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Tony Flynn

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  1. For the answer lets take a visit to Salford Magistrates Court, September 1918 to see what the Stipendiary Magistrate had to say. Our story starts on board the S.S. Chicago City a Cunard Liner boat that was moored at Porto Empedecole in Southern Italy, which was picking up amongst other cargo, cases of wine to be transported back to Salford Docks. What could go wrong?....The Captain was soon to find out. Alarm bells should have rung when it was noticed that several seamen had begun drinking heavily from the cargo being loaded onto the boat from cargo lighter boats, a type of flat bottomed barge which would transfer goods and passengers to and from moored ships. The Captain immediately put an armed guard on the ship and another on the shore in an attempt to stop the pilfering of wine by the crew. I think you can guess where this story is going and how its going to end. At 3am the next day the Captain was woken up by the Second Officer who told him that he was concerned about the amount of noise coming from number three hold. The men along with the Chief Officer prudently armed themselves with revolvers and went to see what the commotion was all about. As can be expected it wasn't a pretty sight, he saw a number of men lying on the floor, surrounded by empty wine bottles, others were singing loudly and as the Captain put it, "The men were mad drunk" A lovely expression. The men were locked in the hold overnight, presumably they had drunk all the wine that was being stored there and left to sleep it off. The next day the Captain found that none of the men detained were capable of working and were "not in a fit state to be talked too" They were then given one last chance to explain their innocence, none of them were able to do so. They must have shifted a lot of wine or it was very strong stuff for al of them to be unable to work or even speak properly. The ship sailed to Salford Docks without further trouble, no doubt the booze was firmly under lock and key if not an armed guard! Ten men were arrested by the dock police, they were, Patrick Birch, George Kyfinn, Daniel Delaney, Michael McKenna, Velkhelm Hansen, Maurice Crosby, Herbert Atwood, Harry Ward, Daniel Fitzpatrick and Jesse Baker. They were all charged with the theft of seven cases of wine valued at £25 the property of Cunard Liners. The merry matelots were were defended by Herbert Cunningham whilst Herbert Vaudrey appeared for the owners. Cunningham told the Stipendiary Magistrate that there was no truth in the allegations that they broke into the cargo, although it was obvious the cargo had been tampered with, however there were 31 men on board the ship and the men in the dock hadn't been seen doing the damage or theft. He continues that it was true that the men were very drunk but asserted that they had bought their liquor ashore and therefore had committed had no crime. Be honest that's not a very convincing argument for their innocence is it? The Stipendiary obviously not believing a word, said that he thought, "the men had broken into the cargo and after a heavy drinking bout, no doubt had a craving for more drink and committed the offence that they were charged with" He then fined each man 50 shillings or £2-10 shillings-0 pence which was about a weeks wage for the men, and a fairly hefty price to pay for going on a bender.
  2. This story from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal from September 1918 is a mixture of both of the above emotions and an almost happy ending for once. Corporal David Macfarlane who resided at Cross Street, Eccles was before the outbreak of war a postman on the streets of Eccles and by all accounts a well known man in the Borough. He was no stranger to combat having fought in the Boer War in South Africa and in October 1916 he joined the 2/5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusilier and was soon in action. He fought in the Third Battle of Ypres where his regiment suffered many casualties, he was shot through the hand as he was retreating and then in the leg as he lay on the floor, along with fellow Eccles man, Corporal Lee who lived at Cecil Road, Eccles he was taken as prisoner of war and taken to various camps around Belgium before settling at Munster Lager, Medical Hospital, Westphalia in Germany. With the war grinding to a bloody stalemate Macfarlane because of his age and ill health was repatriated back to Blighty after 13 months in captivity. He gave an interview to the Eccles and Patricroft Journal when he was on home leave from the King George Hospital in London, who no doubt wanted to hear tales of heroism and jingoism and he did not disappoint. When taken prisoner he was taken to a field hospital and the only treatment he received for his injuries where cold water bandages which left his hand deformed and useless, he did retain the use of his leg though. Now in his stride he told the journalist, "I saw plenty of British pluck on the Western Front but nothing compared to to the pluck of our boys who are in the hands of their German captors. "Nothing can induce them to or compel them to make munitions, one lad who refused was placed on bread and water for 17 hours and was forced to stand in bitterly cold weather, at the end of it he had to be practically thawed out but he maintained his refusal to work for them" He then thanked the Prisoner of War Relief Fund who had sent them essential food. "I received six parcels a month, the Germans were eager to buy our bread, dripping and soap but Tommy never parted with them, we make sure our boys get their share" Surprisingly he was allowed to visit the nearby town of Munster, he said that all the shops were either closed or had no provisions in them and yet the Germans were still convinced that they would win the war as the people of Britain were starving to death. Also in the Munster camp were three local men, Reggie Cox who lived at Boardman Street, Eccles, William Moore from Church Street, Eccles and a lad named only as Winn from Parrin Lane, Winton. Macfarlane finished the article by stating that he was eager to to resume his duties as a postman in Eccles when fully fit, despite his deformed hand. That newspaper article to me reads full of British bravado and the good old Bulldog spirit which is what the people wanted to hear. However that wasn't the the truth as his parents who lived at Vicarage Close, Eccles revealed that David was one of their seven sons. One had been killed, one had lost his right hand, and another son had lost his arm and a leg. The other three were still fighting in France and to be honest they still stood a good chance of being killed killed or maimed in that senseless bloodbath which would drag on for another three months. To have lost one son and had three others disfigured and maimed is beyond my belief, yet somehow people were still joining the Army, albeit more reluctantly than in 1914, which seems a form of collective madness which it obviously wasn't but begs the question why? I doff my cap to Corporal Macfarlane and the many, many men who fought and died in that that war yet still cannot understand why they didn't refuse to go, point blank after seeing the terrible loss of life and hardships that would be endured by families at home.
