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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 3, 1860.

   Elizabeth Parker, a woman about 40 years of age, was charged with stealing a quantity of bed linen and other articles from the house of Esther Osborne, Crofter's Arms Yard. The prisoner went to lodge at prosecutrix's about a month ago, occupying a furnished room. Her husband joined her in a fortnight afterwards, when the prisoner commenced drinking, and was scarcely ever sober from that time to the time of her apprehension. The prosecutor began to suspect that all was not right, and on examination she discovered that four pairs of sheets, three quilts, a bed tick (the flocks from which she had emptied), an iron pan, and other articles were missing, all of which she had pledged at Mr. Seddon's, Wallgate, and Mr. Hopwood's, Market-place, in her own name. - The prisoner, who said she had told prosecutrix that she would liberate the articles one at a time and restore them, was committed to prison for three months.

Friday, August 3, 1860.

   At the petty sessions, on Tuesday last, Ann Hampson, a girl about 18 years of age, was charged with vagrancy, having been found the previous Saturday evening lying on some straw in a stable belonging to John Taylor, near the canal, in Shevington. On the prisoner's promise to look for work she was discharged.

Saturday, August 4, 1860.

   Yesterday morning, about ten o'clock, a terrible fatality occurred to a youth about fourteen years of age, named Anthony Golding, of Wigan. The Kirkless Hall Coal Company have, adjoining their collieries in Ince, extensive ironworks, several furnaces being constantly at work. The chimneys to some of these furnaces are upwards of thirty yards high, and the metal which is put into them is hoisted up to the top by means of a cage attached to a rope. The deceased was standing immediately underneath the cage as it ascended, and when it had reached nearly to the top the rope suddenly snapped, and the cage, with the whole of the metal in it, fell upon the poor fellow's head and literally crushed his brains out. Death was instantaneous, and the body was removed to await the coroner's inquest.

Friday, August 10, 1860.

   On Wednesday, as a child named Enoch Bentham was gathering flowers on the banks of a stream, near the Paper Mills, Standish (at which his father was employed), he fell into the water, and was drowned. Up to yesterday afternoon the body had not been recovered.

Friday, August 10, 1860.

   Thomas Quinn, a man upwards of 30 years of age, was charged with indecently exposing himself, and wilfully damaging a petticoat by tearing off the crochet-work at the bottom. - Both offences were proved, and the bench fined him 10s. and costs for the indecency, and ordered him to pay 10s. the damage to the petticoat; in default he was to go to prison for a month for each offence.

Saturday, August 11, 1860.

   John Johnson, a young man, a collier employed at one of the Earl of Crawford's pits in Haigh, was charged with wilfully damaging a pulley on Springs Branch Railway, by throwing stones at it, and breaking it, in company with two other colliers not in custody. - Mr. Mayhew, who appeared to support the charge, said that fortunately the defendant was discovered in the act of perpetrating his mischief, and on the pulley being examined it was found to be so damaged as to endanger the safety of the trains running on the line, and probably the lives of those in charge of them. The defendant could be charged with felony, but as he had, by the advice of his attorney (Mr. Ashton), pleaded guilty, he (Mr. Mayhew) would be content with an order for the damage and costs - which the bench accordingly made.

Friday, August 17, 1860.

   Mary Duffy, a woman 60 years of age, was charged with stealing a chair, the property of Wm. Holding, cabinet-maker, Millgate. - Prosecutor deposed that he received a number of chairs on the 9th of July, and on the 13th, when he came to pack them, for the purpose of sending them to a customer, he found one was missing, and gave information to the police. He did not know the prisoner, but had seen her sitting on the chairs placed at his shop door. - Police-constable Warrick saw the prisoner on the 12th take a chair into the house of a person named Proe, in Scholes, and knowing that she was a convicted thief, he followed her, and heard her say to Proe that a person had given her the chair to leave there till called for. - Proe was called, and confirmed this statement, adding that the prisoner called again a few days after, and said she hoped the chair was not a stolen one, as she had bought it and given eighteen-pence for it. - Police-constable Richardson apprehended the prisoner on the Douglas Bank, on suspicion of another felony, and on getting to the police office she was charged with stealing the chair, when she admitted the theft. - The bench committed her for trial at the sessions.

Friday, August 24, 1860.

   An inquest was held on Monday, at the Royal Oak Inn, Standish, by Mr. Myres, coroner, on the body of Luke Houghton. The deceased, who was a pony driver at the Tunnel Coal-pit, Standish, was, on Wednesday, in a laden tub in the pit to which the pony was attached. The animal kicked the deceased on the side of his forehead, and he fell back on the tub. He died on Thursday afternoon last, from the effects of the kick. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidently killed."

Friday, August 24, 1860.

   A man upwards of 50 years of age, named William Johnson, was charged with cutting and wounding Joseph Collier. From the statement of the Chief Constable it appeared that the prisoner is a vendor of quack medicines, and professes to have some knowledge of surgery. He was in the Black Swan, Scholes, on Sunday night, when some person jocularly asked him if he could cut off a wart. Prisoner replied that he could, and took out a lance for the purpose, and the company in the room still continuing to tease him he got excited, and began flourishing the lance about, when the prosecutor received a cut in the arm which had prevented him following his work. - The prosecutor did not wish to proceed against the prisoner as he believed the wound was inflicted accidentally. - This view of the case was taken by the bench, and Johnson was accordingly discharged.

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