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"News of the Week" - taken from The Wigan Observer And District Advertiser, 1860. Material kindly loaned by Paul Byrne.

News not relating to Wigan was covered by the local press at the time, but usually by means of a single line or small paragraph. Here are some odd ones.


Friday, July 6, 1860.

There is a white sparrow in the rectory garden at Llanallgo.


Mr. William Mitchell, aged 50, who lodged in Marylebone, was found in his bedroom in a dying state, and a letter lay by his side, stating that he was mad, and had taken laudanum to end his miserable existance.


A horse, belonging to Mr. Cooper, cab proprietor, Plymouth, was led to drink as usual to a well in the courtlage of the stables, when the arch-work of the well gave way under the animal's feet, precipitating him headforemost into the well. When extricated it was found that the horse had broken his neck.


Friday, July 13, 1860.

Inquests were held on Tuesday by the Manchester city coroner on the bodies of three men who committed suicide by hanging themselves on three consecutive days in the same street, Deansgate.


A private of the 6th battalion military train corps, stationed at Woolwich, on Friday morning shot himself through the head. The skull was shattered to atoms.


A second batch of beer poisoners was dealt with at Halifax on Friday. Four persons, for adulterating beer with grains of paradise, were fined 50 each, and a druggist, for selling them to a licensed brewer, was fined 125.


Ann, wife of Richard Whitmore, of Haslington, aged 47, had for some time complained of a pain in her bowels. The other morning, whilst in a neighbour's house watching a wedding party preparing to start for the church, she fell down, and before medical assistance could be obtained she was a corpse.


A match of an extraordinary nature was made during the race week, at Newmarket. For a bet of 20, Mr. G. undertook to smoke one pound of strong cigars (86) in twelve hours. The task was to be performed on the Saturday, on a steamboat plying up and down the Thames, the smoker taking his position at the bow of the vessel.


Friday, July 20, 1860.

Sentence of death was recorded against Ann Barker, aged 22, who was convicted at Oxford assizes last week of throwing her child into a well with intent to murder him.


Patrick Donnelly, aged 8, of Drumad, Armagh, accompanied a man and his wife to a funeral, at which he ate a large quantity of unripe fruit and drank a little whisky and ale which remained in some glasses. He became insensible and died on the following day.


Dr. W. H. Brown (formerly one of the lecturers at the Panopticon and Polytechnic) has devised a method of transmitting parcels under water across the Channel with great celerity, so that deliveries of goods and letters can be effected on both sides several times in the twenty-four hours. A company is being formed to put the invention into practice.


Friday, July 27, 1860.

Near Galloway, in Scotland, a little girl, who was bit on the thumb by an adder which had taken possession of a bird's nest, died in thirty hours.


At Newsham, a navvy, named James Chapman, has cut his throat, almost fatally, near the home of a married woman who had returned to her husband after having absconded with the foolish fellow.


A very sad event is reported to have happened at Tralee, in Ireland. The water of the canal was drained off on Friday, and a woman picked up at the bottom of the basin several mussels, which she seems to have distributed very freely amongst her neighbours. During the evening twenty-one persons who had partaken of the shell-fish took ill, and three of them (children) died. Of the others six were dangerously ill, and the remainder are out of danger. It is believed that the mussels had been lately attached to the copper bottom of a ship, and by this means had absorbed some poisonous matter.


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