  3. It is said that a man in uniform does indeed attract the ladies, sadly this knight in shining armour turned out to be a cad and a bounder amongst other things. Our story begins with the Rutter family from Salford taking a short holiday in Bakewell, a small market town and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire. The daughter Emily met a soldier Private William Graham from the West Yorkshire Regiment who was convalescing in a nearby Military Hospital from injuries he had received on the Western Front and they soon struck up a friendship. Emily asked him to write to her at the family home on West High Street, just off Cross Lane, which he dutifully did. The enterprising Private Graham went one better when he turned up unannounced at the family home looking resplendent in his new army uniform, complete with Military decorations, four wound stripes and he had even been promoted to a Lance Corporal! He told the family that he was on leave for a further week and would then return to the Western Front to fight for King and Country. The Rutter family welcomed him into their home where he soon made himself comfortable, he was given his own bedroom and was fed three meals a day, the least they could do for this brave boy. However this idyll was shattered on the Tuesday morning when at the breakfast table he told Emily that he was going upstairs to change his clothing, he was that long getting changed that she became suspicious and rightly so as it turned out. He came downstairs and brushed past her without saying a word and left the house, sadly a search revealed that he had taken with him a silver watch and several gold rings valued at £3 - four shillings. He didn't return that day and so the local police were informed, and by a simple twist of fate, he returned the next afternoon possibly for his dinner and was met by Detective Needham and Detective Dutton who promptly arrested him and took him to Cross Lane police station for questioning. A search of his clothing revealed the watch and rings, which Private, sorry Lance Corporal Graham denied ever having seen before. To add to this confusion Mrs Rutter whose husband owned a shop at 91 Cross Lane came into the police station and told the Detectives that Graham had been in her shop earlier that day, she was in the rear feeding chickens in the yard, she came into the shop and found him behind the counter. She asked what he was doing there, again he simply walked past her and strolled off along Cross Lane, taking with him, three flash lamps valued at three shillings. William Graham was charged with theft and appeared at Salford Magistrates Court the following day. Further misery was heaped upon his no doubt slumped shoulders when a Military escort appeared and informed the Magistrate that Graham should be charged with wearing Military decorations that hadn't been awarded to him, also the wound stripes were a lie and worst of all he was not a Lance Corporal, he had simply promoted himself and purchased the insignia, what a bounder but not in the same class as Percy Topliss the Monocled Mutineer. The Magistrate sentenced him to three months imprisonment for the theft of the jewellery and for the Military impersonation he was given a further months imprisonment, a total of four months in total. Ironically this would have saved Private Graham from any further military action as the Great War would end up in November 1918. As for Emily duped in love by a chap in his uniform, hopefully she learnt her lesson and possibly married a policeman, by all accounts a more honest type of chap.
  4. Sadly this is not a new phenomenon as the following story from August 1918 will show. Sarah Normond aged 72 of no fixed address appeared at Manchester County Police Court, charged with, "sleeping out" P.C. Walmsley informed the Bench that he was on duty at Worsley Police Station at 7am when Sarah Normond called in and asked if she could be allowed to dry her clothes, explaining that she had slept the night in a nearby field, when a sudden rainstorm had soaked her to the skin. P.C. Walmsley did everything he could to make her comfortable, making her a mug of tea and giving her a blanket to keep warm whilst he dried her sodden clothes. Her conversation and explanation as to how she had come to be sleeping out in the field alarmed him and so he decided to detain her for her own safety and let the Police Court decide on how best to help her. In the dock her conversation to the Chairman, Mr W.A. Rothwell was as equally puzzling. She told him that her father was a well known brewer of beer whilst she herself was strictly tee-total. Carrying on in a similar vein, she stated that she was a widow and was related to the Earl of Marlborough, adding that she didn't come from Manchester but had come from America and had been staying in the Everton district of Liverpool. The Chairman asked her, "If we release you, where will you go?" She replied, "I shall go where I like, I can get my living and I have got money, also I have two son's serving in the British Army and two daughters still living" No doubt concerned for her safety he asked her, "Where do you live in, Manchester?" Her explanation to this question was bizarre to say the least, "I don't belong to Manchester, I shall not go into the workhouse, I have never been in one yet, I have money to live upon, I can get it from the King of England, I can't say anything fairer than that" Again she was told that they only wanted to help her and to trace her relatives, however she would be remanded in custody for a week whilst enquiries were made to trace them. Supt. Rutter of the Manchester Police Force then circulated a description of Sarah Normond to police stations in the Manchester area in an effort to find out who she was. She was described as being aged 72, four foot, ten inches in height, grey hair, grey eyes with a fresh complexion. Her clothing she was wearing when found were described as, a fawn coat, blue skirt, blue stockings, and black lace up boots. Hardly the clothing to wear if you were unfortunate enough to be sleeping outside for any length of time. Sadly I couldn't find a happy ending to this story despite trawling through months of local newspaper reports. It does seem that poor Sarah was suffering from some delusional, mental health issue with talk of rich parents, links to the Earl of Marlborough and even the King of England being brought into the equation. A sad story which asks so many questions as to how a 72 year old woman could end up sleeping rough in a field in Worsley and provides no answers. I do hope that she found some peace in her life and didn't end up in the dreaded workhouse which surely would have been the end of her, sadly I don't think we shall ever find out.
