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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.

Wednesday, July 16, 1890.

   Patrick Ready and Alexander Arbuthnot, of Danson's-square, were charged with stealing with violence, 6d. and a wooden pipe from the person of Joseph Lowe, of 274, Warrington-road, Ince. - The Chief-constable (Captain Bell) prosecuted. - Joseph Lowe said that about ten minutes past eleven, on Friday night, he was lighting his pipe near the end of Danson's-square when the prisoner Ready came up to him, and catching hold of him tried to trip him. His pipe was snatched out of his mouth, and then the two began to scuffle with one another. Ready commencing kicking, and then he felt the prisoner's hand in his pocket, where there was sixpence. Afterwards he missed it. A companion, who was with witness, was struggling with the other prisoner, and he went to his assistance, and then the two men ran away. There were also several other men round about. Witness afterwards went with Police-constable Lewtas to a house, and identified the two prisoners. - Jonathan Clayton, engine-cleaner, Warrington-road, Lower Ince, said he was with Lowe on Friday night. He saw him stopped by Ready, and went to his assistance. Before reaching him he was met by Arbuthnot, who threw him down and kicked him. Two other men whom he did not know also came up and kicked him. When he got on his feet they attacked him again. - William Houghton, a clerk at Springs Branch steam sheds, and living at 11, Cemetery-road, Lower Ince, said a little after eleven o'clock he was in company with the other two witnesses, and saw them stopped by the prisoners. As witness rushed off to find a policeman he was followed by another man as if to prevent his getting away. - Police-constable Lewtas said he apprehended the prisoners at a quarter to four that morning in a house in Danson's-square. He told them he wanted them on a charge of felony, and brought them down to the police-office. On searching them the pipe was found on Arbuthnot and 2d. on Ready. - Both prisoners admitted having been in the scuffle, but denied the robbery. - They were committed to the Liverpool assizes.

Wednesday, July 16, 1890.

   James Pilkington, of Ince, was charged with assaulting his wife on July 5th. - The complainant said that on Saturday night her husband came home drunk, and after striking her on the face with his fist, he ran her out of the house with the poker. She would be glad if the magistrates could issue a separation order, for he was always assaulting her and threatening to take her life, and their children had said that they would not stay in the house unless they were separated. He had been in prison eighteen months before for assaulting her. - The defendant was sent to prison for a month.

Friday, July 18, 1890.


   About half-past five on the evening of Tuesday, a man named John Gore, of 15, Wilcock-street, was on the canal bank near the Seven Stars Bridge, Wallgate, when he saw something of a curious appearance in the water. He pulled it out, and discovered it to be the body of an infant in a bag. The police were sent for, and the body was handed to Police-constable J. Taylor, who took it to the Police-station. The police are investigating the matter, and the inquest will be held to-day (Friday).

Saturday, July 19, 1890.

   Edith Wallwork (20), of no occupation, was indicted for stealing a knife, the property of George Duckworth, Wigan, on the 15th April; also with stealing a pair of boots, the property of Thomas Stuart and another, Wigan, on the same date. She pleaded guilty to both indictments. - Mr. Watson, who prosecuted, said the charges against the prisoner were of the ordinary class where goods were placed near the shop-door, though not exposed in such a way as to necessarily lead to any temptation. When the prisoner was taken into custody the knife was discovered in her possession, and the pair of boots were under her shawl. She had pleaded guilty to a previous conviction. - The Recorder said the prisoner appeared to be going about the country committing such thefts, and he could not pass the present offences lightly. She would have to go to prison for twelve months in each case, the terms to run concurrently.

Saturday, July 19, 1890.

