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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, December 10, 1890.

   James Dwyer, Lyon-street, was charged with stealing a pair of boots from the Trencherfield Inn, Wallgate, on October 27th, the property of a man named William Roberts. - The Chief-constable (Captain Bell) said that on the date mentioned the complainant went into the Trencherfield Inn, Wallgate, about half-past two, and asked for something to drink. After getting it he sat down on a form and placed the pair of boots, which were wrapped up in paper, on a form beside him. When he had drunk his beer he found that the parcel was gone, and he at once gave information to the police, several men being in the vault at the time. They were eventually found in a pawnbroker's shop, 130, Scholes, and it was ascertained that they had been pawned within half-an-hour of the theft. It was not until the night of Saturday, the 6th inst., that the defendant was apprehended by the police. When charged with the theft he replied, "I will admit pawning them, but not stealing." - Prisoner was committed for trial.

Friday, December 12, 1890.

   About three hundred persons assembled at the above grounds on Saturday, when a wrestling match in the Lancashire style was decided between Isaiah Scholefield and Frank Knocker, both of Wigan, for £10. Knocker won by obtaining the first and third falls, in 15min. and 8min. During the afternoon a fox-terrier rabbit coursing sweep was decided, for which the proprietor added £4. Twenty-eight entries were obtained, and on running through, Halliday's Mug, of Preston, and Dickinson's Kit, of Blackrod, divided the whole of the money.

Saturday, December 13, 1890.

   Alfred Gibson, of 19, Hallgate, was summoned for obstructing the footpath on the 3rd inst. - Police-constable Gerard said on Wednesday, the 3rd inst., he was on duty in Hallgate at a quarter-past eleven, when he saw a crate in front of defendant's shop, and a quantity of crockery extending half way across the footpath. The pedestrians had to walk single file past defendant's shop. He spoke to Mrs. Gibson about the obstruction, and she said they had no room to put the crate in the shop. The crate was in the street at half-past twelve. - Defendant said it was an extraordinary busy time for him at present. There were three cases of French wreaths and they were taken into the shop as speedily as possible. He was away from home that day. - A fine of 5s. and costs was imposed. - Henry Edwards, of 23, Hallgate, was also summoned for obstructing the footpath. - Police-constable Gerard said he saw seven boxes in front of defendant's shop from a quarter-past eleven until half-past twelve. The defendant said he was making room for his goods. - Mr. Edwards said the boxes contained confectionery for Christmas time. - Pay costs.

Saturday, December 13, 1890.

   Mary Lynch, 41, Adelaide-street, was summoned for assaulting Mary McMahon, 37, Adelaide-street, on the 4th inst. - The complainant said about a quarter to three in the afternoon she was just going into her house, and had her hand on the latch when the defendant came along with a key in her hand. She said she would have the seven days that her (defendant's) daughter had out of complainant. She hit complainant on the head and also bit her hand, for which she had been under the doctor. - Evidence was given on both sides, and defendant was fined 5s. and costs.

Saturday, December 13, 1890.

   Sarah Harrison, 1, Shaw's-yard, was charged with assaulting Jacob Brown, a boy living in the same yard. - It was alleged that the defendant struck him on the face and on the back without the slightest reason for so doing, and although there was a denial on the part of the defendant the bench considered the case proved, and ordered a fine of 2s. 6d. and costs.

Saturday, December 13, 1890.

   John Thomas Wilson was summoned for assaulting Mary Holcroft, living at Stony-lane, Hindley, on the 7th inst. - Mr. Lees, who appeared for the complainant, said the defendant had lodged with her for a number of years, and lately he had been addicted to habits of intemperance. About three weeks ago she took out a summons against him, but he persuaded her to withdraw it, and promised to amend and not assault her again. On the 6th inst. she gave him 10s. to pay a quarterly subscription to the club her husband was in, and also to buy a rabbit for Sunday dinner. He never came back again on Saturday or Sunday morning, but in the afternoon returned as drunk as possible. He began to use offensive language to the landlady, and struck her on the face with his fist. She hit him back again with an umbrella which she had in her hand, and then he closed with her and held her by the throat. - Her husband separated them, and he in his turn was assaulted by the defendant. Since then the defendant had followed Mrs. Holcroft about, and had said that he would swing for her. - Evidence was called to substantiate this. - Defendant denied it, but was fined 10s. and costs.

Wednesday, December 17, 1890.

   Since Thursday evening a frost of more than ordinary severity has prevailed in the district, and as a result lovers of skating have had more opportunities of indulging in this healthy and invigorating pastime than they have perhaps enjoyed for the last two or three years. On Sunday, just before midnight, a temporary change in the weather took place, with rather inconvenient results. At the time alluded to a short smart shower of rain took place, and as the frost resumed operations immediately afterwards the ground was quickly covered with a rather thick coating of smooth ice. The mill girls and others who are forced to start work early in the morning were the first to experience the dangerous condition of the streets, and many amusing accounts of the scenes in the streets are circulating. Whenever there was a slight incline there were to be seen numerous figures struggling on the ground and accomplishing the ascent or descent on their hands and knees, the difficulties of pedestrians being naturally increased by the darkness. In front of Messrs. Coop's factory, where there is a rather stiff gradient, matters were rather complicated in this way, and very much the same state of things prevailed at the approaches to the other factories. The Corporation officials quickly coped with the difficulty, and the streets were soon strewed with sand to the great relief of those who were not able to stay inside. We have heard of several slight accidents, but none of a serious character.

Wednesday, December 17, 1890.

   On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Brighouse, county coroner, held an inquest at the Park Hotel, Ince Common, touching the death of Mary Ratcliffe (4), daughter of William and Mary Ratcliffe, of 18, Barnes'-terrace, Ince. Deceased died on Sunday from the effects of being severely burned on the 12th inst. She was playing in the kitchen with other children, and stood on the fender endeavouring to reach a pair of stockings which where hanging on a line under the mantlepiece, when her clothes caught fire, and she was severely burned. In spite of the attentions of Drs. Parker and Hall she did not survive the injuries. A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned.

Friday, December 19, 1890.

   Two men, named William Nicholson and Patrick McNulty, are now in the Infirmary, suffering from injuries received by falls in the slippery streets on Monday. Nicholson, who lives at High-street, and is 57 years of age, has a fractured thigh, and McNulty (35), of Rigby's-yard, has sustained a fractured rib.

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