  5. Ada fell foul of the Defence of the Realm Act, 1915 better known as DORA.. The DORA act included amongst its somewhat bizarre rules were that no-one was allowed to buy binoculars, no-one was allowed to give bread to horses, horses or chickens, no-one was allowed to buy brandy or whisky in a railway refreshment room, customers in pubs were not allowed to buy a round of drinks and public house opening times were also reduced to 12.00 noon to 2.30 pm and 6.30 to 9.30 pm. before the law was changed, public houses could open from 5 am in the morning to 12.30 pm at night. The price and gravity of beer was heavily regulated by this act as the Prime Minister didn't want you idling away your hours in the pub when you could be either fighting the Hun or making munitions to kill the Hun. Ada had a surprise visit from the boys in blue led by D.S. Bentham and Inspector Swaites two men known for their hard line, no nonsense style of policing and lack of humour. They called in at 9pm on July 13th and going into the vault found that the door was off its hinges and a table was blocking the doorway, and not surprisingly, no customers. In the lobby were six people drinking, with the parlour full of people and two old dears sat in the kitchen drinking half pints of bitter. No doubt shocked at this scene of debauchery Sgt Bentham summoned Ada over and demanded to to know what prices she was selling her beer at. She told him, eight-pence a pint in the lobby, and parlour but in the vault four-pence a pint. A search of the pub cellar produced damning evidence, two barrels of beer which piped up to the bar and marked four-pence a pint. Ada was charged with selling four-penny ale at eight-pence a pint and failing to exhibit price lists stating price and gravity of the ale. She was represented in court by Mr F.W. Watson who seems quite a humorous chap, when asked by Inspector Swaites if he knew the gravity of the beer on sale in the pub he replied, "No, but I know the gravity of this case" Touche! Ada told the court that the vault door came off its hinges on Friday evening and the room could not but used until the door was repaired on the Monday morning, but if customers wanted a four-penny pint she could serve them through the lobby window and charge four-pence a pint. The case descended into farce when Mr F. Watson produced several witnesses who stated that they were always charged four-pence a pint and on the night in question of the police visit. Mr Sidney Parker told the court that he only had to rattle the latch on the broken door and he would be served at four-pence a pint, not to be outdone, Mr Ernest Cooper stood up and said he had also tried the vault door but couldn't gain entry but was charged four-pence a pint stood in the lobby, adding for good measure that he had two pints of bitter in the parlour for five-pence a pint and was "marvellous stuff". Confused? the Chairman Alderman T. Grindle certainly was, stating that "It appears to me that it is quite a scientific thing to get to get drunk now" which brought laughter from the cheap seats. He then enquired ,"Are the other witnesses you have of the same kind, Mr Watson?" he was assured that they were. He then asked if there was any eight-pence a pint witnesses in the courtroom. not a soul moved, again this comment brought comment from the public gallery. Sadly that's were the laughter stopped, poor Ada was fined £2-2 shillings for the first offence and £1-1 shilling on the second offence. Seems a tad harsh to me just surprised that Ada told the police she was charging eight pence a pint though, a moral there somewhere I suppose! On a final note did you know that the original name of the Ship Canal pub was The Running Horses until 1865 when the Manchester Ship Canal Act was passed? The name Running Horses was to remember when Eccles could boast of having a race-course, which closed that year, and the land was later obtained by Messrs Engels and Ermen who built the Togo Mill. The name Togo is a strange name and I did a bit of research which showed that Togo was actually Admiral Togo Heihchiro who sank most of the Russian fleet at the Battle of Tsushima in May 1905 when the two countries were at war, possibly two fingers to the Russian Royal family by Engels who had no love for them. Value for money for me when it comes to obscure bits of local knowledge.