   James Wilkinson (35), collier, pleaded guilty to stealing seven pigeons, the property of W. T. Wanklyn, on the 20th June. - Mr. O. Walmesley, who prosecuted, said Mr. Wanklyn's gardener saw the pigeons safe in the stable on the evening of the 20th June, and the next morning he missed them, and also found that the stable had been broken into. On the following day the prisoner sold one of the pigeons to a person he met in the street, and information having been given, a detective went to his house and found four of the other stolen pigeons there. The prisoner, on being charged with the theft, admitted having taken four pigeons. - The Recorder said the prisoner seemed to have been frequently convicted, but he did not seem to have committed any act of dishonesty since 1873. He was disposed to give the prisoner the benefit of the fact, as it appeared before him, that he had not brought himself within the reach of the law for the last seven years, but nevertheless he must give him a substantial punishment and the prisoner would have to go to gaol for six months.

Wednesday, July 23, 1890.

   Peter Deakin, 43, School-street, was charged with stealing a "dolly," the property of Emma Pinder, 117, Caroline-street. - The prosecutrix said her husband kept a butcher's shop in Scholes. At 1 p.m. on the 19th inst. she saw the dolly safe, and shortly before twelve o'clock on the same night her attention was drawn to the prisoner, who had the dolly on his shoulder and was going down Scholes. The dolly was worth 1s. - Prisoner said he was drunk at the time and knew nothing about it, and Mrs. Pinder under the circumstances, and considering that the prisoner had not been charged with any previous offence, said she would withdraw the case against him. - Mr. Roocroft said he hoped it would be a warning to the prisoner, who was then dismissed.

Wednesday, July 23, 1890.

   A young man named Thomas Sherrington was charged with assaulting a woman named Catherine Murphy with whom he cohabited at 24, Stoney-row, on the 19th inst. The prisoner went to Manchester on Saturday and came home at half past twelve at night. He knocked at the door which was opened by the prosecutrix, and before she could utter a word he felled her with a blow of his fist. Then while she was on the floor he kicked her brutally all over the body, and not content with that he threw a chair at her, and gave her two black eyes. - There was a long record against the prisoner, and the magistrates sent him to prison for three months with hard labour.

Wednesday, July 23, 1890.


   Mr. L. R. Rowbottom, borough coroner, held an inquest at the Borough Courts, King-street, on Friday afternoon, on the body of an unknown child, which was found in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on Tuesday evening.
   Mr. R. F. Woodcock, surgeon, Standishgate, said that on Wednesday the police called his attention to the body of a child which was in the shed at the Police Parade-yard. The same afternoon witness made an autopsy, and found the body to be that of a female child born apparently about two months ago, and very much decomposed. The body was fully developed, but had never had a separate existance; it had never breathed. There was a string round its left shoulder, and he would think it not improbable that a stone had been attached to the body by means of the string. There were no marks of strangulation.
   The Coroner: It appears to me to be a case of concealment of birth, and if so, the jury have nothing more to do with it. It will be the duty of the police to take the matter up.
   John Gore, 15, Wilcock-street, collier, said that on Tuesday evening, about half-past five, he was walking along the canal bank when he saw a lad throwing stones at a body in the water, saying that it was a dead dog. Witness said it was no dog, and sent for a prop, with which he pulled the body out. He found it to be that of a child, and sent word at once to the police office. He found the body between the Seven Stars Bridge and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.
   Police-constable John Taylor said that on Tuesday evening he saw the body of the child, which was partly wrapped in sacking. Witness got another sack, and brought the body to the police station. He had made inquiries as to the body, but had not heard anything.
   Detective-inspector Gorman said he had made inquiries in Wallgate, Miry-lane, Great George-street, and the streets in the immediate vicinity, but had been unable to ascertain anything as to the parentage of the child.
   A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.

Friday, July 25, 1890.


   Mr. Marsh, bread baker, Chapel-lane, lost a horse on Sunday, the animal being drowned in the murky waters of the Douglas. It seems the horse had been put out to grass in a field near the Chapel-lane bridge, where the right bank of the stream is unprotected, and, it is supposed owing to illness, the animal fell in and was drowned before a rescue could be effected. The carcase was removed the following day.

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