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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, August 3, 1860.

On Saturday, the lightning struck a labourer named Joseph Langley, and three horses, at work in a field near Windsor, killing the whole of them instantly.


A brother and a sister attempted suicide at Blackfriar's-bridge within a few minutes of each other, on Friday. Both were rescued from a watery grave, but the man is still in a precarious condition.


Mr. Chaffers, the manager of the Liverpool Royal Bank, committed suicide on Tuesday morning. His accounts are stated to be perfectly correct; but his mind appears to have been much affected.


Samuel Barnett, of Sedgley, on Friday undertook to drink two gallons of ale in forty-five minutes. He lost his life before he had accomplished the feat.


At Westonzoyland, near Plymouth, a man named Mountstevens, aged 79, has deserted his wife, with whom he had lived fifty years, and who is the mother of a large family, and has committed bigamy by marrying a Miss Charlotte Weller, aged 86.


In Sunderland-street, Pimlico, two houses - four storeys high - were struck with lightning on Saturday night, and although at the time it was not anticipated any serious damage had resulted, both houses, which were unoccupied, fell into ruins early on Sunday morning.


Friday, August 10, 1860.

At the Crown Tavern, Islington, a thief unscrewed and stole the gas fittings. The gas escaped, and an explosion took place, by which twelve persons were severely burned.


At Woolwich, on Saturday, Driver A. Craig and Gunner M'Grath, who had been found guilty of desertion and selling their kit, each received fifty lashes. Craig was also branded with the letter D.


Friday, August 17, 1860.

The body of a child, so much decomposed that it could not be told whether it had been born alive, has been found under the floor of a room in the house of a government clerk. From the evidence of a nursemaid it appeared that a cook, who had since left the place, was confined one night, and the body of a child was seen in her box.


Friday, August 24, 1860.

A docile hippopotamus is on exhibition at the Royal Alhambra Palace. The keeper puts his head within its jaws.


Ellen Lewis, servant with Mr. Lewis, solicitor, Maindee, has committed suicide by cutting her throat. Her mistress said she was an excellent servant, with a "melancholy tendency". When asked how she came to commit the act, she said "paper," that being all she could articulate. She was fond of reading horrible things in the newspapers.


Friday, August 31, 1860.

Whilst Jeremiah Kellimer was stooping down to collect some wood dust at a steam saw mill at Deptford, the circular saw completely cut his skull in two.


Showers of frogs have frequently been mentioned as having taken place, but Liège a few days ago was visited with a shower of a very different kind - one of ants.


At Glasgow, on Saturday, the chain that held a loaded coal waggon on a railway quay snapped, and the waggon was precipitated on board a smack, which sank. Two men were on board - one was killed and the other drowned.


On Saturday morning, three men were being let down Rakewood Colliery, at Durn, near Littleborough, when, from some cause, the cage upset, and all of them fell to the bottom, a distance of fifty yards. Two of them, named William Whipp and James Kershaw, were taken up quite dead, but the third, Jacob Leach, was found to be alive.


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