  6. And so keeping the ball rolling with the football theme, I bring you this story culled from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal, July 1918. An everyday story of neighbours falling out over the trivial matter of a football landing in there garden which in turn leads to an appearance at the local court with a charge of assault and wilful damage. Eccles Magistrates Court heard the case which didn't go into extra time thanks to the Magistrate keeping his eye on his watch and deciding that 90 minutes was enough for anybody. James Knowles who resided at Stanley Avenue, Eccles was summoned by Alfred Brooke charged with doing wilful damage to the front door of his property in Stanley Avenue, he was also charged with assaulting the tenant of the property, Minnie Birch Williams. .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } Minnie told the court that she was at in her front garden with her children enjoying the fine weather when a football landed in it, ruining their peaceful afternoon sojourn. The ball had been kicked in by a boy the younger brother of James Knowles. According to Minnie the boy in an "insolent manner" told her to give the ball back and then turning towards her son who was sat next to her, threatened to "knock his blithering clock round" if he didn't hurry up and return the ball. I must admit I have never heard that expression before, how quaint. James Knowles then appeared on the scene and told her that people could also be awkward and that if the ball was not returned in five minutes he would kick the front door in to get it back. She then alleged that James leapt over the garden fence in an attempt to snatch the ball back and in so doing, he knocked the garden gate open which hit her, causing bruises to her leg and back. Not content with bowling her over he chased her son who had wisely raced into the safety of his house, still clutching the football and slammed the door shut behind him. James with a kick that David Beckham would have been proud of, he booted the door so hard that the front handle came off. Minnie's father, Alfred Brookes then took the stand and said the damage to the door was three shillings and sixpence, but that the Knowles family had plagued his daughter and her family for a long time and were "unsavoury neighbours". He was so outraged by the damage to his front door that he waited for a full day before calling at the Knowles house to ask for an apology, possibly luckily for him the house was empty. Undeterred and no doubt further outraged he then authorised a solicitor to send a letter to the Knowles family demanding an apology. If you have ever read,"Diary of a Nobody" by George and Weedon Grossmith, you will identify Mr Brookes with the "hero" of the book, Charles Pooter. James Knowles took to the stand and as can be imagined told a different account of what had happened that fateful day. He said that he was asked by his younger brother and sister if he would get the ball back for them as they had been waiting for half an hour for it. He politely asked the boy in the garden if he could have the ball back, only to be told, "Come and get it, if you dare" James jumped over the garden fence to retrieve the ball and sadly knocked Minnie over, accidentally, of course, the boy had run into the house and slammed the door shut so hard that it caught James boot thus accidentally causing the door handle to fall off. Sounds plausible enough to me. The Magistrate no doubt wanting to go home or for his dinner weighed up the options available to him. He fined James three shillings and sixpence for the damage to the door and court costs. As for Minnies injuries? he decided that there had been a technical assault but that no injury was intended and the charge was dropped. Do you think that these two neighbours would soon be throwing open their front doors and welcoming each other in for a brew and a chinwag whilst laughing at the absurdity of the court case?...me neither.
  7. Readers of a certain age may recall the "thrill" of perusing the page, known as, "Before The Bench". This salacious news page gave full details of any felon who had the misfortune to appear before the dreaded Stipendary Magistrate, Mr Leslie Walsh, a proper, old school, no-nonsense Magistrate who would send you down if he even thought you looked guilty! .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } Heaven forbids if your name was to appear on that page, you instantly became a social pariah a veritable, "talk of the washhouse" merchant. This particular story comes from August 1918 and tells of a gentleman called Charles Berry or Charles Clennel depending upon who he was meeting. Charles would appear to have been a somewhat silver-tongued, lothario, fond of the ladies, a drink and a gift of the gab as poor Miss Adelaide Evans was to find out. Charles Berry appeared before Salford Magistrates Court charged with obtaining sums of money from Adelaide Evans with intent to defraud. The couple met on that popular Salford thoroughfare, Cross Lane, where they got into conversation. Charles told Adelaide that he was a "well known local footballer" by the name of Charles Clennel, a single man who worked at Mather and Platts Engineering Company in Trafford Park. I liked the way he told her he was a "well known local footballer" perhaps Adelaide had visions of becoming a forerunner of the modern days WAG? He asked the fragrant Adelaide to "keep company" with him and promised her that one day he would marry her, what a smoothie. The poor girl should have got the "odour of rodent" when Charles began to borrow sums of money from her on various pretexts. He told her that during their courtship he had, had the misfortune to lose not only his father but his mother and aunt! fortunately, they had all left him sums of money in their wills, sadly he had to look after his sister who was ill and living in lodgings. Charles had some neck he even offered to take her to his family's solicitor's to verify the facts. When she declined this offer, the borrowing of money began, obviously with promises to pay it all back on a lump sum and an added bonus as a gesture of goodwill. Charles like all good con men went in low borrowing small sums such as 10 shillings one week and a £1 the following week, slowly increasing the amounts until he had run up a debt of £25-17-6, a tidy sum in those days. He then began to tell Adelaide further excuses as to why he couldn't pay her back just yet, the £15 his mother had left him had been stolen, the £50 his father had left him had somehow got misplaced by the bank, sadly no mention of the money his aunt had left him, eaten by mice presumably? The poor woman (and she probably was) by now had by now had enough and contacted the police who quickly tracked him down and arrested him, charging him with deception. Charles wasn't beaten yet he wrote to her from Strangeways prison, one letter read, "I have only you to think of me whilst I am in here, I am going to ask you to fix the day to make me the happiest of men" He is persistent I'll give him that! In the dock, Charles did the honourable thing and pleaded guilty to all of the charges. However, all sympathy for him evaporated with the appearance of a surprise witness, no other than Mrs Berry, his wife and mother of his two children. Mrs Berry told the court that Charles was a good husband and always tipped his wages up regularly, let's face it he could afford too. Charles told the court that he loved his wife but his downfall was horse racing and gambling, no mention of gullible young women. The Stipendary Magistrate said that this was a carefully thought out and cruel deception and sentenced him to six imprisonment with hard labour as a possible inducement to curb his future activities in Salford.
