Neighbours, Everybody needs good neighbours, Just a friendly wave each morning, Helps to make a better day as that dreadful song from the equally dreadful Aussie soap show, Neighbours informed us, it's a pity that these two warring Salford families hadn't heard that ditty.
James Howarth who resided at Primrose Hill, Salford - a picturesque address, sadly a row of two up and two down terraced houses in the Hanky Park area of Salford - was summoned to appear at court by a close neighbour, Emma Fitton charged with unlawfully assaulting her.
The court heard that Emma Fitton was a charwoman by trade and was returning some washing to a neighbours house when she passed James Howarth, words were exchanged, quite vulgar I should imagine and she went home blissfully unaware of what was to happen next.
Emma told the court that when she passed James Howarth he was outside his house, along with his wife, cleaning the windows, when she passed him he shouted at her, "Hello, you here, again!" whilst his wife used foul language at her.
Worse was to come when she alleged that Mr Howarth followed her to her door and punched her in the face, blacking both her eyes and to add further misery, he proceeded to put the boot in! only stopping when Emma Fitton's granddaughter came out of the house and implored him to stop.
So far a shocking assault on a hard working female member of the public, innocently going about her duties...
Mr Desquesnes who was defending Mr Howarth had a few pertinent questions to ask this paragon of virtue and it's worth repeating here, if only for the novelty value.
Mr Desquesnes, "When you saw Mr Howarth he was cleaning his windows?"
Emma Fitton, "No he was going up and down the street with his knocking up stick"
The knocker-up used a baton or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients' doors or a long and light stick, often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors. In return, the knocker-up would be paid a few pence a week. The knocker-up would not leave a client's window until they were sure that the client had been awoken.)
Mr Desquesnes, "Did you make offensive remarks about his wife to him?"
Emma Fitton, "No it was him who used the foul language and his wife"
Mr Desquesnes, "You say you went home and Mr Howarth assaulted you in an unprovoked attack, did you not go indoors and come out with a jug of hot water which you threw over him?"
Emma Fitton, "I was carrying a jug of water through the house when he passed and I threw it out not knowing that he was passing by, I didn't aim it at him"
Mr Howarth then took the witness stand and told the court that he was sat outside his house with his wife, when Emma Fitton passed by and made, "objectionable observations" about his good wife.
He continued that he asked her to desist from using this language when she suddenly threw a jug of boiling water over him, he then admitted that he may have struck her a blow to calm her down!
Using the Judgement of Solomon the Magistrate fined Mr Howarth 5 shillings and warned both parties about their future conduct.
Read into that what you will, I think Emma Fitton had a bad tongue on her and had said something to annoy Mr Howarth, however assaulting her and putting the boot in isn't acceptable behaviour is it? Wonder how they went on in the future and did they join in the street parties when the Great War ended some five months later, perhaps they called a truce?