning in at a gate leading through a field to his house, the prisoner came up, and getting hold of him, asked him the way to Ince. Prosecutor directed her, and when she left him he discovered that four sovereigns had been stolen from him. Information was given to the police and the prisoner was afterwards found to have been drinking at different places in Hindley, and boasting that she was not without a sovereign or two. - The magistrate (G. Daglish, Esq.) eventually committed the woman for trial at Kirkdale sessions.



Friday, November 30, 1860.

DEATH FROM BURNING.
   On Wednesday afternoon an inquest was held before the Borough Coroner, at the White Hart, Wellington-street, on the body of a boy, three-and-a-half years old, named Thomas Morris, who died the day previous from injuries received on Monday afternoon, through his clothes taking fire during the absence of his mother from the house for a few minutes. A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.



Friday, December 7, 1860.

BURGLARY AT SHEVINGTON.
   During the night of Wednesday and the early part of Thursday morning last, a burglary was committed on the premises of Mr. Robert Barton, shopkeeper, Shevington Moor. The thieves are supposed to have entered the premises by the cellar, and then made their way to the shop, which they ransacked for money, and, unfortunately, were successful in finding 7 which had been left in it, and which they appropriated. From the cellar they took three flithces of bacon which were there curing. No definite clue has at present been got of the burglars, but it is stated that a man was seen on Thursday morning going across Garsey Brow, on the way to Standish Lower Ground, with a flitch of bacon on his back.



Friday, December 7, 1860.

AWFULLY SUDDEN DEATH.
   On Monday an inquest was held at the Woolpack, Millgate, before the borough coroner, on the body of Mr. William Proctor, currier, who died on Friday evening, the 30th ult., under awfully sudden circumstances. Mr. Proctor retired to rest about eleven o'clock, in excellent health, when about a quarter to twelve his wife was suddenly awoke with a cry of anguish, and she found her husband gasping, and heard a gurgling noise in his throat. Mr. White, surgeon, was instantly called in, but before his arrival Mr. Proctor had ceased to live. - The jury returned a verdict of "Died by the visitation of God."



Friday, December 7, 1860.

CHILD SCALDED.
   A child, named Margaret Bowden, residing with her parents, near Dicconson Mill, Aspull, was very severely scalded on Thursday, the 29th ult. On the morning named, the mother of the girl was engaged filling a tea-pot with boiling water from a kettle at the fire, the girl herself being at the time playing in the room. As the mother turned from the fire with the tea-pot in her hand, it unfortunately caught against the head of the child and broke, when its contents were poured upon the poor child's face and breast. Medical aid was promptly obtained, and though it was at first considered the injuries would prove fatal, the child still lingers, but it is very doubtful whether it will recover.



Friday, December 7, 1860.

A WOMAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING A POLICEMAN.
   Margaret Mercer, a diminutive woman about 60 years of age, was charged with assaulting Police-constable Warwick. On the afternoon of the 26th ult. the officer was arresting defendant's son, when she attacked him in the rear, and seized a finger and thumb, which she bent backwards rather roughly, and then seized him with her teeth, the struggle between the officer, the defendant, and her son, lasting about 20 minutes. - The defendant pleaded her maternal feelings in justification of her interference, and as the Chief Constable did not press the case, she was discharged on payment of costs.



Friday, December 7, 1860.

CHEAP (?) LODGINGS.
   Joseph Habbershaw, a dilapidated specimen of humanity, who goes about on a crutch, and who stated himself to be a scissors grinder, from Sheffield, was charged with committing wilful damage. About 20 minutes past twelve on Sunday morning the defendant went up to an officer who was on duty in Scholes and asked him where he could get lodgings. The officer told him he thought he could find him a place, when the defendant replied he did not want to pat for them. The officer said he would not have anything to do with him on those terms, but the defendant said "I'll make you (the officer) find me lodgings," and he went up to the shop window of Mr. Sharples and deliberately broke a large square of glass. His object being achieved, he waited to be taken into custody, which was accordingly done. - The bench ordered him to pay the damage and costs, in default 21 days' imprisonment.



Friday, December 7, 1860.

STEALING A SHAWL.
   Elizabeth Parker, a well-known thief, was placed in the dock on a charge of stealing a shawl, the property of Elizabeth Gore. The prosecutor and the prisoner lodged at the same house in Wigan's Yard, Queen-street, and on Thursday night last the former hung up her shawl on a nail in the kitchen. On looking for it on the Friday night she found it was gone, and suspecting the prisoner (who was then in bed drunk) she went to her and charged her with the theft, but she denied it. A police-officer was called in, to whom the prisoner eventually gave a pawn-ticket for the shawl, which it turned out she had pledged in her own name the same afternoon for 3s. - She pleaded guilty, and was sent to hard labour for four months. She has only just come out of gaol, having undergone three months' imprisonment for a like offence.



Friday, December 7, 1860.

A YOUNG VICTIM TO VICE.
   Margaret Hurst, a girl 16 years of age, was charged as a disorderly prostitute. She had been four times before the bench, and has served different periods of imprisonment. On a recent occasion she was sent to the workhouse, but after a time liberated on the promise that she would find work. This she did not do, but preferred to wander about the streets. - The bench fined her 10s. and costs, in default two months' imprisonment. The latter alternative seemed to be the likely one.


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