  8. Salford Magistrates Court saw George appear there charged with being drunk and disorderly and police assault, a fairly serious charge. George gave his address as Park Place a short road off Cross Lane which was infamous for the number of lodging houses or "doss houses" there. I have read that a man could get a "bed" for the night in a room shared with up to a dozen men for fourpence, if he was less fortunate he could pay twopence and sit in a cellar along with other men, also a rope was slung across the room from which men could flop against and try and get some sleep, hence the expression, "flop houses" I kid you not. Back at the Magistrates Court P.C. Case told the court that he was on duty on Cross Lane on Saturday evening, Cross Lane at this time could "boast" of having some 18 public houses, two music halls and an army barracks which no doubt contributed to the lively and vibrant atmosphere there. P.C. Case noticed a group of men blocking the footpath whilst watching a meeting of the Salvation Army, who were no doubt intent on saving these wretches from a like of drunkenness and debauchery, Bless them. George Udall was spotted by the eagle-eyed policeman, leaning on a chemist shop window, reeking of ale and unsteady on his feet. He was asked to "move on" no doubt in the politest terms used by the Salford Constabulary. To use the local parlance, "this is when it all went wrong" and George was arrested and taken to Cross Lane Police Station, no doubt for a rest and a cup of tea. The full story of the events of that night unfurled before the Magistrates Court as P.C. Case told the Magistrate that he asked George to "move along" and for his troubles was punched several times in the face and kicked about the body. George took the stand and gave a totally different version of events. He asked P.C. Case, The Magistrate asked P.C. Case if this was true and, "Did George go with you like a gentleman"? P.C. Case replied, "No he didn't act like a gentleman, more like a madman, punching and kicking me all the way to the police station" Outraged by this slur on his character, George replied somewhat bizarrely. I tell you if I was in that courtroom that day I would have stood up and applauded George for that speech a Clarence Darrow in the making. Sadly things began to unravel for George when he was asked to give evidence on oath. He told the court that he could not read or write because he used to play "wag" when he was a boy and never learnt how to. However he sprang back into defence mode and told the court, With a last roll of the dice and no doubt hoping for leniency, he told the court that he used to belong to the Salvation Army but had sadly fallen from grace and the reason he was there that night was in order to make a fresh start with God, until P.C. Case intervened. The Magistrate must have been impressed with George's heartfelt plea and instead of sending him down, which is what usually happened if you struck a constable, he sentenced him to twelve months probation and warned him about his future conduct. So did George regain his faith and change his wicked ways and end up flogging copies of the War Cry magazine to topers in the numerous pubs on Cross Lane? I somehow doubt it.
  9. STAGING LIFE: THE MANCHESTER PLAYWRIGHTS

    In his latest book, John has chronicled the history of the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester founded by Annie Horniman in 1907 as an answer to the Abbey Theatre in Dublin which at the time was producing works by such playwrights as Yeats, Lady Gregory, Moore, Martyn, Padraic Colum, George Bernard Shaw and Synge. Ms Horniman threw down a challenge to Lancashire playwrights to rival their work and out of this challenge the school known as the Manchester Playwrights was born. This included such luminaries as Stanley Houghton, Harold Brighouse, and Allan Monkhouse. With such formidable writers, the Gaiety soon became the most progressive theatre in the country, the first of its kind to create an identifiably local school of playwrighting as Tony Wilson famously said, “This is Manchester, we do things differently here.”. Dipping into this fabulously researched book I was fascinated to read how shocking some of these productions were considered at the time. Take, for example, Hindle Wakes by Stanley Houghton, the play concerns a young mill girl, Fanny Hawthorn whose weekend away unravels in tragedy as it is revealed she had spent a proverbial "dirty weekend" with the son of a local rich mill owner. This was in 1912 when such behaviour was certainly frowned upon, however Fanny isn't one to conform and tells her lover that basically they had had their fun and its over and more importantly doesn't want or need his riches and can make her way through the world on her own, a great example of early sexual equality. Incidentally when a film was made of the play a lot of the scenes were shot at Monton Mill and the canal side nearby. We all know Hobson's Choice which incidentally is playing at Salford Arts Theatre as we speak. Written by Eccles born, Harold Brighouse the play tells of headstrong Maggie Hobson a woman with plenty of fire in her soul who chooses Sam Mossop as her husband a man considered to be much lower than her on the social scale, once again we see strong independent women at the fore. Did you know that when the 1954 film was premiered it was shown at The Broadway Cinema, Eccles? I only learnt that from reading this marvellous book. This book offers so much and it is a pleasure to read, my eyes were opened at the wealth of talent in the area and is a fabulous insight to the world of repertory theatre and the pleasures and pitfalls that go with it. I can honestly recommend this book to anybody with a love of both theatre and local history, John Harding has done a marvellous job with his research and photographs that adorn the book and I doff my cap to him a remarkably researched and an essential read. The book costs £18.99 and at present is available from Greenwich Exchange www.greenex.co.uk FREE postage within the United Kingdom.
