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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, November 12, 1890.

   The scene at Platt Bridge from Friday to Sunday, particularly on the latter day was such a one as, according to the "oldest inhabitant" has never been experienced before. We might first explain that the brook running from Hindley through Abram to the aqueduct of the canal, near Dock Lock, over-ran its banks from - it is supposed - the passage at the aqueduct being dammed by branches of trees and other refuse, which had been carried down by the storm. The water rushed down into Walthew-lane and Platt-street, and the people had to take refuge in the upper rooms of their dwellings. Over a hundred houses were flooded, and the streets resembled long lakes. The neighbourhood behind the Platt Bridge Inn, where the old brick works are situated was one tremendous sheet of water, and in Platt-street the flood was so deep as to touch the window sills. To cross Walthew-lane one would have to have waded through water two feet deep. On Sunday afternoon, through the efforts of Mr. Green and other members of the Hindley Local Board, several lurries were commissioned to rescue the people from the bedroom windows and convey them to friends' houses which were high and dry. Other people who had carts made hay whilst the sun shone, a roaring business being done in conveying along the street for a copper those people who did not wish to have their lower limbs thoroughly soaked. "Here for Rock Ferry," was the humorous cry of the carriers, and some very laughable incidents were also witnessed whilst the flood was at its height. One rather stout female essayed to cross, and, having picked up her petticoats to more than the usual height, slowly entered the water. Coming in contact with the kerbstone she fell and measured her length in the water, uttering at he same time these words, "There now." Other events on a par with this were numerous, and much laughter was caused by one man who was carrying another on his back trying to free himself of the burden. The rider objected, and the consequence was that both of them received a ducking amidst the laughter of the spectators. Turning to the serious side of affairs, we may mention that damage to the extent of several hundred pounds has been done in the district. The sewage farm which the Hindley Local Board were making behind the Moss Hall Colliery sustained serious damage. Business was delayed at Platt Bridge at the week end, several shopkeepers - notably Mr. Aspinall at the Post Office - having their premises in a very sloppy and altogether uncomfortable condition.

Friday, November 14, 1890.


   Theresa Burns, a widow, of Belle Green-lane, Ince, died suddenly about seven o'clock on Monday night. The deceased had been suffering from heart disease for some time, and it is stated that her medical adviser anticipated that she would meet with her death in a sudden manner. About half-past six she started to come to Wigan, and after going a short distance was taken ill. She was taken into the Walmesley Arms, gasping for breath, and was supplied with a small quantity of whiskey, but she became worse and died in about ten minutes.

Saturday, November 15, 1890.

   Jane Rourke, 13, Brown-street, was summoned for assaulting Ann Quinn, 16, Brown-street, on the 8th inst. - The compainant went into a neighbour's house on that day to get a bottle of pop, and whilst there the defendant came in and caught her by the throat and nearly choked her. This was not denied by the defendant, but she made a complaint that Quinn had taken her purse and that she had to get a policeman to take it from her. - Police-constable Ross corroborates this, but the magistrates said the defendant had no right to take the law into her own hands, and fined her 5s. and costs.

Wednesday, November 19, 1890.

   Robert Mitchell, of Hindley, was charged at the Wigan County Police Court, on Friday morning, before Messrs. J. Gaskell and W. H. Hewlett, with committing an assault upon Frank Gerrard, an inspector in the employ of the Wigan Tramways Company, Limited. - Complainant said that on Monday night at ten minutes past eleven he was on a car going past the Hindley Free Library. He there saw the defendant, who was on horse back, asleep and drunk, and the horse was standing in front of the engine. Complainant went to lead the horse away, and the defendant wakened up, jumping off the horse and hitting him on the face, causing a nasty wound. - Another charge of being drunk and disorderly on the same occasion was preferred against the defendant by the police, and he was fined 5s. and costs in each instance.

Wednesday, November 19, 1890.

