Reading Room 2

Old news detailing sports, crime, violence and suffering in Victorian Wigan. All stories taken from The Wigan Observer And District Advertiser, 1860. Material kindly loaned by Paul Byrne.

Friday, August 31, 1860.

ASSAULT.
   Robert Acton was charged with assaulting Mary Welch. - Complainant said that she went to the defendant's yard to but herrings when he began to abuse her, and "drew his hand, hit her on the head, and knocked her down on the broad of her back." - Defendant said the complainant had been detected several times stealing his herrings, and on the day of the alleged assault he told her to leave the yard, giving her a push to make her go. - The bench thought the assault had been committed, and inflicted a fine of 5s. and costs.


Friday, August 31, 1860.

ASSAULT UPON A WIFE.
   Joseph Ratcliffe, a vicious-looking man, a collier, was charged with assaulting his wife. Complainant, who appeared in the witness-box with a fearful-looking black eye, the disfigurement extending half way down her face, stated that her husband, instead of being at his work on Monday, sold his powder and candles, spending the proceeds in drink. She went to fetch him home, when he asked her for money. She could not supply him with any, and he thereupon deliberately felled her to the floor, and behaved to her in a most barbarous manner, the particulars of the assault being unfit for publication. - The bench described the defendant's conduct as that of a wretch, and sent him to hard labour for 42 days. Defendant impudently thanked the bench, and narrowly escaped having his punishment doubled.


Friday, September 7, 1860.

ROBBING A FELLOW LODGER.
   John McEwen and William McEwen, two youths 18 and 20 years of age, were charged with robbing their fellow lodger, Thomas Aspinall. - It appeared that the prosecutor, on the 26th March last, lodged at the house of a person named Glave, in Millgate. The two prisoners lodged there also, and slept in the same room as the prosecutor, John being a drawer for Aspinall, who worked at the Ince Hall Colliery. On the morning of the 26th March prosecutor got up to go to work and asked the prisoners also to get up. They did not do so then, and the prosecutor left the house, but shortly after he had gone they arose and went out before the landlady got down stairs, never afterwards returning. When the prosecutor got home in the evening and heard that the prisoners had gone away he searched his room, and found that a pair of shoes, a scarf, a pocket handkerchief, two ounces of tobacco, and sixpence in money had been taken away. Nothing was heard of the prisoners from that time till Wednesday last, when prosecutor met one of them at the Ince Hall Colliery, charged him with the robbery, and had him apprehended. The other prisoner was taken into custody on Saturday. - They both pleaded guilty, and were sent to prison for one month each.


Friday, September 7, 1860.

A DISGUSTING EXHIBITION.
   John Gaskell and James Twitter were charged with indecently exposing themselves in the public thoroughfare, The information was laid by Mr. E. Woodcock, who said that on Tuesday last, about five o'clock in the afternoon, he was passing the Martland Bridge Inn, kept by John Marsh, when he saw a crowd collected round the door. As there was a club dinner held there that day he thought some of the men were dressed up, but to his extreme disgust he discovered that the defendants were dancing, in a perfect state of nudity, in the middle of the crowd. Twitter was a very bad character, and he hoped the bench would punish him; Gaskell, who is a nephew of Twitter's, he thought had been led into the affair by that person, and he asked the bench to make a distinction in his favour. - Twitter was fined 40s. and costs, in default three months' imprisonment; and Gaskell 20s. and costs, in default 21 days.


Friday, September 7, 1860.

ASSAULTING A POLICE OFFICER.
   William Brimelow was charged with assaulting police-constable Nugent. The officer was on duty in Chapel-lane, on Monday afternoon, when he saw defendant beating his wife. The officer interfered, with the view of getting the defendant to go home quietly. This, however, he declined to do, and turned upon Nugent, whom he kicked severely about the legs. A struggle then ensued between them, and the defendant wrested himself from the officer's grasp, and ran away. He was too drunk, however, to go far, and he came to the ground with great force, falling upon his face and breaking his nose. Nugent now secured the man, and, with the assistance of police-constable Watmough, he was conveyed to the lock-ups. - The bench fined him 40s. and costs.


Friday, September 7, 1860.

CUTTING OFF A WOMAN'S NOSE.
   Margaret Dillon was charged with an assault upon Elizabeth Stevens. - Complainant stated that she was servant at the Free Trade Inn, Warrington-lane, and on Thursday last some company in the house, Dillon being of the number, were creating a disturbance. She went in to quiten them, when Dillon lifted up a can she had in her hand and struck her a violent blow upon the face, cutting her nose, a piece of which fell upon the floor. Mr. Barwise was called in, and complainant produced his certificate stating that the wound was a severe one, and would disfigure the woman for life. - Defendant denied that she struck the complainant with the can; she went into the house to fetch her husband from amongst the disreputable women who assembled at the Free Trade Inn. - The bench considered the case proved, and ordered Dillon to pay the surgeon's charges, 10s. 6d., in addition to a fine of 10s. and costs.


Friday, September 7, 1860.

THE DANGERS OF DISTURBING A POLICEMAN'S REPOSE.
   Ellen Nabbs and Joseph Nabbs, mother and son, were charged with riotous and disorderly conduct on the 29th ult. - Police-constable Worrill stated that on the afternoon of the day in question he was taking his customary rest, (he being on night duty) when he was roused from his sleep by a loud and continuous knocking under his window. His wife went out to see what was the matter, and found a number of children playing and making a great noise. She asked them to go away; when the male defendant came up with a hammer and commenced striking at the wall. His mother followed, and urged him to throw the hammer into the constable's house, which he did, in a rather violent manner, following up the trick by sending a brick after it. - The defendants were reprimanded, and ordered to pay costs.


Friday, September 14, 1860.

GAS FOR STANDISH.
   On Wednesday evening a meeting was held in the National School-room, Standish, for the purpose of taking into consideration the best way of lighting the village with gas. There were about 30 persons present. After discussion it was moved by Mr. P. Parkinson, and seconded by Mr. T. Gaskell, that the Wigan Gas Company be requested to lay their mains as far as Standish, the inhabitants agreeing to pay 5s. 6d. per thousand till their rental reached £150, when 5s. per thousand would be paid.


Friday, September 14, 1860.

FIRE AT A HINDLEY COTTON MILL.
   About four o'clock on Sunday morning last a fire was discovered to have broken out at the cotton mill of Messrs. Robt. Grundy and Co., Hindley. Mr. Grundy was immediately called up, and a number of men soon got together who carried buckets of water to hold the flames in check till the arrival of a water engine, a messenger having been despatched to Wigan for one. In less than an hour, however, the exertions of the men with the buckets, aided with a good supply of water, were successful in quenching the fire, and an order was sent that the engine, which had then nearly reached Hindley, was not required, and it consequently returned to Wigan. The cause of the fire was the spontaneous ignition of some oil waste which was accumulated the grinding room. The grinding frames, windows, flooring, &c., are more or less burnt, and the damage is estimated at £100, but the loss is covered by insurance.

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