  10. James McGubbin aged 13 from Hart Street, Salford, stood in the dock charged with obtaining three shillings by false pretences and the theft of two silver brooches. Mrs Amtvall of West Thompson street told the court that young James called at her house and asked her if his mother could borrow half a crown - two shillings and sixpence - she gave him three shillings and told him to bring the change back, surprise, surprise, she didn't see James again. She gave it a few days and decided to call at his house for the money, the mother had no knowledge of this transaction, obviously, in a rage, she summoned the police to sort the matter out. Detective Needham called at the house to question James who readily admitted the deception, he told Needham that he had, "spent the money going to the pictures" For you younger readers, the "pictures" was a term for the cinema coming from, moving pictures which were shown on the screen. In 1918 cinema was on the boom throughout the country and in the area were James lived there was The Weaste, Royal, Langworthy, Prince of Wales, Empress and Scala cinemas, plenty of choice for a teenage film buff. The news got worse for James when his father turned up at the police station to complain that two silver brooches were missing from the house. To his credit James admitted the theft, telling the police that he had pawned them for money so that he could go and see more films at the local cinemas. Little wonder that many people in authority saw the cinema as being an evil and corrupting effect on the Nation's youth. The Stipendary Magistrate, Mr Ollier ordered young James to be given six strokes of the birch, perhaps that would stop him sitting down in relative comfort in local cinemas. Incidentally, the birch was usually administered either in the cells underneath the courts or at a local police station by a burly copper with the offender's parents in attendance if they wished, can't say I'd have cared to have witnessed one of my own being thrashed with a stick. The second case concerns an unnamed 11-year-old boy who lived at Barton Grove, Eccles who was charged with breaking and entering a house on Lime Street, Patricroft with intent to steal. .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } The female owner of the house, whose husband was away with the army, told the court that she found the boy on the stairs in her house and asked him what he wanted? he brushed past her and walked out of the door. No doubt puzzled if not concerned she went out shopping and when she returned, she found that a window had been broken and the house had been ransacked and curiously enough nothing had been stolen. The ever intrepid Sergeant Bentham was informed and called at the house for further evidence and a description of the boy. With commendable police work, he tracked the boy down and arrested him the same day. The boy told the court a rather sad and strange story, he said that he had been reading, "exciting and adventurous literature". No doubt Boys Own or similar books of adventure and mystery, harmless stuff to be honest. The boy's Uncle appeared at the court and he sounds proper old school, told the Magistrate that the boy was reading this rubbish and was no doubt trying to emulate some of the characters in these books, adding, "I have since burnt all of his books and warned him not to bring any more home" Not content with the lad having his reading material go up in smoke the Magistrate ordered him to receive four strokes of the birch! You have to feel some sympathy for the boy, having lost his books he was known to be thrashed with a stick, he was only 11 years of age! Finally, you may be glad to know that birching of juveniles was abolished in this country in 1948 unless you were to commit a felony in the Isle of Man they carried out birching people until 1978! mind you homosexuality was only decriminalised there in 1992... Photo: Langworthy Picture House .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; }
  11. BAD BLOOD AT SALFORD BUTCHER'S SHOP

    The Germans in a last-ditch effort to bring the country to its knees attempted to starve Britain into surrendering by attempting to sink boats bringing much-needed food and supplies into the country. Almost 40% of all meat being consumed in the country was imported from either North or South America making these boats enviable targets. Stricter food rationing was introduced in April 1918, with meat, butter, sugar, cheese and milk all put on the ration list with Ration Books given out to the general public and you had to register with a Food Controller as to which butcher and grocery shops you would be purchasing from, the rules were very strict, anyone found cheating could be fined or even sent to prison and if we are to believe even King George and Queen Mary were given them, yes I can see them queueing up on The Mall to buy their food.... Now you have read these amazing facts - stop laughing at the back - we come to this week's juicy story from June 1918 which will go some way as to explaining why I regaled you with it, read on, it gets better, hopefully. Herbert Groves, the Manager of the Argenta Meat Company butcher's shop on Union Terrace, Broughton, Salford appeared at the Salford Magistrates Court charged with assaulting one of his customers the unfortunately named, Herbert Bugg, do you think he was called Bertie Bugg at school? Last inane fact afore we get to the "meat" of the story, the Argenta Meat Company far from being South American were actually founded in Oldham in 1899 and had over 100 shops dotted around Lancashire. According to Chief Inspector Clarke from Salford Constabulary who was the main prosecution witness, Mr Bugg had gone into the shop and demanded that Groves return his precious meat coupons that his wife had handed over earlier that morning. Sadly for Mr Bugg, Groves was busy cutting up the carcass of a dead sheep ready to be put on sale in the shop and I can imagine he wasn't in the best of moods. Bugg complained that the meat his wife was given wasn't value for money and demanded the coupons back, at which Groves threw his coupons at him and told him to clear off from the