   About one o'clock on Friday morning a cow, driven from the Cattle Market down Wallgate, displayed an unusual partiality for occupying the footpath in place of the road. It was not to be forced into the middle of the street, and on coming to the Manchester and Salford Bank it turned in at the doorway and entered - as a by-stander said - for all the world as if she was going to draw a cheque. The man in charge of the animal was at a loss as to how to proceed under the circumstances. It was certain that for the cow to advance would be ruination to the interior of the bank, and yet as the passage was narrow it was an extremely difficult matter to persuade the animal to step backwards. This she would not do, as feeling probably that she was an intruder she put her shoulder to the large pane of glass, and having made room by smashing it, turned quietly round and shambled down the street as far as the Minorca Hotel, where she made another call. No damage was done here, however, and the animal was soon shown the way out.

Wednesday, November 19, 1890.

   A Scene. - At the Chorley Petty Sessions, on Tuesday, Thomas Marsden and Richard Wilson were summoned for trespassing in pursuit of game on the Wrightington estate. - Mr. Lees prosecuted on behalf of Mr. Dicconson, of Wrightington Hall, and Mr. Callis defended. - Police-sergeant Dickinson deposed that at four o'clock on Sunday afternoon, the 2nd November, he was in Stony-lane, on elevated land, and he saw defendants on land occupied by John Parr. Marsden shot a hare, which screamed, and Wilson ran and picked it up. Witness was 300 yards away. - John Parr said he heard a hare squeak. He was about 70 yards away, and Wilson ran, witness calling out "Good lad, Dick." - Mr. Callis, in defence, submitted that the constable's evidence was not reliable, he being 300 yards away, as he could not pretend to identify defendants at that distance. He submitted that the constable only happened to have seen the men with a gun in Rigby's public-house, and he jumped to the conclusion that they were the defendants. - Mr. Lees said his friend ought not to lie so barefaced in a court of justice. - Mr. Callis: I think you ought to apologise for that expression. - Mr. Lees: Certainly not. - Mr. Callis: If it came from anyone else I would regard it, but I don't coming from you. He went on to point out that the case against the defendants was weak. - Ann Marsden said her husband's gun was in the house the whole day. - Henry Baxendale, Ann Fisher, James Wilson, and Ellen Wilson, gave evidence tending to show it could not be defendants the constable saw. - The bench thought the case was proved, and fined each defendant 21s. and costs.

Wednesday, November 19, 1890.

   Mary Ward, Burland's-yard, Wellington-street, was charged with stealing eight tea cups, nine saucers, and five soup plates, from a shop belonging to John Sumner, 119, Scholes. - The Chief-constable said that the prosecutor, at a quarter to nine on a Saturday night, went out of the shop in consequence of having received information, and caught the prisoner in Wellington-street. He found the stolen property under her shawl, and in reply to his questions she said she had paid for them. The value of the goods was 5s. - In answer to the bench, the prisoner said she was drunk at the time, and this statement was corroborated by the constable, who added that the woman had three children and was ill-treated by her husband. - The prosecutor said he would like to withdraw the case, and the prisoner was accordingly discharged with a caution.

Friday, November 21, 1890.

   Two boys, named Henry Wood and John Nuttall, both aged 14 years, were charged with stealing a pair of boots from the shop of Mr. Rigby, boot manufacturer, Wallgate. No evidence was offered, and the lads were remanded until Monday, bread and water to be their fare till that day.

Friday, November 21, 1890.

   James Dunn, of Lyon-street, was fined 40s. and costs for a brutal assault upon his wife, Elizabeth Dunn, on the 7th inst. - Mr. Lees appeared for the complainant, who stated to the bench the rough behaviour of her husband. He came home drunk, and dashed to the floor the meat which she had prepared for his meal, and said he would do the same for her. He followed her into the back kitchen and knocked her down, and kicked her in the side. After striking her across the face he gave her a black eye, and this was followed up with more kicking. He then held her up besides the door and "bashed" her face in several times. Complainant was pregnant. - This was corroborated by George and Margaret Marsden. - As an alternative to the fine prisoner would have to serve a month's imprisonment with hard labour.

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