shop 'or else' Strangely enough, Bugg returned back to the shop several hours later, no doubt having been home and told not to come back without the coupons by Mrs Bugg and told Groves that, "I can not eat that kidney that you gave my wife earlier today and I demand my coupons back" Enraged at this slur on his offal products Groves was then alleged to have hurled the coupons in his face and as he bent down to pick them up was rewarded with a boot in the face, followed by a pummeling to the head and the body causing Bugg to flee the shop. Hell hath no fury like a butcher scorned it would appear, insult the man but not his meat products! Mr Groves had a Mr Murray acting for his Defence and to be honest, he doesn't sound all that good, hardly George Carmen or Clarence Darrow. Murray asked Bugg if it was not correct that he had been in the shop on three previous occasions complaining about the meat and threatening to report him to the local Food Controller, and had also been struck off Groves list of registered customers and the only reason he was in court today was that the kidney wasn't to his liking, strong line of questioning there! Bugg strongly denied these allegations and stuck to his story that he was the injured party. Unable to break him down with his rugged interrogation, Murray told the court that Groves was held in high esteem by his employers the Argenta Meat Company and there had been no complaints about him apart from those by Bugg. With a final lunge at the jugular, he then accused Bugg of being rude and arrogant to Groves and that it was he, not Groves who started the fight. Sadly all to no avail as Bugg continued to plead his innocence. The Stipendary Magistrate no doubt as bored with this court case as you are, found Groves guilty of assault and fined him 20 shillings. So did Groves get the "chop" from his job? was it all a "missed steak? did they "meat" again? to settle their "beef" and not "mince" words? or all these puns to "offal" to repeat? Sadly I'm here all week I athankayew.
  12. 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? Photo: Stock
  13. SEVEN MONTHS IN 79 ROCKS INTO ECCLES

    This is a collection of black and white photographs of shall we say, "New Wave Bands" all taken by David Hunter back in those heady days of 1979 when punk was all but dead in the water and new acts were taking the limelight. Amongst those artists on display are Ian Curtis, Kevin Rowlands, Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton, Terry Hall, Ian Drury, Simon Miner, Pauline Murray, Joe Jackson, Barrie Masters, Steve Diggle, Phil Oakey and Pete Perrett. The photographs were taken in clubs in Manchester and Liverpool including the Apollo and legendary Russell Club in Hulme and are truly fascinating, atmospheric shots which have remained unseen for almost 40 years. I spoke to the ace lensman, who told me how the exhibition came about and its a very interesting story, not least because it's his very first exhibition in a gallery. David tells me that he has quite a few more photos stored on his laptop including some bands which to be honest I am no big fan of, including Iron Maiden (pre-Bruce Dickinson days), Rush, Motorhead, Sammy Hagar and many, many more including some in colour. Also, prints are on sale at the gallery all reasonably priced and here is the best thing, all the profits from the sale of them will be donated to a locally based charity in the city where the photographs were taken, how good is that? .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } David will be at the Gallery this Saturday from 12pm - 2pm and will be more than happy to talk to you about his exhibition and I can guarantee that you will enjoy it, tell him that I sent you! The Seven Months In 1979 exhibition will run until Saturday 2nd June 2018. Further images can be seen on https://www.facebook.com/2021389388110931/photos/a.2021441431439060.1073741828.2021389388110931/2021584541424749/?type=3&theater
  14. Illegal street gambling was once a regular fixture in this country with backstreet bookies taking your bet, usually in the safety and privacy of their backyard with men paid to act as lookouts when the police made their obligatory raids, some of them even taking the 'fall' for the bookie for a slightly higher fee. My Grandfather on my mother's side, Walter Moran was a registered Turf Accountant who would ply his trade on racecourses throughout the country, but also had a nice sideline in illegal street betting in Salford. Nearly all of this illegal activity would cease with the introduction of the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act which first allowed gambling for small sums on card games in pubs and from May 1961 betting shops were allowed to open. The story that follows is from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal, April 1918 and tells the story of illegal street gambling and a curious court case that followed. Two brothers, Robert and William Barnes appeared at Manchester County Police Court charged with street gambling in Melbourne Street, Pendlebury, they had earlier appeared at Eccles Magistrates Court and robustly denied the offences and elected trial at Manchester. .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } Police Constable's Thompson and Gibson took the stand told the court what they had seen. The intrepid coppers "took a place of concealment" some 15 yards away from Melbourne Street and saw a number of men, women and children hand slips of paper and money over to Robert Barnes on the 24th April between 11 am - 2 pm. They returned the following day and no doubt once again well hidden saw further transactions take place between the hours of 9.30am - 1.30pm this time William Barnes joined in with his brother taking the bets. The police stated that the number of people seen placing bets on those two days was a staggering 448! Robert Barnes wife took the stand and proudly stood by her man telling the court that her husband was at home with her on the two dates mentioned, "helping with the housework" and didn't leave the house until 4.30pm presumably when he had completed his chores. The case took a curious twist when she told the court that P.C. Thompson stopped her and her husband as they alighted from a tram in Pendlebury at 11.30pm, that's devotion to duty. He is alleged to have said that Robert had been reported for street gambling for those two days mentioned, to which he is said to have replied, "What again? I haven't taken a halfpenny since you did me three weeks ago", obviously known to the police then and hardly an innocent man's plea. Now here is where the case gets murky P.C. Thompson said, The Barnes brothers had Mr W. Murray acting for their defence, he asked Mrs Barnes if this was true, once again she proved her mettle and said, "I told him three weeks ago if he ever did betting again, I would "roast" him", a formidable woman. He then turned his attention to P.C. Thompson and asked him why these letters hadn't been mentioned in the initial hearing at Eccles and asked the Clerk of the Court to confiscate his notebook so that he could inspect it. Suddenly the mystery letter writer made an appearance in the dock and asked that his name is kept anonymous, Mr Murray would have none of this and demanded that he be named or the court case should be thrown out, which seems fair enough to me. The man was named in court but his name was kept out of the newspaper for fairly obvious reasons. He told the court that he had placed bets with both of the brothers on the two dates mentioned in court, then added that he had only come to court because he thought the police had a charge against him? The Chairman of the Court stated that this was a most "peculiar" case and he was determined to get to the root of it. He retired to consider his decision and would you believe it he found both brothers guilty as charged. Robert Barnes was fined £10 and £2 costs, whilst brother William was fined £5 and £2 costs, amazingly the mystery man was awarded 5 shillings costs for appearing at court! All in all, a very strange case in which the police initially stated that they had seen the brothers with their own eyes and then later said that they were acting on an anonymous tip-off, doesn't quite add up, does it? I think that the only thing we can be sure of is that the mystery man would keep a very low profile in the Pendlebury and Walkden area for the foreseeable future if he had any sense.
  15. This well-meaning but basically daft legislation has a relevance to the story that I am about to relate, sitting comfortably? then I shall begin. The DORA act included amongst its somewhat bizarre rules were that no-one was allowed to buy binoculars, no-one was allowed to give bread to horses, horses or chickens, no-one was allowed to buy brandy or whisky in a railway refreshment room, customers in pubs were not allowed to buy a round of drinks and public house opening times were also reduced to 12.00 noon to 2.30 pm and 6.30 to 9.30 pm. before the law was changed, public houses could open from 5 am in the morning to 12.30 pm at night.. Women were employed in men's jobs and proved that they were equal if not better in such occupations as factory work, driving buses, working on the land or in this case working in bottled beer stores in Salford....a recipe for disaster? This curious story culled from the pages of the Salford City Reporter, April 1918 tells of the sad plight of three Salford women employed in such a job. Salford police ever vigilant to stamp out drunken, unruly behaviour had been tipped off that women in the Greengate area had been seen drunk at times when the pubs were shut and so firm action was taken. Detective Inspector Clarke had two of his men stake out the workers leaving the bottling store of Findlater and Mackie Ltd, a beer bottling company. The daring duo didn't have long to wait and pounced on three women as they finished work and were making their way home. Mary Taylor was alleged to have looked, "bulky" and was asked what she had hidden in her shawl, she replied, "Only a bottle of stout". A search revealed a further five bottles of beer hidden in her clothing, I would have thought that they would have been attracted to the clinking sound coming from her clothing. The two other women, Mary McLean and Jessie Kerridge made good their escape and went back to their homes seemingly oblivious to what would happen next. The police duly arrived at Mary McLean's house where they found her and her mother supping a pint bottle beer of each other, disposing of the evidence perhaps? When questioned Mary told the police, "I am sorry I have taken a few bottles home with me" You couldn't accuse her of lying, a search of the house revealed another 36 empty beer bottles all from Findlater and Mackie Ltd. A visit to Jessie Kerriridges house found 12 empty beer bottles which she admitted taking from work. All three appeared at Salford Magistrates Court charged with theft and were defended by Mr Desquesnes. D.C. Clark told the court that he had been tipped off that women were stealing beer on a regular basis and that some women had even had stitched hidden pockets in their skirts so they could conceal even more, quite ingenious really. Mr Desquesnes asked for leniency from the Stipendary reminding him that the women had already pleaded guilty to this offence and had helped the police with their enquiries. Sadly he was having none of this and sentenced Mary Taylor too, two months in prison with hard labour, an incredibly harsh sentence considering the offence. Mary McLean was fined 40 shillings or 21 days imprisonment. Jessie Kerridge was fined 20 shillings or 14 days imprisonment. I do hope that these two women were able to pay their fines which were quite hefty at the time, perhaps they should have taken the empties back to the off-licence and collected the deposit back, also it would have got rid of the evidence! I'm certain that this court case had no impression whatsoever on the drinking and theft of beer in Salford and was merely a shot across the bows, a warning to stop it or else. A look through the court pages of the Salford newspapers will confirm that drinking etc went on regardless and it would take more than a fine to stop them enjoying themselves.


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